It's easy to get a little jealous of all the amazing, high-tech home gyms you see on Instagram. But creating your own workout space so you can sweat it out in your living room, basement or spare bedroom doesn't need to break the bank.
In fact, all you need is a few pieces of must-have home workout equipment to build strength, get your heart pumping and improve your endurance.
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Here's LIVESTRONG.com's definitive list of the best at-home gym equipment of 2023.
How We Chose
We've spent months doing exercise equipment reviews and interviewing dozens of trainers, coaches and athletes. Every piece of home workout equipment has its own perks, but every piece of gear here has a few things in common:
Basic Home Gym Tools
1. Best Exercise Mat: Lululemon Mat 3mm
An exercise mat is a budget- and space-friendly piece of home gym equipment. You can find a mat at just about any price point in an array of colors, levels of thickness and sizes. They're not only helpful for practicing yoga. They also provide must-have cushion and support for Pilates, body-weight exercises and core workouts that involve lying on the floor.
Lululemon's 3mm mat is one of the best out there, certified yoga instructor Kells McPhillips, tells LIVESTRONG.com. Its easy-to-grip surface prevents slips and provides just enough cushion for comfort without being too bulky.
Buy it: Lululemon.com; Price: $88
2. Best Water Bottle: MIRA 17 Oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle
It's important to stay hydrated before, during and after your workouts. And sipping from a reusable water bottle is the easiest and most eco-friendly way to make that happen. Water bottles usually come in plastic, metal and glass, but the best one for you depends on your lifestyle. Plastic is the lightest, but stainless steel is insulated to keep your H2O cold.
McPhillips loves a water bottle with insulation, like this one from MIRA. Bonus: Its design and shape fit nearly all cup holders.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $13.95
Cardio Home Workout Machines
If you have the space in your home gym and your budget, consider investing in one of these popular cardio machines. They're ideal for getting more consistent with your cardio routine — especially if weather often gets in the way of your favorite outdoor activities.
1. Best Treadmill: Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill
The best treadmills help you log miles and burn calories from the comfort of home. The machine you buy depends mostly on the space you have available. Look for a machine with a motor strength of at least 3 miles per hour, which allows you to walk or run with ease, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Echelon is a popular brand with some of the best virtual fitness classes available on the machine's screen, New York-based physical therapist Sam Becourtney, DPT, CSCS, tells LIVESTRONG.com. This folding treadmill even folds in half to save space.
Buy it: Echelon.com; Price: $1,299.99
2. Best Elliptical: Precor Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer EFX 885
The ellipticals is a lower-impact cardio machine that's easy on the joints. Look for an elliptical that's size-appropriate for your home and stable under your body weight, says Mathew Forzaglia, CPT, a New York–based certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness.
Precor's elliptical has five preset levels and 22 different workouts to choose from. It also has two sets of handles (one stationary, one moving) to modify or progress your workout. And as you raise and lower the elliptical's incline, the monitor shows you which muscles are working the hardest.
Brand-new, the machine costs more than $12,000 (it's commercial-grade, after all), but you can find refurbished, high-quality units for much less.
Buy it: FitnessSuperstore.com; Price: $4,599
3. Best Indoor Bike: Peloton Bike
Stationary bikes can also get your heart pumping without placing much pressure on your joints, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). And unlike ellipticals and treadmills, bikes don't usually take up much space, a plus when shopping for the best at-home workout equipment.
The Peloton bike is the top bike out there. With thousands of on-demand high-intensity workouts on your machine and 20 live classes daily, you never have to worry about workout boredom. All you need to do is toss on your cycling shoes (Peloton sells their own) and start spinning.
Buy it: Onepeloton.com; Price: $1,445
Smart Home Gym Equipment
For workout class lovers, a smart home gym can be a smart (pardon the pun) investment. These are a few of the best systems to consider.
1. Best Budget Home Gym: Mirror Basic
What looks like a sleek piece of home decor is actually a digital at-home gym. The Mirror has thousands of workout videos you can try, including barre, dance and boxing.
The best part? The screen still has reflection when you're training, so you can keep an eye on your form and stay injury-free, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a California-based strength coach.
Buy it: Mirror.co; Price: Currently on sale for $795, originally $1,495; $39/month video subscription
2. Best Advanced Home Gym: Tempo Studio
Most smart gyms come with dumbbells or a built-in pulley system, but Tempo takes your workout experience above and beyond. This system comes with dumbbells, clips and weight plates, so you can customize your resistance.
