What is the Best Home Gym Reviews in 2019?

Weight bench with weights in a garage home gym.

When it comes to working out, some people prefer going to a public gym while other prefer to work out at home. One option isn’t necessarily better than the other and they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Deciding to invest in a home gym is a big decision for most people, and it is important to consider all the facts and make sure you select the right equipment for you. Everyone’s individual exercise goals and needs are different.

There are many different styles of home gyms on the market, and they do vary in quality, price and exercise options.

When it comes to best home gym reviews, you can find all the information you need right here!

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
Smith Cage Workout Machine

Marcy

Smith Cage Workout Machine

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

Click for price
  • All-steel construction - This home gym system is made with heavy-duty steel frame reinforced with durable powder coated...
  • Multi-functional press arms - this versatile weight system home gym is designed with dual Action press arms. The press arms...
  • Dual-action leg developer - featuring a dual-function leg developer with six oversize rocker pads and a row/curl bar, This...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Home Gym category


Our #2 Rated
XLS – Universal Home Gym

Total Gym

XLS – Universal Home Gym

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

Click for price
  • As Seen on TV with Chuck Norris & Christie Brinkley
  • Resistance training with 6 levels
  • 400 lb weight capacity for total strength and stability
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym category


Our #3 Rated
EXM3000LPS Light Commercial Gym

Body-Solid

EXM3000LPS Light Commercial Gym

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

Click for price
  • 7 unique stations offer a wide variety of total-body strength building exercises
  • Thick, durable DuraFirm pads are contoured for lumbar support and fully adjustable
  • Includes dual 210 pound weight stacks positioned within easy reach for quick, safe weight selection
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Home Gym category


Our #4 Rated
Xtreme 2SE Home Gym

Bowflex

Xtreme 2SE Home Gym

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

Click for price
  • 70 plus exercises that cover the entire body
  • 210 pounds of Power Rod resistance, upgradeable to 310 pounds or 410 pounds
  • Multiple cable or pulley positions with the Quick Change Power Rod system
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym category


Our #5 Rated
Xpress Pro Home Gym

BodyCraft

Xpress Pro Home Gym

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

Click for price
  • Bench Press Station with adjustable starting point
  • Cable Station with adjustable arms
  • Seat and seat back are adjustable
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Gym category

What Is a Home Gym?

Weight benches, weights, pull up bars and other exercise machines in the best home gym.

A home gym is often an all in one machine, although some are accompanied by a free standing weights bench, which performs many of the exercises for which you generally need several different pieces of gym equipment.

Home gyms come in several different forms, from one basic work station from which you can adjust the weights and pulleys to perform a range of different exercises to home gyms that incorporate several different work stations. This allows the equipment to be used by more than one person at a time.

It is important to recognize that it’s hard to find one piece of gym equipment for every single fitness need, but home gyms tend to be the best option for covering the majority of exercises and helping to achieve most of your fitness goals.

Who Needs a Home Gym?

A home gym is a great piece of kit for anyone who is serious about their health and fitness. Home gyms generally provide a great workout for all the major muscle groups.

Depending on how you use your home gym, it can be used for building muscle mass and power or for muscle toning and endurance.

Home gyms can be used by people of all fitness levels, from those who are new to regular exercise right through to high level experienced athletes.

Although many people may have traditionally viewed home gyms as being equipment primarily used by men, they are just as appropriate for women to use – there’s no gender stereotyping here!

Advantages of Home Gyms

Woman with cap on working out at the gym.

The decision to buy a home gym isn’t one to be taken lightly; you need to consider everything carefully and make the right choice for you. There are many different positive aspects of having your own home gym:

One Stop Body Shop

Because a home gym offers the flexibility of being able to cover a huge range of different workouts – sometimes over 70 or 80 different exercises – you only need one machine to do pretty much everything.

This leads us nicely on to…

Space Saver

Because a home gym covers such a wide range of different exercises that benefit the majority or all of the major muscle groups, it effectively replaces several different pieces of individual fitness equipment.

This means you can only need to find the space for one machine in your home rather than having to find room for several machines plus clearance space for each of them.

Privacy

We’ve all seen the iron men in the local gym, muscles rippling, bench pressing more with one index finger than most people can lift with two hands.

