A lot more people prefer to exercise at home or in their own private space, especially now due to the current global health crisis. And the good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of room to do so.
For example, dumbbells and bands take up very little room. But what if you want or need something a little more substantial? Today we’re reviewing the best compact home gyms that can fit into smaller spaces but that still offers a decent number of features. But we’ll still include a dumbbell and bands too!
Not to mention, a lot of the options on the market won’t break the bank. Keep in mind though, some of our choices aren’t your typical multi-station home gym setups.
Check out our top picks and choose the features that best suit your needs for home training.
Best Compact Home Gyms
- Marcy MWM 998 Weight Stack Home Gym – Buy here Editor’s Choice
- Total Gym Apex G5 – Buy here
- Body Boss 2.0 Portable Home Gym – Buy here
- Sportsroyal Power Tower – Buy here
- Iron Gym Doorway Workout Bar – Buy here
- OlarHike Resistance Bands Set – Buy here
- Weider Ultimate Body Works Compact Total Body Training System – Buy here
- Relife Rebuild Power Tower – Buy here
- Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower – Buy here
- Powerblock EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbells – Buy here
Marcy is a household name in high-quality workout equipment.
The MWM-998 is loaded with useful features that you’d expect from a home gym including a lat/cable pulldown, chest press/pec dec, leg extension, and preacher curl bench w/ cable attachment.
It also comes with an exercise chart and is easy to use by inserting a pin to select the desired weight.
This is a great option for most people who are looking to get stronger and fitter.
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- 150lb weight stack
- Multi-station design
- 14-gauge heavy-duty steel construction
- Exercise chart
- Pin selection weight stack
- Weight stack lock
- Offers multiple exercise stations
- Good for shorter and taller people
- Weight stack lock is a good safety feature
- Requires installation and maintenance
- Only goes up to 150 lbs
A unique, yet an increasingly more common piece of exercise equipment; the Total Gym Apex G5 is a home gym with a glideboard design.
You use your own resistance and different levels of incline to increase or decrease the difficulty of each exercise.
The machine comes with several accessories to offer more versatility such as a wing attachment, leg pull attachment, dip bars, larger squat stand, and more.
It’s quite long at 93 inches so not as compact as other options but still not a setup that takes up as much room as a full-size home gym. It’s also ergonomic and folds up for easy storage which we like.
The Total Body Gym is a great choice for people who want to get in shape and lose fat too.
Weight capacity: 375 lbs
- Cable pulley design
- 10 resistance levels
- 80+ exercise options
- 2 stability mats to keep the machine in place
- Total gym TV access
- Exercise/nutrition guides
- Offers tons of exercise options
- Ergonomic, adjustable resistance design
- Large weight capacity
- Pillow headrest for comfort
- Folds for easy storage
- Takes up more space than other options
- No wheels to roll away in storage
- Not ideal for serious weight lifters
The fact that this product is portable and weighs less than 10 pounds is incredibly appealing in itself.
The Body Boss 2.0 is a foldable platform that you can attach bands to. Even better is that you get a collapsible workout bar that simulates barbell training in addition to single-grip handles for single-side, unilateral training.
It also has limb straps for cardio boxing and a door anchor for chest flys, lat pulldowns, face pulls, and many other exercises.
Each resistance band ranges from 1-30 lbs of resistance and you can attach more than one for more resistance not to mention, you can shorten the bands too which is great for squats.
You can do hundreds of exercises with this platform and we think it’s best for people who don’t need a ton of resistance.
The color of the bands is pink for this product in particular which naturally makes it ideal for women.
- Non-slip base/platform
- Cloth-covered resistance bands
- Collapsible/rotation workout bar
- Ankle and wrist straps
- Single grip- handles
- Door anchor
- Perform squats, deadlifts, and other compound exercises
- Adjustable resistance
- Has multiple attachments
- Not ideal for very strong individuals
- May need to purchase more bands and accessories
You can never go wrong with a quality power tower. Your typical power tower will have a pull-up bar, and dip/leg lifts station at the absolute minimum, and depending on which one you get, the additional features vary.
This one from Sportsroyal is very popular and very rugged.
The T-base is extended and the foot covers ensure optimal stability whether you’re repping out pull-ups or doing lots of dips to build those tris!
Not to mention, it’s also height adjustable from 64.56-88.1 inches, and the armrest adjusts too for longer arms. So regardless of your height, you can get an effective workout with this setup.
The power tower has the usual pull-up/chin-up bar, dip/leg lift station, and push-up bars too.
