Reviews Gym Equipment Gym Machines

11 Best Compact Home Gyms in 2024

Is exercise a big part of your life but the hassles of commuting to and from and navigating crowded gyms becoming exhausting? Many of us have experienced this frustration, leading to creation of personal home gyms.

This article will help you build the best compact home gym based on your budget and available space. Whether you’re into weightlifting, cardio, or cross-training, these compact exercise machines can be the foundation of your perfect at-home workout station.

Best Compact Home Gyms

Top 11 Best Compact Home Gyms Reviewed

  1. Titan Fitness Functional Trainer – Top Stack-Loaded Multifunctional Trainer
  2. REP Fitness FT-5000 2.0 Functional Trainer – Runner-Up Stack-Loaded Functional Trainer
  3. Titan Fitness Plate Loaded Functional Trainer – Best Plate Loaded Cable Crossover Machine
  4. Rogue RML-90SLIM Door Mount Fold Back Rack – Best Door Mount Rack
  5. Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 (Black) – Best Rower for Conditioning
  6. Assault AirBike – Best for Cardio Training
  7. MAXPRO Fitness Cable Home Gym – Best Portable with Pulley System
  8. Marcy 150lb Stack Home Gym (MWM-990) – Single Stack Functional Trainer
  9. Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone – Best Budget Power Cage
  10. TRX All-in-One Suspension Training System – Best Suspension Trainer
  11. NordicTrack 55lb Select-A-Weight Dumbbells – Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Titan Fitness
Functional Trainer
REP Fitness58.59.5101091010
Titan Fitness
Plate Loaded
MAX PRO55.59.5991099

1. Titan Fitness Functional Trainer

Titan Fitness Functional Trainer
  • Dimensions: 82” H x 64” W x 44” D
  • Product weight: 672 lb
  • Assembly: Required, two-person assembly
  • Weight capacity: 200 lbs (per tower)
  • Best use: Total body workout
  • Additional features/attachments: single & double D-handles, short bar, long bar, ankle strap, dual stirrup handles, rope handles, multi-grip handlebar
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Package: Machine (in parts), attachments, warranty, user manual

If you’re looking for the best full-body workout machine for small spaces, check out the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer. Between the two high-capacity weight stacks, a vertically adjustable multi-directional pulley system, an integrated pull-up bar, and seven attachment types, it offers endless possibilities in one workout space.

Starting with the build quality, the main construction of the machine is durable powder-coated steel. The pulley system is made from aluminum with a red anodized coating, making it anti-corrosive and giving a cool color pop breaking the monotony of the black/gray frame. The fiberglass cables run smoothly across the wheels without catching dead zones that slow or stop movement.

With seven attachments included in the package, you can immediately get to work on upper and lower body exercises. The two 200-pound weight towers boast well above-average capacity and can be used in tandem or separately with full stability.

Titan Fitness Functional Trainer instagram
Photo by @betitanfit

Both sides’ anchor points can be adjusted vertically and rotate in and out at nearly 180 degrees, allowing for a full range of motion with added inclined, declined, or neutral handle positioning. The magnetic weight stack pin easily snaps into place, no need to push it inside and worry about falling out.

Assembly is a two-person process, but it is not physically challenging. Having some essential tools at the ready — a combination drill, adjustable wrench, hex keys, and ratchet set — will make it much easier. Luckily, the official video tutorial is also there to assist.


The Titan Fitness Functional Trainer, with seven attachments for diverse workouts, features dual weight towers, adjustable anchor points, and straightforward assembly aided by essential tools and a video tutorial.

Value for Money:0


  • Weight markings in both kg/lbs
  • Durable powder-coated steel frame
  • Anodized aluminum pulleys
  • 200 pounds capacity per tower
  • 7 attachments included

Could be better:

  • Assembly can be complex, requiring two people
  • The 1-year warranty is not much

2. REP Fitness FT-5000 2.0 Functional Trainer

REP Fitness FT-5000 2.0 Functional Trainer
  • Dimensions: 85.5” H x 58” W x 36” D
  • Product weight: 875 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 112 lbs per tower
  • Best use: Total body workout
  • Additional features/attachments: D-handles, optional attachments purchased separately
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited
  • Package: Machine (in parts), D-handles, warranty, user manual

As a runner-up, we have the REP Fitness FT-5000 2.0 functional trainer. The overall price, quality, and versatility of the machine are pretty much the same as our top pick. The choice will mostly come down to preference, with slight differences that may sway your decision.

The sturdy steel frame is covered in black powder coating and chrome to protect the metal from wearing out on its own. It uses aluminum pulleys, which are much smoother and more durable than plastic ones on cheaper machines.

Moreover, REP Fitness offers a limited lifetime warranty for all functional trainers, which means that if the machine is used as intended, its basic issues are covered for life.

The pulley anchor point is, of course, adjustable vertically, this time with 21 different adjustment points as opposed to the usual 16. Besides, laser-etched numbers will help you quickly identify whether you’ve set the accurate height on both sides.

