I have thought more often about buying a home gym myself, and right at this moment, while I write this review, I am more convinced than ever to buy one once my contract with my local fitness studio runs out in September.
Finding the best home gym system, that fits your needs, will take a bit of research and I made it my mission to help you along your selection process.
One reason while I have not bought one so far is that I need to go outside, and in a minute I am in my home gym and can start working out, but that might be different for you. We all lack the time and try to save every minute of the day. If you need already 20 minutes to get to your workout environment plus additional 20 minutes to come back home, then thinking about purchasing a home gym system makes sense.
In the last years, I found it also annoying being in a gym an having to wait for specific machines because other fitness companions occupy them, very often at peak times. I mean, most people have similar workout times, especially after they come home from work, or right in the morning because they go to work, and that can then cause inconvenience.
Having your stationary machine right in your home gives you more freedom. Work out instantly, whenever you want, be not disturbed by other users and on top of that same money long term. Depending on the fees of the fitness center you pay up to $2000 through the year. Drinks, protein bars and similar are not included and cause additional expenses.
All these facts make it reasonable to get the best home gym system that fits perfectly in your home environment.
Top-Rated Home Gyms
Inspire Fitness Ft2
Total Gym XLS
Marcy Smith MD-9010G
How To Pick The Right Home Gym System
6 Things to consider
How Much Money Are You Willing To Invest?
We have the low-priced models ranging between $200 to $500. These models provide less quality than comparable products. They have a limited number of possible exercises, and the maximum weight for all workouts is limited as well. Keep in mind that they also might need more maintenance, and they are more likely to have only standard workout options.
The mid-range systems cost between $500 and $1500. You will enjoy the provided variety that comes along with these compact fitness products. There are also unknown brands within this price section, for the top brands you have to invest more than $1500.
With an increasing price, the variety and quality of the fitness system increase as well. Keep in mind that buying a home gym should be a long-term project. If you are aiming for a cheaper system, then you will not always save money because you will have to buy additional weights and products in the future to ensure extra workout options.
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
What muscles are you targeting? Are you satisfied having one exercise for each muscle or do you prefer having multiple exercise routines for one muscle? Usually, after doing the same methods over a six to eight week period, your body gets used to the physical efforts and muscle growth decreases.
Thus regularly changing the fitness program keeps the momentum and forces your body to let the muscles grow.
The more exercise variety you want to have the more money you will have to invest.
Further, it might make sense to start with standard workout routines and add other fitness systems through the years and build your home gym systematically. Then there is no need for an ultimate gym system with hundreds of possible exercises.
Consider also the maximum weight capacity. If you want to increase your cardiovascular system and plan on doing more repetitions and sets, then less weight is needed. On the other hand, if you go for maximum muscle growth, research how much weight you will be able to pull a few months later.
Do You Have Enough Space?
Seriously take into account home gym measurements. For creating a comfortable workout zone in your home location, the American Council of exercise recommends having 50 to 200 square feet of space.
Consider having additional space for pre-workout routines on the floor on a yoga mat. If you love boosting your muscle growth using dumbbells, you will need extra inches as well.
The more room you have for your daily routines, the more likely you will enjoy your training and maintain motivation in the long run.
Consider Flooring Material and Assembly
First, especially when you want to train with heavy free weights, you will need gym mats to protect your floor. Additionally, the footprint of almost any home gym system is so big, and the weight of the fitness system demands another flooring.
Second, reading through many reviews hundreds of users were complaining about the assembly instructions. I recommend you to check them out before you order the device of your dreams and think about how you can get all the parts into your house.
Check Out Distinct Home Gym Systems
Different constructions use different concepts to optimize your workout. The following video explains the difference between Power Rod System and a Free-Weight system very well.
Further fitness units use your body to increase your decrease the degree of difficulty as well. An excellent example for this is making pull-ups in a machine.
You stand on a plate which is connected to a cable system that helps you lift up. And finally, you have the option of using a cable system. You pull the cable and lift the weight that way.
