Best Home Gyms of 2018

Jennifer Christensen ·
Health & Beauty Senior Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We spent 120 hours researching home gyms to find the best and most versatile workout systems. Of the dozens we examined, our top pick is the Body-Solid G1S, which provides 40 exercise options, 160 pounds of resistance and a lifetime warranty – all for under $1,000. The machine uses a weight stack on a smooth pulley and cable system to help you achieve an excellent full body workout and improve your health, strength and fitness. 

Best Overall
Body-Solid G1S
The Body-Solid G1S is a versatile, easy-to-use home gym with a functional, space-saving design. It has five workout stations centered on a selectorized 160-pound weight stack, and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
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Best Value
Body-Solid Powerline BSG10X
The affordable Body-Solid Powerline BSG10X saves you money without skimping on functionality. This sturdy and versatile system provides a workout with options comparable to those you’d find at a commercial gym.
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Best for Small Spaces
Total Gym FIT
The Total Gym FIT is a unique home gym system that uses your body weight to provide resistance. It allows you to perform more than 85 exercises for a full body workout and has multiple features and accessories.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Price
Gym Performance & Design
Features & Accessories
Warranty & Support
Exercise Options
Full Body Workout
Standard Resistance (pounds)
Max User Weight (pounds)
Users at One Time
Upgradeable Resistance Capacity
Ab Strap or Harness
Ankle Cuff/Strap
Instructional Guides/Wall Charts
Instructional Videos
Extras & Optional Attachments
Frame Warranty
Phone and Email Support
Additional Support Options
Resistance Technology
Pulley & Cable System
Base Footprint (L x W x H, inches)
Unit Weight (pounds)
$912.36 Amazon
4.7 4 4.5 4.7
40
160
Not Specified
1
Lifetime
None
Weight Stack
49 x 36 x 83
323
$952.38 Amazon Marketplace
4.9 4 3.7 4.2
40
160
Not Specified
1
10 Years
None
Weight Stack
70 x 42 x 80
328
$1299 Amazon Warehouse
2.9 4.5 5 4.4
70
210
300
1
7 Years
Live Chat, Facebook
Power Rods
53 x 49 x 82
185
$1299 Amazon Marketplace
2.9 5 3.9 4.2
100
250
300
2
10 Years
None
Total Nitrocell Technology
52.75 x 60.46 x 81
171
$567.11 Target
5 3.5 3.4 3
15
200
300
1
2 Years
Service Portal
Weight Stack
52 x 39 x 85.5
400
$1246.99 Amazon Marketplace
2.3 4.9 4.2 5
85
Body Weight
450
1
Lifetime
Live Chat
User Body Weight
93 x 18.5 x 44.5
66
$1545.1 Amazon Marketplace
3 3.8 5 5
25
160
300
1
Lifetime
Live Chat
Weight Stack
71 x 48 x 83
379
$1575 Amazon Marketplace
2.7 4.2 4.5 4.7
25
Weight Plates
Not Specified
3
Lifetime
None
Plate Loaded
120.1 x 73.3 x 80.5
424
$1499 Amazon Marketplace
2.9 4.2 3.7 4.7
27
200
275
4
Lifetime
None
Weight Stack
86 x 115 x 82
610
$1632.52 Amazon
1.9 4 3.2 4.7
25
200
300
2
Lifetime
None
Weight Stack
58 x 72 x 81.75
483
Best Overall
The Body-Solid G1S is our top pick among home gyms because it packs so much functionality and durability into such a small footprint. It’s comparable to much larger home gyms in terms of performance, features and accessories, but its price tag is much more affordable.
It’s centered on a 160-pound weight stack, and it provides more than 40 exercise options. Divided into five workout stations, it works your upper body, lower body and abs. Along with high, mid and low-pulley stations, the G1S also has a chest press station and a leg developer station. Exercises you can perform include lat pulldowns, triceps press downs, ab crunches and seated rows. You can also do leg extensions and curls, but the G1S doesn’t come with a leg press. Also, it doesn’t have upgradeable resistance, and its maximum user weight isn’t defined. These are important factors to consider if you want your machine to grow with you as you get stronger or if you currently weigh more than 300 pounds. For added comfort and durability, the G1S’ seat pad is contoured and adjustable, and its cables, pulleys and upholstery are high quality. It comes with a water bottle holder and a triceps strap. Add-ons for the machine include an accessory rack, weight stack adapter plates, an ab crunch harness and a multipurpose bar. Guaranteed by Body-Solid for a lifetime, it has one of the best warranties in the industry.
Pros
  • Provides 40+ exercises
  • Has a space-saving design
  • Has a lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a leg press option
  • Resistance isn’t upgradeable
  • Maximum user weight isn’t defined
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Read the full review
Best Value
If you’re eager to get fit but need to keep an eye on the budget, the Body-Solid Powerline BSG10X is a great choice. This economical price comes at the expense of some of the extras that more-expensive home gyms offer, but there’s enough variety in the Powerline’s design to give you a fine overall workout.
