The best home gym machines and equipment for your garage or living room in 2021

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ProForm; Amazon; Everlast; Alyssa Powell/Insider
  • Working out at home can be just as effective as going to the gym — but you need the right equipment to do it.
  • When outfitting a home gym, consider how much space you have and the kinds of workouts you plan on doing.
  • Below are 10 of our favorite pieces of home gym equipment including dumbbells, exercise machines, and resistance bands.

Working out at home is more popular now than ever, and it's the growing prevalence of home gym equipment that's one of the main reasons why. With just a few pieces of gear, you can uniquely customize your living space to function as well as, if not better than, your local gym. 

Maybe you pair a set of dumbbells or resistance bands with a treadmill to work on building strength and maintaining your cardio. Perhaps you'd prefer something a little more comprehensive like an all-in-one home gym. The ability to tailor your home gym to exactly what you need is invaluable.

As the fitness editor for Insider Reviews, I'm constantly sweat-testing just about anything considered home gym-worthy. This includes things like kettlebells and jump ropes, as well as yoga mats, cable machines, and exercise bikes.

Below are 10 of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment. Instead of rushing out and buying all of them, I recommend you first consider what it is you want to accomplish and the workouts you want to do, then pick and choose the gear that fits that best.

At the end of this guide, you'll also find answers to a few home gym FAQs, as well as insight into how I tested everything

Here's the best home gym equipment:

Best treadmill for home


The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a versatile at-home option that's great for racers, casual runners, and anyone looking to keep up with steady cardio exercise. 

Pros: Strong construction, great features, iFit compatibility, ProShox cushioning for soft landings

Cons: Expensive, takes up space

The beauty of a treadmill is that no matter where you're starting from, it accommodates your current fitness level and will adapt as your capacity changes. You can walk, jog, or run all at your own speed and preference.

The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is an excellent choice no matter your fitness level or skill. It may remind you of the treadmills you see in a brick-and-mortar gym, as it has the same type of features. There's the ability to incline up to 15%, decline down to negative 3%, as well as a 7-inch color screen that's compatible with a range of interactive workouts from iFit. 

This treadmill also has a reliable 3.5-horsepower motor, a wide belt deck that's great for almost all runners, and a soft belt that helps reduce the impact of each stride. There's even a music port for plugging in a music player and fitness app access. 

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best treadmills

Best exercise bike for home


NordicTrack's S22i Studio Cycle is like having your own personal cycling coach and the bike's auto-resistance and incline/decline means all you have to do is focus on the ride.

Pros: Globe-spanning video content; large variety of ride types, including mountain bikes, road bikes, and casual rides; automatic resistance and incline/decline control

Cons: Expensive

The S22i Studio Cycle from NordicTrack is our favorite at-home stationary bike for a number of reasons, mainly the fact it has an extensive library of globe-spanning rides and features automatic resistance and incline/decline control. This means that while you're riding, all you need to do is pedal away and the bike makes all the necessary changes for you.

Regarding its content library, NordicTrack features the iFit suite of workouts (same with its treadmills and row machines). What iFit offers is more than just the standard in-studio rides (though it does have that, too), but also the ability to choose a wide variety of locale-based routines. This means that you could bike up Mt. Fuji one day while following along a mountain bike course in Chile the next. And each ride is led by one of iFit's many trainers, most of which are professional cyclists. 

Not only does this add more variety and diversity than a trainer trying to motivate you from a dimly lit room while techno blasts in the background, but it's also a refreshing change of pace that allows you to still get a damn good workout. 

Its large onboard screen provides crisp video playback while showing you where you stand against other riders who've ridden the same course — and the interface keeps track of how many miles you've done each week, the number of hours you've been on the bike, and how much elevation you've gained. There's even a built-in fan you can use to keep you (mostly) cool while riding. 

Though the S22i Studio Cycle isn't exactly cheap (it retails for $1,999), it does offer a comprehensive solution for anyone who wants a full-featured cardio machine in their home. It's been one of our favorite stationary bikes for some time, and a staple of our at-home workouts.

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best exercise bikes

Best all-in-one gym


The Tempo Studio is the definition of an all-in-one gym — it has hundreds of guided workouts with helpful trainer feedback and a wide selection of weights in one package.  

Pros: Like having an entire gym in your living room, all components are premium in quality, trainer feedback on form and technique is really helpful, so many unique workouts and classes, touchscreen is bright and easy to use

Cons: Expensive, somewhat of a steep learning curve for new users who haven't put weights on a dumbbell or barbell before

The Tempo Studio cabinet is one of the absolute best fitness products I've tested. It came around at a time when I couldn't access my local gym yet it quickly showed me that that didn't matter; it had literally everything I needed to do every gym workout I wanted from the comfort of my apartment. 

