Workout Equipment

The 5 Best Home Gyms Reviewed & Compared For 2018

Get a Full Body Workout With One of These Home Gyms!

Women who decide to purchase a home gym do so primarily for convenience. After all, working out in your home eliminates travel time to the gym and having to make babysitting arrangements.

It also saves money on gym membership fees.

A total gym for your home can cost from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand, depending on its features and size.

We’ve reviewed a variety of home gyms that will fit most anyone’s budget. We believe these are the top home gyms and one of them should be perfect for you!

For more of my recommendations, have a look through these popular Women’s Workout guide links: Home Elliptical Machines, Spin Bikes, Rowing Machines.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Rated Home Gyms For 2018

  1. Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
  2. BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0
  3. Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym Station
  4. Body By Jake Tower Full-Body Exercise Gym
  5. Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym

Here is a feature overview of my 3 top rated home gyms. Our guide and comparison table for full body gyms will help you choose the right one for you.

Best Home Gyms

 Bowflex Blaze Home GymBodyBoss Home Gym 2.0Marcy Home Gym Station
editorschoice
Resistance Method:Resistance barsResistance bandsSteel Plates
Max Weight:210 Pounds120 Pounds150 Pounds
Portable:NoYesNo
Rating:4.3 / 5.04.7 / 5.04.1 / 5.0

Home Gym Reviews

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gymis our Editors Choice for the best home gym and unlike your standard weight stack home gyms, the Bowflex Blaze relies on resistance rods.

But don’t underestimate it. You can accomplish anything on this machine as you can on a standard home gym system or free weights.

In spite of its resistance rod design, don’t assume it doesn’t provide sufficient “weight” to provide a challenging workout. This resistance on this model provides the equivalent of 210 lbs of weight. If you need additional resistance, there’s the option of purchasing upgrades.

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One nice thing about the Bowflex Blaze is the ability to get a cardio workout with the use of its aerobic rowing function. It’s a great workout but doesn’t reach the feel or quality of gym machines. That should come as no surprise, though, as quality stand-alone rowing machines for the home can run up to the mid-300’s.

One thing to consider is the Bowflex Blaze foot platforms do not include a strapping mechanism, so you’ll have to jerry rig a way to keep your feet in place. In spite of this design flaw, the rowing portion of the Bowflex Blaze is adequate and gets the job done.

This gym is not apt for the person wanting to bulk up, but it’s more than adequate for strengthening and toning. We believe using a resistance system like this is safer than handling free weights.

To ensure the right level of resistance, you just add or subtract the number of rods which are attached on each side of the machine.

We like the adjustable seat and removable bench. The back rest is also adjustable (you can move it up and down). It’s easier to personalize your workout with these features. Home gyms without an adjustable seat may prove challenging if your height doesn’t fall within the average range.

Taller than most home gyms, the Bowflex Blaze is 84 inches tall. Keep the height of your ceiling in mind when considering purchasing this gym.

If your ceiling is at least 8 ft you should be fine. The Bowflew Blaze’s overall footprint measures 95 x 38 inches. Remember to leave a sufficient clearance on each side to allow for free movement, probably a good 6 x 10 feet in total.

One other nice feature of this home gym is that its foldable, which will make for more room when its not in use. Having pointed that out, this doesn’t mean you can just drag the system into a closet for storing. Also, it’s quite heavy and not easily moved. It’s definitely not made with storage in mind.

Rather than us outlining all the accessories that are included with the Bowflex Blaze, you can check out the photo, as they are all displayed there.

One unique offer from the designers of Bowflex is its software, iTrainer. The iTrainer plans are easy to follow workout routines with videos to show correct form. This doesn’t come with this home gym. It must be purchased direction from Bowflex.

 

Bowflex Blaze Home Gym at a Glance:

  • Foldable
  • Power Rod Resistance
  • Instructional Placard- 80+ Exercises
  • 7 Professional-Designed Workouts

BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0

The BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0 is the best budget home gym on our list that is also truly portable gym. This innovative home gym is completely storable and you can take it with you when traveling.

The gym’s square base comes with a carrying case and a separate bag used for the accessories.

It’s easily packed into a car trunk, though would take up a good amount of space in a suitcase. At 20 lbs, the BodyBoss is pretty heavy but if you are a committed fitness enthusiast, it’s completely doable.

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Considering its size and the ability to store it, this would be a good choice for someone who doesn’t have a separate room to set up a standard home gym. It can fit easily underneath a bed or in a closet.

This gym is versatile. Most every routine you can do at your local gym, you can do with this one. Truthfully, the range of exercises you can simulate on the BodyBoss is only limited by your own imagination. The company has instructional videos on their website and youtube.

