Tell me, how many times have you gone to the gym only to be disappointed when you get there? Maybe it’s because the gym is crowded with people, they smell horrible, they don’t know how to keep their music to themselves, or, worst of all, someone hogs the machine you need the whole time you’re there. There’ve been too many times I’ve gone to the gym and had multiple of these problems at once and just wished that I had the gym to myself.
That’s why I’m here to help you. Home gyms are the perfect solution to these problems. Maybe you just want one to get away from others, or maybe you don’t have time to go to the gym and it’s more beneficial to just have one readily available to you. No matter what, there are many home gym options for you to choose.
We break down the top 10 home gyms for you here to ensure that you get the best one out there for you whether you’re on a budget or willing to spend a couple thousand dollars.
When it comes to buying a home gym, the main thing you want to make sure of is that the value of what you’re getting is equal to or greater than the price you’re paying for it. The Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S, while expensive, has this amazing value.
The EXM2500S has many uses from its pec station, press arm, leg developer, and high, mid, and low pulleys. Though it doesn’t have a lot of weight, you can get up to 210 lb from its selector zed iron weight stack which comes in 10 lb plates. With such low weight, many wonder if this is even worth it?
It is. The EXM2500S is a great home gym not only because of its many exercises but also because of its overall great build quality from its design and construction, and its comfortable heavy-duty thick DuraFirm pads. To top all of this off, the EXM2500S even has a lifetime warranty on everything, which is amazing if anything breaks or needs to be replaced.
There are some problems with the EXM2500S, and they all deal with the setup. Its instructions are horrible and its assembly time can get up to 8 hours if you’re by yourself. As a note, you’re going to want some help when setting up any home gym; most of their assembly times are very long with bad instructions.
A lot of people go through a period of trial and error when setting up the EXM2500S because of its bad instructions, which can cause a lot of problems. One thing you can do with any home gym is to separate and label the parts before construction; this makes everything a lot easier. Also, it’s been warned not to tighten the pulleys until they’re threaded because that will cause more setup problems.
So, despite the set up, this product is amazing and worth it. With many exercises and a great overall build and lifetime warranty, this is not a product to dismiss.
The BodyCraft Galena Pro is a great quality home gym that’s a major problem is its price, but it is so worth it. This home gym is amazing for its value and has many possible workouts available with its patented dual-function pec deck (for different flies and better range of motion), low pulley and bench press stations – having exercises for your arms, legs, chest, back, and shoulders.
This home gym is great for comfort. You can adjust its seat and seat back easily, and it uses heavy-duty foam covered by heavy-gauge vinyl for great lumbar support. Taller people find it harder to use, though most of them are able to find a way around their problems.
Like most home gyms, this one comes with additional options such as a leg press, which it’s highly recommended you get. Many see their additional options as a cash grab because several exercises are unavailable without the excluded accessories. You’re going to have to spend even more if you want the full package, which sucks.
Its long assembly time is also a problem. Though there are wishy-washy reviews on its installation and instructions, some saying they’re decent, some saying just bad overall, the Galena Pro is great once it’s built. It’s very well put together and very sturdy with great quality overall and smooth cables. You don’t even have to worry if something breaks with both its lifetime warranty and reportedly excellent customer service.
If you have the money available and would like something with this caliber, there’s no reason not to get this gym and try it out.
The Marcy 150 lb MWM-900 is one of the best home gyms out there, and it’s less than $500! With 30+ strength training exercises and smooth operation, this is a small, convenient home gym with high and low pulleys, an overhead lat station, dual-functioning leg developer, and a dual-action, independent motion, chest, and vertical butterfly press arm motions.
The MWM-900 also has a weight stack lock to help you lift more safely and a removable curl pad. It’s made of a sturdy premium steel construction, but its installation is just as long and hard as the others, also with horrible instructions. It’s even common to find out that you’re missing parts or that something is dented, but you might not find out you’re missing something until you’re mid-build.
One of the biggest problems is its curling bar which Marcy claims doesn’t come with the MWM-900, but their ads and videos do. Don’t be deceived thinking you’re getting one when buying this.
All in all, the MWM-900 is one of the best home gyms out there at a very cheap price. Though it’s small, it allows for many exercises at a great value with an even greater build.
The Bowflex Blaze is a well-made, sturdy home gym with 60+ exercises from its many cable/pulley positions (giving you many custom workouts), lat bar, squat bar, and triple function hand grip/ankle cuffs. This machine is very adjustable with its sliding seat rail and very convenient and easy to store with its folding bench and wheels.
The Blaze comes with 210 lb of power rod resistance. This is not enough for anyone. The Blaze is upgradable to 310 or 410 lb, and it’s highly recommended that you at least get the 310 lb. Regardless of what you get, you’re sure to only get to a certain point with the machine. We recommend with this, as well as any of these machines, to also get free weights. They work better in most circumstances for a general workout whether you’re strength training or not.