In essence, it's like the Peloton of an all-in-one gym. It features a large onboard screen that provides access to hundreds of newly uploaded classes across a variety of types. This includes HIIT routines, strength training, core workouts, low-impact classes, cardio boxing, and yoga, among others. 

Then there's the cabinet and its bevy of weights, which includes two dumbbell handles and a full barbell. To use these, you just slide a weight on either side (each routine that requires this clearly states it prior to any workout). C0llars are also included to avoid the weights from flying off, too. 

The entire package is a masterclass in quality, effectiveness, variety, and fun — and at around $2,200, it's not much more expensive than the top-of-the-line treadmills or exercise bikes. If you prefer lifting weights to indoor cardio, the Tempo Studio cabinet is absolutely for you.

What else we recommend:

Read our full review of the Tempo Studio

$1,995.00 from Tempo
Originally $2,495.00Save 20%

Best cable machine


The MaxPro machine is the ultimate resistance training device that offers custom coaching and comes in a highly portable (and cost-effective) package.

Pros: Resistance up to 300 pounds, can support everything from cardio and strength training to suspension and HIIT workouts, weighs just 9 pounds, easily portable, comes with a compatible smartphone app for suggested workouts

Cons: Little bit of a learning curve for new users, some exercises require the purchase of a separate bench

If you're looking for a more versatile resistance training workout, consider the MaxPro, a device that's a cross between Tonal, TRX's training straps, and traditional resistance bands. The device itself weighs just nine pounds but offers resistance from as low as five pounds on up to 300 — which is plenty no matter how big your goals are. 

What I've liked most about using the MaxPro is its simple portability. The machine easily folds up and can be used just about anywhere. I've taken it with me while traveling, used it at a friend's house, and even set it up both in the living room of my apartment and on my back patio, and using it in each location delivered a similar experience. 

One of the biggest prerequisites of using a device like this is being interested in a resistance-only type workout. We've written before about how resistance bands offer a better workout than dumbbells, and the same is true with the MaxPro — so long as you're using it correctly. 

What helps bridge the knowledge gap between someone who's used to resistance training and those just starting out is its companion coaching app. Instead of just having to develop resistance routines on your own, the app allows users to input fitness goals and some personal info before it spits out uniquely tailored routines. This reduces the learning curve significantly. 

Price-wise, the MaxPro isn't cheap but compared to other systems like it, it's relatively fair. The device by itself costs around $800 via Amazon (which is a sale price off its normal $900 price tag, and a great deal), while the Elite bundle, which comes with a bench, a backpack for storage, and an installable wall track system, runs roughly $1,400.

What else we recommend:

Best resistance bands


TheraBands' resistance bands are thin and lightweight, yet offer a surprising amount of resistance perfect for a variety of home workouts.

Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, offers a wide range of resistance

Cons: Might not be suitable for someone looking for intense resistance

Resistance bands are simple pieces of workout equipment that offer a wide range of uses, and this kit from TheraBands is the perfect addition to any home gym. They allow for a weight range of 2.4 pounds on up to 21.3 pounds, giving you the ability to add minimal resistance to a high-intensity routine or ramp it up for deadlifts or upright rows.

Each resistance band is lightweight and thin but still delivers durable performance (even if it feels like it might tear). Also, their latex-free design means anyone with a latex allergy needn't be worried. 

The TheraBands resistance band kit is also highly portable. Void of any handle or extra material, each band folds down compact enough to throw into a small gym back for easy transport or storage. And at $14, they're inexpensive, too. This makes them an easy addition to anyone's home gym, whether you're looking to add another layer to your strength training or increase the intensity of your cardio workouts. 

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best resistance bands

Best home dumbbells


PowerBlock's dumbbells offer weight up to 24 pounds in each hand, feature a comfortable, balanced grip, and allow for a variety of exercises.

Pros: Max weight of 24 pounds per hand, relatively affordable compared to similar dumbbells, sturdy and comfortable grip

Cons: Awkward weight-changing mechanism, can feel a bit long when at max weight, max of 24-lbs might not be enough for heavy lifters

Dumbbells are a crucial addition to any home gym. Not only do they do well for anyone trying to improve their curl form, but they also work well for a variety of lifts including squats, shoulder presses, lunges, and pushups (among others).

