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Let’s admit it, not all of us have the time to hit the gym. Our busy schedules become a hindrance to staying in shape. Still, if you have the best compact home gym, you can squeeze in a few minutes of exercise to get back on your fitness track. Aside from the convenience of working out at home, you also get to save money, time, and gas from traditional gym memberships.
So for this post, we selected 7 of the best home gyms that can fit on your small apartment or home. Although smaller, these pieces remain as workhorses for every workout buff.
Best Compact Home Gym Buying Guide
If you’re scouting for the compact home gym, make sure that you consider the following points first:
Since we’re looking for a home gym that can fit in small spaces, we have to prioritize the footprint and dimensions of the unit. Always measure how much room you can manage for a gym and narrow down your options from there.
Most compact home gyms will have dimensions that are less than 100 inches on every side. Aside from the footprint, check the height of the model as well. We know a lot of fitness buffs who end up purchasing a home gym that can’t fit on their low ceilings.
-What you want to achieve
What are your goals in purchasing a home gym? If you want to build muscle mass, you should look for home gyms with resistance training or weight training stations.
For those who just want to manage their weight and get enough exercise, basic home gyms with pull-up bars and seated row should suffice.
Also, if you’re not into intense bodybuilding, compact home gyms should suit you well.
-Number of exercises
This is crucial so you can make the most out of your compact home gym. Most home gyms nowadays let you perform dozens of exercises. Gyms that let you enjoy 50+ exercises are usually more expensive, but it’s worth the splurge if you really want to get in shape.
Aside from the quantity, check what parts of the body the exercises target. It’s best to opt for home gyms that provide a full-body workout. Besides, you’re not supposed to do the same routine over and over again.
Aside from diversifying your routines, a variety of exercise will cater to more users.
-Resistance type and level
Most home gyms will come with a resistance station. There are two types of resistance used here: free weights and bands.
Free weights resistance are ideal for building muscles. Also, this type offers a higher level of resistance so you can level up your workout.
Meanwhile, band resistance is used as supplements on cardio-focused routines. Although it offers less resistance, it saves the need to use weight plates. It’s also lighter than free weights.
Make sure that the maximum resistance level of the home gym is beyond what you can currently endure. This way, you have something to work on.
Since home gyms come with multiple stations, it’s essential to check the maximum user weight limit of each component. For example, the folding bench can support 600 pounds while the weight stack has a maximum limit of 300 pounds.
If you’re serious about getting ripped, look for a home gym with a higher weight limit. This will let you use more weight plates and you can level up your workout to break plateaus.
Take note that home gyms with higher weight limits are more expensive.
If someone else is going to use the home gym, it’s ideal if the stations are adjustable enough to suit various workout preferences.
The adjustability of the home gym also lets you expand your routines without the need to purchase replacement equipment.
How much are you willing to spend on a compact home gym? Entry-level home gyms that cost less than $400 are perfect for those who are just testing the waters. It has limited exercises and may not last long.
Mid-priced home gyms (those around $500) are ideal for casual use and those who are less interested in getting ripped.
More expensive units (those that cost $1,000+) come with more stations and accessories. This is recommended for users who are serious about building muscles and breaking plateaus.
Home gyms will require some sort of assembly. It’s rare for compact home gyms to arrive fully assembled. Although these are smaller than full-fledged gyms, it’s unlikely to fit through your doorway.
Multiple stations mean more assembly requirements on your end. Home gyms usually come with assembly instructions. If you’re not much of a handyman, you can pay for expert assembly.
If possible, look for a home gym with minimal maintenance.
Military-grade cables used on cable crossover machines are long-lasting. It also requires minimal maintenance if covered with a coating material. Exposed steel cables need to be oiled regularly to keep a smooth operation.
The bolts and screws of the other parts need to be re-tightened from time to time to ensure the safety of your workouts.
