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Thanks to technology and sheer innovation, many good things now come in small packages: We wear tiny computers on our wrists (love my Apple Watch), and we geek out over things like portable, foldable, reusable straws (it comes with a case!). The same concepts apply to the best home gym equipment. There is a need to accommodate people who live in small spaces. The best compact exercise equipment spans a range of workout styles, from HIIT cardio machines to adjustable kettlebells.

Just because you live in a small space doesn’t mean you can’t have a home gym. Trust me, I know: I have lived and exercised in a studio apartment, and before I built my home gym, I had to store my bumper plates in my fireplace (no, really). 

Someone–and in many cases, more than one person–at Garage Gym Reviews has had their hands on every piece of equipment listed here. We tested and analyzed important space-saving factors, like:

  • Footprint: Is it small enough to really be called “compact”?
  • Portability: Can you move it around your space easily?
  • Value: Is the price accurate?

We have literally reviewed thousands of products to assess the basics and the details, judging workout gear against criteria like durability and performance. We stand by our recommendations because we don’t just say we like these products, we actually use them in our everyday workouts. 

Best Compact Gym Equipment Video Review

Our Picks for the Best Compact Exercise Equipment

Best Portable Home Gym: MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine

Good for: People who travel or want to be able to take total body fitness on the go

Best Portable Home Gym

MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • All-in-one machine that works different muscle groups
  • Lightweight at 9 lbs
  • Small footprint at 16" L x 10" W x 4" H
  • Produces resistance up to 300 lbs

Pros & Cons


  • Lightweight
  • Small footprint
  • Produces resistance up to 300 lbs


  • Pricey for a small piece of equipment
  • Sub-par accessories
  • Compatible app is not streamlined

Bottom Line

The MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine is a lightweight and portable full body machine, which offers up to 300 pounds of resistance. This makes it an extremely versatile piece of portable equipment with a small footprint.

For heavy resistance training you can take with you, it doesn’t get too much tinier than the MaxPRO SmartConnect Home Gym, which earned a perfect 5 out of 5 on our portability rating. Its folded footprint is essentially the size of a shoebox, and it unfolds to be almost flat to the ground in use. Also, this machine weighs just 9 pounds, so moving it around is wildly easy.

Coop tested the MaxPRO and found it to be way more fun than he had initially expected. He even took it with him on a family vacation because of how easy it is to use and how well it travels. 

The real magic of the MaxPRO is that it packs up to 300 pounds of resistance into the cables you can use to perform upper body and lower body work. You can use it as a standalone functional trainer with just the cables, or, if you purchase the Elite package, you can mount it under a bench or onto a wall to maximize the number of exercises you can perform.

Coop using the MaxPRO Smart Connect Cable Machine to do rows

The “Smart” part of the MaxPRO SmartConnect is in its connectivity to an app that features personal trainers who guide you through workouts that include high intensity interval training and strength training. Coop found the app to be a little clunky, and we are hoping MaxPRO continues to improve on the technology.

Some things to consider when purchasing: First, the MaxPRO only does concentric, not eccentric training. Also, the machine uses battery power. Make sure you keep it charged if you plan on using it frequently.

For more information, read our in-depth MaxPRO SmartConnect Home Gym review.

Key FeatureSmall, lightweight cable machine
Good ForCable machine workouts
Footprint10″L x 16″H x 4″W
Weight9 lbs

Best Compact Home Gym: Tonal

Good for: Anyone looking for responsive personal training 

Best Compact Home Gym

Tonal Smart Home Gym

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • AI gets to know you and makes weight adjustments for you
  • Up to 200 pounds in digital resistance
  • All-in-one gym that takes up minimal space
  • Access to on-demand and live classes
  • 30-day trial period

Pros & Cons


  • AI gets to know you and makes weight adjustments for you
  • Lift up to 200 pounds in digital resistance (much different from free weights)
  • All-in-one gym that takes up minimal space
  • AI assesses your form and gives real-time cuing
  • Access to on-demand and live classes
  • 30-day trial period


  • High initial price tag
  • Accessories cost extra and are pretty crucial to your workouts
  • 12-month initial subscription required (and an additional cost)
  • 200 pounds in resistance might not be enough for heavy lifters

Bottom Line

A complete smart home gym that offers versatility in a compact piece of equipment, but at a high price.

Tonal is among best smart home gym equipment there is, as it has earned a 4.6 out of 5 stars from our expert product testers, many of which have used Tonal for years. A 4.6 is one of the highest scores we have ever given, but it’s because this wall-mounted screen delivers a high-tech, full-body workout — and it’s only a little over 4 feet tall and a little under 2 feet wide.

This is compact, however, there are two adjustable cable arms that extend from the screen. Because of those arms and the movements you use those cables for, Tonal suggests that you have a 7-foot-by-7-foot area in front of the machine to be able to exercise. 

With Tonal, you essentially have a personal trainer on your wall. It uses artificial intelligence to watch your movements as you move through your workout. Tonal can adjust your weight and offer form correction cues as you go. It will count your reps for you (huge bonus for those of us who space out a little in that area). There are even advanced features like “Spotter Mode” that will actually drop the resistance if Tonal senses that you’re struggling on an exercise. 

With your subscription to Tonal, you get access to live and on-demand workouts. The live workouts were added in late 2021. “I think those workouts are good, but there are still some technical things Tonal needs to work through before the live classes rival those of, say, Peloton,” says Coop Mitchel, founder of Garage Gym Reviews and someone who has used Tonal over the course of several years. Still, it’s nice to virtually exercise alongside people when you’re doing intense cardio and strength sessions.

man using Tonal Smart Home Gym at home

To really get the most out of Tonal, you need to have the smart accessories, and those are all sold separately. The unit itself is already around $4,00 plus a mandatory 12-month subscription, so the cost can really start adding up when you throw in the extras like the smart bar, rope, bench, and handles. 

(Pssst: Looking for a Tonal coupon?)

Also, keep in mind that Tonal is wall-mounted, so it isn’t portable. You’ll be bolting this into your wall, so if you live in an apartment, be aware that you’ll be drilling. Tonal also insists on professional installation only (you could void your warranty if you tried to do this on your own).

For more, check out our in-depth Tonal Smart Home Gym review.

