Not everyone enjoys working out, but one way to make it a little more enjoyable is to get a home gym. There are a lot of reasons why having a home gym might encourage you to exercise more. You’re in a comfortable environment that you have control over. You set the temperature on the thermostat, pick the music, and set the pace. You don’t have to get in the car on a cold or rainy to drive to the gym. If something comes up and forces you to rearrange your schedule, you can just squeeze one in whenever you get home. There are fewer distractions at home than in a gym which can help you get your workout done faster and more efficiently. You have privacy and can train the way you want to without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
A home gym provides you with constant access to the equipment you need to stay fit and allows little room for excuses. It hard to come up with a reason not to work out when the equipment is right there in front of you. There are a lot of different choices out there when it comes to home gyms and you might not know what to look for or how to determine which one is the best home gym of the year. Before you shop, it’s important to take the time to understand some of the features that are available.
Home Gym Comparison Chart
Home Gym Buyer’s Guide
Buying a home gym can be a little overwhelming, especially you’re unfamiliar with workout equipment. They can look a little intimidating if you’ve never used one before, but once you understand what features you need, it will all start to make sense. Then you can decide exactly what you need in a piece of home gym equipment and figure out which one is right for you.
The very first thing you’ll need to figure out is your budget. How much are willing to spend on your home gym? They come in a wide range of prices so you’ll need to have some idea of your budget before you can really start looking. There are a few great options for home use under $500 and if you are willing to spend a little more, you can get a solid hotel/professional system for under $1000.
There are some things to take into account when figuring out your budget. Factor in that buying a home gym is likely going to save you the cost of monthly gym membership in the long run and adjust accordingly. If you’re saving a big chunk of money every month in gym fees, perhaps you can spend more on your home gym equipment.
While it may seem like buying the least expensive home gym is the best way to go, you may find that there are unforeseen costs. While some of the inexpensive home gyms are great and have all the equipment you need, they will often require more maintenance, expensive upkeep, or additional pieces of equipment to get a full-body workout. A cheap machine may actually end up costing you more in the long run. Do the math and you might find that buying a more expensive machine with a good warranty and all the workout stations you need might be worth the higher initial investment.
If you’re a beginner who’s just starting to get in shape, you’ll want to shoot for goals that are different than someone who’s been working out regularly for years.
What parts of your body are you planning to work on? Do you need something that will focus primarily on your upper body? Or are you looking for something that provides a few options for your lower body, too? Maybe even some cardio? One negative about home gyms across the board is that they tend to be a little light on equipment to work your legs. While some offer upgrades and additional equipment you can buy to get more leg work in, you need to decide if you’d rather pay a little more up front and get a more versatile machine or pay more later once you know how much you’re going to use the equipment.
If you’re not sure what your long-term goals are, the best thing to do is to get a home gym that has the option to upgrade. That way, you won’t invest to much initially but you’ll have the option to expand if need be. Start with a basic but effective machine to get used to the routine of exercising at home and to learn what all of the workout stations do. Then, upgrade as necessary. You can often get more weight or more equipment that can expand your workout over time as you become more fit and need more options.
Home gyms are very, very heavy. If you want to put it in the basement or in an upstairs bedroom, plan ahead of time to have a lot of help on the day of delivery.
Also, consider where in your home you’re going to set it up so you have enough room to use it. Some home gyms take up a lot of room both horizontally and vertically while others are designed to be compact. You can even find home gyms that are specifically made to be tucked into a corner. You need enough room for the equipment itself and for you to use every part of the equipment properly. Make sure you place it somewhere where all the parts can move freely so you know you’ll be able to utilize all the different workout stations.
For your home gym, you want something that is as versatile as possible and covers all the basics. Generally, a home gym will have the equipment to do the following exercises:
- Chest – presses and fly
- Shoulder – presses, and raises
- Arms – biceps, and triceps
- Back – lat pulldown and rows
- Legs – extensions and curls
- Abs – crunches
As previously mentioned, most machines are a little light on leg exercises, but some do offer additional equipment if you want to increase your range of lower body workouts. If you’re looking for even more versatility, you can even find some home gyms that offer a rowing component so you can throw in some cardio to your routine.
