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When building a home gym on a budget, determining what equipment to buy and where to put things can be difficult. So, to give you some inspiration, here are the 10 best budget home gym setups we’ve encountered.

Two of the biggest buzzwords among those that work out at home are “budget” and “home gym.” The reason is large that everyone wants a gym at home, but also wants to spend as little money as possible (especially when starting out.)

Building a home gym with some of the best budget home gym equipment has become easier than ever. For one, there are a ton of companies making budget-level home gym equipment that although cheaper than what was available in previous years, is still of decent quality. The second reason it’s easier than ever is that there are a ton of reviews available on equipment.

On Garage Gym Reviews alone, we have well over 2,000 reviews and ratings from both us and users that are ever-increasing. Lastly, and this is the basis for this article, is there are many people posting their setups on how to build a home gym on the cheap for inspiration.

More inspiration can be found in our guide to the Ultimate $1,000 Budget Home Gym.

1. Small Room Budget Home Gym

Small Room Budget Home Gym

This gym is the ultimate response to the phrase, “buy only what you will use.” Rather than buying a massive power rack that takes up an egregious amount of space, this gym uses a Rogue R-3 Power Rack as the centerpiece.

Best Budget Power Rack

Rogue R-3 Power Rack

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

When building a home gym on a budget, determining what equipment to buy and where to put things can be difficult. So, to give you some inspiration, here are the 10 best budget home gym setups we’ve encountered.

Two of the biggest buzzwords among those that work out at home are “budget” and “home gym.” The reason is large that everyone wants a gym at home, but also wants to spend as little money as possible (especially when starting out.)

Building a home gym with some of the best budget home gym equipment has become easier than ever.

 » Read more about: The 10 Best Budget Home Gym Setups I’ve Ever Seen  »

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The Rogue R-3 is one of the most well-liked squat racks in the world. Featuring 100+ reviews with a 4.9 star rating, there are few that can match it.
  • The 2"x3" upright is compatible with a wide range of standard accessories from a myriad of companies.
  • The R-3 utilizes 11-gauge steel that is strong enough for just about anything you can throw at it.
  • The rack is listed as having a 1,000+ LB rating, but it can likely handle 3-4x that amount.
  • The side panels of the rack are welded rather than bolted which is often considered to be stronger.
  • The R-3 comes standard with a double pull-up bar that is skinny on one side and fat on the other to really tax your grip.
  • The R-3 is designed to be bolted down to concrete or a wooden platform. Bolting the rack down will allow it to be secure during heavy squats or even allow kipping pull-ups if you compete in CrossFit.
  • Pin Pipe Safeties allow you to bench alone without worrying about being visited by an ambulance.
  • The R-3 was the first power rack to feature Westside Hole Spacing which is 1" spacing through the bench and clean pull zone that makes it easier to get the safeties dialed in.
  • The R-3 is made in the USA of US-sourced steel.
  • It comes in multiple heights including 90" standard or a shorty version that is 84"

Cons

  • If you don't plan to bolt the rack to the floor, then you'll want to avoid the R-3 as it's too unstable if not bolted down.
  • Due to the rack being made in the USA, it's more expensive than imported competitors like the Titan Fitness T-3, although it is a superior product.
  • The R-3 utilizes stickers instead of laser-cut logos like on some of it's other racks.
  • There's only 24" of open space between uprights that makes some people feel claustrophobic.

Bottom Line

The Rogue R-3 is one of the most popular power racks in the world, and for good reason. We're big fans of the rack, so much so in fact, that Coop owns three of them (they're in his personal training gym.) If you want a power rack that doesn't take up a ton of space, has the ability to bolt to the ground, and has an endless amount of available accessories, then the Rogue R-3 is what we suggest.

The R-3 is based on a design from Westside Barbell with fully welded panels, 1” hole spacing through the bench area, and a thick powder coat. This rack is definitely on the top of my list for best power racks I used in my garage gym for nearly three years and I still have it.

Although this is made by Rogue, it’s one of their best squat racks that are budget-friendly and is great for those short on space due to its short depth.

The squat cage sits on a DIY Weightlifting Platform that is just big enough to allow deadlifts without feeling cramped. Do-it-yourself equipment is a common theme among gyms that are trying to stay on a budget and is something everyone should consider. This one uses rubber puzzle-style mats that should limit the noise from dropping weights and protect their foundation.