Key FeatureAI-driven, wall-mounted home gym
Good ForFull-body cable workouts
Footprint21.50″ W x 50.9″ H x 5.25” D
Weight150 pounds (wall-mounted)

Best Compact Exercise Bike: NordicTrack S22i

Good for: An all-in-one cardio machine with interactive programming

Best Compact Exercise Bike

NordicTrack S22i Studio Bike

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 24 digital resistance levels
  • Incline and decline adjustments
  • Fully rotating touchscreen

Pros & Cons


  • Large 22" smart HD touchscreen
  • Incline and decline ability
  • Compatible with iFIT
  • Adjustable seat
  • Adjustable handles
  • Dual-sided pedals
  • Fan
  • Comes with 2 3-lb dumbbells
  • 24 digital resistance levels


  • Expensive
  • iFIT membership not necessary, but most beneficial
  • Difficult to assemble
  • Can’t be stored in the garage (brand states doing so will void the bike’s warranty)
  • Hard to move and weighs more than 200 pounds

Bottom Line

This is the bike to get if you want an indoor cycling bike with interactive programming, incline and decline capabilities, and all the extras.

Exercise bikes are, in general, among the most compact cardio exercise equipment you can find. By nature, they are smaller than ellipticals and treadmills. So when determining which was the best exercise bike, our team looked at more than just the footprint and factored in how much value you’re getting out of the equipment. Based on that, it really doesn’t get better than the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle line. 

Right off the bat, the Commercial S22i (and its sister, the S15i), are more than just exercise bikes. They use iFIT programming (you get a 30-day trial free with purchase), which gives you access not only to cycle workouts but also strength training, yoga and a host of other fitness classes. Both bikes have screens that swivel so you can rotate the display to do HIIT off to the side. 

So essentially, this is almost like an inclusive home gym. It got perfect 5 out of 5 scores from our testers in customizations, tech capabilities, and the programming.

I fell in love with this bike the minute I put my feet on the pedals and started moving. The Commercial S22i is like one of the best Peloton alternatives because it’s very similar to a Peloton: 22-inch touchscreen, interactive programming that includes live and on-demand classes, pair of dumbbells included. 

RELATED: Peloton Bike Review

Where the S22i stands out is that it has incline and decline capabilities, a feature you don’t often see on exercise bikes. When the bike first went into decline (which happens automatically during workouts thanks to iFIT’s auto-adjust feature), I was almost thrown off balance. It does feel like pedaling downhill, minus the wind in your hair.

woman riding NordicTrack S22i exercise bike with virtual course on the screen

This compact exercise bike packs in a lot of extras: Cooling fan, Bluetooth connectivity to headphones, dual water bottle holders, and a device holder. 

But, it isn’t perfect. First of all, I put together this bike myself, which I don’t recommend. It took me well over an hour because nothing comes preassembled, you have to run wires to the monitor, and attaching the large console really should be done with a buddy, because it’s large and awkward. If you can afford it, opt for the $200 professional assembly.

While there are transportation wheels on the front of the bike, the S22i weighs 200-plus pounds and isn’t exactly easy to move around, especially on carpet. Lastly, if you store any NordicTrack equipment in a non-temperature controlled environment, the warranty may be voided. 

For more on this bike, check out our in-depth NordicTrack S22i review

Key FeatureInteractive programming on a high-quality bike
Good ForCycling workouts; can use iFIT for strength, cardio, yoga, and more
Footprint63” L x 22” W x 60” H
Weight203 lbs

Best Dumbbell Set for Small Spaces: REP Quickdraw Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: Those who want a durable set of adjustable dumbbells

Best Dumbbell Set

REP Fitness QuickDraw Adjustable Dumbbell

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Adjustable dumbbells ranging from 5 to 60 lbs
  • Patented Lock-N-Load steel switches for quick weight changes
  • Can be bought as 30-lb, 40-lb, 50-lb, or 60-lb pairs
  • Fully knurled handle
  • Durability tested for drops
  • Lifetime warranty

Pros & Cons


  • Very durable and tested for drops
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Can be expanded from 30 lbs up to 60 lbs
  • Quick weight changes


  • Adder weights can be a bit slower to add or remove
  • Longer dumbbell at max weight
  • Max weight is only 60 lbs

Bottom Line

The REP Fitness QuickDraw Adjustable Dumbbell is the latest piece of innovative equipment for the company, with patented Lock-N-Load switches for quick weight changes. The dumbbells can go up to a maximum weight of 60 pounds, although they can be purchased at lighter weights and expanded from there. These dumbbells are extremely durable as well, tested for drops at various heights and angles; plus, they’re backed by a lifetime warranty.

If you live in a small space, you can’t have 10 pairs of dumbbells. Getting a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells means having multiple pairs of weights in just two items.

The REP Quickdraw Adjustable Dumbbells are only slightly bigger than a shoe box and provide the same amount of weight options as an entire rack of traditional fixed dumbbells. You get eight weights from 5 to 60 pounds (REP Fitness is planning to release heavier versions in the future). That’s still a win-win in our book, and that’s before you add in the fact that they’re nearly all-metal construction (they get a 4.5 out of 5 on our durability test), can be dropped from up to 32 inches in height (which can’t be said for many other adjustable dumbbells), and feel like a traditional dumbbell.

Man performing chest-supported rows with the REP QuickDraw adjustable dumbbells

Some of our prior picks for the best dumbbell set for small spaces, such as the iconic Powerblock adjustable dumbbells, didn’t feel like traditional dumbbells, while others, like the NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells, couldn’t be dropped due to the large amount of plastic that could crack. That’s all to say that the REP adjustable dumbbells are some of the best-built adjustable dumbbells we’ve ever tested.

We love the flat ends that sat comfortably on our thighs while setting up for shoulder presses, and the knurling is a happy medium that provided extra grip on high-rep exercises. “The knurling feels really nice in the hands,” says certified personal trainer and Garage Gym Reviews Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele. “It is slightly passive so it doesn’t feel like you are going to tear your hands up with dynamic movements like the snatch.”

There’s also minimal plate clanging, which was a huge plus for us in testing.

In our testing, we found it very easy to adjust the weights. You simply drop the weights in their cradle and turn the handle to your desired weight.

There is one major downside to these dumbbells: the 10-pound weight increments. This might not be a problem for experienced lifters, though it might be for people who are trying to get stronger through progressive overload. REP doesn’t sell magnetic plates to add weight to their dumbbells, but products like Platemates would work.

Get even more details on our REP Quickdraw Adjustable Dumbbells review.

