Best Home Gym for 2018
Home Gym Systems are overall a good investment. Yes, they cost more initially, and not everyone has space in the house for them, but over time they will save you a lot- both the money you spend on gym memberships and the time you waste to travel there. These machines have come a long way, and it is now possible to get a total-body workout from the comfort of your home. You only need to know how to pick the right one. In this guide we give you the options for the Best Home Gym.
Have a budget you want to stick to? Here are the pages dedicated to our Top Picks for price points:
- Best Home Gym Under 200
- Best Home Gym Under 300
- Best Home Gym Under 500
- Best Home Gym Under 700
- Best Home Gym Under 1000
Why Should You Invest in a Home Gym?
We have already mentioned few benefits, but let’s break it down a little further:
- Your own conditions– working-out at home has many benefits- you can play your own music, as loud as you want. You can train in any clothes, without worrying if it’s ultra clean or new. And no need to wake up before the sunrise just to get to the gym before work- going after is next to impossible; it is always overcrowded.
- You will get a balanced workout– hardcore gym-rats will disagree, but new trends show that going total-body is a much healthier option than specific muscle group training. Each home gym system allows exercising of multiple muscle groups. Better home gym systems support doing more than 100 exercises, so even the pickiest fitness enthusiasts will be able to perform their favorite workouts. Modern home gym systems will follow your progress, scaling with you. Both beginners and advanced users can find the perfect system for them.
- Saving your time, money and nerves– although home gym systems cost (a lot) initially, they pay off fairly quickly. Not only in gym membership fees- unless your gym is right in front of your house, or at your office, you will have to drive to get there, or use public transportation. That will not only drain money out of your pocket but time too. Not to mention those nerve-wracking traffic jams. Also, you can’t just walk into the gym wearing an old, torn-up t-shirt, without embarrassing yourself. When working out at home, you don’t need to plan ahead. Have nothing to do while waiting for a game to start on TV? Get a quick, 30 minute shoulder workout. And you can look however you want, nobody is there to judge you.
What to look for when choosing the Best Home Gym?
Here are few filters:
- Price– your budget will tell you a lot. The budget will make one thing clear- it will determine which systems you can’t afford. And this is a good thing, trust us, there are hundreds of home-gym systems out there, so being able to draw a line quickly is an excellent start. Of course, you will always have dozens of choices within your price range, that is why we’re here to help. We will present you with what we think are the best options, from different price groups. Even if you don’t decide for the highlighted products, you can use them as a starting point, to compare with others.
- Space limitations– plan carefully. Most more advanced home gym systems are not entirely foldable and will take up a lot of space, making that part of the room unavailable for other purposes. Also, with exercise equipment, a tight fit is never a good option. You need to have enough room on the sides too- with home gyms have many moving parts. It is better to have a simpler device, that can fully operate in your room than to have the most expensive one which you won’t be able to use. Think ahead; it will save you a lot of trouble later.
- Exercise variations– home gym systems have come a long way- even the budget versions allow performing dozens of exercises in the full range of motion. But, it is always good to make a “must have” list. A quick tip: aim for the big muscle groups. When you do lat pull-downs, your biceps also work. When doing chest presses, your triceps are activated, etc. Your home gym system of choice should cover all the “main” muscle groups in the first place- if they cover smaller ones, that’s a plus, but is not essential.
- Your strength– if you are a beginner, almost any home gym system will work. However, more advanced lifters will need to make sure the system they choose has enough weight to build their muscles further. Consider your future strength- the home gym system you buy must scale as you grow in strength (and size!).
Types of Home Gym Systems
You can categorize home gym systems in different ways, but when it comes to resistance, there are four central concepts:
- Glide boards– the most basic systems, and the most affordable, glide boards primarily use your bodyweight as the primary resistance. Using resistance bands and weights is an option, but in most exercises, your own body will provide resistance. By adjusting the angle, you either decrease or decrease the workload. Glide boards have one more advantage- they are foldable, and quite light, so you can put them away once you finish your workout. They are an ideal solution if you lack space. However, the choice of exercises you can do on glide boards is limited, compared to some other more advanced (and expensive) systems.