The top of the frame hosts 3 pairs of multi-direction handles you can use for pull-ups and hanging exercises like.

The actual weight stack per tower is 224 lbs, while the pulley ratio comes in at 2:1. Thus, each side has a maximum usable weight of 112 lbs, which is clearly marked on the weights with stickers in both kg and lbs. It is important to note in order to avoid surprises during assembly or potential transportation in the future.

Note that the machine is quite heavy at 875 pounds — with dimensions taken into account, it weighs roughly 60 lbs per square foot, which exceeds the average weight capacity of elevated floors (usually 40 lbs square). Therefore, it’s not ideal for apartments or second or third house floors.


The REP Fitness FT-5000 2.0 functional trainer, a runner-up to our top pick, offers a durable steel frame, smooth aluminum pulleys, and a limited lifetime warranty, providing a solid alternative based on personal preference.

Value for Money:0


  • Steel frame with chrome & black powder coating
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Aluminum pulleys
  • Multi-grip pull-up bar
  • 21 vertical adjustment points

Could be better:

  • Additional attachments are purchased separately
  • Quite heavy, must be taken into account

3. Titan Fitness Plate Loaded Functional Trainer

Titan Fitness Plate Loaded Functional Trainer
  • Dimensions: 81” H x 61” W x 53” D
  • Product weight: 178 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs per handle (machine total 1,540 lbs)
  • Best use: Total body workout
  • Additional features/attachments: Pull-up bar, dual stirrup handles, lat pulldown handle, low-row handle
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Package: Machine (in parts), attachments, warranty, user manual

Up next, we have the Titan Fitness plate loaded functional trainer. As the name suggests, this machine uses Olympic weight plates to add resistance. This gives it a couple of key advantages over weight tower machines, with only slight drawbacks.

The usage of Olympic weight plates immediately gives this tower some noteworthy advantages compared to weight tower machines. Firstly, the initial cost is significantly lower.

Second, it helps with combining equipment if you already have or plan to get a barbell & plates set. The minor drawback, of course, is the necessary purchase of weight plates and maneuverability around setting them up, as opposed to just popping the weight stack pin in and out.

But more importantly, at just 178 lbs, it’s easily three to four times lighter in comparison to weight tower machines. Even if we assume a 6’5” 250 lbs bodybuilder is training on it with 300 lbs plates added, it still won’t exceed the 40 pounds per square inch capacity of upper floors, so it’s fairly safe to put on upper floors in houses and apartments (pending proper scouting and approval from your building manager).

The package includes three grip attachments, which are good enough to start. However, promotional photos show a triceps rope, ankle strap, and short bar, which are not included — misleading, so keep this in mind. Nevertheless, if you get those attachments and invest in a quality adjustable bench, the workout variety is great.


The Titan Fitness Plate Loaded Functional Trainer utilizes Olympic weight plates for cost-effective and versatile workouts, with a lighter design suitable for upper floors and three included grip attachments.

Value for Money:0


  • Lightweight for this type of machine
  • Comparatively affordable
  • Hooks for hanging attachments, towels, etc.
  • Relatively safe to put on upper floors
  • Multiple anchor points, including low row and lat pulldown

Could be better:

  • No official video assembly as of yet
  • Requires some maneuvering space to manually load plates

4. Rogue RML-90SLIM Door Mount Fold Back Rack

Rogue RML-90SLIM Door Mount Fold Back Rack
  • Dimensions: 90.375” H x 49.1875” W x 13”/5” D (open/folded)
  • Product weight: 170 lbs
  • Assembly: Yes
  • Best use: Weightlifting
  • Additional features/attachments: Pull-up bar, J-cups
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited
  • Package:  Rack (in parts), warranty, user manual

Are you into weightlifting? Is a regular-sized squat rack a tad too big for your available space? Do you have an open doorway you can use? If the answer is yes, then this Rogue Fitness foldable door mount rack has the solution for you.

As is expected from Rogue products, the rack is manufactured in the U.S.A. using high-quality materials. The main frame is constructed from 3x3" 11 gauge steel powder-coated for protection against corrosion and abrasion. The mounting hardware and bolts are made from black and bright zinc respectively.

The rack is compatible with standard residential doorway widths (28”/30”/32”/36”). When opened, it extends about 13” from the door. When closed, it is barely 5 inches in depth, leaving ample room when not in use. It comes with a pair of Monster Lite brand J-cups and a pull-up bar, and it’s compatible with a variety of Rogue Monster Lite attachments (spotter arms, plate holders, etc.)

The patent-pending design uses a doorway to make the rack deeper for putting your bench, which is quite clever. That said, your door needs to open the opposite way of the rack to use this space. If not, you might have to flip the door. Additionally, this hanging system needs more wall space, so it won't work on corner doors.


The Rogue RML-90SLIM Door Mount Fold Back Rack is a compact and sturdy weightlifting solution designed for standard doorways and enhanced with compatibility for Rogue Monster Lite attachments.

