The best home gyms are a combination of three things:
The market is filled with home gyms of all shapes, sizes and price tags. There is no shortage, whatever your needs may be.
On one end of the product spectrum are top-of-the-line models made from the most expensive materials and state-of-the-art designs. The award-winning Body Solid home gyms, featuring their aircraft-grade cables, fall into this spectrum.
On the other end, you’ll find low-cost home gyms such as those made by Weider. But don’t fall for their price tags. There are outstanding Weider home gyms you can buy for a tiny fraction of the price for a Body Solid gym.
In between these two extremes are your Bowflex home gyms and Marcy home gyms, with a vast price range starting from a hundred bucks to a few whopping grand.
But the best home gym for you isn’t the cheapest or even the most expensive. It’s the home gym that provides the benefits you seek without you having to pay so much in terms of price and convenience.
Are Home Gyms Better Than The Actual Gym?
The answer depends on who you’re talking to.
If you like being watched (and snickered at behind your back) by the meatheads at the gym while you benchpress 50, it’s back to the gym for you.
If you’d rather pay a gym subscription that’s more expensive in the long run, then go ahead and make your way to the gym.
But if you’d rather exercise in the comfort and privacy of your own home away from the spectating gym rats and you don’t mind spending big to save big in the long run, then a home gym is better for you.
Home gyms are not just for bulking up and turning into Incredible Hulk. In fact, most home gyms won’t even let you do that.
Home gyms are adjustable gyms where you can add or remove weights and choose the best exercises that fit your needs.
If you’re overweight and want to shed your extra pounds, you can use a home gym.
If you’re in shape and would like to tone your body a bit more, you can use a home gym.
And if you want to build muscle through strength training, you can also use a home gym.
But if you’re a hard-core bodybuilder who benchpresses 750, you’re better off at the gym with your own spotter and boulders for barbells.
As you can see, anyone who wants to become fitter, stronger and healthier can use a home gym.
In fact, if you’ve had an injury and you’re undergoing some kind of recovery therapy, you can even use a home gym. Most models are versatile and allow you to start really, really light, as in five-pounds light, so you don’t overstress your muscles during recovery.
What Are The Best Home Gyms We Recommend?
Four brands stand out in the home gym market. These are Body Solid, Bowflex, Marcy and Weider.
Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
1. Body Solid Home Gyms
Body Solid doesn’t hold back in their offerings.
They have the widest array of single-stack home gyms for single users and multi-stack home gyms for couples or small groups.
These home gyms offer features akin to what you’d find in a high-priced fitness club, such as gas-assisted seat adjustment and, you guessed it, aircraft-grade nylon cables reinforced with fiberglass.
Anyone of any fitness level can use a Body Solid home gym. Weight stacks vary depending on the model. There are 160-pound limits for beginners and up to 210 pounds for more advanced users. But you can start by exercising with 10 pounds on all models and work your way from there.
You can also perform a wide variety exercises for a full-body workout with the six stations on each Body Solid gym, including the lat pulldown, ab crunch, perfect pec, leg extension, seated row and the bi-angular press system, Body Solid’s patented arm press that allows for a full range range of motion and a harder workout for your arms.
All Body Solid equipment come with a lifetime warranty, the only one of its kind in the home gym market. It doesn’t quite make sense because their home gyms are built to last, but the warranty’s a good thing anyway.
Prices start at $550 for very basic models to $3,275 for their more elaborate machines.
2. Bowflex Home Gyms
When it comes to weight stack home gyms, Bowflex can’t give Body Solid a run for their money.
That’s because Bowflex is different. They don’t make weight stack home gyms. They’re known for their crossbow home gyms that use their patented PowerRod and SpiralFlex technologies.
Power Rod technology is basically progressive resistance. Resistance starts light. But as you go farther through the range of motion, resistance becomes harder. If you’ve ever used resistance bands to exercise, that’s how the Power Rods feel.
Some people say this isn’t good because the Power Rods won’t give you muscle overload like free weights do. But even free weights don’t provide the same amount of resistance throughout your exercise.
Take your 50-pound dumbbell and move it up and down. Does that feel like 50 pounds of resistance? Now move it left to right? How did that feel? Chances are you didn’t even feel more than a few pounds of resistance at all.
If you’re truly obsessed about constant resistance, buy a Bowflex gym with SpiralFlex technology, such as the newer Bowflex Revolution and Bowflex Ultimate.
SpiralFlex is constant resistance. It uses a rotating motion to adjust the resistance and keep it constant against your movements. That’s something not even free weights can do.
Bowflex offers home gyms ranging from $500 to $3,000 and a warranty of five to 10 years depending on the model you choose.
3. Marcy Home Gyms
Marcy is a European home gym manufacturer.
It’s not as highly-praised as Body Solid and Bowflex, but they boast of the fact that Bruce Lee bought and used their exercise equipment.
Their models come with a 100 to 150-pound vinyl-coated weight stack. They aren’t as intense as Body Solid’s 210-pound weight stacks but they can still make you sore if you don’t consider eight-hour gym sessions a hobby.
If you’ve never exercised with weights before, you can start with five pounds and add individual weights as you gain more strength.
Most Marcy home gyms feature the same basic stations, including a dual-function press arm for presses and pec fly exercises, lat pulldown, high and low pulleys for back, shoulder, bicep and tricep exercises, height-adjustable preacher curl pad and foam roller pads for leg exercises.
The higher-end models also include extensions such as a leg developer, ab crunch and pivoting footplate.
Price range for Marcy home gyms starts at $400 to $1,000. All models come with a two-year warranty.
4. Weider Home Gyms
Weider’s home gyms are some of the cheapest in the market. We don’t recommend all Weider home gyms, but their Pros, Crossbow and Total Bodyworks are excellent choices for people with a budget less than $500.
Weider makes both weight stack gyms like Body Solid and Marcy and crossbow gyms like Bowflex.
Their weight stacks vary from 80 to 120 pounds depending on the model. Again, this might not suit advanced exercisers but it’s more than good enough for the average Joe and Jane.
Their crossbow gyms, on the other hand, can be pretty intense with their 214 to 340 pounds of resistance. This is upgradable to 440 pounds once you reach the point where working out on a Weider gym is a piece of cake.
Stations common in all models include the following:
- Multiple-position wide lat
- Low pulley
- Chest fly
- Leg developer
- Preacher pad
With their most expensive models sold at $500, you won’t be surprised why Weider only offers a 60-day warranty.
Nonetheless, Weider home gyms are still the best home gyms for you if you’ve got no money to burn a hole in your pocket.