You can even lock the dumbbells together to create a barbell, according to Araujo. This is a great way to develop advanced-level training skills at home.
Buy it: Tempo.fit; Price: Currently on sale for $1,695; originally $2,495 or $52/month; $39/month video subscription
Strength-Training Home Workout Equipment
Pick and choose your favorite weights to build your strength arsenal. Here's the best home workout equipment for gaining muscle.
1. Best Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights
Investing in a few sets of dumbbells for at-home strength training is a good place to start, says Maillard Howell, a certified CrossFit coach and head of fitness at Reebok. Dumbbells are versatile for all types of muscle-building exercises, and they're ideal for all strength levels.
To get the most value for your money, consider a set of adjustable dumbbells. The best pair out there is this Bowflex set, says Araujo. These weights are designed to easily transition from light to heavier in one second. And using one adjustable set is far less expensive (and space-sucking) compared with buying multiple differently weighted sets.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $379
2. Best Suspension Trainer: TRX HOME2SYSTEM
If you're working out at home, the TRX suspension system is an excellent alternative for more standard training styles, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
The TRX system is made of two bands with handles that attach to a high anchor point (like the ceiling or the top of a door). With them, you can use your body weight against gravity to build strength and stability.
TRX bands come in different packages and prices, depending on how many suspension attachments you want. But the HOME2SYSTEM has everything most at-home exercisers need.
Whichever set you buy, your purchase grants you access to the TRX app, which includes a library of instructions and exercises, so you can learn how to install it in your home and use it effectively.
Buy it: TRXTraining.com; Price: $229.95
3. Best Kettlebell: Yes4All Vinyl-Coated Kettlebell
Trainers can't praise kettlebell exercises enough. Essentially a cannonball with a handle, kettlebells can build strength and muscle, as well as aerobic capacity.
As with dumbbells, start out with a lighter kettlebell. "Do not ego-buy," Howell says. In other words, don't let your ego drive you toward the heavier weight if you're not as familiar with kettlebell movements.
If you're new to kettlebells, he recommends starting with a 25-pound weight max, like this Yes4All bell. More experienced lifters can probably go for a 35-pound weight, he says.
Whereas most kettlebells are iron (not friendly for hardwood floors), these are coated in vinyl to protect surfaces in your home.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.99
4. Best Sliders: Synergee Core Sliders
Sliders or gliders are exactly what they sound like: Usually circular, oval or hexagonal, these discs allow you to slide your hands or feet along a surface to challenge your stability.
While sliders may not look like anything special, they provide a super-challenging workout, especially for your abs and legs, says Meg Takacs, an RRCA-certified running coach and creator of the #RunWithMeg app.
Sliders are a relatively inexpensive piece of home workout equipment and you can store them just about anywhere. For such small tools, they offer a lot of versatility, she says.
Experiment with slider-enhanced mountain climbers by placing the discs under your feet as you drive your knees toward your chest. Other challenging slider exercises are reverse lunges, split squats and push-ups, in which you bring one arm out in front of you at the bottom of the move, she says.
These sliders are budget-friendly and the foam glides smoothly across hard surfaces — that's why we named these the top pair in our review of the best sliders on the market. And if you only have carpet in your home, just flip them over and use the plastic side.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $9.31
5. Best Resistance Bands: RitFit Pull-Up Assist Bands
If you want to make basic body-weight exercises more challenging, resistance bands are an easy and space-efficient way to add load.
Your best option is this combo pack of five bands form RitFit. Each has a different level of resistance, so you can increase the load as you get stronger. And unlike most long-loop bands, RitFits come in packs of five.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $13.99
6. Best Pull-Up Bar: Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Door-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A doorway pull-up bar is easy to install and great for increasing your back and shoulder strength, Howell says.
Chin-ups and pull-ups require a good amount of strength and mobility. If you don't have these exercises down yet, you can use resistance bands (like the long-loop band above) to do band-assisted chin-ups and pull-ups from the bar.
But your exercises aren't limited to pull-ups and chin-ups, either. Howell recommends hanging from the bar and firing up your core with some hanging knee raises or tuck holds.
This specific bar can support up to 300 pounds and fits snug in your doorway without needing to actually connect it to the wall. Unlike single-bar doorway pull-up bars, this one has several grips, including wide grip pads and neutral grip handles.
