While many people are venturing back into their old gyms and public fitness spaces, many more aren’t ready to give up the glorious convenience that comes with home workouts. There’s something about not having to leave the house (and drive and park or take public transit) that makes the whole process that much more appealing. Home gyms come in all shapes and sizes, from the small nook of an apartment living room to a full studio in a finished basement or garage. No matter what your workout space looks like, you’ll find something on this list that will make exercising more enjoyable and effective.
How we test
We’ve brought together men and women of all fitness levels and all home gym setups, ages 32-60. Between the five of us, the group used each item for multiple workouts per week for two months. As we tested each item, we focused on how easy it was to use, how well it fit into our homes, and the quality of workout we got from using it. We also looked at how each item compares to other products we’ve used in the same category.
Products tested: ten
Test weeks: 8
Workouts per week: 10+
Number of hours in the gym: 40+
Review: The best home gym equipment of 2023
NordicTrack iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells ($599)
Adjustable dumbbells are a lifesaver for anyone working out in a small space. This set adjusts from five to 50 pounds in five-pound increments. Dialing in your desired weight takes just seconds: simply plug in the 17 x 19 inch docking station and turn the dial in the middle to select the weight you want. If you’re an Amazon Alexa household, you can use voice commands to make settings remotely. Aside from the fancy technology, the dumbbells themselves also got top marks. The metal grips felt comfortable and properly sized in the hands of various testers; both men and women thought they were easy to hold. And the weights are square with rounded corners, making it easy to exercise by resting them on the floor (like push-up rows) or anything that involves grabbing them by the ends (like a tricep press).
At the end of the line : Perfect for anyone who wants a range of dumbbells but doesn’t have room for a whole rack of weights.
Trango Rock Prodigy Natural Hanging Panel ($100)
Wooden hanging boards tend to be kinder to the skin than plastic ones. This one is made from high-quality beech wood, with smooth, well-machined edges that make working out more comfortable. Easy-to-read labels on the grips help you accurately record workouts and replicate the same workout protocols at home or in the gym. Installing the rails above a door frame or beam is simple (although you will need to pre-drill holes) and the mounting system allows you to slide the two halves of the board horizontally, so you can adjust them to line them up with your shoulder width.
At the end of the line : A skin-friendly tool to train finger strength for rock climbing
Bowflex VeloCore Bike ($1,799-$2,199)
The Velocore offers one of the smoothest rides we’ve ever had on a stationary bike. An “inclined” mode allows the bike to rock from side to side, which simulates real-world riding. It provides a superior workout by engaging your core and provides a realistic feel, especially when following one of the scenic attractions (think Australian beaches, the countryside of the Philippines or the parks of Utah). It offers 100 levels of magnetic resistance, identical to those of a Peloton bike, and records metrics such as time, distance, cadence, resistance, heart rate and calories burned. You can use this information to guide your own training or opt for the algorithm-based adaptive training mode, which uses your training stats to automatically adjust running intensity as your fitness improves. Testers also liked the bike’s phone holder, two water bottle holders, a set of three-pound dumbbells, and versatile pedals that have straps for regular sneakers and clips for bike shoes. A large console (16 or 22 inches) displays guided workout videos or streaming services, an easy-to-use touchscreen dashboard makes it easy to navigate your workout stats, Bluetooth connectivity lets you pair a strap heart rate and the built-in radio comes with playlists organized by genre.
At the end of the line : A smooth stationary bike that offers a realistic feel and has all the technology you need to take your workouts to the next level.
Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill ($999)
The 7.0 AT looks like a standard no-frills treadmill, but this affordable foldable model from Horizon has understated features that enhance the user experience. Although it doesn’t have a video display, it comes with everything you need to get a quality workout. The sturdy 20 x 60-inch belt features shock-absorbing technology that adjusts cushioning based on the strength of each kick and operates at a fairly standard maximum of 12 miles per hour and an incline of 15%. The 325-pound maximum is low compared to luxury treadmills, but high for a foldable model. Convenient slots for storing a phone, tablet, and water bottle, and easy-to-use controls further enhance utility. The 7.0 AT also connects to your smartphone and heart rate belt via Bluetooth, allowing you to sync with fitness apps like Zwift, or play music or a podcast through the built-in speakers. Best of all is how easily it folds up: all you have to do is lift the bottom of the platform and the hydraulic system takes the weight off your hands almost immediately, locking the base in place once that it is vertical.
At the end of the line : A treadmill that saves space and money while maintaining critical performance.
FightCamp ($499 + $39/month subscription)
This Bluetooth-connected punching bag gamifies boxing, making it easy and fun to do solo sparring workouts at home. Sensors in the gloves monitor your movements and sync with the Android and iOS compatible app. This lets you track stats like punch speed, punch frequency, and power output, and work to get faster and more powerful over time. The app also connects to Bluetooth heart rate monitors to track intensity zones and calories burned. Not in the mood to bang things? In addition to kickboxing and boxing workouts, the app offers bodyweight strength training and stretching sessions. The bag is freestanding, so all you have to do is fill the base with sand or water. It’s easy to install, and once you did, it can take a beating and stay put—it didn’t budge even when our 200-pound tester gave it its worst.
At the end of the line : If boxing is your workout of choice and you rely on stats, this smart system gives you all the tools you need to simulate the ring from the comfort of your home.
TRX Bandit ($50)
Simple yet effective, these handles easily attach to any resistance band to add a more comfortable grip (well, no more bands digging into your palms). The large handles are covered with a rubber material that makes them easy to hold for exercises such as vertical rows, overhead presses and deadlifts. They only take seconds to put on, so it’s easy to switch from one band to another mid-workout: just slip the band into the handle and twist it so it lays flat. You can also insert more than one band into the handle if you need to double the resistance.
At the end of the line : Do you like using resistance bands? These handles are the small but visible upgrade you need.
ROLL Recovery R1 Massage Gun ($129)
Any massage gun devotee knows how cumbersome these tools are to pack. This compact, aircraft-grade aluminum iteration is a game-changer. It’s five and a half inches long and weighs just 1.3 pounds, compared to over two pounds and nine plus inches for most full-size percussion massagers. It’s also simple to use: no complex apps or menus, just a single button that lets you cycle through 1800, 2200, 2600 and 3200 rotations per minute. The highest mode is faster than any comparable compact model, and the 40-watt motor, while quiet, is powerful enough not to lag even at the highest pressures. The R1 is easy to use on difficult muscle groups thanks to the short handle engraved with a textured pattern so it’s easy to hold at any angle. Of the four varied attachment heads, we preferred the firm foam ball and sometimes enjoyed the deep fascia release of the U-shaped hard head. The brand claims this device lasts for seven hours of use per charge (it uses a USB connector); we were able to use it for a full week of daily massages before recharging.
At the end of the line : If you love your massage gun but don’t like to travel with it, this compact model will get you on the road without compromising on performance.
How to buy
Choosing the best products for your home gym depends on the type of workout you want to do. Do you especially like cardio? Invest in a treadmill, exercise bike, or stationary bike. Do you prefer weight training? Spend your money and available space on equipment such as kettlebells, dumbbells and a weight bench. Many sports require a combination of specialized equipment, like hangboards or exercise bikes, as well as tools for general strength training and recovery.
Next, you need to consider your space constraints. In many cases, deciding which home gym equipment to invest in comes down to identifying what will get you the most bang for your buck. The good news: whether you have an entire basement to work out in or are confined to a small corner of a living room, you can find great options for equipment and accessories to build your gym. home gym.
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