If you can’t justify paying for hefty gym memberships and don’t have enough space at home for bulky equipment, a compact home gym is a great solution.
They allow you to practice similar workouts to those you’d be able to do at a gym but for a fraction of the price.
They’re ideal for both beginners and experts alike and many options can include detailed training instructions.
There are many different types of compact home gyms available on the market. They can range from tiny carry-along kits to taller, foldable workout benches.
It can be difficult to choose which is the right one for you and if the features are worth spending your dollar on.
Here’s our helpful guide to our favorite compact home gyms on the market and their features.
Read on to our Buyers’ Guide to help you with your purchase.
In a hurry?
Finding the right compact home gym can be time-consuming.
If you’re ready to begin your fitness journey from home and want to dive right in, then here’s a link to our Top Pick and a few reasons why we love it:
- 25+ exercises that cover the entire body
- Over 200 pounds of Power Rod resistance
- Bench converts to a rolling seat for aerobic rowing
- Built-in media rack
- Multiple cable pulley positions allow you to easily change the angle of resistance and increase the effectiveness of many exercises
- Strength and cardio workouts possible, with aerobic rowing
- Horizontal bench press
OUR TOP PICK
The first compact home gym on our list has to be the Home Gym series made by Bowflex.
Although it’s the most expensive option on this list, it seems worth it. This unit supports over 25 exercises that workout the entire body.
It’s a great option if you’re wanting to get fit from the comfort of your own home.
But don’t just take our word for it, customers who bought this product can’t stop praising it.
So it’s no surprise that it has thousands of positive reviews on Amazon.
This machine is more of a resistance machine rather than a muscle-building machine. However, it has over 200lbs of Power Rod resistance.
The intelligent multi-cable pulley system is great for easily adjusting the angle of resistance and it can help to increase the effectiveness of many exercises.
This compact home gym is unique as it comes complete with a horizontal bench.
This gives you access to many more exercises that you wouldn’t be able to do if you had a smaller unit.
This bench folds vertically making it super easy to store.
- Resistance machine with over 200lbs of Power Rod resistance
- Multi-cable pulley system
- A full-size horizontal bench allows you to practice lots of workouts
- Folds vertically for easy storage
- Some reviewers found that the weights of the resistance bands aren’t accurate
Our second option on this list has to be this Personal Gym made by OYO. We love it for its truly compact size, making it ideal for use at home, on the road, and even at work.
This handy comes complete with FlexPacks (25 pounds of resistance), leg and door anchors, a nutrition guide, and free online access to over 60 workout and 197 exercise videos.
You get a lot for your money, but it won’t cost you a lot either. It’s super affordable compared to our Top Pick and definitely more affordable than paying for a monthly gym subscription.
It comes with everything you need to get started and supports exercises for the upper body, total body and lower body workouts, and core exercises.
The OYO Personal Gym has even been used by NASA astronauts on the International Space Station!
- Completely portable, great for storage and traveling
- Resistance technology diminishes the need for bulky weights
- Great for any fitness level, from beginner to advanced
- Weighs just 2lbs
- Some reviewers found that this product was lacking in resistance
Next up is the Full Body Home Gym 2.0 made by BodyBoss.
This unit is packed full of exercise equipment including a base, a bar, bands, straps, handles, and a door anchor. These will allow you to train in many different ways.
This kit supports exercises for the whole body including abs, chest, arms, and legs. The bar rotates 360 degrees for a smooth and easy grip.
You can customize your package by opting for either two or four resistance bands which are between 0 and 30lbs.
All of the equipment conveniently folds up into the base, which turns into a carry box once you remove the anchors.
It’s also a fairly affordable option compared to other similar units on the market.
- Comes with an array of equipment to mimick any training you can do at a gym
- Different size options available
- The base transforms into a small box for better portability and storage
- Budget-friendly compared to other options on the market
- Some customers found the bar a little unstable
Next úp is a multi gym with a difference. The Adjustable Weight Bench made by Yoleo not only looks stylish, but it’s a great exercise machine too.
This foldable workout bench has a backrest and when it’s assembled, it really does look like the real deal.
The bench itself is made from attractive PU leather and is super easy to assemble, carry and store.
The comfortable high-density foam padding and seat secure the body firmly and reduce muscle fatigue during workouts.
This machine is great for making use of the ultra-padded resistance bands included with the bench and the leg bar for targeting the lower body.
The bench is also ideal for those using free weights.
- Full bench with a comfortable padded backrest.
- Adjustable backrest allows for comfort no matter what the exercise
- Fully portable and foldable making it ideal for traveling
- Attractive PU leather material
- The instructions are inconsistent
For our final option, we had to include the Wonder Core Genius.
It’s not only the most compact option on this list, but it’s also the cheapest- by a lot!
Due to its’ affordability, it’s the perfect option for beginners who don’t want to splash out on an expensive compact home gym before trying one.
Although it may be tiny, this little kit is packed full of exercise equipment. It comes with an ab roller, a twist board, exercise bands, a skipping rope, a rotating pushup bar, and many more.
When you purchase the Wonder Core Genius you’ll also get unlimited access to their workout routines and videos via their free app.
But don’t just take our word for it, the Wonder Core Genius has even won awards for its innovative and practical design.