Another bonus: You can flip this pull-up bar and place it on the ground for push-ups.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $34.99
Mobility and Stability Tools
Most exercisers could probably stand to work on mobility, flexibility and stability. In addition to stretching and getting plenty of rest between tough workouts, you might benefit from this recovery-focused home workout equipment.
1. Best Stability Ball: Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
The stability ball was originally used by physical therapists to improve core strength, posture and flexibility, according to the ACE. Over time, it's become widely used to do a variety of strength-training exercises, including hamstring curls, sit-ups and push-ups, too. (It also makes for an ab-challenging desk chair.)
Find a stability ball that's the right size for your body: Exercise balls are usually measured in centimeters, with each size corresponding with a specific height. You may need to opt for a larger or smaller ball if you fall near the bottom or top of the height range.
This exercise ball is available in a variety of sizes from 55 to 95 centimeters. You even get a year-long warranty with your purchase and access to Live Infinitely's digital exercise guides that show you how to use the ball properly.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $25
2. Best Foam Roller: TriggerPoint GRID
Foam rolling is a must if you want to keep your muscles strong, healthy and injury-free. Even just rolling a specific area for a few minutes can help reduce soreness and increase your flexibility, according to the ACE.
Foam rollers are available in an array of sizes, shapes and levels of firmness. As a general rule, softer or medium-firm foam rollers will probably give you the best results, according to the NASM. But the best foam roller is the kind you'll use. So, if you like a firmer feel, go for a denser roller.
New York-based personal trainer Noam Tamir, CSCS, loves the TriggerPoint roller for its high density and grooves, allowing you to work deep into sore muscles. It even comes with instructional videos when you purchase to help you roll the right way.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $27.71
4 Factors to Consider Before Buying
1. Set Your Budget
Building an at-home gym can get pricey. But you can get an effective workout with minimal equipment and a repertoire of body-weight exercises.
Think about how much you want to spend on your home gym before you start shopping. Budgets vary from person to person. A good reference point: Think about how much you would be willing to spend on an annual gym membership. Ideally, a home gym should save you some money.
Focus on the most basic equipment first. If there's money left over, consider some additional equipment.
In need of some home gym ideas on a budget? Look at sites like Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace, recommends Erin Aynes CPT, a Georgia-based personal trainer. "Check out the specs online to see if it suits your needs and space," she says. "Don't hesitate to look at the item in person before committing to purchase it."
2. Start With Basic Tools
As mentioned, your own body is more than enough for a good workout. But investing in a few basic exercise tools can add some variety to your fitness routine.
If you're training on a hard floor, definitely consider a yoga mat. Or, for those who love cardio and saving space (and money), a jump rope is a piece of must-have workout equipment.
For strength training, dumbbells are classic and don't take up too much space. But if you can't afford too many weights, resistance bands are an excellent alternative.
As you build up your basic equipment arsenal, here's a handy list to go by:
3. Consider More Elaborate Equipment
Cardio machines like stationary bikes and treadmills are pricier but nice to have nevertheless, especially if you live in an area where weather can get in the way of walks, runs or bike rides.
For those who love workout classes, smart home gyms may also be worth the higher price tag. Individual workout classes add up, and many of these high-tech machines come with financing options, so you can pay off your device at a rate that feels comfortable for your budget.
It may seem obvious, but think about which activities you like most. Not a fan of running? Definitely don't buy a treadmill just because it's a staple in many basements around the country. Instead, try a rowing machine or bike.
4. Look at Your Available Space
While sliders and resistance bands can fit easily in a drawer, treadmills and bikes aren't exactly space-savers. So, before you buy a piece of equipment, think about how much available space you have in your home.
Read the product info of the machine you want to buy to find exact measurements. Then, double check it's compatible with your space. And if you don't have much room, consider space-saving versions. Under-desk treadmills, for instance, are an innovative way to get your steps in, while saving square footage.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "What to Look for in a Home Treadmill"
- NASM: "The Ride of Your Lives: How to Help Your Clients Enjoy Cycling"
- ACE: "Investigating the Acute and Chronic Health Benefits of TRX® Suspension Training"
- ACE: "Foam Rolling 101"
- NASM: "How to Use a Foam Roller"
- ACE: "Strengthen Your Abdominals With Stability Balls"