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Just about everyone loves the idea of walking out of your garage door or into your basement or even into a bedroom and having a place where you can hone your physical and mental abilities. Unfortunately, many people have the idea that a home gym or garage gym has to be expensive; we’re here to crush that notion.
We’ve been personally testing and reviewing home gym equipment since 2014, so we know first-hand that there are plenty of high-quality and affordable pieces of exercise equipment on the market. Our team of certified personal trainers and competitive weightlifters help me determine what’s the best-of-the-best by rating each item on these factors:
- Value: Does the item provide a similar experience to more expensive options?
- Durability: Budget-friendly equipment won’t last as long, but that doesn’t mean it should fall apart on you right away.
- Versatility: We stretch your dollar even further by finding equipment that can be used for more than one exercise.
Best Budget Home Gym Equipment
Best Budget Weight Bench: REP Fitness FB-5000 Competition Flat Bench
Best Budget Weight Bench
- Great price on a high-quality bench
- Compatible with REP Wide Pad or Thompson Fat Pad
- 3" x 3" 11-gauge steel provides solid construction
Pros & Cons
- Great price for a good value bench
- 3” x 3” 11-gauge steel
- Sturdy 3-post bench
- Nothing in the way of your feet when you bench
- Rated to 1,000 pounds
- Meets the IPF specs for length, height, and width
- Comes with a 4” thick pad on a plywood base with durable vinyl upholstery and the option to purchase an extra wide pad
- Comes with a handle and wheels
- Compatibility with 2 other bench pads including the extra wide and the Thompson Fat Pad
- Easily assembled in less than 20 minutes.
- Available in multiple colors and designs.
- Shipping not included in price
- Short manufacturer’s warranty
- Some assembly required
- 30-day return period and restocking fee applied to returns
Although a weight bench isn’t necessarily what we’d consider essential, for many, it will be a highly used piece of equipment. Many view a flat bench as just beneficial for bench pressing, however, it can be used for many other movements from the upper body to the lower body. Versatility is what you should be looking for in your equipment, and a portable bench can provide a lot of that.
The bench press is one of the four main barbell lifts you are likely to train in your home gym. Because of how many people buy them, a good weight bench is very affordable and can increase the use of most of your equipment. It may be used for box squats, rows, triceps exercises, step-ups, box jumps, Jefferson curls, and a variety of other exercises.
In addition to the training movements, when you’re not squatting inside the rack, you may frequently find yourself taking your rest sitting down (perhaps laying) on the bench in between sets. Or when you are squatting or deadlifting, you may find it as a useful safe area for your kids to be seated off the platform while you are in the middle of your set.
For most people, we’d suggest first buying a flat bench. Although incline benches are great, budget incline benches typically perform outstanding neither for the flat bench press or incline movements. Although there are often flat benches available on the secondary market, good benches can be had for so cheap these days that there’s often little reason to buy a used bench.
REP Fitness is a trustworthy company that sells high-value equipment (value meaning best price to features/quality ratio). That’s one reason why we can say that the Rep Fitness FB-5000 Comp Flat Bench is an all-around great flat bench. It’s constructed with thick 3-inch-by-3-inch 11-gauge steel, with durable vinyl padding that will sit just right with the backside of your shirt. The overall construction gets a 4.5 out of 5, and the only reason we docked points is the vinyl isn’t the highest quality (but it’s great for the price).
The construction is very sturdy and definitely gives you confidence in that it won’t move around while you are doing your set. It weighs in at a maneuverable 62 pounds, with built-in wheels and a handle to easily move it in, out, and around your squat rack. For the lifter who is training for powerlifting, it’s good that this is built to the standard of what you may find in IPF competition.
Also, the REP FB-5000 Bench utilizes a unique 3-post frame that allows your feet to get underneath you without having to step on the legs. This may seem like an insignificant feature, but after using it extensively, we can confidently say it’s superior to the typical four-foot design that although is a bit more stable, can often get in the way.
“When you go to a competition, all benches will have single-post designs, so that’s a huge win for this REP bench,” says Cooper Mitchell, GGR founder and home gym equipment expert.
The REP Fitness Comp Flat Bench is also designed to be switched out and upgraded to accommodate various bench pads such as the ever-popular Rogue Thompson Fat Pad (a good option for many lifters, especially those that are larger.) Overall, with its 3-foot post design, 1,000-pound weight capacity, easy maneuverability, and outstanding price (less than $150 as of this writing) we recommend this flat bench to both those who are on a budget and those who aren’t.