The BodyBoss works by using bands. They seem quite sturdy and resilient. If they don’t provide enough “weight” for you, you can double up the bands to increase resistance. Also, there are rings which you add in order to shorten the bands which creates additional resistance.

Overall, this seems like a quality-made product. The base is sturdy. Its resistance bands seem durable enough to hold up with frequent use over time.

For those with wooden or laminate floors, there should be no concern about damage to them, as the BodyBoss comes with rubber spacers under the base.

As previously mentioned, this gym is relatively small, with a footprint of 19 x 22 inches.  It’s about 5 inches high.  

 

BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0 at a Glance:

  • Portable and Collapsible
  • Workout Guide Included
  • Resistance Bands
  • Various Color Options
  • Trainer-led Workouts

Marcy 150-lb Multifunctional Home Gym Station for Total Body Training

The Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym Station is a well-constructed gym made of heavy duty materials, moreso than some of the more expensive home gyms on the market.

This Marcy home gym model includes a 150 lb weight stack, with each plate weighing 10 lbs. You should keep in mind that, in spite of this maximum weight, the design of the gym offers more “weight” than 150 lbs because the system relies on a certain resistance to function.

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This may be the best all in one home gym on our list and offers quite a bit of versatility in terms of the routines you can do.

Some of these include: leg press and extension, leg kicks, lat and tricep pulldowns, bicep curls, chest press, glute work, and deadlift to name just a few.

It comes with a chart of how to use the machine and which features work out the different areas of the body. Listing all the parts and accessories here is unnecessary, as everything you see in the picture comes with it.

A downside with this home gym is its stationary seat, meaning it’s not adjustable to accommodate someone’s height. The back part of the seat isn’t adjustable either.

For those who are shorter, you can add an additional pad to prop you up, though this could potentially pose a comfort or safety issue. Also, this model may not work for the woman who is exceptionally tall.

There are some limitations with range of motion. Adjusting the pulleys can help give additional range, however it’s worth keeping in mind that it still may not be sufficient for someone with longer arms.

Having noted this gym’s pros and cons, overall we think its of above-average quality and an excellent value for the wide range of exercises that can be done with it. It’s also reasonably compact, so takes up less space than other home gyms.

It has a footprint of approximately 68 x 26 inches. We recommend you leave 3 feet or so on each side so you can move around easily. It’s a little under 80 inches tall, so keep in mind your ceiling height before deciding on this home gym.

 

Marcy Multifunctional Home Gym Station at a Glance:

  • 150 lb Weight Stack
  • Steel Construction
  • Exercise Chart
  • Child Safety Lock

The Body By Jake 556869 Tower 200 is another deviation from your standard, bulky home gym. It’s an affordable resistance band system, held together by a metal frame that is secured to a door frame. (Make sure you have sturdy door frames before installing this product!)

The Body by Jake system takes some assembly, but it’s minor compared with the complicated assembly required for your standard home gym. This and its affordability are probably the biggest advantages.

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This gym includes a handy full-body workout routine in the form of a booklet. This booklet has different exercises and ideas on how to maximize the benefits of using the resistance bands, including a chart. There’s also a DVD for those who do better seeing a live demonstration.

One downside of this home gym is its reliance on the upper and lower frame of the system. Because of the bands’ position on either the top or bottom of the frame, the exercises are those focused on the lower or upper body. In other words, it’s challenging to create mid-body motion.

When moving from one exercise to another there’s some adjustments that need to be made. There are hooks that connect the handles to the bands and the bands connect on only one side. This means you have to disconnect the hooks in between different exercises. This will add time to your workout routine.

This gym might be a good option for someone who is not yet committed to a regular exercise routine. It’s a small investment, so not a total loss if you don’t follow through. It would be an excellent choice for someone older who is trying to build up their strength.

It’s best for a woman at beginner or intermediate level because it can help with toning, but isn’t going to bulk up your muscles. You can double up the bands for increased resistance if one band isn’t sufficient.

Here are a couple of things to think about before making the plunge and purchasing this gym. Check your doors to ensure there is a space above the door and on the bottom where it meets the floor.

You need some room above and below or you won’t be able to fully close the door. Also, expect some minor scraping of the door frame when installing this gym. If your looking for the best home gym for the money, this is it!

 

Body By Jake Tower Full-Body Exercise Gym at a Glance:

  • Multi-tension Cords
  • Door Frame-mounted
  • Workout DVD
  • Easy Assembly

Of all the home gyms we checked out, the Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S is the closest to gym-grade. The construction looks great. There’s nothing flimsy about this gym. The frame is sturdy and stable.

You aren’t going to be able to fold this one up or roll it away. It will need to be placed in a permanent spot, like a guest room or the garage.

It measures 83 inches tall. Check your ceiling! Its approximate footprint is 4 x 7 feet. Make sure to allow for some clearance, at least 3 feet on each side, otherwise it would be constraining when trying to do some of the exercises.

