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If you’re deciding to start a garage gym, one obvious thing you’ll have to consider is the price. It’s tough to commit a lot of money to a home gym, so often new home gym owners are considering budget-friendly options in their home gym equipment. However, there are many home gyms and pieces of equipment that provide a full-body workout to really help you save money on those first couple of purchases.

Here at Garage Gym Reviews, our team of certified personal trainers, CrossFit Level 1 Trainers, coaches, and competitive athletes have researched and tested dozens upon dozens of pieces of home gym equipment, looking at each item’s versatility and value. Keeping the price point low, we’ve amassed our top picks for the best home gyms under $500.

Each item on this list has a low price point while also offering a lot of value in its versatility. If you’re anxious about making that first purchase for your home gym, take a look at these items to help you make an informed decision.

The Best Home Gyms Under $500

Best Home Gym Under $500 Overall: TRX Home Suspension Trainer

Good for: Those wanting a total bodyweight workout from a compact, inexpensive trainer

Best Overall

TRX Home Suspension Trainer

GGR Score: 4.3 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

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

The TRX Home Suspension Trainer takes any bodyweight workout and elevates it—literally—by suspending half your body in the air, recruiting stabilizing muscles and activating the core in a way few other pieces of fitness equipment can.

Weighing in at only a couple of pounds, and able to fold away into a bag, or hang from a door or pull-up bar, TRX is a compact piece of equipment that provides a variety of upper body, lower body, and core exercises, all wrapped up into one compact system.

Although I focus mostly on Olympic weightlifting, I’ve used TRX straps before in my accessory work, and I’ve found the handles and foot cradles comfortable. The cradles were able to adjust for my size 14 feet, and the handles have a light foam for added comfort.

The nylon webbing straps are durable and will last, and the straps come with a carabiner, tested to hold up to 1,300 pounds; I was never worried about the straps or equipment breaking on me.

Man using TRX Suspension Trainer

Using the TRX straps is a definite challenge if you’re not used to bodyweight exercises. Suspending yourself for push-ups, rows, and hamstring curls certainly adds difficulty to these basic exercises. While it won’t replace training with free weights, TRX is definitely a great way to use your own bodyweight as resistance.

If you’re new to bodyweight training, then the TRX trainer has a steep learning curve, and might require some modifications to several exercises at first. Additionally, TRX is generally a little pricey when compared to other suspension trainers on the market. However, at $229, the TRX Home Suspension Trainer is a solid pick for your home gym, providing versatility that makes it some of the best exercise equipment on the market.

Interested in purchasing this suspension trainer? Make sure to check out our exclusive TRX coupon code to save on your purchase!

Price$229.95
Product Weight1.5 lbs
FootprintNot disclosed
Warranty2 years

Best Bench Under $500: Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2

Good for: People needing a versatile weight bench that can handle attachments

Best Bench

Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2

GGR Score: 4.7 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

Pros

  • 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)

Cons

  • 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.

The best weight benches can provide a platform for a variety of exercises, as well as variations of exercises. Our favorite bench under $500 is the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro for the variety of angles at which it can be positioned, as well as the variety of its attachments.

The bench can be positioned along 11 different lockout angles: from decline to flat to incline and upright, and everything in between. When not in use, it can be vertically stored—it can be propped upright and is designed to stand fine—making it a pretty compact bench. Also, it has a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds while flat, and 600 pounds while at an incline, so it should be sturdy enough for most fitness enthusiasts.

Ironmaster provides a wealth of attachments for an adjustable bench, including a preacher curl, dip bars, crunch sit-up, and a leg attachment for curls and leg extensions. However, no attachments are included with the bench, so be mindful that attachments will start to add to the cost. Even though Ironmaster offers bundling costs, they’ll still start to add up on top of the nearly $500 weight bench.

One issue we have is that the seat pad, while updated to have three adjustable heights when the bench is upright, still remains at a 90-degree angle relative to the bench in every position, which can be awkward at certain incline angles. While the bench pad has been updated from its first version to have a tapered width, the thinnest width is 10.25 inches, which still may not be a great width for larger athletes. With that said, the amount of exercises that can be done from this bench makes it a solid choice for a home gym starting piece.

