The best workout equipment for home exercise should have you kitted out for any eventuality and allow you to match gym intensity from your backyard.
Whether you crave killer cardio aerobic exercise (opens in new tab) or prefer to perfect your home weights training (opens in new tab), the last few years have taught us to be creative and self-sufficient with home gym setups. And although it might feel like an extravagance in current times, investing in your equipment could save you money, hassle, and time down the line.
If you’d prefer to count reps and sets rather than your hard-earned dollars, we’ve put together our tried-and-tested guide featuring what we reckon is the best workout equipment for home use. We realize that times are challenging, so our round-up includes kits for all fitness abilities, budgets, and home setups.
Wondering, is there really a ‘best’ time to work out? (opens in new tab) Home gym equipment puts you back in control of your training schedule. Find the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) to keep on top of progress, prime yourself for how to prepare for a workout (opens in new tab), and read on for our best workout equipment for home gyms guide.
Best workout equipment for home workouts
If you’re looking to invest heavily in your cardio, the high-grade commercial NordicTrack X22i is certainly up to the job, with some top-notch high-end features to see the keenest of runners through a variety of immersive workouts. This model will set you back though, as it currently retails at $3,999/£3,299, and also carries a significant footprint that might leave some city dwellers squirming. Regardless, this machine sits proudly as our top choice for the best treadmills (opens in new tab) on the market.
This model has everything you need from a home running machine, and can help you learn how to run properly, too. Solid, sturdy, well made, and loaded with features – we loved the 22” HD touchscreen with its bright display graphics, the quiet (but powerful) 4.0 CHP motor that assures a smooth and peaceful workout, and -5% to 40% incline/decline complete with rapid speeds to maximize hill runs, interval training and power walks.
You also benefit from a roomy 22” x 60” running deck that uses FlexSelect Cushioning to provide a springy base for your joints, high-performance dual speakers, and a compact customizable console that displays quick controls for core metrics like time, calories, distance, feet climbed, speed, and pace, plus heart rate sensors, and two inbuilt fans.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the 40 pre-programmed workouts and over 16,000 on-demand classes via iFit. You’ll need a $39/month subscription to access the content, but you do get a 30-day free subscription to test the waters upon purchase. All in all, you get what you pay for with this model. It’s expensive and heavy-duty but offers an excellent running experience for those willing and able to invest.
The Concept2 RowErg can be found in gyms and rowing clubs across the world and has more than earned its place as one of the best rowing machines (opens in new tab) on offer for all-round value. This model can be found taking a beating in indoor rowing comps, as well as the CrossFit Games, and is heavily relied upon by all levels of competitors – from elite-level to Olympic – with world rankings often set on the Concept2.
It’s a sturdy and reliable home gym addition that uses air resistance, a flywheel, and a damper with 10 settings to adjust airflow. Although it’s slightly noisier than a magnetic resistance rower, this machine registers at 70-100 dB which certainly isn’t about to have you struck off as a nuisance neighbor. The RowErg isn’t about to floor you with features though. It’s pretty basic in design and is missing the fancy touchscreen, interactive workouts, and live classes often found on more high-tech models entering the market. That said, the PM5 monitor still offers plenty of performance tracking and connects to apps via Bluetooth, with preset and programmable workouts and data syncing through the ErgData app.
In terms of performance, you get a silky smooth rowing experience and lashings of challenging resistance to play with. It also boasts an ergonomic setup to suit all shapes and sizes, adjustable footrests, and two leg stand levels to adjust your height. If you’re short on space, the Concept2 is fitted with a convenient base and wheels and splits into two for convenient vertically stowing.
Wondering, is the rowing machine a good workout? (opens in new tab) There’s only one way to find out. Overall, the Concept2 is a clean-looking, durable, and well-designed rower that can capture all the important stuff without any faff or frills, and you can nab it for under $1,000.