For more, check out our REP FB-5000 review.
|Footprint||50.5″ L x 21″ W x 16.9″ H|
|Pad dimensions||12″/13.75″ W x 48″ L|
|Weight capacity||1,000 lbs|
Best Budget Dumbbell Sets: Living.Fit Dumbbell Sets
Best Budget Dumbbell Sets
- A lot of weight options
- Wider handle for better grip
- Covered in rubber to protect floor and weights
- Free shipping
- Made in the USA
- Hex shape prevents rolling
Pros & Cons
- Lifetime warranty for home gym use
- Covered in rubber to protect weight and floors
- Wider handles to accommodate your hand better
- Hex-shaped to prevent rolling
- Company states weights may be damaged during shipping
- Still more expensive than an adjustable dumbbell
- Knurling is just OK
To be honest, we rarely recommend fixed dumbbell sets to people who are on a budget. If, however, you’re set on the idea of having one in your home gym then your best bet is the Living.Fit dumbbell sets. They come out to under $2 per pound regardless of the set you purchase, come with free shipping and a lifetime warranty if only used in home gyms, and are made in the USA. Can you find cheaper dumbbell sets elsewhere on the internet? Yes, but you’ll be lucky if you get one of the benefits we just mentioned.
Another feature that makes these well worth every penny is that they’re covered in rubber to protect the weights themselves as well as your floors—cause when you’re on a budget the last thing you want to do is replace equipment or a cracked foundation.
These dumbbells offer a lot more than just great value. Each one has a handle that’s just a bit wider in the middle to better accommodate the shape of your hand, which provides a much better grip.
|Handle material||Center knurling on steel|
|Construction||Steel handle, rubber-covered hex heads|
|Weight options||5lbs. – 100lbs. (pairs and sets available)|
Best Budget Weight Plates: REP Fitness Iron Weight Plates
Best Budget Weight Plates
- Well-priced plates with solid construction
- Fit Olympic barbells
- Sold in pairs or sets
Pros & Cons
- Fit most Olympic barbells
- Are sold in pairs
- Raised lips make them easy to pick up
- Great price
- Frequently sold out
- Not meant for dropping
Once you have a barbell and a place to set that barbell, having weights that slide onto the barbell is the next piece of equipment you should be looking for. The best weight plates are likely going to be the most costly piece of equipment in your gym.
You can start out with a small amount of weight, but what typically becomes painfully obvious, and quickly, is that you need more weight. Thankfully, weight plates can be had for rather cheap per pound; just recognize that the price will add up over time, especially if you desire matching plates. The first place to look is the secondary market. Although not every market is this way, many will feature crazy good deals on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Many of you are also likely debating if you should purchase iron plates or bumper plates. We’ve used a wide array of both, and here’s what we’ve found. Although bumper plates are better in a garage gym for most people due to their ability to be dropped without damaging the floor and their great resale value, they’re vastly more expensive than iron plates.
We suggest REP Fitness Iron Weight Plates for those on a budget purchase iron plates unless they plan to do a lot of Olympic Weightlifting or CrossFit. Even the power clean can be lowered from the front rack to prevent damage to the floor with enough practice (this was done for decades before bumper plates were invented. If you plan to do some of the classic lifts like the clean and jerk and snatch, then we suggest purchasing a few bumper plates, and then filling the rest of your weight plate needs with iron.
The reason we suggest the REP Fitness Iron Plates is pretty simple, they’re some of the best-priced iron plates with consistent and standard sizing on the internet. At $0.89/lb (as of this writing) the EP Iron Plates are dirt cheap in comparison to many of the other options from companies like York Barbell, Rogue Fitness, and Ivanko.
Although the Rep Iron Plates are cheap, they’re not too bad. Sure, they’re going to be less consistent and accurate than some of the more expensive plates you can purchase, they should meet most people’s needs. The 45-pound plates have the standard 17.7 inches outside diameter and Rep guarantees a 3% tolerance on all plates. This means that if the plate is outside of 3% of the stated weight, then they should, in theory, replace it.
“The overall design and function of the plates are great,” says GGR founder and home gym equipment expert Cooper Mitchell. “This also includes the powdercoat that is tough and hasn’t chipped yet despite quite a bit of mishandling.”
Coop rated the overall value of these plates a 4.75 out of 5 because of their durability and how good they performed when used for back squats, bench presses, and more.
The REP Iron Plates look like the standard barbell plates that have been around for years and are seen in just about every commercial gym in the country. Cast Iron is what most iron plates are made of, and these are no exception.