Weight capacity: 400 lbs
- Adjustable height
- Slanted ergonomic armrest for optimal performance
- Adjustable armrests for different heights
- PU leather armrests and cushion are comfortable, breathable, and prevent odor
- Extended T-frame base and foot covers prevent tilting
- Scratch-resistant coat finish
- Adjustable height
- Supports up to 400 lbs
- Need to add more resistance if you’re a more advanced exerciser
- Nothing for legs training
Check out these other power towers we reviewed this year.
The Iron Gym doorway bar is more than your basic pull-up bar option but it’s still easy and fast to set up (no waiting to train) and offers several options for hand positions and exercises.
You can do straight-bar or neutral grip pull-ups/chin-ups and there are two sets of foam grips for wide and narrow gripping.
Then you can take the bar down from the doorway and do push-ups, dips, and abdominal work too.
Another great use of a doorway pull-up bar or any pull-up bar for that matter is that you can wrap resistance bands around it and use it as a cable machine.
So there are plenty of exercise options with this pull-up bar.
Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Long and neutral pull-up/chin-up handles
- Push-up and pull-up handles
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Multiple exercise options
- You can also do exercises without a doorway except for pull-ups
- Fast and easy setup
- No option to train legs
- Few concerns about quality/safety
Resistance bands are an amazing tool that you can use anywhere with minimal space to get a challenging workout. You can do almost any exercise with bands too especially if you have accessories that allow you to do so more easily.
The Whatafit resistance band set comes with 13 pieces; 5 resistance bands, 2 handles, a door anchor, 2 ankle straps, and a carrying bag.
The color-coded bands range from 10-50 lbs and it’s stackable for up to 150 lbs of resistance which is more than enough for most exercisers and even stronger individuals.
Note: The bands are made from 100% latex.
- 5 color-coded resistance bands
- Door anchor
- Ankle straps
- Exercise guide
- Steel metal buckle
- Non-slip handles
- Stackable resistance
- Comes with additional accessories
- Comes with a travel bag
- Exercise useful for beginners/more ideas
- Not great for free moving/mobile type exercises and movements
Another glideboard design on our list, the Weider total body workout system uses your body weight and different positions to increase or decrease the level of resistance. You can get up to 50 lbs of additional resistance.
It also expands and collapses for different user heights and exercises. You can do squats, lat pulldowns, biceps curls, and more so there are plenty of ways to get a total body workout.
Weight capacity: 250 lbs
- Collapsible and expandable training design
- 8 levels of incline
- Bodyweight resistance design w/ cable pulleys
- Folds down for easy storage
- Cushioned padding
- Great for various user heights
- Supports a large variety of exercises
- Space saver design
- Not ideal for serious exercisers who typically weight train
- Only rated for up to 250 lbs weight capacity (although it may hold up to a little more)
This power tower is a best-selling product that has stood the test of many. It’s height-adjustable (58.5-89 inches) with an adjustable armrest to support different heights during leg lifts. The base has suction cups for optimal stability during intense training sessions.
You also get an angled pull-up bar to work your back muscles, and push-up bars near the base to develop your chest, in addition to a crossbar that you can use for stretching out the legs.
Overall, a very solid power tower that offers several exercise options.
Weight capacity: 330 lbs
- Pull-up bar
- Dip/leg lift station
- Push-up bars
- Leg stretch station
- Removable backrest
- Adjustable armrest for longer arms
- Height and armrest adjustable
- Offers multiple exercise stations
- Supports a lot of weight
- The backrest is vertical (many prefer an angled design)
- Few concerns about parts durability
- Nothing for leg training
For those unaware, rowing is one heck of a total-body workout especially if you’re doing it with enough intensity. Now, will it get you jacked or bodybuilder big? Probably not.
But it can build some muscle and improve your cardio and conditioning especially.
The Concept 2 Model D rower is used by the world’s best athletes, made of commercial-grade components, and is arguably the best-selling rower as well.
It operates via an air resistance flywheel and comes with a performance 5 monitor (PM5) that includes preset workouts, is wireless capable and measures meters, pace, watts, and calories – and it comes with a handy smartphone cradle.
You can connect it to awesome fitness apps and really find motivation by using the different features offered.
If you want a beastly full-body cardio workout that’s very low-impact, then the Concept 2 Model D is a fantastic option.