Be sure to also check out the best training shoes to provide you with the right support.

barbell gun rack

In addition to the squat rack, this gym has a barbell gun rack with a curl bar, Rogue Ohio Power Bar (one of our top picks for the best powerlifting barbell) a Rogue Bar 1.0, a Rogue Boneyard Bar, and the EliteFTS SS Yoke Safety Squat Bar. None of these barbells are what you would consider “cheap,” but they are on the lower-end price-wise for quality barbells. The two places we suggest people spend money are barbells and racks and that’s exactly what this gym has done.

Read my in-depth Rogue Ohio Power Bar review here.

In between the rack sits a REP FB-5000 Competition Flat Bench. We’ve written various reviews on the FB-5000 and it is currently our top pick for the best weight benches for most people. Although a great bench, it’s still priced well.

home gym setup

On the other side of the gym sits a Titan Mass Storage Rack. This is the same storage rack I have in my garage gym, but he has the smaller version. There are a few bumper plates and quite a few 45 LB plates that were likely purchased on Craigslist as well as a small number of dumbbells. Lastly, is a Wall Control Pegboard setup that has all sorts of attachments, resistance bands, knee wraps, and the like. These are quite cheap on Amazon for the versatility they provide.

RELATED: Best Home Gym Storage

Equipment Ideas for a Small Room Budget Gym

  • Squat rack
  • Weight bench
  • Barbell
  • Weight plates
  • Dumbbell set
  • Resistance bands
  • Wall storage
  • Shelving

2. College Kid Bedroom Gym

College Kid Bedroom Gym

Lack of money is not the biggest reason for not starting a home gym. It’s honestly a lack of desire. The reason I say that is because I constantly see people with hardly any money figuring out a way to start working out at home. You don’t have to have an insanely tall squat rack or overbuilt barbell, you just need some basic items and look into some of the best home gym equipment to get you started.

This home gym is in a bedroom right next to where the guy sleeps. He didn’t have a ton of space or money, so he made do with what he had.

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 800 lbs weight capacity
  • 2" x 2" 14-gauge steel frame
  • Comes with chrome plated safety hooks and bars
  • 2" hole spacing
  • Multi-grip pull-up bar
  • Optional attachments for J-hooks, dip bars, weight plate holders, landmine, and cable attachments

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Multi-grip pull-up bar
  • Comes with safety bars

Cons

  • 14-gauge steel not the strongest
  • Chrome safety bars and hooks can be damaging to barbells

Bottom Line

The Fitness Reality 810XLT is a power rack with good value. Although not the sturdiest power cage on the market, it has a weight capacity and build that will satisfy the overwhelming majority of home gym owners.

The centerpiece of the gym is a low-price power rack from Amazon called the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage. This is a great beginner rack due to its price and features (there are actually quite a few accessories available for it.) On the back of the rack, a lat pulldown attachment was added that increases the price quite a bit, but isn’t needed unless you do a lot of bodybuilding-type movements. The multi-grip pull-up bar and spotter pins allow for a lot of versatility in addition to the normal functions of a power cage.

RELATED: Building A Budget Home Gym on Amazon

In addition to the rack are a standard Olympic Barbell, a multi-grip bar, and some Olympic plates. It doesn’t look like there’s a ton of weight, but plates are something that can be added slowly over time as you find them on Craigslist. In the middle of the rack ists an adjustable bench that also includes a preacher curl and leg extension attachment. Although we don’t love these types of benches, they work if you want extra versatility, just don’t expect them to feel that great or be very stable.

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells

NordicTrack 55-Pound Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 15 weight options in 2.5-lb or 5-lb increments
  • 10-pound knurled handlebar 
  • Included storage tray
  • Includes a 30-day trial to iFIT
  • Compact piece of equipment with a smooth weight selection design

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Space-saving
  • 15 weights in one piece of equipment
  • Includes storage tray
  • Moderate knurling

Cons

  • Great value, but an investment
  • May feel awkward when fully loaded

Bottom Line

NordicTrack’s 55-pound Select-a-Weight adjustable dumbbells are versatile and space-saving, offering users 15 different weight options in one.

The other standout piece of equipment that likely gets quite a bit of use is the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. These are probably one of the best value adjustable dumbbells on the market, although we prefer NordicTrack Select-A-Weight. Check out my in-depth Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells review here! The rack and the rest of the equipment all sit on a DIY Weightlifting Platform that appears to have some cushion on the bottom for sound suppression. I would estimate this entire setup could be had for under $1,500, maybe even $1,000 if bought on sales or on Craigslist.

