With the rise in the popularity of weight lifting, there has been an increased interest in building a home gym. Having an equipped gym at your house has numerous benefits.
The first is the ease of accessibility. Obviously, with the gym being at your house, the time which you need to dedicate to the gym is drastically cut. Let's say you live 15 minutes from the gym. If you only go four times a week, you already save at least two hours of drive time.
While you'll need to for over some cash, to begin with, you'll likely save money in the long run. A gym membership will usually cost between $400-600 a year. In 5 years, that's $2,000-$3,000. You can also buy the minimum at first and then slowly add. Plus, you have control over the equipment you buy along with any special equipment. If you want it, you can buy it. You don't get this at a boxing gym.
Convenience. In addition to being at your house, you also have control over the music, TV, and you wait for no one! You can also work out naked if that's your thing!
All that being said, let's look at some equipment you need. We'll look at the equipment that is mandatory as well as pieces of equipment that give you a variety of options.
Best Olympic Barbells
An Olympic Barbell is going to be central to your home workouts. A barbell becomes your weight machine and is essential for strength training. Having a high-quality barbell instantly allows you to do a full-body workout with a plethora of exercises.
1. The Rogue Ohio Bar Black Zinc
Rogue is one of the best brands for gym equipment there is. Best known for their role in CrossFit, they are also heavily involved in strength sports and provided equipment for the Arnold Strongman Classic. If you have the budget for a slightly higher price point, Rogue can be your best option.
Their Ohio Bar Black Zinc Olympic Barbell is a classic. It's affordable enough for someone serious about their lifting. It's a standard 45lb bar with a 28.5mm diameter and long 16.4" loadable sleeves. Forged out of steel and a zinc finish, the Ohio bar has tested 190k PSI tensile strength making it powerful enough for the strongest lifters. It features brass bushing and a good whip making it ideal for your standard lifts.
- One of the most trusted brands there are
- Great reviews for thousands of people
- Strong enough for anyone
- Premium quality
- Zinc finish
- Price may be a little high for some people
- No center knurl which can affect those who like sumo deadlifts
Anything from Rogue is top-notch and that includes this barbell. You will not be disappointed with this tried and true barbell.
2. CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar
CAP is a little lesser known than Rogue but still has a good reputation for quality equipment for those on a slightly smaller budget and has been around for 30+ years. The Beast is their entry model Olympic Barbell. It weighs in at 20kg (44lbs) and is 2.185m long. The Beast is best for beginner lifters as it uses steel tested at only 110K PSI, significantly less than the Rogue. However, it does come with a 5-year warranty so if you do have any issues, you don't need to worry about it.
- Cheaper price point
- Amazon Prime
- 5-year warranty
- Suffice for a beginner lifter
- Shorter loadable sleeves
- Small PSI strength
- Some reviews mention a lack of spin on collars
The CAP barbell is a good barbell for a beginner lifter. However, for what you get, it's still a bit expensive.
3. Atlas Bar- Men's 20 KG Barbell
The Atlas Bar from Titan Fitness is a great barbell at a price point similar to the CAP but made much stronger. A standard Olympic barbell coming in at 20kg (44lb), 87in. length, and huge 17.5" loadable sleeves. The Atlas bar also boasts a massive 220k PSI tensile strength. This makes sense as Titan is maybe the most popular choice for home gyms as they make the best equipment at their price point. This is more than enough for even your top lifters.
- Lower price point
- Still has very high numbers
- Trusted brand
- Great all-around bar
- There have been reported issues with the caps coming off
- Often back-ordered; need to wait to buy receive one
The Atlas bar is the best bar for this price and is more than sufficient for the large majority of lifters. While it lacks some sophistication, it is a great bar that gets the job done.
Best Weight Plates
Weight plates are a big investment. Especially if you are strong. While weight is weight, there are still some factors you need to consider. This mainly comes down to the material used and the diameter of the plates.
