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Intense booty-burning, thigh-toning, ab-sculpting workouts don’t have to take place at the gym. With the best home workout equipment, you can raise your heart rate and burn fat in your living room, your garage, or wherever else you’ve got room to sweat.
This list has a little something for everyone — cardio lovers, yoga masters, weight lifters, and dedicated runners. With input from a personal trainer, we’ve compiled a list of the best home workout equipment and brands with a proven history of sculpting quarter-bouncing butts and envy-worthy biceps.
We consulted Katelyn Barrons, an NASM-certified personal trainer and ACE health coach, to determine the critical criteria for choosing home workout equipment. Her suggestions were deceptively simple, from pieces that let you add resistance to basic bodyweight exercises to fun cardio equipment to help motivate you on the days you just don’t want to do it.
With her suggestions, here are the criteria we used to pick the best home workout equipment:
- Versatility. Some pieces of equipment are single-use, and that’s fine. But others can be used for a variety of workout styles.
- Space-saving. We’re all jealous of those of you who have a dedicated room for your home gym. But most of us aren’t that lucky, so we considered the equipment’s square footage and how much storage space it requires.
- Materials and quality. Home workout equipment won’t take the same beating as pro gym equipment, but you want something that will last. Since home workout equipment encompasses a wide variety of products, we consulted consumer reviews. If reviews said a resistance band broke or an exercise bike started squeaking or falling apart after 2 months, that product didn’t make this list.
- Workout personality and style. There’s a little “best of the best” for everyone to address the wide range of workout personalities and styles. Use your preferences to pick equipment that will help you stick with your workout plan even when you’d rather eat a doughnut on the couch.
Best mini resistance bands
“The first pieces of equipment I recommend for my clients are a set of mini resistance bands and dumbbells,” Barrons says. The Letsfit Resistance Bands set includes five well marked, color-coded resistance levels, so you can intensify your workout by switching up the bands.
This set includes an instruction booklet to get you started on resistance workouts ASAP. High quality rubber and a super small drawstring storage bag round out the features we love about this simple set — not to mention that it’s affordable AF.
On the downside, rubber resistance bands like these may roll when you do certain exercises, which can def get annoying for some.
Best fabric resistance bands
The Vergali Fabric Booty Bands are 3.16 inches (in.) wide and feature latex covered in fabric to help prevent rolling. They’re pricier than rubber resistance bands, but they’re key for peeps mostly focused on building up the lower body since they don’t roll down as much.
This set comes with four resistance levels that are clearly marked with the weight of the resistance so you’re tuned in to how much you’re actually lifting. There’s also a training guide to get you started.
The biggest con for these is that a few reviewers say the bands get stretched out prematurely.
Best light dumbbells
If you prefer traditional dumbbells to an adjustable set, Barrons suggests buying a lightweight set like this one from BalanceFrom (along with a heavyweight set, which we’ve got a rec for below). This set includes 3-, 5-, and 8-pound (lb.) weights and a stand to hold ’em. The neoprene covers make the weights easy to grip and outdoor workout-friendly, since they won’t rust.
We like that this set includes a storage tree, but some reviewers say the stand is flimsy and breaks easily.
Best heavy dumbbells
The Cap Coated Dumbbell Weights are high quality and come in an impressive range of weights. You can choose anywhere from 10- to 120-lb. dumbbells in 5-lb. increments, depending on your fitness level and goals. The textured grip is also key for keeping good control through each move.
On the downside, you have to buy the weights individually, and the heavier the weight, the higher the price. There’s also no storage tree, so you’ll have to keep these bad boys on the floor or buy a storage rack separately.
Best adjustable dumbbells
The ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbell Fitness Dial Dumbbell offers better weight options and quality than some of the more popular adjustable dumbbells (we’re looking at you, Bowflex). The weight range alone is impressive — 5.5 to 71.5 lbs. per dumbbell. It includes a storage cradle to keep it from rolling around too.
