Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Home exercise systems can give you a full-body workout, whether your goal is to build muscle, burn fat, or tone and increase flexibility. Some may put more emphasis on cardio, while others focus more on strength training, but most home exercise systems are multifaceted.

How to Choose the Best Home Exercise Equipment

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert in the world of fitness, a home exercise system can offer convenient, full-body workouts at any time of day. However, with so many different exercise systems or pieces of equipment out there, it can be difficult to narrow down your options.

The biggest question you’ll need to consider is “How do I want to work out?” Think about the types of workouts you prefer, which muscles you’d like to train, and whether you want to customize your own routine or follow a structured plan from a company.

Some home exercise systems, like Tonal or Tempo Studio, come with a large screen that’s easy to look at while working out. You can follow the on-screen instructor, get real-time feedback to improve your form, and choose from pre-built workout plans if you don’t want to create your own. These two systems offer plenty of workout variety so that you can swap between strength training, yoga, mobility training, resistance training, and so on.

You’ll also want to consider how much space you have in your home. Some systems have a small footprint for the equipment itself but require a large open space to complete workouts in. Check the manufacturer’s website for how much space you’ll need in your home.

Lastly, think about how much you want to spend. Most home exercise systems that offer full-body workouts are expensive, ranging between $1,000 to $2,000 on average. High-end systems or a full home gym can cost you upwards of $4,000.

It’s important to note that if you’re just getting started with working out, you can ease yourself in with exercise channels on YouTube and a simple set of dumbbells. There are many exercises you can do without dumbbells as well, so if you’re unsure which type of system you’d prefer, take a moment to explore free workouts until you determine how you like to exercise the most.

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Best Home Exercise System Overall: Tonal



✓ Large collection of on-demand, customizable workouts

✗ Way more expensive than other home gym equipment

✓ The machine sets and adjusts weight for you

✗ Not very rental-friendly

✓ Instructors are knowledgeable and easy to follow

✗ Slight learning curve to adjusting the arms

✓ AI-powered technology helps you improve workouts

Tonal is an expensive piece of exercise equipment, but it’s one of the most established and reliable systems with an large variety of workouts. The base system costs $3,995, and adding the smart accessories will cost another $495. The smart accessories are necessary to get the full range of motion Tonal can offer.

Design-wise, Tonal is attractive on your wall and doesn’t take up much space, but you will need to make sure your walls are suitable for the system. The company recommends you have a 7-foot by 7-foot space and walls made with wood or metal with stud widths from 16 to 24 inches are best. If you have a wall made of concrete, plaster, or stucco, you have to verify the wall is 1.25 inches or less in thickness, and additional installation materials may be required.

Because Tonal needs to be installed on your wall, it’s not very renter-friendly. Unless your landlord is accommodating or you plan to pay a fee when you move out, Tonal may not be the best choice for renters.

Regarding your workout options, the sky’s the limit with Tonal, especially if you invest in the smart accessories. The adjustable arms support hundreds of movements, so you can work out your entire body. Tonal has a huge library of workouts that range from strength and resistance training to cardio and mobility exercises.

A Tonal Membership costs $59.95 a month, and is required for the first 12 months after you purchase your system. With the membership, you’ll get access to their entire workout library and intelligent features that can improve your workouts. A few of these intelligent features include intuitive weight adjustments during your workouts, regular strength assessments, spotter mode, and automatic tracking so you can improve your form.

Tonal Home Equipment System

Best Home Exercise System Overall

Tonal offers the largest workout variety among other home exercise systems, as well as more advanced features like adaptive weight resistance, ability to detect muscle readiness, and smart sensors.

Best Budget Home Exercise Equipment: Peloton Guide



✓ Simple setup and intuitive UI

✗ Ongoing subscription costs

✓ Highly responsive motion tracking

✗ User footage isn’t high quality

✓ Affordable alternative to machine workouts

✗ Remote control has a learning curve

✓ Great for smaller homes

At only $195, the Peloton Guide is an affordable alternative to traditional machine workouts that still offers full-body workouts from the comfort of your own home. The Guide is essentially a camera that goes on your TV stand, and it can track your movements and provide real-time feedback on your form. Although the initial price is low, you do have to pay $24 every month for the Peloton App+ membership to get full benefits out of the Guide.

You can buy just the camera, or add a Peloton-branded yoga mat and dumbbells to your purchase. In our review of the Peloton Guide, we noted that it was easy to set up, intuitive to use, and offered plenty of varied workouts to keep things interesting. While you’re working out, you can see yourself on the screen next to your instructor.

Peloton’s Guide is designed best for workouts that utilize its motion-tracking capabilities, like strength workouts. You can choose strength workouts that target your full body, lower body, upper body, core, and a few other subtypes. However, there are non-tracker Peloton workouts available, too, like cardio-focused options or yoga.

The Guide can curate courses for you based on your previous workouts, which is great if you’re struggling to figure out which courses will work for you. You can also see which muscle groups you’ve been working out the most, and which ones you should focus on with your next workout.

peloton guide

Peloton Guide

Best Budget Home Exercise Equipment

The Peloton Guide is a camera that goes on or below your TV to track your movements and provide AI-powered feedback throughout and after your workout to ensure your form is correct.

Best Home Exercise System for Weight Training: Tempo Studio



✓ Structured workout plans or free choice for variety

✗ It doesn’t always count every rep

✓ Real-time feedback to improve form

✗ Accessories and ongoing subscription add to the cost

✓ Space-saving, attractive design can blend in

✓ Top-notch, informative instructors

Tempo Studio puts a strong emphasis on traditional weight training with up to 75 pounds of stackable weight plates, including a mixture of 1.25 lb, 2.5 lb, 5 lb, and 10 lb plates. With your $1,695 purchase, you’ll also get a set of dumbbells to use with the weight plates, a workout mat, and a stand with its built-in screen.

