Home Gym – Home exercise equipment buying guide
Key facts about comparing home exercise equipment
- Investing in some home exercise equipment can allow you to work out conveniently in more comfortable surroundings than at a gym.
- To choose the right equipment, you’ll need to consider your fitness goals, the type of exercise you enjoy doing, and amount of space you have at home and your budget.
Home exercise equipment guides
What are my main options?
There’s quite an overwhelming array of home exercise equipment available. In this guide, we’re focusing on exercise equipment designed to improve your cardio fitness or provide an overall body workout. Your main options in this category include:
- Treadmills. Perhaps the best known piece of exercise equipment, a treadmill lets you run, jog or walk on a moving belt. You can adjust the speed or the incline if you want to increase the intensity of exercise. Find out more in our guide to the best treadmills.
- Exercise bikes. These indoor cycling machines give you the cardio fitness benefits of riding a bike but without the hassle of having to deal with weather, traffic and other hazards. They come in multiple styles, including upright and recumbent bikes as well as spin bikes, and lycra is optional. Find out more about the pros and cons of these different options in our exercise bike buying guide.
- Rowing machines. Rowers provide a full-body workout, helping you build muscle strength while also boosting your aerobic fitness. You can adjust the resistance level to suit your workout needs, while machines that fold away are available if you have limited space. Check out our guide to the top sites to buy rowing machines online if you’re ready to start shopping.
- Elliptical trainers. Also known as cross trainers, elliptical trainers offer a low-impact workout option. Combining exercises like walking/jogging, cycling, stair climbing and cross-country skiing, these machines target a wide range of muscle groups for a full-body workout while also offering cardio benefits.
There are plenty of other items you might need to fit out your home gym, including yoga mats, dumbbells, resistance bands, jump ropes, medicine balls and foam rollers. Find out more in our cheap home gym equipment guide. And if you want to do some weight training, a multi-station home gym might be more your style.
How to compare home exercise equipment
There’s a lot to consider when choosing home exercise equipment. Be sure to take the following factors into account when comparing your options — they’ll help ensure that you end up with equipment that suits your needs.
Your fitness needs and goals
The most important factor you need to consider is the fitness goals you want to achieve. Do you want to focus on a particular area of the body, like a beer gut? Do you want to improve your muscle strength, boost your cardio fitness or both? Each type of machine offers a unique workout, so research how they can improve your health and fitness before deciding on the equipment you need.
Size and space
Consider the amount of space you have in your home for exercise equipment. Will the machine you want to buy fit comfortably in the available space without completely dominating the room?
If space is tight, you may need a machine that can fold away for easy storage. It’s also worth checking the weight of the machine in case you need to move it around your home.
Assembly and setup
Find out how easy the machine is to set up. Will it be ready to use straight out of the box or is there some assembly required?
Ease of use
If possible, try the machine out in store to find out how easy a machine is to use. Is it comfortable to use for long periods? Are all controls easy to understand and reach? What do you need to do to select a new program or adjust the resistance level? Can it be easily adjusted to suit more than one member of your home, not just in terms of fitness level but also in terms of height/reach etc? Does it feel sturdy and durable?
Check how many programs a machine offers to suit different fitness levels. Can you adjust the speed, incline or resistance level to a wide range of settings to provide an easier or more difficult workout as needed?
Check what data the machine gathers and displays about your workout, including things like distance, speed, time, power and calories burnt.
The list of extra features available varies depending on the equipment you buy. On a basic level, these include things like drink bottle holders, book racks and fans to help you keep cool. More advanced features can include HD touchscreens, heart rate monitors, online workouts, and real-world running and cycling routes.
How to find home exercise equipment you’ll actually use
Take a stroll around any suburban neighbourhood on kerbside cleanup day and you’ll find the streets littered with abandoned exercise bikes, rowing machines and treadmills — all of which no doubt seemed like good purchases at the time.
Many home fitness machines don’t come cheap, so you need to be sure you’ll actually use any equipment on a regular basis before you buy. And while your fitness goals are important, it’s just as critical to find a machine that offers a type of exercise you actually enjoy.
For example, if you hate running with a passion, you’re unlikely to get too much use out of a treadmill — despite your best intentions. If you’re looking for a low-impact form of exercise that will be easy on your joints, an elliptical trainer or stationary bike might be a good choice.
Personal preference will be a huge factor in your final decision. It’s worth trying out similar equipment at a local gym
3 things to consider
There are a few other factors you should consider before buying any home exercise equipment:
- Are you better off getting a gym membership? While joining a gym does have its downsides, it also offers several advantages: access to a much wider range of better-quality machines and workout classes, plus tailored advice from trainers and gym staff. Whether or not going to the gym is right for you can vary depending on everything from your budget to how self-conscious you are when exercising. But if you are considering joining a gym, check out our ultimate gym comparison to help find a facility that’s right for you.
- Future-proofing. Remember to consider your current fitness levels as well as your future goals when buying equipment. The right machine for you will not only have programs and workouts to suit your current physical capacity, but also offer more difficult settings you’ll be able to use as your fitness improves.
- New or used. If you’d like to save money on home exercise equipment, you might want to check listings on sites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and eBay for a bargain. Just make sure to give any equipment a thorough inspection before you buy to make sure it’s in good working order.
Home Gym – Home exercise equipment buying guide]
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