10 Best Compact Home Gym Machines (2024) For Small Spaces

Products Considered 18
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Hours of Research 127
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Reviews Examined 31
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Experts Interviewed 7
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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 6, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

I never thought I’d say this as a fitness trainer, but sometimes I don't feel like going to the gym at all. And I’m sure many of you would echo the same sentiment.

Thankfully, there are now countless options for home gym setups that feature different designs, components, and functionalities.

Finding the best compact home gym can be tough, so our team spent the last few weeks testing some of the most highly recommended equipment on the market.

We list our top picks below.

The Best Compact Home Gym Machines

Editor's Choice
CTA of Total Gym XLS
Total Gym XLS
Rated 5.0/5
Check Current Price
2nd Best Choice
CTA of Bowflex PR3000 Compact Home Gym
Bowflex
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
CTA of Body by Jake Tower
Body by Jake Tower
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price

Our Picks for the Best Compact Exercise Equipment (April 2024)

1 - Total Gym XLS (Best Overall & Most Versatile)

Rated 5.0/5
5.0
Durability
5.0
Price
5.0
Weight
CTA of Total Gym XLS
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 90 x 19 x 43 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No assembly required
  • Comes with an armful of easy-to-follow instructional videos
  • Folds for easier storage
  • Provides a wide range of exercise options and workout items

Cons

  • Might be too heavy to haul around and difficult to fold/unfold

This exercise equipment boasts a slew of features, including a cable and pulley system and a Pilates kit, amongst other things.

According to one of the studies found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, using a simple rope-pulley system that mechanically couples the arms, legs, and treadmill reduces the metabolic cost of walking [1].

Also, according to another study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, pilates exercises are designed to increase muscle strength and endurance, as well as flexibility, and to improve posture and balance [2].

After personally trying out this all-in-one machine, I can confidently vouch for its versatility.

Related: Total Gym XLS Review 2024

2 - Bowflex PR3000 Compact Home Gym (Best Cable Machine)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Durability
5.0
Price
4.7
Weight
CTA of Bowflex PR3000 Compact Home Gym
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 63 x 78 x 82 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No cable changes needed in between sets
  • Power rods provide constant tension
  • Offers a wide range of exercise options that targets all major muscle groups

Cons

  • Might work better for users looking to strengthen and tone muscles; not for serious bodybuilders

What truly impressed me about this machine was its quick change Power Rod System. Having tested it myself, I found that this feature eliminated the need for time-consuming cable changes between sets, allowing for a smoother transition between exercises.

This compact Bowflex home gym machine will have your muscles fired up with its power rod resistance system that provides up to 210 pounds of resistance (upgradable to 310 pounds).

The entire unit can hold a maximum of 300 pounds.

It comes with other useful accessories such as an instructional workout placard, multi-use hand grip/ankle cuffs, and upholstered roller cushions for maximized comfort during leg extensions and curls.

3 - Body by Jake Tower (Most Durable)

Rated 4.9/5
5.0
Durability
5.0
Price
4.6
Weight
CTA of Body by Jake Tower
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 22 x 7 x 79 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Straightforward set up; no assembly and tools required
  • Solid and sturdy construction
  • Doesn’t take up much space

Cons

  • Pulleys are made of plastic that have the tendency to wear out over time

With its slim built that can slide onto any home, office or dorm door within seconds, the Body by Jake Tower is a full-body home gym ideal for users with limited space.

While exploring various home gyms, I encountered models with larger weight capacities. However, this one made it onto our list because I found that its single pair of hand grips and ankle straps allowed me to effectively engage my arms, chest, shoulders, back, abs, and legs during my personal testing.

The package comes with a Starter Guide, a Tower 200 DVD, and a Two-Sided Tower Exercise Chart.

4 - Marcy MWM-988 Home Gym (Cheapest)

Rated 4.8/5
4.7
Durability
5.0
Price
4.7
Weight
CTA of Marcy MWM-988 Home Gym
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 68 x 36 x 79 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compact enough to fit small spaces
  • Easy to assemble
  • Offers a great range of motion
  • Machine can hold up to 300 pounds

Cons

  • Many customers said the weight stack came covered with dents

Marcy certainly didn’t skimp on safety features and nifty additions with this machine, and that’s what I love best about it.