Key FeatureDurable, quick weight adjustments
Good ForStrength movements
Footprint20.6” L x 8.45” W
WeightUp to 60 lbs

Best Compact Rowing Machine: Concept2 RowErg

Good for: People looking for a budget-friendly rower that folds in half

Best Compact Rowing Machine

Concept2 RowErg

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Priced around $1,000
  • Uses air resistance generated by the fanned flywheel
  • Advanced PM5 Performance Monitor
  • Low impact full-body workout fitness machine
  • Lightweight and easily portable
  • Can be broken down into two pieces for storage
  • Can also be hung for storage

Pros & Cons


  • Best-selling rowing machine in the world
  • Easy assembly
  • Accommodates users up to 6.6 feet tall and 500-pound weight
  • Ergonomic seat and handlebar
  • Seat is 14”
  • 10-degree angle on handle for natural grip
  • Air-resistance
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) monitor
  • Nickel-plated steel chain
  • Adjustable footrests
  • Easy to store
  • Limited 5-year warranty


  • Priced around $1,000
  • Few built-in workouts

Bottom Line

The Concept 2 Model D Rower is the best rowing machine we've tested and reviewed, including those that are much more expensive like the WaterRower. There's a reason you can find Concept 2 products in nearly every gym in the world, including CrossFit Boxes, and home gyms. After having the Model D for over two years, we are still as satisfied with it as we were on day one.

Generally speaking, the best rowing machines aren’t really compact. They are around 6 to 7 feet long at minimum. However, you can find foldable rowing machines and those that store upright. We chose the Concept2 RowErg for this list because, while it doesn’t fold, it does easily store upright and it’s incredibly lightweight, so moving it around is easy.

I have owned a Concept2 for more than 5 years, and it still works as well as it did on Day One. Since I bought it, I have lived in a small apartment and then moved into a small house, where I kept it in my living room until I built a garage gym.

This scores a perfect 5 out of 5 on our portability rating because at just 57 pounds, it is so wildly easy to move. I have rolled it over carpet, hardwood, grass (gotta love rowing outside), and rubber flooring with zero issues. To store it, you just tilt it upright on the front wheels and flywheel. That’s it.

Having logged literally thousands of miles on the Concept2, I can tell you that this is a machine that is built to last. I’ve never had any maintenance issues with mine. However, I have also been a CrossFitter for close to 10 years, and in that time, I have seen those heavily-used rowers require deep cleans as well as new monitors on occasion.

RELATED: Hydrow Review

Woman using the Model D Concept 2 Rower in her living room

The monitor on the Concept2 RowErg is incredibly easy to use, spitting out all the metrics you need (and some you might even care much about unless you’re really data-driven). You can rotate through different screen views, like making the time the largest feature and the other metrics, like distance, splits, and stroke rate, smaller. I love that you can choose a preset program or even customize a program to count down calories, meters, or time (watching the meters tick off a 5K row is so satisfying).

This machine uses air resistance, so it isn’t quiet. There is a constant whooshing of air through the flywheel. I wouldn’t call it a disruptive noise if you have neighbors, but it isn’t as quiet as magnetic rowers.

Ergonomically speaking, the seat is hard plastic. It’s curved to take pressure off your back, but it isn’t cushioned. The longest row I’ve ever done is a 10K on it, and I had no issues. But if you remember the 2018 CrossFit Games, Event 4: Marathon Row, many of those athletes sat on towels to ease the literal pain in the a@@.

For more, check out our in-depth Concept2 RowErg review.

Key FeatureRowing machine that easily stores vertically
Good ForCardio workouts
Footprint96″ L x 24″ W x 33″ H
Weight57 lbs (68 with tall legs)

Best Resistance Bands: Fringe Sport Latex-Free Strength Bands

Good for: People who want versatility and no latex in their resistance bands

Best Resistance Bands

Fringe Sports Latex-Free Strength Bands

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • No latex
  • Made from medical-grade rubber
  • 6 different resistance levels
  • Purchased individually or in sets

Pros & Cons


  • Made from latex-free, medical-grade rubber
  • Six resistance levels for fine-tuning workouts
  • Available to purchase a single bands or in various sets
  • One year warranty and free shipping
  • Fringe’s website offers movement recommendations for each band


  • Expensive, but could be worth it if they are used frequently
  • No carrying case provided

Bottom Line

Although fairly expensive, these resistance bands are durable. Also, they are latex-free, making them a great option for those with latex allergies and/or sensitivities.

Quality space-saving exercise equipment is often gear you can use in multiple ways. We have tested several resistance bands from Fringe Sport, but the latex-free strength bands secure our pick because they’re allergen-friendly (some people can’t touch latex) and durable.

Many of the best resistance bands are made with natural latex, so they aren’t suitable for those with an allergy to that material. These, however, are perfect for everyone looking to do strength work or perfect an assisted-pull-up.

“I trusted them to do banded pull-up work, and they performed well,” says certified personal trainer and GGR Head of Content Kate Meier.

Woman doing pull-ups using a Fringe Sport Latex-Free Resistance Band

Let’s talk about space. Bands are compact, lightweight, and portable. They weigh just ounces each and are easily tossed into a drawer or basket, or hung on hooks in your garage. 

When it comes to practical use, large-loop tube resistance bands can do a lot:

  • Warm-up exercises like pull-aparts
  • Strength movements like good mornings, presses and squats
  • Assistance for pull-ups and dips
  • Mobility work like banded stretches

Let’s face it: Resistance bands are very much alike across different brands. What we like about the Fringe Sport bands are the medical-grade rubber used to make them and the price. “Price-wise, these are pretty comparable to Rogue bands, and considering these are latex-free, which is important if you have an allergy, I think the pricing is pretty accurate,” Kate says.

That said, Kate noted Rogue’s felt a bit stronger. “I have used both, and the Rogue bands simply feel stronger,” she says.

RELATED: Rogue Resistance Bands Review

Key FeatureAffordable resistance bands
Good ForStrength exercises, stretches
PortabilityCome with carrying case
Weight20 to 175 lbs of resistance

Best Home Exercise App: Future

Good for: Anyone at any fitness level with any amount of home gym equipment

Best Home Exercise App


GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Virtual training from qualified coaches
  • Personal plan designed to help reach your goals
  • Great interface
  • Use our link for 62% off your first month

Pros & Cons


  • Incredible user interface; very well designed and intuitive
  • Choose your own coach based on your personal preferences and goals
  • Lots of variety in your workouts


  • No real-time coaching from your trainer
  • $199 per month membership cost

Bottom Line

An online training program that's staffed by real-life humans, and one of our favorite fitness apps.

It really doesn’t get more compact than having a personal training program on your wrist. Future is one of the most integrated virtual workout apps I have ever seen. It syncs with Android and Apple devices–including the Apple Watch and Android watches–so your workout streams from your phone or wrist. 