There are some other features to look for that aren’t essential, but are convenient and nice to have on your home gym:
You should be able to move the seat up and down and forward and backward. This will make sure that everyone in your family can use it because it can be positioned in a lot of ways so that you can always reach the equipment.
Being able to change the incline of the bench will help you isolate different chest and arm muscles, giving you a more thorough workout.
All home gyms will come with a set weight resistance. Sometimes, you can add on and upgrade to more; other times, you’re stuck with what you get. Generally, you don’t need more than 150 – 200 pounds of resistance, especially if you’re a beginner. If you think you’ll need more in the future, make sure you get a home gym that allows you to upgrade the weight.
This lets you use your home gym for free weights or dumbbells also.
If you want to be able to add some cardio to your home gym routine, look for a machine that can also be used for rowing.
Keep in mind that you will either need to assemble your home gym yourself or have someone come to your home and do it for you. Some models are much easier to put together than others. This might not be a factor when deciding to buy one that you love, but it might be enough of an issue to break a tie if you’re having a hard time deciding. Make sure the home gym you choose has clearly written assembly instructions.
Your home gym is going to have a lot of moving parts, and that means that there’s a pretty good chance something will eventually break. Make sure you get a home gym that has a warranty that will cover any parts or poor workmanship.
Note that most if not all warranties do not cover wear and tear from regular use. Even the home gyms that offer lifetime warranties will only cover defects and workmanship errors. Make sure you understand what is covered under warranty before you make a purchase. If you’re planning to invest in a home gym that you’ll use for years to come, make sure that you know what is covered before investing a lot of money.
Home Gym Reviews
The Galena Pro by BodyCraft is a complete home gym made of heavy duty steel tubing with a powder coating. It’s made to last a lifetime and has a lifetime warranty for any defects in materials or workmanship.
It’s designed to work every major muscle group and made to easily fit into any corner of a room. There are three different exercise stations on the Galena Pro allowing you to do seated flys, low row or upright cable curls, play presses, leg extensions, and pulldowns. While most home gyms can facilitate these exercises, the individual stations on the BodyCraft Galena Pro are designed with these specific exercises in mind. This will make it a little easier to learn if you’re new to this kind of equipment.
The weight stack on this machine is 200 pounds and can be adjusted in 10-pound increments. One downside is that you can’t add more weight so this might not be the best choice for advanced users. There’s an optional leg press upgrade attachment that can provide resistance of up to 300 pounds, but this is only for the leg presses and has to be purchased separately.
Even taking into account the 200-pound weight limit of this home gym, it’s still claimed the number one spot. For anyone just starting out or who isn’t into heavy weights, this is a great home gym. It’s solid, well made, and fits nicely into any room without being too overwhelming.
- Nice size and fits into any corner
- Three different exercise stations
- Easy to learn
- Lifetime warranty
- Leg press has to be bought separately
- Weight stack can only hold 200 pounds
offering from BodyCraft is the Xpress Home Gym. It’s also made of a durable steel frame with a powder-coated finish and has a lifetime warranty that covers any problems with the material or workmanship of the equipment.
The Xpress Home Gym offers quite a bit more than the previously rated Galena Pro. It uses a system of adjustable cables that allow you to perform dozens of unrestricted, biomechanically correct exercises. This innovative technology is used in a lot of modern home gym equipment, but it’s said the Xpress Home Gym was one of the first to implement it.
While this home gym also has a weight stack that holds 200 pounds, the cable system allows the resistance to be adjusted to the equivalent of 400 pounds. This means you don’t have to add on any additional weight like you would with some other machines – you basically get twice as much weight capacity for the same amount of money. This makes it a good machine to have in your home if multiple people of different skill levels are going to be using it.
Assembly is a little difficult, but luckily it’s something that you only have to do once. Another downside? Price. This is one of the more expensive models out there and you’ll have to buy an additional leg press upgrade if you want to increase the amount of lower body exercises you can do with this machine. That said, the craftsmanship is excellent and with the lifetime warranty, you can be pretty sure that this one will last a lifetime.