Go with the trend
The latest fitness trends determine how home gyms are evolving. Looking back two decades, weight lifting with dumbbells was still the overall trend. Home gyms needed more space and used heavy weights and numerous dumbbells.
Nowadays fitness trends like HIIT, Cross training and similar have changed the way of training. Newer systems focus on cardiovascular workout routines, using patented constructions that combine the latest science to increase the user experience and workout variety.
Adjustable dumbbells can save you a lot of space while still providing distinct levels of weight.
In the end, it is up to you. Do you prefer the good old Schwarzenegger workout routines, or do you want to be up to date and follow the latest trend? Both are reasonable options to reach your personal fitness goals.
Best 10 Home Gym Systems in 2018
Marcy Multifunction Steel Home MWM-988
The frame is made of steel, like Superman ;), and comes along with a total weight of 150 lbs. Thirty different fitness exercises will pave the way for incredible muscle growth. Get it going and form your body until you are the man of steel. (woman of steel 😉
The implemented weights are adjustable. All you need to do is stick the weight pin into the prepared marks on the machine. You will have the pleasure of having your all-in-one unit right at home, without the need of leaving your house. No one will disturb you, and you can entirely focus on getting in shape.
The arm press provides two functions. You can decide to either build your pectoral muscles using the vertical butterfly or the chest press.
Two distinct lateral bars are ready to make your arms and total body moving. Whatever drill you prefer, Pull-ups or pull-downs keep the momentum and build the body of your desire. This way you will strengthen your back as well and prevent future back pain.
Build your arm muscles while pulling the built-in curl biceps pad, or perform a leg workout using the dual function leg developer. You can target each muscle by choosing between thirty different exercises. If you are not familiar how to work out, or what methods you can use to build your muscle all you need to do is check out the free workout chart and follow the instructions.
The cool thing about this unit is its variety. You can target each muscle specifically, and you will never feel bored. I will not miss out on any workout facility and joy is guaranteed over an extended period. One disadvantage is, this machine is not trendy. There are no patented new technologies used, but the manufacturer does not claim that. This is an excellent product for an affordable price.
Measurements: 68” x 79” x 36” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: 200 lbs
Max Weight resistance: 200 lbs
Warranty: 2-years on frame
- Foam roller pads increase the comfort while working out
- Small footprint
- Easy to assemble
- Assembly required. I recommend buying a socket wrench or faster assembly
- The seat is not adjustable
Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
Additionally, you can start right off your training without thinking about which routine you have to choose. Just pick one of the seven free trainer workouts and start sweating. Consider this machine your personal trainer. It provides you with enough exercises and variety for many years.
The feature I like the most is the built-in rowing stations. Since I am primary rowing as warm-up routine, this would fit perfect for myself, and I could save money because I do not have to buy an additional rowing machine.
Further, you can adjust the cable pulley positions by increasing, decreasing and changing the resistance. Thus, you can make your training more effective. If you want to kick your ass once you have done your warm-up, then use more weight.
The integrated cushioned bench is vertically adjustable and gives you extra exercise opportunities. By changing the angle, you can target distinct section of the same muscle.
Another cool thing is the built-in media rack which fits any smartphone size. Watch TV, turn on your music, or check out Bowflex workout routines while connecting to the internet for more fitness exercises.
The good thing about this machine is you can perform intensitive workouts, and you can fold the device and store it afterward. Since ist a cheap product, the resistance might go down over an extended period, and it is not as sturdy or upgradable as its big brother or high-end products.
Measurements: 84” x 81” x 38” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: unknown
Max Weight resistance: 210 lbs
Warranty: Machine one-year, rods 2-years, parts 60 days
- Foldable. It reduces its footprint by 50 percent once it has reached its upright position
- Over the years the machine loses resistance because of the cable technology
- No warranty on wear and tear
- Weight resistance cannot be upgraded
- Assembly required
Marcy Smith Cage Machine SM-4008
This All-in-one unit fits perfect for you if you love to work with a Smith bar and your body weight. You can bring your whole body in shape at ease by strengthening your core, backside, chest, arms, and legs.