This compact home exercise system is durable and sturdy. It's also easy to install since most of its parts – approximately 90 percent – arrive already assembled in the box. Body-Solid’s CEO told us that the BSG10X is designed to go together with just nine bolts, which is unique in the industry. It also takes up less space than most home exercise systems, yet you can still perform 40 different exercises that work your whole body. Like the Body-Solid G1S, this machine has one adjustable seat, and it comes with a 160-pound weight stack. Unfortunately, you can’t upgrade to a heavier weight stack. You can, however, purchase upgrades such as a leg press, weight shrouds and a triceps rope. Among the body-strengthening parts that come standard with this home gym are a 48-inch lat bar, an ab crunch harness and a low row bar. You get all the basic exercises you could perform at a commercial gym, but you don’t have to leave home to take advantage of them. The machine's frame comes with a 10-year warranty. Unfortunately, the moving parts are only warrantied for one year, which is shorter than higher-end home gyms. Also, it doesn’t come with instructional videos.
Pros
  • Great value for its price
  • Provides a workout comparable to commercial gyms
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Weight stack isn’t upgradeable
  • Doesn’t have instructional videos
  • Disappointing warranty on moving parts
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Read the full review
Best for Small Spaces
The Total Gym FIT is an impressive home exercise system with a unique, compact design. At first glance, it looks nothing like traditional home gyms because its profile is so small and low to the ground, but it offers all the same benefits of larger systems.
Instead of using weight stacks, power rods or total nitrocell technology resistance, the Total Gym FIT uses your own body weight to create resistance. It can accommodate a maximum user weight of 450 pounds, which is more than any other machine we reviewed. The weight limit on most home gyms is 300 pounds. As we researched this piece of equipment, we were impressed with its versatility. While all the home gyms we reviewed can help you tone and strengthen your muscles, the FIT also provides unique cross-training exercises designed to improve your cardiovascular health. The Total Gym FIT weighs only 66 pounds. Its dimensions unfolded are 93 x 18.5 x 44.5 inches (length, width, height), and it folds to just 50.5 x 18.5 x 8.5 inches. Most home gyms in our review weigh more than 300 pounds and have much more unwieldy dimensions. Granted, some larger machines are designed for up to three users at a time, but the Fit can accommodate two if you purchase additional accessories. At its official MSRP, the Total Gym is the most expensive home gym we reviewed. However, this company consistently lists its products as being on sale at deep discounts. For example, at the time this review was published, the FIT was available for under $1,600 (much lower than its MSRP of over $2,300). Total Gym has an excellent live chat service to help you make purchasing decisions and warranties the FIT for a lifetime.
Pros
  • Has 85+ exercise options
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Comes with instructional videos
Cons
  • Has an MSRP above $2,000
  • Is hard to conceptualize at first glance
  • Live chat is only for sales
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Read the full review
Best for Strength Training
The Bio Force Extreme is an excellent choice for complete muscle stimulation and development. Rather than using a weight stack, power rods or weight plates, its resistance comes from nitrogen-charged cylinders called total nitrocell technology.
This type of resistance is designed for smooth, fluid movement for optimum strength training. It allows for two users at a time and provides 250 pounds of resistance and over 100 exercise options. The exercises you can perform give you a full-body workout for total body training, strength building and sport-specific conditioning, and the Extreme comes with an ab strap, cable hooks, an exercise manual, a nutrition guide and an instructional DVD. You can also purchase add-on attachments and accessories to add challenge and versatility to your routine. Bio Force doesn’t provide the best warranty protection in the industry, but the Extreme’s frame is guaranteed for 10 years. At 171 pounds, the machine weighs less than many home gyms, and it has transport wheels for easier setup.
Pros
  • Has 100-plus exercise options
Cons
  • Resistance isn’t upgradeable
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Read the full review
Best Multi-Station
If you’re looking for a home gym that can support multiple users at a time, the Powertec Workbench is a solid choice. Unlike most of the home gyms we reviewed, the Powertec uses weight plates for resistance rather than having its resistance drawn and released by a pulley and cable system. However, you must buy the plates separately.
The weight limit varies from 100 to 500 pounds based on the exercise you’re performing, and you have 25 available options. It comes standard with three seats and helps you work your upper body, lower body and core. There are additional attachments available that let you do curls, flys, leg lifts and presses. This home gym is large and bulky. It weighs more than 400 pounds without weight plates and has a much larger footprint than single-user equipment. To help you get started on your strength training, instructional videos are available. Powertec warranties the Workbench’s frame for a lifetime, and customer service is available by phone and email.
Pros
  • Has three seats
Cons
  • Weight plates must be purchased separately
-
Read the full review

