Regular exercise is essential if you want to stay healthy and fit, but it's not always easy to find time to get to the gym. With a home gym, you can squeeze in a workout whenever is convenient and never have to worry about feeling self-conscious about exercising in front of others. A home gym offers plenty of versatility, so you can do a variety of exercises from the comfort of your home.
If you're not sure what to look for in a home gym, take a look at our helpful shopping guide, which is chock full of tips for choosing the best model. Our top pick is a professional-quality machine that allows you to exercise all the major muscle groups but is still suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.
Considerations when choosing home gyms
Versatility is the most important feature to look for in a home gym. You should choose a model that allows you to perform as many different exercises as possible so you can get a full body workout without leaving your home. That means you should be able to work out your chest, shoulders, back, arms, abdominals, and legs. Some home gyms offer as many as 75 different exercises for the most variety.
While most home gyms are designed for strength training exercises, some models also offer a cardio component such as a rowing machine.
Weights and resistance
Another important feature to consider when choosing a home gym is how much weight it allows you to work out with and what resistance levels you prefer. Consider how much weight you're currently able to lift -- opt for a model that can support additional weight so as your fitness level increases, your workouts can progress. Some home gyms can support up to 800 pounds, which is suitable for most users.
Pay attention to whether the home gym includes the weights. Some models only provide the frame and bars, so you have to purchase the weights separately, which adds to the overall price of your home gym.
If more than one person in your household plans to use your home gym, it's important to choose a model that's adjustable. This allows people of different heights and body types to use the equipment without getting injured.
Home gyms are usually large pieces of equipment that can take up quite a bit of space in your home. If you have a dedicated room to place your home gym, then it's not an issue. If space is limited in your house or apartment, opt for a model that folds. This makes it easier to stash the gym when you're not using it so you don't lose any valuable space.
To make it easier to move your home gym around your house or apartment, some models feature wheels on the bottom of the frame. You can roll the gym from room to room as necessary without injuring yourself or damaging your floor.
Home gym prices
Home gym prices range in price from $300 to $3,000. A basic home gym that isn't quite as sturdy as professional-grade models and doesn't allow for as many exercises usually costs between $300 to $500. For a mid-range home gym that offers enough exercises for most casual and intermediate fitness fans, you pay between $500 and $1,000. For a high-end home gym that provides enough exercise for advanced fitness fans and offers many professional-grade features, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $3,000.
Q. How difficult is it to assemble a home gym?
A. A home gym has quite a few parts, so the assembly process can take several hours. However, it's not that difficult to put together as long as you follow the instructions. If you're not sure you're up to the task, some manufacturers offer professional on-site assembly for an additional fee.
Q. Is it safe for me to use a home gym?
A. Before you begin any new exercise program, consult your doctor. In most cases, weight training and other home gym exercises are perfectly safe. However, if you have certain health issues, such as a heart condition or respiratory concerns, you can overexert yourself if you're not careful. Home gyms also have quite a few moving parts, so it's easy for children to get injured if they play on one. Never leave your kids unsupervised with your home gym.
Home gyms we recommend
Best of the best: Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage
Our take: A professional-grade home gym that allows you to work out every major muscle group. The most complete home gym on the market.
What we like: An ideal option for beginners and advanced exercisers alike. Weight bench includes leg developer, preacher pad, bicep preacher curl, and Olympic sleeve for the leg developer. Also features attachments including a lat bar, triceps rope, and row handle.
What we dislike: A pretty pricey option, but you're paying for durability and versatility.
Best bang for your buck: Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
Our take: A high-quality basic home gym that offers a variety of exercise and resistance options but comes in at an affordable price point.
What we like: Can be used to perform 25 different exercises, including aerobic rowing. Variety of cable pulley positions means you can change the resistance angle easily for more effective workouts. Features a folding bench for easier storage and a media rack to hold smart devices while you exercise.
What we dislike: Can't handle the weight that more advanced users might prefer.
Choice 3: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
Our take: A dependable, well-made home gym made by one of the best-known brands in the game. Isn't the best option for advanced fitness junkies unless you purchase upgrades.
What we like: A fairly complete home gym for beginner and intermediate workouts. Offers up to 60 different exercises and the sliding seat rail allows you to do aerobic rowing workouts. Assembly is fairly easy and folding bench and wheels make it easy to move.
What we dislike: One of the more expensive home gym options, and you have to pay more to upgrade for additional resistance.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.