This model combines all common elements you can also find in your local gym. You can work on your upper body by using the incline chest press.
This exercise is frequently used in many workout routines. It is one of my favorites because it strengthens, pectoralis, triceps and by choosing different angles, you can specifically target distinct sections of the muscle.
Additionally, the chest press brings in more variety using the integrated cable system. The cables are made of steel, come along with extended durability and provide you with various crossover exercises through your daily routines.
The feature I like the most and always enjoyed when visiting my local gym is the pull-up bar. It makes training with heavy weights possible even if you work out alone. You can twist the bar, and then the metal anchor prevents the bar from decreasing. Thus you will need no one to help you pull the weight when you go for maximum weight lifting.
The Leg developer is cushioned and adjustable and helps you to build your lower body. Also, I like the moveable bench. You can put it aside and do squats and pull-ups.
Since the unit uses free weights, it comes along with storage posts where you can store all your weights.
If I had to explain all the features in detail, I would have to write a single review of that product. All your wishes will be fulfilled when you consider buying this product.
The detriments that come along are: some parts made of plastic and provide less durability, but the price to value ratio is excellent.
If you want to save some bucks and accept shorter durability and much time for assembly, then this model can be a good choice.
Measurements: 98” x 82” x 59” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: 300 lbs (bench)
Max Weight resistance: leg developer 100 lbs, cross over 200 lbs, weight bar 300 lbs
Warranty: 2 years limited
- More than 100 possible exercises
- Multiple bars and straps for customized workouts
- Compatible with Olympic weights
- You need to invest enough time into assembling that fitness system. It took the users on average 4 to 8 hours to put the unit together. You should ask a friend for help.
- This gym system is massive: 279 lbs
- weight plates are NOT included
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
With more than sixty distinct workout routines and the seven free provided workout programs, you can combine separate training methods over many years without doing the same thing every day.
You will love this, in case you get bored quickly and you need the kick of alternation.
Unlike its small brother the Bowflex 1000, you can upgrade the resistance level to 310 or 410 lbs. If you take your workout seriously, then this is an essential option when you consider purchasing this model. This machine lets your muscles grow fast, and the last thing you want to see happening is, having bought a model that reaches its limits after a few months of intense workout.
Of course, the rowing feature is also installed and it can be used as leg press function as well. Your whole body will love you when you help him, and you will enjoy the total workout opportunities as well.
Two additional bars, lat, and squat, are included and come along with three distinct hand grips to provide more grip and exercise variety. Pull-ups can become tiresome after doing them over time, but if you can change the grip, you can shock the muscle and boost the muscle growth be simply changing the position of your hands.
If I had to decide for one of the two Bowflex machines, I would buy this one. If I plan on investing money into a home gym, I expect variety and want to workout for a long, long time. Also, I do not know how my fitness goals will develop over months of conditioning. They naturally change as your muscles grow, and then I want to make sure, I can increase the resistance by upgrading if needed, instead of buying a new gym system.
This product has very high user ratings and confirms a high-quality product for an excellent price.
Measurements: 90” x 83” x 38” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: 300 lbs
Max Weight resistance: 210 lbs
Warranty: Machine 5-years, rods lifetime, parts 60 days
- Foldable. It reduces its footprint by 50 percent once it has reached its upright position
- Easy to assemble within 120-180 minutes
- No warranty on wear and tear but in a few years you will have to replace the rods because of losing resistance
- Assembly required
Total Gym XLS – Universal Home Gym
This fitness unit is phenomenal. The whole family can workout on the Total Gym. It fits all ages and increases the workout productivity while you do more than eighty different exercises. You might wonder how that is possible. The machine is so small, smaller than any other gym system but it claims complexity and variety.
