One Great Home Gym Can Fulfill 99% of Your Exercise Needs

Man exercises using Tonal Home Gym
Courtesy of Tonal
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So you’re looking to buy one of the best home gyms, but you don’t know where to start. We get it. Maybe you’re on a budget or perhaps you’re just not too familiar with the best home gym equipment. That’s where we can help.

Not only do we know quite a bit about working out at home without equipment, but we’ve also tried some of the best home gym machines and equipment. Whether it’s the best smart home gym equipment, the best dumbbells, the best treadmills or the best gym shoes, we take health and fitness seriously and can help you figure out what the best home gym equipment is for you.

So jumpstart your home fitness journey today and check out some of the best home gym equipment below. Any one of these tools or machines will help turn your garage or unused room into one of the best home gyms money can buy.

  

1. Bowflex Blaze Home Gym

BEST OVERALL

If you visit SPY even semi-regularly then you know we tout Bowflex’s equipment pretty regularly. While you might assume it’s because they pay us (trust us, they absolutely do not), the truth is a lot simpler. Bowflex’s home gyms, more than just about any other equipment you can buy, can transform any room into a home workout center.

Truly, any machines from the Bowflex Home Gym Series will drastically improve what you can do at home. The Bowflex Blaze is the middle-of-the-road machine in the series, but it’s also an overall fantastic machine that will add value on day one to any budding home workout space.

With this machine, you can perform more than 60 exercises to strengthen your entire body, including bench presses, shoulder press, bicep curls, lat rows and pull-downs, leg presses and extensions. We’re certain if you’re creative you can figure out even more ways to use the machine than we or even Bowflex ever considered.

There are two keys to the machine that make it so great. First, it’s adjustable in thoughtful ways, so you can perform different kinds of exercises and better customize how you perform them. The second is Bowflex’s choice to go with 210 pounds of resistance rods instead of heavy weights or plates. While that might be a downer for purists, the use of rods delivers two immediate benefits: The design could be a lot simpler and the end product could be much cheaper. And if you’re worried about topping out on the resistance rods, fear not because this machine is upgradable to 310 and 410 pounds of resistance to keep you pushing your limits for years to come.

Overall, if you’re able to get in your cardio in some other way and can only buy just one thing, we think the Bowflex Blaze is one of the best home gyms out there.

Worst-case scenario, if the Blaze is sold out (or being sold for ridiculous mark-up), go for the Bowflex PR1000, the lowest-end machine in the Bowflex Home Gym Series. You can’t do quite as many kinds of exercises — more like 25 — and it’s not upgradeable beyond its original 200 pounds, but it still offers more than enough strength training options to qualify as one of the best home gyms.

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. Marcy MWM-988 Home Gym

RUNNER-UP

If you just can’t abide resistance rods, the Marcy MWM-988 Home Gym will be more up your alley. You can do chest presses, chest flys, leg extensions, lat pulldowns and more, and you can do it all with 150 pounds of good ol’ reliable metal plates. And if you can’t remember everything you can do with this machine, it’s OK. Like a lot of great professional home gym equipment, there’s a sticker on the machine showing you the most popular exercises you can do.

Marcy Home Gym Courtesy of Amazon

  

3. Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rowing Machine

BEST FOR FULL-BODY EXERCISES

If you were lucky enough to never row or join your school’s crew team, then you may never have exercised on an erg machine. An erg machine, or rowing machine, is the single best piece of equipment for a full-body workout.

The machine essentially simulates the act of rowing. Rowing works the heck out of the lower and upper bodies, not to mention puts your cardio to the test. When you row, you’re engaging your upper back, your chest, arms, abs, obliques, quads, calves and glutes.

So when you get off an erg machine, because you’ve just spent a good chunk of time working practically every muscle, your entire body feels sore.

But that whole-body pain delivers whole-body gain in just one piece of equipment, so anywhere you’ve got an erg machine is going to be the best home gym.

We recommend the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rowing Machine for most people. It’s quiet, has a nice large display so you can see your settings and exercise stats in real-time and it offers a compatible app to track your workouts over time.

What also makes it a great home gym pick is the unique inclusion of footpads on the front of the machine. When you stand on the pads on the front of the machine, you can grab the handlebar to perform front raises, tricep extensions, side raises and reverse grip curls to help strengthen your upper body.

Fitness Reality Rowing Machine, Erg Machine Courtesy of Amazon

  

4. NordicTrack T Series 6.5Si Treadmill

BEST FOR RUNNING

OK, we admit we’re stretching the definition of a home gym machine here. Typically the best home gym equipment is a one-stop-shop for as many exercises as possible. But there’s a good chance that no matter what home gym equipment you end up buying, if you want decent cardio, you’re going to want a great treadmill. Just think of it as the best home gym for running.

When it comes to the best treadmill, we think you can’t do much better than the NordicTrack T Series Treadmill.

The basics: You can go up to 10 mph and the treadmill can reach up to 10 degrees of incline for a seriously challenging run.