Each plate also includes a small lip that makes it easier to pick up and carry around, black paint on the entirety of the plate with silver-painted letters and numbers. If you’re wanting budget weight plates, then these are your best value.
|Weight options||5lbs – 45 lbs|
Best Budget Squat Rack: Titan Fitness T-2 Series Rack
Best Budget Squat Rack
- Affordable price
- Walk-in design
- Comes in either 71- or 83-inch height
- Free shipping
- 2,200-lb capacity
Pros & Cons
- Costs around $400
- Comes in either 71- or 83-inch height
- Free shipping
- 2,200-lb capacity
- Comes with safeties and a pull-up bar
- Weighs just 130 lbs
- 2x2" uprights wo't be compatible with all attachments
- Should be bolted or weighted for maximum safety
- Assembly required
The squat rack is the centerpiece of nearly every home gym, and for good reason. No matter what your goals are, squat racks will likely play a big part in helping you achieve them. The only piece of equipment more versatile than the squat rack is a barbell, and if you follow our recommendations, then you’ll already have one.
A squat rack can be used for obvious exercises like squatting and benching, but they’re also great for pull-ups, rackable deadlifts, and overhead press. You can add in some attachments for a bit more and suddenly your rack can do everything from landmine movements to lat pulldowns.
We’ve noticed that many people starting home gyms will purchase squat stands and then upgrade later to a power rack due to their versatility. It also needs to be mentioned that most squat stands, when safety bars are added, aren’t much cheaper than their power rack equivalents. With the price of power racks today, we suggest skipping the squat stand option and going for a power rack. You won’t spend much more (in some cases you’ll spend less) and you’ll be much safer and satisfied in the long run.
There is a lot to love about the Titan T-2 Series Power Rack, especially if you’re on a budget. First of all, this is a true power rack that comes with pin/pipe safeties, weight horns and J-cups, all for around $400. The price varies on the upright height you pick; you can choose either 71- or 83-inch uprights depending on your height. You also get a single pull-up bar, which can be swapped out for a multi-grip bar (at an extra cost).
With a 2,200-pound weight capacity, this rack can withstand just about any weight you want to load for squats, rack deadlifts, or bench. We also love that Titan always offers free shipping.
There are a few sacrifices you might make, mostly when it comes to attachments. The T-2 has 2-inch-by-2-inch uprights, which means that only certain attachments will fit. Titan does have a decent line of products that will fit, but you won’t see the large number of attachments like you would if you had 3-inch-by-3-inch uprights.
For safety, it’s best to bolt this rack down. However, the T-2 comes with weight horns on the back, so if you load up plates, you’ll notice an increase in stability.
We also like its flat feet. Many racks at this price point are bolt-down racks, meaning if you plan to put it in your garage or bedroom, it must be bolted down or can easily fall over. Although we love the stability offered by a rack that is secured either through anchors in a concrete garage floor or to a platform, many people don’t need that much stability and would like to avoid the hassle or simply can’t due to the location of the rack or them renting their domicile.
Learn more about this and other options on our complete Titan Rack reviews.
|Footprint||71” or 83” H x 30″ D x 46″ W|
|Construction||2 x 2” 12-gauge steel|
|Hole spacing||2″ on the center|
Best Budget Barbell: DMoose Regional Barbell
Best Budget Barbell
- Barbell suitable for all training disciplines
- Can support up to 1,500 pounds
- Hard chrome finish
- 35- and 45-lb versions available
Pros & Cons
- Moderate diamond knurling
- Bearings for great spin
- 16.4-inch sleeve length
- 190,000 PSI Tensile Strength
- Lifetime warranty
- Suitable for all training levels
- Nice whip
- Dual grip rings on knurling
- No center knurling
- Extra care needed against oxidation
There are few things we look for in a the best Olympic barbell, such as overall construction, the tensile strength of the bar, the knurling, spin, finish, price, and warranty.
The almighty barbell is perhaps the most important piece of equipment in any home gym. No matter your goal, you should have a barbell in your hands at least some of the time. The biggest reason for this is its effectiveness; the second reason is its versatility. No piece of equipment can be used for as many different purposes as the barbell, and the best part? It produces results.
We’ve used all of the barbells we recommend and during testing, we performed all of the major barbell exercises including squats, deadlift, bench, overhead press, clean and jerk, and snatch. We also took measures to get the opinion of others and interviewed industry representatives to determine why they feel their bars are superior to the competition.
The best budget barbell is the DMoose Regional Barbell. For us, it’s one of the very few bars priced under $200 that we would ever recommend. Generally, super cheap barbells are susceptible to corrosion, they don’t spin well, or they come in odd lengths and shaft diameters. Not the case with this barbell.