Despite everything we personal trainers do to try and make a gym welcoming and user-friendly for everyone, it’s not a surprise to me that some people find gyms a little overwhelming.

Home gyms can offer a way to work out in complete privacy without feeling self-conscious, and without the pressure of feeling you have to be seen to be working with more weight than you should.

One word of note, however, especially for beginners: I would recommend going to your local gym for a few sessions even if your plan is to buy your own equipment. Ask the staff when the quietest times are, and spend some time with one of the trainers getting to know how best to exercise safely and effectively.

Long Term Potential Money Saver

Although the initial purchase cost is usually pretty high, if you choose a good quality machine and maintain it well, people often find that their home gym saves them money in the long run.

The primary saving is obviously in terms of not paying for costly gym membership, but there are other cost savings too, such as having no travel costs because you do your workout at home.

In addition, some people find that working out in the privacy of their own home means they spend less on exercise clothing, as they don’t feel the peer pressure of keeping up with the latest exercise fashion trends.

A home gym can also save money on childcare if this is an issue for you – obviously you need to make sure your child is safe and secure while you work out, they can be with you while you work out and you can keep an eye on them at the same time, and it gets them interested in fitness from an early age!

Lastly, a gym membership has to be paid regardless of whether you’re out of town on a business trip or on vacation, and whether or not you have time to go to the gym. Your home gym equipment will wait patiently for you and not using it while you’re on vacation will save you money in terms of maintenance.

Time Saver

As well as saving money, the convenience of having a home gym also saves you time.

Instead of having to travel for say 10 or 15 minutes a day – or more for some people – it takes seconds to get to your workout destination, which means that you can have your workout done and dusted in the same time as it normally takes to you to reach your local gym!

Another good point about how home gyms save time is that there’s no waiting around for various machines and equipment as in a public gym. There’s no-else sitting around chatting with their buddies between or after their sets, so you can work out more efficiently with a home gym.

Convenience

With a membership to a local gym, you will always be limited as to what time you can work out. While many gyms offer reasonably long opening hours, it’s hard to find a gym that’s open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

As your home gym is there for you to use whenever you want, you can work out whenever you have the time – even if it happens to be 5am or past midnight when the kids are in bed.

You’re the DJ!

Your home gym also offers the opportunity of choosing your own workout music, which may be a small point to some, but to many people this is a major motivational factor when working out.

A home gym also means you can make as much noise as you want without people stopping and staring at you, so if you need to vent while getting through that last rep, there’s no problem with a home gym!

Disadvantages of Home Gyms

Exercise machines, weight benches, weights and pull-up bar in a home gym.

Of course, in making an informed decision it’s important to balance the positive and negative points. Here are the potential drawbacks of a home gym:

Initial Cost

Good quality home gyms don’t come cheap, and one that costs less than several hundred dollars probably isn’t going to cut it, especially when it comes to the durability of the machine.

So the financial outlay for a home gym is usually considerable, and although in the long run it’s possible to recoup a lot, if not all, of the cost, you do have to find the money to spend in the first place.

Finding Space

While home gyms provide a more compact option than buying several different machines to do a variety of exercises, most home gyms do take up a reasonably large space.

It’s important to do your homework and make sure you have enough space – and don’t forget to include clearance space around the machine too – for the model of home gym you want to buy.

While some machines for total body exercise can be folded and stored, many of them need a permanent, dedicated space. If you have a decent sized spare bedroom or enough space in your garage then great, but a home gym isn’t something most people would want set up in the middle of their lounge!

Extra Cardio Workout

The one thing that home gyms don’t do very well is an effective cardio workout. This is essential for improving heart and lung efficiency in delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscles.

It is important to recognize that while a home gym can have pretty much everything else covered, you are probably going to want to either invest in one other piece of equipment specifically for this purpose, or plan some other kind of cardio-focused activity into your program, such as running.

Motivation or Distraction?

As we discussed, there are pros and cons of having a home gym, and this point depends entirely on the user.

Some people find the convenience and accessibility of a home gym great to motivate them to work out more regularly and enjoy all of the positives that a home gym has to offer.

Other people find that they like the whole experience of going to a gym and consider it some of their time to take a bit of personal space. Some people find it difficult to find time to workout at home when there are so many other things to do, and other family commitments.

If You’re Undecided about a Home Gym

If you think a home gym might suit your needs, but you’re not 100 percent sure, my advice would be to start small.