On the downside, it’s pricey. And we do mean “it.” If you want two of these dumbbells, you’ll have to make sure to add two to the shopping cart, because they’re not sold as a set.
Best budget adjustable dumbbells
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell offers lots of weight options at a price that won’t require you to donate plasma. It is sold as a single dumbbell — which isn’t so cool — but buying two is still relatively affordable. If you’ve ever used a traditional barbell, collar, and weight plates, the design of this dumbbell will feel familiar. It also includes locking collars, so the plates won’t slam into your hand.
Barrons says, “If you live somewhere where the weather won’t be reliable for getting cardio in outside year-round, a home treadmill… would really be worth the investment.”
The T Series features a 5-inch display you can use to follow live and on-demand iFit workouts. When you use iFit, the treadmill will automatically change speed and incline according to the workout. A great maximum weight capacity (300 lbs.), speed (10 mph), and incline (10%) make this particular model a great pick.
The downside: It’s really hard to turn on the first time without signing up for an iFit subscription, which sucks unless you’re already an iFit user.
Best exercise bike
Running isn’t for everyone. If you’re more of a cycling person, the Bowflex C6 Bike might be more your thing. “I recently invested in the Bowflex C6 Bike and am loving it,” says Barrons. That’s high praise from a pro.
The C6 brings a smooth ride with magnetic resistance. While it doesn’t have a built-in screen, the cradle fits most devices, and the bike offers Bluetooth connectivity and works with a variety of apps (including Peloton — but with limited functionality). We also love the toe clips so you can work your legs on the up and down strokes.
This bike is pricey, but it’s an investment worth making if you love indoor cycling.
Best budget cardio machine
Get some cardio and killer buns on the same machine! Using the Sunny Health & Fitness Squat Assist Row-N-Ride is like doing squats on fat-burning steroids. This cardio workout will seriously mold and sculpt your backside, and the price is amazing.
It has great adjustability in the seat, handlebars, and squat depth for a machine at this price. That depth adjustment is particularly important, so you won’t injure your knees or hips. The Row-N-Ride includes three resistance bands to adjust the difficulty level. You have to change them manually, which we don’t love — but hey, it’s cheap.
You’re probably saying, “Hey, that’s not a kettlebell.” Just wait. Remember how it’s a good idea to save space with your home equipment? The Kettle Gryp lets you use a dumbbell as a kettlebell. It’s cheaper than a kettlebell, and you can use it with different weights to increase or decrease the difficulty.
The only downside is that it doesn’t work with every dumbbell grip.
Best suspension system
Suspension training has gained popularity as people have looked for new workout equipment for small spaces. The TRX Go Suspension Trainer System stands out for quality and user-friendliness, both of which are musts for a good suspension trainer. You can hang it on a tree or a door or use anchors. Locking loops and a single anchor make it easy to set up at home.
Suspension training goes easy on your joints, and you can adjust the moves to different fitness levels. Even TRX newbies can get a serious workout. You can also pack it up and take it with you on the road.
But it can take some time to figure out the exercises. Take it slow and give yourself time to learn how to use it correctly — it’ll be worth it, we promise.
Best jump rope
Go old-school with a jump rope. If you haven’t jumped rope for a while, be prepared to poop out pretty quick. The Froning SR-1F Speed Rope 2.0 is a great option for you CrossFitters who are working on your double-unders. But it’s not just for seasoned athletes — it’s got easy-to-hold handles, an adjustable cable, and smooth movement that beginners can appreciate too.
But you can’t use this jump rope on an abrasive surface like pavement, because it can wear out the cable. So, grass works, carpet works, but if you’re jumping in your garage, you’ll need a rubber mat to protect the cable.
Best yoga mat
Yoga mats aren’t just for yoga. Sure, they’re great for a Downward-Facing Dog, but they’re also a helpful cushion for push-ups and ab work. The BalanceFrom GoYoga All-Purpose 1 Yoga Mat provides a soft, thick surface so you can really dig into your poses or cushion your bod when you’re on the floor. This mat is affordable, lightweight, and portable thanks to an included carrying strap.
