Today we are taking a look at home exercise equipment, and we are giving you our opinion on the best home exercise equipment that your money can buy for your home gym.
Getting fit and healthy can be tough. Gyms are expensive and can often be over crowded. Sometimes gyms can be daunting to someone that has never been before. But don’t worry all of that is about to change when you build your very own home gym.
In this rather lengthy article I will look at the best home exercise equipment for people of all ages, sizes, sexes and even goals.
I have come up with a huge list of home exercise equipment that I believe is essential to any home gym. So whether your looking for that six pack or just want to run up the stairs without getting out of breath keep on reading.
To start off the best home exercise equipment for any home gym I’m going to discuss different weight sets.
Weight sets are essential for any home exercise equipment. Free weights sometimes called hand weights can be used to build muscle, gain strength and even blast away fat.
In this section I’m will look at free weights/hand weights, adjustable dumbbells and cheap dumbbells for those looking to exercise on a budget.
The first weight set I will look at is the puregadgets 30kg dumbbell set kit.
I chose the above dumbbell set because I feel they are a good introductory weight set for your home exercise equipment.
The weight set comes with 16 different weights that can be adjusted for different strengths through different exercises. The maximum amount of weight that can be put on each bar is 15kg at one time, however if you want to load the bar up and just use one for example on tricep extensions then the maximum weight that can be used is 20kg.
The weight limitation of this weight set along with the price means that it’s a great introduction to lifting to someone who is looking for small hand weights.
After a couple of months of exercise you may outgrow this weight set. If you think that could be the case with you then you may want to get more weight.
You can get this weight set in 30kg, 40kg and even 50kg here.
Hexagonal Dumbbell Set
Personally I am a big fan of hexagonal dumbbells as they don’t roll, and anyone who has had a weight roll over their feet knows how painful it can be, ouch!
The second free weight set that I would recommend is the Bodymax Rubber Hex dumbbells.
The Bodymax rubber hex dumbbells do the same job as the first set of dumbbells mentioned but in my opinion they are a class above, they offer better quality, they are more durable and they are much more flexibility when it comes to the weight choices available. The rubber ends also stop you from damaging your floor when working out at home.
The only disadvantage of this dumbbell set is that you have to purchase a few different sets so that you can get a wide variety of weights for when your working out at home, these weights are static and the weight is non changeable. But don’t let that put you off, you could get three different sets ranging in weight and you would probably be set for life.
If purchasing a few weights seems expensive compare the price of these weights to a monthly fee at the gym and then times that by a few years, purchasing a set of weights then doesn’t seem so expensive does it.
If your looking for a good quality set of dumbbells then I highly recommend adding the Bodymax rubber hex dumbbell set to your home exercise equipment.
Dumbbell Set with Rack
If your ultimate goal is to have the best home exercise equipment to sculpt your body then the next dumbbell weight set might be right up your alley. The Body Power Dumbbell Set & Rack is the stuff that home gym legends are made from, ok I might have gone a bit over the top but if you have a tonne of cash to spare and you want an excellent set of dumbbells and rack to keep them in then look no further.
Once again I have favoured the hexagonal dumbbell set as I like to keep my toes attached to my feet.
I recommend this dumbbell weight set and rack if you’re a serious fitness fanatic as 1 it is very expensive and 2 its very expensive. But if cost isn’t an issue then you will love this dumbbell set that comes with a vertical dumbbell rack which saves space and is very sturdy.
The body power weight set is made up of 11 pairs of dumbbells that start at 5kg in weight and end at a colossal 30kg. If your serious about working out at home then check this dumbbell set out here.
If you haven’t got £750+ for a set of dumbbells but still want various different weight ranges while being able to save space then you may want to check out some adjustable dumbbells sets.
Adjustable dumbbells or selectorised dumbbells as they are sometimes called are dumbbells that have plates on either side that can be added to the dumbbell by turning a dial. These dumbbells are more suitable for those looking to workout at home who don’t have a lot of room for a home gym.