Consider investing in a decent quality machine for a reasonable price, and there are some good bits of kit available for less than, say, $1000.

Even if in the long term you decide that a home gym is not the right choice for you, you are likely to be able to get at least some of your money’s worth as you try it out, and there’s always the option of selling it on if you want to.

In this way, you get to try out using a home gym to see if it suits you in a way that won’t hurt your pocket so much.

Home Gym Hints and Tips

Whatever home gym you decide is right for you, it is important to make sure you follow some essential advice to make sure you use your machine safely and effectively.

Here are my top tips for home gyms:

Look for a machine that covers all the main muscle groups – biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, abs and legs. Machines that cover all of these groups are going to the best value for money options.

When placing your home gym, consider that it needs to be in a location which is comfortable all year round. While a garage might be perfect for summer when you can throw open the garage door and work out to your heart’s content, it may not be the best option if it gets really cold in winter to motivate yourself to get out of best and hit the stack.

Also consider the surface that you intend siting your home gym on. Make sure it is even for maximum stability, and consider using a floor covering, like an exercise mat to provide some cushioning. A mirror can be a useful addition, too – to check out your technique as well as admiring your new physique!

Make sure your home gym is assembled correctly. In general, it’s best to assemble these types of equipment with the bolts not fully tightened until after you have everything in place, then go back and tighten everything up.

As there are lots of moving parts on home gyms, consider giving everything a little extra greasing to reduce friction and make sure the parts last as long as possible.

Follow the safety instructions. Most home gyms come with safety advice and it is absolutely essential you know how to use each part to avoid injury. I know it’s not in some people’s nature, but take your time to study the manual, or look up information online about the particular model of home gym you have purchased.

Warm up and cool down properly. I know I go on and on about this, but there is a reason for it. Not preparing the body properly for exercise – especially resistance training – is the single biggest cause of injury, and yet people still don’t do it.

Slow and steady wins the race. While it feels satisfying to pump that iron, you will get the most benefit from doing slow, controlled reps and ensuring good technique with no snatching each and every time. This is not only the best way to push your muscles to the limit, it’s also the best way to avoid injury.

Get into a routine. It’s easy to think that just because you have a home gym that’s accessible 24-7, you can use it anytime, but it is important to still have a proper gym routine to achieve your fitness goals. Try to find a dedicated, regular time slot for your home gym workout.

Research new exercises. It’s easy to get into a rut with your workout, especially if you’re exercising alone. Keep it interesting by regularly checking out information on the internet and reminding yourself of exercises you don’t often use, as well as discovering new ways to use your home gym.

Best Home Gym Reviews

There is a huge range of home gyms of different types and quality available on the market. At the top end, you can spend amounts ranging into tens of thousands of dollars for a home gym, but this is not practical for many people.

After a lot of research, I’ve come up with five different machines which I think are reasonably priced and offer some excellent options for a great home workout.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Marcy

Smith Cage Workout Machine

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This is a serious contender when it comes to an all in one home gym. Users were impressed with the quality and stability of the machine, the range of exercise options and the safety features, such as the adjustable catches and safety stoppers.

People really liked the smooth movement when using the pulley functions and the separate Olympic weight bench. Most users found this was an easy machine to work out on, and offers a fantastic variety of exercise options.

People thought this machine was built to last, although some found assembly difficult, but at one of the lowest prices of the machines we reviewed, this is a home gym system that offers great value for money.

Pros
Pro Dimensions: 95 x 79 x 86 inches
Pro Bench press
Pro Pectoral fly station
Pro Lat bar
Pro Cable cross dual pulley system
Pro Dual action leg developer
Pro Bicep preacher curl
Pro Mid-row handle
Pro 6 Olympic plate storage pegs
Pro Non-slip rubber feet
Pro 2-year limited parts warranty
Cons
Con Taller users may find full range of motion difficult
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Total Gym

XLS – Universal Home Gym

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This machine from Total Gym is a very popular choice with users. Its full body workout system uses bodyweight as resistance and allows you to work on several different muscle groups at one time, making for a very efficient workout.

Users liked the slimline design and the fact that it folds up easily, allowing it to be stored under a bed when not in use. People found this machine easy to use, and provides just as many exercise options as a machine that takes up more than twice the space.