The Regional bar comes in 35- and 45-pound options, and according to longtime fitness writer and home gym owner Roger Lockridge is perfect for beginners who are just learning the big three lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlifts.
“For beginners, the knurling isn’t aggressive, so it will feel comfortable in the hands,” Roger says in our DMoose Regional Barbell review. “The bearings provide great spin for movements such as the clean-and-jerk or snatches.”
Roger says he spun the sleeves and they didn’t stop for 20 seconds, so he rated the spin a 5 out of 5.
Still, we like the dual knurling marks, the knurling pattern itself, and the fact that it does have some spin to it. At 150K PSI, it is far from being the strongest barbell, but if you just need something to squat with and don’t want to break your bank, this bar has a 1,500-pound weight capacity should serve you well.
|Overall length||86.75 inches|
|Tensile strength||150K pounds-per-square-inch|
Best Budget Pull-Up Bar: Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Best Budget Pull-Up Bar
- Heavyweight steel construction ensures stability
- 500-lb weight capacity
- Matte black powder coating
- Adjustable mounting
Pros & Cons
- Can be installed vertically or horizontally
- Weight capacity of 500 lbs
- Can be mounted on concrete or wood
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Mounting hardware not included
- May not work for kipping movements
- Short 1-year warranty
A pull-up bar can be one of the most useful pieces of upper-body equipment you purchase. There are many people who like having a mounted pull-up bar separate from their rack, as they can also use it as an area to attach resistance bands from, use for accessory work, or even superset pull-ups at the wall with squats in the rack. If you follow CrossFit-type programming, this is especially helpful.
When it comes to choosing the best pull-up bar, you first need to think of where you would want to mount it and at what height. Most versions you can find are wall-mounted, but there are also ceiling-mounted versions as well. It is also important to think about all of the activities you may do on the bar besides pull-ups. If you think you’ll attach gymnastic rings to it so that you can do exercises like inverted rows, you’ll need to make sure you have the space for it.
Also, you don’t necessarily have to mount a pull-up bar to the wall, you could also get a doorway pull-up bar to put inside your house and many often double as push-up stands. For these reasons, we’ve included a few different options depending on your price point and potential use.
Our top pick is the Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar. It is the classic design that can be found in many elementary schools across the country. The Titan Pull-Up is designed to be mounted into wood studs or can be fixed into a concrete wall. The depth of the bar from the wall is 32 inches, more than enough to give you room to hang and work from.
The weight capacity is listed at 500 pounds, and even with kipping style pull-ups, this should be secure enough for most people. However, it may not be far enough from the wall for you to do all your kipping movements, depending on how tall you are. The entire structure is matte black powder-coated, which provides a decent grip that shouldn’t be a problem even with sweaty palms. The bar can be adjusted to 16 inches, 32 inches, or 52 inches apart, which is set just right for the standard 16-inch wood studs found in most homes.
Overall, the Titan Wall Mounted Pull-Up Bar is our classic value pick. For the price of under $100 with free shipping, you’re getting a very basic pull-up bar that gets the job done and functions quite well.
|Dimensions||53.5″ L x 31″ H x 2″ W|
Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells: PowerBlock Sport Pro Dumbbells
- Replaces 15 pairs of dumbbells
- Has a small, compact footprint
- Easy to change weights
- Add expansion kits for up to 90 lbs per hand
Made in USA
Pros & Cons
- Weight goes up to 90 pounds with add-ons
- Durable, especially for an adjustable dumbbell
- Weight increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds
- Rectangular shape and caged handle might be tough for some
- Returns subject to 20% restocking fee
- Can't get full range of motion
Adjustable dumbbells on a budget? It’s definitely an affordable option in today’s market. While adjustable dumbbells may not be a necessity for many garage gym owners, they are very useful tools in the right hands. Having a good set or pair of adjustable dumbbells will allow you to perform plenty of great exercises for both hypertrophy and accessory work.
For the garage gym owner, the thought process for purchasing the best dumbbells should include ideas about space and convenience. Most people would not have the room to house an entire set of dumbbells from 5 pounds all the way up to 100 pounds. And even if you did, finding great quality dumbbells at an affordable cost is rare indeed.
We hear frequently of people snagging nice adjustable dumbbells at a fraction of the ticket price, as well as purchasing whole dumbbells sets for around 50 cents per pound. Luckily for you, we have been able to review several great options and have found what we believe to be the best budget dumbbell options money can buy.
PowerBlock Dumbbells are some of the longest tried and truly adjustable dumbbell options for the home gym user available. PowerBlock has built a solid reputation with its customers, and for good reason, their dumbbells work well and are extremely durable, although unconventional.