This compact gym equipment is made of a heavy-duty 14 gauge steel tube frame and features a 150-pound vinyl-coated weight stack that provides resistance for the whole machine.

It has an adjustable preacher curl pad where I performed barbell curls and hammer curls without straining my back too much.

The upper pulley system will let you do a lat pulldown, which is a great way to work towards doing pull-ups.

5 - Total Gym APEX G1

Rated 4.8/5
4.7
Durability
4.8
Price
4.8
Weight
Total Gym APEX G1
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 93 x 15.5 x 43.25 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Folds for easier storage
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Provides many workout options and ample resistance

Cons

  • Ideal for beginners only; advanced users will find the resistance a bit too light

Whether you’re looking to burn calories, improve flexibility, or build muscle, the APEX G1 can help you achieve all that.

With a design that caters to over 60 different workouts, spanning cardio, stretching, and strength training, it offered a well-rounded fitness experience during my personal test.

It has six levels of resistance, and the manufacturer claims it’s suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.

The package comes with accessories such as a wing attachment, a leg pull accessory, an exercise wall chart, a Total Gym TV access, exercise & nutrition guides, an owner’s manual, and a DVD.

6 - BodyBoss Portable Home Gym (Best for Bodybuilding)

Rated 4.7/5
4.7
Durability
4.3
Price
5.0
Wight
CTA of BodyBoss Portable Home Gym
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 20.1 x 15.9 x 2.8 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight, and portable
  • Provides a truly complete workout that targets all muscle groups
  • Bands offer great resistance

Cons

  • The collapsible workout bar is made of weak material

If you’re not a fan of heavy weight plates, the BodyBoss Portable Home Gym is the ideal workout equipment for you.

It works as simple as it looks. Just clip on the cloth-covered resistance bands to the VectorFit Platform to replicate the functions of the equipment and machines you’d find at a regular gym.

During my testing, I also attached the door anchor to a door frame to simulate lat pulldowns, chest flies, and tricep extensions.

Each resistance band simulates between 0-30 pounds.

True to its word, this exercise tool by BodyBoss will bring the gym to you.

7 - GR8FLEX Military Gym (Best With Accessories & Warranty)

Rated 4.6/5
4.6
Durability
4.3
Price
5.0
Weight
CTA of GR8FLEX Military Gym
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 52 x 20 x 10 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty on the entire machine and accessories (must register through the website within 10 days to activate)
  • Great value for money
  • Comes with plenty of attachments

Cons

  • Heavy and might be too large for most apartments

This gym equipment comes with a wing bar, dip bars, a leg harness/pulley system, a cell phone holder/stand, an EZ Curl Bar, a crunch ab accessory, soft-grip handles, and 50 pounds of bands for resistance.

Thanks to its extensive range of attachments, I was able to perform numerous lower and upper body exercises with this machine during my testing.

With 15 levels of resistance, the GR8FLEX ranks as the compact home gym machines with the highest resistance tower among the home gyms in this guide.

Able to handle up to 450 pounds, this beast also has the best weight capacity among the best compact home gyms on this list.

8 - Fusion Motion Portable Gym (Best All-in-One)

Rated 4.4/5
4.8
Durability
4.1
Price
4.2
Weight
CTA of Fusion Motion Portable Gym
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 34 x 20 x 2 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with many high-quality accessories
  • A portable home gym that doesn’t take up much workout space
  • Comes with a beginner-friendly training guide

Cons

  • The platform is too light and kept coming up during workouts

This all-in-one home gym folds up and weighs just 17.3 pounds, which means it’s something you can practically carry around with you and use anywhere.

One aspect I truly appreciated about The Fusion Motion Portable Home Gym is its versatility.

It comes with the main base to accommodate the attachments, two ergonomic handlebars for push-ups, an ab roller wheel to stimulate your core, and a bar to work out your triceps.

This compact home gym is reinforced with steel and built to handle even the most intense workouts.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 290 pounds.

