A home gym can provide a complete, full-body workout in the comfort and privacy of your home. By investing in one, you can save money on a gym membership and knock down all of the other convenience barriers standing between you and a regular workout routine.

Home gyms vary widely in their form, functionality, cost, and size. That can make choosing the right home gym difficult. You’ll need to assess your own needs while also assessing the quality of each product. The reward, however, is an accessible, versatile piece of equipment that makes it much easier to stay in shape.

In this guide, we look at what makes a high-quality home gym and how to choose one. We’ll also give you our top picks for the best home gyms available.

Our Top Picks: Summary

The Best Home Gyms: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bowflex Blaze
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Bowflex Blaze

Excellent versatility offering great value.

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$1,099.00

Why We Picked It

For our best overall home gym, we looked for versatility, quality, and value, which led us to the Bowflex Blaze home gym.

The Bowflex Blaze combines a lat tower and bench that doubles as a slidable seat for rowing and leg presses, enabling over 60 different exercises. The Blaze uses the proprietary Bowflex Power Rod resistance system, to deliver a standard resistance level of 210 pounds, adjustable to 310 and 410 pounds.

The Blaze includes a lat bar and squat bar, and also comes with an instructional placard that acts as a handy reminder for some common workout routines.

The foldable bench and wheels provide for easy storage, so the Blaze is surprisingly compatible with smaller spaces for a full-sized, bench-style home gym.

Keep in Mind

Bowflex Power Rods will lose their resistance over time due to warping, so you’ll need to buy replacements after a couple of years.

In a Nutshell

  • Power Rod resistance system
  • 210, 310, 410 pounds resistance
  • Foldable for easy storage
Best Budget: Weider Ultimate Body Works
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Weider

A flexible but affordable home gym.

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$162.00

Why We Picked It

The benefits of a home gym aren’t limited to those with money to burn, as the Weider Ultimate Body Works home gym can attest.

The Weider keeps things simple, structured around a single bench with pulley- and body weight-based resistance, and is most suitable for people with fitness goals relating to core strength. Users can adjust the bench’s incline to one of eight settings to target different muscle groups, and the bench track can extend out to turn the bench into a rolling seat for exercises like squats. The foam bench is soft and comfortable and the cushion is stitched to retain its shape over many uses.

The pulleys can operate in four resistance bands, up to a maximum of 50 pounds, which can increase the resistance offered beyond the user’s own body weight.

The Weider can fold almost flat for storage, which means this gym not only saves space with its low-profile design, but can also be easily stored when not in use.

Keep in Mind

While the Weider is portable and easily stored, it lacks the versatility of larger and more expensive models.

In a Nutshell

  • Body weight resistance
  • Telescoping bench track
  • Foldable for easy storage
Best for Small Spaces: Powerline BSG10X
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Best for Small Spaces: Powerline BSG10X

A compact home gym for smaller spaces.

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Why We Picked It

Offering a smaller footprint than its competitors, the Powerline BSG10X is great for users who want a full-body workout but lack the space for a larger model.

The Powerline is a compact cable resistance design measuring 70x42x80 inches and weighing 328 pounds. Despite its relatively small size, the 11-gauge steel frame is solid and durable, and the machine comes with a stable base platform. The seat can be adjusted to suit multiple users and to suit different workout routines, allowing for workouts like chest presses, high, mid, and low pulleys, and leg extensions.

Thanks to its light, minimal design, the Powerline ships almost fully assembled, with users only having to complete a few final steps. The Powerline comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Keep in Mind

As a smaller model, it can’t offer the level of versatility of a larger home gym, but it’s perfect for homes with limited space.

In a Nutshell

  • Cable resistance
  • Compact design
  • Minimal assembly needed
Best for Multiple Users: Body-Solid Gym
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Body-Solid Gym

A multi-station gym for multiple users.

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$4,376.00

Why We Picked It

If you have a busy household and space for some serious equipment, then the Body-Solid Multi-Station Gym can offer excellent versatility.

For its size, the Body-Solid gym offers huge workout potential with seven workout stations, including:

  • Multi-press station
  • Leg/calf press station
  • Pec station
  • High pulley station
  • Mid pulley station
  • Leg extension/curl station
  • Low pulley station

With the optional vertical knee raise attachment, the Body-Solid can accommodate up to three users at the same time. Its cable-based resistance is provided by dual 210-pound weight stacks.

The back and seat pads use DuraFirm for comfort and support during a workout and are tear-resistant, so they should stand up to the stresses of repeated use. Two steel shrouds enclose each weight stack, providing both an aesthetic bonus and a safety feature.