- High quality
- Can be adjusted for up to 400 pounds of resistance
- Lifetime warranty
- Difficult to assemble
The Body-Solid Freeweight Leverage Gym is a great choice for someone looking for a little more resistance. The addition of ergonomically designed handlebars takes the place of olympic barbells for pressing increases muscle strength by including more stabilizer muscles in the workout. You can quickly change the angle of pressing lever arm so you can switch between exercises with minimal fuss.
Also included in this home gym is a heavy duty weight bench. This is a pretty expensive piece of equipment on its own for its high-quality design and three reclining positions. It works in conjunction with the Freeweight Leverage Gym for bench presses and other chest exercises plus can be used on its own as a support for dumbbell work.
Because the back has so many muscles in it and it’s difficult to isolate them all, this machine comes with a lat pulldown station that has various attachments to allow you to easily utilize different angles. The lever bar is designed to be high enough to comfortably to complete a variety of exercises.
You’ll also get a lot of other nice features. Thick back padding support to keep your back in the optimum position to work back muscles, a preacher curl pad to isolate biceps with cushioning for your triceps, and a hack squat station.
There’s a lot to love about this machine. It comes with some great features at a somewhat reasonable price. But there are just a few downsides. While the preacher arm itself is a great addition, it can get in the way when performing other exercises. It’s also a little difficult to assemble.
- Offers more resistance than some other home gyms
- Great for focusing on back muscles
- Preacher curl support
- Preacher arm can interfere with other exercises
- Difficult to assemble
The Body-Solid G1S is a compact machine that provides a 160-pound weight stack and various attachments that facilitate over forty exercises. You get a lot of features with this home gym, plus it’s made to last and comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s compact and will fit in most spaces.
This home gym has multiple workout stations. You can do multiple chest exercises, leg extensions and curls, crunches, and pulldowns. There’s also a pulley system that helps target various muscles groups to make sure your workout is as effective as it can be. While it’s versatile and effective, there are a lot of add-on pieces available if you’d like to upgrade.
One really great thing about this one – it’s really affordable. You get a lot for your money and a really good warranty that makes it a good investment. Assembly isn’t easy, but the instructions are written well enough that, if you follow them closely, you shouldn’t have much trouble. It seems to go together a little smoother than some other home gyms we reviewed.
One negative to this machine is it only has a 160-pound weight stack and cannot be upgraded. This is slightly limiting for someone who is advanced and requires a little more versatility. For an average person, though, 160 pounds should be enough.
- Reasonable price
- Multiple workout stations
- Only has 160-pound weight stack that can’t be upgraded
If you’re looking for something that’s really affordable, the PR1000 Home Gym from Bowflex might be just what you need. You can do over thirty exercises with it that can work out your whole body. It has a Power Rod resistance system that keeps your workout smooth, providing the same benefits of free weights without the elevated risk of injury. It has a short, relatively easy assembly that should have you up and ready to go in a few hours.
You can target any muscle group with the Bowflex PR1000 and it can be adjusted to provide p to 210 pounds of resistance. There are pulleys to focus on shoulders, chest, and legs. A great benefit of this machine that not a lot of the other home gyms we reviewed has is the ability to facilitate cardio. With this machine, you can do aerobic rowing to up your workout and burn some calories.
The warranty isn’t nearly as good the other brands we reviewed – only one year for the machine, five for the rods, and sixty days for parts. The rods will wear out over a period of time and this isn’t covered under the warranty.
Other negatives? The 210-pound resistance can’t be upgraded as with some other Bowflex models and you will eventually have to buy new rods. Still, the Bowflex PR1000 is a great choice for someone who just wants something for a light to moderate workout at home. Even taking into account that you’ll need to replace the rods, it’s such a fair price that it isn’t a deal breaker.
- Over thirty different exercise
- Pretty easy to assemble
- Limited to 210 pounds of resistance
- Cannot be upgraded
- Limited time warranty
The BowFlex Blaze uses the innovative Power rod technology that the BowFlex brand is known for which gives you the results of free weights without any of injury risk. It allows for over 60 different exercises, all of which are easy on the joints because they’re done using the smooth, fluid resistance of the Power Rods.
