As a personal trainer, I’m a big fan of having a small home gym.
And while a yoga mat and a few resistance bands can be enough for some people, some careful planning can make a small budget go a long way.
To give you advice on how to plan a home gym setup, our team reached out to friends in the fitness industry.
And after five weeks of visiting over 30 home gyms and gathering feedback, we believe we found the best equipment to invest in.
Let’s get to the list of best home gym equipment.
The Best Home Gym Equipment
- Best Overall Home Gym Equipment: Rogue Echo Bike
- Best Budget Home Gym Equipment: Sunny Health & Fitness Slim Walking Pad Treadmill
- Best Home Gym Equipment for Cardio: ProForm Pro 9000 Smart Treadmill
- Best Functional Trainer For Home Gym: Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer
- Best Equipment for Back Exercises at Home: Rogue Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower
- Best Portable Gym Equipment for Home: PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Home Gym Elliptical: Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical
- Best Smart Home Gym: BodyBoss 2.0
- Best Home Gym Equipment for Weight Loss: Rogue Echo Bike
- Best Olympic Barbell for Home Gym: Rogue Fitness Ohio Bare
- Best Curl Bar for Home Gym: Rogue Rackable Curl Bar
- Best High-End Treadmill for Home Gym: Rogue Fitness TrueForm Trainer
- Best Home Gym Equipment for Beginners: Rogue T-15 LB Technique Bar
Our Recommended Workout Equipment (December 2023)
1 - Rogue Echo Bike (Best Overall & Weight Loss)
According to an article on the Harvard Health Publishing website, spinning reduces strain on leg joints and ensures a fantastic low-impact workout .
I have this set up in my own gym at home, and it’s the one machine I rely on the most for linking up with my heart rate monitor to do some high-intensity cardio.
“Although some forms of exercise may be too rough for patients experiencing low back pain (such as running or even biking on the road), riding a stationary exercise bike allows patients to engage in exercise without jarring the spine.”
- J. Talbot Sellers, DO at spine-health.com
- Type: Stationary Exercise Bike
- Size: 58.875"L x 29.875"W x 52.75"
- Weight Limit: 350 lbs
- Highly durable and affordable commercial exercise bike
- Allows you to adjust it to your height for optimum workouts
- Comes with preset modes that give you a range of different-intensity workouts
- Connects with heart monitors and various apps
- You’ll need quite a bit of space for this large and heavy machine
2 - Inspire Fitness FTX Functional Trainer (Most Versatile)
Having used it extensively, I can attest to the versatility of Fitness FTX Functional Trainer. This cable machine offers a vast range of workout options, allowing me to switch between upper and lower body exercises seamlessly.
You can do upper and lower body workouts, as well as some great core training with a relatively compact setup.
- Type: Multi Gym Cable Machine
- Size: 40”L x 54”W x 85”H
- Weight Limit: 500 lbs
- Great selection of handle attachments to give you a wide range of workouts
- Multiple weight stacks allow for greater flexibility in the pulley system setup
- There’s a pull-up bar on the frame that allows for multiple hand positions
- Add some gym floor mats to your purchase to keep the machine stable
3 - Rogue Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower - PM5 (Best for Back Exercises)
During the months I used the Rogue Black Concept 2 Rowerg Rower - PM5 I found it offers an exceptional full-body cardio workout.
It’s a slightly smaller and simpler version of the company’s commercial rowing machine, but it will give you more than enough durability for use at home.
You can easily move and stand it in a corner, which is great for people who don’t have a large dedicated gym space.
While you need to be careful if you have back problems, it’s a great way to reduce strain on your leg joints .
- Type: Rowing Machine
- Size: 97”L x 24”W x 20”H
- Weight Limit: 500 lbs
- Easy to read and adjust the display to reduce disruptions during training
- The adjustable seat height is great for taller people
- Easy to move and store with an optional wall hanger (highly recommended)
- It might not be suitable for people with lower back issues
4 - Rogue Concept 2 Skierg
Having tried the Rogue Concept 2 Skierg myself, I can say it's not just another piece of equipment. It's a fun and effective way to burn calories, and even if you're not into skiing, you'll quickly see the benefits.