1. Rogue Echo Bumper Plates
Rogue Echo Bumper plates are what the best garage gyms need. Top-quality, great prices, and no fuss. While most economy plates can have a big bounce, the Rogue Echo Bumper plates claim to have a "dead bounce" which means there will be very little bounce. This can protect your belongings and your body. Made from virgin rubber, these plates also feature a stainless steel middle which adds to the durability and makes loading plates a breeze. These bumper plates also have smaller diameters than other bumper plates which means you can load more plates on the bar if needs. These plates range from 10lb/pair (0.8") to 45lbs/pair (2.4") at and all come at the same 450mm diameter.
- Dead Bounce
- Low Price for Top Quality
- Economy Packages
- Top Brands for Plates
- No sizes less than 10lbs
- No color options?
It really is hard coming up with negatives as these are just great plates for what they are. If great bumper plates are what you want, these are the best on the market with a price tag that doesn't show it.
2. LB Economy Black Bumper Plates
Similar to Rogues Echo bumpers, the LB Economy Black Bumper plates are Titan Fitness's economy set of bumper plates. Their make-up is similar to the Rogues and is a simple black rubber with metal inserts for easy loading. They too claim to have a low bounce rate which is what you want. Plates to absorb the impact but not fly away. These plates range from 10lb ll the way up to 100lb plates for the big guys. If we compare to Rogue, we see that the diameter is much larger with a 45lb having a huge 3.5" diameter. This can add up if you're solely using bumper plates. They are also more expensive and are only sold in singles or with economy packages. However, one thing that is odd is the prices are more similar when buying economy packages.
- Great set of bumper plates
- Trusted brand popular with home gyms
- Low bounce
- 100lb option
- Very thick diameter
- More expensive than Rogue when buying singles
The LB Economy Bumpers from Titan are great plates and have very positive reviews. However, when looking at the price, we're not sure what it brings to the table to justify the extra 38% in cost if you are just buying singles. However, if you are buying packages, these are equal if the thickness is not an issue.
3. CAP Barbell 2-Inch Olympic Grip Plate
The CAP Olympic Grip Plates are your basic metal plates made out of solid cast iron. Unlike the plates above, these plates will differ in their total diameter based on their size. Their Amazon page gives not dimensions so we can't comment on their diameter or thickness. These plates have three handgrips built into the plate which makes these plates very easy to load and unload with a secure grip. Unfortunately, these have no economy packages. There are also several reviews that speak of them breaking which is a concern.
- Hand Grips
- Price for metal plates are always higher
- Reviewers claim the plates break
As they don't give much information, it is hard to have a good review. They seem to be your basic metal plate. What is concerning are the claims that they break.
Best Weightlifting Racks with Pull Up Bar
A nice solid rack is necessary for anyone who is going to be doing any type of serious lifting. Having a cheap rack can greatly increase the chance of injury or destruction of property. A solid rack is not an area where you can cut corners. The addition of a pull-up bar allows for the addition of an assortment of great exercises such as pull-ups.
1. Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack
Rogue has many options when it comes to racks. Their RML-3W is the best option if you have limited space. Made from 3x3 11-gauge steel, this model is designed to not only be mounted to your wall but to fold when not in use. Standing at 90.375", this model also comes with a pull-up bar which greatly adds to the versatility. They also have two depth options at 21.5" or 41.5". Initially concerned with installation, all the reviews say that installation was very easy. However, you will need to have some skills with tools. We were actually surprised by the pictures of reviewers as it looks very sturdy and their reviews support this.
- Room Saver
- Top Quality
- Need to have a large enough blank wall
- The installation section needs to be sturdy enough
The RML 3W Fold mount from Rogue seems amazing for someone on a budget or who is looking to maximize space.
2. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
Fitness Reality is one of the many economy brands on Amazon building and selling fitness equipment. This cage stands at 50.5"L x 46.5"W x 83.5"H. The uprights are smaller than Rogue at 2x2 which is strong and stable enough for beginner lifters. It has 19 levels for safety bars which have an 800lb limit. This cage also comes with a multi-grip pull-up bar. It also comes with extra back braces for added support. Reviews are mostly positive with reviewers commenting that it is much sturdier than they were expecting. However, some also claimed about things breaking after a few months of use.