JaxJox DumbbellConnect Adjustable Dumbbells are one of the world’s first sets of digital dumbbells, allowing you to change the weight in seconds at the touch of a button. They look great too – neat and discreet with a sleek matte gray finish and green trim. This premium product is sold as a pair at $499/£499 and is a smart addition to the dumbbell world, sitting comfortably in the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab) round up.
Dumbbells are a versatile bit of kit, but (depending on your workout style) you can often spend a fortune and sacrifice a lot of space to get the weight range you desire. The beauty of these adjustable dumbbells is that you get a wealth of weights (eight per dumbbell) in one, so you can flip from goblet squats to bench press in seconds.
At the heart of JaxJox’s ethos is nailing the basics and they have here – they look good, work well, and feel super secure with their ergonomically grooved handles. Each dumbbell loads into a docking station with a small LED screen displaying the weight, and you can then adjust the load digitally from 8-50lbs per dumbbell using the plus and minus buttons.
Unracking the dumbbells from the station means there’s no need for stripping plates during supersets, and the compact functional shape makes them easy to maneuver. The flat edge even allows you to perform floor exercises like renegade rows or dumbbell burpees.
These dumbbells come with JaxJox app connectivity (for $12.99/£12.99 with a free 30-day trial) with access to virtual rep counting, on-demand workouts, and real-time performance stats, which is definitely a big tick for tech lovers. We reckon you’ll struggle to find a better deal for home dumbbells.
If you’re looking for a cardio fix from home without remortgaging for the privilege, the Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike could be your new budget-friendly buddy and sits proudly in our top picks of the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) to scoop up for under $300. You can also snap up some of the best shoes for Peloton (opens in new tab) if you’re seeking spin shoes for your next class.
What the Yosuda lacks in tech it certainly makes up for in reliability and a sturdy, super-comfy design. The model comprises a heavy stable steel frame and 35lbs friction resistance flywheel that holds its own during rigorous self-led HIIT classes (opens in new tab) or uphill climbs. The wide base prevents any instability whilst pedaling, and the lightweight design allows quick and easy storage, too.
This exercise bike provides reassuring evidence that you don’t have to drain your bank account to find quality. The bike is compact – great news for space-savers – with adjustable toe cages, upright handlebars to help support your back, a resistance turn dial, and an ergonomically designed springy, padded seat – which is by far our biggest highlight and not an easy feat, even among the more top-end bikes.
Handle and seat adjustments are available, but how comfortable the seat height feels will depend on your inseam – 6”0 users should have just enough space. The LCD display tracks calories, distance, time, and speed, but (pretty crucially) you’re missing a key feature – cadence (pedal revolutions). This could be a deal-breaker for keener cyclists, although you can buy separate monitors for this online.
It’s over to you to find one of the best heart rate monitors (opens in new tab) or a killer workout to spice up your cycling experience, but if you’re hoping to save some cash and purchase a basic bike for basic cycling needs, this model is absolutely worth it.
This best-selling yoga mat regularly finds its way to the top of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) charts and caters to all levels of yogi and fitness fanatics. Finding a mat that can perform across every eventuality can be a lifetime task, but we can honestly say this mat fits the brief.
The Lululemon Reversible 5mm Yoga Mat offers durable traction, stunning soft marbled designs, and 5mm of spongy padding to see you from headstand to crow pose (or even through hundreds of burpees) with confidence and style. The bumpy top layer is made from polyurethane and is designed to absorb moisture and leave you with an expert grip – no matter how much sweat you throw at it – while flipping over to the soft sweat-wicking natural rubber side is more suited to restorative forms of yoga and exercise. Lululemon has also added an antimicrobial additive designed to prevent any build-up of nasty bacteria or smells, though the initial smell of rubber when you purchase this model will need a few days to air out.
This mat isn’t suited to anyone with a latex allergy due to the rubber base, and it’s not a lightweight mat either, but if you’re happy to invest in a carry case then it will serve loyally as your reliable best mate for years to come – leaving you to focus on the benefits of yoga (opens in new tab).