Chuck Norris, a true action hero, explains on five DVDs how you can use this unit for muscle growth. Even if you are an advanced athlete, there will be plenty of routines for you as well.
This unit comes along with a pulley and cable system which combines cardiovascular training, stretching and muscle building. You will love that design and experience a high-intensity work out.
Originally this specific gym system was evolved to help people recovering from injuries. The exercises are designed to protect your joints, and the bench provides smooth gliding on the frame using your body weight.
Chuck Norris takes exercising serious and provides an additional Nutrition planning guide.
On top of that, you will not have to put that unit together as it is delivered in one piece. You can start your work out immediately once you got that product.
If you love simple exercises, or if you suffer from injuries and still want to workout, then I recommend you this gym system. All fitness routines are explained in detail, and you will be guided through your daily exercise instead of planning everything by yourself. This tool should be your number one choice if you have not much room left while searching for full body workout.
Measurements: 90” x 19” x 43” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: 400 lbs
Max Weight resistance: Your Bodyweight
Warranty: Frame lifetime, parts six month
- Five DVDs full of workouts and exercises
- Exercise wall chart
- No assembly required
- No exercises with free weights delivered
Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine MD-9010G
Consider this the Elite model out of all Marcy products. With over 100 possible exercises it is the alternative to a local gym. The heavy-duty steel construction provides extended durability and has an integrated cable system for crossover workouts.
The main difference between the SM-4008 and this product is the quality. The design of the MD-9010G is more economical and comes along with more chrome but other than that I could not find too much of a difference in features.
Both products have the multifunction arm press, a leg developer a Smith bar. You can strengthen your whole body and get the good old gym feeling working out at home. You will not miss out on any exercises.
The Olympic free-weight rack has two additional weight plate pegs. You have more place to store your weights than the intermediate Marcy model.
A sliding track and the pivot point on the leg developer offer more flexibility and adjustments when using the bench for your body workout. Overall the comfort level is increased, and you can systematically finetune your exercises better because you have better adjustment options.
According to the quality, you will get a top product with extended durability and parts are less likely to break compared to cheaper products. You have enough exercise to work on your biceps, triceps, pectorals, back, chest and shoulders and you will have the real gym feeling while exercising. Unfortunately, you will have to buy weight plates separately and depending on your weight, and how much weight you use for your exercises you might have to invest in a bench with higher weight capacity.
Overall you will like the product once it is assembled and when you can afford it.
Measurements: 95” x 86” x 79” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: bench 300 lbs
Max Weight resistance: 600 lbs, 2000 lbs cable
Warranty: 2-years on frame
- Foam pads increase the comfort while working out
- High-quality bench and steel construction
- Chrome guide rods
- Leather upholstery
- Bar capture feature for safe workouts
- Assembly required, you will need help since this product weighs more than 300 lbs and it can take more than a day to put it together
- Like all Marcy products weight plates are NOT included, and you have to buy them additionally
Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym
The outstanding feature is the Lifetime Warranty on Everything! Yes, that is true.
The annoying days when parts of your station break after the warranty ended and you have to make additional payments are gone. Body-Solid builds on trust, and you can safely invest in this outstanding product.
The built-in weight stack comes along with 210 lbs. Included are a pec station, an arm press, a leg developer and on top of that three pulleys ensuring targeting the low, mid and high body parts. A lateral and a straight bar offer different hand grip positions, and thus you can individually control which muscle you want to build.
If you want to check out the number of available workout routines simple check out the manufactory site, but I highly recommend buying it on Amazon to get the lowest price.
There is no doubt about quality and versatility. Personally, I am missing the options of working out with free weights, but this unit provides three independent workstations anyways. If you want to have a space saving, compact gym system, that mainly operates with cables and strong resistance while providing a total body workout, then the Body-Solid can be a good choice.
One important thing to mention is that you are responsible for getting the gym system from the truck into your house your you have to pay extra once it is shipped.