- Very low price
- Many reviews commenting on its sturdiness
- Options to purchase attachments
- Only 800lb max
- Less established brand
For the price, it seems this rack gets the job done. Like many new or off brands, it's always a bit of a risk but this may just be worth it if you are new to lifting and wanting a basic power rack.
Best Adjustable Weight Benches
The weight bench is an essential piece of equipment if you are doing anything other than standing exercises. This includes bench presses, seated press, bench rows....the list goes on. As you will most likely only be buying one bench for your home gym, your best option is an adjustable bench as it will give you the most versatility.
1. Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Bench
The Rogue AB-3 bench is the most versatile bench on the market. Made from 2"x2" and 2"x3" 11 gauge steel, this bench features a separate adjustable padded seat and an adjustable bench. Combined, it has over 50 different combination settings in both the incline AND decline positions. It also comes with leg support for decline position and core workouts. Its dimensions are set at 68"L x 12"W x 18"H. This quality does come with a price. It is one of the most expensive benches on the market.
- 50+ Variations in Incline and Decline
- Leg support
- Top Quality Construction
- Very Stable
- High Price
This is a home gym investment piece - pricey but made with premium quality.
2. Max Adjustable FID Bench
The Max Adjustable FID Bench comes from Titan Fitness. It claims to have up to 70 different positions with the back pad and seat. It too has incline and decline options as well. At 13.5" L x 8"H x 11"W, it is slightly smaller than the Rogue but this won't be a problem for the vast majority of people. It has a 600lb weight capacity so this is something some of the bigger and stronger guys need to take into consideration. It claims to be durable enough for commercial use which most reviewers seem to agree with.
- Wide range of variation
- The affordable price point for premium quality
- Trusted Brand for Home Gyms
- Very sturdy
- 600lb limit
- Some reviewers mention problems with the locking pin
The Titan FID bench is a great bench and more economical than Rogue. Unless you are extra big or moving a lot of weight, this bench will meet all your needs.
3. FLYBIRD Weight Bench
The Flybird bench sits at 49.2" x 15.7" x 44.5". It is said to be made from alloy steel and boasts a 620lb limit. It has a total of 21 seat and back variations which is honestly all that you really need. Further, it too has the ability to do declines. This bench sticks out as it is foldable for easy storage making it ideal for space savers. It claims to have 2" of soft foam padding for "extra comfortable" lifting. While this may be of interest to your general fitness users, you actually don't want an extra soft pad for serious lifting as it decreases your pushing power. Some have also claimed that the bench sits too high making it difficult to use your feet for stability as well as a general lack of stability. Still, the vast majority of reviews are positive but are most likely general lifters.
- Economical Price
- Many Variations
- High Reviews
- Not the Best Choice for Serious Lifters
While we question some of the dimensions and construction, many reviewers have been very happy with their purchase of the Flybird bench. If all you need is a reliable bench for general fitness at a low price, the Flybird bench is for you.
Best Sets of Dumbbells
Dumbbells are a great addition to your home gym equipment. Having a set of quality dumbbells is a great way to add a ton of exercises to your fitness routine. You will be able to work your full body with a variety of exercises for all fitness levels.
1. Rogue Dumbbells
Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells are top-quality dumbbells from 2.5lb to 125lb. The rubberized hex endings help prevent any unnecessary damage while also preventing excessive rolling. The handles have a comfortable ergonomic design which allows for extended training. A unique option is that Rogue offers a Kettle Gryp attachment which allows you to turn a dumbbell into a kettlebell. This can greatly reduce cost if you plan on buying kettlebells too.
- Ergonomic Handle
- Rubberized Hex Ending
- Wide Range of Weights
- Optional Kettle Gryp Option
- Price is High (but justified)
- Does Not Seem to Offer Packages
Rogue Dumbbells are a great addition to your home equipment. You can be sure to have plenty of full-body workouts in-store with these and as well as having confidence in its quality. These will not let you down.
2. Titan Fitness Black Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells
Titan Fitness also hosts Black Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells with ergonomic handles. These dumbbells seem very similar to the Rogue with the only real difference may just be aesthetics with the Rogue dumbbells looking a little nicer. Still, these are very durable dumbbells with very high ratings. It must be noted that a bit difficult finding the buying options on their page. However, where Titan does have an edge is that they offer packages with a dumbbell rack.
- High Quality from Trusted Brand
- Rubberized Hex Ending
- Packages w/ Racks Available
- Buying Page is a Bit Difficult to Navigate
- Less Aesthetically Appealing Compared to Rogue
Titan Fitness is known for its high-quality exercise equipment and that can be seen in these dumbbells. We wish the buying interface was easier but they are on par with the Rogue dumbbells. These may stand out though if you are looking at buying a set.
3. Balance From Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand
Get some color in your life! Two sets of these with a durable rack. It has very high reviews from over 10,00 reviewers on Amazon so they have been a great addition to many consumers' home workout equipment. These are great for basic home exercise and are everything you need to hit all muscle groups with basic strength training. The dumbbells' best attributes are their colors and are the "happiest" pair on this list. If your training system includes a lot of aerobics and basic fitness level, these are your best bet.
- Look Great
- Perfect for Aerobics
- Comes with Stand
- Can Easily Store in Your Living Room
- Limited Weight
Just know what these are not. These aren't for lifters looking for heavyweights and high intensity. These dumbbells are for your general fitness/aerobic programs and they fit that bill perfectly.
Best Sets of Kettlebells
Kettlebells have made a huge surge in popularity since CrossFit. Originating from Russia, the kettlebell was used extensively in the Strongman circuit. Now, they are a valuable piece of gym gear and can be used for strength training or cardio exercise. Lower body or upper body workouts. These are some of the most versatile single pieces of equipment to add to your home gym.
1. Rogue Kettlebells
The Rogue Kettlebells range from 9lb to a massive 203lb. They are forged from a single piece of iron ore so they are not going to fall apart. To give you an idea of their quality, "the 40 lb Rogue Kettlebell has been officially approved for use with the United States Army’s Combat Fitness Test" (from their page). If buying multiples, the kettlebells are color-coded to help separate the different weights. The grips are also designed to allow for secure holding which is crucial during and swings and is one of the most important features.
- Army's Official Kettlebell
- Huge Selection
- Top Quality
- Secure Grip
- Price Higher Than Other Options (though justifiable)
- Doesn't seem to have packages
You should be getting the idea now. Everything is excellent at this price. Get these if you want top-quality.
2. Titan Fitness 10 - 40 LB Adjustable Kettlebells
These Adjustable Kettlebells come from Titan Fitness. Using 6 drop cast iron plates, this kettlebell is able to adjust weights from 10lbs to 40lbs. This can be very useful for those with limited space or a smaller budget. There are no reviews so it's difficult to make a good analysis of its actual function.
- Multiple Size Kettlebells in One
- Better Price Due to Being Adjustable
- Only Useful for Someone Who Needs the Whole Range
- No Reviews
While we like the idea, it is only worth it if you currently use kettlebells from 10lb to 40lb and you need to save space.
3. Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebells
The Yes4All Kettlebells are available from Amazon and range from 5lb to 40lb. These are made from cast iron yet are coated with softer vinyl. This can be attractive if you are worried about damage to your belongings. One cause for concern is that several reviewers sent pictures showing that they took off the vinyl and saw that it was actually cement underneath, not iron. Other reviewers complained that the kettlebells arrived damaged. Still, they have an overwhelming 5-star rating from 4,800 people.
- Economical Price
- Vinyl Coated
- Amazon Prime
- Limited Sizes
- Questionable Reviews
For economical lightweight kettlebells, these are a great choice.
Best EZ Curl Bars
An EZ Curl Bar can be very beneficial to your home exercise equipment to give you the availability to do smaller exercises and isolation movements. This includes movement such as bicep curls and skull crushers.
1. Titan Fitness EZ Curl Ribber Fixed Barbell
Titan Fitness has a selection of EZ Curl bars with fixed weight ranging from 20lbs to 110lbs or a set including 20lb-110lb. The bar is made from rolled steel with rubber weights to reduce the risk of damage to the barbell or the surroundings. While a great purchase for a commercial gym. Fixed weights are rarely used in home gyms due to the price and storage.
- High Quality
- Rubber Weights
- Large Selection
- Expensive if Buying Multiple Weights
While a great purchase for a commercial gym, fixed weight EZ curl bars are rarely purchased for home gym use.
2. CAP Barbell Olympic EZ Curl Bar
Unlike the Titan Fitness EZ Curl Bar, this bar from CAP comes with Olympic Sleeves which allows you to use your plates to adjust the weight. For a home gym that is limited on space and budget, this is a great piece of home gym gear. Made from solid steel, this bar has 52K tensile strength which makes it very durable for the selection of exercises that are used with it. Weighing 7kg, this bar is easy to move to the corner of your home gym when not in use. It also comes with screw clamps to ensure the weight is secure. It has two options; black coat and steel.
- Easy to Store
- Economical Choice
- Clamps May Have Issues
For a home gym, an Olympic EZ curl bar is is your best choice for affordability and space. There are some complaints concerning the chipping and clamp issue, but it has an average 4.5-star review from 1.
Best Weightlifting Belts
A good quality lifting belt is a good piece of equipment to have whenever you plan on lifting with heavy free weights. A lifting belt works by helping increase the intra-abdominal pressure which in turn adds stability to the core. This can help you lift more and lift safely.
1. Rogue Ohio Lifting Belt
- Standard size of premium lifting belts
- Made from leather
- While it is at a good price, it may still be expensive for some
- Only goes up to 45"
2. Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Pro Weight Lifting Belt for Men and Women
- A very low price
- Good reviews (keep in mind most seem like beginners)
- Seems like this could work for a new lifter
- Questionable false claims
- Seems cheaply made
- May fail for heavy weights
The Dark Horse Belt seems like it can work for a beginner. However, we think safety equipment is not where you want to cut corners. The Rogue belt is clearly superior and will last forever so you will most likely save money in the long run.
Best Gym Flooring
No home gym is complete without some flooring. Even with bumper plates, you are still going to want to protect the floor. It is a safety issue. Quality gym flooring will provide a non-slip surface for your workout space to give you the stability you need to lift safely.
1. Rogue Regupol Aktiv Flooring
Rogue is on the list again. And for good reason. When comparing price and size, you can't beat this non-slip flooring. Regupol Aktiv Flooring comes in 4 thicknesses; 5/16", 3/8", 1/2, and 8mm. All the thicknesses are made up of the same super dense material made from recycled tires! This flooring is super dense and tough allowing it to stand up the toughest of conditions. The price goes up from there depending on size and if you want to choose certain colors. The best option for most home gyms is the 8mm black as there will be minimal traffic.
- Made from tires...Environment-friendly!
- Very High Quality
- Wide Selection For Your Needs and Budget
- Great Reviews
- Only Available in 10x10 Sections
- 200sq ft minimum order
Even though this is the only flooring on this list, it constantly ranks as the best option in lists. As mentioned, for the price and durability, this flooring is all you need.
What to consider when buying weightlifting equipment for your home gym?
There are a few factors you need to consider buying your new home gym workout equipment. While it would be great if we could just but whatever we wanted, this is not reality. Here are some major factors to consider.
Before you begin making a purchase order for your home gym, you need to decide on a budget. What are you willing to spend? This may mean doing some initial research to get an idea. What you need to realize is that there is gym equipment available for almost every budget and often, when you want the best home gym equipment, you are going to pay for that price point. What you need to consider is what is the best home gym equipment for your budget.
2. Home Gym Setup
How much room do you have to dedicate to your new home gym AND what kind of space? Do you have an entire extra room in the house? Half of a garage? This is going to affect how much equipment you can buy along with giving guidance on things such as flooring. If you don't have a much-dedicated room, you'll need to look at some more space-saving options. You don't want to start spending money on new gym equipment before you decided on your home gym setup.
3. Your Goals
What are you trying to achieve out of your home workout? Increase strength? Lose Fat? Bodybuilding? General fitness? If you buy the best workout equipment but it's not built for what you want to achieve, it's worthless to you. Decide on what you want to achieve and then buy the correct gym equipment for that goal.