And the best thing is that you don’t have to be into skiing to get some immediate benefits.
The display is easy to read and adjust, and once you get to the higher-intensity settings, you’ll be doing some solid lower-body and core strength workouts.
- Type: Skier
- Size: 52”L x 24”W x 85”H
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Provides a fun cardio workout that can burn a load of calories
- Clear and simple display allows you to make adjustments without disruptions
- At high-intensity levels, this can become a good core strength training tool
- It’s a heavy machine that isn’t easy to store out of the way
5 - Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym
Being a fan of strength training, I was on the lookout for an affordable yet effective solution. That's when I stumbled upon the Bowflex PR3000. It's been a game-changer for my home workouts, offering the benefits of a Smith machine without breaking the bank.
This cable pulley machine uses rods to create resistance.
It’s not too different from resistance bands, and it makes home exercise equipment a lot cheaper.
What I liked about it is that you can quickly adjust it to do over 50 different workouts.
Learn More: Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym 2023 Review
- Type: Multi Gym Cable Machine
- Size: 64”L x 41”W x 83”H
- Weight Limit: 210 lbs
- Easily set up the pulley system for over 50 different workouts
- Uses a rod system rather than plates to make it more affordable
- The seat height adjustment is easy to use and suitable for all heights
- The maximum weight limit of 210 lbs might not be enough for some bodybuilders
6 - PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells (Best Portable)
Having transitioned from basic resistance bands, I decided to invest in the PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells. Their intuitive adjustment mechanism has made my strength training sessions both versatile and efficient.
Out of all the products I tested, these PowerBlock dumbbells ones seem to have the best adjustment mechanism and durability.
The free weights feel completely natural during lifting exercises, and cost a lot less than a full set of dumbbells.
- Type: Adjustable Dumbbell
- Size: 13"L x 7"W
- Max Weight: 50 lbs
- Simple to use mechanism for adjusting the weight setting
- Works out cheaper than buying a full set of quality dumbbells
- Anti-slip grip makes it easier to hold onto even in tough workouts
- Can’t be further expanded beyond the 50 pounds weight limit
7 - Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical (Best Elliptical)
Schwinn is a popular brand in the fitness industry, and I've known about it from my early gym days. I decided to bring their expertise home with the Fitness 470 Elliptical. Its customizable stride length and varied presets have transformed my cardio sessions.
This Schwinn 470 elliptical is a great option to transform a garage gym with some top-quality cardio equipment.
It’s easy to get set up for your stride length, and the 50 different presets give you a great range of intensity to work with.
- Type: Elliptical Machine
- Size: 28.2"D x 63.2"W x 70.1"H
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Comes with over 50 presets to provide more workout variety
- Connects with many different exercise apps to store your training data
- Simple to adjust to your stride for a more effective workout
- It’s not the cheapest cardio machine, but you do get a great-quality product
8 - ProForm Pro 9000 Smart Treadmill (Best for Cardio)
Rainy days often disrupted my running routine, so I invested in the ProForm Pro 9000 Smart Treadmill. Its incline adjustments and preset workouts have ensured that I never miss a day of cardio, rain or shine.
And ProForm has created an excellent machine with a load of presets and incline adjustments.
I also liked that you can fold it up, which is ideal if you’re using a spare room as your home gym.
- Type: Treadmill
- Size: 59.6”H x 35.3”W x 77.3”L
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Comes with a bounce effect to reduce the impact on joints
- Fully foldable construction that takes less than 30 seconds to set up
- Can be set up for incline running to increase the intensity at lower speeds
- You’ll need to place some mats under the machine due to its weight
9 - Rogue HR-2 Half Rack
The Rogue HR-2 Half Rack has been a cornerstone in my home gym for a while. Its versatility, from squats to pull-ups, has allowed me to target all major muscle groups effectively.
The half squat rack can be used for squats and bench presses. And there’s also a bar to do pull-ups.