Also, you technically don’t need to have any equipment. When you subscribe to Future, you are paired with a certified coach (you can choose your coach yourself or have Future match you with someone). During an initial FaceTime meeting with your coach, you share your fitness goals, the equipment you have, any injuries or concerns, and how much time you can devote to training. The coach then develops a personalized program just for you based on all those factors.

I (and several other people here at Garage Gym Reviews) have used Future for years. I have logged more than 200 workouts with the program, and Coop, the founder of GGR, has logged more than 300.

One of the best features is that your coach can adapts workouts as you acquire new equipment or if you go out of town. We gave the app a 4 out of 5 for interactive features because it’s almost as good as in-person training. During your workout, a video on your phone displays someone doing the movements, and a voice gives you cues to remind you of things like squeezing your core or finishing with locked out arms. You can also video your form during the workout from the app to send to your coach for feedback.

Because Future streams from your phone, you can take your workout anywhere (provided your equipment travels well). Initially, we rated Future lower because it was only compatible with iOS devices. However, in 2023, Future became available on Android devices.

Nathan doing pull-ups and following along with Future app

Also, the technology isn’t perfect; sometimes the app on the watch lags, and if you don’t keep the app updated, you’ll have syncing issues. I have had to re-download the app on my watch several times due to forgetting to update it in time.

The biggest callout is that Future costs $199 a month. That’s a lot of money for a workout program. However, I’m a certified personal trainer, and I can tell you that personalized programming paired with movement instruction and guidance is typically much more than that. Still, it’s a sizable investment.

For more on what this program is all about, check out our full Future review

Key FeaturePersonalized programming from your wrist
Good ForStrength, cardio, HIIT, yoga, and other fitness modalities
FootprintAn app on your phone or watch

Best Compact Treadmill: NordicTrack EXP7i

Good for: People who want a treadmill they can stow away

Best Compact Treadmill

NordicTrack EXP 7i

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 7-inch touchscreen display
  • iFIT-enabled and comes with a free 30-day family membership
  • 3.0 CHP motor suited for walking or running
  • Speeds from 0 to 12 mph with incline ranges up to 12%
  • Folding design
  • 20-inch-by-60-inch cushioned running deck to reduce stress on joints and back
  • Supports weights up to 300 pounds
  • Conveniences include Bluetooth connectivity, a console fan, and tray for storage

Pros & Cons


  • Interactive 7-inch screen allows for easy access to the iFIT library
  • Folding design
  • Large running surface for a folding treadmill
  • Cushioned running deck
  • One-month family membership to iFIT is included with purchase


  • Small screen
  • No tablet or phone holder
  • Heavy

Bottom Line

True to the NordicTrack brand, the NordicTrack EXP 7i is a high-quality treadmill best suited for walkers, joggers, hikers, and the casual runner. With iFIT connectivity, you will have no shortage of motivation to stay on track towards your fitness goals.

There are plenty of folding treadmills on the market, but theNordicTrack EXP7i is one of the most compact running machines out there. It collapses down to around 10 inches. You can store it horizontally–like under a bed–or flip it up on the front wheels to store it vertically against a wall or behind a door. 

What separates this treadmill from other options is the gas-shock folding mechanism. This ensures the treadmill doesn’t slam when you fold it, and can prevent injuries. Even at 222 pounds, it’s still pretty easy to move around thanks to the transport wheels.

I believe that the EXP7i is one of the best treadmills. Let’s start with the assembly process. Larger machines take a long time to put together, and actually require significant parts as you move through the assembly steps. That’s not the case with this treadmill.

NordicTrack Exp 7i Treadmill

“You just simply attach the arms that hold up the controls, and once those are installed you attach your control panel and the arms you use for stability,” says former collegiate athlete and CrossFit Level-1 coach Caroline Lubinsky, who rated the setup a 5 out of 5. “You do need two people in order to move it, however once you get it to the location you want to build it at the assembly is very simple.”

Caroline also points out this compact treadmill comes with an industry standard running deck that’s 60 inches long and 20 inches wide, which is great for taller runners who have a longer stride. “Plus, the 3.0 continuous horsepower motor size is enough for all types of activities,” Caroline says. She rated her workout experience a 4 out of 5—it would’ve gotten a higher score if the 7-inch screen was a little larger.

“For those with bad eye sight, stay away,” Caroline says in her NordicTrack EXP7i treadmill review.

Key FeatureFolds completely flat
Good ForWalking, light jogging, and running
Footprint77.3” L x 35.3” W x 59.6” H
Weight222 lbs

Best Compact Weight Bench: Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2

Good for: People who want a compact weight bench that has incline and decline adjustments

Best Compact Bench

Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Extremely stable, durable and versatile flat-incline-decline bench
  • Lower height profile (17.2" in flat position)
  • Revised locking ring system
  • Commercial grade high-density back pad
  • Transport wheels and additional Ironmaster PRO attachment options

Pros & Cons


  • IPF height (17.2 inches tall)
  • Compact and lightweight (64 pounds without seat, 68 pounds with seat)
  • 11- and 12-gauge steel frame
  • Wide base and large footpads increases stability
  • 11 lockout angles give you incline, decline, flat and upright positions
  • Compatible with most Ironmaster PRO attachments
  • High-density, commercial grade pad is very dense/firm
  • Free shipping
  • Some parts come pre-assembled
  • Vertical storage
  • Great warranty (10 years)


  • 10.25-inch width back pad may be narrow for some
  • No handle to assist with transport and storage
  • The seat does not have its own adjustment and is always at a 90 degree angle
  • Some reviews reported that the tapered seat is narrow and uncomfortable
  • Upholstery on back seat is not non-slip

Bottom Line

The Ironmaster Super Bench PRO is undoubtedly a well-constructed, sturdy, and extremely versatile bench that is a great option for most home gym users. However, if a narrower back pad and seat is something that bothers you, this bench may not be your cup of tea.

All the best weight benches are going to take up a fair amount of space (they do, after all, have to support a whole human), but the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2 makes the most out of the space it takes up by offering incline and decline adjustments, a commercial-grade back pad, and 11 lockout angles.

For those in small spaces who need something easy to move, this earned a perfect 5 out of 5 on portability, thanks to vertical storage, a handle, and front transport wheels. That last piece is key because it allows you to safely stand the bench up when it’s not in use without the fear that it’s going to fall over and injure someone or cause damage.

Coop Mitchell, founder of Garage Gym Reviews, has this bench in his own home gym and uses it often. He loves the changes Ironmaster made between the first and second iterations: a handle for portability, laser-etched numbers for seat and pad adjustments, and a tapered pad.

The biggest reason we love this bench besides its attachments, which we’ll get to in a second, is just how sturdy it is. You can lift some serious weight on this thing and not feel it wobble at all—it has a 1,000-pound weight capacity when flat and a 600-pound limit when used as an incline bench, so unless you’re Tom Stoltman or Larry Wheels that should be more than enough for your lifting needs.

“The frame mixes 11- and 12-gauage steel,” Coop says. “I’d prefer 11-gauge throughout, but the mix does lighten the overall weight of the bench.”

Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2 6

Our one big beef with this weight bench is that the seat is at a 90-degree angle at all times and can’t be adjusted. The back pad is also 10.5 inches in width, when the industry standard is closer to 11.5 to 12 inches, so it may not be the best pick for bigger lifters.

If your workout space permits it, this bench can also be equipped with a number of different attachments:

  • Crunch sit-up attachment
  • Bar dip handle
  • Seated press pad
  • Chin-up bar
  • Leg attachment
  • Preacher curl attachment
  • Hyper core attachment
  • Cable tower attachment
  • Dumbbell spotting stand
  • Head extension

For more, check out our full Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2 review.

Key FeatureStores upright and offers 11 adjustments
Good ForStrength exercises
Footprint47″ L x 22.5″ W x 17.2″ H
Weight65 lbs (69 lbs with seat pad)

Best Kettlebell Set for Small Spaces: REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell

Good for: People who don’t lift heavy but want multiple kettlebell options

Best Kettlebell Set for Small Spaces

REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Feels like a traditional kettlebell
  • Incredibly durable, especially for an adjustable kettlebell
  • Clearly marked weight increments

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons


  • Feels like a regular kettlebell
  • Weights are quick and easy to change
  • Weight adjusts to 24kg
  • Rubber bottom helps protect flooring
  • Offered in kilograms and pounds


  • Plastic changing mechanism could break

Bottom Line

If you close your eyes (although we don’t advise it because kettlebells are heavy) when using the REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebells, you will think that you are using a regular kettlebell.

One of the most challenging aspects of building out a complete home gym is finding the room for ALL THE WEIGHTS. You need a heavy kettlebell for farmers’ carries, a light kettlebell for overhead stability work, and one that’s juuuuuust right for swings. Put those side-by-side, and you just lost about 3 square feet of precious space. 

Then the REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell swoops in like a hero with a space-efficient cape. We have tested quite a few of the best adjustable kettlebells, and this one if one of our favorites.

REP Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell

“If you’re looking for an adjustable kettlebell that feels like a regular kettlebell — meaning you can do two-hand swings and snatches and more — than this is the one to get,” says Coop Mitchell, GGR’s founder who has used the REP adjustable bell. “It’s the best value for most people.”

It comes in three options (two in kilograms and one in pounds) and each one quickly adjusts among five different weights.

Your options include:

  • 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 kg
  • 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 kg
  • 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 lbs

Each one features a cast-iron shell with a matte powdercoat, which we found in our testing provides a secure grip that mimics a standard kettlebell. There is also a rubber bottom, which is great if you’re concerned about your home gym flooring.

“Plus, these are incredibly easy to adjust,” Coop says. “It has a plastic button, which I don’t love because it’s plastic, but all you do is turn the knob to the weight you want and pull the bell off the weight stack.” Coop says the changing mechanism has no friction, and the process is incredibly smooth.

At around $170, this isn’t the cheapest kettlebell out there. However, it ships free, and this is a product that will last.

Key Feature5 kettlebells in one unit
Good ForStrength training
Footprint10″ H
Weight8 to 16 kg, 16 to 24 kg, 20 to 40 lbs

Best Foldable Exercise Bike: Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike

Good for: People who want to log miles on a no-frills, stowable bike

Best Foldable Exercise Bike

Marcy Fitness Upright Foldable Exercise Bike

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sturdy
  • 14-gauge steel frame
  • Adjustable seat
  • Transport wheels for portability
  • Comfortable seat
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Weighs just 37 lbs

Pros & Cons


  • Sturdy, even when pedaling hard
  • Design is aesthetically pleasing
  • Comfortable padded seat
  • Made of 14-gauge steel


  • Heavier than most competitors
  • Shows only basic stats (time, distance, calories)
  • No heart rate monitoring

Bottom Line

A sturdy and affordable exercise bike that's a great fit for home gyms of any sizes.

When it comes to the best folding exercise bikes, there’s one thing you should know: These aren’t going to be high-tech, full-of-frills machines. Their value proposition is how small they are. If you go into it knowing that, then you have accurately calibrated your expectations and won’t set yourself up for disappointment. 

That’s the lens we had to take when testing multiple foldable bikes. Our staff writer, Amanda Capritto, says the Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike tops the list and has even found a permanent spot in her home gym. Yes, it’s small and light and easy to move, like any other folding bike, but the quality construction sets it apart. Amanda gave this a 5 out of 5 for durability, noting the thick, 14-gauge steel makes the Marcy bike feel incredibly sturdy during workouts, even during hard pedaling. 

Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike

She also says that the LCD display on the Marcy bike is larger than most of the other screens you find on these compact bikes. True, it only displays time, calories, and distance, but that’s pretty standard for these machines. 

Amanda points out that while there aren’t many levels of resistance (just eight), this is great for beginners or can be used effectively in warm-ups and cool-downs. 

Get even more details from our in-depth Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike review.

Key FeaturePortable bike that folds
Good ForCardio exercise
Footprint34” L x 19” W x 44” H
Weight37 lbs

Best Vertical Climber for Small Spaces: MaxiClimber

Good for: Those who have a bit more ceiling space and want a unique cardio machine 

Best Vertical Climber

Maxi Climber

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Vertical climber that allows you to pull down on tall handles while completing steps similar to a traditional elliptical or stair stepper
  • Advertised for people who are looking for a low-impact yet maximum-movement machine that targets fat burning
  • Follow fitness routines on the free MaxiClimber fitness app, compatible with iOS and Android

Pros & Cons


  • Maxiclimber App free download for coach-led classes
  • Low-impact form of cardio
  • Easy assembly
  • Varying resistance levels for all users on the XL


  • Weight limit of 240 lbs on the Classic and 300 lbs on the XL
  • Reviews say customer service can be difficult to reach or receive missing parts
  • Some buyers claim that their product broke within several days or weeks of use
  • Lack of varying resistance on the classic climber

Bottom Line

These products are low-impact cardio machines that are great for all fitness levels. If you’re looking for a new and unique piece of cardio equipment, both of these models could be a solid addition to your gym.

