Looking for the best home gym? Read our in-depth home gym reviews, comparison charts and top picks for 2017 to help you make the right buying decision.
If you planning to start a workout regime from your home, then buying a home gym is one of the biggest investment you’ll have to make. A home gym saves you from the trouble of buying multiple types of equipment like a weight bench and you can work on multiple muscles from one single machine.
We have tested over 20 home gyms are narrowed down to the top 4. Here are recommendations for the best home gyms for 2017.
Best Home Gyms for Fitness Enthusiasts
Bowflex Blaze Home Gym: If your ultimate fitness goal is aesthetics, then the Blaze has everything you need for conditioning workouts. Built like a tank, you can get a full body workout, by performing over 60 workouts.
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage: However, if you need a setup for strength training and want to increase your muscle mass, then this is the best buy.
Best Home Gym For Beginners
Bowflex PR1000: The PR1000 gives high-end home gyms a run for their money with its versatility and sturdy build. For day-to-day workouts, this is what you should get.
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In-Depth Home Gym Reviews
#1 Recommendation: Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
Bowflex Blaze is the ultimate home gym setup that combines versatility, convenience, and performance. It has lot of things going for it and we discuss all of that in our review –
Weight – 195 lbs.
Dimensions – 90”x38”x83” (LxWxH)
Folded Dimensions – 52”x38”x83” (LxWxH)
Build and Assembly
Once you get the machine, you’ll have to do the hard work of assembling it. The manual will guide you through the process. If you got someone to help you with the assembly, then that will speed up the process, otherwise, it will take 4-5 hours to get this up and running.
The manual also has a list of exercises that help you get started and if with the DVD pack you get a full-fledged workout plan. (However, take advice from trainer before you start with that).
Next, the Bowflex Blaze is built like a tank and the frame is only second to the Marcy Diamond. It supports all the attachments quite well, but make sure all the bolts and nuts are secured tightly before you begin your workouts.
However, the best part is the rod system. Bowflex offers a lifetime guarantee on this section and you don’t have to worry about replacing it, ever. This puts the Blaze in a league of its own, as most resistance based home gyms wear out with regular use.
And yes, the machine is foldable and takes almost half the space (in length) when it is folded.
Designed for Conditioning
If you are an aesthetic freak, then the Blaze has everything for you. You can work on increasing your strength and with the sliding seat, you can perform rowing exercises that help you to the boost your cardiovascular system.
All the resistance is provided by power rods, which basically have a weight rating from 5 to 50 pounds. You have to hook them to a cable to get the desired weight setting. The Blaze comes with a capacity of 210 pounds of resistance.
However, we recommend you to upgrade and buy the 410-pound rod upgrade. This is more than enough even for the most hardcore fitness enthusiasts and gives you the firepower to grow and build your muscles.
Next, with the multiple pulleys, you can work different muscles of your body. You can train your pectoral muscles, perform both inclined and declined bench presses, perform an array of exercises for your biceps and triceps. Your abdominals are also covered with seated crunches.
The Blaze also has the best setup for training your legs and you can perform over 10 exercises, which is the most in any home gym.
And yes, the manual and the DVD package guides you through everything from posture to setup to reps. (It serves as your very own personal trainer).
Overall, the Blaze scored full marks in versatility if there is an exercise you can think of, you can perform it on the Blaze.
If you are used to weighing stacks or weight plates, then it will take some time to get used to the Blaze. The most common issue that people have is that the resistance feels lighter to start and gets heavier as you complete your motion.
Having said that, you get used to this fairly quickly. Our trainer fell in love with the resistance system in just over a week and to quote – “It is far mar convenience compared to weight stack machines, and plus I felt that my muscles were worked harder than before”.
Considering the price-point the Blaze isn’t for everyone. But, if you value convenience and want to give your body the ultimate workout, then you can’t go wrong with it.
However, if you are on a budget, you can check out the Bowflex PR1000, which is somewhat a downgrade to the Blaze but is enough to provide a decent workout at home.
#2 Recommendation: Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage Home Gym
If you are looking for isolated strength training and conditioning from a single home gym, then the Diamond Elite is our top recommendation. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Weight – 210 lbs.
Dimensions – 86”x79”x95” (LxWxH)
Build and Stability
A home gym is an investment of a lifetime and this is an equipment you are going to use almost daily. So the built quality should be of the highest standard. Well, Marcy has taken care of that with the Diamond Elite. The frame is built of high gauge steel which supports all the components (including weight plates).
Coming to other components, the seat is comfortable and can be adjusted at different angles making it suitable for all kinds of presses. The leg developer has ample cushioning and even at highest resistance, there is zero strain on your feet. If you are doing deadlifts or weight squats, the smith machine has bar catchers and stoppers which prevent any mishap.
The only gripe we have is with the pulleys. They wear out with regular use and you are going to need a replacement.
But, in case you face any issue before 2 years then you can avail the 2-year limited warranty offered by Marcy.
