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Being able to have a full body workout at home instead of a gym can be a luxury for some, but if you spend a lot on gym fees anyway it can work out to be a good deal in the long term to invest in some equipment for your home. If you can find the best home gym under $500 wouldn’t that make sense? It’s easier to be motivated to workout regularly when you have this piece of equipment right at home and you can build strength as well as muscle mass all over with it.
We have done the research to find inexpensive home gyms that are durable and have all the necessary attachments and stations to give you good value. A weight plate gym that you most often find in club gyms are expensive so they don’t feature here. Those can handle lots of additional weight plates until you reach its listed capacity. However, other than their cost, they’re also quite bulky.
There are two other types of home gyms that fit in this $500 budget – a power rod resistance gym and a weight stack resistance gym.The top picks are reviewed below, but we also explain separately what different types of fitness gyms are available and give our picks on the most compact ones for small homes.
- 1 Compare Best Home Gyms Under $500
- 2 Power Rod Resistance Home Gym
- 3 Weight Stack Resistance Home Gym
Compare Best Home Gyms Under $500
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Type of Resistance||Total Weight Resistance||Dimensions (inches)||Price|
|Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym||4.5||power rods||210 lbs||84” x 38” x 82”||$$$$|
|Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym||4.1||weight stack||200 lbs||68” x 36” x 79”||$$$$|
|Gold's Gym XRS 50 Home Gym||3.8||weight stack||280 lbs||63.6" x 37.6" x 78.6"||$$$|
|Weider 2980 X Home Gym System||3.3||weight stack||214 lbs||65" x 37" x 76"||$$|
|Titan 150 lb Stack Home Gym||4.5||weight stack||232 lbs||70" x 39" x 80"||$$|
Power Rod Resistance Home Gym
Bowflex has cornered the market on this type of home gym. The way a power rod gym works is through the bending of several flexible rods that are attached in various ways to the various gym stations. This resistance is progressive, as in it increases the more the rods are bent. Therefore, you can start off a workout with low resistance and steadily increase it without stopping just by working out harder and therefore bending the rods more. This type of gym provides a low impact workout compared to a traditional weight stack gym, so it’s the preferred option for those who have weaker joints. It’s as effective in building strength but slightly less effective in building muscle mass, so body builders may prefer a weight stack gym.
Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
The Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym will enable you to strengthen your muscles and still allow you to add some cardio training into the mix. It has a broad range of resistance and can go as low as 5 or go as high as 210 pounds.
The gym is versatile. With more than 30 strength exercises, it enables you to exercise your chest, arms, abs, shoulders, back and lower body. It features hand grips for triple-function lat pull-downs, four-inch roller cushions that allow leg curl and leg extension exercises and a horizontal bench press. It even has a rowing machine rail that you can fold up and out of the way after doing your workout exercises!
The Bowflex PR1000 is well built, sturdy, and easy to use. It offers enough exercise options to give your entire body a proper workout and if you use it consistently, it will keep you in great shape. The maximum user weight it can handle is 300 pounds. The dimensions of the assembled unit are 84” x 38” x 82” and will require a 100 by 78 inches minimum workout area. We’ve also picked this as one of the best compact home gyms to buy.
It is easy to assemble and will only take an hour or two of your time with the easy to follow instructions. It is also quite easy to move if you have someone to help you. The gym gives you value for your money, and it is one of the few machines that offer cardio rowing.
Changing the cables to switch to a different exercise can be a bit tedious and will interrupt the smooth flow of your overall workout. While almost everything else seems to work well, a few men who have been strength training for a while feel that the maximum resistance is not enough. Others say that the resistance is more than enough if you do each exercise slowly instead of trying to do quick and jerky cardio repetitions. This is because power rod resistance gyms are meant for slow and controlled movements in order to feel the maximum stated resistance.
Weight Stack Resistance Home Gym
A weight stack gym is the traditional type of gym that you also find in some club gyms. Body builders can have a very good workout here but you usually have to stop in the middle to change attachment clips when you change a workout. However, some models at least let you add weight resistance using a weight plate selectorized system instead of making you add and remove weights each time. It is also slightly more jarring on the joints than a power rod resistance type gym. The total resistance available here is usually a little more than the resistance provided solely by the weight stack because it typically includes one or more pulleys that also provide some calibrated resistance. Unlike commercial type weight plate gyms, once you reach the maximum total resistance offered by the weight stack that comes with the unit, you have to replace the entire stack and can’t just add more plates. Therefore, you should pick a gym carefully and try to chose one with a high maximum resistance.
Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym
If you want to enjoy quality weight stack gym training without going to the gym, you ought to try the Marcy 150 lb Stack MWM-990 Home Gym. It is compactly designed and is versatile, providing you with a broad range of options when working out.