The big names in the adjustable dumbbell market are Bowflex, Bodymax and PowerBlock. I will take you through each brands best adjustable dumbbells so you can decide if any of them are suitable for you. Firstly the cheapest adjustable dumbbell set, the PowerBlock.
PowerBlock Adjustable dumbbell set
Out of the 3 mentioned adjustable dumbbell sets the PowerBlock is the cheapest. Out of the three mentioned the PowerBlock is also my least favourite as each dumbbell only goes up to 11kgs on each hand, for my own goals this is a little light, but if your looking to do high reps with low weight then these adjustable dumbbells could be suitable for you.
The PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are excellent for you if your looking for a set of weights that can be changed very quickly, an example of this would be someone who is using dumbbells for some sort of circuit training.
Conventional dumbbells take forever to switch between weights and this slows your heart rate down allowing you to recover, which sometimes is the opposite of what we want when trying to lose weight, the PowerBlock gets rid of this problem by making switching of the weight as quick as advertised.
The PowerBlock is a great bit of kit if you need dumbbells but you haven’t got the space for a massive rack or tonnes of weight. If your interested in purchasing the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells then the best price I found was on Amazon.
If your looking for an adjustable dumbbell set that offers you more weight then the Bodymax Selectabell could be for you.
Bodymax Selectabell Adjustable Dumbbell set
The previous dumbbell set could max out at 11kg per hand, the Bodymax selectabell adjustable dumbbell however can go all the way up to 32kg. The weight can be adjusted in 2.5kg increments which give you great control when selecting weight resistance for your training methods.
32kg in weight is also no small feat, because of this these adjustable dumbbells will last a lifetime for most people, and you probably wont out grow them.
When testing the Bodymax Selectabell I found the weight changing mechanism to be easy to use and very quick. This is useful for those looking to use dumbbells in a circuit training workout or a P90X training type program.
One small point that I didn’t like about the Bodymax Selectabell adjustable dumbbell set is that the weight rattled slightly and could sometimes be a little off putting, but other than that this weight set is well made, and being able to go all the way up to 32kg is brilliant.
The Bodymax Selectabell is also very affordable when compared to other adjustable dumbbells on the market, the best price I found on them was here.
Bowflex Adjustable dumbbells
Both adjustable dumbbell sets are built with the same materials the only difference is the weight range and the price. The Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are considered one of the top brands for adjustable dumbbells and because of this they do carry a premium brand price range.
I would say that the Bowflex feels better made than the Bodymax Selectabell as there is no rattling when lifting the weight. The rubber grip on the handle is also a welcomed design feature as anyone who lifts weights often find that metal grips tend to make the skin on your hands rough. Thankfully the rubber grip doesn’t cut like traditional metal dumbbells.
The main disadvantage of the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell is the cost, but if you can get over that then you will be getting a great quality adjustable dumbbell set.
Weight Set Summary
There are many weight sets for sale out there so a guide like this hopefully helps. Hopefully you now know what weight set is suitable for you and your goals. To summarise I would say that all of the above mentioned dumbbells are suitable for someone looking to workout at home. How you select which dumbbell set to purchase will depend on your situation.
For a casual lifter you may want to get a cheap set of dumbbells, for someone looking to add a small amount of resistance to their routine then small hand weights could be something worth looking at. For a serious lifter then you may want to look into a weight set with a rack, but if space isn’t an option then adjustable dumbbells could be the answer.
I highly recommend looking at all of the above mentioned weights, check out what others think about them and see if you think they are suitable for your home gym workouts.
Hopefully now you know what weight set you will be using in your home gym, if that’s the case great. We now need to build that home gym up. The next essential home exercise equipment that you will need is a workout bench.
A good workout bench can take your home exercise routines to a new level. But once again where do you start? There are so many workout benches to choose from. Do you get a folding workout bench, a flat exercise bench, a cheap weight bench or an adjustable gym bench? I will leave that decision up to you, but only after I have run through each of them with you. First up, the flat exercise bench.
Flat exercise bench
Flat exercise benches are the most basic of exercise bench there is. They offer no frills, what you see is what you get. A flat exercise bench offers no incline or decline functionality.