- The exclusive app gives you access to over 100 training tutorials
- The Super compact design makes it perfect for use at home and on the road
- Award-winning design
- Extremely affordable making it perfect for beginners
- It can’t support the full range of exercises accessible with other machines on this list
Best Compact Home Gym Buying Guide
Compact home gyms can vary dramatically and can include a large selection of workouts in one small piece of equipment.
The market can be overwhelming and you may feel unsure about which machine is right for you.
Here are a few things you should consider when shopping for a compact home gym.
These machines are specifically designed to take up little room in your home. That being said, they can still come in a variety of sizes.
Some compact home gyms are far larger than others. It’s a good idea to figure out where you plan on keeping your compact home gym before making a purchase.
Some compact home gyms are small enough to cleverly fold away and can be stored in a closet or cupboard.
Others will require their own designated space, but still take up a lot less room than conventional individual pieces of gym equipment.
If you have a guest room or garage, these can be great places to store your compact home gym.
If you are very short on space, the so aptly named ‘gym in a box’ options are an excellent solution. These can support a huge array of exercises, utilizing a range of bands and attachments.
These are certainly limited in some ways compared to traditional multi gyms, yet the fact that you can store them away, or even take in your suitcase when you are traveling, is a huge bonus.
The design you end up choosing will depend on your goals. If you are looking to build muscle and strength, something that allows you to add your own Olympic plates is going to be ideal.
Alternatively, if you just want to keep fit and value your space more than shifting heavy weight, then a gym in a box style unit is going to be more up your street.
The features of a compact home gym usually depend on what size they are.
For example, gym-in-a-box style units tend to include lots of resistant bands and multiple attachments, etc as it’ll need to contain either flexible or small equipment to fit them in the box.
On the other hand, the larger multi gyms that can’t be stored away in boxes often contain different types of equipment.
Sometimes they can include a bench, pulley system, and sometimes even a large frame too.
However, these frames won’t be too large due to their compact design. Sometimes, these benches can be removable and store vertically, making them ideal for small spaces.
Compact home gyms that feature pulleys are great for practicing a multitude of different exercises. There are a few different kinds of pulley systems that you can come across in multi-gyms, and each one allows you to practice a different type of exercise.
High pulley systems allow you to do lat and tricep pulldowns. Middle pulleys are great for performing chest presses, weighted crunches, and trunk rotations.
Low pulley systems are ideal for shoulder press, upright rows, and bicep curls.
Many of the compact home gyms that come complete with a bench will often have a leg developer too.
Leg developers have padded rollers that help you to perform leg extensions and curls. These exercises are great for targeting your quads and hamstrings.
Pretty much every compact home gym that you come across will contain some sort of added extra.
Sometimes it can be as simple as including an instruction sheet of recommended exercises, workout cards, DVDs, or even nutrition guides.
Much like the features of a compact home gym, the resistance of it will also usually depend on its design.
Some multi-gyms can include resistance training equipment in the form of a classic weight stack, power rods, or even Olympic plates.
The trouble with Olympic plates, however, is that they rarely come included with the machine itself.
While some more expensive machines will be made in a specific way to allow you to add Olympic plates, you’re most likely going to need to purchase these separately.
Some units will also include added resistance in the form of bungee cords or resistance bands at the bottom of the machine.
When it comes to compact home gyms, you can’t expect to pay bargain prices for a quality piece of equipment.
Gym equipment is usually rather pricey, this is why it can cost an arm and a leg to afford a monthly membership in a modern gym.
In terms of multi gyms, the smaller and cheaper the unit is, the fewer exercises it’s going to be able to offer.
While compact multi-gyms are great inventions, they can become quite frustrating if you find yourself practicing the same workout routines again and again.
It’s important to establish your budget before making a purchase. If your budget is on the smaller side, you’re going to need to compromise.
Although a great idea, compact home gyms are obviously less durable and steady than normal gym equipment. This means that the motion may sometimes feel a bit jerky or the cables don’t feel as durable as you like.
It’s a good idea not to expect the same quality that you would expect from using full-size gym equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an essential piece of equipment in a home gym?
If you have a somewhat generous budget a little spare space in your home, a squat rack, bench, and a barbell. These three pieces of equipment are especially important if muscle-building is your goal.
However, if you just want a home gym to help you keep fit and toned, this may be too much.
If you want to build muscle, consider buying a good pair of adjustable dumbells instead or take a look at doorway pull-up bars. These are great for building strength in small spaces.
If you have a sizeable amount of space to spare for your gym equipment, consider investing in some sort of cardio machine for your home.
There are lots to choose from, including budget treadmills that are manually powered and fold away easily or even a small rowing machine or cross-trainer.
Can I use a compact home gym for bodybuilding and weightlifting?
If you’re dead set on gaining muscle mass and bodybuilding, a compact home gym may not be enough for you.
For a basic gym setup, most people here have a power rack, a bench (flat or flat/incline; less often flat/incline/decline), a 7' Olympic barbell, and 300lbs (or more) of Olympic sized iron weight.
This setup allows you to do the four big lifts safely. These four big lifts being squats, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.
Not just that, but this setup allows you a ton of flexibility for many different barbell exercises. Most importantly, it gives you room to grow and get bigger for a long time.
If you buy good quality equipment, it is feasible that you'll never really need to upgrade (although you will feel compelled to).
You won’t be able to reach these sorts of specs with a small compact home gym, so perhaps consider a monthly membership in a local gym or purchasing full-size equipment for your home.