But snagging a pair of adjustable dumbbells is a smart way to save space and reap more versatility for your workouts. The key to finding a good set rests with how comfortable they are to use and how much available weight they allow. PowerBlock's dumbbells do well to check each of these boxes.

They feature a handle centered on the device to allow for a comfortable feel and grip, as well as a design that makes them incredibly easy to stow.

Though a set of PowerBlock dumbbells sets you back roughly $500, its ability to allow for multiple exercises across a large range in weight makes it one of the best options for any home gym. 

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide on the best dumbbells

Best jump rope


The Crossrope Get Lean Set is a versatile jump rope that comes with two different ropes and app compatibility for targeted workouts and weekly routines. 

Pros: A great workout, perfect for travel, smooth performance, multiple weight options of the rope

Cons: Jumping rope is high-impact, so if you have problems with your knees or back, it might be too intense for you.

According to the American Council on Exercise, jumping rope not only torches calories in the moment, but it also increases the resiliency of your lower-leg muscles, improves balance and coordination, and ups your cognitive skills. 

When it comes to getting one for your home gym setup, the Crossrope Get Lean Set is an excellent choice. Featuring ergonomic handles, two different weighted ropes (1/2-pound and 1/4-pound), and a companion smartphone application, the Get Lean Set is a great way to improve your cardio or add to an existing full-body or HIIT routine. 

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best jump ropes

Best slam ball


The Flex Slam Ball provides an easy and effective method for improving your strength, flexibility, and explosiveness, and can be incorporated into any at-home fitness routine.

Pros: Available in a variety of weights, easy to use, contributes to a full-body exercise when used properly

Cons: Buying multiple sizes can get expensive

Slam ball workouts may seem basic but when done correctly, they provide an excellent full-body workout. Whether this means adding weighted lunges to your routine, utilizing the ball as a base for side-to-side pushups, or just doing a few tried-and-true ball slams, a slam ball, in general, is a worthy addition to any at-home gym setup — and it's something I use every week.

My personal favorite is the Flex Slam Ball series from Everlast. The brand has historically made durable gear and that's especially true here.

The Flex Slam Ball is available in a range of weights options from 6-pound, textured slam balls up to a 50-pound traditional ball. Each sand-filled ball provides a comfortable grip, durable exterior, and a shock-absorbing design.

What else we recommend:

Best yoga mat for home


Rumi Earth's Sun Yoga Mat is made of a blend of both cotton and natural rubber sap which makes it comfortable underfoot (or hand), and it's great for seasoned yogis or amateurs alike. 

Pros: Comfortable to use, made of non-toxic and eco-friendly materials, available in a variety of sizes, comes from a minority-owned small business

Cons: None

A quality yoga mat makes home workouts that much better and the Sun Yoga Mat from Rumi Earth is one of our absolute favorites. It features a blend of cotton and natural rubber which give the mat a comfortable feel for all types of yoga practices and moves — which is especially appreciated if you're someone like me who falls out of a pose every so often. 

What also makes this mat great is its open-cell design, so anyone who sweats a lot while practicing yoga will appreciate not slipping when changing poses or moving around. Our reviewer put this feature to the test and found that despite dripping with sweat, she never had a problem with traction. 

This mat's 4.3mm thickness (compared to most other mats' 3mm thickness) only adds to its comfort and makes it a great choice for anyone with joint pain. It's not so thick that it's extremely noticeable, either. 

And lastly, Rumi Earth is a minority-owned athleisure company that prides itself on being eco-friendly and using non-toxic materials. Each mat sold by the brand is biodegradable, too, as if you needed more of a reason to support it.

If it's a more complete set of yoga accessories you're after, consider the Complete Yoga Kit Set from Clever Yoga. This not only comes with a quality mat but also a set of blocks, a towel, a cotton strap, and a carrying case to pack it all into. 

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best yoga mats

Best pull-up bar for home

Garren Fitness

The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is easy to install and gives you a great workout that can improve grip strength and help build muscle.

Pros: Comfortable foam grips, unobtrusive, solidly built

Cons: Installation requires drilling into a door jamb, foam grips may wear from heavy-duty use

The Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar is made of chrome steel and comes with three sets of mounting hardware with two of the sets able to support up to 300 pounds of weight. The medium-duty door mount supports 150 pounds and is not recommended for use above waist height.

You can also use the bar without door mounts for sit-up foot support and other light exercises. It's adjustable and fits doorways between 26 and 36 inches wide, and can be installed so that you can still close the door.

The bar features non-slip, extra-long foam grips to ensure you won't easily lose your grip. You shouldn't have any trouble with installation, though it may take a little work to get it to the right length.