It has a dual function press arm (vertical butterfly and chest press) and adjustable preacher curl bicep pads that you can use together with the lower pulley while in a seated position or when you want to pump some iron. You can do the hammer and barbell curls without straining your back too much. An upper pulley lets you do ab crunches, and if you want to do easy leg workouts, the dual function leg developer aligns with your knee joints, providing you with a comfortable workout position. You can easily target the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. The double pulley station has high and low lateral bars to provide you with a variety of options when strengthening your triceps, biceps and back muscles.
It features 150-pound of vinyl coated weights for a total of 200 Lbs of resistance. The gym is constructed using durable material and the heavy duty 14-gauge steel is made to last. The padded roller pads on the press arm and leg developer feel pretty comfortable.
The gym’s dimensions after assembly are 68L x 36W x 79H inches and is quite stable. It rests solidly and does not sway when you do exercises.
With this gym you don’t have to spend your hard earned money on a high-end machine that will provide the same service. It is compactly designed, and it can fit into a small room. The height is less than 7’. While you have to change attachment clips to change between various workouts, you don’t have to worry about adding and removing weights, as it uses a selectorized weight stack.
The instructions are not well detailed but you don’t need a professional to assemble it. It might take you a while before you can assemble the entire machine alone, so you will need an extra pair of hands if you expect to do it well and fast.
Gold’s Gym XRS 50 Home Gym
The Gold’s Gym XRS 50 Home Gym features a combination chest press plus butterfly arm that is guaranteed to give you great results when it comes to upper body development. The home gym also has a 4-roll leg developer and high and low pulleys for lats and back muscles, and glutes and leg muscles.
It includes a chart to guide you through some of the exercises. The chart is designed by a certified personal trainer. Other additional features include a 112-lb. stack vinyl weight and a multi-grip lat bar. Depending on the type of exercise you do, the total resistance you get with this is a whopping 280 lbs. The gym is designed to target the whole body by providing a full range of options for your workout exercises. However, the gym could work better with ankle attachments and a preacher bench.
Sewn vinyl seats made with durable material also sweeten the deal by ensuring that you always sit comfortably. The materials used to build it are durable. You will be required to assemble it and the pulley may prove to be most difficult to assemble. You should definitely take your time when you get to this part. Although the assembly is relatively easy after that with the well labeled instructions, it is not something you can pull off by yourself. You will need an extra pair of hands. The dimensions after assembling are 63.63L x 37.6W x 78.6H inches.
The gym gives you value for your money. It is sturdily built and of high quality. It is compact and is not likely to take much of your space. The weight lock works well and makes it safe to use especially when the kids are around.
Weider 2980 X Home Gym System
The Weider 2980 X is a six in one workout station that caters for all your fitness needs. It includes a chest press, leg developer, high pulley, preacher curl, chest curl and low pulley station. Your selection of vinyl weights and type of exercise may vary from time to time, but the cable-and-pulley system in the product will offer you a maximum of 214 lbs. of resistance. The total combined weight of the DuraStack weights is 80 lb, offering the perfect blend of fluid motion and durability.
The high pulley has a lat bar. It will come in handy whenever you wish to fine-tune your lats and back. It allows you to use many hand positions to achieve maximum results. The low pulley is perfect for performing exercises that will help in building and toning your biceps, forearms, deltoids, triceps, trapezius, rhomboids, etc.
With the chest fly, your major and minor pectoral muscles plus shoulders and chest muscles will be well built and defined in no time. The 4-roll foam leg developer will facilitate the development of your lower body muscles.
The station is made of steel tubing, which is durable and designed to last for many years. It is easy to assemble and will only take a few hours if you follow the instructions carefully. It is compact and will take up very little space. It can even fit in your bedroom. The price is quite affordable, and it is excellent for beginners with little experience.
Due to the small size of the base, it might feel a bit unstable and might sway a little when you are lifting weights. It could also use a few more options when it comes to weight; some half weights would be an excellent addition, especially for lower pulley exercises. However, the resistance steps for the upper pulley when doing chest presses are just right. Serious body builders might need to add more weights in the future.
Titan 150 lb Stack Home Gym Total Fitness Strength Equipment Exercise
Titan Fitness may not be among the big players here, but they make a very good and inexpensive home gym with a 150 lb weight stack to provide an overall resistance of 232 lbs. You will need a slightly higher ceiling to accommodate it because it reaches to 80″, but its base is standard at 70″ by 39″.
The high and low pulley system with the two handlebars lets you do multi-position hand grip chest and butterfly presses, lat pulldowns and leg extensions, and there’s an adjustable preacher curl attachment with extra large rollers for comfortable curls.
Assembly is easy and fast with the instructions and just a a wrench and socket set once you figure out which nuts and bolts go where. This is because they’re not labeled.
Overall, this home gym is of great value for its build quality and high functionality.