RELATED: Powerblock Coupon
The PowerBlock Sport EXP Dumbbells are very compact, each dumbbell only taking up a space of 12 inches long by 6.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches tall. To adjust the weight, PowerBlock Dumbbells utilize a selector pin and a color guide system that is easy to use.
A fair warning: These don’t feel like traditional dumbbells, which you can probably tell from the shape of them.
“They feel mostly balanced, but at lighter weights the cylinder can feel like it goes to one side,” says Lindsay Scheele, home gym equipment expert and host of the Garage Gym Reviews Everything YouTube channel. “I also don’t love the squared-in PowerBlock style and prefer something like more traditional, but this is a personal preference and you can still do a lot of the movements like dumbbell bench, presses, and rows. Might struggle to do things like goblet squats and Arnold presses.
As Lindsay notes, the shape comes down to a matter of preference but it was enough for her to score the training experience a 3.5 out of 5.
With the PowerBlock Sport, you are able to make jumps of 2.5 or 5 pounds, with adjustability all the way up to 90 pounds per hand if you tack on extension kits. Since the dumbbells are in the shape of a block, it may seem that functionality would be limited, but after putting it to the test, we can confidently say that just about any exercises that you can do with a normal dumbbell can be done with the PowerBlock. Just as long as you don’t throw it down on the ground (but you shouldn’t be doing that with any dumbbell anyway).
The PowerBlock Pro is built to last and comes with a five-year home warranty (you shouldn’t need it; we’ve had ours for over seven years and they were bought used). If you are wanting some dumbbells, but also need to think about managing space (or just want something that is convenient and works great), the PowerBlock Sport EXP Adjustable Dumbbells are a great option.
|Footprint||12.5″L x 7″W x 7.25″H|
|Replaces||Replaces 8, 19 or 28 pairs of dumbbells, depending on the model|
|Weight range||32, 50 or 90 lbs. per dumbell|
|Increcements||Varies by model|
Best Budget Kettlebells: REP Fitness Kettlebells
Best Budget Kettlebell
- Range from 4 kg (9 lbs) to 48 kg (106 lbs)
- Have a great grip with or without chalk
- Reasonably priced
- Made of cast iron
Pros & Cons
- Good grip with or without chalk
- Gravity die casting
- Matte coating
- May be susceptible to rust
- No weights above 106 lbs
- Textured handle not for everyone
Kettlebells are versatile pieces of equipment that are great for both building power and muscular endurance. We’ve used quality kettlebells over the years for a variety of different movements; a few of our favorites are kettlebell swings, bottom-up presses (much harder than they look), farmers’ carries, and snatches. Although they’re great for these movements, they also work well for adding weight to bodyweight movements like dips and pull-ups.
We would definitely suggest purchasing dumbbells before kettlebells due to their versatility and the amount of usage they’ll see, you can get by with just a few kettlebell weights. The weight we’d suggest for most people is 53 pounds. If you’re not as strong or want to use kettlebells more for endurance, then you can go for a lighter weight.
There are various styles of kettlebells, but for most people, we’d suggest standard cast-iron kettlebells. Competition kettlebells are great for the clean and jerk and snatch, but are a bit more difficult to use for two-hand swings and they’re also more expensive.
RELATED: Best Kettlebells
The REP Fitness Kettlebells are some of the best-priced, pound-for-pound kettlebells available that come in a wide range of weight increments. The REP Kettlebells are available in weight increments from 4 kilogram/9 pounds to 48 kilograms/106 pounds and use color bands on the handles as well as the weight increments cast into the front of the kettlebells in both pounds and kettlebells.
One feature that separates a kettlebell designed to last and one that isn’t is how it is cast. The REP Kettlebells are made using a gravity cast that results in a more consistent surface and accurate weighting. Because the handle and bell are cast together, they are less likely to separate and therefore more likely to last through whatever workouts you use them in. Once cast, the bells have the bottoms machined so they’re flat and then they’re coated in a black powder coat for corrosion resistance and a better grip when chalk is used.
Although the cast iron kettlebells aren’t the absolute best that is available, if you’re on a budget, this is likely your best bet for a kettlebell that is made to last.
|Weight options||4kg/9lbs to 48kg/106lbs|
|Handle diameter||30mm-40mm (increases with weight)|
Best Budget Cardio Equipment: WOD Nation Double Under Speed Rope
Best Budget Cardio Equipment
- Very affordable and comes with extra cable
- Has a great spin for speed jumping
- Adjustable with wire cutters
Pros & Cons
- Extremely lightweight
- Very affordable
- Comes with an extra cable
- Comes with a carrying case
- Spins fast
- Plastic handles could break if stepped on
- Need a wirecutter to adjust
When it comes to cardio equipment on a budget, you’d be hard-pressed to beat the jump rope. The benefits of jumping rope include building aerobic capacity, improving bone density, and boosting your mood—and you can do it on the cheap.