The recommended space for this rower is 9 x 4 ft (274-122cm)
Weight capacity: 500 lbs
- Air resistance flywheel ensures smooth and quiet operation
- Damper adjustable to control airflow
- l-bean monorail and stainless steel track
- Comes with performance monitor 5 (PM5)
- Adjustable footrests and ergonomic handles
- Smartphone cradle
- 14-inch seat height
- Separates and wheels for easy storage
- Easy and quick to assemble
- 500 lb user capacity
- Compatible with motivational fitness apps
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Requires a little more space than other compact options
- Not ideal for building lots of muscle
Also check out: 10 Best Indoor Rowing Machine Picks for 2021
Dumbbells are arguably the most useful piece/s of training equipment when you have limited space. Not only do they take up very little space but you can do any exercise with them and they’re safer and easier to use than a barbell for a lot of exercises.
Pair them with a solid adjustable weight bench and your options are limitless.
Powerblock adjustable dumbbells are among the best of the best and have been around forever. These newer ones are adjustable from 10-50 lbs each in increments of 5 (e.g., 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50).
In addition, you can choose to add more weight as these are expandable to 70-90 lbs.
We also like that these are super fast to change the weights as you just pull the pin and re-insert it so the convenience is certainly there all around.
It may take a little getting used to as far as the design and holding the dumbbells inside of the block but most users find this to be a non-issue and Powerblocks are very popular for a reason.
- Adjustable from 10-50 lbs (5lb increments)
- Ergonomic block design
- Auto-lock feature allows for smaller increases in weight
- Welded solid steel construction
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Easy weight adjustment
- Expandable to 70-90 lbs/dumbbell
- Compact, space-saving design
- Proven design
- Dumbbells ship in two boxes
- This model only goes up to 50 lbs each dumbbell
- Block design may take a little getting used too
What’s A Compact Home Gym and Which Is Best For You?
A compact home gym, in our opinion and for this article, in particular, means any piece of equipment or a combination of exercise tools that don’t take up too much room compared to more full-sized setups.
It should also allow you to perform resistance exercises for most, and ideally all muscle groups.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all design in the “compact” home gyms category unless you’re thinking of a weight stack machine and in that case, check out our review on the 13 Best Home Gyms Reviewed for 2021.
But for this review of best compact home gyms, we included a variety of different training setups based on what we consider to be relatively “compact” for most situations.
As far as which is best for you, well, this is subjective because ultimately, you have to decide what’s most important to you regarding your goals, preferences, budget, and, of course, the size of the equipment and available space.
Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing your workout equipment.
Size and space
Again, you have to consider the size of the equipment and the space you have available. There’s no sense in getting something that’s always in the way and makes your life more stressful.
For example, a machine with a weight stack isn’t ideal for someone who rents out a small room, and a set of bands w/ anchors and attachments may be your best choice.
This is also a good idea if you want to train away from home so the bands and even the Bodyboss gym are perfect in this case.
Maybe you like machines with multiple stations such as a lat pulldown, pec dec, and much more. Well, you’d be better off with something like the Marcy weight stack machine or the Bowflex.
It’s also always a good idea to check the dimensions of a product and consider the amount of space you want to designate.
Personal stats and resistance
It’s also important to consider your weight, height, and the maximum resistance. Most machines have a weight capacity of which you’ll need to be careful to choose the appropriate system.
The Marcy machine only allows you to lift up to 150 lbs but the Bowflex options are upgradable for more resistance and this is ideal for more advanced exercisers.
You can also combine bands and have lots of resistance to work with too!
Now, if you like to do bodyweight stuff, then the power tower or pull-up bar home gym is recommended. Plus, you can add weight with a belt (or even a dog leash) or use dumbbells or a backpack but if you’re not very experienced then you can work on improving your strength with bodyweight only.
Therefore, you have a lot of room to get stronger before you need to add more resistance to your exercises.
Are you someone who doesn’t usually spend time maintaining your equipment and things in general (not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing)?
Someone with fewer moving parts and that is a much simpler design will probably be the best thing for you. Otherwise, every once in a while, you’ll most likely need to do some maintenance to ensure your system is operating most optimally and safely too.
You may also have a specific budget that you need to stick to and this will determine your pick for a compact home gym. Thankfully, there are options at various price points and most folks can afford something.
And don’t worry, we wouldn’t pick any piece of equipment that we thought was too cheaply made or clearly overpriced for what you get.
Do you see how this is subjective and how you have to consider various factors before purchasing?
We hope you liked our list of best compact home gyms. These options were among the best we could find and we made sure that there’s something for everyone whether you’re looking for a weight stack machine, bench gym, bands, a pull-up bar, or even a Bowflex.
If you have questions about anything in this article, please feel free to leave your comments below.
Also check out: 12 Best Fitness Equipment When Home Workouts Are The Only Option
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