Top 10 Best Home Gyms

Getting into shape and building some muscle is quite simple. All you really need is a gym, a steady diet, regular sleep and plenty of discipline. However, what if you can’t get to the gym as much as you would like?

What if your job restricts you from having access to a gym, or if your home just too far away from one? This is where home gyms come into play.

Today we are going to show you our picks for the top 10 best home gyms on the market and talk about what makes them such a good alternative.

Top 10 Best Home Gyms:

Marcy is definitely one of the names that is making ripples in this market. The are generally known as a brand that isn’t afraid of doing things their own way, which has served them well so far. That need for improvement has led them to develop the Marcy Diamond Smith Cage Home Gym System.

This particular home gym takes the standard design and builds upon it quite considerably. So much so that you could hardly recognize it. The main changes you will notice is the squat rack. Marcy has actually included a real squat rack on one side, and a controlled incline bench press on the other. All of that sits on top of the already standard chest press and upper pulley assembly.

The coolest thing about this particular design is the fact that the bench isn’t a fixed part of the system. Instead, you can remove it and use machine as an impromptu squat station. Once you decide to go back to the original configuration, just put the bench back into place and you are good to go. Because of that, this home gym is by far one of the best, if not the best option on the market.

Compared to Marcy, Body Solid is pretty much up there with them, with the exception of the latter sticking more along the lines of traditional solutions. That is if we exclude the Body Solid GLGS100. If you got used to that classic home gym design, this one is about to flip your world upside down.

Body Solid has set out to design something that is functional, compact but every bit as effective as a regular weighted home gym. Instead of manipulating the already standardized design, as they usually do, they went on an adventure of building something more or less from scratch. The result is GLGS100. It’s a home gym that has no bench and is designed to be used exclusively while standing.

By removing the bench component, Body Solid has managed to reduce the footprint of the machine considerably and give it a more upright configuration. Another awesome thing to note about GLGS100 is that it comes with 2″ Olympic plate racks, meaning that you have absolute control over the weight you will be lifting at any time. This gives you plenty of flexibility when it comes to planing out your workout sessions, max press goals and so on.

Despite home gyms being more or less the same on average, even the more outstanding models still utilize the same principles as the rest. One home gym where this really doesn’t apply is the Bowflex PR1000 home gym. The Bowflex system came out a long time ago when dead weights weren’t nowhere near as affordable as they are now, nor were these home gyms as good as they are now.

Back then people mostly though that Bowflex was a gimmick, a cool design that won’t stick around for too long. Needless to say, they were very wrong with that assessment. Bowflex not only persisted but is currently one of the best options on the market right now. The model we are looking at here utilizes those same flexible rods as the original, only updated and modernized.

The system offers numerous benefits, most of which have to do with linear resistance and the overall easy of use. One that doesn’t get mentioned as often is the flexibility of motion. You are not limited to a few controlled exercises. Instead, you have access to a vast selection of different workouts you can perform. Bowflex has most of these available in their documentation.

Once you start looking at the more traditional machines, you will start seeing models such as Marcy MWM 990. Compared to the other one we have mentioned earlier, this one is pretty tame and that is quite alright. The whole idea behind this particular model was pretty simple. Marcy wanted to build something that is reliable, robust and capable of delivering consistent performance on a daily basis.

From that point of view, they have nailed it. With that said, some might say that this model looks quite simple. Almost as simple as some budget rigs out there. Even though aesthetics shouldn’t really be too important of a metric, the looks can be quite deceiving with MWM 990. Marcy has obviously followed the function over form policy when they designed the MWM 990.

Although it may look like your average budget home gym, this model offers significant improvements. By that we mean the 150 lbs shielded stack, a well padded seat and a pretty high build quality. In other words, everything on this machine runs extremely smooth. Selecting weights is easy and works reliably thanks to a simple yet functional push pin system. Overall, this is a great choice right now.

In the world of home gyms, Gold’s Gym is one of the brands that does a lot towards establishing a good middle ground between affordable rigs and expensive ones. They do this by making sure their designs are solid, devoid of any unnecessary stuff and pretty much well optimized.