Speaking of, this machine is not for strength training; you’ll blow through its power rods and think that you’re cock-diesel faster than you should… but you’ll learn that you can’t lift nearly as much if you go back to the gym. It doesn’t help that switching from one exercise to the next means you have to switch out cords… which is horribly tedious with almost every home gym. It’s best to only use this if you’re trying to get into shape.
Like all of these gyms, the assembly is long, but this one has one of the fastest assembly times on the list of about 2-3 hours. Despite everything else, this is a very sturdy, great quality machine that will serve its purpose in getting you in shape with its 60+ exercises.
The Marcy Diamond Smith Cage with Linear Bearings is an all-steel construction all-in-one workout station that lets you hit each muscle and get you into good shape. This product is great for its price and very easy to use with many systems such as multifunctional press arms, a dual-action leg developer, and a free-weight rack to organize your weights and dumbbells on weight plate pegs, which you’ll need to perfect your home gym. With all of this, it’s no shock that the Smith Cage is large, very sturdy, and well-designed.
Like with almost every home gym, this one comes with bad instructions and a long assembly time around 5 hours. It doesn’t help that it has a lot of pieces – which is where separating and labeling will help you monumentally. It’s not even smooth to use – which is the whole purpose of it being Linear Bearing. Overall, many find this home gym as just “okay.”
Okay isn’t always satisfactory. This home gym is great for its price, has a lot of possible uses, and has amazing quality. This is a really good home gym, but if you’re looking for something smooth or small, you may want to look elsewhere.
Finally, an easy home gym to set up! The Bowflex PR1000 is an amazing home gym with 25+ exercises, seven trainer-built workouts, and over 200 lb of Power Rod resistance. Coming at a relatively inexpensive cost with a media rack to put your phone on, the PR1000 is a great option that performs just as it is advertised to.
The PR1000 is very easy to use with its smooth cables and pulleys. It only makes it better that its bench can convert into a rolling seat to help with storage and moving around.
While this home gym is great for whipping your body into shape, it’s not good for muscle building at all. The power rods really have ½ the resistance they’re labeled with, so you’re only getting up to 100 lb instead of 200. This brings in the biggest complaint with most home gyms: just get free weights. They’ll help you more than the home gym will.
The PR1000 stands as a great home gym with many workouts at a cheap price of $499.
The Bowflex Xtreme 2SE is a great quality machine with 70+ exercises that is easy to assemble. It has a 4-position lower pulley/squat station and a no-change cable pulley system, called Quick Change System, making the tedious and hated problem of changing out cables between exercises no longer something to worry about.
The Xtreme 2SE is made with a heavy-duty steel construction frame and is comfortable with an ergonomic adjustable seat. Like the PR1000, the Xtreme 2SE’s power rods are ½ the resistance labeled and can lose more over time. It uses 210 lb of power rod resistance, which can be upgraded to 310 or 410 lb. It’s very recommended to at least get the 310 lb, especially since you can’t add rods without taking the machine apart.
The Xtreme 2SE is a strong home gym with a lot of possible exercises and its Quick Change System. Consider this gym if you want something with more resistance and exercises than the PR1000 and PR3000.
A good home gym option is the PR3000. This home gym is a mix of the PR1000 and the Xtreme 2SE with 50+ exercises and an easiness to assemble. It’s a very good choice if you want something with more exercises than the PR1000 and the Quick Change no cable change system.
The PR3000 has great quality and is very well built with its heavy-duty construction frame. This home gym is smaller than others, allowing you to save more space when using it. It comes with 210 lb of power rods, though this is upgradable to 310 lb. Get the upgrade. Sadly, there isn’t one for 410 lb, which is well-needed since these rods, like all of the other Bowflex rods, only have ½ the resistance of what’s labeled.
Like the rest, it’s recommended to get free weights. Despite its Quick Change System, more resistance, size, and more exercises, many say that the PR1000 is better. Consider this if you want a mix of the PR1000 and Xtreme 2SE.
A Chuck Norris advertised home gym, the Total Gym XLS is a great, versatile machine with 80+ exercises that can be folded up for storage and portability. With 6 resistance levels and no installation since it comes fully assembled, this is a good choice if you want a great workout.
The Total Gym XLS comes with an upgraded pulley and cable system from their last home gym, a padded glideboard with head support for good comfort, and a ribbed squat stand. It’s very easy to use and set up and very strong and durable when correctly made.
Shouldn’t it always be correctly made since it comes pre-assembled? Well, it should be, but it isn’t. There have been many people who receive defective and damaged machines where parts are sticking out, parts are backward, flipped, or just bad overall. The machine has been called very dangerous when this happens, and many users claim it’s dangerous even when assembled correctly.
Not only is this a problem, but many feel that it’s a rip off and is expensive for its value. While it has dropped a lot from its original price, it’s a very simplistic machine that helps the best it can. It’s really good if you’re older and not looking for muscle training, but rehabilitation. Otherwise, this may not be something for you.
