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Today we are going to show you our picks for the top 7 best home gyms under $500. Some of these are decent to say the least while some are simply among the best home gyms on the market. Once we spend some time talking about each model, we will discuss what this price range offers.
Compared to most other home gyms, Bowflex is probably the most different setup on the market. And we say that while fully understanding that there are numerous different home gyms out there. What Bowflex did was kinda revolutionary at the time. As it usually happens with new and novel designs in the area of fitness machines, many thought it was nothing more than a cool gimmick.
However, as time went on this system managed to prove its self time after time. Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym isn’t the original model, but rather a culmination of trial and error which has lead to a very reliable and proven system. The whole thing revolves around the flexible bars. Bowflex has decided to completely ditch the weights system and base the entire machine on these rods.
Main benefits of doing so are an overall simpler system, but also a whole new level of flexibility when it comes to which exercises you can do. This machine allows you to do the standard chest press, legs and more, but you can also use the cable pulleys to do standing triceps press and much more. In that sense, Bowlex system is absolutely worth all of the hype.
Marcy is one of those brands that is known for their more affordable models. However, they offer a full range of fitness machines which includes a more robust and refined models. Case in point Marcy MWM 990 home gym. At a first glance this model doesn’t differ much from your regular home gym.
However, despite its lack of apparent differences, MWM 990 is miles ahead of most similar machines from the budget segment. There are several specific areas where this is especially true. For starters you have the rock solid build quality. We are talking premium steel construction that features proper welds and good hardware all around. Then there is the fact that Marcy ships these with 150 lbs worth weight stack which is extremely well contained in the back of the machine.
Adjusting weights is very easy and you have a whole array of increments to choose from. When it comes to available workouts, you’re pretty much getting the usual. That means a chest press combined with a pull station and a leg developer. Marcy has also included a curl pad which you can remove should you want to. Lastly, this is one good looking piece of fitness equipment.
Gold’s Gym enjoys a very similar reputation as Marcy. This brand is mostly known for their affordable fitness machines which just so happen to meet most expectations when it comes to quality and performance. Sometimes they even go overboard and design something that exceeds all expectations. That is the case with their System home gym.
If you look at it, it really doesn’t look all that impressive. However, its value comes from a few different facts. For starters you have the compact frame which is made out of high quality steel tubing. Gold’s Gym did a great job with sourcing good materials, making sure that everything is fitted together properly and finishing it all off with good quality control. In that sense you really have nothing to worry about here. When it comes to weights, you’re looking at 125 lbs vinyl weights stack.
It’s a bit lighter than most in this segment but that’s not a deal breaker. What matters the most is that the weights are well contained easy to adjust. Workout stations available are the chest press and leg developer, with no pull station. If you need a proper home gym at a decent price, this is it.
The next model on our list also comes from Marcy and it features one of their more compact machines. Compared to the previous home gym we have mentioned from this same brand, MKM 1101 is a fair bit simplified in terms of design. That doesn’t mean that Marcy compromised this machine in any way. On the contrary.
The idea behind the MKM 1101 was to create something that would be every bit as practical as the other Marcy home gyms, only in a package that is easier to use in tight quarters. In a sense, this home gym is about as compact as they go. Aside from its smaller size, you’re also looking at a much smaller frame footprint. The entire chassis is shorter than most which might make some think that it lacks structural stability. In reality, you are getting a very stable platform.
The lack of lateral supports is due to a shorter footprint for the most part. Overall, this entire setup inspires confidence. Another difference that becomes apparent is the different weight stack. This model features 120 lbs stack riding on two rails. Despite it lacking a cage, this stack moves smoothly and is easy to adjust.
Gold’s Gym XR 55 is a great home gym that is located in the more affordable part of this price range. XR 55 represents everything this brand is about. That translates to a solid fitness machine that offers a solid core performance without putting too much of a dent in your finances.
The frame itself is pretty robust. You can tell that Gold’s Gym didn’t skimp out on materials where they matter the most. The load bearing section of the chassis is spot on. This model comes with 125 lb vinyl weight stack. That makes it pretty much average all things considered. That 125 lb stack gets you some 300 lbs of perceived resistance through various pulley systems. Weights are sitting in a cage and are riding along two rock solid rails.