Value for Money:0


  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Quality powder-coated 3x3" 11 gauge steel
  • Durable zinc hardware
  • Compact gym rack
  • Foldable, can be put away when not in use to save space

Could be better:

  • The door direction may need to be flipped to work
  • Cannot fit into corner doors

5. Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 (Black)

Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5
  • Dimensions: 96” L x 24” W x 14”/20” H (seat) standard/tall legs
  • Product weight: 57 lbs/68 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 500 lbs
  • Best use: Conditioning, endurance
  • Additional features/attachments: PM5 performance monitor, ANT+ (heart rate devices), Bluetooth connectivity (ErgData app), USB flash drive compatibility (data import/export), machine-to-machine race
  • Warranty: 5-year frame, 2-year parts
  • Package:  Machine (in parts), warranty, user manual

Is rowing, indoor or outdoor, your favorite exercise? Do you want to get your heart rate going without needing to run or ride a bike? Then the Concept2 RowErg is the choice for you. This manually powered air resistance indoor rower is the closest thing you’ll find to outdoor open-water rowing.

The build of the Concept2 rower is sturdy, consisting primarily of steel and aluminum, with very few plastic parts. Some assembly is required out of the box but luckily the main parts come pre-assembled. You only need to tighten a few screws in to connect them and you’re set.

Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 instagram
Photo by @martacontupt

When not in use, the machine can be split into two sections using a quick-release lever to easily store away. Moreover, Concept2 offers a transferable warranty, so the resale value on this machine is also great, in case you grow out of it or want a change.

The rower is equipped with the PM5 performance monitor, a low-energy but high-power device. The backlit display is visible even in low-light conditions with a clear and large font. It can track distance, speed, pace, calories burned, and watts.

It also connects to wireless heart-rate monitors via ANT+. Your exercise data can be saved on a USB flash drive or transferred via Bluetooth to the ErgData smart app.


The Concept2 RowErg Rower PM5 is a sturdy, easy-to-assemble indoor rower with a backlit display for tracking various workout metrics, offering a close-to-outdoor rowing experience and excellent resale value with a transferable warranty.

Value for Money:0


  • Manually powered, doesn’t require electricity
  • Powerful PM5 performance monitor
  • Durable frame, 500 lbs capacity
  • Warranty is transferable between owners
  • Easy two-part storage

Could be better:

  • Lengthy, takes up some floor space
  • Almost 8ft tall when stored upright, needs a taller ceiling

6. Assault AirBike

Assault AirBike
  • Dimensions: 48.4" H x  23.3" W x 50.9"L
  • Product weight: 98.1 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Best use: Cardio, endurance
  • Additional features/attachments: water bottle holder, horizontal and vertical seat adjustment, movable handlebar
  • Warranty: 5-year frame and parts
  • Package:  Bike (in parts), warranty, user manual

Indoor cycling is one of the most popular ways to get your daily dose of cardio. If your goal is to stay in shape and reap the health benefits of cycling from the comfort of your home, the Assault AirBike is a great choice.

The Assault AirBike is constructed from robust steel, coated with durable powder for enhanced strength and a stylish matte-black finish. Its design incorporates a low center of gravity, ensuring stability during vigorous workouts. Moreover, the seat is both horizontally and vertically adjustable.

As the name suggests, the AirBike uses an air resistance flywheel. It’s manually powered — the faster you pedal, the harder the exercise. This makes it very easy and streamlined to use, although more challenging than a traditional magnetic resistance bike. Air bikes are especially popular in cross-training for a quick HIIT workout.

Assault AirBike instagram
Photo by @larigonzaga

The main console includes a compact LCD that monitors metrics such as watts, calories, distance, time, RPM, speed, and heart rate. It operates without the need for electricity, activating when you start pedaling.

While being independent of electricity means versatility in terms of placement, it's important to note that it lacks pre-installed workout programs. Nevertheless, you have the option to manually set your target metrics and monitor your progress.


The Assault AirBike is a sturdy and stylish home cardio choice with air resistance, offering an adjustable seat, a simple-to-use manual operation, and a compact LCD console to monitor various workout metrics without needing electricity.

Value for Money:0


  • Powder-coated steel frame
  • Horizontally and vertically adjustable seat
  • The moving handlebar adds arm engagement to the workout
  • Doesn’t require a power source

Could be better:

  • Air resistance can be loud indoors
  • The main console only provides basic use

7. MAXPRO Fitness Cable Home Gym

MAXPRO Fitness Cable Home Gym
  • Dimensions: 2" H x 15” W x 65” D
  • Product weight: 9 lbs
  • Assembly: No
  • Weight capacity: 750 lbs
  • Weight setting: 5-300 lbs
  • Best use: Total body workout
  • Additional features/attachments: Longbar, pair of D-handles, pair of ankle straps, USB charger, door mounting system
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Package:  Machines, attachments, warranty, user manual

Now for something more unique. The MAXPRO home gym is a portable resistance pulley system unlike anything else on the market. It’s cleverly designed, compact, and versatile. An interesting choice for working out on the go or in limited space.