What’s more, jump ropes are lightweight and portable. You can’t pack a treadmill in your car to take with you on vacation, but a jump rope fits easily into a carry-on bag or your trunk. Also, you can use a jump rope just about anywhere, as long as you don’t mind pavement potentially damaging the casing, or the sound of the whipping rope on your kitchen floor.
The WOD Nation Double Under Speed Rope is a longtime favorite on our team for both its price and performance. It’s priced at under $20 on Amazon and even comes with an extra cable in case yours shreds. One of our product testers, certified personal trainer and GGR Head of Content Kate Meier, has had her WOD Nation rope for nearly five years and replaced the cable after three years. As an avid CrossFitter, she logged plenty of jumps before the rope needed replacing.
“This is still my absolute favorite jump rope even after testing dozens of other options,” Kate says. She loved how light and smooth the rope felt during training and rated the workout experience a perfect 5 out of 5.
RELATED: The Best Jump Ropes
On top of price, the WOD Nation rope also stands out for the variety of colors it comes in as well as its adjustability. The cable itself is long enough for just about any user. Once you size it correctly, you will need wire cutters to cut the cable to match your height.
As long as you use this rope on smooth surfaces, you’ll get a lot of life out of it. Kate noticed that her rope’s casing suffered damage when she jumped on asphalt, but that’s to be expected.
|Length||10″ L that’s cut to length|
Best Budget Sled: Freak Athlete Multi Sled
Best Budget Sled
- Priced under $150
- Usable on all surfaces
- Small and portable
- Multiple grip options
- Great for pushing and pulling
Pros & Cons
- Priced under $150
- Usable on all surfaces
- Small and portable
- Multiple grip options
- Great for pushing and pulling
- Only comes with a center posts and straps
- Adding more posts costs significantly more money
- Only holds up to 450 lbs
Weight sleds are fantastic tools for both houses of fitness: the people who love cardio, and the people who love building strength. You get your heart rate up, work upper- and lower-body muscles, and make gains all with one piece of equipment.
Like most other home fitness equipment, weight sleds come in all shapes, sizes, and price tags. We like the Freak Athlete Sled for our budget home gym list because it’s incredibly affordable, priced at under $150. It’s also lightweight at around 30 pounds and small in size, which means you can take it with you anywhere.
The sled itself is a single post on sled rails with a junction at the front for a pulling/dragging strap. You can order extra handles, but the prices on those start at an additional $99.
The Multi Sled is billed as a sled that can be used on any surface, which is true if you order the additional plastic rails for the bottom. We’re thrilled that this is only an additional $30, still keeping this sled in an affordable price range.
While the weight capacity of 450 pounds is most likely enough for most people, we know there are many who would prefer to get a weight sled that holds significantly more weight. If that’s you, then you’ll have to find another product.
|Footprint||30.1” x 8.7”|
|Weight capacity||540 lbs|
|Available attachments||Pro Sled Strap (included), Y-Posts|
Best Budget Air Bike: Titan Fan Bike
Best Budget Air Bike
- Affordable air bike
- 111-pounds of heavy-gauge steel
- Integrated with sealed cartridge bearings
- Powder-coated finish.
Pros & Cons
- Made of heavy-duty steel
- Priced under $700
- Easy to transport
- Free shipping
- Fan guard
- Large footprint
- Chain-drive belt
- Can be loud
The budget indoor bike is a fantastic addition to home gyms because, compared to ellipticals and treadmills, bikes take up far less room and still pack a powerful cardio punch. We like fan bikes, because we are gluttons for punishment, and because they are ideal for both high-intensity workouts as well as easier recovery days.
The Titan Fan Bike is an excellent choice for those on a budget looking for an air bike. First, the price is under $700, making it one of the more affordable but still high quality air bikes on the market. Also, with Titan, you always get free shipping, which saves you significant money compared to shipping a bike from, say Rogue Fitness.
We’ve been on our share of air bikes, and what we like perhaps the most about the Titan bike is that it is filled with features. First, the fan guard is a great addition, because if you have an unheated garage gym and you get on the bike to warm up, and that bike doesn’t have a guard … Brrrrrrr.