3. Murphy Bed DIY Apartment Gym

Murphy Bed DIY Apartment Gym

Now this one is definitely a bit off the wall, but when you don’t have a ton of space, you do what you can. This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this, and to be honest, it’s pretty genius. As you’ll see, in place of a bed, Ryan, who posted in our Garage Gym Community Facebook Group, placed a deadlift platform outfitted with rubber stall mats that can be folded up to hide his entire gym. Once laid out, the pieces that were hidden are a barbell that sits on built-in notches that simulate a squat rack (we wouldn’t recommend lifting very heavy on this, however) and some shelves for various pieces of equipment. These include some of the best bumper plates as well as a budget-friendly adjustable bench, some gymnastics rings, and Powerblocks Adjustable Dumbbells. This is how you get creative without spending a ton of money or having a lot of space.

RELATED: Best Exercise Mats

4. Minimalist Garage Gym

Minimalist Garage Gym

This is an extremely clean and well-lit garage gym (large thanks to the glass panel garage door.) I think the perfect descriptor for this space is that it’s minimalist. There are very few pieces of equipment cluttering the area and a ton of working room. For more assistance in building and extending this gym, check out our Ultimate Home Gym Guide (for any budget) to learn more.

Best Cheap Lat Pulldown

XMark Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown and Low Row Cable Machine

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

The XMark Lat Pull-down and Low Row Cable Machine XM-7618 targets the upper back, shoulders and arms. The XMark XM-7618 is uses 11-gauge 2" x 3" steel, nylon coated aircraft quality cables, extra-thick 3" Dura craft cushion, a flip-up footplate for use with the low row bar and two 14" chrome Olympic sleeve adaptors.

There are really 4 main pieces of equipment. On the left is a lat pulldown made by XMark Fitness called the XMark Heavy Duty Lat Pulldown. For the price, it’s probably one of the best-value plate-loaded lat pulldowns due to how smoothly it operates for the price.

Next to that is a bench press called the Powertec WB-OB16 Olympic Bench. This is a surprising piece of equipment to be featured in this gym because it’s really not designed to be used as a squat rack. That said, this may just be a home gym that’s used when the owner can’t get to their commercial gym. Then to the right of that is a plate tree with iron plates and a dumbbell rack with rubber hex-head dumbbells.

What really makes this gym appealing in my eyes is the awesome photography along the back wall and the massive mirror contrasting the garage door. Although I prefer more equipment, this is enough to get the job done for most.

Here are my recommendations for The 10 Most Important Budget Home Gym Tips to help you.

5. Ultimate Budget Powerlifting Home Gym Setup

Ultimate Budget Powerlifting Home Gym Setup

This basement gym has everything you need to squat, bench press, and deadlift without anything extra. Literally, there are plates, a combo rack (designed for squatting and benching out of,) a deadlift platform with band pegs, a couple of barbells, and some plates. That’s it.

The centerpiece and most expensive part of this gym is the combo rack. A combo rack is called such because it can be used for both squatting and benching. It’s what is most often used in Powerlifting Meets and is great to use because it’s easy to change heights while the bar is still loaded. I don’t love this combo rack because there are no spotter arms which is dangerous when training alone, but it appears to possibly be homemade.

Legendary Power Bar

Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

GGR Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Aggressive mountain knurl
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 3 finishes available
  • Priced around $295

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mountain knurl
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Three finishes
  • Under $300

Cons

  • 190K PSI 
  • Thinner diameter at 28.5 mm 
  • No stainless steel option available

Bottom Line

A fan favorite powerlifting barbell.

The most expensive piece(s) of equipment in the gym is the Rogue Calibrated Powerlifting Bar. There are quite a few 25KG plates that are the heaviest and therefore the most expensive, but if you want to practice as you play, these are your best bet. I’m not sure what all of the barbells are, except I know one of them is a Texas Power Bar from Buddy Capps which is one of the most legendary power bars ever created.

Read our comparison between the Rogue Ohio Power Bar vs the Texas Power Bar.

Read my full Rogue Calibrated Powerlifting Plates review.

Although there are some expensive items in this gym, there are only a few pieces so we would still categorize this as a great budget-friendly setup for a competitive powerlifter.

6. Shipping Container Gym

Shipping Container Gym

Not everyone has space in their home for a gym. Some decide to build theirs outdoors while others decide to buy a shipping container, drop it in their backyard, and build it up into a compact, low-price, DIY setup. This is just that scenario.