This insistence on good optimization and generally low drag in terms of production, has allowed them to be quite competitive with their pricing. Gold’s Gym System is a great model where these qualities are pretty much apparent. The first thing many notice is that they have used high quality steel tubing for this build. Good quality materials ensure a robust frame but more importantly, reliability and consistency.

You definitely don’t want anything moving around while you’re lifting weights. Speaking of which, Gold’s Gym System comes with 125 lbs of vinyl weights in a nice stack. This makes it among the more flexible models in its immediate segment. Aside from offering plenty of weights to lift, this home gym is also fairly smooth and silent under load. That might be something worth putting down on the pros list if you appreciate silent workouts. At this price, Gold’s Gym System is a steal

Really compact traditional home gyms are rarer than you would think. Most brands these days re doing their best to maintain that imposing presence and massive hardware. In many cases that approach would be more than adequate if not preferred. However, sometimes a smaller footprint can be much more important than an overly robust frame.

Naturally, as long as you are not compromising performance, safety or reliability. One machine that really fits all of the criteria we have mentioned so far is the XtremepowerUS Multifunction Home Gym. Not only is it a fairly compact traditional home gym, but XtremepowerUS has found a way to retain the stability and reliability of the chassis without compromising anything. They’ve done this by keeping all of the mass very low and center behind your back as you work out.

Speaking of mass, this home gym comes with 100 lbs weight stack which is pretty decent all things considered. At this price you won’t find too many gyms which offer more than this. Last thing worth noticing are the looks. They went with an all black design which is quite neutral and very easy on the eyes. At this price, this is definitely a bargain.

Marcy is a household name on our list, and for a good reason. Their models have seriously impacted the way we perceive quality gyms on a budget, but also higher end models as we have talked about before. The model we are looking at here is their Free Weight Strength Training Home Gym. This gym is particularly interesting despite it being quite standard in most aspects.

Marcy has done a lot towards reducing the cost of this unit, which makes it one of the more affordable models out there. More importantly, they have introduced a whole new layer of versatility with this model. Instead of forcing a stack of vinyl weights on you, which most likely wouldn’t go past 100 or so lbs, they have decided to ditch the stack altogether.

Instead, you have Olympic plate friendly racks where you can find any plate that has a 2″ hole on it. Sure, it makes things slightly difficult until you get some plates, but once you do, your workout regimen will gain a whole new dimension of flexibility. Overall, it is a rock solid platform which carries that same reliability and quality you would expect from a proper Marcy home gym.

Gold’s Gym XRS 50 home gym is one of the most affordable models we are comfortable suggesting. We have chosen this particular one as our low end pick due to its quite incredible bang for the buck value. It may not be the most attractive piece of fitness equipment on the market, nor the most silent one. However, we would be lying if we said that XRS 50 doesn’t offer the necessary performance or consistency.

Since Gold’s Gym shares a single frame design between various models, you are pretty much getting a platform that has already been proven numerous times. That eliminates one major risk out of the equation. Surprises don’t end there, though.

Gold’s Gym has decided to put 112 lbs weights stack on this bad boy, which makes it quite competitive all things considered. While it may not be all too challenging for the most advanced users, those 112 lbs of true weight are more than enough to get a novice going and keep an intermediate user occupied for a while. The fact of the matter is that you wont fin a much better deal at this price. If you’re on a tight budget, this is your rig.

Compact home gyms are a category of their own. That much is quite obvious. When people shop for something that fits this description, they usually completely disregard anything that even remotely looks like a traditional home gym. Needless to say, that is a wrong way to go about finding a good compact gym. Why? Because by doing so you would completely miss Bowflex PR3000 home gym.

This system not only fits the compact requirement, but it does it in a very elegant way. We have already covered what Bowflex is all about, so no additional introductions or explanations are necessary. PR3000 comes with a good selection of rods, which makes it a pretty challenging machine in general. The main reason why we have chosen it as one of the best if not the best compact model on the market is the fact that the bench is not a part of the frame.

Instead, you can simply remove it and use the machine while standing. That saves a whole lot of space if you do it right. On top of that, you’re definitely not missing out on any exercises. Bowflex offers a great selection of workouts you can do while standing.