- Resistance rods– this is the newest kind of home gym systems. You increase/decrease the load by repositioning the rods, or by selecting a thinner/thicker rod. This is a unique system and will put tension on your muscles in both phases- flexion and extension- giving you a better workout. Also, many models are foldable to some point, allowing you to have more space when you are not exercising. These systems are pretty light, compared to other, metal plate systems.The main downsides: changing between and adjusting rods takes a bit more time, and rods are more delicate than metal plates.
- Stacked weights– unlike resistance rods and gliding boards, you can see stacked weights systems in regular gyms. You already know how they work- stacks of weights are connected to a network of pulleys and cables, and you use your force to pull them vertically. You select the desired weight by moving the pin. The system is safe to use and works well. You can do all sorts of exercises on stacked weight systems, depending on the attachment and position you choose. But, stacked weight home gym systems have one clear disadvantage- they don’t scale well, and are not the best option for more advanced bodybuilders- you will be limited to about 300 lbs per stack. Also, these systems are entirely immobile- once you set them up, there is no adjusting- so make sure you precisely measure everything before you start assembling the machine. If you make a mistake, you will have to do it from scratch.
- Plate systems– the main advantage of weight plate home gym systems is an almost unlimited amount of weights you can load. Most of these systems can be safely used with 500+ lbs. This makes weight plate systems an ideal solution for seasoned bodybuilders. Also, if you already have an Olympic barbell and weights in your house, you will be able to use them on your new machine. Weight plate home gym systems are flexible and scalable. Their main advantage is the added cost of buying weights and needing more place to store them.
Our Top 5 Home Gym Picks
Weider Ultimate Body Works
If you are on a tight budget, and/or lacking space, but still want to own a home gym system, consider Weider Ultimate Body Works.
This is a glide board system, meaning it mostly uses your bodyweight against the force of gravity for resistance. But you can also use resistance bands, to further increase the workload. By adjusting the incline, changing your position and using bands, you will be able to perform more than 50 different exercises, hitting all muscle groups.
Weider Ultimate Body Works also has a convenient workout guide, explaining every exercise in great detail.
The best thing about this system is its portability- once you complete the workout, fold it and store it away. It does not take up space and can be stored in your closet, or under the bed, clearing up your living space.
The main frame is made out of steel, and cables and bands look to be high quality. Weider offers a 90-day warranty on its Ultimate Body Works system, which is decent and will allow you to test it yourself. We honestly like Body Works, and think that it is an excellent system that will fit any home gym that is on a tight budget or lacking space.
- Light and foldable design
- Excellent for beginners
- Limited workload- not suitable for advanced users
Bowfelx XTREME 2SE Home Gym
Bowflex was the first company to patent the resistance rod system, and Xtreme 2 uses it too. Unlike free weights, Power Rod system is joint friendly, since rods have low inertia compared to regular weights. The default version of this system comes with standard, 210 lbs Power Rods, that can be upgraded to 410 lbs. You adjust the load by hooking up the rods to the pulley system, and changing the rod position, going from 5lbs to the full 210/410 lbs.
The key highlight of this system is the one-for-all pulley system- you do not need to change anything when moving from one exercise to another. This will allow you to switch between exercises, without dropping that heart rate.
You can do more than 70 exercises on Bowflex Xtreme 2, covering every body part. It has a lat pulldown, leg extension, abs crunch, and a multi-position lower pulley/squat station. The seat is ergonomic, and adjustable to different heights, with leg/knee support.