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The Body-Solid StrengthTech is a good, solid machine. The seat and back pad on this home gym are very comfy. The cables flow smoothly when in use, allowing you to make smooth, consistent movements. This flow helps make this machine nice and quiet. The rubber shock absorber also helps in that regard.

One thing this Body-Solid StrengthTech model has which sets it apart from the others we reviewed is a lifetime warranty, an uncommon plus. We think that speaks to its quality and the confidence the manufacturer has in its product.

Like with all the standard home gyms, this one requires assembly. A good number of customers pointed out the instructions were hard to follow, so if you go with this option you may consider getting a professional to assemble it for you.

The biggest downside of this home gym is probably the price tag, as it’s one of the more expensive options. It does lack a leg press, but there are other exercises you can do to work targeted leg muscles. For ideas, you can reference the exercise placard that comes with the gym. We rate this as the best compact home gym on our list.

 

Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym at a Glance:

  • 210 lb Iron Weight Stack
  • 10lb Plates
  • Heavy Duty Steel
  • DuraFirm Pads
  • Workout Poster/Video

Home Gym Comparison Table

Home Gym ResistancePortableMax WeightSizeRating
Bowflex Blaze Home GymResistance barsNo210 Pounds130"x42"x35"4.2 / 5.0
BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0Resistance bandsYes120 Pounds22"x19" x 4.5"4.7 / 5.0
Marcy Home Gym StationSteel PlatesNo150 Pounds62"x43"x78"4.0 / 5.0
Body By Jake Tower GymResistance bandsYes200 Pounds24"x6"x14"4.4 / 5.0
Body-Solid Home GymSteel PlatesNo210 Pounds83"x51"x 83"4.3 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Home Gym – Buyers Guide

best all in one home gym

Size

Size and weight: how much room do you have for your gym? Will you need a separate room to set it up?

Home gyms can be unsightly beasts and not likely to make your bedroom more appealing. Most standard home gyms are large and very heavy so you’ll need sufficient room to store and use it.

Assembly

Are you handy? Most home gyms require some level of assembly, and some can take several hours to put them together correctly.

They are typically delivered to your home in several heavy boxes. The level of complexity in assembling them are comparable to the complexity of the machine.

If putting equipment together isn’t your thing, you should consider purchasing one that has fewer parts or one that comes partially assembled.

If you have your heart set on one of the heavy gym-quality home gyms, it may be worth your while to hire a professional to assemble for you.

Portability

Are you so hardcore at working out that you have to have a gym available to you wherever you go?  If you work out almost every day or travel frequently, select a portable gym like the BodyBoss Home Gym.

This may not have been an initial consideration, but with today’s technology, there are gyms that can be packed up and toted along wherever you go.

Maximum Weight

Depending on your workout goals, you should consider the maximum weight a home gym provides. The maximum weight we found in the gyms we reviewed was 210 lbs.

While, this may not meet your workout needs, remember that the added resistance of a home gym will create the effect of more than the gym’s weight limit.

Preferred Exercise

What areas of the body do you want to work out? What exercises must a home gym absolutely have? Think about this before making a decision.

While, in general, home gyms on the market are quite versatile, some lack specific exercises you may currently be doing at your local gym.

Having said that, with a little creativity, you can usually get the same effect with your home gym even if it doesn’t offer the exact same activity.

Budget

We’re sure this is a factor for most people when looking for the perfect home gym, but it’s worth pointing out. Nowadays home gyms are affordable for almost anyone, as they run anywhere from just over $100 up to thousands of dollars.

If you’re a fitness nut and know you will use the gym for years to come, making the investment in a more expensive home gym is well worth your while.

By saving the monthly fee for a gym membership, a well-made, sturdy gym will last a long time and may even save you money in the long run.

If you are ambivalent about committing to a workout regimen or are just starting out, it may be a good idea to choose a less expensive model. You can always upgrade if you become committed to regularly working out.

Features

There are certain features of home gyms that will make your workout more comfortable and they should be considered before committing to buying a home gym.

Does the gym have adjustable seats? If a gym’s seat isn’t adjustable, it may be too high or too low for your height.

Is the bench’s incline adjustable? If the bench is stationery this may effect your ability to get a good enough range when working out your chest area.

Does the gym offer sufficient resistance? On gyms designed for use with resistance bands, the bands can sometimes be doubled up to provider greater resistance (check the manufacturer’s recommendation).

As mentioned above, weight-based gyms have a maximum weight limit. Remember though, that home gyms provide additional resistance, so the maximum weight doesn’t actually represent their equivalent weight when compared to free weights.

Fitness Goals

What are your fitness goals? While the convenience of a home gym can be attractive, if your goal is to bulk up or if you’re passionate about body-building, a home gym isn’t the best option for you.