We have to say right off the bat that the MaxiClimber is a compact piece of exercise equipment, but only if you have taller ceilings (you’re going to need at least 8 feet of ceiling space). So it might not work for those living in an apartment or whose home gym is in a basement. For everyone else, allow us to tell you why we love this and think it’s one of the best vertical climbers.

Firstly, there’s a wide variety of workouts on the MaxiClimber app for you to pick from based on how much time you have and your fitness goals. The app isn’t the best and is prone to crashes, but we can’t complain too much since it’s free.

man stepping on to maxiclimber

Secondly, the workouts are low-impact, so while you’re working just about every muscle group in your body and getting a high-quality cardio workout, your knees won’t be angry at you the next day (which is always a plus in our book). 

Several people on our team have used MaxiClimber. “It can certainly be a tough workout,” Coop says in our MaxiClimber review. “It’s low-impact like an elliptical, but if you want to push it, you can have a great workout.” 

Back to its compactness—one of the big reasons we picked this over other vertical climbers is it’s lightweight (only 33 pounds), so it can be easily moved from room to room if needed, giving it a 5 out of 5 on portability. Plus, it’s under $500, whereas other high-quality climbers can cost thousands.

We recommend the MaxiClimber XL-2000 over the Classic. The XL-2000 has a 300-pound weight capacity, slightly larger foot pedals, and aluminum construction over plastic parts. This means it’s slightly more expensive, but we think it’s worth it to have a higher quality machine.

Key FeatureCardio machine that has a small footprint
Good ForCardio exercise
Footprint28.3” x 35.82”
Weight33 lbs

Best Bodyweight System: TRX Suspension Trainer

Good for: Anyone looking for a portable bodyweight resistance training system

Best Bodyweight System

TRX Home Suspension Trainer

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Durable nylon webbing straps with locking adjusters
  • Carabiner tested at 1,300 lbs
  • Door anchor allows for use in any room with a sturdy door
  • Suspension anchor hang straps off bars, hooks, etc.
  • Comes with TRX App with workout options
  • Mesh Carrying Bag

Pros & Cons


  • Durable nylon webbing straps
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Comes with TRX app


  • Learning curve for some exercises
  • Expensive compared to other suspension trainers

Bottom Line

The TRX Home Suspension Trainer is a great way to get a full-body workout with a lightweight and portable piece of equipment.

If you’ve ever done a TRX class, you know how challenging the work is. A former Navy Seal, Randy Hetrick, is credited with developing the patented method and equipment in the 1990s, though we saw Total Resistance eXercise really explode in the early 2000s when commercial gyms started offering classes.

Fortunately, you don’t have to step into a gym to do TRX anymore. These lightweight, highly portable straps can be mounted to your ceiling or secured in a doorway for a workout that targets all your major muscle groups. The entire kit–straps, door anchor and suspension anchor–can be tossed into the accompanying mesh bag for easy storage just about anywhere in your home.

Anyone at any fitness level can benefit from working out with the Suspension Trainer. I have used it for years, both in my own workouts as well as in training clients. It excels in areas like core stabilization, supported leg movements, and challenging upper body work. I had been doing CrossFit for years before I took my first TRX class. At the time, I thought I was incredibly fit, but that class proved to me that I had gaps in my fitness. 

Using the straps does require either knowledge of the exercises or some kind of guidance, so I wouldn’t exactly call these beginner-friendly. However, when you purchase the TRX Suspension Trainer, you get access to a seven-day trial of the TRX Training Club, which offers live and on-demand classes. After that, your options for subscription are as little as $4/month. 

Key FeatureStraps that can be anchored anywhere
Good ForStrength and core exercise
FootprintPortable straps

Best Compact Elliptical: ProForm Pro HIIT 14

Good for: Cardio fanatics who enjoy HIIT training

Best Compact Elliptical

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

GGR Score: 3.9 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Unique hybrid trainer that focuses on high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Combines upper-body punching movements with elliptical stepping 
  • Effectively work your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps, and triceps. 
  • iFIT-enabled and a 30-day family membership is included
  • 14-inch smart HD touchscreen display
  • 26 resistance levels with silent magnetic resistance
  • 30-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel

Pros & Cons


  • Works your entire body
  • Quick, intense workouts
  • Low-impact
  • Compact
  • Immersive training
  • Preprogrammed workouts available with WiFi connection


  • Assembly is reportedly difficult
  • Not great for casual workouts
  • Subscription required for full functionality

Bottom Line

The ProForm HIIT H14 is a high-quality and uniquely designed hybrid trainer that effectively provides intense workouts on a compact machine.

I’ve always been a fan of elliptical training for its low-impact, high-output style. It’s running without running, which is my favorite kind of running.

The ProForm Pro HIIT 14 is one of the most compact ellipticals out there. Whereas most home elliptical machines are around 7 to 8 feet long, this is just over 4 feet in length because it’s tall, not long. Its design is more of a stair stepper, which saves you substantial space.

RELATED: Best Compact Elliptical

Our product testers got a chance to test this out at the iFIT headquarters, and one of the first things they did was tray to move it. It weighs more than 200 pounds, but there are front transport wheels on it to make moving it a little easier.

proform pro hiit h14 in use

“You can move this around a room using the transport wheels for just an average person, but you’d definitely need another set of hands for moving this up or down the stairs,” says GGR product tester Caroline Lubinsky.

Due to its compact nature, this resembles more of a vertical climber rather than an elliptical. Instead of long, running-like strides, the pedals glide in much more of an up-and-down motion. This gives you a swift kick in the glutes!

As far as workouts go, the Pro HIIT 14 is compatible with iFIT programming, which streams on the machine’s 14-inch touchscreen. You get a 30-day free trial with your purchase, unlocking access to literally thousands of live and on-demand workouts. iFIT auto-adjusts the speed on the machine so all you have to do is think about surviving your workout.

Like many high-end machines, this has a high price tag of around $1,700, though financing is available. Also, the assembly is complicated. We gave it a very low 2 out of 5 because you can expect the process to take a few hours. Keep that in mind you may want to tack on an extra $200 for in-home assembly.

Read more in our ProForm Pro HIIT 14 review.

Key FeatureVertically-designed elliptical
Good ForHIIT and low-impact cardio
Footprint52″ L x 29″ W x 66″ H
Weight225 lbs

Best Pull-Up Bar: Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pull-Up Bar 

Good for: People who want to do pull-ups in their doorway

Best Pull-Up Bar

Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pull-Up Bar

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Less than $40
  • Multi-grip options with comfy foam grips
  • Amazon Prime shipping
  • Easy mounting

Pros & Cons


  • Costs less than $40
  • Multiple grip options
  • Easy to mount
  • Eligible for free Amazon Prime delivery
  • Comfy foam grips


  • Might smudge door frame
  • Foam grips aren't very durable

Bottom Line

The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull-Up Bar is a solid budget-friendly pull-up bar for home gyms.