Price$499
Product weightNot disclosed
Footprint47” L x 22.5” W x 17.2” H
Warranty10 years

Best Compact Home Gym Under $500: Fringe Sport Latex-Free Strength Bands

Good for: Those wanting to perform resistance training while saving space

Best Compact

Fringe Sports Latex-Free Strength Bands

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Maybe you don’t have a lot of space to get a home gym started. One of the most compact training systems available for that situation is a set of resistance bands, and that’s just what you’ll get with the Fringe Sport Latex-Free Strength Bands. Because these resistance bands are latex-free, they are priced slightly higher than many of the best resistance bands on the market. But you’ll still get a ton of variety for well under $500.

A full set of six bands is priced just under $200, but you may like knowing you can purchase bands separately if you don’t want to commit to all six bands at once. If you go for the entire set, you’ll have tons of variety with resistance ranging from 20 pounds to 175 pounds. This offers enough variety to perform everything from light face pulls and lateral raises to band squats and deadlifts.

RELATED: Full-Body Resistance Band Workout

Kate Meier, GGR director of content and expert product tester, tried out the Fringe Sport Latex-Free Strength Bands. “These are super sturdy and very similar to most pull-up assistance bands I’ve tried,” she says comparing them to Rogue Monster Bands.

But instead of traditional latex, Fringe Sport manufactures these bands from biomedical-grade synthetic rubber, making these bands ideal for anyone with a latex allergy. “Price-wise, these are pretty comparable to Rogue bands,” says Kate. “Considering these are latex-free (which is really important if you or your clients have an allergy) I think the pricing is pretty accurate.”

Price$192 (complete set of 6); bands can also be sold separately
Product weightNot disclosed
Band length40”
Warranty1-year

Best Cable Machine Under $500: Titan Fitness Wall-Mounted Pulley Tower V3

Good for: People wanting a compact functional trainer

Best Cable Machine

Titan Fitness Tall Wall-Mounted Pulley Tower V3

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Wall-mounted pulley tower with a 350-pound weight capacity 
  • Functionality of a functional tower with smaller footprint 
  • 2” x 2” steel tubing 
  • Included: Wall-mounted functional tower, spring clips, dual stirrup handles, wall-mounting hardware
  • Additional accessories available: triangle grip attachment, stainless steel lat bar, tricep rope pulldown attachment, V-shape tricep press down bar, multi-grip cable attachment

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • New and improved version 3
  • Free shipping
  • Pulley tower with smaller footprint
  • Rubber feet to protect flooring
  • Wall mounting hardware included

Cons

  • Short warranty at 1-year
  • May take time to arrive—can be backordered
  • Customers recommend watching YouTube video for assembly
  • Customers complain pulleys feel low-quality

Bottom Line

The Titan Fitness Tall Wall Mounted Pulley Tower V3 is a great value if you are looking to add a pulley system to your home gym.

When we think of a total gym for our home workouts, we commonly think of big, bulky functional trainers or cable machines with a large footprint and a large price tag. However, there are some options to save space with a cable system. Take a look at the Titan Fitness Wall-Mounted Pulley Tower, for example. At only 25 inches wide and 27.5 inches deep, this is one of the more compact pulley systems on the market, and all for under $300.

Loading weight on the Titan wall-mounted pulley tower

GGR founder Coop Mitchell recommends this as the best pick among ultra-budget cable machines. In addition to having great value, Coop even recommends purchasing a second tower and mounting it nearby the other tower to create a DIY functional trainer. In addition, you can adjust the pulley ratio from 2:1 to 1:1 by simply joining the cables. This will impact the level of resistance you’ll feel compared to the weight; 20 pounds will feel like 10 with a 2:1 ratio.

Instead of a weight stack, the tower is plate-loaded, meaning you add weight plates to the tower for resistance. The tower has a weight capacity of 350 pounds, which should be great for most people.

Being a budget piece of equipment, the pulleys on it are made of nylon instead of aluminum, which is a lesser quality and won’t be as smooth of a feel as the cable travels through the pulleys—although it should help preserve the cables for longer.

