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Not everyone has the luxury of extra space to create a home gym filled with the works — dumbbell racks, cardio equipment, stretching space, squat racks, benches, and strength training machines.
That’s where compact home gyms come in. When space is at a premium, these compact workout machines fill the void, offering users the widest variety of workout options in the smallest amount of space.
Given that compact home gyms vary widely depending on fitness goals and needs, the best compact home gym for one person looks very different from the best one for another.
That’s why it’s a good idea to brush up on what’s available and choose the one that’s right for your budget, your family, your space, and your personal workout goals.
A compact home gym aims to offer multiple workout modalities in one unit. Most compact home gyms involve a single piece of workout equipment or a single station that has attachments or options that enable it to function in a variety of ways.
Some compact home gyms replace several separate strength training stations, such as leg press or bench press stations. Others simply revolutionize the equipment storage so you get more out of the space you have.
Some of the most innovative compact home gyms provide options for in-home training that span several styles of exercise, such as strength work, yoga, and cardio, all within the same small footprint of your home.
Traditionally, compact home gyms focused on strength training equipment and were designed to replace many of the separate machines you might find at a gym.
A compact gym machine might have included a squat rack, a seated bench with a leg extension and leg curl attachment, a lat pulldown bar, and a dip station, all using the same weight stack, to minimize the space required.
This type of compact home gym is still widely available, but technology has overhauled the home gym market, leading to more systems focused on replacing the modern fitness studio. This means a greater focus on cardio and functional training workouts, rather than just heavy strength training.
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas four dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
Generally, prices range from $165–$3,999, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
The Tempo Move system is designed for those who don’t have much room to spare but still want access to tech-focused interactive workouts.
The system comes with an iPhone dock station that streams selected fitness classes to your TV and “watches you” as you exercise to count sets and reps and integrate with a leaderboard of other users. This allows you to see how you measure up to other users.
The Tempo app includes thousands of workouts. There’s a focus on strength training programs, but there are also options for high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, yoga, cardio boxing, and mobility work.
The system comes with a high quality set of interchangeable dumbbells and a sleek and unobtrusive storage cabinet to keep them in.
Tempo Move currently offers only on-demand classes — there are no live workouts. The system is also compatible with only more recent iPhones and is not compatible with Android devices.
The range of weights provided — up to 35 pounds per dumbbell — is sufficient for most general fitness needs but may not be enough for individuals who want to focus on building greater strength.
To access the Tempo Move classes and integration, you have to subscribe to the app, which costs $39 per month.
Mirrored smart home gyms have become a popular option for users looking for a studio-like experience in the comfort of home. NordicTrack’s Vault is the brand’s answer to other mirrored gyms on the market, and its unique free weight storage system helps set it apart.
The NordicTrack Vault is a slim and sleek mirrored unit that’s smaller than most bookshelves. But when you open up the mirror, you’ll find an organized home gym shelving system packed inside.
You can purchase the Vault “complete” with 6 pairs of dumbbells (5–30 pounds), 2 kettlebells (20 and 30 pounds), an exercise mat, yoga blocks, and looped resistance bands of 3 resistance levels, or you can purchase the less expensive Vault “standalone” and use equipment you already have.
The swiveling mirror allows you to adjust your gym space based on the room you have, so you can see your form and the movements of the iFit trainers from any angle.
The mirror itself has a 61.5-inch touch-screen surface that integrates with the iFit app. This required $39/month subscription service provides thousands of studio-style workouts, including strength training, cardio, mobility, and yoga.
The iFit app provides trainer-led videos you can follow along with, and the mirrored surface makes it easy to compare your form to the trainer’s to make sure you’re getting each move right.
While the Vault is a great option for people looking for studio-style workouts and a wide range of workout types, it may not be ideal for those who want to follow a serious weight training program to build muscle mass and strength.
For individuals looking for a cycling-focused home gym with options for strength training, yoga, and other cardio routines, it’s hard to beat the MYX II Plus. This package includes a high quality, commercially rated stationary bike as well as three pairs of dumbbells, a kettlebell, and three resistance bands.