Each manufacturer offers specific warranty coverage on their products. Some would provide two years while high-end models will have a lifetime warranty on specific parts. Although high-end home gyms are expensive, it also comes with excellent guarantees. It’s added protection for your purchase.
OUR TOP PICK: Bodycraft Galena Pro Home Gym
If you’re looking for the ultimate workout equipment in a small package, the Bodycraft Galena Pro Home Gym might be the one you’re looking for. It has a patented dual-function pec deck, chest press, lat pull, leg curl, cable crossover, and more.
The Galena Home Gym already comes with a weight stack of 150 pounds, precision-milled with EZ glide nylon bushings. This provides 300 pounds of balanced resistance. The footplates of this home gym are adjustable to suit multiple users.
The 4.5-inch pulleys are made with fiberglass-reinforced nylon that rotates on sealed ball bearings for a smooth operation.
The seats and support are covered with double-stitched faux leather stuffed with high-density foam.
What we really dig is the lifetime warranty that covers all defects in workmanship and materials. Even if this is a splurge, your investment is protected at all times.
When assembled, this home gym measures 72” x 58” x 81” with a whopping weight of 500 pounds.
- Patented dual-function pec deck
- Lifetime warranty
- Weight stacks are already included in the package
- Built for small users
Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym
If you live in an apartment building, the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym might be the ideal choice. It’s not just compact, it’s also lightweight at 220 pounds which can be used on elevated floors without the need for additional floor support.
This home gym sports Bowflex’s patented Power Rod technology. Instead of using weight stacks of free weights, this home gym has bending rods that provide up to 410 pounds of resistance. For the Xtreme 2SE, the base rod has a limit of 210 pounds, but it’s very much upgradeable.
The Xtreme 2SE comes with multiple cable and pulley positions, thanks to the Quick Change Power Rod system. Overall, this home gym is made with heavy-gauge steel and high-density foam for safety and durability.
You can perform 70+ exercises in this home gym. It also comes with with a lat bar which you can use to tone your arms and core in different angles.
This is way better than the PR1000 and PR3000 models which share the same features.
- Patented Power Rod system
- Resistance is upgradable to up to 410 pounds
- Allows users to perform 70+ exercises
- Changing the settings of the resistance takes a lot of practice
Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym
If you’re using the compact home gym just to get enough exercise, the Bowflex PR3000 might suit you well. It has a maximum power rod resistance of 210 pounds. It’s upgradeable to 310 pounds if the base resistance is becoming too easy for your muscles.
This is made with a sturdy steel frame and a highly adjustable resistance, thanks to the Quick Change Power Rod System. It also comes with ankle cuffs and multi-use hand grip to diversify your workout.
The Bowflex PR3000 has roller cushions so you can perform leg stretches and curls safely. Aside from that, it sports a vertical bench press. However, it doesn’t have aerobic rowing features and it’s not foldable like the PR1000. Still, if you want to save some bucks, the PR3000 is worth the investment.
Overall, this gym system offers 50+ gym exercises with a built-in exercise chart on the frame. If you’re on the heavy side, this compact home gym will not disappoint.
- Upgradeable resistance of up to 310 pounds
- Quick Change Power Rod System
- 50+ gym exercises
- Lower resistance than actual plates
Total Gym XLS
Do you want a home gym that Chunk Norris trusts? If so, the Total Gym XLS might be for you. It’s a compact model with a padded glideboard and head support. This can support resistance training in 6 levels with over 80 exercises you can perform. For such small equipment, this is more than you can ask for.
The Total Gym XLS has a maximum user weight of 400 pounds. Aside from that, we really dig the complete line of workouts and tools that come with the equipment.
This has comprehensive workout resources on its Total Gym training deck. It also has Dan Isaacson’s nutritional program and meal plan. It’s a holistic choice if you’re a newbie on workouts.
When in use, the Total Gym XLS measures 90” (L) x 19” (W) x 43” (H). It weighs around 83 pounds which is one of the lightest of all the compact gyms we’ve tried and reviewed.