Why Trust Us
We define home gyms as pieces of fitness equipment that help you achieve a full-body workout with multiple strength-based exercises, and we’ve been reviewing them since 2014. During our most recent evaluation, we spent 120 hours researching dozens of products to help you choose from the best selection we could find. Our goal is to help you find a home gym with exceptional quality, durability, versatility and customer support. Buying a home gym can be a significant investment, so we also looked at price. It’s important to keep in mind that home gyms provide value both in terms of money and time. If you have a home gym, you won’t have to spend money year after year on a gym membership. Also, there’s no driving across town to exercise and no schlepping gym bags and smelly workout clothes to the gym and back – and you won’t have to worry about being judged, comparing yourself to other people or having to wipe someone else’s sweat off a grimy machine.

How We Weighed In
Our research into home gyms was thorough and far-reaching. To provide you with the best information available, we studied product websites and literature, watched instructional videos and examined warranties. We also contacted manufacturers directly, both to get answers to our questions and to test the responsiveness of their customer support teams.

To become even better informed, we read exercise and fitness articles, scrolled through blogs and looked at consumer reviews. We also interviewed industry experts such as Tom Holland, who is a nationally-recognized exercise physiologist, a Nautilus, Inc. fitness advisor and the author of Beat the Gym. He helped us understand why strength training is so important and why purchasing a home gym can be advantageous.

“Strength training is truly the fountain of youth, not only adding years to your life but also adding life to your years,” Holland said. “If you have a home, then you have a home gym. Everyone needs to exercise and can now do so in the privacy of your own home. In the amount of time it takes you to travel to the gym, you can be finished.”

Once we had digested all the research we gathered, we narrowed down our favorites to 10 and ranked them based on carefully chosen criteria. With so many options available, we chose a variety of home gyms, all excellent quality, that accommodate a wide range of household needs and personal fitness goals.

Stacking Up Buying Decisions
Buying a home gym is a weighty decision, but we’re here to make it easier.

“It used to be that you had two main options when buying a home gym,” said Holland. “Order it from a late-night TV infomercial or go to multiple stores in person. Now, thanks to the internet, you can watch videos, read reviews and truly do your homework before you purchase.” Don’t worry – we’ll help you with the bulk of the legwork. Here are the four main things experts recommend you consider:

Space
Home gyms are big, heavy machines. Because space is such an important consideration, we outlined the dimensions and weights of each model.