The bike’s rotating 21.5-inch integrated touch screen works with the BODi app and allows you to select from thousands of studio-style workouts. And because the screen rotates, you can use the space surrounding your bike to perform strength training or yoga workouts.
Adding the Plus package increases the price by $200 and gives you the option to choose from three different dumbbell and kettlebell packages — light, medium, or heavy. But even the heavy package only includes dumbbells up to 15 pounds and a kettlebell up to 25 pounds.
While these strength training additions are good for general-purpose workouts and endurance-based strength training, they likely won’t be enough for people who want to lift heavier weights or put on more muscle mass.
BODi costs $19.95 per month plus $119.88 for the yearly Beachbody on Demand (BOD) membership. It’s required to use the bike’s interactive features, including live classes and personalized workout feedback. The app allows you to create up to five user profiles, which means your whole household can share the equipment and track their own workouts.
Cable pulley machines are an excellent option for compact home gyms because the adjustable arms allow for a wide range of motion and variety of exercise options, and the provided resistance is often higher (and more space-efficient) than extensive dumbbell and weight plate sets.
The Tonal home gym is the smart version of a more traditional cable pulley machine, and its functionality is pretty impressive.
The Tonal wall-mounted system includes an interactive touch screen you use to access the Tonal workouts, along with two adjustable pulley arms that provide instant feedback from your workout to the app.
These arms work with the brand’s smart accessories (which you have to purchase as a package add-on), enabling the machine to count your reps and sets and the level of challenge you’re experiencing with each weight-based move.
In fact, if the machine senses you’re struggling to finish a set, it can help spot you through the challenge, easing up on the resistance. Yes, it can make second-by-second auto-adjustments to your workout.
The system provides resistance of up to 100 pounds per arm — more than enough for most home fitness enthusiasts. The smart accessories package includes a bench, a bar, pulley handles, a rope pull, a foam roller, and a workout mat, allowing for dozens of exercise and workout options.
The touch screen and foldable arms are highly compact and wall-mounted, making it possible to turn almost any space into your home gym.
The required monthly membership will set you back $49/month, but it includes unlimited user profiles, so you could conceivably allow friends and neighbors to pitch in on the cost and share the system.
You may not think of a suspension trainer as a compact home gym, but that’s exactly what it is — a piece of equipment that reduces the need for many other pieces of gym equipment.
The TRX All-in-One Trainer Bundle includes a storage bag, the suspension trainer, four variable-resistance bands, a shaker bottle, and indoor and outdoor attachments and anchors.
With the suspension trainer, you can perform a wide range of exercises in a small space. For instance, you can perform assisted “pullups,” rows, assisted pistol squats, pushups, and balance-based reverse lunges.
The initial purchase includes a 30-day free trial of the TRX Training Club app, which offers a wide range of workout videos featuring the TRX and resistance bands.
This compact home gym is great for individuals who want to do functional fitness workouts, HIIT routines, and bodyweight-based training, but it isn’t as sufficient for those who want cardio workouts or heavy strength training options.
It’s important to note that while most suspension moves can be modified for all fitness levels, beginners might find this system more difficult to use.
Benches are often a critical component of compact home gyms and workouts, but many systems don’t include the bench in the purchase price. The Technogym Bench makes it the crux of the system as well as a sleek storage unit for the included resistance training equipment.
The Bench is a stylish, padded strength training bench that has built-in storage for dumbbells, resistance bands, and weighted knuckles. It can be used for exercises ranging from stepups and Bulgarian split squats to bench presses and core work.
The $8.99/month Technogym app includes hundreds of on-demand workouts compatible with the equipment provided, and new programs are added weekly. Workout options range from functional strength training to yoga, cardio, core, and mobility.
The Bench’s weighted knuckles are an included piece of equipment that’s not often seen in home gym systems. These are helpful for increasing the intensity of cardio kickboxing and other cardio fitness routines.
That said, the bench doesn’t have an adjustable incline, which limits the exercise options.
