If the pandemic taught us something, it is to prioritize our health and maximize our space at home. Working out at home is the new normal. Even if gyms open, it may be better to invest your money in compact home equipment and avoid the crowds and the germs.
Compact home gyms can be just as effective as larger, more expensive gym equipment without taking up much space. There are many options out there that offer the same quality of workouts as larger machines.
If you are here, that means you are ready to take your home workouts up a notch, while saving precious space. There are many options out there, but if you’re looking for a comparison of all the key features, pros, and cons of the best compact home gyms, then you have come to the right place.
In this post, we will compare the 8 best compact home gyms to help you settle on the best option for you. We have tried to vary the list between cardio training, strength training, and full-body workout equipment – so read below and choose the one that suits your fitness goals.
Compact Home Gym #1:
If you are looking for a compact elliptical, this should be at the top of your list.
- 14″ Smart HD Touchscreen
- 0-10° Power Incline
- 24 Digital Resistance Levels
- 325 Lb capacity
- Includes 1-Year iFIT Membership – workout with live fitness trainers
80″ L x 32″ W x 67″ H
- This particular machine comes with a 1-year iFIT membership, which is NordicTrack’s Peloton-like live-streaming fitness classes. If you allow it, instructors can live-adjust your resistance and incline levels to suit the exercise program.
- Space-saving design allows the elliptical to be folded and stored vertically after use.
- This machine is the 2nd most expensive on our list, which may be an issue for those who are on a budget.
The SE9i is our top choice for a compact home gym. Top-notch features, easy storage, and 1-year free iFIT membership are hard to beat.
Compact Home Gym #2:
You have likely seen this one on TV, being used by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley. From one of the original at-home exercise equipment makers, this compact home gym is second on our list of the best compact home gyms.
- Resistance Pulley System
- Flexible Nylon Strap Handles
- Padded Glideboard with Head Support
- Six incline levels (6 degrees to 26 degrees)
- 400 Lb capacity
- In Use: 90”L x 19”W x 43”H
- Folded: 51”L x 19”W x 9”H
- Allows over 80 types of workouts, utilizing all 3 planes of motion
- No assembly required
- Easily folds into a smaller size for storing
- No live-training classes or fancy electronics to measure your progress
The Total Gym XLS is a no-nonsense compact home gym that is great for small spaces. If you want a full-body workout, with a variety of exercise possibilities and excellent support, then you can’t miss this one.
Compact Home Gym #3:
This one is perfect for all of us who work from home. Have you ever thought about how many hours a day you end up sitting down during a typical workday? This treadmill desk is the perfect solution.
- A desk and under-desk treadmill
- 250 Lb capacity (treadmill)/180 Lb capacity (desk)
- Adjustable height desk (manual or optional automatic)
Not available but Lifespan specifies the TR1000 as being well suited for small spaces.
- Whisper-quiet motor
- Can be used up to 6 hours daily
- No assembly required
- Desk and Treadmill combination
- Customizable colors and options
- 30 day home trial
- Since this is an under-desk treadmill, it does not have all the features of a full-size treadmill you may be used to at the gym
The Lifespan Treadmill Desk is our top choice for a time-saving, efficient workout. You can get your steps in while you take phone calls. The whisper-quiet motor and the thousands of positive reviews make this a no-brainer for people who work from home.
Compact Home Gym #4:
You can not have a home gym list without mentioning Bowflex. The original king of the home fitness revolution, Bowflex has a lot of sophisticated equipment options to choose from. Most of them are too big to make our best compact home gym criteria. Instead, we chose the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells with an optional Stowable Bench combination as number 4 on our list.
- Compact design with adjustable weight from 10 up to 90 lbs
- 5 lb increments
- 5” L x 10” W x 10” H – each dumbbell
- Just a little bit larger than a regular dumbbell
- Easy to use dial to change resistance
- Space efficient – replaces up to 17 pairs of dumbbells
- No assembly required
- A stowable bench is sold separately, which you may want to consider buying, to extend the range of exercises you can do
- Due to their popularity, there is a 6-week waitlist for shipment
The Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells are perfect for small spaces, easy to use, and can be utilized for a variety of workouts. We have no hesitation in recommending these for your compact home gym solution. You will never have to buy dumbbells again.
Compact Home Gym #5:
We have recommended some kickass cardio equipment above. Here is one for the full-body strength trainers. If you have ever stepped inside a gym, then you have likely seen Life Fitness equipment. The G2 is a compact version of the same total body workout machine that you are used to seeing at your local gym.
- 2 x 160lb weight stacks
- Biomechanically correct fixed motion strength training
- 25 different exercise combinations for chest, back, arms, legs, obliques, abs, etc.
- Variable arc press arm allows traditional or converging chest press and arm exercises
- Lat bar, lat row bar, ankle strap included
71” L x 48” W x 83” H
- Variety of exercises; full-body strength training
- Familiar product from most gyms
- One of the larger footprints on this list
- Professional installation is recommended
We recommend the LifeFitness G2 Home Gym due to its versatility as a familiar, full-body strength training tool.