The Body-Solid measures 91x73x83 inches and weighs 947 pounds, so you’ll need a generous amount of space for it.

Keep in Mind

Due to its sheer size and multiple workout stations, you’ll need a lot of space to accommodate this model.

In a Nutshell

  • Cable resistance
  • 7 workout stations
  • Accommodates 3 users with optional VKR attachment
Best Portable: Tension Toner
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Tension Toner

A portable powerhouse for working out on the go.

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Why We Picked It

For users who live on the road or travel often, the Tension Toner offers the benefits of a home gym in a small, portable package.

The Tension Toner takes the form of a single bar, which can be further folded down into a “nunchuck” shape. The bar comes with two resistance bands, a door anchor, and an accessory bag, giving you a full home gym in travel form with three levels of resistance. The fitness bar weighs under 2 pounds and measures 16 inches when folded, so it can fit unobtrusively with other luggage.

The Tension Toner also includes a free online resistance training program.

Keep in Mind

While incredibly portable, the Tension Toner can’t match the versatility of a full home gym.

In a Nutshell

  • Lightweight and foldable
  • Three levels of resistance
  • Carry bag included

How We Chose the Best Home Gyms

To choose the best home gyms, we looked at several key areas to provide a complete picture of the typical user experience.

Type of Resistance

Home gyms use several methods to generate resistance, so we noted which method or methods each model used. Refer to our section on the different designs to see how we weighed up the pros and cons of each resistance type and how well it suited the model.

We also noted how many different workouts users could get out of each model, as this was a direct way of scoring its overall value for money.

Design

Home gyms come in a wide range of different designs, from portable options all the way up to multi-station, heavy-duty pieces of equipment. In all cases, we weighed the design of the home gym against the range of workout routines it could accommodate, which helped us to calculate its overall value.

We also noted any safety features on the model, which can be particularly relevant for consumers with pets or small children in the household. The build quality and materials used in the home gym also factored into its overall design rating.

Price

Home gyms are available at a wide range of price points. We don’t expect gyms on different ends of the price spectrum to offer the same level of performance, but we use each gym’s features to determine its sense of value. Even a portable gym can provide excellent value for money if it offers quality and versatility.

Consumer Reviews

Customer reviews tell us how a home gym performs in the course of everyday use and in the home environment. This helps us build an aggregate view of the gym, including any quirks that users may have highlighted, and generally helps to inform a complete picture of the product.

What is a Home Gym?

A home gym is an exercise machine that simulates typical gym equipment like benches, pulleys, and lat pulldowns. Home gyms can take a wide range of different forms, so the exact functions covered vary from model to model. They can be as small as a simple bar or bench and as large as a multi-station machine like the kind you would find in a public gym.

Home gyms provide a great way to get a full-body workout in total privacy. They’re perfect for targeting specific muscle groups to build mass, maintain muscle tone, or rehab an injury. One key advantage of the home gym is that it allows users to preserve their adjustments between sessions, making it easy to repeat a workout under the same conditions.

Some home gyms have even have multiple workout stations, blurring the line between a home gym and a public one.

Who Should Buy a Home Gym

Most people can benefit from a home gym, as it allows users to perform a full range of workouts without encountering some of the barriers to attending a public gym. All users can benefit from not having to share gym equipment and avoiding membership fees, while some also choose home gyms for the enhanced privacy they offer.

Due to the investment involved, home gyms tend to suit people who are already serious about their workout. They may already belong to a gym but want to make it more convenient or increase the frequency of their workouts.

Home gyms are least suited to people who exercise on a casual, keep-fit basis, particularly those who are more interested in cardio workouts. Likewise, runners, swimmers, and other cardio-based athletes may experience fewer benefits from a home gym, though they can still benefit from working on their core strength and on certain muscle groups. Treadmills, rowers, and ellipticals are all better options if cardiovascular endurance is your goal.

Many home gyms have a large footprint, which makes them unsuitable for people without space in the home. However, there are home gym machine substitutes, available in portable or fold-up designs that can work for people with limited space.

Types of Home Gyms

Home gyms come in a wide range of designs and configurations, each built around a central method for generating resistance. Understanding the operation, pros, and cons of each system can help you make an informed decision when buying a home gym.