I also liked the safety features that you don’t find on all squat racks, meaning you can do your training without a spotter. Check out our review of the Rogue SML 2 Monster Lite Squat as well.
- Type: Half Power Rack
- Size: 48"D x 49"W x 92”H
- Weight Limit: 255 lbs
- Solid steel construction provides less shaking under heavy-weight loads
- You can also use the frame as a pull-up bar
- Comes with safety bars for squats and bench presses
- You have to pay extra for the barbell and weight plates
10 - Sunny Health & Fitness Slim Walking Pad Treadmill (Cheapest Option)
Wanting a space-saving solution for my cardio, I turned to the Sunny Health & Fitness Slim Walking Pad Treadmill. It's been perfect for those quick workouts, especially when the weather isn't on my side.
It’s a basic treadmill that will still allow you to run to 8 mph, and it has easy-to-use intensity settings.
It’s great for on-demand workouts where you might have 20 minutes to spare.
- Type: Treadmill
- Size: 64.5"D x 28"W x 50.5"H
- Weight Limit: 240 lbs
- Entry-level treadmill with easy-to-use workout programs
- Easily check your heart rate during workouts with a built-in sensor
- Achieve running speeds up to 8 mph for great cardio training
- The maximum weight limit might not be suitable for some athletes
11 - Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates
I paired my Rogue half-rack with the Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates. Their color-coded design has made weight selection a breeze, and their reduced bounce design is perfect for my deadlift sessions.
Each weight has a different color coding, which makes it easier to get set up for different workouts.
And they have been specifically designed to reduce bounce, which is particularly important for deadlifts.
- Type: Weight PLATES
- Size: 450 mm diameter
- Max Weight: 55 lbs
- Designed to minimize bounce for deadlifts
- Come in great bright colors for different weights
- Each plate has a ridge, so you can use them for plate rows and other exercises
- The paint can chip if you bang the plates on each other
12 - FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench
After setting up my rack, the next essential was a reliable bench. The FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench, with its comfortable padding and impressive weight range, has been a staple in my strength training routines.
This one from Flybird has great padding to support your body.
The maximum weight range of 600 pounds is quite impressive for a bench at this affordable price.
The only downside I found is that the backrest could be a bit wider for a bit more support.
- Type: Adjustable Bench
- Size: 9.65"D x 32.28"W x 13.58"H
- Weight Limit: 600 lbs
- Comfortable padding for your back and buttocks
- Easy to adjust the seat and backrest for your workouts
- Allows you to get into a good decline position for more training flexibility
- The backrest could be a bit wider for some bodybuilders
How We Chose the Best Home Gym Equipment
Here's how we chose the best home gym equipment:
We subjected each equipment piece to extended use, mimicking the wear and tear they would undergo over months and years.
We also examined the quality of materials used, the sturdiness of the construction, and any signs of potential weaknesses. Equipment that showed any signs of strain, excessive wear, or potential breakage points was noted.
To assess capacity, we tested the equipment with users of different weight ranges and fitness levels. This helped us determine if the equipment could handle both lighter and heavier loads without compromising performance.
For weightlifting equipment, we pushed them to their maximum weight limits, ensuring they could handle the stresses without faltering.
The price evaluation was twofold. Firstly, we compared the cost of each equipment piece against its features and performance, determining its value for money.
Secondly, we benchmarked the prices against similar products on the market, ensuring that our recommendations provided a balance between cost and quality.
We aimed to identify products that offered the best value, catering to both budget-conscious consumers and those willing to invest in premium options.
Here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before making a final decision.
Available Workout Space
I’ve met a few people who packed their home gym space full of equipment.
Not only can that be a limiting problem for your workouts, but it could also become a safety issue.
The first thing you should do is check your available space and then measure what size the machines can be and if you can fit more than one.
With that information in hand, you should then check the dimensions for all the above machines to see which ones will best fit your available space.
Plan For Fitness Goals
The next important thing to consider is to figure out what kind of training you will be doing at home.