What else we recommend:

Read our full guide to the best pull up bars

$34.97 from Amazon
Originally $60.00Save 42%


Is home gym equipment worth the money?

Yes, especially if you plan on using the equipment often.

Outfitting your home gym doesn't have to cost a ton of money or take up a ton of space — even if you're intending to stock an entire garage full of gear. And you certainly don't need a garage or dedicated room — small devices that can be tucked under the coffee table or stored in the corner can go a long way to delivering a better burn without costing a fortune.

It's can be cost-effective to stock up on affordable pieces of high-quality gear like resistance bands or a single set of dumbbells or kettlebells. Just because treadmills or exercise bikes are associated with physical gyms doesn't mean you have to have one (or spend the money on one) to officially deem your workout space a "home gym." 

Are home gyms effective?

Without a doubt. And if you're intentional about the gear you purchase and know exactly how you want to use it, a home gym can be even more effective than a standard in-person fitness studio.

Being able to fully customize the setup of your home gym lets you focus solely on the workouts and exercises that are beneficial to you, thus cutting away all the excess equipment often found at something like a 24-Hour Fitness.

Plus, you don't have to wait your turn to use your equipment. You just use it whenever you want. That level of convenience is nearly impossible to replicate and only adds to a home gym's effectiveness.

Are home workouts better than the gym?

Just because you're not visiting a brick-and-mortar gym or fitness studio, doesn't mean you can't replicate the workouts they offer. Everything from high-intensity interval training and strength workouts to cardio routines and resistance training can easily be done at home.

Here are a few basic exercise categories to familiarize yourself with before jumping into any home workout routine. 

Cardio exercise: Cardio exercise is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as any exercise that raises your heart rate and breaths per minute while repetitively and rhythmically using large muscle groups. That's a fancy way of saying that cardio or aerobic exercise is anything that gets you moving fast and hard enough to break a sweat. Typical cardio exercises include running, biking, jumping rope, etc. 

The benefits of aerobic exercise are many, including weight loss , stronger bones and muscles, better sleep, lowered levels of depression and anxiety, and even the reduced risk of many types of cancer, to name a few.

The ACSM recommends adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, which can be broken down into multiple sessions as short as ten minutes.

Strength training: Strength training — also called resistance training — is the use of exercise against resistance to build and strengthen muscle. That resistance might come from your own body weight, a dumbbell or other hand-held weight, or a wide range of resistance machines.

Along with improved muscle strength and definition, resistance training helps develop bone density and assists with weight loss.

The ACSM recommends healthy adults do strength training two or three times per week, engaging in eight to 10 different exercises focusing on a variety of muscle groups. Beginners should aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, using the amount of weight that leads to muscle fatigue within that set of reps.

Balance and flexibility training: While various cardio and strength-training exercises help improve balance and flexibility, it's important to incorporate training that specifically targets these two functions. They make daily living much easier and help improve your overall health and mental well-being. Aim for at least two balance or flexibility workouts each week.

What should I look for in home gym equipment?

When shopping, it's smart to first develop a workout plan detailing what you want to attain. Though workouts of all varieties do well to work together to improve one's overall fitness, starting out by focusing on one or two areas helps you refine your goals.

Perhaps you want to strength train; purchasing a set of resistance bands or dumbbells is likely where you want to start. If it's cardio or full-body toning you're after, maybe a treadmill or row machine is more appropriate.

This initial research is important because there's so much more to stocking a home gym properly than attempting to mimic the studios you're used to. Study the differences between resistance bands and dumbbells to find what suits you best, download and stream a few at-home workout apps, or figure out the best time to work out each day.

Doing this not only informs how exactly you prefer keeping fit and the best methods for doing so but it ultimately teaches you which equipment is right for you and your home gym. 

How I test home gym equipment

Each piece of home gym equipment featured in this guide went through a series of tests to help determine its effectiveness, ease of use, portability, and value

I considered each piece's feasibility for use in a home, whether there was a steep learning curve, its relative value, how portable or easy to stow it might be, and how practical it is for every day or every week use.

Of course, not all home gyms have the ability to be created in an equal fashion, so the equipment I tested covers a wide variety of use cases that anyone can pick and choose to their liking (and, perhaps most importantly, for what fits their home workout space). This means that if you have the space for a treadmill, you likely won't also be in the market for a stationary bike or an all-in-one gym.

Some of the testing experience I used in compiling this list also took place during the creation of other guides (like our guide to the best treadmills or the best dumbbells). Where necessary, I also included similar equipment that was tested, as well as plenty of links to more focused equipment buying guides on Insider Reviews.

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