A simple cheap flat exercise bench that you could add to your home exercise equipment could be the Gorilla Sports Bench. The reason why I selected this bench is because it’s very sturdy for a cheap weights bench. If you have no experience with cheap weights benches then you should know that there are a lot of them out there that shake and wobble when being used, obviously this isn’t good when you have a lot of weight above your head.
The gorilla sports weight bench is solid, and the foam padding is very comfortable, especially when there is heavy weight pressing your body into the bench.
The gorilla sports flat exercise bench is a good choice for those looking for a cheap weight bench that is safe. The best price I could find was on Amazon.
The next style of workout bench worth discussing is the adjustable/folding workout bench.
Folding workout bench
A folding workout bench allows much more flexibility in the exercises that can be performed on the workout bench. A folding workout bench can offer different levels of incline and decline and this allows you to hit your muscles from many different angles. An incline/decline workout bench is excellent for building a great chest.
In my research I kept coming across two different folding workout benches, both made by the well known weights company York Fitness.
York Fitness Bench
The first York weights bench only offers flat or incline positions. Incline can go all the way up to 90 degrees which is very useful for exercises like the shoulder press. Dumbbell curls, reverse curls and many other exercises can also be achieved by setting this bench at one of its 5 different levels.
The York Fitness adjustable gym bench feels very sturdy and can handle 200kg of weight safely, it is an Olympic weight bench so standard Olympic weights can be used with this bench. The padding on the seat is thick enough to be comfortable and the material makes wiping the sweat down easy enough.
One problem that this bench does have is that it doesn’t offer any decline, this could be a problem if you like to hit your chest muscles from an incline and decline position, however I know some people are dead against decline pressing as it “can give you man boobs”.
If you want a folding workout bench that gives you the option to be able to perform decline movements then maybe this bench isn’t for you, but If decline isn’t a big deal, then this bench is a great choice, it’s also pretty cheap considering the good build quality.
The cheapest price that I could find with free delivery was here.
If you can stretch your budget a little further then you may want to check out the next gym bench.
York 13-in-1 folding workout bench
The York 13-in-1 workout bench is a great adjustable gym bench that offers both incline and decline functionality. Another added advantage is that its also a fully folding workout bench so if you don’t have much room for your home exercise equipment then this workout bench can be stored away easily.
Set up of the bench took less than 5 minutes which is quite unusual because most weight benches seem to take ages to assemble.
Switching between incline and decline is easy, all you have to do is pull out the pin in the back of the bench, move the bench up or down and then put the pin back in. The bench can be adjusted in 13 different positions from decline, to flat to around 70 degrees. This was one point that I found a little disappointing, this bench is perfect for incline pressing but if you want a bench to support your back when overhead pressing then it falls a little short.
The 13 in 1 york fitness bench is an Olympic weight bench so it can take up to 200kg of weight safely and you can use standard Olympic weights with it.
The overall build quality is once again excellent, the foam padding is comfortable and this is as close as you are going to get to a commercial gym bench without having to pay £300+
If you’re interested in adding the York 13-1 folding weight bench to your home exercise equipment then you can get it here.
Workout Bench Summary
You should now be able to tick another piece of home exercise equipment of your list. Mentioned above are some good quality workout benches. The three mentioned benches differ in functionality, quality and price and depending on your situation I think that any of the above would be useful for your home gym.
If your buying decision is based on money alone then what I would say is that the margin between all three weights benches isn’t that big, and if your budget can stretch a little I would highly recommend getting a more expensive bench as a good quality workout bench will last you years.
At this point you may have a set of dumbbells and a weights bench, but to take your home gym to the next level you are going to need an Olympic barbell and weights set.
Barbells can vary in weight, shaft diameter and length. Men’s barbells and women’s barbells have a slightly different width and weight. Men’s Olympic barbells weigh 20kg while women’s Olympic barbells weigh 15kg.
If your not interested in competing it doesn’t really matter what Olympic barbell you get, as long as the barbell fits in your home gym then you should be ok.