Compact Home Gym #6:
We have a fantastic compact elliptical at number 6 in our list of best compact home gyms. This is a great elliptical if you are just starting out and want to get your hands on an inexpensive, space-saving cardio machine.
- Bluetooth speakers – works with your devices
- USB charging for your phone/tablet
- 10 level magnetic resistance adjustment
- 3 Lb flywheel and advanced pulley system for a smooth, consistent motion
74”L x 25”W x 64.5”H
- Quick setup – 30 minutes or fewer
- Free shipment
- Lifetime frame warranty
- 30 day home trial with a full refund
- No incline ability
- Small choice of pre-loaded programs
This entry-level elliptical from Horizon Fitness is impressive due to its compact size, great reviews, and inexpensive price. We recommend it for first-time purchasers with small spaces.
Compact Home Gym #7:
DiamondBack makes several award-winning ellipticals and exercise bikes. At number 7 on our list of best compact home gyms, we give you the DiamondBack 1260ub – a comfortable and compact home exercise bike to get you sweating in no time.
- 32 levels of magnetic resistance
- 15 workout programs
- Bluetooth audio speakers
- Automatic resistance adjustment
- Built-in wireless heart rate monitor
- 350lb capacity
48″ L x 24″ W x 61″ H
- Adjustable height accommodating 5’3” to 6’7”
- Compact and ergonomic upright design
- Requires light assembly
- Can not use a custom bike seat
- Can not pedal in reverse
The DiamondBack 1260ub is an award-winning exercise bike and deserves a spot on our list of best compact home gyms. We recommend it!
Compact Home Gym #8:
Now we’re getting serious about spinning here on our list of best compact home gyms. If you want an exercise bike to deliver cardio results in the shortest possible time, then give Carol a try. Carol is AI-powered and is scientifically proven to deliver the benefits of a 45 minute run in less than 9 minutes with a personalized, high-intensity workout.
- Science-backed REHIT – 20-second sprints at max intensity
- AI-powered personalization – based on your biometrics
- Automatic resistance adjustment
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Heart rate monitor
- Safety features
45.2″ L x 22″ W
- Quiet operation
- Quick workouts
- Personalized workouts, scientific backing, and safety features give it an edge over other bikes like Peloton
- 100 day home trial (longest on our list)
- 0% financing if you want to pay over 12 months
- No included live fitness classes (although you may not need those with a 9-minute workout)
- Highest priced item on our list
If you want to push yourself to the limit, want the best compact home gym with cutting-edge technology, and are short on time, then get yourself a Carol exercise bike.
Before we wrap up, here are some frequently asked questions with answers about how to choose a compact home gym.
What is the best type of compact home gym to buy?
It depends on your fitness goals. Are you looking to gain strength, lose fat, lean out, build your cardiovascular abilities, etc.? There’s a compact home gym for every type of goal.
Do not try to limit yourself to a certain style because there are plenty of different options that will suit your requirements. Go through the list above and choose the one that fits your goals and budget.
Can I use a compact home gym for weight training?
Can I use a compact home gym for cardio?
What are the benefits of purchasing a compact home gym?
- You can have the best equipment in your own house. No need to go to a crowded gym, wait for equipment or deal with germs
- Maximize your space – compact home gyms are designed to fit in tight spaces. You can fold away and store many of the ones we recommended above.
- You can do cardio, strength training, balance, or full-body workouts right at home
- Save money – An upfront investment will save you gym membership costs over time (Paybacks range from a few months to a year or two). You’re also right next to your kitchen. No need to buy that avocado toast or smoothie after the workout.
- Save time – quick, targeted workouts in the comfort of your home. No need to commute anywhere
What should I look for when choosing a compact home gym?
- The style of equipment
- Your budget and your goals (e.g., is it for cardio, strength training, or balance work)
- A decent warranty to cover any problems that may arise in the future with parts breaking down over time due to wear and tear
- How much space you have available at home
- What injuries you have or want to prevent (e.g., if you have ankle issues, you may prefer a low impact bike vs. a treadmill)
How do I budget for purchasing a compact home gym?
We know you want to get started with your workouts. Before you spend the cash and end up with buyer’s remorse, set a budget to ensure your purchase does not end up causing you more stress.
To help with budgeting, our advice is to set a goal – in this case, it will be to purchase a compact home gym. Next, include it in your financial plan and actively save for it. Maybe you will have to stop buying a daily cup of coffee or shopping for a little while, but there is no better feeling than attaining and enjoying your financial goals.
How do I get a compact home gym faster?
1. Finance your purchase
To take advantage of this, you will need good credit. Compact home gyms can be expensive. To help pay for your big purchase, most of the companies we suggested offer financing options. It’s the same as financing a car over several months. You can make monthly payments toward your compact home gym. Some companies above even offer 0% interest rates, so financing is a no-brainer.
2. Earn extra money to fund your goal
We hope that this post gives you the information and inspiration to find a compact home gym that suits your needs and budget.
We’ve provided a comparison of the best compact home gyms and their features. We also included the pros and cons for each equipment to help you decide which one is right for your needs. Whether you need something small that can fit behind the couch, or want something more sophisticated, there are plenty of options specifically designed to meet any requirement! Remember to stick to your financial and health goals when choosing one.