It’s a premium mat with a hefty $88/£68 price tag, though it does remain one of the best yoga mats money can buy and looks beautiful stowed under your arm.
Learn how to clean a yoga mat (opens in new tab) to keep your mat in tip top condition.
Equipment that packs versatility is one way to maximize home workouts, and the Whatafit Resistance Band range has nailed it, sending these bands straight into our best resistance bands (opens in new tab) round up.
This comprehensive resistance band pack consists of five tube resistance bands, five loop bands, two ankle straps, two handles, a door anchor, an exercise manual, and a carry bag, which seems like an absolute steal at $30/£23. Each band is brightly color-coded so you know exactly what to look for during your workout.
It’s worth checking out our resistance band guide above for the difference between loop and tube resistance bands, but you’ve got plenty of resistance either way with this brand. The loop bands range from light to XX heavy and are perfect for glute-focused exercises, but the soft exterior can give them a tendency to roll up during lateral movement. These bands could have benefited from a textured design to up their grip factor.
The tube bands range between 10-50lbs and have ankle straps and handles that clip on so you can prioritize upper and lower body workouts separately. The clips for these are a little fiddly, and the door anchor (which you can also clip into, allowing you to perform exercises like rows and pulldowns) is a tad unstable – though this doesn’t detract from the brilliant quality of the bands themselves.
Both the tube and loop bands feel secure and offer a decent burn at the higher end of the resistance range, although we highly recommend double-banding if you need a bit more intensity (like during a resistance band leg workout (opens in new tab)). All in all, you get far more variety from this set than most in its price range, and utilizing the full set can provide a decent full-body workout so you can maximize the benefits of resistance bands (opens in new tab) without heaving dumbbells or kettlebells around with you.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M9 is a compact elliptical machine that can slot perfectly into your life (and your home) if you’re looking to clock up some home workout ideas (opens in new tab) without selling your furniture for the privilege. The M9 is the most advanced model in the Bowflex elliptical range and is one of our top picks for the best elliptical machines on the market.
The modest footprint of this machine means you’re not forcing a commercial-grade cardio machine into your home, but that doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing on quality. This machine is Wifi-enabled with a 10.1” HD touchscreen, a heart rate armband, an inbuilt tablet shelf, and Bluetooth speakers. There’s even a free initial JRNY app membership available so that you can accurately track metrics and immerse yourself in tons of workout programs from your living room or home gym – similar to the iFit app. You can also access Netflix, Disney+, and Prime from your touchscreen console.
In terms of specs, Bowflex offers plenty of challenges for hardcore elliptical lovers. There are 20 resistance levels and integrated heart rate monitor hand grips and armbands which allow you to train using via heart rate zones (opens in new tab). You don’t have incline options with this machine, and we were unable to confirm the stride length, but it’s still a stellar choice in the bestselling Bowflex series. We love the 4-grip handlebars that allow you to switch up your upper body positioning so you can target your muscles differently, too.
This machine is ideal for tighter living spaces, and although it isn’t cheap, it’s a top model within the elliptical range, giving models like the ProForm and NordicTrack a run for their money.
- Note: This elliptical machine is currently being tested and reviewed and this guide will be updated once the review is complete.
You can save space and money with the Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell. It combines six weights into one super affordable kettlebell for under $200 – perfect for flitting seamlessly and swiftly between kettlebell swings and cleans. This handy free weight lands itself in our best adjustable kettlebells round-up without a doubt.
Dumbbells and kettlebells are arguably the most space-consuming home gym items, so adjustable versions of these free weights are being hurriedly snapped up by keen exercise enthusiasts looking for home weights set deals (opens in new tab). Bowflex has filled a void in their range by adding this model to the mix, offering six different weights in one convenient package – ranging from 8,12, 20, 25, 35, and 40lbs. It’s a clever and space-saving design that can help you carve out a full-body workout without the faff of time-wasting weight changes.