If you want to focus mainly on strength training, then a cardio machine should be your first pick.
And if you want to do cardio training most of the time, then don’t waste money on weight training equipment.
In that case, a set of resistance bands might be enough. And I would also recommend that you look into machines that limit the impact on your joints .
“Low impact cardio is a category of exercise that gets your heart rate up specifically in a joint-friendly way.”
- Jake Harcoff, C.S.C.S.
Now, if you want to have the flexibility for strength and cardio workouts at home, then you may need to find the space and budget for more than one piece of equipment.
Stay Within Budget
High-quality gym equipment does not have to be expensive. I’ve seen people spend thousands of dollars on a single piece of equipment .
And while that might make sense for professional and performance athletes, most people can achieve enough with a lot less.
What I would suggest is looking at your budget first and then figuring out whether it stretches far enough for one or two key pieces of workout equipment.
When we look for affordable gym equipment, we search for the attributes of higher-priced best gym equipment and consider these low-cost alternatives a deal.
Of course, certain options are more durable and have high-tech add-ons that are worth the extra money.
A great way to stay on budget is to be able to maintain your equipment for long term, remember to always wipe down and lubricate your gym equipment.
Interactive Programming and Technology Integration
In the age of digital transformation, home gym equipment has evolved to incorporate cutting-edge technology, enhancing the workout experience.
Take, for instance, the NordicTrack Fusion CST. This state-of-the-art machine offers interactive programming, immersing users in guided workouts led by professional trainers.
With real-time feedback, users can track their performance metrics, ensuring they stay within their target zones.
Additionally, integrated tech features like live resistance adjustments, virtual scenic routes, and connectivity with fitness apps make workouts more engaging, motivating, and tailored to individual needs.
Cushioned Support in Treadmills
Treadmills are the cornerstone of every home gym, and modern treadmills prioritize user comfort, incorporating cushioned support systems that reduce the impact on joints during runs.
This cushioning technology ensures that users can enjoy longer, more comfortable workouts without the risk of injury.
Whether you're a seasoned runner or just starting out, the cushioned support in today's treadmills provides a safer and more enjoyable running experience.
Here are characteristics to look for to ensure your home gym equipment lasts years:
- Material quality: Look for equipment made from high-grade materials like stainless steel, solid iron, or heavy-duty rubber. These materials are known for their strength and longevity.
- Construction and craftsmanship: Welded joints, for instance, are generally more robust than bolted ones. Also, check for any signs of poor craftsmanship, such as uneven edges or loose components.
- Weight capacity: Ensure the equipment can handle more than your weight or the weight you intend to lift. This not only ensures safety but also indicates the robustness of the equipment.
- Stability: Equipment that wobbles or feels unstable can be a sign of inferior quality. Look for machines with a broad base, non-slip feet, or options to anchor them to the ground.
- Resistance to wear and tear: Look for features like rust-resistant coatings, UV-resistant materials (for outdoor equipment), and high-density foam padding that won't easily compress over time.
What Equipment Is Best for a Small Home Gym?
A cardio machine like an exercise bike and a half power rack are best for a small home gym. Stationary bikes don’t tend to take up much space, and even a half rack will provide plenty of strength workout flexibility.
What Is the First Thing to Buy for a Home Gym?
The first thing to buy for a home gym is a good strength or cardio workout machine. It will depend on your fitness goals and which one you choose, but people often choose a cardio machine to give them more flexibility for running or cycling when the weather is bad.
Does Quality Matter on a Treadmill?
Yes, quality matters on a treadmill. Choosing the highest quality tread you can afford is critical since it will be quiet, comfortable, simple to use, and long-lasting.
Our Verdict on the Best Home Gym Equipment
As a fitness enthusiast who's tried various equipment over the years, I can't emphasize enough the importance of investing in quality gear for your home gym.
While there are many options out there, the Rogue Echo Bike stands out for me. Its low impact on joints, combined with the intensity it offers, makes it a top pick. I've been using it in my home gym for several months, and it's transformed my cardio sessions.
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