“Since these machines come in various sizes, you want to make sure you can fit the product in that space,” said Scott McDonald, CEO of Body-Solid Inc. “Both height and working area factor into this.”

Along with accounting for your machine’s footprint, keep in mind that you’ll need additional space for range of movement as you extend your arms and legs during your exercise routine. If you choose a multi-station system, you’ll also need room to get around the machine as you move from one station to another, and you’ll want to allow enough space away from walls and doors to make your workout as comfortable and convenient as possible.

Resistance Technology
Free weights – such as dumbbells and barbells – are used for independent weight lifting that doesn’t require a machine. By contrast, most home gyms use either weight stacks or weight plates to create strength-building resistance. Weight stack machines let you choose your resistance level by adjusting a weight stack built into your equipment’s frame. A cable and pulley system provides the mechanism for you to lift and release the weight. Weight plates are weights you manually fasten to your home gym’s workout components and exchange for heavier weights as you build strength. We also reviewed home gyms that use power rods, total nitrocell technology and even your own body weight to create resistance. Power rods like those on the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE provide resistance much like the resistance on a bow. The resistance increases as the tension becomes tauter and eases as the rods straighten. Total Nitrocell Technology like you’ll find on the Bio Force Extreme uses nitrogen-charged cylinders to provide consistent, silent resistance that can be changed in 2.25-kilogram increments. Unique to Bio Force home gyms, TNT resistance is said to create fluid resistance that stimulates muscle development.

Holland says beginning exercisers often choose home gyms with weight stacks, which are also called sectorized or selectorized machines, because they allow users to build strength more safely than free weights. Also, they offer convenience.

McDonald agrees.

“Plate-loaded pieces are good for someone who already has a set of weights to use on them but they are a hassle to change when compared to a selectorized machine,” said McDonald, “so I would not recommend them in most cases.”

It’s important to determine which style of resistance you personally prefer, and you can do this by visiting retail outlets. Also, it’s a good idea to consider buying a home gym that lets you add more weight or upgrade its resistance technology as you get stronger and your goals become more ambitious.

“It is worth the trip to your local fitness store to at least see what they offer before you buy,” said McDonald.  “Hopefully they have a few different models on the floor and you can try them.  See how sturdy they feel as you exercise.  Do the cables and pulleys move smoothly?  Is there enough resistance to make you have to work at it?”

Being able to answer these questions will help you choose the right gym for your home.

Price
We found a wide range in the price of home gyms. Systems on the lowest end start under $200, while the most expensive equipment costs nearly $10,000. Based on our research, it’s best to budget an average of $1,300 for a high-quality in-home machine that provides the most important workout features.

Keep in mind that the price of a home gym can depend on the size and capability of the machine, the quality of its materials, the technology it employs, its manufacturer’s warranty, etc. We learned through our research that you can buy a solid, functional home gym for under $2,000, but equipment priced below $500 will likely be disappointing.

“Don’t buy the cheapest piece, but don’t necessarily go to the top of the range either as then you are probably at a commercial level of equipment,” said McDonald. “There are lots of good choices in the middle range.”

With such a wide range in pricing, isolating a middle range isn’t easy, especially because manufacturers of exercise equipment often use price gimmicks to offset high MSRPs by perpetually having their machine “on sale” for much less than the list price. As a result, we focused on home gyms with MSRPs ranging from just under $800 to about $2,300, and higher-priced machine rank lower in our ratings. Thankfully, you can often find discounted pricing on more expensive models.

As you consider your budget, you’ll also want to think about your current fitness level and your long-term fitness goals. It might be worth it in the long run to spend a little more money upfront rather than needing to invest in new equipment as you get stronger.

If you’d like to supplement your home gym with other types of exercise equipment, check out some of our guides: