Achieving your fitness goals doesn't have to require a certified personal trainer or an expensive gym membership — it's not hard to exercise at home. It's easy to go down a training and fitness rabbit hole, however, when you're looking for the best home exercise equipment to outfit your personal home gym — especially if you have the budget and the space to consider practically every workout machine on the market. Whether you're just getting started or only have a small space to dedicate to your home gym, it's helpful to get some guidance on what exercise equipment to buy, because certain pieces of fitness equipment are far more necessary than others.
One good rule of thumb: While shopping for basic workout and training aids such as weights, resistance training bands and yoga mats might seem like a simple task, you shouldn't always order the first thing you find — you might end up with a low-quality piece of gym equipment or home workout equipment that ends up impeding your workout instead of enhancing your home exercise routine.
Luckily, with the help of online customer reviews, we've found the best home fitness essentials that everyone should have and rounded them up below. No matter your fitness level or fitness goal, whether you want to burn calories, lose weight, get your heart rate up, build muscle or just get healthier, we've got the best home exercise equipment for you.
Editor's note: Because many people are now exercising at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of this fitness equipment is currently out of stock. But availability on Amazon and other online retailers is subject to change, and you can still find them at some brick-and-mortar stores.
Best for: Someone who wants a full-body workout with minimal gym equipment
Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set
Black Mountain Products
Our previous pick here is out of stock — like the majority of resistance band kits at Black Mountain Products. That one included a starter guide that made the handled set of resistance bands friendly for beginners, while the wide range of resistance offered within the set made it a great choice for more experienced users who want a total gym workout. The training set came with a door anchor and travel case, for those who want to take their workout on the road.
Reviewers were particularly happy with how versatile this training set was, in that they could incorporate the bands into a larger workout or simply use them on their own.
But this set of six resistance bands is pretty similar, and makes a good substitute in the meantime.
Best for: The at-home yogi (or anyone who wants a good stretch)
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat
For those who might balk at this mat's price, we'd like to highlight the reviewer who described it as the "Cadillac" of yoga mats — grippy enough for fast-paced vinyasa flows and cushiony enough for floor-based stretching. That said, that aforementioned grippiness may have to come with some time and effort on your part.
Some reviewers noted that the mat can get slippery during hot yoga. Manduka's care instructions recommend a salt scrub to "break in" the surface of the mat, which can help.
Check out our other yoga mat recommendations. Read more.
Best for: The recent suspension workout convert
TRX All-in-one Suspension Training System
Not only can this system attach to pretty much any door, but you can anchor it to rafters, trees or outdoor posts as well. No matter where you set it up, you can use it to practice and master TRX's seven "foundational moves" (pushing, pulling, lunging, hinging, squatting, planking and rotating), all of which are meant to target core and full-body strength.
The system's accompanying exercise guide and online workout list help make it appealing to newcomers to TRX and seasoned practitioners alike. And, as CNET previously reported, this particular training system is fitness-trainer approved. Read more.
Best for: The gym rat who needs to loosen up
CanDo Black Composite High-Density Roller
This simple (read: nonvibrating, untextured) foam roller may seem a little basic, but that actually makes it perfect for a home gym setting. Praised by reviewers for its durability, this foam roller is firm enough to target soreness in the shoulders, legs, neck and back. Use it before or after a low-impact workout or a high-impact workout. You can also easily use it with other home exercise equipment, such as a stability ball or ankle weights.
Some reviewers specifically noted that this foam roller was perfectly suited for chest-opening exercises, since they could choose between three lengths (12, 18 or 36 inches) to fit their height. Read more.
$16 at Amazon $31 at Walmart $25 at Fab-Ent
Best for: Someone who wants to level up their basic dumbbell routine
Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell Weight Sets
Reviewers were big fans of the price point for this set of six kettlebells (comparable sets can run for $100 more). But, this set's best feature — and why it's perfect for a home gym setting specifically — is its vinyl coating. Unlike cast iron kettlebells, these are designed for softer landings, in terms of both noise and impact, and with the longevity of the weight in mind, since the coating protects the weight from scratches and damage while training. Read more.
Best for: Someone who wants to seamlessly switch between box jumps and step-ups
REP Fitness Adjustable Plyo Box
A notable "con" for this box is that it takes about 45 minutes to assemble out of the box (a workout in itself) — but a corresponding "pro" is the fact that, once it's put together, adjusting its height to your needs is a quick and easy process. And speaking of this plyo box's adjustable features, it can be set to stand 16, 20 or 24 inches high, depending on whether you want it for steps, squats or jumps.
Whatever your cardio fitness regimen of choice may be, you can rely on the box to feel stable and solid underfoot — one review described it as "trustworthy." Read more.
Best for: Anyone who wants a quick and simple warm-up
Qwesen Jump Rope
Jumping rope is a great workout for its range of motion, calories burned, weight loss and getting your heart rate up. This adjustable, tangle-resistant jump rope from Qwesen proves that cardio equipment as essential as a jump rope doesn't have to be boring. Its foam handles offer a comfortable grip on the jump rope while its steel wire rope provides enough momentum for a steady, smooth rhythm — in turn, reviewers write that it's great for double- and triple-jumping. The rope comes coated with PVC for protection, ensuring long-term cardio workout use. Read more.
$8 at Amazon $12 at YZL Sports
Best for: The apartment-dweller who can only spare a door frame for their home gym
Triple Door Gym Ultimate 3 in 1 Doorway Trainer
This doorway-mounted frame goes beyond the average pull-up bar to offer a whole body weight workout system, so you can do dips, leg raises, rows and push-up variations, in addition to pull-ups.
Many reviewers were drawn to this item for its versatility, and they write that it delivers: Not only does it feel sturdy and secure when in use, but it's easy to assemble or take apart depending on the exercises they wish to do. Read more.
Best for: The weightlifter who'd rather not stand
Flybird Adjustable Bench
This foldable bench is about as customizable as it gets, with six back positions, four seat positions and the option to lay completely flat while weight lifting. Reviewers praise the bench's ease of adjustment, the fact that it's foldable for storage and its sturdiness (its weight capacity stands at 500 lbs.). Plus, the padded seat and foot holds make even a longer workout or training session comfortable.
Best for: The weightlifter who's short on space
Telk Adjustable Dumbbells
This dumbbell set is adjustable in weight increments of two and a half pounds, from a minimum weight of five pounds to a max weight of 52.5 pounds. An inexpensive (but similarly durable) alternative to Bowflex's adjustable dumbbell set, this weight set saves space and allows for quick and easy changes in weight throughout your workout.
Reviewers noted the dumbbell set's high quality, rust-free finish, as well as the fact that additional weight plates stay in place while lifting, without wobbling around or shifting in place — just like free weights. Perfect for bicep curls and more. Read more.
More fitness advice
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- Best elliptical trainer under $1,500 for your home gym
- Cardio before or after weight lifting: Which one is better for weight loss?
- How to improve your cardio exercise endurance
- Peloton, Daily Burn and more: Best workout subscription apps
- DIY Peloton exercise bike: Build your own smart stationary bike on the cheap
- 9 of the best running shoes for 2020
- Peloton alternatives: Find a great exercise bike that costs less
- Gym closed? Here are some of the best home workout options
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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