Best Cardio Machines for a Home Gym

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When it comes to building a complete home gym that will give you the best results possible, most people opt for resistance equipment first.

Cardio equipment can be a bit more difficult, as a lot of times we’re only going to include one or two machines so we need to be more selective. If you’re looking for the best cardio equipment to include in your home gym, then don’t go anywhere because we have them all right here!

Best Home Cardio Equipment

1. Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes come in many forms, but there is a mutual appeal with them all: they don’t take much space and are ideal if you prefer to stay sitting while engaging in cardio exercise. Let’s take a look at each type to help determine which is ideal for your needs and space!

Folding Exercise Bike

Folding exercise bikes are perfect if you’re really tight on space. These are typically a bit shorter then regularly-sized alternatives, and are also more lightweight. Oh, and did we mention they fold? Put that all together and they are super easy to move and store should you need to. While they are usually much simpler and don’t come with the latest and greatest tech, they get the job done on a budget price.

Air Bikes

Are you in for a real challenge? Do you want to seriously improve your body composition? Are you training for a competition? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then air bikes are for you! They’re definitely not a pleasant ride where you can daydream or meditate, but if you are looking for a serious piece of cardio equipment that yields quick and effective results this is an awesome choice.

One thing to note is that these bikes are definitely not for those who risk disturbing others with noisy machines. The noise from the fan is pretty significant, so take that into consideration.

Spin Bikes

If noise is an issue, then enter the world of spin bikes. Spin bikes are ultra-smooth, offering a virtually silent experience, making it perfect to use in the late hours or if you have neighbors. If you haven’t tried spinning before, we highly recommend you go check out a group class at a local gym! They are a great workout and relatively low impact.

You can choose to sit or stand, so you can do intervals and hills very well. On top of that, you get a great amount of control over the resistance, which a conveniently placed twist knob in the center. Spin bikes are also great tools for improving body composition, and even if you participate in triathlons and need to train in the off-season.

Recumbent Bikes

If you have issues maintaining balance on upright exercise bikes, have back pain, or simply enjoy the more cushy, wide seats, you need to check out recumbent bikes! While they still offer a quality cardio workout while strengthening the lower body, you can also read a book, videos, or catch up on the news while you pedal away.

Bike Trainers

If you’re a cyclist and need to keep in shape during the colder seasons a bike trainer is the answer. They come in a ton of different configurations but essentially they are stands which support your wheels, allowing you to bike as if you were outside doing so.

The simpler versions are just that, while the more complex models offer advanced technology, such as apps you sync to your smartphone, changing the incline and resistance according to the virtual world’s scenery in your app. Of course, you can expect to spend more money on these but it’s more than worth it for many. Not to mention, they’re a ton of fun!

Best Home Cardio Equipment

2. Treadmills

Treadmills are the most popular cardio machine in the world. They’re easy to use, as we perform the same motions as we would by walking, jogging, or running outside. As you can probably imagine, you also get quite a few options to choose from here.

Folding Treadmills

Much like the folding exercise bikes, folding treadmills are known to be more lightweight and a bit more compact than full-sized versions. This doesn’t mean that they’re flimsy or that you can’t run at high speeds on them. Again, if you’re really limited on space for your home gym then take a look at the dimensions on these options first.

Manual Treadmills

Manual treadmills are a tough workout, as you are the one moving everything instead of a motor like other models have. These vary widely in terms of price but what’s great about them is that you’ll never use electricity to power them in the future so your power bill won’t increase at all. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly eco-friendly product that you could even use off-grid if you wanted or need to.

Under Desk Treadmills

Under desk treadmills are relatively new inventions but have exploded recently in popularity – probably due to the influx of people now working from home. Whatever your case may be, if you’re having issues finding time outside of work to dedicate to staying fit, these can’t be beat.

You can slide them easily under your standing desk while you work away. There have been countless studies proving that exercise helps improve brain function, so you may just discover you end up doing a better job at work, too!

3. Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines are one of the best cardio machines out there for low impact cardio. If you have issues with your knees, hips, or other joints, then we recommend you check these out before anything else.

Under Desk Elliptical Machines

These are similar to under desk treadmills, so if you want to get in a sweat during your working hours give these a go! Under desk elliptical machines are lightweight and compact so you can store them just about anywhere when they’re not in use.

Compact Ellipticals

Alternatively, if you don’t have a ton of space in your home gym but still want to include an elliptical, compact models will make it work. They do almost always have a shorter stride than normal, though, so if you stand 5’7” or taller we encourage you to double-check just how long it is to make sure you are comfortable and aren’t limited.

4. Rowing Machines

Last but not least, we bring you rowing machines. If you love zoning out and meditating while you’re doing your cardio, we can’t recommend rowing machines enough. They work the entire body, they’re perfect for all ages and physical fitness levels, and they don’t take up much space. On top of that, they’re usually pretty cost-effective when you compare them to other types of cardio machines.

These come in magnetic, water, and wind options so you can select which is best for you. Oh, and if you don’t have a dedicated space available where you can leave your rowing machine, then go check out the folding models!


Now that you’ve had the opportunity to browse through all of the best cardio equipment to add to your home gym which piece will you be adding in? The great news is that they’re all excellent options for burning calories, keeping fit, and increasing your stamina. We hope that this guide has helped you to make the right decision or at least help narrow down your options. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again shortly!


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Shayanne Weeks

Shayanne is a freelance writer and personal trainer based in LA, California. Describing herself as a nomad, she has lived in Boise, Idaho and Seattle, Washington as well as Guadalajara, Mexico. As an extremely active person, she loves to train people, teach yoga, and ski. She enjoys sharing her love for teaching others through her “how to” fitness guides and workout equipment reviews. Shayanne is addicted to surfing and yoga and practices both everyday.
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