Overall, the Total Gym XLS is a neat, little workout beast. Even Chuck Norris called it “his lean, mean exercise machine”.
- Lets you perform 80+ exercises
- Comes with complete Total Gym training deck resources
- Backed by Chuck Norris
- The pulley location can be a bit low for some exercises
Marcy Multifunction Steel Home Gym
For those who are looking for a tougher gym at home, the Marcy Multifunction Steel Home Gym could be a great choice. It’s made of 14-gauge steel tube frame with a total weight stack of 150 pounds. This gym also comes with a dual function press arm that you can set in either chest press or vertical butterfly settings.
The Marcy Multifunction gym also comes with double pulley stations with separate lateral bars. Here, you can perform pulldowns, pullovers, and more.
It also has a thick foam roller padding as well as a dual function leg developer. Aside from that, there’s a preacher curl bicep pad and lat bar to give you full-body workout experience.
When assembled, the Marcy Multifunction Home Gym measures 69” (L) x 35” (W) x 79” (H). That’s a very small footprint for such a powerful workout equipment.
- 14-gauge steel tube frame
- Comes with a lat bar and preacher curl bicep pad
- Double pulley stations with separate lateral bars
- Can be annoying to assemble
Valor Fitness CB-12 Compact Home Gym
Looking for a more compact model? The Valor Fitness is roughly 80” tall, 25” wide, and 50” long. On this small package, you’ll have a lat pulldown, ab crunch harness, lower T-bar, and more. It also lets you perform low cable rows, cable curls, upright row, and dozens of other exercises.
It also comes with an adjustable seat pad that you can tweak in 4 different positions. This includes 5” range of motion with locking pull pins. Moreover, it sports diamond-textured footplates and a build that can accommodate 2” Olympic plates.
This Valor Fitness CB-12 gym has a maximum weight load of 300 pounds. You can also purchase accessories like EX-10 Olympic Adapter sleeve, MB-4 triangle chest pull, rope accessories, and more. These are sold separately.
Take note that the top pulley is fixed and will not swivel. For a very low price, we’re surprised that we received such a solid home gym. Although the assembly is a pain, it’s worth it for all the bucks you can save. Overall, it’s a great compromise between price and quality.
- Very affordable
- Can accommodate up to 300 pounds of user weight
- Accommodates 2” Olympic weight plates
- The top pulley doesn’t swivel, but not a biggie
Weider Ultimate Body Works
For those on a budget, the Weider Ultimate Body Works gym provides the best value. This comes with a glideboard with built-in pulleys so you can perform rows, curls, dips, and 50+ exercises. It’s paired with 4 adjustable power bands that provide 50 pounds of resistance for your workouts.
You can also change the incline of the glideboard in 7 different angles. It also comes with a durable pulley system, nylon strap handles, squat stand, and a workout guide.
Overall, this compact home gym measures 59” (L) x 27.5” (W) x 48” (H). It weighs 72 pounds, which is very lightweight for storage but still stable for your workouts. Also, we like that it can accommodate tall users with no issues. We’ve asked our 6’4” friend to try some of his routines here and he’s actually surprised that this equipment costs only a fraction of most models.
From what we observe, this is sturdy enough to last for years. Also, the cables don’t kink, but it’s not as smooth as other home gym cable systems.
- Stable enough for moderate use
- Decent cable system
- Comes with resistance bands
- Not as smooth as expensive models, but not a biggie
Frequently Asked Questions
Are multi gyms good for building muscle?
What exercises can you do on a multi gym?
What does a multi gym do?
Can you get in shape at home?
If you’re looking for the best compact home gym, the 7 models we’ve reviewed here will suit you well. Just make sure that you get the right components for your preferred workout. Even if it’s small, it can come with various components that will give you a full-body workout experience.
What do you think of our top compact home gyms here? Have you tried any? Let us know by dropping a comment below!