There are also complaints about a height problem. You can be both too short and too tall for this machine. If you’re not between 5’ to 5’9”, look away. Even then, you may find it too big or small for you. Regardless of this all, this home gym delivers great work outs with many possible exercises.
The BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0 is a fully portable, small, and great home gym that uses your body resistance and resistance bands to help you get into shape. Boasting the possibility of thousands of exercises, this home gym is very easy, safe, and durable to use.
At $149, this is one of the cheapest home gyms you’re going to find. It takes up little to no space and is very convenient to use, but it’s not sturdy, which is very bad for something dependent on you sometimes standing on it. If you’re looking for something with a lot of exercises that you can take with you anywhere, this is it.
The bad thing about this home gym is that you’re going to need to spend more to do more exercises. More bands cost extra, and you’re going to need more bands. It doesn’t help that the best way to see all of their possible exercises is by watching what many users have called “amateur” tutorials through their paid membership. This home gym also isn’t good for shorter people since the bands are too long, but you can tie the bands up to fit better for you.
Lastly, this doesn’t beat free weights or just going to the gym. If you’re not shorter, but you’re looking for something cheap to use with a lot of possibilities, this is definitely something that you should be checking out.
No matter which home gym you buy, you need to know certain things in order to assure that you’re getting the right machine for you. We cover a few things here to help you make sure you’re getting the right home gym.
Two of the biggest things to consider when buying a home gym, or equipment in general, is the price and value. Too many people nowadays think that the more expensive something is means the better it is. That’s not true.
Know how much you want to spend and how much you’re willing to spend. If you have all the money available, then you can go for the best of the best, but you don’t need it. Compare the value of a home gym that fits you and your space to its price and determine if they’re equivalent or if one is higher than the other. If the price is higher, you might want to look at another option. If its value is higher, it might be a steal. Compare your options and determine which is best for you this way.
There are great options even if you’re on a budget. Depending on what you want to accomplish with your home gym, you may require a lot or a small amount of equipment. Regardless of which side you fall on, the best things to do in any scenario are to get secondhand equipment, such as on eBay, or go to an off-price department store. This will save you a lot in the long run.
In general, you shouldn’t spend too much when first setting up your home gym. Start with just what you need and build from that over time, don’t waste money and buy what you don’t need because you “might use it.”
One of the best spaces for a home gym is a garage or basement, but not everyone has these available. A good home gym does require a lot of space, but you need to work with what you have.
Measure your space and think about what you want to accomplish. What exercises do you want to do? Which equipment fits those exercises? Unless you have an adjustable dumbbell, which saves a lot of space since you can switch the weight on it, you’re going to need a rack. Depending on what you’re doing, if you plan to squat or deadlift, you’ll need a power rack, a barbell, weights, etc. If you plan to bench, you’re going to need a bench. Determine what you need and if you have space for it.
Many people want a treadmill or elliptical too, but running outside is also an option if you don’t have space inside. You’ll probably want a mirror too, which means you won’t want anything, or too much, in front of it. Work with what you have, determine what you need, and go from there. Only get as much as you need, let your gym evolve from there.
Depending on what you plan to work out depends on your equipment. Like we stated in the last section, you’ll want a squat/power rack for squats, a bench for bench, weights and barbells for both. At the least, dumbbells, racks, barbells, and weights are must-haves for home gyms.
Depending on what you’re doing, you may want a treadmill or elliptical. Maybe a jump rope, yoga mat, medicine ball, ab-roller, punching bag, etc. A mirror is also generally a must to watch yourself working out or for motivation. I, for one, find it easier to work out in front of a mirror just to make sure I’m doing everything correctly in order to avoid any possible injury.
Other possible equipment would be a dip belt, a dip station, a lat pulldown, and more. Determine what you’re looking for, if you’re getting a home gym machine and what exercises it covers, your space, budget, and everything else. Off of these, you’ll be able to determine your needed equipment.
If you don’t know what to get, get what was first mentioned: dumbbells, a rack, barbells, and weights. Free weights are the best, especially with strength training.
So, which home gym is perfect for you? It’s clear that there are a lot of options for you to choose from. Do you want your workout regime to be portable? Or are you looking for a more thorough full body workout? Ultimately, it boils down to your priorities.
Here’s a quick list of what we’ve just covered today:
Check out our FAQs for more information that could help you narrow down your choices. Happy workouts!
There are many questions surrounding home gym equipment. We cover a few of them here.
A: We would say that the best home gym under $500 would be the Marcy 150 lb MWM-900, followed by the Bowflex PR1000. If you’re looking for something even cheaper, the BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0 may be perfect for you.
A: We’d say the best home gyms under $2000 are the Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S and the Bodycraft Galena Pro.
A: This is not a straightforward answer because there are some many home gym companies out there. We would say that any of the companies on this list (Bowflex, Marcy, Body-Solid) are good options to look at, but this is very subjective and depends on what works best for you.