Setting the kettlebell down on the tray allows you to turn the mechanical dial and increase or decrease the load, formed from multiple plates stacked together and encompassed within the plastic exterior casing. Bowflex has also thrown in 24 trainer-led exercise videos via the SelectTech app to follow if you’re seeking some inspiration. The ergonomic handle is a nice touch, making swings, rows, and squats feel all the more accessible and secure.
The bulky hard plastic design does make this kettlebell quite tricky to rack up for single-sided or overhead movements, which isn’t ideal for anyone working on their snatch or clean and press technique, but this is less of an issue during two-handed exercises. For the price tag and versatility of this model, we reckon it’s a total steal. The SelectTech 840 is perfect for those looking to work on progressive overload (opens in new tab) without having to constantly reinvest in new weights as they get stronger, and is the perfect addition if you’re pumped for a weights at home workout (opens in new tab).
- Note: This adjustable kettlebell is currently being tested and reviewed and this guide will be updated once the review is complete.
The Bowflex 5.1S Stowable Weight Bench is the perfect home gym accessory for free weight exercise or sliding beneath your weight rack to aid Bulgarian split squats and your bench press. The model is the latest top-of-the-line addition to the existing reputable Bowflex range and one of the best weight benches around – sweeping in at a very affordable price of under $300.
But don’t let the price fool you, this sleek-looking model is made for the gym environment. Consisting of a heavy-duty and commercial-grade steel design with high-density foam padding, the model is certainly built to last and can seat up to 600lbs of weight. The space-saving design comes complete with transport wheels and halves the footprint when stowed vertically, making it ideal for anyone needing a discreet bench to add to their existing setup.
The 5.1S is built for versatility too, with a wide supportive padded seat and six adjustment settings including -20° decline, flat, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90° perfect for incline presses and flyes, as well as seat height adjustments which can be selected using the quick and easy selection knob. The bench is fitted with leg braces to secure your legs during exercises like sit-ups, as well as a ‘click, lift, and go’ button system to tuck the bench neatly away when you’re not using it.
If you’re limited on space and don’t want to pay premium prices, but are not ready to compromise on the quality of your home exercise equipment, this is the weight bench for you.
- Note: This weight bench is currently being tested and reviewed and this guide will be updated once the review is complete.
Sitting at double, even triple, the cost of most ab rollers, the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro is certainly a premium product in a premium price bracket of $39.99/£49.87. However, this is a super high-quality product, and we reckon it’s one of the best ab rollers around. So is it worth your cash? In short, yes.
This is one of the most versatile ab rollers we’ve come across, and if you’re questioning how to get a stronger core (opens in new tab), this is your solution.The model offers resistance and assistance using a carbon steel spring inside the roller to add resistance as you roll out and assistance as you steer back in. It’s designed to increase muscle activation in two ways.
Firstly, the wide tread allows you to carve left to right for targeted oblique work, and secondly, the angled performance grips increase support and activation in your arm and core muscles.
Many ab rollers are fairly basic and feature a wobbly thin tread wheel with two straight handles that can feel unstable and unwieldy. But the ultra-wide tread on this roller gives you maximum support and steadily rolls out without feeling as though you’re about to pop your shoulders or veer off uncontrollably. The added resistance and multi-directional capabilities are perfect for tailored progressions or regressions to your workout style, and you also get knee pads included if you need them.
The chunky aesthetic lends itself to stability which is certainly beneficial for anyone new to ab rollouts, as it helps to build technique and basic functional core strength. The addition of lateral movement offers great progression for anyone well-versed in the world of rollouts and looking for versatility and challenge.
Taller users should know that the spring design does limit the range of movement available, but we still rate this as a smooth, solid, and durable bit of home workout kit for your consideration to build a solid core foundation.
How we tested
To compile this list, we asked fitness professionals about their favorite types of workout equipment, to suss out what machines are really worth the hype.
