Table of Post Contents
- 1 Home Gym Buying Guide
- 2 What to look for
- 3 OUR TOP PICK: Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Home Gym
- 4 FOR THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT: Body-Solid Strength Tech EXM2500S Home Gym
- 5 FOR COMPACT YET POWERFUL WORKOUTS: Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
- 6 FOR THE BEST RESISTANCE TRAINING: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
- 7 FOR TOTAL BODY TRAINING: Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Final words
Building a home gym isn’t an easy endeavor. You have to decide about the pieces you need and how you can fit it in on your limited space. Instead of purchasing the parts individually, you can opt for the best home gym. This multi-station system lets you perform various exercises in the comfort of your home.
Below, we’ve reviewed 5 of the best home gyms out of the two dozen models in the market. We also included a comprehensive buying guide to help you with your purchase.
Home Gym Buying Guide
Common types of home gyms
Home gyms come in different shapes, sizes, and functionality. Here are some of the most common types that you can choose from:
A Smith machine is composed of a vertical metal frame with a barbell attached to it. It’s ideal for strength and resistance training without eating up too much space on your home.
Most Smith machines use standard barbell bars and weight plates. However, most of these home gyms don’t come with weight plates, so you have to purchase it separately.
A bare-bone Smith machine will have a frame, stoppers, and a barbell. Intermediate and advanced versions have already integrated other workout stations to provide the user with an ultimate workout experience.
Just take note that Smith machines won’t allow you to perform deadlifts. Still, its ratio is 1:1, an ideal choice for those who want to make the most out of their weights.
Weight Stack Home Gyms
Weight stack home gyms are an all-around option. It consists of cables, pulleys, handles, and leg supports. Usually, it will have a weight plate stack for a cable crossover station. Some would even come with a pec fly or a preacher pad station.
The best thing about the weight stack home gym is its expandable design. However, the more stations there are, the more expensive it gets.
One disadvantage of this type of home gym is its large size and heavy weight. Also, assembly is complicated due to the multiple parts.
Cable crossovers are a type of functional trainers with weight stacks on each side and a set of cables and pulleys attached to it. This is designed for resistance training but with more balanced and safe weight distribution.
Cable crossovers are made for toning the core and arms. Usually, it doesn’t come with other workout stations, but some models will have added accessories to diversify your workout.
Crossovers will either have a weight stack or a weight plate-compatible bar where the user can place standard weights.
If you have a small space at home, cable crossovers might be a good choice. However, some models tend to have stability issues, especially if you’re stacking hefty weight plates.
Power towers, on the other hand, are ideal for bodyweight exercises. It has a tall and thick steel frame with vertical bars on the base, top, and middle. This lets the users perform pull-ups, dips, chin-ups, and more exercises that leverage body weight.
Unlike other home gyms, power towers aren’t meant for building muscle mass. It’s ideal for stamina, flexibility, and overall fitness.
Nevertheless, power towers are more affordable and easy to assemble. However, the exercises you can perform here are quite limited.
Power racks, or power cages as it’s also known, is used for intense weightlifting. It has a tall steel frame with adjustable barbell racks. The biggest difference with Smith machines is that the barbell isn’t attached to the frame. This lets the user perform deadlifts.
Aside from lifting, power rack gyms allow users to perform chest presses and squats. If you’re into intense workouts, you’re better off with a power rack than a Smith machine.
Just take note that power racks have a larger footprint. Also, it’s heavier and not ideal for second-floor assembly unless your floor is reinforced to support such weight.
This type of gym is a patented design of Bowflex. It sports a Power Rod cable and pulley system. Instead of using weights, it has flexible rods that produce resistance.
The rods bend as you pull the cables. This saves you from the need to purchase weight plates. Also, flex-rod machines are ideal for second-floor use as it’s lighter than cable crossovers.
However, this machine isn’t one without limitations. It has a lower maximum weight of around 155 pounds per handle. This could be too low for professional trainers.
What to look for
Here are some of the important considerations when choosing a home gym:
Ask yourself first: what workout level am I in? If you’re not sure yet, here’s a quick look at each level:
If you exercise for fitness, maintaining muscle tone, or weight management, you’re at the beginner’s spectrum. You will thrive in Flex-Rod, Power Tower, or other simpler home gyms.
Intermediate trainers are more serious in strength training and muscle development. If you’re at this level, you will love Smith machines and Power Racks.