- 70+ exercises
- One-for-all pulley system
- :Standard is only 210 lbs, upgrade to 410 will cost extra
Marcy Diamond MD-9010G Smith Cage System
Smith machine systems are well known to any gym regular. A Smith machine is basically a trapped barbell- you can do almost any exercise that can be done with a free barbell, from the safety of Smith cage. Smith machines are built for safety- since the barbell is fixed, there is no chance for it to fall off, and you can just twist it at any time to lock it in place. This added flexibility will allow you to use more weight, when trying to beat that PR, without the added injury risk.
But Marcy Smith Cage is not just a regular Smith cage. It also has dual-function leg exerciser, low pulley with footrest, cable crossover, peck-deck, free weight squat rack and a press bar. The bench is free-standing, allowing it to move it out of the way, to clear up space, or to do additional exercises. Since this is a free-weight system, there are basically no limits when it comes to maximum weight, making it ideal for advanced users. However, keep in mind that you have to buy plates separately. This system is total-body oriented, and you can do more than 100 exercises for every muscle group on it.
- 100+ Exercises
- Smith cage system
- Free weights- good for heavy-lifter
- Weights not included, you have to buy them separately
BodyCraft Galena Pro Home Gym
The first thing that catches the eye when you look at Galena is the two-seat system. This makes it much more practical to use, since you don’t have to readjust everything, instead just switch the seat and change the exercise. The angular design also allows you to store it in any corner of the room.
Galena Pro has a dual-function pec dec, chest press, leg extension and leg curl, lat pulldown, abdominal crunch and a low-pulley station, enabling you to hit every dominant muscle group. The dual-function pec dec system is especially impressive and unique. You can do this exercise in a traditional way, elbows against the pads. Or you can choose to do it in a more “dumbbell-fly”-like way, by using the handles.
The seats are excellent, comfortable and fully adjustable, fitting users of different height and size. The whole system is rugged, and it looks like it will last. Steel tubes, high-quality foam, wide pulleys and thick cables will provide up to 300 lbs of resistance. However, that is pretty much it; Galena Pro is not further upgradable.
- Rugged will last a lifetime
- Two-seat system
- 300 lbs resistance
- Weight not upgradable
Body-Solid Freeweight Leverage Commercial Gym Package
Free-weights training seems to be the superior training option. And the number one reason is scalability- free weights suit anyone, beginners, and pros, free weight systems will follow your growth.
Body-Solid presents us with a unique free weight system, with two seats. You will be able to do 40 different exercises, across the three stations (two seating, and one standing). The positions are adjustable, matching your height and size. The whole system is safe; safeguards ensure you never get pinned under the weight, so you can use it even when alone. This makes it ideal for maxing-out. Some of the exercises you can do include squats, chest/shoulder presses, pec-fly, rows, shrugs, lunges, curls, and other.
Body-Solid made this leverage free weight system to last. The frame is made out of 10 and 11 gauge steel, with thick reinforced plates. Also, commercial-grade pillow block and ball bearings will ensure friction-free and stable performance. The seat pillows are top quality, filled with dense foam, which is comfortable but also resistant to tears. You can safely rack up to 705 lbs of Olympic-style plates.
Overall, Body-Solid made an excellent free weight system, if you a (whole) room to store it.
- Up to 705 lbs
- Top-quality materials will last a lifetime
- Safe to use
- Take a lot of space
In this article, we presented you with the top five pick for the Best Home Gym for the Money. Every one of those meets the high standards, but if we have to pick a winner, it would have to be Marcy Diamond MD-9010G Smith Cage System (CHECK BEST PRICE HERE).
The Smith machine design has many benefits and is great on its own, but Marcy Diamond takes it to another level. This is a Smith machine on steroids, allowing you to do more than 100 exercises for every part of your body. Free weights make Marcy Diamond a viable option for users of any fitness level- as you progress, you just add more. We also like the design and the overall quality of this machine. Having to buy the weight plates separately is the only downside. But, then you only need another barbell and a treadmill, and you have the complete home gym set up in your home.