9 - Icon Fitness Gold's Gym XRS 50 (Best for Beginners)

Rated 4.3/5
4.8
Durability
3.9
Price
4.2
Weight
CTA of Icon Fitness Gold's Gym XRS 50
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 47.5 x 21.75 x 12.25 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Good for beginners
  • Has a built-in 112-lb weight stack
  • Offers a wide range of exercises
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Taller people might find this a bit awkward to use

This home gym has a built-in 112-pound vinyl weight stack that offers 280 pounds of resistance.

I particularly like that It’s equipped with various functions, such as a chest press/fly station, a four-roll leg developer, a high pulley system for sculpting your lats and back muscles, and a low pulley for toning your glutes and leg muscles.

This home exercise machine can hold up to 300 pounds

10 - Weider Ultimate Body Works

Rated 4.1/5
4.3
Durability
3.9
Price
4.2
Weight
CTA of Weider Ultimate Body Works
  • Dimensions (LxWxH) : 59 x 27.5 x 48 inches

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Folds up easily so you won't have to worry on how much space you have
  • Offers a wide range of workout options, including Pilates
  • Great piece of exercise gear at an affordable price

Cons

  • Can only hold up to 250 pounds

This home gym has an inclined platform with wheels and comes with four resistance bands that can provide an additional 50 pounds of resistance beyond your own body weight.

I was able to perform chest presses, crunches, squats, lateral pull-downs, rows, planks, squats, calf raises, lunges, and even Pilates testing this machine.

This home gym has a rolling bench with seven incline levels that can help enhance your flexibility and mobility.

This simple yet versatile home gym can support over 70 different lower and upper body exercises.

As great as it is, the Weider Ultimate Body Works falls short when it comes to weight capacity. It can handle only a maximum of 250 pounds.

How We Tested Best Compact Home Gyms

As a certified personal trainer with years of experience in fitness and wellness, I understand the importance of having reliable and effective workout equipment, especially in a home setting.

In evaluating the best compact home gyms, I focused on a range of criteria that are crucial for ensuring these gyms meet the diverse needs of users while providing value and quality.

Durability

The longevity of the equipment is paramount. I thoroughly examined the build quality, materials used, and design of each compact home gym to ensure they can withstand regular use and last for years.

Price

Affordability is a key consideration for most home gym buyers. I compared the cost of various models, balancing the price with the features and quality offered, to determine the best value for money.

Weight Capacity and Range

It's essential that the equipment can accommodate a wide range of weights to cater to different strength levels. I assessed the maximum weight capacity and the versatility of weight adjustments in each model.

Size and Space Efficiency

Since we're focusing on compact home gyms, the size and how efficiently they use space were critical factors. I evaluated how well each gym fits into a limited space while still offering a range of exercise options.

Versatility of Exercises

The ability to perform a variety of workouts is crucial for a comprehensive fitness routine. I tested the range of exercises that can be performed in each gym, looking for versatility in targeting different muscle groups.

Ease of Assembly and Use

User-friendliness is important, especially for those new to home gyms. I considered how easy it is to assemble each gym and the simplicity of switching between different exercises or weight settings.

Adjustability and Customization

The ability to adjust and customize the gym to fit individual needs and preferences is a significant advantage. I looked at how easily each gym can be adjusted for different heights, weights, and exercise types.

Safety Features

Safety can't be overlooked. I examined the safety mechanisms in place, such as stable bases, secure weight locks, and ergonomic designs to minimize the risk of injury.

Buyer's Guide

In compact exercise equipment, I suggest looking for space compatibility, weight handling capacity, portability, exercise options, and a resistance system that aligns with your fitness goals.

1. Space and Size

home gym

While these home gyms are labeled “compact,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will fit into any space.

Before shopping for a home gym in-store and online, make sure you do your homework by first measuring your available floor space.

That means taking the length and width of your intended workout area at home. If you have low ceilings, it would be best to account for the height as well.

"It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday."

- Stephanie Chappa, Fitness Competitor

If you’re in a living situation where you need to put your home gym away after every sweat session, foldable and quality portable home gyms like the Weider Ultimate Body Works would be the most suitable piece of fitness equipment for you.

