With the best home gym equipment, you can stay fit while many gyms are stilled closed. Many parts of the country are still practicing social distancing and keeping gyms closed due to the pandemic, but it's vital that you still get exercise for both your physical and mental health. Getting the best home gym equipment is the perfect solution.
For those worried about their budget, building out a home gym doesn't require a ton of money. You also don't need a ton of space. You can focus on a few key pieces of home gym equipment that are affordable, have a small footprint and meet your exercise needs.
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With the best home gym equipment, you can exercise in the comfort of your own home in a variety of ways, from heart-pumping cardio workouts to core-targeted strength training. Or perhaps a meditative yoga session is more your speed. Maybe you just want to track your weight with one of the best smart scales, too.
We've broken down the equipment into categories, such as best dumbbells, best yoga mats, best exercise bike and best elliptical machine. Along with the best home gym equipment, you should consider outfitting yourself with accessories like the best sports headphones and best fitness trackers. All of the recommended products have a ton of glowing reviews on shopping sites and are reasonably priced.
What are the best home gym equipment items?
The best home gym equipment breaks down into many categories. We've selected 13 products based on the most popular kinds of workouts, such as running and weight lifting. We also included accessories that make exercising easier and more effective.
Many people don't have a lot of space at home to store gym equipment, so we kept an eye on size. The best dumbbells, the CAP Barbell Coated Hex Dumbbells, take up very little room as do the best resistance bands, the INTEY Pull Up Assist Band Exercise Resistance Bands. And you can't get smaller or more portable than the best jump rope, the AIZIYUO Jump Rope.
Some workouts require larger pieces of home gym equipment, though. When it came to selecting the top choices for those, we kept an eye on affordability. The best treadmill, the XTERRA Fitness TR200 Folding Treadmill, is inexpensive compared with other options in the category. So is the best elliptical machine, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine.
As far as home gym accessories, the best sports headphones, the Jabra Elite Active 75t, are sweat-proof so you can listen to your favorite playlists without worrying about water damage. The best fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 3, monitors your heart rate and step count, so you see your progress while working out.
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The best home gym equipment right now
Aside from the exercise bike, a treadmill is one of the first items you would want for a home gym. It's more expensive, though; it's hard to find a good, reliable treadmill for under $300. After looking at the wide range of treadmills, we are recommending one of the more affordable options, the Xterra Folding Treadmill.
The 50 x 16-inch running surface will work for most people and cushioned deck technology maximizes impact absorption (your joints will thank you). The speed ranges from 0.5 to 10 mph with three manual incline settings. The LCD display shows your speed, time, distance and calories burned, while the handlebar sensors measure your heart rate.
There are 12 preset programs that offer variety for your workout. And the whole thing folds up, leaving more room in your home gym setup. A reviewer said, "This is a very stable, sturdy home treadmill. It is easy to use and somewhat portable."
Best yoga mat
Yoga has become a popular form of exercise. It improves flexibility, builds muscle tone, enhances circulation and promotes relaxation. Studies show that yoga plays an effective role in decreasing stress, anxiety and depression.
A good yoga mat can also be used for pilates or as a general fitness surface. The Gaiam mat is non-slip on both sides, which helps prevent injuries and allows you to maintain proper alignment. The mat is 72 inches long and 24 inches wide and made of two-fifths-inch thick nontoxic foam that is easy to clean with soap and water. One reviewer gave the extra thickness a thumbs-up, saying, "I am older and wanted some extra cushion for knees and elbows." A strap is included with the mat, which costs $16.98. Some reviewers report that the Gaiam mat has an odor at first.
Best exercise bike
An exercise bike is probably the first thing people get when buying home gym equipment. They're fairly affordable and lightweight and have a small footprint (many are even foldable, including the Exerpeutic). Exercise bikes are a great way to get in your daily dose of cardio. Nowadays, they range from simple cyclers to pricey machines like the Peloton.
The top choice among the best exercise bikes Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Bike, which is also the top pick of Men's Health magazine. It supports people weighing up to 300 pounds (more than any other folding bike) and fits people ranging in height from 5 foot 3 to 6 foot 1. There are eight levels of tension, so you can tweak the difficulty of your workout. The LCD display shows distance, calories burned, time and speed, while hand sensors track your heart rate.
Best rowing machine
Rowing machines aren't the sexiest or most exciting piece of gym equipment, but it gets the cardio and muscle-toning job done. It gives you a full-body workout in your legs, arms, back and core. And rowing is lower impact than running, so your knees and ankles will be spared.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine has a weight capacity of 350 pounds, 12 levels of resistance and an LCD display showing time, count, calories burned. The fully padded seat and non-slip handles provide maximum comfort. Reviewers say assembly is easy, and many laud the machine's versatility. Said one, "This machine is great so far and I love that everyone in the family can use it." Another said in its favor: "It's quiet enough that you can do it while you watch TV."
Best resistance band
Resistance bands tend to be an afterthought when it comes to strength training; most people tend to go for dumbbells or weight benches. But resistance bands are extremely versatile, lightweight and easy to take in a gym bag. They can be used on their own or with other workout programs. Resistance bands are a favorite of former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, so they're clearly a great option when buying home gym equipment.
The INTEY resistance bands come in a set of four, each with a differing maximum limit for length and weight. They're made of latex and are highly elastic and odorless. Several reviewers noted that the INTEY bands helped with their pull-up exercises. One said of their durability, "The bands seem like they'll last a long time, would buy again." The only downside is that the accompanying exercise manual is somewhat lacking.