One of the co-editors of this site purchased a 7ft Olympic barbell for his own home gym and when he set it up he realised that his room wasn’t big enough, so he had to return the barbell and get a smaller version, so before deciding between a 6ft Olympic barbell or a 7ft Olympic barbell then you may want to measure your home gym first.
You can get a 5ft, 6ft or 7ft Olympic bar from here, but I wouldn’t recommend the 5ft as it wont fit correctly with most squat stands or power cages/racks.
You can buy an Olympic barbell set or individually, personally id rather by the Olympic barbell and the Olympic weights separately that way you can choose what weights you want rather than relying on what others choose for you.
To go along with your Olympic barbell you are going to need Olympic weights, ones that I have owned for 4+ years now are the Bodymax Olympic cast iron set. There is nothing special about these weights other than they are cheap and they have lasted years, so I recommend them.
If you can afford it I would recommend purchasing at least 2x20kg, 2x10kg, 2x5kg, 2×2.5kg, 2×1.5kg weights. If you need more weight you can add from there, but at least with the weights mentioned you will have enough weight to provide a high enough amount of resistance for most exercises.
Olympic Bar and Olympic weight summary
Out of all of the home gym equipment that this article will take you though the Olympic barbell and weight set shouldn’t cause you too much trouble, all you need to do is make sure you have enough space for the barbell you are going to purchase and enough weight to give you a good training session.
At this point your home gym is starting to take shape. You have a good set of dumbbells, a workout bench and now an Olympic barbell and Olympic weight set. You now have to put all of that together and the one thing that will connect them all is a power cage/power rack.
Power Rack weight lifting cage
In my opinion a power rack is the most important piece of kit that you can get for your home gym. The reason why I love a power rack is that it allows you to use free weights which have been proven to build more muscle than their machine equivalent.
Power racks also allow you more safety than just a regular weight stand as they come with safety bars that can catch the barbell. A power rack acts like a spotter when you don’t have one.
Power racks allow you to do many exercises like the squat, bench press, overhead press, pull ups, chin ups and much more. The only disadvantage of a power rack is they do take up a lot of space.
One of my spare rooms is taken up by my power rack, Olympic weights and dumbbells, I don’t mind though it beats paying to go to the gym.
So how should you pick a power rack? There are a few things to look out for:
- Build Quality, Your power rack should be made of a thick sturdy metal. I constantly smash my barbell into my power rack and I haven’t broken it yet.
- Size, your power rack should be big enough to be able to perform overhead presses inside of.
Below are some of the power racks that I recommend.
MiraFit Heavy Duty Power Rack
The MiraFit power rack is a good power rack for those of us on a budget, it has everything you need including a pull up/chin up bar and dip bars. It can hold up to 350kg of weight and is big enough to overhead press inside of.
For this power rack you will need at least a 7ft Olympic barbell as anything smaller will not fit.
The MiraFit is a little more expensive than the budget racks that are floating around the internet but the build quality on the MiraFit is much better and feels way more safer.
You can get the MiraFit Power Rack here.
Bodymax Power Rack
The Bodymax Power Rack is another excellent choice for a power rack. It has some advantages over the MiraFit and some disadvantages.
Firstly the build quality is excellent and this power rack feels just as safe as the MiraFit. The main advantage that this power rack has is that it comes with a lat pulley bar system.
When I exercise I like to do the 5×5 Stronglifts workout routine, which includes a set of pull ups, I can do pull ups fine, but I also train with my girlfriend who finds pull ups very hard to do, so we have to modify the workout slightly or I have to assist her with the pullups.
Adding a lat pull down to the power rack means that if you also struggle with pull ups then you can use the lat pull down to build your muscles up to be strong enough to perform pull ups.
With various rope attachments that can be purchased separately the range of exercises that you can perform increases. If you don’t need a lat pull down system then I would probably save my self a bit of money and go with the MiraFit, but if you think having more flexibility with a lat pull down system on your power rack is a good idea then you should check out the Bodymax here, it also comes with free delivery.