One of the best bodyweight and best back exercises is the pull-up, but it’s also one of the most challenging to do in your home. Most of us don’t want to bolt a bar into our living room wall. The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pull-Up Bar is one you can use in any standard-sized door frame. It isn’t a permanent fixture; you slide it into place when you’re ready to use it, and take it down when you’re done.

When it comes to the best pull-up bar for a small space, we really like this because it’s so easy to stow away. It can fit under your bed or easily in a closet. It weighs less than 7 pounds, so moving it around is incredibly easy. For such a small, lightweight bar, it shockingly holds as much as 300 pounds.

The way it works is that there is a bar on the unit that rests on the top of the door frame. Another bar spans across the other side of the door frame, which essentially locks it into place. You’ll have to do a bit of angling in order to secure it, and double- and triple-check it before you start going. 

At around $30, this is a highly versatile piece of equipment that gives you options. In terms of grip, you can really only do pronated and supinated pull-ups because it’s just a straight bar. However, there are options for wide and traditional grips. Also, you can place it on the floor and use it for elevated push-ups, dips and planks. 

A word of warning: You shouldn’t do any kind of kipping or swinging pull-ups on it. That could jar the bar loose and result in injury. Also, some people report that this leaves scuffs on their door frames.

Key FeatureDoorway pull-up bar that can double for core work
Good ForPull-ups and hanging exercises, core work
Footprint38″ L x 15″ W x 14″ H
Weight6.2 lbs

Best Workout Mirror for Small Spaces: lululemon Studio Mirror 

Good for: Affordable in-home personal training and cardio workouts

Best Workout Mirror

lululemon Studio Mirror

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Can be used as a full-length mirror when not in use
  • 50 different types of workouts
  • More affordable than most other workout mirrors
  • Can't be moved once installed
  • Great video quality

Pros & Cons


  • Delivery and installation process was super easy, quick, and seamless
  • Visual and audio quality are absolutely outstanding
  • Looks great in any room, blends in like any normal mirror when not in use
  • Has a massive workout library spanning more than 50 genres
  • Two-way camera allows for real one-on-one personal training


  • Lacks in the programming department; grouped-together workouts seem somewhat haphazard
  • Despite its futuristic design, MIRROR is not a touchscreen
  • It can feel weird to know there’s a two-way camera

Bottom Line

The MIRROR is a nearly invisible smart home gym that installs in your wall or leans against it on a carbon frame stand. When not in use, the MIRROR serves as an aesthetic full-length mirror. In use, the MIRROR offers more than 50 different types of workouts, from strength training to yoga to cardio HIIT.

When it comes to interactive virtual training, the lululemon Studio Mirror does it better than just about any other product we have tested. Taking up around 8 square feet of your wall space, the Mirror requires you to have just enough room to move your body comfortably through exercises (that’s about 6 feet by 6 feet for most of us, but you could potentially get away with less). 

You can also use Mirror on a stand mount, though this is still secured to a wall. Whichever option you choose, professional installation is included in the price. Trust us, you want the pros to do this. 

A workout streaming on the MIRROR in living room - mirror review

The Mirror is on our best workout mirrors roundup in part due to its exceptional high-energy classes and extensive library. You have options that include on-demand or live workouts for Pilates, yoga, cardio, boot camp, strength training and even pre-/post-natal exercise. 

One of our staff writers, Amanda Capritto, says that one of the Mirror’ best features is the personalized training, giving it a 4 out of 5 when rating it.

“I went into this experience fully understanding that I may not like the workout content on the Mirror—but also knowing that my preferences aren’t the same as everyone else’s,” says Amanda, a certified personal trainer who loves the barbell. “I’m so glad I gave it a shot, because it was actually pretty fun.” 

Using a two-way camera, Mirror connects you to a certified trainer who customizes your workouts and guides you through them. This is an additional cost (around $40 for a 30-minute session) on top of the $40-ish a month subscription.

The types of workouts you can do with Mirror include:

  • Barre
  • Boxing
  • Cardio
  • Chair
  • Competitive
  • Dance
  • Family
  • Kickboxing
  • Meditation
  • Pilates
  • Pre- and postnatal
  • Strength training 
  • Stretching
  • Tai chi
  • Toning
  • Yoga

There are few downsides to purchasing a Mirror. One is that you only get the Mirror, so if you want to do strength training, you’ll have to BYO equipment. The other is that you control Mirror via an app, not on the actual product itself (it’s not a touchscreen). It’s not overly cumbersome, but it is one area we think Mirror could be improved.

To learn more about our take, read Amanda’s full lululemon Studio Mirror review.

Key FeatureFree-standing workout mirror you can move around
Good ForCardio and strength training
Footprint52.6″ H x 21.1″ W x 1.7″ D
Weight70 lbs

Other Compact Exercise Equipment We Researched

There are a lot of great pieces of equipment that didn’t make our list but that we still feel are worth mentioning:

small exercise equipment

Cardio Machines

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical: I actually really like this elliptical for people on a budget who also don’t have a lot of space. It’s around $500, has preset workouts and a short stride, which means it won’t take up much room. At this price point, it’s hard to find quality machines. While this isn’t an elliptical that would withstand heavy use, it would be just fine for home workouts.

Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Magnetic Bike: For a durable, sturdy stationary bike with a small footprint that costs around $500, this is my favorite. Magnetic resistance means it’s quieter than fan bikes, and there is no chain that would require maintenance. There’s also no fancy touchscreen, but there is a device holder you can use if you want to follow an app.

Assault Air Bike: I have one of these at home. While CrossFit has replaced Assault with the Rogue Echo Bike, I still like the OG air bike. It’s incredibly easy to wheel around, and it isn’t much larger than other stationary bikes. Also, nothing destroys your soul quite like sprints on the Assault Air Bike. There are a few pre-programmed workouts, but nothing interactive. The chain definitely needs love from time to time, which is why this didn’t quite make our best-of list.

Home Gyms

Tempo Studio: Massive touchscreen, weights included, 3D sensors that give you feedback on your form: Tempo Studio is the complete package. You don’t need much room for this standalone virtual trainer, either. However, it doesn’t include the heavy weights that something like Tonal can provide. Also, Tempo Studio is one of the most expensive home gyms on the market. (Pssst: Get the best Tempo discount codes.)

compact workout equipment

Tempo Move: Tempo announced in late 2021 the addition of “Move,” which costs under $500 and gives you a lot of the benefits of the Studio: virtual training, weights included. You do need to have an iPhone XR or later and a TV to use it, however. We haven’t gotten to try it (yet) but are looking forward to it.