This is the level of bodybuilders and weight trainers. This is where Power Racks, Weight Stack home gyms, and Cable Crossovers come handy.
Number of users
If your partner, kids, and other members of the household are going to use the home gym, it’s best to purchase a multi-station model. Aside from enjoying a wide variety of exercises, two or more individuals can use the home gym simultaneously.
For those who don’t have anyone to share it with, any home gym types will work as long as it suits their workout preferences.
If you’re purchasing weight stations, choose an adjustable type. This way, you can start on the lighter side and work your way up. This will give you the ability to grow as you up the resistance level.
Aside from that, the home gym should be adjustable enough to suit several users.
Construction and build
Many home gyms are designed to hold or leverage weight. It must have a sturdy and solid frame. Heavy-gauge steel is ideal, especially if you’re lifting hundreds of pounds of weight. Always check the weight limit of the home gym and compare it to your needs.
The size of the home gym is a very critical aspect that you should check. We’ve heard about workout buffs buying massive systems only to realize that it won’t fit on their garage or workout rooms.
Be sure that you check the dimensions against the available space on your home. Always factor in the adjustability of the parts as well as the additional space that extensions and cables will consume while in use.
Never purchase a home gym that fits without additional legroom. The cramped space will jeopardize your exercise and expose you to injuries.
An important consideration when purchasing a home gym is if you can put it together by yourself. Since most home gyms have multi-station designs, you may need an extra pair of hands during assembly.
Take note that assembly becomes more complicated as the number of stations increase. If you’re eyeing to purchase a fully assembled, multi-station gym, your chances are nil. This will not fit through a doorway. You have to dedicate some time for assembly and figuring out those bits and bobs.
The good thing here is that some sellers offer expert assembly for an additional fee. Once the package arrives, a team will put it together for you.
How much are you willing to spend for a home gym? Single-station gyms are budget-friendly, but it offers limited routines. If you’re in the intermediate or advanced level, investing in a heavy-duty machine is worth the splurge.
These are entry-level home gyms with basic components like an adjustable bench, basic cables and pulleys, and a pull-up bar. It’s best for casual use, but it offers very limited exercise options.
These are intermediate home gyms with decent construction and multi-station features. It also comes with weight stacks and more adjustable parts to level up your workout. Take note that these home gyms can be large and heavy.
If you’re really serious about your workout, splurging on an advanced home gym is worth every cent. In this price range, you’ll get commercial-quality home gyms with multiple stations. Just take note that these models have a larger footprint and heavy weight.
Home gyms aren’t the cheapest fitness equipment. Make sure that the seller or manufacturer offers warranty coverage for various parts of your home gym.
OUR TOP PICK: Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine Home Gym
If you’re serious about training at home, the Marcy Smith Cage Home Gym is our top recommendation. It’s an all-in-one home system for all your strength training routines.
This best home gym is composed of multi-function weight bench, preacher curl, preacher pad, and an Olympic sleeve for the leg developer. Also, it sports a single lower pulley and dual cross-over upper pulleys. Among the accessories are plate posts, V bar, lat bar, ankle strap, triceps rope, footplate, two handles, and a shiver bar.
The entire home gym has dimensions of 70” (L) x 79” (W) x 85” (H). The weight bar has a maximum weight of 300 pounds while the bench can support up to 600 pounds. Just take note that the weights aren’t included in the package.
Since this is a large unit, it weighs 120 pounds. During our assembly, you’ll need another person to help you out. We recommend an organized assembly as the small parts can get really confusing.
-All-in-one home gym for serious trainers
-Can support a combined weight of 900 pounds
-Multiple add-ons for a competitive price
-The package comes in three boxes. Make sure that you organize the assembly.
FOR THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT: Body-Solid Strength Tech EXM2500S Home Gym
If you’re looking for the ultimate workout equipment, the Body-Solid EXM2500S might be the beast you’re looking for. It has a chest press, pec fly, ab crunch, reverse pec, bicep curl, leg curl, tricep extension, leg extension, concentration curl, mid-row, lat pulldown, shrug, and leg abduction. You simply can’t ask for more.
The Body-Solid frame is made from heavy-duty 2” x 4” 12-gauge steel paired with aircraft cables and military durability.
Once assembled, it measures 83” (H) x 51” (W) x 83” (D). It also comes with a 210-pound steel weight stack that suits 10-pound plates. Overall, this is a powerful home gym for those with smallish spaces.
This home gym weighs 500 pounds and will arrive via freight delivery. It’s a total workhorse for your workouts plus it comes with a lifetime warranty for everything.
We also like that it comes with an exercise guide. It’s worth the splurge and effort for assembly. The only hassle we experienced is that we had to unload the freight on our own.
-Complete multi-station design for dozens of routines
-Heavy-duty, weighs 500 pounds
-Lifetime warranty on all the parts
-You have to unload the freight by yourself
FOR COMPACT YET POWERFUL WORKOUTS: Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
If you don’t have the luxury of space at home, we recommend the Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym. This best home gym is one of the patented Flex-Rod home gym types where you can perform over 25 routines.
The PR1000 sports a maximum of 200 pounds of Power Rod resistance. It also has a bench that converts into a rolling seat that you can use for aerobic rowing.
We also like the built-in tablet rack so you can watch videos of workouts. Also, the 4-position lower pulley allows adjustability for multiple users. It also has an adjustable cable pulley to suit your exercise level.
We’re also surprised that the rower can accommodate tall users. We’ve got a 6’5 friend who tried it, and he seems satisfied with the results.
Once assembled, this stands 82 inches tall. Make sure that you secure at least 100 inches of space side to side while the home gym is in use.
The PR1000 weighs around 150 pounds so you’ll need another person to help you with the assembly.
-200 pounds of Power Rod resistance
-More compact than other home gyms
-No need for weight plates to perform resistance training
-The resistance limit isn’t upgradable unlike other Power Rod models
FOR THE BEST RESISTANCE TRAINING: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
If you find the PR1000 too easy for your workout, try the Bowflex Blaze version. It has a base Power Rod resistance of 210 pounds that’s upgradeable to 410 pounds.
For this model, you can perform 60+ types of exercises. It also comes with a lat bar and squat bar aside from the sliding seat rail. This lets you perform full-body workout for a smaller footprint of 95” (L) x 38” (W) x 84” (H).
The only disadvantage here is you’ll lose the tablet rack from the PR1000. It’s replaced by a built-in workout chart instead.
Take note that this is heavier than PR1000 for about 210 pounds. Assembly will also require the help of another person.
Overall, this suits a lot of users, even those in the 6’ range. Just make sure that your ceiling is at least 8’ foot tall so you can fold the equipment for easier storage.
-Power Rod resistance upgradeable to 410 pounds
-60+ types of exercises
-Built-in exercise chart
-Use workout gloves to prevent chafing from the handles
FOR TOTAL BODY TRAINING: Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym
If you want full-body training with a compact home gym, you shouldn’t miss the Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym. This is a dual functioning system with independent motion, vertical butterfly, and chest press arm.
It also has a 150-pound adjustable weight stacking that produces smooth body exercises. The upper pulley lets you target your core while performing ab crunches. There’s also a leg developer and weight stack lock for an efficient workout.
When assembled, it measures 68” (L) x 36” (W) x 79” (H). This is inclusive of a removable preacher curl pad.
Overall, this can support up to 300 pounds of user weight with the addition of an ankle strap and a lat bar. This is also more lightweight than other home gyms at 120 pounds.
-Supports up to 300 pounds of user weight
-Lightweight than other home gyms at 120 pounds
-Comes with a removable preacher curl pad
-Fewer accessories than other Marcy Home Gym models
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do you need for a home gym?
A: It depends on the type of workout you’re doing. Home gyms can focus on weights, resistance training, bodyweight exercises, and more. It’s best to get at least three stations for a variety of workouts.
Q: How big does a home gym need to be?
A: The space available at your home is the main consideration. Multi-station gyms will need between 50 to 200 square feet depending on the exact model you’re going to purchase. You also have to factor in the overhead requirements of the unit.
Q: What should I look for in a home gym?
A: It all boils down to what you need. If you’re into resistance training, you definitely won’t purchase power towers unless you plan to incorporate bodyweight exercises. Know what you want to achieve and decide from there.
The best home gym will revolutionize your workout right at your own home. It’s a convenient choice rather than signing up to gym memberships which are costly and inconvenient. Just make sure that you’re getting the right type with components that suit your choice of exercise.
What do you think of our 5 picks here? Do you have a personal favorite? Share it with us!