Still, with 18 adjustment points for the handle that travel up and down the 80.5-inch-high upright (84.5 inches on the tall version), it can act as a high pulley or low pulley, and everything in between. This makes the Titan machine a pretty versatile and compact piece of equipment for a low, low price.

For more of our thoughts on this trainer, check out our in-depth Titan Wall Mounted Pulley Tower V3 review.

Price$279
Product weight65 lbs
Footprint80.5” or 84.5” H x 25” W x 27.5” D
Warranty1 year

Best Weight Set Under $500: Powerblock Sport Series Adjustable Dumbbells

Good for: Lifters wanting a heavy set of adjustable dumbbells that can be upgraded

Best Weight Set

PowerBlock Sport Series Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Replaces 15 pairs of dumbbells
  • Has a small, compact footprint
  • Easy to change weights
  • Add expansion kits for up to 90 lbs per hand 

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Weight goes up to 90 pounds with add-ons
  • Durable, especially for an adjustable dumbbell
  • Weight increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds

Cons

  • Rectangular shape and caged handle might be tough for some
  • Returns subject to 20% restocking fee
  • Can't get full range of motion

Bottom Line

The PowerBlock Pro is built to last and replaces 15 pairs of traditional dumbbells in a much smaller footprint.

Even if we’re talking about budget home gym equipment, we want equipment that can grow with us and our gains as we build muscle. That’s why our best weight set under $500 is the Powerblock Sport Series Adjustable Dumbbells. At just over $400, these adjustable dumbbells can be changed from 5 to 50 pounds, giving you a decent range of weights if you’re new to weight training.

Additionally, you can purchase expansion kits to make the maximum weight 70 pounds or 90 pounds. The expansion kits will set you over the $500 mark, but you don’t have to purchase them all at once. As you get stronger, you can make these purchases to keep the dumbbells challenging for all sorts of different exercises: presses, squats, lunges, or curls.

Coop standing in his garage gym with PowerBlock Dumbbells

One of the biggest issues people will have with Powerblocks in general is the shape of them—literal blocks. Because of the square cage surrounding the handle, these dumbbells may not be as versatile as traditional dumbbells, as they can’t be gripped with two hands easily. So movements like goblet squats or French presses may be cumbersome to perform.

Additionally, the caged handle can feel bulky to some, making the movement of certain exercises a little awkward, and some people may have trouble getting the full range of motion, especially at heavier weights. Many adjustable dumbbells have been created to have more of the feel of a traditional dumbbell, but still few can get as heavy as Powerblock dumbbells.

You can read more about the Sport Series and the other series offered in our Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbells review.

Price$409
Product weight50 lbs each, with expansion options
Footprint12” L x 6.5” W x 6.5” H
Warranty5-year limited

Best Home Gym Under $500 for Strength Training: X3 Bar

Good for: People wanting a compact home gym that provides plenty of resistance training

Best For Strength Training

X3 Bar

GGR Score: 4.14 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Up to 300 lbs of force
  • Upgrade to up to 600 lbs
  • Free workout program included
  • No assembly necessary

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can create up to 300 pounds of force (up to 600 if you get the Elite Band, sold separately)
  • Free 12-week workout program with high-quality workout and nutrition advice
  • Bar has great knurling
  • No assembly necessary
  • Bands are dipped in layered latex, making them thick and durable

Cons

  • Platform’s embedded rollers don’t allow bands to roll during lift, but that's nitpicky
  • Quite pricey at around $550 (financing available)
  • Only 1-year warranty for the bands
  • Some complaints of the bands wearing down after only a few weeks

Bottom Line

A compact piece of strength training equipment that combines the best parts of resistance bands and barbells into one.

Okay, I may be stretching the concept here a little bit. The X3 Bar technically isn’t under $500, but it’s close enough to $500 that I needed to include it. Additionally, when talking about a budget-priced full-body workout machine, the X3 Bar is it. 

Invented by the “Tony Stark of the Fitness Industry” Dr. John Jaquish, the X3 Bar was designed to use resistance bands for training. Using a ground plate and special bar with these bands, you can perform multiple low-impact exercises training various muscle groups using this home gym. It has a very small footprint, making it ideal for small spaces and capable of being your entire home gym.

x3 bar close up

The bands offer up to 300 pounds of resistance, which will be more than enough for a majority of exercises. For those who want a challenge for deadlifts, an elite band can be purchased for an extra $100, providing up to 600 pounds of resistance. That’s a lot of resistance in just a band.