But quality control is a bit of an issue. A very small percentage of reviewers report that the rubber breaks down or stretches quickly.
Best foam roller
A foam roller isn’t a complex piece of equipment, and the AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller gets the job done at an affordable price. It comes in lots of colors and lengths, so you can choose one that fits your space. The high density foam digs into your muscles like a gopher, so it will work out knots and sore spots. Fair warning: The pain of that first roll will legit make you scream. 😱
There’s a seam on one side that sticks out on some of the rollers, so keep an eye out if you end up buying — reviewers say it does not feel good to roll on that seam.
Best equipment storage
Tripping over equipment is no one’s idea of a good time. The Wallniture Guru Wall Mount makes sure there’s no more tripping or piles of workout gear at the bottom of your closet. It provides vertical storage space for yoga mats, foam rollers, jump ropes, and resistance bands. You can install it in a closet or the garage to keep all your gear organized and out of sight.
It comes with hardware, but reviewers say the hardware is the weak point. You might want to substitute sturdier versions from the local hardware store.
Best punching bag
The Dripex Freestanding Punching Bag stands strong while you hit, kick, and elbow your way to a stronger body. A base that holds sand or water (sand is typically sturdier) provides the counterweight, but it’s further stabilized by 12 suction cups on the bottom. The only bummer is that the suction cups need a relatively smooth surface to maintain full suction.
A high quality leather cover, stainless steel tube-covered EPE foam, and fabric buffers make this thing durable enough to take a daily beating. Plus, shock absorbers and springs help reduce noise. You can even remove the springs to do more intense strength training if you want.
Reviewers say filling the base isn’t the easiest because of the small fill hole, but once it’s done, you’re good to get punching.
Strength, cardio, or both?
First things first: Nail down what kind of workout you want to focus on at home. If you get plenty of cardio on your outdoor runs, maybe you just need to focus on strength training at home. If you attend in-studio Pilates, barre, or yoga classes, it might make sense to focus more on at-home cardio. Everyone’s needs are different.
If you’re looking to do resistance training, it’s a good idea to focus more on weights and resistance bands.
“The adjustable dumbbell sets are a great way to have lots of weight options without taking up a ton of space, but if you prefer regular dumbbells, a lighter pair (5 to 10 lbs.) and a heavier pair (15 to 30 lbs.) is a great place to start,” suggests Barrons.
Barrons also recommends using resistance bands to make exercises harder before moving up in weight.
If you’re more focused on cardio, make sure you pick an option that’ll keep you coming back for more as often as possible. “Cardio is the first thing that I might skip, so having an easy, fun option at home makes it the [less likely] that will happen!” says Barrons.
Workouts you like
Boxing, suspension training, and pull-ups aren’t for everyone. Tailor your home gym to your workout preferences — and don’t forget the battle with boredom. It pays to have a few different types of workout equipment around to spice up your routine. You’ll start skipping if your workouts become a yawn fest.
Size and storage
While there are a couple of behemoths on this list, we looked for space-optimizing equipment where we could, like a foldable treadmill, adjustable kettlebells and weights, and suspension trainers.
If you have room for bigger cardio machines, go for it! But if not, look for equipment with a smaller footprint that can still give you a killer cardio workout, like a jump rope or punching bag.
Injury prevention and comfort
Some equipment is worth having around to keep your body in working order. A foam roller, for example, can relax muscles and keep injuries at bay. A good yoga mat can cushion your joints while you’re doing floor work or stretching. Whatever help keep your body working at its best belongs among your home workout equipment.
With home workout equipment, you can keep your body in tip-top shape without traveling to the gym to work out with 100 sweaty strangers. You can invest in larger equipment or start small with a few dumbbells and resistance bands.
No matter your workout style or budget, there’s equipment out there to keep you challenged and invested in your training routine.