The last model on our list comes from Weider and it represents the absolute cheapest and most compact home gym you can find these days. The layout and the platform are quite unique compared to anything we have shown you so far. However, Weider isn’t the one who has come up with it. Some of you probably remember that fitness machine Chuck Norris was actively marketing back in the day.

Well, contrary to what most of us thought at the time, Total Gym was not a fad nor a gimmick. It was actually a pretty smart solution for a home gym system that takes little space but offers all the necessary performance. Weider has pretty much taken the design and reduced it to an affordable setup that works.

Sure, it looks pretty minimalist in all kinds of ways, but it performs. After all, that is what matters the most. What we were mostly interested in was the quality of the frame. Due to the nature of this design, frame being fine meant that the entire rig is good to go. That is exactly what happened. If you need something simple, light and very affordable, this might be your best bet.

Category Breakdown

Best Compact Home Gym

Home gyms are by default fairly large machines which don’t lend themselves well to tight quarters. In most cases, that means that unless you have a room to dedicate to this equipment, you might be in trouble. 

We say ‘in most cases’ because there are niche home gyms designed specifically for situations such as these. Compact home gym’s main purpose is to get you that core performance all while meeting some of the most basic standards space saving. 

This is where you will run into a variety of awesome designs and solutions which get the job done and then some.

Best Budget Home Gym Under $300

Budget home gyms weren’t really a thing until quite recently. Modern manufacturing technologies have allowed most manufacturers to bring down their production costs and deliver a line of home gyms which are both affordable and efficient. 

Most of these will fall under the $300 category. One thing to keep in mind about these home gyms is that they usually simple. You are getting the core performance and not much more. For some, that is more than enough. 

We recommend these to beginners, intermediate users on a budget or just about anyone who is not too keen on committing to a higher end model just yet.

Best Home Gym Under $500

Once you step up your budget a little and get into the $500, you will run into some pretty solid home gyms. Those who can afford this amount for their first home gym should definitely start here. 

The main reason for this is the fact that you are simply going to get the best bang for your buck. With that said, the designs themselves won’t change too much. That classic weight stack design is still going to account for over half of the models included. 

However, you will start running into your first Bowflex models right around that $500 mark. Additionally, these home gyms will come with heavier stacks on average depending on which model you choose.

Best Home Gym Under $1000

Up around $1000 is where things really become interesting. This is where so many doors open up for you as well. Not only will you run into higher end Bowflex machines here, but you will also see some pretty great Total Gym systems as well standard home gyms which feature a variety of additional work stations. 

As expected the quality of materials, joints and all of the components that matter the most is going to increase quite a bit. This price range is where you first start seeing commercial grade machines. In this context, commercial grade means that the home gym in question was built for gym use. 

Whether or not that kind of robustness is an overkill for an average user is up to you to decide. In our opinion, it is always better to be on the safe side when working with weights.

Why Home Gyms Make Sense

Gaining muscle mass is arguably trickier overall than simply getting into shape. While both of these tasks take dedication, the former requires weights. For most people out there, access to weights is made simple by simply going to a local gym for a workout session. 

The question is, what can you do if going to a gym is simply not an option? There are a few options on the table. You can invest in a squat rack, a bench press and a whole lot of free weights. Or, you can get a home gym. 

Working out at home, whenever your schedule allows for it, is by far one of the most important benefits of owning a home gym. It gets even better than that. Lets say you can go to a gym, but only once or twice a week. 

If you are trying to follow a specific program and have goals you intend on hitting, that one or two workout sessions per week probably won’t cut it. By having a home gym at your house, not only can you bridge that gap and keep your body engaged during the week, but in most cases you can easily push your schedule and be on top of it. 

To sum it all up, the main benefit of owning a home gym is the convenience of having access to weights when you need them at the comfort of your home.

What To Expect From Home Gyms?

Home gyms come in a variety of shapes and forms. Some or simple, some are quite complex with a whole spectrum of different models in between. Figuring out which of these options works the best for you is key when it comes to finding a machine that will keep up with you. 

Sometimes you are limited by your budget, but sometimes space might be an issue. In this segment of our guide we are going to spend a moments discussing different types of home gyms and how they can improve your fitness levels as well as help you gain mass. There are two main types of home gyms. You have weighted and body weight home gyms. 