We also love the large transport wheels on the front of the bike. Moving air bikes around can be a pain when they have small wheels. There is very little margin between the wheels and the floor plate, causing some hard stops as you attempt to wheel the bike around your space. The large wheels on the Titan Fan Bike make moving it a breeze.
Compared to other bikes, fan bikes tend to have a bigger footprint, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking for a budget bike. Also, this machine has a chain-drive belt, which means you’ll have to take care of it so it doesn’t rust and corrode.
For more, check out our in-depth Titan Fan Bike Review.
|Dimensions||50.25” L x 20.375” W|
|Weight capacity||330 lbs|
Best Budget Home Gym Flooring: Tractor Supply 3/4″ Rubber Stall Mats
Best Budget Home Gym Flooring
- Multi-use rubber mats with a textured surface
- Shock- and sound-absorbent
Pros & Cons
- Great durability for any exercise
- Anti-skid surface
- Good noise reduction for dropped barbells
- Less than $60/piece (less than $2.50/square foot)
- Five-year warranty from Tractor Supply
- Heavy, weighing around 100 pounds for each piece
- Some people don’t like the rubber smell
- Surface is not smooth; these have raised bumps
- May be harder to clean than smooth surfaces
You’re likely going to need some sort of home gym flooring. If you lift weights, then you’re definitely going to want something to protect your foundation and lower the noise when weights are dropped. There are a lot of intriguing options, but we’ve found that most foam, puzzle-piece type flooring ends up tearing up, getting nasty, and simply not enjoyable to use pretty quickly. For this reason, we suggest staying away from the cheapy (although it’s often more expensive than our recommendations) foam tiles and go with rubber matting.
In most instances, we’d suggest going to your local Tractor Supply or similar farm store and picking up some 4’x6’ ¾” rubber horse stall mats. Yes, they’re initially made for horses, but practically every gym in the world uses these exact mats or something similar. They weigh about 100LB a piece and can take whatever abuse you can throw at them.
We’ve used horse stall mats in our garage gym for close to a decade and they still look practically new.
|Dimensions||4′ x 6′ x 3/4″ (per unit)|
|Weight||94 lbs (per unit)|
|Tensile strength||321 pounds-per-square-inch (PSI)|
Why You Should Build a Home Gym
We first want to make something clear, you don’t need a home gym. In fact, you don’t need a gym membership or gym equipment, or workout clothing. However, you also don’t need to save time, lose weight, put on muscle, or do anything else to meet your physical and mental goals.
You want to meet your goals, and the best thing we’ve found to help meet the physical goals we’ve set for ourselves as well as increasing discipline, mental fortitude, perseverance and a multitude of other mental goals is by having a gym at home. This is why we believe just about everyone should have some sort of home gym setup.
Building a home gym is simply too easy, cheap, and accessible for people to ignore anymore. Even if you keep your gym membership (we suspect that after a month of continued home gym use, you’ll wonder why you kept it so long) having a home gym is great for sneaking in extra workouts, working on mobility and recovery, or simply getting a quick workout in when you’re low on time and/or motivation to go to the gym.
Here are just a few of the benefits we’ve found personally from building a home gym:
- More opportunities to be near our families.
- Improved the way we looked, felt, and thought about ourselves.
- Increased our discipline in just about every area of our lives.
- Saved us money.
- Saved us time.
- Saved us from getting angry at people at the local globo-gym.
- Increased enjoyment of exercising/moving/training.
We could write a book on why we think just about everyone should have a home gym and that still wouldn’t do it justice. Here’s something that should be considered beyond the benefits we’ve listed, having a home gym not only improves your life but can improve the lives of those around you.
For instance, how many times have you wanted to take a friend to the gym to workout but were either out of guest passes or had to pay extra for them to go? With a gym in your home or garage you can invite as many of your friends as you’d like, train however you’d like, play any music you’d like at any decibel you’d like and do it anytime you’d like. We’ve had midnight training sessions, 4 AM training sessions, and had over 15 people working out at one time.
In addition to your friends receiving benefits, your home gym will benefit your family. Nearly every person who’s interested in fitness wants their family to experience the joys that come with exercise, and rather than hearing about your participating in hard workouts, they can see them and join in. If you want your family to follow in your footsteps, in any area of life, show them, don’t just tell them. Being able to have our kids join in the workout along with our spouses is not only very satisfying but also extremely fun.
Lastly, having a home can actually save you money, and much quicker than you’d expect. We like to think of a home gym vs gym membership as being similar to leasing a car. In a traditional lease, you get to use the car by making monthly payments.