Most users thought that this was a good quality machine which was fun to use and an excellent option for home exercise. At the lowest price of the machines we reviewed, it is excellent value for money, although some people had defective cables on their machines and had problems when dealing with customer service.

Pros
Pro Dimensions: 90 x 19 x 43 inches
Pro Squat stand
Pro Pulley and cable system for upper body
Pro Wing attachment for pull ups/chins ups and inclined crunches
Pro Leg pull attachment
Pro Non-slip rubber footplate
Pro Compact
Pro Folds easily for storage
Pro Lifetime frame warranty
Pro 6-month warranty on moving parts
Cons
Con Poor customer service reported by some users
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Body-Solid

EXM3000LPS Light Commercial Gym

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This machine offers a huge variety of workout options with seven workout stations although it does takes up a fair amount of space. It is an excellent quality machine which although difficult to assemble impressed users with the versatility and 2:1 weights stack ratio, which results in an impressive 420 lb of resistance.

People liked the dual overhead cams and six increment settings on the pec deck and the smoothness of the lat pulldown station. Users also liked the dual weight stack, which allows more than one person to use this machine at the same time.

Users thought this was a great all-round home gym which covers all major muscle groups, is solid and sturdy, and well worth the initial investment, especially given the lifetime warranty.

Pros
Pro Dimensions: 91 x 73 x 83 inches
Pro Bench press
Pro Shoulder press
Pro Incline press
Pro Ab crunch/chest supported mid-row exercise station
Pro Adjustable pec station
Pro 420 lb leg press
Pro Non-slip rubber footplate
Pro Lifetime frame and parts warranty
Cons
Con Not easy to assemble
Con Requires a large area of space.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Bowflex

Xtreme 2SE Home Gym

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This is a great option to consider, especially if space is an issue, as it has one of the smallest footprints of any home gym. It’s a really versatile machine, and the 210 lbs. of resistance can be upgraded if needs be.

Users liked the no-change cable pulley system, which makes a workout flow really smoothly and means you can change from squats to lats in seconds and keep you heart rate up throughout.

People were impressed with the sturdiness and quality of the machine. The only downside is that some people felt the power rods will lose resistance over time and need to be replaced, and this isn’t covered by the warranty.

Pros
Pro Dimensions: 53 x 49 x 83.25 inches
Pro Leg extension
Pro Ab crunch harness
Pro Lat tower
Pro 4 position lower pulley and squat station
Pro Non-slip rubber footplate
Pro Compact
Pro 7-year frame warranty
Pro Lifetime rods warranty – covers defects only
Cons
Con Power rods may need replacing periodically at user’s expense
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

BodyCraft

Xpress Pro Home Gym

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This a strong, high quality home gym which is surprisingly compact and offers an impressive range of exercise options. People liked the adjustable cable arms which move 180 degrees, the 220 lbs. weight stack and the unique double cable design that increases the resistance to 400 lbs.

Users also liked being able to easily adjust the ergonomically designed comfortable seat while sitting on it, and the overall design. In addition to being compact, this machine can also be placed against a wall, so there’s no need for clearance space around the entire machine as is needed with other home gyms.

People generally thought this was a nice machine to work out on, liked the smooth action; even though it’s a bit pricey, most thought it was worth the money, although some thought the leg press should be included in the base price and found assembly a bit tricky.

Pros
Pro Dimensions: 83 x 57 x 82.75 inches
Pro Low pulley station
Pro High pulley station
Pro Incline press
Pro Bench press
Pro Shoulder press
Pro Mid row
Pro Leg extension and curl station
Pro Fully adjustable seat
Pro Lifetime warranty
Cons
Con Difficult to assemble
Con Full leg press costs extra
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Choice for the Best Home Gym

Out of all the machines we reviewed, when it comes to home exercise, the prize for the best home gym in my opinion goes to the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System. It is an excellent quality home gym which is sturdy and built to last.

People liked the range of exercise options this home gym provides, and found it easy to use once they had mastered the assembly; in this case, two heads are probably better than one.

Users really liked the smooth operation of this home gym as well as the safety features which allow the use of a bar without a spotter, and the addition of plate storage pegs is a nice touch.

At one of the lowest priced home gyms we reviewed, and with a reasonable warranty from a company with a well-established good reputation in the health and fitness industry, this machine offers excellent value for money.

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