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 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 upfront 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 Body-Solid Bi-Angular Gym gives you more than 50 different exercises in one convenient machine, helping you build strength and improve conditioning and endurance.
With its leg attachment, it does not offer a small footprint, but that is not what Body-Solid was trying to accomplish in the design of this versatile home gym. This gym is on the edge of being good enough for pro gym use, so that really says a lot!
The bi-angular press arms guide the user through the optimal range of motion and apply resistance from multiple directions at the same time.
State-of-the-art nylon bushings offer users an exceptionally smooth and quiet operation.
This action alone eliminates the ability for you to rest your chest muscles, and in turn that increases muscle interaction by around 25%. That means increased intensity right through a range of movement patterns that focus on multi-planes.
6 different stations are featured with this model and it offers independent weight stacks allowing for 2 simultaneous users. The weight stacks are 2x – 210 lbs. but you won’t even see the weights themselves with the “shrouds” around them.
The Body-Solid Bi-Angular Gym is backed by the Body-Solid Lifetime In-Home Warranty and Full Commercial Warranty.
- High quality
- Offers 2 separate independent workout stations
- Lifetime warranty
- Difficult to assemble
We like the Gold’s Gym XRS 50 home gym as a great entry-level, budget option. It’s not only affordable, but it’s far more portable than most gyms on our list.
While it is by no means a premium quality gym, it does the trick for basic/main muscle groups while offering a small footprint in your home. It features a combination chest press and butterfly arm station, and a wide range of leg exercises.
You can even use a lat bar with a high pully rig or a low pully rig to vary your workouts and target muscle groups differently. Sewn vinyl seats offer great cushioning, and the whole system comes with an exercise chart for step by step guidance.
Even though there is only a stack of weights totaling 112 pounds, the pulley system allows for up to 280 pounds of resistance. This great for a beginner or small apartment dweller. It’s not so great for a serious body-builder, weight trainer, or elite athlete.
- Small and light compared to most gyms – perfect for small spaces
- Very affordable compared to most gyms
- Exceptional value
- Not a serious machine for elite athletes or weight trainers
- Some owners were shipped a machine without the actual weights
The Body-Solid EXM3000 LPS is a hefty machine that provides two sets of 210-pound weight stacks and various attachments that facilitate over 28 targeted body 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 even labeled officially as a “Light Commercial” machine!
The idea of it being “selectorized” allows for up to 3 people to use the machine at the same time!
There are actually 7 workstations including leg press, lat pulldown, multi-press station, pec station, ab crunch low pulley station, and leg extension!
There’s also a pulley system that helps target various muscle 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.
This whole monster weighs 947 pounds, which means you’ll obviously have to disassemble it to move it anywhere. That means it won’t be the best option for an apartment-dweller or someone who needs to move around a lot.
- Reasonable price
- Compact (ish) for what it offers
- Multiple workout stations
- Could arrive with missing pieces, but if so, you can get a replacement or just extra components sent to you for free from Amazon
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 Body-Solid Angular Home Gym. This has a great, efficient design but it’s not tiny, that’s for sure!
It’s made to work every major muscle group and has separate stations with specific exercises in mind, making it easier for anyone new to this kind of equipment to learn.
The exact locations of these gyms on our list do not necessarily mean we like them in exactly that order for every reason.
The Gold’s Gym machine made our list mostly because it’s a great value machine but it’s not at the top of our list for quality, workmanship or durability.
That said, you won’t be disappointed with any of these machines (considering price) unless there is a weird mistake or anomaly … which can then be rectified by Amazon.
Get ready to change your body and maybe your life!