You can get a full body workout with this machine. The pulley systems allow you to work your chest, lats, shoulders, and arms. You can even use the pulleys to work your legs by doing squats while hitting your quads and hamstrings with the leg extension. It offers 210 pounds of resistance but, unlike other machines we reviewed, you can upgrade this home gym to 310 or 410 pounds of resistance. You’ll truly get a solid work out on this machine, no matter what level of fitness you are.
The warranty on the BowFlex Blaze is slightly better than the PR1000. The machine has a five-year warranty, the parts are sixty days, but the rods come with a lifetime warranty. While this is an improvement, it still doesn’t cover wear and tear, which is likely where you’ll have problems. The fact is, if you’re looking for something that will last a long time, this home gym will require some ongoing maintenance.
Still, it’s moderately priced and easy to assemble. Plus, you get a lot of options for both exercise and weight limits. Plus, it comes with a seat equipped for rowing, so you can also work some cardio in with this machine.
- Whole body exercise
- Moderately priced
- Easy assembly
- Adjustable weight up to 410 pounds
- Rods will wear out and need replacing over time
The Body-Solid Powerline Home Gym provides a lot of the same things as the much more expensive machines at a very reasonable price. The biomechanically designed press station lets you focus on your chest while the high pulley system gives a complete range of motion for lat pulldowns. You also get a low pulley for curls. The telescoping seat is easily adjustable for different users and to get the right positioning for every exercise.
The weight stack holds 160 pounds. There are designated workstations for the various exercises, which is great for beginners. While most home gyms can support a lot of the same exercises, you have to be somewhat knowledgeable about how to use the equipment beforehand to really utilize it. That’s not the case with the Body-Solid Powerline Home Gym.
The frame is compact and perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room for their home gym equipment. In fact, it’s less than four feet wide. Assembly is quick and easy and can be completed in less than an hour.
The real downside to this machine it the limited weight. With a resistance of only 160 pounds and no way to upgrade, you might outgrow this machine pretty quickly. You’ll also need to buy additional add-ons if you want to work your hams and quads.
- Moderately priced
- Easy to assemble
- Need to buy add-ons to work upper legs
- Limited weight resistance of 160 pounds and no upgrade
The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym is a step above the other Bowflex options we reviewed. While it also has the brand’s power rod resistance technology, it supports over 70 different exercise and has a wide range of upgrade options.
There’s a pivot point where additional pulleys, rods, and attachments can be placed to greatly increase the number of exercises this machine is capable of. With this addition, you can do seated ab crunches, rope twist variations, and overhead tricep extensions. It also comes with a 210-pound resistance that can be upgraded to 310 or 410 pounds. It offers a lot of versatility while still remaining small enough to fit comfortably in your home.
The seat is highly adjustable and can even be removed completely if you prefer to focus more on those exercises that require standing. Removing the seat can add a lot of versatility for anyone in your household who prefers more room when doing standing exercises.
One great thing about this Bowflex is you get a lot of options for leg workouts. With some other home gyms, you need to purchase additional equipment to get a well-rounded leg workout; here, you’ll get ten leg exercises with the included equipment.
As with other Bowflex equipment, you do get a lifetime warranty on the rods, but it doesn’t cover general wear and tear so you might end up having to replace them a few years down the line if you use this machine a lot. This is generally a high-quality machine that assembles in less than an hour and comes with a DVD and manual that explain how to use it.
- Very versatile
- Upgradeable weight resistance
- Easy to assemble
- Rods will eventually need replacing
This all in one home gym from Marcy is a reasonably priced option that provides more than thirty strength training exercises. With a 150-pound weight stack and adjustable attachments, this is a great choice for a newbie or for a family where more than one person will be using this equipment regularly.
The Marcy MWM-988 Home Gym is easier to assemble than most of the others that we reviewed, though the instructions are a little unclear. There aren’t quite as many parts to this one, so it cuts down on assembly time.