Also, if you were to buy the same equipment (a bench, dumbbells, resistance bands, and weighted knuckles) separately, the total price would likely be much lower than that of the Technogym system. You’re paying for the Bench’s storage and design as much as for the equipment itself.
Many strength-focused home gyms are heavy, clunky, and expensive as a result of the weight required to make the racks, plates, dumbbells, and stacks sturdy and safe. Bowflex’s power rod resistance system enables the brand to make lighter weight compact home gyms at a lower cost without compromising the sturdiness of the equipment.
The Bowflex PR1000 home gym is an affordable base model that makes it easy to perform up to 25 different gym-style strength training exercises and includes a rowing station for cardio workouts.
The exercise versatility, along with the price and the 210 pounds of resistance provided by the tension rods, makes this a good option for fitness enthusiasts who want to skip the gym and don’t feel the need for standard free weights or plate stacks.
The built-in rowing station is a nice option for those who want a cardio workout but place it lower on the priority list. There are no studio-style workouts, smart features, or apps to spice things up. This is a solid compact home gym at a good price, without the bells and whistles.
When it comes to compact home gyms, true strength athletes who love to lift heavy free weights should consider the benefits of purchasing a high quality squat rack.
The PRx Performance ONE Fold-in Rack is a wall-mounted high quality rack that can be used for everything from pullups and bench presses to squats and deadlifts.
The included pullup bar is also great for pairing with heavy resistance bands or suspension training systems, allowing for more flexible, functional fitness-focused workouts in addition to the more traditional strength training exercises.
When not in use, the PRx Performance One Fold-in Rack literally folds up into the wall, requiring only about 7 inches of space. This makes it a great choice for a garage gym or a gym incorporated into a multifunctional living space.
Unfortunately, the cost of this rack includes only the rack itself — it doesn’t come with additional accessories or weights, so you have to purchase those separately. And especially when it comes to Olympic barbells, adjustable benches, and weight plates, the costs can add up.
When you do purchase additional weights and accessories, the rack becomes a completely functional strength station that can support a wide range of total-body exercises. It’s also capable of supporting up to 1,000 pounds of weight — great for serious weightlifters.
That said, the rack is pricey when compared to similar racks — you’re paying for the space-saving design as much as the rack itself.
For the serious weightlifter who wants to replace the major free weight stations at the gym in their home, the RitFit Power Cage with Bench is a good option.
In addition to the Power Cage itself — which allows for squats, pullups, deadlifts, and bench presses (facilitated by the inclusion of an adjustable bench in the purchase price) — the system comes with a lat pulldown option (with a pulley system), bar holders, safety bars, dip bars, and a T-bar row attachment.
The result is a home gym that provides commercial-level strength training options for the heavy lifter. In fact, the rack can support up to 1,000 pounds of weight — more than enough for just about everyone.
However, all the barbells and weight plates must be purchased separately. Depending on how much weight a user wants access to, this can get expensive.
The rack also doesn’t offer any smart features or integrated apps to access workout programs. And for those who want to do cardio, this compact home gym doesn’t have built-in options to follow.
The Force USA G6 All-in-One trainer is a commercial-quality rack and pulley system with the most robust exercise versatility on this list. The rack supports just shy of 1,000 pounds of weight, and roughly 775 pounds when it’s being used as a Smith machine or pullup bar — more than enough for the vast majority of home exercisers.
The strength training gym includes two 200-pound plate stacks, allowing you to train with up to 400 pounds of resistance. You can also purchase barbells and weight plates that you can store on the rack and use to perform additional free weight exercises.
Attachments for pullups, landmines, lat pulldowns, leg press, suspension training, dips, and squats are included.
And while the Force USA G6 trainer is certainly one of the most versatile home gyms appropriate for those who want to lift heavy weights, the versatility comes at a cost — the home gym is also the most expensive on this list, and that doesn’t include the cost of the additional accessories you may want to purchase.
The Force USA G6 trainer also doesn’t include smart workout-tracking features or easily integrated cardio workouts.
While this compact home gym is particularly nice for serious weightlifters, the dual option for weight plate and weight stack (pin-selectorized) exercises also makes it a solid option for beginners who would rather switch resistance levels quickly with a pin than load and unload free weights with every exercise.