Adjusting weights is as easy as pulling and resetting a pin. The main difference between this model and our previous pick from Gold’s Gym is that XR55 comes with the pull station included. One thing worth noting is that padding on XR 55 is among the better ones in this segment. Nothing about this home gym is necessarily contoured, but that padding really takes the edge off fatigue.
What Soozier offers with their complete home fitness station is something quite interesting. This is no ordinary home gym. One quick glance at it should tell you that much right away. Soozier really wanted to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth of performance with their home gym. So much so that some might say that they went a bit overboard.
This station comes with the standard arm/chest press combo, a leg developer, a pull station, and a lower pull station. That accounts for the weighted workout stations. Aside from those, you have a push up station on the side, a triceps dip station on the other side, and a sit up bench.
That is a whole lot of value at a very reasonable price. At this point, the next logical question is what kind of quality are we looking at here? Will this home gym last or will it go belly up after a few workout sessions? While the frame and chassis aren’t really as robust as we’d like them to be, both inspire confidence. You can use this home gym and not worry about it failing to keep up with you.
Last but not the least we have a model that is at the very fringes of our price range for this guide. COSTWAY home gym can be described as generic for all intents and purposes. However, long gone are the times when that meant horrific quality and lack of performance.
In a market full of extremely similar machines, it really isn’t that hard to mass produce one that fits the same design but is competitively priced. Interestingly enough, COSTWAY made a few changes of their own to the established design, which arguably makes it more functional. The frame itself is pretty decent. The tubing they have used isn’t as robust as we would like it to be, but it definitely sufficient.
This model features a vinyl weight stack that comes in at 90 lbs. That is probably its main drawback. It is about 50 lbs behind an average model in this category. However, that makes it a good choice for those who just getting started and don’t want to commit to a more expensive home gym. As for the workout stations, you have your usual chest press, pull station, leg developer, but also a lower pull station. Overall, it’s great.
When you look at $500 home gyms and compare them directly to say $300 home gyms, chances are that you won’t see too much of a difference. At last not until you take a much closer look. This lack of an obvious difference is why most new users are wondering whether it is even justifiable to invest into a more expensive home gym. After all, they look pretty similar, right?
Well there’s much more to it than just appearances and those can be quite deceiving too. Much like it is the case with any other type of home fitness equipment, there is one thing that you are guaranteed when you jump from a lower price range to a higher one. We are, of course talking about more options.
Having more options is always a good thing. In case of $500 home gyms, those options include anything from different resistance systems to compact home gyms and more. You are no longer limited to a single format shape or system. Instead, you get to choose a number of different features.
With all that said, let’s look at some obvious differences found in this price range.
Home gyms are traditionally linked to the use of adjustable weights. Weights are the simplest and the most logical choice for a device of this type. That is simply the fact of the matter.
However, over the years we have seen a number of different systems enter the market and offer direct competition to the traditional weights. One that is really worth mentioning is the Bowflex system. The whole point of this type of home gym is the fact that it uses flexible rods to create resistance.
You are still getting all the workout stations and everything you are used to. The benefits of this particular system are numerous, including adding multiple new angles to your workout. This in turn means that you can better target specific muscle groups or perform more niche exercises than you can on a regular home gym.
Aside from novelty resistance systems, one of the main benefits of investing a bit more money into your home gym is the fact that doing so guarantees better build quality. Even though designs won’t necessarily change too dramatically, you will be presented with much more reliable machines, better built frames and overall better materials.
If we are being completely honest, this price range is the best place for an absolute beginner to start if that is an option. Budget home gyms are good all things considered, but you should always get the best possible model your money can buy. That is just the best way to go about doing this.
One of the more important practical improvements is the introduction of new workout stations. Aside from the standard chest press, pull station and leg developer, you will see additional stations. Which one exactly will depend on the model you go with.
Some home gyms in this segment combine weighted stations with body weight stations. That way you are getting a really well balanced tool for getting your body into shape at home.
At the end of the day investing a bit more in your home gym is always a good choice. As you can see, once you go over that $300 threshold, you are exposed to a whole new world of opportunities.
Machines from this segment are truly something else compared to the absolute beginner models. Speaking of which, the machines we have chosen for this list are absolutely some of the best you can get for this kind of money.
All you’re left to do is figure out which one best fits your style, preferences and needs. It’s simple as that.