Next, the diamond elite is pretty stable. This is achieved by the ‘Off the floor base’ design. This also helps in better weight distribution. Even at highest weight settings, we experienced no vibrations. The story remains the same while doing leg presses.
Overall, a lot of thought has been put into the design of the Diamond Elite and each component is designed to maximize results. And all of that is paired with industrial grade built to give you a complete beast of a machine.
Full Body Workout
The Diamond Elite has everything you need for a full body workout. First up with the smith cage you can perform deadlifts and squats. You can add additional weight plates and you can go all the way up to 400 pounds. You can also use the cage to train your legs.
Next up, with the nylon pulleys, you can focus on your pectoral muscles. There is even a peck deck which can be used for isolated chest exercises. (The only home gym that has this feature).
Coming to bench you can perform, you can train your legs and muscles. The ergonomic leg developer grips your feet and with the curl handle, you can train your biceps.
The bench can be inclined (even declined) at different angles, making it suitable for all kinds of presses.
Overall, the Diamond Elite is by far the most versatile home gym, giving you the perfect setup to train different muscles of your body.
This is a huge machine and assembling this can prove to be overwhelming. Even if you are good with tools it will take over 5-6 hours to assemble this. If you are a beginner, we recommend going for the ‘included assembly’.
Next up, there are no included weight plates sold with the Diamond Elite. You can get the XMark Fitness Olympic Plates. They are supported by the Diamond Elite and have a rugged build.
The Marcy Diamond Elite is a top of the line home gym. And this is ONLY for those of you who are serious about achieving their fitness goals. You can tone your body and increase your strength using a single piece of machinery. And plus for a limited time, Amazon is offering free shipping on this product.
# 3 Recommendation: Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym (Best Value for Money)
For all of you on a budget, Bowflex has a power-packed home gym called the PR1000. It is an excellent machine for day to day use and can be used for a full body workout.
Weight – 131 lbs.
Dimensions – 103”x80”x82” (LxWxH)
Folded Dimensions – 82”x80”x82”
The Perfect Beginner Machine
The PR1000 arrives in a single big box and you have to assemble all the components one by one. Like any other home gym, we recommend going through the manual first. However, it shouldn’t take you more than 3 hours to assemble this thing.
Coming to the build, it is quite durable and we found the machine to be completely stable even at the highest weight settings. Generally, budget home gyms have stability issues but nothing of that sort was seen in the PR1000.
The resistance is provided by the power rods which have different weight ratings. Changing resistance is Childs play and all you have to do is attach the rods to the cable. You can also change the angle which increases the effectiveness of your exercises and puts an added strain on your muscles.
With the adjustable saddle, you can perform a rowing motion, which in turn boosts your cardiovascular system.
Apart from that, the PR1000 is a full-body solution, that’ll help you train your arms, legs, shoulder, chest and abdominal region. In summary, you can perform over 30 exercises and all that from a single machine.
Cons – A comparison to Bowflex Blaze
The PR1000 uses the same power rod technology as seen in the Bowflex Blaze. The design is also quite similar.
However, the PR1000 lacks versatility. It has lesser no of pulleys and there is no leg extender. So the number of exercises you can do on the PR1000 is almost half compared to the Blaze.
Also, compromises were compared in the build. The PR1000 is lighter, hand grips are not that good, and the seat is also a lot smaller. Finally, with the PR1000 you are limited to a weight range of 210 pounds.
So clearly, the PR1000 is a downgrade compared to the Blaze. Having said that, it is a still a feature-rich machine on its own, and if you don’t have any extreme fitness goals, this machine is perfect for your day to day workouts.
Overall – What makes it the best budget home Gym?
We looked at several other budget home gyms like the Wieder Ultimate Body Works. Both of these cost half when compared to the PR1000. But they had a common problem.
They had a flimsy construction, and with regular use, many components started to break. And more importantly, they come nowhere close to the versatility that the PR100 has to offer.
If you are buying a home gym, most likely you are giving up on your gym membership. And a home gym doesn’t make sense if you are not able to get a full body workout out of it. Well, with the Bowflex PR1000 you get exactly that, and the construction ensures that machine will last for years to come.
Overall, under the price point of 500$, the PR1000 is the best home gym you can buy.
#4 Recommendation: Body Solid Powerline Home Gym
Powerline is another option if you are looking to increase your strength. It gives you the freedom to work on different muscles and has a smooth operation all around. Here is more –
Weight – 330 lbs.
Dimensions – 70”x42”x80” (LxWxH)
Assembly and Getting Started
The Powerline comes mostly pre-assembled and you don’t have to spend hours trying to get this thing ready. The manual is clear, detailed and each individual part is clearly labeled. Even if you have little experience with assembling, it shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours.
Coming back to the manual, is super-rich in information. It has a complete guide to strength training covering details like postures, workout plans, a list of stretching exercises and more. Granted you can get all this information online, but they co-relate all of this with the Powerline, and this can be of big help if this is your first home gym setup.