Here’s a quick look at how our picks compare:
Aside from the fact that compact home gyms are specifically designed to take up as little space as possible (a big benefit for those living in cramped quarters), the true benefit of this type of product is in its versatility.
This type of home gym isn’t a one-hit wonder. Rather, compact home gyms are typically designed to maximize the number of exercises and types of workouts you can perform in as little space as possible.
And while traditional compact home gyms focus on minimizing the space required for strength training workouts, cutting down on the number of machines you might need to purchase, modern options are opening doors for a wide range of functional fitness workouts.
Compact home gyms give users access to high quality workouts, high quality equipment, a wide variety of exercises, and a way to improve all areas of functional fitness (strength, cardio, flexibility, and body composition), all within the same small footprint at home.
Some older research in older adults suggests that a multimodal approach to fitness may be especially beneficial for overall health (1).
Therefore, when used regularly, compact home gyms may truly help people reach their wide-ranging health and fitness goals.
When deciding which compact home gym is best for you, first think about the types of exercise you’re hoping to do.
If you want to perform strength training moves with resistance, consider how much resistance you need, what type of exercises you want to do, and whether you want an app or interactive training tool to help guide your program.
Likewise, if you want options for cardio or stretching, think about what type of workouts you want to perform and whether you want to follow along with an instructor or lead your own routines.
Once you’ve figured out the types of exercises you’re hoping to perform, consider exactly how much space your home has. Some compact home gyms take up almost no space at all and can easily be moved or stored (or integrated into your living environment) when not in use.
Other compact home gyms may offer space savings compared with a more robust home gym but still require significant and permanent square footage. Consider which type of system works with the space you have.
And, of course, don’t overlook the importance of budget. Compact home gyms can range in price from less than $200 to well over $4,000. And that’s just the initial cost.
Some tech-focused home gyms require ongoing monthly membership fees that you’ll need to budget for. And some compact home gyms don’t come with all the weights or accessories you might want. You need to be prepared to pay more than the base price to have access to all the features you may want.
Anyone who is committed to working out at home and knows what they need from an at-home gym can benefit from setting one up. At-home gyms allow for greater exercise versatility and options during workouts, but the benefits only transfer if you actually use the gym.
If you’re more motivated by being in a gym environment or working out with other people, a home gym may not be a good investment.
For the most basic at-home gym, the minimum size is the space you need to move freely in all directions from a fixed point. In other words, if you’re 6 feet tall, you’d want a 6- to 8-foot square to move within, assuming there aren’t any greater equipment-based needs.
When choosing an at-home gym, consider the space (floor and ceiling room) you have available for the equipment you’ll be purchasing, and then estimate how much additional space you need to comfortably use the equipment.
For instance, some of the mirror compact home gyms, like the NordicTrack Vault, require almost zero space to install (you simply hang the unit on the wall), but you still need to have enough open space in front of the mirror to follow along with the workouts and use any additional equipment (like dumbbells, mats, or kettlebells).
The best flooring for a compact home gym depends on the type of equipment you’re purchasing.
For basic home gyms with limited equipment (perhaps a basic bench or a couple of sets of lightweight dumbbells), you may simply need foam mats or a yoga mat to help protect your floors from scuffs or scrapes and to make the exercises more comfortable on your hands or knees.
But if you’re purchasing a particularly heavy home gym unit or you’ll be lifting heavier weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells, especially), you may want to invest in heavier-duty rubber flooring to help protect your home’s floors from weight-related damage.
When it comes to home gyms, the main thing to remember is that the best option is the option you’ll actually use. So don’t purchase a home gym because it’s trendy or seems interesting — purchase one because it offers the types of programs and workout formats you’re personally motivated to complete.
You could buy the highest tech, most blinged-out home gym in the world, but if you don’t use it, it won’t do you any good. Remember to think about your goals, interests, plans, space, and budget before shelling out cash for a compact home gym.
Last medically reviewed on June 30, 2022
The Best Compact Home Gyms for Small Spaces in 2022 – Healthline
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.