Power Rack Summary
The power rack in my opinion is the most important piece of home exercise equipment, heck in my opinion it’s the most important bit of kit in any gym.
If your looking to buy a power rack then any of the above are great choices. I would say that you shouldn’t be tempted by the cheaper racks as they don’t feel as safe, and most of them are not big enough to perform exercises like the overhead press inside of.
Home Exercise Equipment Accessories
Below I will list the best home exercise accessories that I think all home gyms shouldn’t be without.
Best Skipping Rope
The skipping rope in my opinion is the best home exercise equipment accessory on a budget. What bit of equipment can fit into a small bag, burn tonnes of calories while costing less than a new t-shirt?
Below I will list the best skipping ropes that you can get for your home gym.
If your looking for a cheap skipping rope then you may want to try the skipping rope here, for less than a fiver you cant really go wrong.
I have seen some users complain that it’s a little short if your over 5ft11 but other than that all is good especially for the low price.
If you’re looking for a better speed rope that you could use if you’re a boxer or into MMA then the next skipping rope is for you. The speed rope is lighter than traditional leather skipping ropes this means that the rope travels through the air quicker and that makes you move your feet much quicker. The build quality on this skipping rope is much better and you could say it feels like a professional skipping rope. This skipping rope is also suitable for taller people and the height is adjustable to all sizes. You can get this speed rope from here for less than a tenner, bargain.
The last skipping rope that I recommend is the RDX adjustable weighted jump rope. The RDX Skipping rope out of all the skipping ropes is my favourite.
The RDK weighted jump rope has a stylish feel to it, the wooden handles are very nice to hold and the leather rope is weighty and travels at a good speed when exercising.
The size of the rope is easy to adjust. I would say that if you need to adjust the rope then adjust it an inch at a time, getting the right rope size for your skipping rope is essential. You can get the RDK weighted jump rope here
Skipping Rope Summary
Picking the best skipping rope is difficult as all of the jump ropes above are very good, the first skipping rope I tested was a good jump rope for someone not looking to break the bank while the speed rope and the RDX weighted jump rope are both good quality skipping ropes.
I personally liked the RDX best, but honestly just pick one. Skipping for 10 minutes a day is the equivalent for running for 30 minutes so whatever skipping rope you choose you will be making a good choice.
Doorway pull up bar
If you haven’t got room for a power rack with pull up bars then you may want to get a doorway pull up bar. A doorway pull up bar is an excellent way of building up your back muscles, along with your biceps.
A doorway pull up bar is also an inexpensive home exercise equipment solution. Check out the best doorway pull up bar that I recommend for your home gym below.
The best home pull up bar that I recommend is this one. Its relatively cheap and its well made. Some users have said that they have found it hard to fix to their doors but after contacting the manufacturer they confirm that this home pull up bar should fit most door frames between 24-32”. If your worried about this I would recommend buying off a well known seller so you can get a refund if needed.
Home Exercise Cardio
No home gym is complete with a few cardio machines. In this section I will look at the best treadmill and best elliptical trainer for your home exercise equipment.
When researching the best treadmills for the home gym I had to take into consideration, size, functionality and price. All of the above were taking into consideration when looking for the best treadmill for home use.
Firstly a treadmill for those who don’t have much room and one that could be used for walking to a slight jog. This treadmill will not handle any serious running as in my opinion it’s too small. The treadmill in question is a folding treadmill so its whole purpose is to be able to provide cardio to those with not much room. If you’re looking for a small treadmill that can be packed away after use then check out this one.
If your looking for a treadmill that offers more functionality and one which allows you to seriously run like Forest Gump keep on reading.
JLL S400 Premium Folding Treadmill
The JLL folding treadmill is quite a price jump from the previously discussed treadmill but that is because in my opinion it is a far more superior treadmill.
It offers a max speed of 16km, 20 auto incline selections along with a running deck that absorbs impact which can prevent injuries. Considering all of the functionality this running machines price in my opinion is very good.
A good added feature of this treadmill is that it has on-board speakers that you can play your music through. If you run constantly you know how annoying headphones can be, especially when you begin sweating. No more replacing your headphones mid run, press play and listen to your favourite music through your speakers. Job done.