Dr. Jaquish argues that the constant and variable tension in resistance training is optimal in building muscle and in strength training, more so than free weights. While this is still a hotly debated topic, it is certainly a good and compact way to train. Plus, the X3 Bar comes with a 12-week program.

Some reviews claim that the bands have worn down prematurely after only a matter of weeks. The warranty should have you covered in that time frame, but it is something to consider. And while we like this all-in-one product a lot, we’d warn you not to buy into all the claims made by Dr. Jaquish, as they often seem exaggerated, although based in some truths.

You can learn more from our in-depth X3 Bar review.

Price$549
Product weight17 lbs
Footprint10” L x 19” W x 1” H (ground plate), 21.5” L x 12.5 “ D (bar)
Warranty5 years, 1 year for bands

Best Durable Home Gym Under $500: Kensui EZ-Vest

Good for: Lifters wanting a weighted vest that can go heavy

Best Durable

Kensui EZ-Vest

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Loadable up to 225 pounds
  • Unique Olympic plate-loaded design
  • Great for straight-set weight training
  • Less expensive than other vests because you don’t have to buy the steel separately

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Loadable up to 225 pounds
  • Unique Olympic plate-loaded design
  • Great for straight-set weight training
  • Less expensive than other vests because you don’t have to buy the steel separately

Cons

  • Can feel awkward to use at first
  • Not ideal for CrossFit-style workouts or running
  • Can get uncomfortable to wear as the weight gets higher

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a weighted vest to use for more strength training than conditioning (or you’re just an absolute unit that can do Murph with more than 40 pounds on your torso), we recommend the Kensui EZ-VEST Weight Vest.

The Kensui EZ-Vest is one of the most unique weighted vests on the market. While most of the best weighted vests are plate carriers and use armor plates to weigh down the vest, the EZ-Vest uses actual Olympic weight plates as its load. This allows for the weighted vest to get much heavier than typical plate carriers. The Max V2 EZ-Vest can hold up to 300 pounds, for example.

The price can vary depending on the version you get, but the Max V2 tops out at $249. Although that can be pricey, it saves money by not needing to buy additional armor plates. You can just use the weight plates in your gym.

Kensui EZ Vest with 90 pounds loaded

To be able to support all of that weight, the EZ-Vest was made with durable materials. All materials used are highly abrasion-resistant and made to handle some wear and tear. The Max EZ-Vest uses an aluminum sleeve, while the Lite and Pro versions use nylon fiberglass. Coop tried out the EZ-Vests, and both materials proved extremely durable in his experience.

Additionally, the vest comes with Olympic-sized spin-lock collars to secure plates onto the vest’s sleeves. Coop had no trouble with the locks unlocking during his testing.

This is a unique weighted vest, and because of that, you probably won’t use it like a traditional weighted vest. You could honestly use this vest for heavy weighted exercises, like push-ups and pull-ups. If you’re looking for a weighted vest for running or CrossFit metcons, this isn’t for you. However, the Kensui EZ-Vest can build some solid strength in calisthenic movements.

Price$79, $149, $249
Product weightNot disclosed
Weight capacity80 lbs (Lite V2), 150 lbs (Pro V2), 300 lbs (Max V2)  
WarrantyLifetime

Best Power Rack Under $500: Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage

Good for: Those wanting a solid budget-friendly rack for lifting with decent attachments

Best Power Rack

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 best squat racks need to be able to hold some decent weight, so we always consider the Rogue and Sorinex power racks to be the staple for any garage gym. However, there are many budget racks that can withstand a lot of weight. Take, for example, the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage. The name is a mouthful, but it’s durable, rated at a maximum capacity of 800 pounds. That should handle most lifters.

Coop put this to the test by dropping over nearly 800 pounds on the cage, and it held up very well. (If you haven’t seen the video, I recommend you check it out.) Constructed from 2-inch-by-2-inch 14-gauge steel, the frame held up, only bending—but not breaking—a safety bar. Unless you’re an elite powerlifter, this squat cage can handle most lifters’ weights.

