The 10 Best Home Gyms

Updated April 06, 2018 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Home Gyms
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Between the meatheads flexing into the mirror, the annoying guy impatiently waiting for you to finish your set, and that lady who never wipes up her sweat, having a gym membership can be more trouble than it's worth. Luckily, these home gyms allow you to get a fantastic workout in without leaving the house — and you'll save money in the long run to boot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best home gym on Amazon.

10. Marcy MWM-988

If you're looking to save money on gym membership costs, then the Marcy MWM-988 is a great value option for at-home use. It offers dual-function upper and lower body workouts, and has an excellent lat station, all of which adds up to effective, targeted training.
  • relatively quick and easy assembly
  • can stand up to abuse
  • only 150 pounds of resistance
Brand Marcy
Model MWM-990
Weight 273 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Bowflex Xtreme 2SE

The list of exercises you can do on the Bowflex Xtreme 2SE is as long as your standard CVS receipt, giving you tremendous value for your money. You won't build muscles big enough to make Arnold nervous with this, but you can still sculpt a pretty darn impressive physique.
  • resistance upgradable to 410 pounds
  • excellent for toning
  • weight doesn't increase linearly
Brand Bowflex
Model 100334
Weight 240 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Body-Solid StrengthTech

The Body-Solid StrengthTech is made of heavy-duty steel, but you'd never know it, thanks to the thick, plush padding that covers the seats. You can work out for hours on this thing without it being uncomfortable — just don't fall asleep.
  • allows for dozens of exercises
  • not ideal for users over 6' tall
  • cables occasionally snag
Brand Body-Solid
Model EXM2500S
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Marcy Diamond Elite

If you're looking to craft a showstopping posterior, the Smith machine on this Marcy Diamond Elite can help you squat your way to buns of steel. It gets a little wobbly if you're putting up super-heavy weight, though, so expect to use it more for toning than building.
  • mostly stable and sturdy
  • weights not included
  • assembly instructions are useless
Brand Marcy
Model MD-9010
Weight 437 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Body-Solid Powerline

The formidable Body-Solid Powerline is an investment made to last, giving you years to learn the many ways you can use the system to develop gains and build good habits. Even better, you can leave the accessories attached, saving you time between sets.
  • easy-to-adjust 160-pound iron stack
  • mostly-assembled out of the box
  • foam handles tear over time
Brand Body-Solid
Model BSG10X
Weight 300 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. BodyCraft Xpress Pro

You could buy a used car with what you'd spend on the BodyCraft Xpress Pro, but you'll likely get quite a few more miles out of this than you would an old Chevy, as the 12-gauge steel and fiberglass-strengthened pulleys will help you get your pump on for years to come.
  • allows for a natural range of motion
  • parts clearly labeled for assembly
  • hard to move once put together
Brand Bodycraft
Model Xpress Pro
Weight 575 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Bowflex PR3000

The Bowflex PR3000 provides smooth, steady resistance, so it's a wonderful alternative if you often sprain muscles using free weights. It also allows you to change focus without having to adjust any cables on many exercises, saving you lots of time and hassle.
  • very quiet in use
  • high-quality materials
  • relatively small footprint
Brand Bowflex
Model 100142
Weight 179.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Total Gym XLS

You'll be amazed at how well a tiny little machine like the Total Gym XLS can give you a total-body workout that will leave you shaking and gasping for breath. But hey, what else would you expect from something that has Chuck Norris' seal of approval?
  • 400-pound capacity
  • no assembly required
  • great for injury rehabilitation
Brand Total Gym
Model XLS
Weight 92.2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. BodyCraft Galena Pro

The BodyCraft Galena Pro offers a tremendous amount of exercises in a small amount of space, and you don't need to purchase additional extensions to make it work. The craftsmanship is exceptional, from the welds to the paint job, so expect it to last as long as you do.
  • durable sealed bearings
  • designed to fit in room corners
  • works every muscle group
Brand Bodycraft
Model Galena Pro
Weight 500 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. XMark XM-7626

If you've got a spare weekend or three to put it together, the XMark XM-7626 will make you wonder why you ever even considered joining a commercial gym. It's easy to adjust as well, so the whole family can use it, regardless of their size or fitness level.
  • stout pull-up rig
  • cables glide smoothly
  • dual 200-lb weight stacks
Brand XMark Fitness
Model XM-7626
Weight 807 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

You've Got To Pulley Your Weight Around Here

Classically, there are six simple machines in our scientific understanding of mechanics. Asking a small group of people at a party to name all six is a blast, as they can usually figure out five of them, and there's always one elusive one, though it's not always the same one group to group.