Best elliptical machine
Elliptical machines are some of the most popular pieces of equipment at any gym. The machines provide a tremendous cardio workout, as well as high-intensity interval training, but with a lot less stress on your joints than running. And many elliptical machines have handles, which work out the upper body at the same time as the lower body. The Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine does all that for the very affordable price.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine features eight adjustable levels of resistance and a compact 11-inch stride length. The digital monitor displays time, speed, distance, calories and distance. The hand sensors monitor your heart rate. As one reviewer said, "I get a decent cardio workout on this when I'm home and don't feel like getting dressed to go to gym. It doesn't take up a lot of space."
Best jump rope
Ah, the humble jump rope. So simple and yet so effective. Jumping rope is a fantastic cardio exercise that requires little more than the rope and a bit of space on a flat surface. Not only does jumping rope burn calories, it can improve coordination and bone density. And it's extremely portable!
The AIZIYUO Jump Rope, which comes in a two-pack, features a braided steel wire rope that's coated for longevity. The 6-inch handles are made of soft, moisture-proof, non-slip foam. The length can be adjusted from 9 feet on down, so the AIZIYUO is suitable for both adults and children of varying heights. One reviewer said, "These are exactly what I needed, durable and have comfortable handles. The ropes are long enough for tall people and short."
With a good set of dumbbells, you can target every major muscle group, including arms, legs, back and chest. They're convenient and easy to store as well as versatile, and can be used in many different kinds of workout. The CAP Barbell dumbbells feature an ergonomic steel-chromed handle, hex-shaped heads that minimize rolling hazards and a protective coating that protects them from damage.
The CAP barbells come in a pair, with each dumbbell weighing from 5 to 60 pounds (which are priced by heaviness). Be warned that they do smell strongly of rubber at the outset, but generally, the reviews are glowing. One reviewer raved, "These are exactly what I could have hoped for and more — buy these dumbbells if you are looking for a quality, reasonably priced addition to your home gym."
Kettlebells are often overlooked at gyms, but just like dumbbells, they can engage multiple muscle groups of your body. They're great for building a base of strength and mobility. Kettlebell swings will get your heart pumping, fat burning and muscles toning (especially your posterior).
The BalanceFrom kettlebells have a vinyl coating and range from 5 to 100 pounds. One reviewer said, "Excellent product, great quality and a fun assortment of colors," while another noted that the BalanceFrom kettlebell was worth the cost. "I own many different brands of kettlebell, and this one is as well made as any of them." And with their small footprint, the kettlebell can be stored easily in the corner of a room, a garage or even inside a car trunk.
Best pull-up bar
If you're looking for a small footprint for home gym equipment, it doesn't get much smaller than a bar for pullups. Pullups strengthen upper body muscles and is one of the harder exercises to master. A pullup is done by hanging onto the bar with palms facing away from you and your body extended fully. You pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar (a chin-up is done with your palms facing you).
Perfect Fitness Pull-Up Bar is super affordable and has a 300-pound capacity and padded handles that provide three grip positions. The Perfect Fitness bar can also be turned over and used for situps and pushups. And best of all, it can fit different-size doorways. As one reviewer said, "This is perfect! Low price & easy to install. It was exactly what I was looking for."
Best punching bag
Boxing workouts engage multiple areas of the body: upper, lower and core. Hitting a punching bag provides great aerobic exercise, improves coordination, increases endurance and strengthens bones and ligaments. Boxing is also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. And you can acquire self-defense skills while you're at it.
The Everlast Powercore Dual Bag and Stand comes with two bags, a speed bag made of premium synthetic leather and an 80-pound heavy bag made of Premium Nevatear™ with reinforced webbing. The specially blended filler mix of sanitized synthetic and natural fibers provides resilient shock absorbency. One reviewer said, "If you need to train at home in a compact area this is great."
Best ab roller
The ab wheel, or ab roller, may seem simple but, oh, will it give you a major workout. The ab wheel is extremely effective in strengthening your core muscles. If you're hoping to build a six-pack, this is the piece of home gym equipment you need. In addition, the Vinsguir Ab Roller is well-made and cheap.
The Vinsguir Ab Roller supports up to 440 pounds and features a non-slip rubber wheel and soft, ergonomic, padded handles. It's easy to assemble and has a minuscule footprint, making it perfect for anyone looking to build a home gym in a small space. And it comes with a free kneepad! One reviewer said, "I am very surprised at how much this actually works …. This is one of those 'as seen on TV' items that actually works."
Best exercise ball
An exercise ball is one of the most versatile pieces of home gym equipment you can get. It can strengthen your core, improve your flexibility, and balance and help with back pain. Using an exercise ball as a chair when you're working can be beneficial for your posture. The Trideer Exercise Ball is one of the highest density balls you can get, with 2,000 micrometers in thickness and a weight capacity of 2,200 pounds.
The Trideer Exercise Ball is easy to inflate (a free foot pump is included) and comes in a variety of sizes and colors. It's made of non-toxic PVC material, no BPAs or heavy metals. One reviewer said, "I got rid of my chair and honestly this has made my upper back pain go away." The exercise ball is also helpful during pregnancy. Another reviewer noted, "I'm currently nine months pregnant and it really takes away my pelvic pain."
How to choose the best home gym equipment
When buying the best home gym equipment, the main factors to consider are the type of workout, size and price.
As far as workouts, if you prefer cardio, you may want to consider an exercise bike or a treadmill. If you want to engage in strength training, dumbbells and kettlebells are popular pieces of home gym equipment. For full body workouts, a rowing machine or elliptical machine target multiple muscle groups and get your heart rate up.
Size is something to think about, as well, since you might not have a lot of space for home gym equipment. Consider machines that fold up and stow away. Resistance bands and ab rollers are two items that are small and portable.
Lastly, price plays a huge role in what kind of home gym equipment you get. Luckily, there are more choices out there, whether you're on a budget or you can afford to splurge. Cheap items like a yoga mat and a jump rope are versatile and useful in all kinds of workouts.