Using a patent-pending multi-plate clutch system, this pulley system is capable of reaching up to 300 lbs of resistance (150 lbs per side). This alone offers up a tremendous amount of workouts, from traditional resistance exercises to endurance and stamina training.

It has to be charged from time to time, but the manufacturer promises a good 2-month battery life with just 40 minutes of charging. When not in use, the device can be folded up for easy carrying and storage. 

The MAXPRO cable home gym is pretty much only limited by creativity, which is both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, you can do so many exercises with it. On the other hand, you may have to find creative ways to mount/anchor the machine in place. Some people will love this, but for others, it may be too much of a hassle.


The MAXPRO Fitness Cable Home Gym is a portable and versatile resistance system, offering a unique workout solution with compact folding for easy storage and an extended battery life, making it suitable for limited spaces or on-the-go workouts.

Value for Money:0


  • Train pretty much anywhere
  • Up to 300 lbs of resistance (150 per side)
  • 50 weight increment settings
  • Bluetooth compatible (MAXPRO app)
  • Expensive for what it is

Could be better:

  • Expensive for what it is
  • Setup can be inconvenient

8. Marcy 150lb Stack Home Gym (MWM-990)

Marcy 150lb Stack Home Gym
  • Dimensions: 78" H x 42" W x 68" D
  • Product weight: 260 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Best use: Upper body workouts
  • Additional features/attachments: dual-functioning arms, preacher curl pad, leg developer, EZ-bar style handle
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Package:  Machine (in parts), warranty, user manual

The Marcy 150lb stack home gym combines a single weight stack tower and a seat, making it easy to perform popular isolation exercises all in one machine. If your goal is a solid upper-body workout at home, this machine could provide great value.

The main selling point of this machine is a fair bit of exercise versatility in a compact space. Using the dual-action arms, you can do fundamental upper-body exercises like the chest press, pec fly, reverse pec fly, and you can squeeze in a row depending on your size.

The EZ-bar-shaped handle can be attached to anchor points below the leg developer or to make use of the pulley system. With it, you can do essential exercises such as biceps curls and lat pulldowns as well as standing triceps extensions and low rows.

The leg developer is nice, but pretty much the only exercise that can be done with it is leg extensions, so it’s primarily an upper-body workout machine. The preacher curl pad is removable, opening up space on the seat for exercises like lat pulldowns, reverse pec fly, seated bicycle crunches, bent-over rows, and more.

The weight stack locking pin is a welcome addition for home use, as it can prevent children or pets from accidentally engaging the pulley and hurting themselves.

Unlike the functional trainers we talked about earlier, this machine has a built-in seat, which has its pros and cons. On the positive side, you don't need to buy a separate seat, and the built-in one is comfy with thick foam padding.

However, the drawback is that it limits the machine approach to mostly seated exercises, and if that's not your preference, there's not a lot you can change about it.


The Marcy 150lb Stack Home Gym is a compact and versatile upper-body workout solution with a single weight stack tower, dual-action arms, and a built-in comfortable seat, offering a space-efficient home exercise experience.

Value for Money:0


  • All-in-one upper-body workout machine
  • The seat & preacher curl pad is quite comfortable
  • Included EZ-style handlebar
  • Low and high anchor points for different exercises
  • The safety lock protects children and pets

Could be better:

  • Assembly is a bit complicated with so many moving parts
  • The leg developer is an okay addition but there isn’t much use for it

9. Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone

Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone
  • Dimensions: 82.9” H x 65.1” W x 50.4” D
  • Product weight: 134.5 lbs
  • Assembly: Required
  • Weight capacity: 1000 lbs
  • Best use: Weightlifting
  • Additional features/attachments: J-hooks, spotter arms, multi-grip pull-up bar, resistance band pins
  • Warranty: 1-year frame, 180-day parts
  • Package:  Cage (in parts), warranty, user manual

Sunny Health & Fitness offers affordable & compact exercise equipment and is the brand choice of many home and garage gym owners. Their Power Zone is a multi-purpose power cage with impressive specs at a below-average price.

Once assembled, the power cage comes fully prepared for a variety of workouts thanks to the inclusion of J-hooks, spotter arms, and a pull-up bar (whereas these often come as additional purchases). The matt black finish steel with orange highlights is also visually quite nice.

With a low price, most people assume lower specs as well. However, with a heavy-duty steel frame with an incredible 1000 lbs max capacity, serious powerlifters will be satisfied with it as well. If you find any shakiness whatsoever, the bottom of the frame has an opening for bolting to the ground.

Sunny Health & Fitness really took various-sized athletes in mind with this machine. The spotter arms and J-hooks are, of course, adjustable by height. But the added four levels of height adjustment and inverted mounting on the pull-up bar are much appreciated if you have a shorter arm reach.


The Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone is an affordable and compact power cage for home gyms, featuring J-hooks, spotter arms, and a pull-up bar, with a sturdy steel frame and a 1000 lbs max capacity.

Value for Money:0


  • Comparatively low price
  • Padded J-hooks and spotter arms
  • Textured multi-grip pull-up bar
  • Weight storage space included
  • Sleek black and orange design

Could be better:

  • A 1-year warranty is not much
  • May require bolting to the floor to keep stable

10. TRX All-in-One Suspension Training System

TRX All-in-One Suspension Training System
  • Dimensions: ‎6"H x 1.5"W x 53"L
  • Product weight: 1.7 lbs
  • Assembly: No
  • Weight capacity: 700 lbs
  • Best use: Multi-practical, full-body strengthening and conditioning
  • Additional features/attachments: Door anchor, smart app
  • Warranty: Two years
  • Package:  Suspension system, mesh carry bag, instruction pamphlet, warranty

Suspension systems are some of the best small space exercise equipment. With a bit of creativity, you can get a full-body workout out of them. Among them, the original TRX All-In-One system reigns supreme.

The great thing about suspension systems is that they allow you to train pretty much anywhere, as long as you have somewhere to mount them. The TRX can be mounted in two ways: using the metal carabiner or the door anchor.

Of course, the metal carabiner hooked to a wall will be more sturdy than the door mount, so keep that in mind. We’ve also seen people tie it around trees or pull-up bars in calisthenics gyms. 

The TRX weighs next to nothing and is easy to carry, so you can easily take it to the park, to the office, when traveling, etc. It’s also perfect for multiple users in one household, as it doesn’t require a permanent setup place.

The on-demand TRX training club app has over 500 different exercises for you to try, although it does require a subscription, and it’s not exactly necessary to work out. Many suspension workouts are available online for free on sites like YouTube.


The TRX All-in-One Suspension Training System is a compact and versatile workout solution for small spaces, offering easy mounting options, portability, and access to a variety of exercises through the TRX Training Club app.

Value for Money:0


  • Easy to carry around
  • Can be set up pretty much anywhere
  • Endless versatility
  • Inexpensive for a full-body workout solution

Could be better:

  • Exercising can be difficult/risky if you have joint issues
  • Suspension training has a learning curve

11. NordicTrack 55lb Select-A-Weight Dumbbells

NordicTrack 55lb Select-A-Weight Dumbbells
  • Dimensions: ‎8.5” H x 11.4” W x 19.4” L
  • Product weight: Around 115 pounds (two weight + trays)
  • Assembly: No
  • Weight setting: 10-55 lbs
  • Best use: Resistance training
  • Additional features/attachments: Storage trays, iFit compatible
  • Warranty: 90 days
  • Package:  Dumbbell set, user manual, warranty

Dumbbells are essential for all kinds of resistance training However, a full-sized dumbbell rack requires a lot of space and is fairly expensive. Luckily, adjustable dumbbells like the NordicTrack 55lb Select-A-Weight offer a solution to both problems.

The Select-A-Weight dumbbells come with fifteen different weight settings from 10 to 55 lbs. Weight increments differ in both 5 lbs and 2.5 lbs, which is a pro compared to the typical 5 lb only on most adjustable dumbbells. The handlebar is plastic, but to the touch, it doesn’t feel cheap. The knurling on it, however, helps the grip feel much more comfortable and firm.

NordicTrack 55lb Select-A-Weight Dumbbells instagram
Photo by @mav_moti

The weight plates are made of iron, while the surroundings are made of plastic. It’s not cheap plastic by any means, but it’s still not as durable as metal dumbbells. You shouldn’t drop them, because the warranty doesn’t cover damage from misuse and only lasts 90 days.


The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells are a versatile and compact solution for resistance training, providing multiple weight settings with comfortable knurled plastic handles and iron weight plates.

Value for Money:0


  • 15-in-1 dumbbell
  • Both 5 and 2.5 lbs increments
  • Trays for convenient storage
  • Knurled handles

Could be better:

  • 90-day warranty that isn’t of much use
  • Made of plastic, not safe to drop


The latest reviews of must-have home gym training equipment, apparel, and supplements that will enhance your performance and bring you new results.

What Is a Compact Home Gym?

Compact home gyms are a broad term, but we can best describe them as space-efficient but diverse training setups stored in limited rooms. The goal of building a space saving home gym is to max out on workout variety in the (usually short) available space and preferably be able to complete full-body workouts from home.

The key to building a great home gym is planning ahead. Start by choosing your main workout station, for example, a multifunctional trainer, a squat rack, a favorite cardio machine, etc. Next, surround it with essentials, whether it be a quality barbell and plate set, some adjustable dumbbells, various pulley attachments, an exercise mat, a pilates ball, etc.

The biggest advantage of compact home gym equipment is its versatility. With your main workout station and surrounding equipment at hand, you can enjoy your favorite exercises from the comfort of your home and stick to your favorite schedule.

Man Training Using Cable Machine

Types of Compact Home Gyms

Although the term “gym” is broad, people generally expect a well-equipped space with diverse exercise options. Home gym equipment more often than not aims to combine a few popular exercise machines into one for maximizing special convenience.

Common space saving home gym equipment you’ll see includes multifunctional trainers, power racks, suspension trainers, cardio machines and stations, and mini home gym equipment.

1. Multifunctional Trainers

Multifunctional trainers are large but compact exercise machines that integrate various workout stations into one. Typically, they comprise a double-sided durable steel frame, often resembling an enclosed box shape to make them easier to fit into corners.

They use either cable machines or weight stacks for adjustable resistance, with multi-directional pulley setups allowing for full-body workouts when combined with various attachments, such as handles, bars, and ankle cuffs. Usually, they have enough space between the two sides to slide in a weight bench, while some come with built-in seating.

Man Workout Using Cable Machine Review

Commercially, they go by many names, such as gym tower, all-in-one gym, gym multi-station, multigym, etc. These machines are especially favored in at-home or small gym setups because they’re space-saving but very versatile.

For public gyms, the drawback is, of course, that only one person can use them at a time. But for small home gyms, they can be the ideal all-in-one solution, though the upfront cost is often significant.

2. Power Racks

Power racks, like squat racks and power cages, are a popular choice when starting a home gym because they're versatile. They work well for different exercises, and there are various types and price ranges. For example, you can get full-size box-shaped power racks or go for wall-mounted, foldable, half-racks, and more, giving you options for different spaces.

Power Rack Review

Primarily, people use them for weightlifting exercises like bench pressing or squatting. But many power racks also come with extra features, such as a pull-up bar, landmine attachment, dip arms, barbell sliding rail, cable pulleys, and more to add extra variety.

Tips From the Champ

Multifunctional trainers are highly versatile but also the most expensive. Power racks cost less and offer a similar level of versatility but require more space and supportive equipment. These factors can help sway your choice.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

3. Suspension Trainers

Suspension trainers, such as the TRX All-In-One system, consist of adjustable straps with handles. They are meant to be hung from a high point and, as the name suggests, allow you to suspend yourself in the air, using your own body weight against gravity to create resistance.

Apart from being cost-effective, suspension training offers significant benefits. Firstly, the instability of the exercise results in greater muscle recruitment compared to stable surface training. Secondly, typical TRX exercises are moderately intense, making them effective for cardiovascular improvement and weight loss.

Female TRX Training

That said, the downside to suspension training is that it's not very beginner-friendly/inclusive. Any exercise method that utilizes body-weight suspension has a learning curve, and various external factors may make the exercises more difficult or unsafe for certain individuals, such as your proportions, mobility, flexibility, etc.

4. Cardio Machine & Station

Of course, not everybody is into resistance training or exercising with big muscle gains in mind. People who want to stay in shape and train functionally usually get a preferred cardio machine — for example, a bike, rower, or treadmill.

Man Kettlebells Workout

Add to that an exercise mat, a set of light dumbbells or kettlebells, a pilates ball, a jump rope, etc. and you’ve got plenty of stuff to work with.

5. Mini Home Gym Equipment

Lastly, we have what we like to call mini home gym equipment. They are common exercise tools you’ll also find at the gym, just sized down to fit the needs of an apartment. Many of these are popular among people who live in apartments and have their dedicated “workout corner” as a way to stay in shape. For example, we have:

  1. Exercise mat.
  2. Foam rollers.
  3. Resistance bands.
  4. Balance board.
  5. Medicine ball.
  6. Bosu ball.
  7. Compact elliptical/stepper.
  8. Jump rope.
  9. Adjustable dumbbell.
Athlete Balance Board Training

There’s also specialized small exercise equipment like the TRX suspension system and the MAXPRO machine. They offer total-body workouts but require a bit of creativity to make use of.

Benefits of Compact Home Gyms

Compact home gyms are becoming more and more relevant as an alternative to public gyms. Here are the key advantages they provide:

✅ Space Efficiency

The most obvious benefit of having exercise equipment for small spaces is their space-saving design. Home gyms have been on the rise, especially during the recent pandemic, and more and more manufacturers are getting into the market space.

This is driving costs down but also creating healthy competition to provide the most well-rounded home gym solutions. The result we’re seeing is a plethora of home-sized exercise machines and equipment.

✅ Versatility

Most often, compact exercise machines are built to be multi-purpose. Take, for example, the multifunctional trainers or compact racks. They often incorporate multiple exercise stations and attachments to increase exercise variety.

Cable Machine Review

✅ Privacy & Convenience

Commuting to and from the gym can be a hassle, especially if your only choice is by car. Moreover, public gyms, especially good ones, can be quite busy during rush hour, which can get annoying. Sometimes, you have to queue up with a few people to get to work on your favorite machine. 

Having a set of compact workout equipment at home means your workout station is available 24/7 without interference. This is especially true if you live in a house and don’t have a building “code of conduct” that might refrain you from training at certain times of the day or creating too much noise, among other things.

Tips From the Champ

The cornerstone of a great home gym is equipment for your favorite workouts. An unused machine is a space and money, so get what you need first.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Compact Home Gym?

A big reason people refrain from building up a small home gym is the time, effort, and planning necessary. It’s easy to get things wrong, and wasting money is a common fear. Before making a hasty mini home gym purchase, here’s what you’ll have to consider:

1. Footprint

The most important consideration to make before you commit to buying a gym machine is where and how it’s going to fit. Take a good look at the machine footprint specs and, unless you have ample open space in your home, measure out your designated workout area three times over.

Luckily, manufacturers purposely build modern home gym equipment for limited space, so fitting a machine into your home isn’t as uphill of a battle as it may seem.

2. Structural Integrity

Every building, whether it’s a house, apartment, garage, etc. has a load-bearing capacity for its floors, walls, and ceiling. Before you put a gym machine inside your home, you’ll have to make sure the room you place it in can withstand it.

For your safety, it’s important not to speculate. Some simple ways you can find out the exact information include checking your blueprints, looking at the official building specs online, asking your landlord, or calling the local Department of Buildings (or an equivalent governing body).

Athlete Workout Using Cable Machine

3. Portability

Sometimes, the area in which you train will be different from the area in which you store your equipment. For example, you might have a couple of machines ready in your storage space but available room to take out only one at a time.

That’s fine, home gym manufacturers have this in mind as well, and design portable exercise equipment. Many of the machines you see specifically advertised for home use can either be folded and carried away or rolled off on transportation wheels.

4. Applicability

Make sure you’ll get the equipment you actually enjoy using. Getting a premium home exercise bike on a holiday sale may seem like a great deal at first, but if it’s not your preferred method of exercise, chances are it will end up collecting dust in storage.

5. Versatility

Obviously, building (or even starting) a home gym is an investment in money, time, and available space. So, in theory, you’d to get the most out of what you have before investing in eventual upgrades. If you can spare money for it, a home gym for small spaces can cover a lot for you.

Otherwise, you may have to slowly introduce each piece: starting with, for example, a weight bench, a compact rack, a barbell set, and some adjustable dumbbells

Of course, things are different if you’re a specialist and only train for a specific purpose. For example, if you’re an outdoor cyclist or rower and you’re currently out of season (for example, during winter) then you might be all set with your favorite bike/rower, plus an exercise mat, jump rope, and some resistance bands.

Athlete Cable Machine Training

6. Comfort

Comfort isn’t just about padded seats and handles. It’s equally important to consider the room in which you place your machine. Many people prefer the naturally colder environment of a basement or garage, though that’s not an option if you’re in an apartment.

While it may seem great to put your equipment next to a window for better airflow, keep in mind that prolonged sun exposure can heat up the metal and make it too hot to exercise. Besides, it damages materials like foam and rubber.

7. Fitness Goals

If you have the money and space for it, by all means, build a full gym in your home. But for most of us, we strongly have to consider what we’re going to use the gym for — whether it’d be upper, lower, or full-body exercise; cardio, strength, endurance, hypertrophy (muscle growth), flexibility, weight loss, etc.

This typically means min-maxing with our favorite machine and surrounding equipment.

Man Training

Muscles Worked When Training on Various Types of Compact Home Gyms

The great thing about many of the machines & equipment we covered on this list is that they can be used for a variety of exercises, including full-body workouts. With that in mind, here’s how these compact exercise machines can fit into your training program based on specific exercise goals:

1. For Upper Body Training

The Power Rack excels in upper body training with compound exercises like bench presses, overhead presses, and pull-ups. By adding a weight bench, a barbell & plate set, and some dumbbells, you can effectively target your arms, shoulders, chest, and back muscles, among others.

Multifunctional weight towers are also a great choice, as they offer a more isolated and controlled workout than compound exercises.

Weight Bench Training

Adjustable dumbbells offer a straightforward yet versatile solution for upper-body workouts. From staples like the bicep curls to shoulder presses, to weighted arm swings and bent-over rows, there’s a great amount of engagement you can get from them.

2. For Lower Body Training

Similar to upper body training, power racks dominate lower body engagement through weightlifting exercises. Among them, the squat and deadlift stand out as highly effective and similarly capable lower-body exercises, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, and glutes all at once.

Once again, multifunctional trainers come in close second with isolation exercises such as cable pull-through as well as ankle strap exercises like hip flexion and extension.

Cable Machine Upper Body Training

Cardio machines, such as bikes and rowers, also provide comprehensive lower-body engagement, though the emphasis is less on muscle building. Cycling is well-known for its cardiovascular benefits, though it’s worth noting that rowing offers similar benefits, so the two are more interchangeable than most people think.

3. For Core Training

Squats and deadlifts are undoubtedly some of the best core exercises, effectively targeting the posterior chain, spine, and abdominals. However, there are more popular and less physically demanding exercises to train your core.

For instance, multifunctional trainers can provide a more comprehensive and better-targeted core workout through exercises like cable woodchops, Russian twists, and hanging leg raises.

Man Power Rack Workout

Meanwhile, suspension systems in combination with popular core exercises are highly effective due to the instability they provide, thus requiring high engagement.