Then we tested each machine we deemed worthy of this list, ranking it for design, performance, usability, features and value for money. After spending about a day on each bit of equipment, we then gave each product a score out of five, depending on how well it had performed across each of these categories.
What is the best equipment for home workouts?
Initially shelling out for gym equipment can be costly, but it may help you save big on steep membership fees over time, and you don’t have to commit to converting your garage to get results either.
Understanding how to build your own home weights gym (opens in new tab) can help anyone (on any budget) get started, but it’s crucial to invest in equipment that suits your space and workout style needs, too. For example, if you enjoy running to lose weight (opens in new tab), you probably won’t be investing in the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab).
Even simple additions like an ab roller — we rate the Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro (opens in new tab) — and a set of resistance bands — like our tried-and-tested Whatafit resistance bands (opens in new tab) — can be coupled to create a killer workout without sapping space from your surroundings.
We loved the Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike (opens in new tab) during testing. It has a small footprint, a super comfortable padded seat, and a very affordable price tag, which makes it perfect for smaller city apartments. It also racks up brilliant reviews for quality, so it’s unlikely you’ll be replacing it for years to come.
We recommend reading the reviews before you buy any equipment because expensive doesn’t necessarily mean great quality, and if you’re not a tech-savvy person, you could end up wasting money on specs you don’t need.
If tech is your ‘thing’ then we highly recommend the NordicTrack X22i (opens in new tab) treadmill. It goes all out for user experience and offers a vast range of speeds, incline and decline settings, and Live and on-demand classes. You will need space to house it though.
We also rate the versatile JaxJox DumbbellConnect Adjustable Dumbbells (opens in new tab). They provide weight ranges of 8-50lbs, are easy to stow, and more than capable of delivering a sweaty HIIT workout or slower tempo full-body resistance session.
If you’re unsure how you prefer to train, our home workout ideas (opens in new tab) could give you some inspiration before you shop.
What is the best workout equipment for small spaces?
As mentioned, we love the Yosuda exercise bike because of its small footprint and super comfortable seat. If you just need to scratch a cardio itch rather than heavily invest, you can’t go wrong with this model and it’ll save you some money compared with pricey ellipticals and treadmills.
The best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab) are also a solid investment because they’re easy to store and highly versatile, offering up handy weight ranges that can diversify your workout in seconds. Coupling these with bodyweight exercises (opens in new tab), a weights bench, or yoga mat (like our top picks above) can help you hammer out cardio or resistance training in any setting, without the need for bulky equipment or machines.
For very small spaces, try to think smart rather than big.
What gym equipment is best for belly fat?
First and foremost, you can’t spot reduce belly fat. Instead, coupling an increase in daily activity with a slight cut to your calorie intake to create a negative energy balance — known as a calorie deficit (opens in new tab) — is the best way to lose weight sustainably.
Learning which exercise burns belly fat (opens in new tab) can help you set expectations during your weight loss journey, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss or exercise.
Cardio is traditionally thought to ramp up calorie burn more than resistance training, yet both can contribute towards weight loss when combined with a healthy diet, and resistance training is helpful for building muscle mass and strengthening your bones. Both play a role, but exercise alone is unlikely to shred body fat, so keeping versatile with how you move and eat can contribute to creating healthier and sustainable habits.
What workout equipment is most effective?
It depends on how you like to train and what your goals are, but we’ve also compiled a guide on the best exercise machine to lose weight, (opens in new tab) detailing the highs and lows of each machine and what they’re best suited to.
If your goal is to increase your cardio, exercise machines like rowers, walking treadmills (opens in new tab), or exercise bikes will be most effective for your needs. However, if you plan to build muscle or improve your strength, then investing more heavily in weights and resistance bands will help you achieve your goals.
Regardless of your workout preferences, maintaining a calorie deficit is necessary if your goal is to lose weight.