Furthermore, we can divide weighted home gyms into those that come with weight stacks, those that don’t and those that use your own weight to generate resistance.

Weighted Home Gyms

Weighted home gyms are by far the most popular ones out there. You are looking at about 90% of market saturation belonging to this particular group. The general design, baring a few exceptions, relies on a standard weight stack and pulley system to generate load and resistance. 

The configuration of these machines is pretty straight forward. In most cases you have a chest press station, a top pulley station for biceps and triceps, a leg developer and a bottom pulley station. That’s the most common layout you will run into. 

With that said, there are models that incorporate more stations as well as a few body weight workout stations. The weight of the stack itself will depend on how much money you are willing to invest into your gear. Generally speaking, you are looking at anything from 90 lbs to 200 lbs worth of weight stacks. 

Some of the more expensive solutions include the use of flexible rods instead of stacks. Bowflex is the most popular name on the market that offers such home gyms. Lastly, there are compact weighted home gyms which utilize your own weight in combination with incline to simulate weights. 

One very niche type of weighted home gyms that we need to mention are those which don’t come with weights included. These almost always come with hardware adapted for use with Olympic plates so that you can choose your own weights configuration. There’s definitely some merit to this type of home gyms.

Body Weight Home Gyms

Body weight home gyms, or power towers as they are also know as, are simple devices which are meant to facilitate a number of body weight exercises. In most cases you are looking at a pull up bar, a triceps dip, knee rise and pushup stations. 

Some will argue that these hardly fall within the home gym segment, but we feel that they definitely do. The main benefit of owning a power tower is their affordable price. You can get one of these dirt cheap. 

Sure, body weight exercises aren’t as effective as weights when it comes to building mass as soon as possible, but they definitely have their own place in the grand scheme of things.

How To Choose The Right Home Gym For You?

We could go ahead and bury you with a bunch of factors you should look into when choosing a home gym, but that just isn’t necessary. This entire process can be reduced to three main variables you need to figure out. The first one is your budget.

Budget

Budget has always been one of the most important factors when it comes to fitness equipment. It is widely known that investing more money into a machine is going to open up your options in terms of quality, different hardware and features in general. With that said, home gyms are a less prone to dramatic changes in features between different price ranges. 

The reason for that is that most weighted home gyms use the same design which at it’s core is hard mess up. Affordable home gyms are every bit as capable and reliable as their more expensive counterparts. The only real difference you will see is the weight of the stack, which can vary wildly depending on your model. 

On top of that, investing a bit more into these machines opens you up to different resistance systems and designs in general. The golden rule to follow in this regards is really simple. Get the most expensive machine you can.

Size

Size is one of those things that sits on top of the list for some people, while others don’t even think about it. Home gyms are not tiny at all. Many think that these machines won’t be larger than a bench press station. Many are wrong. 

Being aware of the size of these systems is crucial, especially if space is an issue for you. As you have probably figured out from our category breakdown section, there are compact home gyms out there. 

Some of those are conventional while others not so much. Which one will work the best for you will largely depend on how much room you can spare.

Features

Last but not the least we have to touch upon different features. Truth be told, an average home gym is a pretty straight forward device. You won’t find things such as computer modules or display units on almost any of these. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t different features to consider, though. 

For starters you should figure out which workout stations you absolutely need. More workout stations is going to mean a more expensive home gym but also a more effective workout session. If you feel that you might need to rely on your home gym for your fitness needs, it could be a good idea to get one that utilizes Olympic weights instead of standard weight stacks. 

That way you can manage your own goals and have much more flexibility than most stacked systems offer. As you can probably tell, the diversity of features isn’t nearly as dramatic as most would expect it to be. Nonetheless, making all the right choices could save you a whole lot of trouble down the road.

The Verdict

Home gyms are an awesome way to get that pump on at home. Back in the day these machines used to be extremely expensive and quite rare. Nowadays, you can find a great model without having to spend large sums of money. 

On the contrary, there are numerous awesome budget models that will get the job done and then some. We’ve done our best to find 10 models which we feel are currently the best on the market within the given parameters. 

Judging by the list alone, you will notice that there are great solutions in all market segments.

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