Overall, Body Solid has focused on customer experience and if assembly gets you all worked up, then you’ll have little to worry about with the Powerline.
Build Dem Muscles
If strength is what you are gunning for, then the Powerline is the perfect solution for your home gym. First up, you get an included 160 pounds’ weight stack, which in our opinion would be more than enough. You can’t upgrade to a higher capacity but if you are planning to go over 150 pounds’ individual equipment like dumbbells or power bars give better results.
It has a host of pulleys which can be used to work your arms, shoulders, legs and even your abs. You can train at different weights and change the range is super easy as you simply have to insert the pin at the desired weight range.
It includes a horizontal press for isolated pectoral workouts for your chest. You can also train your legs and perform leg curls with the roller pad. Both these sections are integrated with the weight stacks. All the different handles have an ergonomic grip thus giving your hands the perfect cushioning while training heavy.
Overall, with the Body Solid Powerline you get a high weight range, get an all-body workout, and all of this is paired with an ease to operate pin mechanism.
The most common issue long time users of the Powerline have is with the deteriorating quality of the cables. With regular use, they tend to wear down and you will need to replace them. Having said that, degrading cable quality is a common theme with most home gyms and in the Powerline the support about 160 pounds in weight plates.
Next, the seat leaves us wanting more. It is not the most comfortable thing in the world and you feel that after a long and grueling workout. And yes, if you are over 6 foot 3, you’ll need a bigger seat, so keep that in mind.
With the Powerline, you can work on training and increase the strength of different muscles of your body from a single machine. There are few issues but can you live with them.
So if getting bigger and bulkier is your fitness goal, this is hands down the best home gym for that.
Ultimate Buying Guide for Home Gym
We have a quick summary for you that covers the major benefits you’ll get from buying a home gym –
If you get a full-fledged home gym, you are going to save on the annual gym membership and the daily commute to it. However, the major upside to it is that you can work at your own convenience. You don’t need to rush to the gym in the morning and you can plan your workouts better.
However, there will be no one to push you to go harder and you’ll have to keep an eye on technique to avoid any injuries.
Full Body Workout
Before the introduction of home gyms, you were required to get different machines for different workouts (Example – elliptical machine, treadmills etc.). The home gym eliminates that as you can get a full body workout from a single machine. You can work on individual muscles and focus on different goals (strength training or toning).
The cumulative space required is also a lot less for a home gym. So if you don’t have space in your garage for numerous equipment’s, buying a single home gym makes a lot more sense.
As discussed in the previous point, home gyms offer immense versatility to the user. This also helps if you are a beginner. You can start with lighter workouts and lighter weights. You can work on individual muscles and build up strength before going for full-fledged workouts.
Even if you are into fitness, you can start with lighter weights as your muscle mass increases you can go to maximum capacity.
Long story short, you can get a lot out of your home gym and you can progress from a complete beginner to hardcore fitness veteran.
Now, that we have discussed the benefits of home gyms lets move on how you should go about searching for one.
How to Choose a Home Gym
We at FitnessGuyd believe that to get the right home gym you need to focus on your primary fitness goal. We define that in the below three categories –
Category #1 – Strength Training
If your primary focus is to build up strength and increasing your muscle mass, then getting a Weight based home gym is recommended. These are high-end machines and mimic the ones you find at your professional gym. They basically rely on weight plates and stacks.
As you can add up the plates as you build strength. One machine that offers a tremendous range (2200 pounds’ tension) and industrial built is the Body-Solid Powerline. If you are looking to build up muscles, this is the perfect machine for that.
Category #2 – Toning
If you are planning to work on your cardiovascular system and want to tone your muscle, then a resistance based home gyms will do the trick. Primarily rods are used to build up resistance. Such machines don’t have a high weight range and generally focus on versatility.
Bowflex home gyms are the clear leaders in this category and we recommend the Bowflex Blaze if weight loss is your primary aim.
Category #3 – Full Body Workout
If you are looking for the one-stop solution, then a pulley-based home gym would be the best choice. It combines up weight stacks and resistance mechanism to give you incredible versatility and range. Marcy Diamond Elite is the clear industry leader for such exercises. It is a complete beast and even comes with a smith cage that can be used for bar based exercises
One More Category – Beginner
After talking with a lot of fitness experts, we decided to add a beginner category. Home gym manufacturers are not clear about the utility of their machines and if you are just starting out, all this information can be a bit too much to swallow.
If you are a beginner, you will have to make compromises on range and quality. But on the flipside, this machine will be a lot cheaper and will also be quite versatile. Our #1 recommendation for beginners is Bowflex PR100. Apart from the standard toning exercises, you can go for over, 30 strength exercises.
So this is everything you need to know about home gyms. Now all you have to do is check out our recommendations and if it meets your needs, then buy one today. If there is anything else, you’ll like to know then comment below.
Let’s Get Fit!