Measurements: 83” x 83” x 51” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: bench 300 lbs
Max Weight resistance: 210 lbs, 2200 lbs cable
Warranty: Lifetime on the whole unit
- Full-size workout poster
- Commercial grade
- No frame for free weight lifting
- Not many accessories are included, you have to buy triceps ropes, and weight adapters separately
Body-Solid EXM3000LPS or 4000s Commercial Gym
It is designed for up to three/four users and still saves as much space as possible.
The extended gym systems come along with all the advantages of the smaller model while providing more versatility.
You can expect the following features:
- An adjustable pec fly machine to strengthen your pectoralis
- The extra premium leg press has awesome 210 lbs of resistance
- In addition to the workout-poster DVDs are provided for both units to guide you through your whole fitness progress
- Low row station to train your upper body
- Optional you can install the VKR30 vertical knee raise frame for abdominal exercises.
Many users consider this gym system the real deal, and they have tried similar products in local gyms and thus have a lot of trust in Body-Solid quality. Personally, I think these units are too big for home use, and if you are training alone, then there is no need to get the Mount Everest among the home gyms available.
I mentioned them for the sake of completeness. If you have a location that provides enough space and if you like to workout with friends then this unit is a possibility.
Be warned that a lot of users complained about the assembly. Many needed professional help to put this unit together, and it took them 10 hours or more to finish.
Only recommended if for multiple users and if you can afford it.
Measurements: 91” x 73” x 83” (L x H x W)
Measurements: 133” x 91” x 83” (L x H x W)
Inspire Fitness Ft2 Functional Trainer
If you are in the market for a system that provides variety and simplicity like no other product, then this high-end functional trainer is the way to go. It is an elite product that provides real gym feeling.
You can do multiple workouts by simply changing the direction of your exercise. You will boost your cardio system in no time because the fitness moves are designed to use your total body.
You will actively use many muscles for stabilization while doing only one routine. If you want to save time and do intense training, then this machine is perfect for you.
One outstanding feature mid to low-end products does not have is the dual independent weight stacks. Each side of your body can do independent exercises. All movements are well balanced, and the Steel Bearing system makes wear and tear non-existent.
Since you need your whole muscles for the exercises, you will have to use the optional preacher curl if you want to isolate your upper body. You will need that pause anyways when you sit down on the SCS bench because this machine forces you to give everything you have got when doing your workout.
As if that would not already be enough this unit comes along with an integrated pull-up bar. Do you like doing the good old pull-ups, you got it. Even if the machine comes close to the ceiling, you can adjust the pull-up bar and still do your exercise.
We are talking about the highest quality and durability with fine-tuned high-intensity workouts. You need to dig deep into your pocket, and this product will not be affordable for anyone. But if you love luxury, the best quality available and you have the monies, then the functional trainer should be yours.
Measurements: 89” x 88” x 61” (L x H x W)
Max User Capacity: not provided
Max Weight resistance: 800 lbs (upgraded), without upgrades 600 lbs.
Warranty: Residental: Limited lifetime on frame and all parts, Commercial 10 years on frame and parts
- Exercise booklet
- Different ropes and bars are included, a multifunction belt and two water bottles
- No weight plates needed
- 200 lbs upgrade possible
- The pulleys are made of fiberglass nylon
- Thousands of exercises possible
- You need enough space for proper use
- Assembly required
- Very expensive
There are three main factors to consider when searching for a home gym unit: Assembly, space, quality. You will almost always need help to put the gym system together. It cannot be done alone.
Once you have the fitness unit installed, you have plenty of possible workout routines that come along with any of the models mentioned above.
If you invest less then $1000, wear and tear are common. You can expect that you have to renew some parts of the machine after you have used it for a while.
Quality has its price but will provide easier assembly, better support, and warranty, and you will have the latest technology on the market. Optional you can buy all free weights and single fitness units separately and build your gym system over time. Considering investment, you will save some bucks if you buy an all-in-one system.
If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them. Have a great time.
Stay healthy and fit