The bells and whistles: NordicTrack’s FlexSelect cushioning is designed to resemble outdoor running and give you a lower impact workout. One-touch controls on a 10-inch screen make it a breeze to change settings on the fly. It also has rollers for easy moving and can fold up, which means it doesn’t need to completely take over the room it’s in.

The next-level features: You get a free month to NordicTrack’s iFit program with trainer-led classes that, thanks to built-in speakers, you don’t need to wear headphones to listen to. The iFit program also lets you make your own running path anywhere in the world so you can feel like you’re getting out even when you can’t.

Sure, the treadmill is pricey and yeah, you’ll have to pony up if you want to continue the iFit program, but everything else about the NordicTrack T Series is just a winner. If you’re serious about the best home gym equipment, this treadmill will keep you running well into the future.

NordicTrack T Series Treadmill Courtesy of Amazon

  

5. Peloton Bike

BEST FOR CYCLING

We couldn’t talk about the best home gyms without also touching on the Peloton Bike.

In short, when it comes to cycling and just great home gyms, the Peloton Bike is one of the finest we’ve ever used. Yes, it is true you’ll fork over more than $2,000 for the privilege of riding a non-moving bike in your own home, but if you’re a cycling enthusiast this is one investment we suggest you consider just due to the overall package Peloton is selling.

First, on the bike itself, it’s just a great cycling bike. It features an adjustable seat, Bluetooth connectivity for headphones and heart rate monitoring on a device like a smartwatch as well as a quiet belt drive so you can cycle without disturbing the peace.

It also features a 22-inch HD touchscreen, which would normally be overkill, but not when Peloton offers an on-demand library of cycling classes with different instructors, music and durations. Whether you need a full-on 90-minute grind or just a five-minute warm-up, you’ll find options.

The combination of these two things — a high-quality exercise bike and on-demand, instructor-guided spin classes — just offers a cycling experience like no other and Peloton’s customer service is top-notch. Depending on which package you purchase, Peloton also throws in some cycling essentials like shoes, bike weights and headphones.

There’s only one major downside: You recall that sweet on-demand library of classes with instructors and music to help push you to your maximum? Yeah, to get the bike’s biggest selling point, you have to subscribe for $39 per month to get it and the companion app, and you must subscribe when you purchase the bike, though you can cancel it later. But without it, you basically just have an excellent exercise bike.

But when you consider that you likely spend about that much in a gym membership and on any in-person classes, the math makes a lot more sense.

Peloton Bike Courtesy of Peloton

  

6. Tonal Home Gym

SMARTEST HOME GYM

The Tonal Home Gym is definitely the most radical home gym solution you can spend your money on.

Everything else here is pretty traditional: Buy equipment, move weight, get fit.

But the Tonal Home Gym tries to do two forward-thinking things at once: Give you one machine for strength training and bring the personal trainer into your home gym.

The machine uses 17 different sensors to detect and learn how you lift so it can cue you on its screen. Further, it can tailor workouts in accordance with your previous workouts and give you different programs for different goals such as toning or muscle building.

Essentially, the Tonal Home Gym is trying to give you the what and the how at the same time in a sleek, minimalist package with up to 200 pounds of built-in resistance.

If you’re looking for something a bit more high-tech that still offers the ability to perform most major upper body exercises and a good deal of lower body exercises, the Tonal is the best home gym for you.

Tonal Home Gym Courtesy of Tonal

  

7. K KingKang Power Tower

BEST FOR BODYWEIGHT EXERCISE

If you’re not looking for anything fancy and just want to build up your core and upper body strength, then you’re going to want to check out the K KingKang Power Tower.

With a sturdy power tower, you can perform chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, Atlas push-ups and knee raises. Across all those exercises, you’re working your biceps, chest, forearms, back, triceps, abs and some obliques.

But what makes the power tower great is you can do all of that with one piece of equipment, no additional weights and with significantly less money than you would need for a more sophisticated exercise machine.

If you’ve never done bodyweight exercises, it would shock you how exhausting they can be and how jacked you can get doing them without ever buying a single dumbbell.

The K KingKang Power Tower has the features to help you accomplish all that, and it has built-in racks for powerlifting if you ever want to add a barbell, plates and workout bench into the mix.

All in all, the power tower is a great, simple, versatile piece of equipment and one of the best home gyms for upper body strength.

K KingKang Power Tower Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Iron Age Pull Up Bar

BUDGET HOME GYM

The pull-up bar almost certainly doesn’t qualify as a true home gym, but hear us out. It may be humble, but a good pull-bar can offer you most of what a great power tower can offer, albeit in a smaller, perhaps less sturdy package. The Iron Age Pull Up Bar is designed for most doorways, so your gym is wherever you have a free door. With this bar, you’ll be able to work your arms, chest, forearms and back with ease, and if you’re really driven and have space you might even be able to pull off some leg raises.

If you’re looking for some upper body development on the relatively cheap side, a pull-up bar may be the best home gym solution for you.

Iron Age Pull-Up Bar Courtesy of Amazon

  

Stay Home, Stay Fit and Stay Comfortable With These Exercise Mats