Here is my step-by-step guide to Building A Budget Home Gym from Titan Fitness.

The main piece of equipment in this gym is a Titan T-3 Squat Stand. This squat stand is modeled after the Rogue S-2 Squat Stand and is a compact, free-standing rack with a built-in pull-up bar. This type of rack is actually the first squat rack I ever had and it gave me many years worth of serviceable performance.

gym storage

The most impressive part of the gym, and I’ll think you’d agree is all of the DIY Storage areas. In the back of the gym is a standard bookshelf type of storage, but along the walls are both barbell and sled storage that gets heavy, large pieces of equipment off the floor and onto the walls. This includes kettlebells and weight plates as well. He even is using a cable pulley system for low rows to target his back muscles in the picture, showing just how versatile a shipping container gym can be.

7. Rooftop Home Gym with Turf

Rooftop Home Gym with Turf

This is about as unique of a gym as we’ve ever posted. One, it’s on a roof in China. Two, the entire thing is covered in repurposed football field turf. Three, you can see the entire layout thanks to a drone shot overhead. I love it.

Best Folding Squat Rack

Rogue RML-3WC Fold Back Wall Mount Rack

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

The Rogue Custom Color Fold Back Rack includes all the features of our original retractable Monster Lite RML-3W Power Rack, with the added ability to select your own color finish for the unit's 90.375" uprights.

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • The Rogue RML-3WC Folding Squat Rack is likely Rogue's best selling squat rack (it has almost twice the amount of reviews as any other rack.)
  • Featuring a rotating hinge system, the RML-3WC is able to fold away when not in use making it great for a garage gym that still wants to have access for a car to park or a home gym that wants a rack that goes out of the way.
  • The 3WC version differs from the RML-3W only in that it is available in various powder coat colors. Everything else is the same.
  • The uprights of the rack are made of 3"x3" 11-gauge steel that is the same as what's used in Rogue's highest-end line, the Monster Series of racks.
  • Due to the standard sizing of the uprights and a ⅝" hole size, the RML-3WC can use all of the Monster Lite line of accessories as well as those from other companies like Titan Fitness and Rep Fitness that use a similar geometry rack tubing.
  • When unfolded, the rack is far enough away from the wall that the weight plates as well as your head won't feel uncomfortable when squatting or benching.
  • A pull-up bar comes standard with the rack which detaches when not in use and adds stability when in use.
  • As with all Rogue Squat Racks, this is made entirely in the USA of US-sourced steel.
  • Rogue has developed a laser-cut stringer system that makes installing the rack pretty easy and looks much better than a DIY wood stringer.
  • The j-cups are rated for 1,000+ LB, and thanks to the weight being pretty close to centered on the upright, there isn't a ton of stress placed on your wall studs.
  • No need to bolt it into the floor, which saves your concrete foundation.

Cons

  • As with most Rogue racks, this isn't the cheapest folding squat rack available.
  • Due to what is required to fold the rack away, we've noticed that many people end up leaving the rack unfolded, which defeats the purpose and the extra expense that's paid for a folding squat rack.
  • Although folding away so the rack is out of the way is superior to a stand-alone rack for those with space considerations, a rack that folds up is an easier and quicker mechanism because no disassembly is required. For this reason, we recommend the PRx Performance Profile Rack if you can stomach the extra cost.

Bottom Line

The Rogue RML-3WC Fold Back Squat Rack is a very popular, space-saving squat rack for home gym owners. In our review, we've found the RML-3W to be an excellent folding rack, if you plan to actually disassemble the pull-up bar and fold it away. If not, then we suggest getting a stand-alone rack due to increased versatility. Regardless, this rack has the typical level of quality we've come to expect from Rogue at a fair price for made in the USA equipment.

Although I wouldn’t suggest to most to cover your entire gym in turf, it’s probably the best option for this outdoor gym. The equipment that’s featured here is pretty simple. A fold-away Rogue RML-3WC in a matching Bright Blue colorway as well as some barbells, plates, and crash pads for dropping weight. Be sure to also check out the pros/cons of the Rogue RML-3WC.

There’s a whole lot of fitness that could be accomplished here, outside, on top of a roof.

8. Olympic Weightlifting Shed Gym

Olympic Weightlifting Shed Gym

Olympic Weightlifting only requires a set of bumper plates, an Olympic barbell, maybe some barbell collars, and a platform. Sure, a squat rack would be helpful for accessory movements, but even it isn’t needed. This makes this sort of training absolutely perfect for a barebones budget home gym, or in this case, a shed gym.