If you’re after a compact all-in-one home gym that looks nice, that’s the Tempo Studio. The weight plates fit neatly inside a cabinet below the screen, and the entire stand measures 2.17 x 1.3 feet, but Tempo recommends you set aside a 3-foot x 3-foot square for your stand. Then, you should expect to have about six feet of open space in front of your stand to exercise.

Like many other all-in-one home gyms, Tempo Studio also comes with an ongoing subscription to get access to the workout library, smart tracking, and goal-based training. The membership costs $39 monthly or slightly less if you opt for an annual or two-year subscription.

With that membership, you’ll have access to over 3,000 workouts broken down step-by-step and offer in-class movement modifications if you’re just starting out or recovering from an injury. You can stick with traditional weight training workouts or explore boxing, Pilates, yoga, or cardio exercises.

Tempo Studio tracks your reps, heart rate, pace, and more with every workout and then provides daily recommendations tailored to your goals and progress. There are weekly check-ins to ensure you’re keeping up, and you’ll see cues and tips during your workout to improve your form and ensure you’re getting the most out of your workout.

Tempo Studio

Best Home Exercise System for Weight Training

Tempo Studio offers more workout variety than simple weight training, but it truly excels in the dumbbell and traditional weight training categories. With 75 pounds of weight plates in the starter set, it’ll be easy to build up your strength.



✓ Choose from Live classes or prerecorded workouts

✗ Ongoing subscription is comparable to a gym membership

✓ Peloton community is competitive and motivating

✗ Screen doesn’t swivel from side to side

✓ Relatively small footprint

✓ Easy to set up and get started

The Original Peloton Bike comes from one of the most well-known, reputable brands, and it’s the best option for anyone looking for fantastic cardio workouts. It only takes up a 4-foot by 2-foot rectangle in your home, and it’s like you have an entire spin class in your room to motivate you.

With the Peloton Bike, you won’t be paying $1,445 for just high-intensity cardio classes—through Peloton’s monthly membership, you’ll have access to an array of classes, including yoga, boxing, and strength training. If you plan to partake in any of these non-biking classes, you’ll need to plan for extra space beside your Peloton Bike.

One of the best things about working out on a Peloton Bike is the community. Whether you’re using a Live class to motivate you or simply checking in with the leaderboards at every workout, there’s something within Peloton’s community that will motivate you to continue working out and striving to reach your goals.

The Original Peloton Bike has a built-in touchscreen to watch pre-recorded workouts or take classes with Live trainers. It also features a built-in stereo speaker system, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP front-facing camera, and a microphone. The screen on this Peloton Bike doesn’t swivel from side to side. If you want a more flexible screen for off-bike workouts, consider upgrading to the Peloton Bike+, which comes with a few extra features as well.

Original Peloton Bike

Best Home Exercise Equipment for Cardio

The Original Peloton Bike is touted as one of the most popular home exercise systems for good reason. On top of its built-in screen and durable build, you’ll get Peloton’s engaging classes with trainers, helpful tracked metrics, and an engaging community.



✓ Full-body workouts are easy and attainable

✗ Power Rods will lose resistance over time

✓ Easy to assemble and safe to use

✗ Slight learning curve with changing pulley system for different exercises

✓ Progressive resistance training

✗ Can be tricky to use for taller people

✓ Helpful instructional DVD to get you started

If you love resistance exercises, you’ll love the BowFlex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym. At $1,499, it’s priced similarly to other all-in-one home exercise equipment setups, and it contains everything you need to get a full-body workout or targeted muscle workouts.

The machine itself has a smaller footprint, but BowFlex recommends you have an 8-foot by 6.5-foot area reserved for the machine to give you enough space to move freely. Your purchase comes with 210 pounds of Power Rod resistance, and you can bump this up to 410 pounds of total resistance with two 100-pound Power Rod upgrades for $129 each. The Power Rods will lose resistance over time, but they’re covered under warranty for 5 years.

The Xtreme 2 SE is easy to assemble, and there’s a helpful DVD included with seven unique trainer-built workouts. Or, you can set aside some time for a workout and choose whichever exercise you feel. There are over 70 strength-building exercises you can complete with this BowFlex machine, and you can target each and every one of your muscles.

Using the pulley system to customize resistance can be confusing when starting out. If the resistance isn’t adjusted well enough, it can make exercises for people on the short side or the tall side more difficult. People who are 6-foot or taller may have more of a struggle getting enough resistance for some exercises.

BowFlex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym

Best Resistance Home Exercise System

With over 70 strength-building exercises, you can get in a full-body workout with the BowFlex Xtreme 2 SE Home Gym or target specific muscle. By default, there are 210 pounds of Power Rod Resistance, upgradeable to 410 pounds.


Is it better to work out at home or in a gym?

Because you can work the same muscle groups at home that you can at a gym, one option isn’t better than the other. It all comes down to personal preference.

How much would a home gym cost?

The average cost for a home gym is between $1,000 and $2,000, but this largely depends on which machines or equipment you want in your home gym. However, you could easily spend upwards of $4,000.

Are home exercise systems worth it?

A home exercise system is worth it if you don’t want to add drive time to your total workout time, you prefer working out alone, or you want more control over your workouts.

Can I build muscle with a home gym?

Absolutely! You can build muscle just as effectively with a home gym that you would at a traditional gym. You can even build muscle with no equipment at all, just using your bodyweight.

How do I clean my exercise equipment?

Keep your cleaning supplies near your exercise equipment to make post-workout cleanup easier. You can opt for disinfecting wipes or a combination of disinfecting spray and paper towels or a reusable towel.

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By John P.

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