Although this home gym is adjustable, it’s limiting. Home gyms in the price range don’t typically offer a lot of flexibility, so people over six feet tall might have a hard time using this machine. This is a compact gym that was designed for people of average height and the range of motion is somewhat limiting for tall people.
There’s not a lot to say about this home gym equipment, it’s a really good price and a great choice for someone who is just starting to work out. There aren’t a lot of extras or fancy features, but it’s a good, solid piece of equipment for the right user.
- Easy to assemble
- 150-pound weight resistance not adjustable
- Not for people over six feet tall
The Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym is raved about for its versatility. It has a 210-pound weight stack that can be utilized at three different biomechanically designed stations: once for presses, pulldowns, and leg extensions, one for flys, and one for rows. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options with this machine to work out your legs.
You might think you’d pay a lot more for a streamlined design that performs as well as this one does, but this home gym sits comfortably right in the middle of the price range. Its solid construction is protected by a tough, durable powder coat finish that won’t chip, scratch, or peel.
The frame, welds, mechanical bits, upholstery, grips, and cables are all covered under a lifetime warranty. There are a lot of pieces to his home gym and assembly is a little bit difficult.
- Three different workstations
- Limited leg workouts
- Difficult assembly
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
Our top pick is the BodyCraft Galena Pro Home Gym. This has a great, compact design that can be tucked into a corner and won’t take up too much room in your home. It’s made to work every major muscle group and has separate stations for with specific exercise in mind, making it easier for anyone new to this kind of equipment to learn.
The BodyCraft Xpress Pro Home Gym uses a special series of adjustable cables to facilitate dozens of exercise and was one of the first home gyms to incorporate this technology. Weight resistance can be adjusted to up to 400 pounds. It’s a little expensive, but if you’re looking for a piece to invest in, give this one a closer look.
If you want a machine that will allow you to focus a lot on back exercises, the Body-Solid Freeweight Leverage Gym might be what you’re looking for. The lat pulldown station allows you to position yourself so you can adequately work out the back muscles while providing optimum cushioned support. Included in the price is a weight bench so you can use free weights in your workout, too.
For an affordable option with average weight resistance and a small footprint, try the Body-Solid G12 Selectorized Home Gym. If you find you love working out and want to upgrade, this one offers a lot of add-ons. This is an ideal piece of starter equipment or for a family where multiple people will be using because it can truly grow with its user.
The Bowflex PR1000 is also really affordable and comes with the brand’s power rod technology that allows for more than 30 exercises. The smooth glide of the power rod system provides the effects of free weights without joint problems or any other risks of injury. The weight is 210 pounds and can’t be updated, but that might just be enough to get you through.
The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym also uses power rod technology and allows for more than 60 exercises. You can get a full-body workout with this machine, plus you can update the 210 pounds of resistance to 310 or 410. It’s fairly priced, easy to assemble, and offers an intense workout.
If you want something that provides a lot of the same features as the high-end machines for a really good price, try the Body-Solid Powerline Home Gym. It allows for adjustments for various users and has designated workstations for various exercises. This is another machine that can grow with you, although it only has a 160-pound resistance.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym offers 70 different exercise options using the power rod resistance technology and an additional pivot point that expands its capabilities. The 210-pound weight resistance can be upgraded to 310 or 410 pounds. This one offers a lot of leg workout options – ten altogether! – without the need to purchase any additional equipment.
The Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym is a solid, basic piece of equipment. It’s reasonable price and 150-pound resistance make it a great for someone just starting to work out. It’s easy to put together but is a little too compact for anyone over six feet tall.
For a versatile, moderately priced option, try the Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym. It offers three distinct workstations so you can get in a variety of workouts. While the leg exercises offered by this equipment are limited, the lifetime warranty is impressive for a home gym in this price range.
There’s no need to be overwhelmed when looking for the right home gym! If you use our buyer’s guide, you should get a better understanding of all the things you need to consider before you make your decision. Once you have a better idea about your budget and what features you want in your home gym, take a look at the ten best home gyms on our list to help you decide which one is the best fit for you.