They are, in order of my personal preference: the inclined plane, the wheel and axle, the screw, the wedge, the pulley, and the lever.

As low as it is on my personal list, the pulley is the machine that is most valuable to us in our discussion of home gyms, because it's the one around which most of these units are built.

It's pretty darn easy to understand: you put some weights on the ground and attach them to a cord. Then, you run that cord through a pulley and attach its other end to a bar. When you pull the bar, it transfers your energy along the cord and through the pulley to lift the weight.

This way, you can pull that bar from almost any angle and achieve the same lift, allowing you to work different muscle groups with one simple combination of pieces.

That's not how all home gyms work, however. The Bowflex famously changed this system by introducing long flexible plastic arms that bend at specific tensions, replicating the progressive resistance of free weights without all the clanging of metal plates.

How does the Bowflex transfer the energy of your movements to its fancy bows? Why, with pulleys, of course.

Stay Fit, Stay Anonymous

Fitness is not attractive. Sure, once you're toned and buff, lean and mean, you can go sauntering along the shorelines in a billowy tank top, innocently overflexing various muscle groups just to pick up a Frisbee, but the path to fitness is acutely unsightly.

You're going to sweat, you're going to groan, you very well may cry, so why not do all that suffering in the privacy of your own home?

Currently, the least expensive multi-club plan at 24-Hour Fitness comes out to about $640 per year, which means that in just two years you'll have spent as much on your gym membership as you would have on four of our top five home gyms.

And that's not counting the gas you expend driving to and from the gym or the therapy bills you'll incur after you have a lactic acid fueled emotional breakdown in a very public place.

It just makes sense, then, to keep your work in the safety and financial security of your own home with a gym that'll last you years and years.

Which one of these gyms does it for you will have to do with two major variables. Space and ambition.

If you have limited space, odds are you'll want to get the most gym you can fit into that space. The Bowflex at number two has a great deal of available workouts packed into a smaller footprint, so check those measurements and start there.

If space isn't much of a concern, you'll want to know how far you plan to take your routine. A person aiming for lean muscle doesn't need to spend the extra money on a home gym that can be upgraded to handle extra resistance. They're going to do just fine performing more reps with lower weights.

A big old beefcake, on the other hand, will want as much weight as possible, so our gyms at one and four would serve them best.

Take an inventory of the available room in your house and the eventual bulge of your biceps and work from there.

An Upgrade To An Ancient Rite

Remember that movie 300? In case you don't, it was the one about a small group of Greek soldiers using the environmental strategic advantage of a narrow mountain pass to even out their numbers against a much larger Persian army.

Oh, and it was also about their abs.

As inappropriate as that might seem, the ancient Greeks were all about fitness. Their art counts among the first depictions of men toning their bodies with free weights and other implements in preparation for their Olympic Games.

So, if you're going to make a movie about supremely fit Greek soldiers, it makes sense to use supremely fit British actors. Wait, what? British?

After the Greeks, there wasn't much to speak of a personal fitness regimen. Farm work and household chores did the bulk of the necessary toning anyone would need or want, and there wasn't a global media conglomerate shoving a gender-binary beauty standard down our throats.

Then came the industrial revolution, which is credited for some pretty wonderful and pretty awful developments in the history of mankind.

One of its side-effects was the increase in sedentary labor for the average worker, many of whom occupied the same spot in a factory setting and performed menial tasks in the assembly of more complicated products. So, yeah, they got fat.

While that may have helped usher about the opening of recreational centers like the YMCA, it wouldn't be until a famous fitness guru with fantastic eyebrows came along to introduce home gym equipment. This guy, a fellow named Jack Lelanne, first developed that now integral cable pulley system in the 1950s, and the home gyms we see today have all evolved out of that idea.


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Last updated on April 06, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.


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