4. For Full-Body Training

The powerlifting trinity of squatting, benching, and deadlifting provides a comprehensive full-body workout on its own. For fans of weightlifting, it’s the go-to, so a power rack is an obvious choice.

However, multifunctional trainers reign supreme when it comes to full-body exercise variety. With an adjustable pulley cable system and a couple of attachments, you can really get to work on both isolation and compound exercises. Compact exercise equipment like the TRX and MAXPRO can also provide a full-body workout.

TRX Core Training

Rowing is another excellent and comprehensive full-body workout, although the emphasis is more on the health benefits rather than muscle building. This makes them the superior full-body cardio exercise but also decent at muscle toning.

Tips From the Champ

Weightlifting is arguably the best resistance training method, all things considered. The compound nature of the exercises is time and energy efficient, but the learning curve and potential risks are also high. Isolation exercises are much safer and beginner-friendly, though less efficient. This can be an important breaking point between the two.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion


Where Is the Best Place to Put a Home Gym?

For most people, the answer will simply be: where you have enough space. If you live in an apartment, you’ll likely have less space at your disposal, so you’ll have to weigh your options carefully.

If you live in a house, popular spaces include the basement or garage. Firstly, because those two areas are typically spacious. Second, they’re relatively separate from the house, so there’s less noise and interference coming from you and from others. Third, flooring is usually hard (typically concrete) so it can withhold heavy equipment.

Is a Small Home Gym Worth It?

A small home gym is worth it in the long run, especially if you don’t plan on moving far in the future and can build up your workout space by gradually adding more equipment. The freedom and convenience of having your personal workout space 24/7 are also a big advantage.

Additionally, well-kept gym equipment has good resale value, so you’re not permanently stuck with it if you want to change something.

Is It Cheaper to Go to a Gym or Make a Home Gym?

There are many factors to consider. If you live in a big city with access to many well-equipped gyms, it could take years before the monthly gym fee catches up to the price of building your own mini home gym. Besides, there’s no maintenance work you have to do to use a gym.

For example, if we assume the membership is $40-50 a month, it will cost you about $2500-3000 in 5 years. That’s about the cost of a multigym setup or the equivalent of roughly 4-5 good gym machines, and this is without maintenance.

For many people, the logistics (convenience, time, effort, and outside costs like gas and parking) can be a bigger factor than a pound-for-pound cost.


Now you know how to build the best compact home gym. As a reminder, always start by assessing your available space, then decide on your foundational machine. From there, you can start building on by adding more compact workout equipment.

For traditional resistance training, we highly recommend the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer. If you’re into cardio/endurance, the Concept2 RowErg or the Assault Air bike are great choices. For on-the-go workouts, consider the MaxPro or TRX system.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Do you have an at-home gym or intend to build one soon? Which home gym machine best fits your favorite workout? Feel free to leave a comment with your answers and remember to follow us on social media for more valuable fitness content.

Also read:


  1. Federico Nigro, Sandro Bartolomei, “A Comparison between the Squat and the Deadlift for Lower Body Strength and Power Training,” Journal of Human Kinetics 73, no. 1 (2020): 145-152.
  2. Giovanni Cugliari, Gennaro Boccia, “Core Muscle Activation in Suspension Training Exercises,” Journal of Human Kinetics 56 (2017): 61-71.
  3. “How Much Weight Can a Second Floor Hold?” Home Profy,
  4. (accessed November 26, 2023).
  5. Leslie Erin Smith, Joanna Snow, Jennifer S. Fargo, Christina A. Buchanan, Lance Dalleck, “The Acute and Chronic Health Benefits of TRX Suspension Training® in Healthy Adults,” International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology 11 (2016): 1-15.
  6. P. Horn, P. Ostadal, B. Ostadal, “Rowing Increases StV volume and Cardiac Output to a Greater Extent Than Cycling,” Physiological Research 64, no. 2 (2015): 203-207.
  7. P. Oja, S. Titze, A. Bauman, B. de Geus, P. Krenn, B. Reger-Nash, T. Kohlberger, “Health Benefits of Cycling: A Systematic Review,” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 21, no. 4 (2011): 496-509.
  8. Sean Harris, Elise Ruffin, Wayne Brewer, Alexis Ortiz, “Muscle Activation Patterns During Suspension Training Exercises,” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 12, no. 1 (2017): 42-52.
  9. Stefanos Volianitis, Chie C. Yoshiga, Niels H. Secher, ”The Physiology of Rowing with Perspective on Training and Health,” European Journal of Applied Physiology 120, no. 9 (2020): 1943-1963.
  10. “What Are Compound Exercises?” Australian Fitness Academy, /blog/education/what-are-compound-exercises/ (accessed November 26, 2023).

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Jason Li avatar

Author: Jason Li
Personal Coach, Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist

Experience: 10 years

Jason is an NYC personal training expert and National level Olympic Weightlifting Coach with over 10 years of experience training everyday clients to high levels of performance. He has trained everyone from youth (13 years old and under) to masters (60+ years old) to regional and national rankings for powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Short distance (up to 200m) sprinting, discus & hammer throwing.

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