NordicTrack Vault: The Vault made our list of the best workout mirrors thanks in part to its slim and sleek design, ideal for people who want to do full body exercises in a small space. It even comes with kettlebells, dumbbells and a mat. This didn’t make the cut on our list simply because we found that the workout equipment doesn’t store quite as nicely as it’s supposed to.

Strength Equipment

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells: We actually recommend the Bowflex as one of our top picks for adjustable dumbbells. They are shaped like traditional dumbbells, and the weight changes extremely easily. Plus, they are affordable compared to many other similar products. The biggest drawback we see is that they max out at 40 pounds, which might not be heavy enough for many.

best compact exercise equipment

NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells: The NÜOBELLs are some of our favorites: They sport a great knurled handle, traditional dumbbell shape, and they adjust weight faster than possibly any other adjustable dumbbell out there. However, they are expensive, and for the price, we think they use too much plastic. 

How We Picked and Tested

We have a team of people who use, test, and review equipment. When it comes specifically to evaluating the best compact workout equipment, we had a discussion around what pieces we had used that make sense in small spaces based on a number of factors, such as:

  • Footprint: We looked for items that could be used in a space no larger than a living room
  • Portability: Products that stood out to us were those that could be moved around with ease
  • Stowability: Bonus points to fitness equipment that could be put away easily
  • Versatility: Could the product be used in multiple ways for multiple exercises

Many of the items on this list actually live in our own homes and garage gyms. We know what it’s like to interact with them daily. Someone on our team has used each piece of equipment for multiple workouts to assess factors like durability, performance, ease of use and ergonomics.

Benefits of Compact Exercise Equipment

If you have ever lived in a small apartment, shared a small home with multiple people, or simply tried to do a workout in your living room, you know how valuable it is to have space. For many at-home workouts, you don’t need much more than a 7-foot-by-7-foot space (enough room to lie down and move around). 

Owning compact exercise equipment enables you to:

  • Work out just about anywhere in your home: garage, family room, bedroom, yard, heck, even in the kitchen
  • Move equipment to other rooms/spaces for flexibility
  • Take your equipment with you when you travel
  • Stow gear away when it isn’t in use 

What to Look for in Compact Exercise Equipment

If you don’t have a ton of space, then finding fitness equipment with a minimal footprint is key. Here are some key considerations:

woman using the Bowflex Max Trainer M6


Most people looking for space-saving exercise equipment have one main concern: size. A squat rack, barbell, and bumper plates can take up quite a bit of floor space. And cardio machines? Well, they tend to be big, heavy, and overwhelming. 

So, measure your space, and compare it with the measurement of the equipment. Also, just because something is big doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a dealbreaker; there are products like folding treadmills and foldable bikes that actually transform the footprint of the workout machine. 


If you’re like me, you transform any space in your home into a gym. I’ve even moved my squat rack into the kitchen on occasion, because sometimes a lady likes to snack while she squats. 

Before I invest in equipment, I’m often checking to see how easily I can move it around. Some important factors there include:

  • Transportation wheels
  • Product weight
  • Product size

Also, if you travel a lot, find portable gym pieces that can go with you. Maintaining your fitness routine on the road is important. Resistance bands and yoga mats travel well; bumper plates, not so much. 


I’m a sucker for equipment that takes up a little space and can be used for a lot of things. I think adjustable dumbbells have got to be one of the most fantastic products out there. You can go heavy for dumbbell deadlifts and squats, or keep it light for accessory and mobility work. All in one product!

Not every piece of equipment will have more than one use, but many on our list do: Cardio equipment that comes with interactive programming often has yoga and strength training classes, and you can get whole-body workouts with home gyms.

RELATED: Best Dumbbell Exercises


It’s always wise to read the fine print. Check out the following for any piece of exercise equipment you are considering:

  • Warranty
  • Return policy
  • Initial trial period


You’ll obviously want to keep your budget in mind when looking for the best compact exercise equipment but you should also consider what’s going to give you the most bang for your buck. For example, it might be worth it to go a little over your budget if you find a piece of equipment that can be used for multiple training methods instead of buying multiple items.

FAQs About Compact Exercise Equipment

What are three things you should do before you buy exercise equipment?

Before investing in exercise equipment, do the following:

1. Assess policies like the warranty, return policy, and if there is a free trial period
2. Read the review, like the ones in our extensive library on Garage Gym Reviews
3. Make sure it aligns with your fitness goals and budget

What basic equipment might you need to start exercising?

We have a list of home gym essentials that serves as a great guide for people just starting to build out their arsenal of workout gear. To be honest, you just need the motivation to start exercising. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can do. 

However, if you really want to see progress, we recommend having some kind of strength training equipment, such as adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells, or, if you have the space, a barbell and bumper plates. Resistance bands are a great option as well. 

What is a disadvantage of home exercise equipment?

The only disadvantage to buying home exercise equipment is that you have to spend money. And to be frank, having a home gym is quite possibly one of the best investments you’ll ever make. You’re investing in your health and wellbeing. Besides, there are plenty of great options for budget home gym equipment out there. 

What is the best one piece of exercise equipment?

Our picks include:

Best Workout Mirror for Small Spaces: MIRROR 
Best Compact Treadmill: Echelon Stride
Best Compact Home Gym: Tonal
Best Vertical Climber: CLMBR
Best Compact Exercise Bike: NordicTrack S22i
Best Foldable Exercise Bike: Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike
Best Compact Elliptical: Bowflex Max Trainer M6
Best Home Exercise App: Future
Best Pull-Up Bar: Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Best Dumbbell Set for Small Spaces: PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells
Best Kettlebell Set for Small Spaces: Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell
Best Bodyweight System: TRX Suspension Trainer
Best Portable Home Gym: MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
Best Compact Rowing Machine: Stamina ATS Rower
Best Resistance Bands: Rogue Monster Bands

What is the most compact exercise equipment?

There are many ways we could answer that question, but ultimately we’d have to say it’d be the Rogue Monster Bands due to their small size and versatility.

What is the best all-in-one home gym for small spaces?

Our answer would be Tonal since it can produce hundreds of pounds of digital resistance, takes up minimal amounts of space, and has world-class programming. The only people we wouldn’t recommend this to are those who rent or anyone who doesn’t want to mount their home gym to a wall.

Further reading

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