Home gyms are great for strengthening and toning, but they don’t offer the ability to build serious muscle.  In spite of that, a home gym could be the perfect “in between” workout machine for those times when the weather is bad or after a long work day when you just can’t make it to the gym.

Making the decision to purchase a home gym is a personal one. You have your own reasons for considering this as a workout option and those reasons should guide you in determining which option is right for you.

Like anything, each home gym model comes with its own pros and cons, so do a little research before deciding. We hope our write-up helped you in your search for the perfect home gym for you and your needs!

Three Reasons to Buy a Home Gym

#1 Convenience

With a home gym there’s no packing up to go, no travel to your local gym, and you have total control over the workout music. Home gyms are also ideal for people with kids. It takes out the childcare element.

#2 Workout Quality

The use of a home-based gym makes it easier to use correct form. The setup also isolates and targets specific muscle groups.

#3 Saves Money

While investing in a home gym can put you back a few bucks, when you work out at home, you save money on gas and a monthly gym membership.

FAQs About Home Gyms

By this point, you probably still have a few questions. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and answered some of the most frequently asked questions, below! Take a look!

Q: Will workout videos or guides come with my new home gym equipment?

A: This will depend entirely on the equipment that you choose. For example, Body by Jake comes with a workout DVD that is great with beginners or those that have difficulties self-motivating, but most will not.

Q: Will I bulk up from using my home gym?

A: Unless you’re going in with the purpose of adding on substantial amounts of muscle, lifting extremely heavy (to absolute exhaustion with only 8 reps or less), and eating enough calories to facilitate not only maintaining, but gaining muscle, then no. In fact, lifting weights and resistance exercise, in general, is one of the most efficient ways to tone the body, and slim down.

Q: Is it better to use machine weights or free weights?

A: There’s no real “better” between the two, as both can help you increase your strength, overall health, and body composition. However, free weights are also going to help improve your overall balance, and work the supporting muscles, while also adding in a bit more core work due to them working to stabilize you.

Resistance bands work similarly, as they don’t have the guide that machine weights give you. If you’re a beginner and are particularly concerned about potential injury, machine weights are often a good option, as you can’t really perform exercises in any other way than the machine allows for.

That’s not to say that free weights are more dangerous; rather that they require a bit more getting used to and practice to lift with proper form. They also allow for a more natural range/path of motion, rather than being “forced” to operate in a certain way like you often have to with machines.

Q: How often should I work out?

A: If you’re a beginner, you may want to start with 30 minutes, 4 days a week, to allow for adequate recover time, as well as preventing possible burnout so quickly. If you’re a bit more experienced, than 5 days a week, and hour per day, is ideal. In addition, we recommend going with 2 days on, 1 day off, 3 days on, 1 day off, so you can recover in the middle of the week.

Tips For Using Your Home Gym

Tip #1: Try to split your exercises up depending on the day

It’s not necessarily a rule, but splits are often much more effective than just doing full-body workouts each day. What is a split? It’s where you do one day (in no particular order) that’s just dedicated to certain muscle groups/body parts. Our favorite (and proven to be the most efficient), is the classic split: one day you train your triceps and chest, one day you train your legs, one day you do your back and biceps, one day you do solely abs and cardio, and the last you do a full-body workout to finish out the week.

The reason why this is so effective, is because you give your body adequate time to rest and recover. If you force the entire body to workout every single day, sure, you’ll make progress, but your body won’t have time to catch up like it would with a split, and you won’t see results as quickly. In addition, you might feel more sore if you do full-body daily which can make it more difficult to workout as intensely as you might desire.

Tip #2: Go with your lifestyle

If you’re constantly on-the-go, then you may not want a gym that is completely immobile. Perhaps select equipment that allows for you to take it with you so you can take advantage of any spare time you may have to fit in a workout. On the contrary, if you have time at home where you can take an hour or so and dedicate it to exercising, stationary exercise machines are often very powerful and can get you great results, due to being such a complete system.

Tip #3: Take your time

We understand you may want to see quick results, but it’s important to be patient with exercise and the human body. While we do adapt quickly, it’s never worth the risk of injury or burnout to go crazy with it. Focus primarily on proper form. If you cannot perform an exercise with proper form, do not do it. Lower the weight or build up to that particular exercise. Forcing it is never a good idea, and typically ends badly.

#4: Make sure to hydrate

This is another mistake many people make, and it’s understandable. Many people underestimate how much the human body requires, and how much water it lets go of during exercise. Make sure to drink around 8 glasses of water daily, to avoid this.


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best home gym to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend an gym machine I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Versatility
Quality
Value

The Bowflex Blaze Home Gym wins our Editors Choice for the best home gym with its quality, versatility and workouts available.

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