This gym is built inside of a standard shed that includes a roll-up garage door, horse stall mats, and a concrete foundation. Although it likely gets pretty cold in the winter, most of the year this would be an absolute dream to train in.

Best Basic Squat Stand

Rogue S-1 Squat Stand 2.0

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 48" D x 48" W x 72" H
  • 114-lb squat stand
  • Weight capacity of over 1,000 lbs
  • 2" x 3" 11-gauge steel
  • Westside hole spacing

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 11-gauge steel
  • High weight rating
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • UHMW liners on J-hooks

Cons

  • No pull-up bar
  • Not as sturdy as a bolted-down power rack

Bottom Line

The updated Rogue S-1 Squat Stand is a heavy-duty stand with a high weight capacity of over 1,000 pounds. Made from 11-gauge steel, this stand will last, plus the UHMW liners on the J-hooks will help protect your barbell from metal-on-metal wear.

The equipment that fills this gym is a DIY Weightlifting Platform (pretty common among cheap home gyms,) a Rogue EU Weightlifting Barbell, a Rogue S-1 Squat Stand, and some American Barbell Urethane Bumper Plates for the best bumper plates.

All of this equipment is top of the line, but because there are so few pieces, it makes an awesome setup within reach for most people trying to lift at home and build a great home gym setup.

9. Second-Hand Backyard CrossFit Gym

Backyard CrossFit Gym

Depending on your climate, a backyard gym would be the absolutely ideal setup. This gym features a lot of used or low-cost gym equipment to create a mini CrossFit Box in his backyard.

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to the Best CrossFit Exercises

The Assault Bike

Assault AirBike

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Heavy-duty exercise bike
  • Monitor is easy to use
  • Affordably priced
  • Uses a chain drive, not a belt drive

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • A staple in many CrossFit gyms
  • Great, easy-to-use monitor
  • Made of mostly metal for great durability
  • Matte black finish
  • Comfortable seat
  • Rubber grips on handles are very durable
  • Affordable for an air bike

Cons

  • Chain-driven system that requires additional upkeep
  • Some rocking side to side
  • Screws may come loose often

Bottom Line

The Assault AirBike was once the standard air bike for CrossFit athletes. In our testing and reviews of the bike, we’ve found it to be durable and enjoyable (not in the traditional sense) to use.

Both the squat stand and bench are made by CAP Barbell. The squat stand is called the CAP FM-905Q Squat Stand and at under $200 most of the time is one of the cheapest squat racks available. It has plate posts on the back to increase stability and a pull-up bar to do kipping pull-ups and muscle-ups like I’m sure this guy does.

In addition to the rack setup, this gym has an Assault Bike that is one of the top and best air bikes among CrossFit Games Athletes as well as a plyo box from Rogue and some gymnastics rings. Although this is a pretty basic CrossFit Setup, there are a ton of different methods that can be accomplished with this equipment.

RELATED: Best Exercise Bikes

10. Basic Bodyweight Calisthenics Home Gym

Basic Bodyweight Calisthenics Home Gym

Not everyone trains with a barbell and plates. Some like to focus on bodyweight movements like pull-ups, levers, pistol squats, and gymnastics ring movements. For that kind of training, this setup is great.

The pull-up bar is there for static movements and the gymnastics rings are available for more dynamic, instability-type movements. If you don’t have a lot of space or money but still want to be able to do some training at home, this type of setup can be both cheap and effective.

Best Budget Home Gym Setups: FAQs

Is it cheaper to build a gym at home?

A home gym is also far less expensive in the long run than a gym subscription. We’ll delve into more specifics in the following section, but the majority of home gyms could end up being less expensive for their owner in less than three years when compared to the cost of a commercial gym membership.

Is a home gym worth it?

A home gym can not only be as successful as a commercial gym in keeping you fit, but it can even be more effective. Faster workouts, convenience, and the desire to use something you’ve spent so much money on can all motivate you to exercise more frequently.

How much does it cost to setup a gym at home?

A home gym can cost as much or as budget-friendly as you make it, with the normal price range being anywhere between $300 and $15,000. The average is roughly $2,000.00.

What is the best basic equipment to get for my home gym?

At the bare minimum, we’d recommend a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a barbell, weight plates, and a squat rack.

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