2. Resistance

resistance workout equipments

The most common resistance types you’ll find on compact home gyms are weight stacks, resistance bands, and body weight.

The resistance system you should choose will largely depend on your fitness goals, so you should first determine what they are before shopping for one.

Here are the pros and cons of each system.

Weight Stacks

weight stacks plates

Compact home gyms using weight stacks offer several advantages, especially for muscle-building exercises.

This resistance-type home gym will fit those who are building muscle through strength training.

The downside to a home gym that uses weight plates is that you can’t upgrade them.

These machines also tend to take up a lot more space compared to other kinds.

Resistance Bands

resistance bands for thighs

Unlike weight stacks, this type offers variable resistance, which means it changes throughout the arc of your movement.

The resistance you feel increases as you stretch the band further.

You also have the liberty to move the band however you like, giving you more control over your movements.

Another benefit of bands is that they don’t rely on gravity for resistance, which means you can perform a wider range of lower and upper body exercises with them.

Bodyweight

pull ups

Compact home gyms that utilize body weight are usually space-saving, making them the best choice for users with small spaces.

To change the resistance, you simply have to adjust the gliding board’s angle. The steeper the incline, the tougher it is to perform movements.

Some of these machines also allow for the addition of more resistance with the use of bands.

Related: Best Pulley System for Home Gym: Flexible Workout

3. Exercise Options

Exercise Options

Some people are content with sticking to tried-and-tested methods of building muscle and burning fat, while others prefer exploring different types of exercises.

If you classify as the former, a compact gym setup with basic functions such as lat pulldowns, chest presses, bicep curls, leg curls, triceps pushdowns, and so on should be the best option for you.

“You have to think it before you can do it. The mind is what makes it all possible.”

 

– Kai Greene, Pro Bodybuilder

But if you like to switch up your workout routine—a recommended practice that can prevent plateauing and muscle imbalances—then you should go for compact home gyms that you can use to perform varied whole-body workout routines.

Why Compact Home Gyms are a Game-Changer for Apartment Dwellers

Living in an apartment often means making the most of limited space. Compact home gyms are a boon for fitness enthusiasts who don't have the luxury of a dedicated workout room.

They're designed to be space-efficient, ensuring you don't have to compromise on your fitness goals.

Incorporating Cardio into Compact Home Gym Workouts

While resistance training is a significant component of most compact home gyms, it's essential not to neglect cardiovascular exercises.

Even with limited space, you can incorporate effective cardio workouts. Consider routines like jump ropes, high knees, or even quick high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions.

These exercises elevate your heart rate, improve cardiovascular health, and aid in fat burning.

Our Verdict on Best Compact Home Gyms

Out of all the best compact home gyms I reviewed, the Total Gym XLS was the definite standout.

Some of the things I liked the most about this machine were that it requires no assembly, folds for easier storage, offers a wide variety of exercise options—including Pilates—and comes with plenty of instructional videos that make it the perfect exercise tool for advanced users and beginners.

Add to that its considerable weight capacity of 400 pounds, and the deal is already sealed.

Speaking from my point of view, this machine ticks all the boxes when it comes to convenience, functionality, and portability, and I believe that’s what makes the Total Gym XLS the best compact home gym.

Our #1 Recommendation

Total Gym XLS (Best Overall & Most Versatile)

CTA of Total Gym XLS

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Durability
5.0
Price
5.0
Weight
Pros
  • No assembly required
  • Comes with an armful of easy-to-follow instructional videos
  • Folds for easier storage
  • Provides a wide range of exercise options and workout items
Cons
  • Might be too heavy to haul around and difficult to fold/unfold
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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One thought on “Best Compact Home Gym Equipment For Small & Tight Spaces

  1. Impressive list, but cost should be a top factor too. Though, investing in your health with compact gym machines might be worth it.

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Our durability score is based 3 factors including: material quality, maintenance, and warranty terms. The score is a measure of objective test results against set standards. For more information see our durability score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our weight score is based 2 factors including: portability and total weight. The score is a blended calculation of subjective measures and objective tests against product specifications. For more information see our weight score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.