These payments don’t allow you to keep the car at the end of the lease and are adjusted to a higher rate due to the wear and tear you’re putting on the car as well as the little money you’re putting upfront. Although you can use the car, you only use it while you make your payments and have nothing to show for it at the end.
A gym membership works the same way. You make monthly payments to use the gym equipment (most of it old, worn down, cheap, and broken) and having nothing to show for it at the end. Even worse, you’re not just making payments on something only you use, you’re making payments on equipment that is shared among 1,000’s people.
Here’s the worst part of all, you likely already have the space for a home gym, and with just a couple years (or in many cases, a few months) worths of saving the amount you spend on a commercial gym, you could have a fully decked-out home gym that would be the envy of your entire neighborhood.
Trust us, building a home gym will not only increase your enjoyment and help you achieve your goals, but it will also improve your life and you’ll have something to show for all the money you spent if you decide to upgrade or sell it in the future.
Why a Home Gym Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
We want to break a commonly held notion: “Build a home gym is too expensive!”The truth of the matter is that a home gym can cost just about as much as you want to spend. We’ve seen home gyms ranging anywhere from less than $100 all the way up to 6-figure, multi-room set-ups.
However, just about every home gym starts the same way, with a few basic pieces of equipment that you can get on sale over Labor Day, Black Friday, and other holidays. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to buy everything all at once. Sure, buying many items at once can help save on shipping, but if it prevents you from ever starting a home gym then it’s a poor decision.
There are two main reasons you don’t have to spend a ton of money on building a home gym. One, you don’t have to have all of the machines and contraptions that are found at your local YMCA. In fact, you can get away with just a few main pieces of equipment and as you have money, you can increase your equipment selection, and thus the variety of exercises you can perform.
Two, more people are buying gym equipment than ever before. This allows companies to create a wider variety of equipment and offer them at lower prices. It’s truly the best time in history to start a home gym (especially considering you can buy everything online and have it delivered to your door within just a couple of days…poor delivery guy.)
The Equipment We Recommend Starting With
As previously stated, you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started. We’ve had some of our best workouts and seen some of our best progress, whether trying to lose weight, gain muscle or simply get in better condition using only a few tools.
Sure, you may need to get creative, but the amount of workouts that can be done with a barbell and plates is astounding (not to mention the progress. Coop, the founder of Garage Gym Reviews, increased the weight he could lift on nearly every lift using only a barbell, squat rack, and pull up bar for 90 days.)
The first pieces of equipment we recommend starting with are:
- A barbell
- A squat rack with a pull-up bar attached
- Bumper plates
- A bench press
With these four items, you can accomplish nearly any goal you’d like.
If you want to lose weight, do high reps at a high intensity with a low amount of rest time. Mix in some sprints, long-distance running, biking (if you have one), and throw in a $10 jump rope for some extra variety and you’ll be on your way to losing weight. Don’t forget the most important part though, sticking to your diet.
Thankfully, since you’re working out at home, you won’t be tempted by the neon fast-food restaurant signs on your way home and you’ll be near your fridge so you can get the nutrients you need immediately following your workout.
If you want to put on muscle and increase strength, focus on low to mid rep ranges with increasing weights each workout and make sure to increase your caloric intake. Following a program like Starting Strength or even signing up for Starting Strength Online Coaching can be extremely beneficial and can be followed with only the above-recommended equipment. The fitness industry benefits from complications, don’t fall into their trap. Training doesn’t need to be nearly as complicated as they’d have you believe.
RELATED: Best Online Workout Programs
Best Budget Home Gym FAQs
What’s the best home exercise equipment for any budget?
Looking for cheap workout equipment you can use at home? Investing in quality barbell, squat rack, bumper plates, and a weight bench is the way to go. With these few budget exercise equipment, you can reach your goal and build the best home exercise equipment from there.
What is the best budget power rack for a home gym?
The Titan X-3 Flat Foot Power Rack is our new top selection for the best budget squat rack in 2023, however, if you’re trying to spend as little as possible while still getting a solid rack, we recommend the Rep Fitness PR-1100 Home Gym Power Rack.
Is a home gym a good investment?
When looking at building a budget home gym, you should look at it as a long-term investment. You may pay a little extra when you are just starting, but you will save a significant amount of money in the long run.
How to set up a home gym on a budget?
As previously mentioned we recommend starting off with a power rack and then looking into purchasing some of the best dumbbells, kettlebells, cardio equipment, like treadmills, rowing machines, and investing in some of the best budget home gym flooring. Choosing what equipment to buy and where to put it might be challenging when creating a budget home gym. So, to offer you some ideas, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best budget home gym setups.
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