Another brownie point for this JLL running machine is if you purchase it through amazon then they will have a 2-man delivery team that will deliver this treadmill and set it up for you. Great service.
Reebok ZR8 Treadmill
Another great treadmill for home use is the Reebok ZR8 Treadmill. It comes with 24 pre set programs that allow you to switch your workups around. I think this is important because I sometimes become bored when I’ve been following a running program for a while.
The Reebok treadmill also folds up so it takes up less room when not being used, although even when folded this running machine still takes up a bit of room.
The maximum running speed of 16kmh means that this treadmill is suitable for nearly all users. The Reebok is a little more expensive than the previous treadmill but I would say that it offers good value for money and is one of the best treadmill for the money.
Once again this treadmill has on board speakers allowing you to ditch the headphones and play your favourite tunes through the dual speakers. The Reebok treadmill can support users of a weight up to 120kg.
If you want to read more on this treadmill check out this link.
Best treadmill summary
The treadmills above just scratch the surface, there are so many treadmills for sale that picking the best treadmill is going to be a tough job for anyone.
The treadmills that I have selected offer value for money and will be suitable for most users. If you want to see more treadmills and check out some user reviews then check out the following link, it shows a list of treadmills for sale that are suitable for home usage.
Elliptical Cross trainer
Elliptical cross trainers are an excellent piece of home exercise equipment. They offer just as many health benefits of treadmills without being as taxing on the body, with elliptical cross trainers you don’t have to worry so much about impact injuries.
Elliptical Cross trainers are often quite cheap to buy as well, so if your looking for home exercise equipment that can help you lose weight without breaking the bank then an elliptical trainer could be a perfect choice. Below I will discuss a list of the best home cross trainer that money can buy.
The first cross trainer machine that I’m going to look at is the confidence 2 in 1 cross trainer and bike. Firstly this cross trainer is being recommended because it’s not too big and it’s pretty cheap, it’s everything you need for a home workout cardio machine.
Some users have complained that the confidence 2 in 1 cross trainer can take a while to set up and they joked that it’s a workout in its self, but I found it pretty easy to set up and to be honest I’m rubbish at anything DIY, my girlfriend will attest to that.
Overall if your looking for a cheap cross trainer then you may want to check out the confidence 2 in 1.
If your looking for a cross trainer machine that’s a little more sturdy, better made and offers more functions then you may want to check out the Orbus XT7.
The Orbus XT7 is an entry level cross trainer like the cross trainer above but it just feels so much better. Its better made, heavier and feels way more sturdy. This cross trainer comes with heart monitors and a good LCD display to show your workout progress.
One disadvantage of the Orbus is that it takes so long to assemble. I should have timed how long it took but I wasn’t expecting to take so long, I would say it took roughly an hour and half to put it all together.
Some other users of this cross trainer have mentioned that it can rattle a bit, I didn’t notice this so I would advise you to make sure that you tighten every bolt as tight as it can go so you can stop the rattling from happening.
Overall the Orbus is a good elliptical cross trainer suitable for your home gym while still being affordable. If you would like to know more about the Orbus then check out this link.
Elliptical Cross trainer summary
Once again like treadmills there are a tonne of elliptical cross trainers to choose from, and choosing the best home cross trainer can be a difficult choice, but hopefully the selections above can give you some guidance so you know what to look out for.
Home Exercise Equipment Summary
Putting together home exercise equipment can be an expensive hobby, but if you start small and add to it over time it will be the best thing that you have ever done, I can promise you that. I started off with just a power rack, Olympic barbell set and a workout bench.
Over the years I have added to my home exercise equipment bit by bit and now my home exercise equipment will rival that of any gym and the best part I no longer have to wait for a machine or a piece of equipment to become available in the gym. I don’t have to pay monthly gym fees, and I don’t have to travel to and from the gym, I can walk into my spare room do my work out, jump in the shower and get start cooking some food as soon as I’m out of the shower.
If your thinking of creating a home gym then just do it, you wont regret it.