  • Free weight machines: Free weight machines are what most people picture when they think of exercises like bench presses. These use weighted plates to produce resistance, and the level of resistance can be changed by adding or removing plates. This approach makes it easy to adjust the resistance to your desired workout, but a free weight machine needs extra storage space and can present a higher injury risk.
  • Body weight machines: Body weight machines use an individual’s weight to generate resistance, using the same basic principle as a push-up or chin-up. Body weight machines lack the heavy and intricate components of other designs, but their maximum resistance is much lower. Some body weight machines combine body weight resistance with cable resistance to provide multiple resistance levels.
  • Suspension trainers: Suspension trainers generate resistance using body weight, just like body weight machines, but they’re usually portable and can be attached to a suitable anchor point. Like body weight machines, their potential is limited to the resistance offered by the user’s body weight.
  • Power rod machines: Power rods are a Bowflex technology used on several of the manufacturer’s home gym designs. These provide a compact way of controlling resistance and can only be found on Bowflex machines.
  • Cable machines: Cable machines combine a built-in set of weights with a pulley system to generate resistance. Cable systems are versatile and usually mean the equipment can be used for a wide range of different exercises. Cable machines are suitable for a range of users, from people wanting to rehab muscles or retain their current fitness level to people wanting to build mass.

What to Consider When Choosing a Home Gym

When choosing a home gym, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to choose both a quality product and the one that best suits you. Here are a few things to think about.

Fitness Goals

Home gyms vary in which muscle groups they target and which workouts they suit best. Keep your workout goals in mind to choose the right model for you. Some products will work better for those who want to build muscle, for example, with others are better suited to those trying to stay lean. Revisit our section on the different home gym types to remind yourself how each kind of resistance affects the experience of using the machine.

Versatility

Home gyms tend to be versatile pieces of equipment, but the level of versatility varies from product to product. If you’re looking for something that can handle multiple fitness goals or even work for multiple users, then you’ll need to keep that in mind as you shop. Cheaper models may suit you better if you’re on a budget, but you’ll typically lose some versatility compared to more expensive models.

Size

As part of their many, varied designs, home gyms come in a range of sizes. They can be anything from small and portable (resembling a collapsible pull-up bar) to large, multi-station behemoths that wouldn’t be out of place at a public gym. You’ll need to consider your lifestyle, available space, and expected use to narrow things down to the right piece of equipment for you.

Features

While home gyms don’t tend to feature the kind of smart tech you might find in other high-end exercise equipment, some do have special features, such as safety mechanisms, advanced adjustability, or high-quality materials. You may want to consider whether you have any particular needs, such as whether you need a bench with additional padding for ergonomic purposes.

Safety

In homes with children, pets, or vulnerable adults, buyers should spare some thought for safety when buying a home gym. This could mean something as simple as limiting access to the gym room, but could include purchasing considerations, such as choosing a cable machine over free weights to limit the potential for injury.

Larger pieces of equipment should have built-in safety elements if they’re made to a reasonable standard, but you may want to opt for something that goes the extra mile if you have children or pets. Some machines feature enclosed coverings for their weights, for instance, which can help prevent mishaps.

Warranty

A home gym can represent a serious investment, so it makes sense to protect that investment. There are also personal preferences and ergonomic issues to consider, which might not become apparent until you use the equipment.

This is why a good warranty and a returns policy, respectively, are things you may want to watch out for when you make your purchase.

Price

A typical home gym system will cost at least $100, with only portable gym-like solutions likely to come in below this price. Given the huge range of home gym designs, the price increases into the hundreds from there, with an average home gym system sitting in the $400-$800 range. Large, multi-station gyms, suitable for home or professional gym rooms, may reach into the thousands.

Tips for Using your Home Gym

To get the most out of your home gym, you’ll want to use it efficiently and safely. Here are a few tips to help you out.

  • Practice good discipline: Treat your home gym like a public space, which means practicing good discipline. Wipe down equipment after use, for example, and stow any free weights you’ve used. You can make a few exceptions to maintain your preferences, of course, but treating the equipment with respect will reduce your risk of injury and minimize wear and tear.
  • Warm-up: Don’t skip important steps of your workout just because you’re at home. Get into the gym mindset with a full warm-up before you exercise to avoid injury and strain.
  • Control access: Don’t let someone who doesn’t intend to use your home gym mess around with it. This most obviously applies to children, but even someone changing a setting could cause an unexpected injury when you come to use the machine again. Keep the equipment off-limits to non-users.
  • Workout with a spotter or be your own: Working out with a spotter is the safer way to do things, but isn’t practical for everyone. You can be your own spotter in a preventative sense by knowing your limits and avoiding risks. Don’t tempt yourself into trying something dangerous just because no one’s watching.

Related Resources

If you’ve found this guide helpful, be sure to check out some of our other exercise equipment guides.

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Daniel James