Although it can be purchased directly from the company’s website, the cage can also be purchased on Amazon, and is often discounted to under $250. Find it at the right time, and you can get this rack and the lat pull-down attachment all for under $500. There are a few other attachments to choose from as well, including dip bars and a landmine attachment. That makes this an incredibly versatile power rack at a low price.

RELATED: Best Power Racks with Lat Pull-Downs

The 14-gauge steel is not the strongest, so if you’re planning on routinely lifting heavy weights off of it, close to or over that 800-pound capacity, you should consider another power rack. Furthermore, the chrome safety bars and hooks that come with the power cage can damage a barbell through direct contact of metal with metal. With that said, if you’re looking for an affordable power rack to begin a home gym with, this is a solid choice.

Price$249
Product weight133.5 lbs
Footprint50.5” W x 46.5” D x 83.5” H
Warranty1-year limited

Best Budget Home Gym Under $500: Titan Fitness Gymnastic Rings

Good for: People looking for a challenging upper-body workout that will also build coordination

Best Budget

Titan Gymnastic Rings

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Heavy duty rings featuring metal core
  • Straps included
  • Rated for more than 600 lbs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heavy-duty wooden rings
  • Straps included
  • Install and begin using in minutes
  • Rated for more than 600 lbs

Cons

  • Clip not the most stable

Bottom Line

If you have no interest in wooden rings or would like something more durable and able to weather the elements, I’d suggest the Titan Fitness Gymnastics Rings.

By limiting our list to items at or under $500 dollars, most of them are considered budget-friendly. However, if you need something extremely inexpensive, Titan Fitness Gymnastic Rings are a great option. At under $60, rings can provide a wild amount of versatility; plus, they won’t take a lot of space, they’ll just hang from your ceiling or a pull-up bar.

Coop uses and recommends gymnastic rings in general: “If I were forced to go into isolation and could only bring one strength training item, it would definitely be gymnastic rings.” In particular, Titan’s wooden rings are the ones he has hanging up in his own garage gym. When starting a home gym, rings can provide a lot of versatility in bodyweight exercises. Push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and core exercises can be done at the simple adjustment of the ring’s height.

Titan’s gymnastic rings are wooden, which Coop recommends, as they have a better grip, and are a little easier on the hands than plastic rings. With a handle diameter of 1.1 inches, these rings are at the standard width for Olympic gymnastics.

The rings come with 15-foot long straps, which are great to use if you have a high ceiling, but some reviews talked about the straps getting in the way due to their length. Still, at this price, these are fantastic rings, and a potential starting point for your home gym.

Price$59
Product weight4 lbs
Ring diameter9.25”
Warranty1 year

Best Core Equipment Under $500: Lebert Equalizer Bars

Good for: Those wanting a challenging core workout focusing on stability

Best Core Equipment

Lebert Fitness Equalizer Bars

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Taller parallettes that accommodate more users
  • Dip stand station
  • Challenges stabilizing muscles
  • Foam grip covering
  • Access to online fitness community

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Taller so accommodates more users
  • Wide feet to height ratio
  • Challenges stabilizing muscles
  • Foam grip covering is comfortable
  • Access to online fitness community

Cons

  • Not cheap

Bottom Line

The Lebert EQualizer is a solid functional training tool that takes up minimal real estate. Use these for over 100 body weight exercises from the comfort of your home.

Lebert Equalizer Bars are a great tool for working your core. There’s nothing too fancy about this equipment. In his review of the Equalizer, Coop says, “They’re essentially tall parallettes. Like there’s not a whole lot of technology or unique things about them, except that they’re stable, they’re mobile…but they’re taller.” The bars are offered in different lengths as well. With the extra height and a weight capacity of 400 pounds, the bars can accommodate taller, larger athletes as well.

RELATED: Best Core Exercise Equipment

With a raised height in parrallettes, the Lebert Equalizer offers a bit more versatility than typical parrallettes. Along with core exercises like L-sits, the raised bars allow for upper-body exercises like dips. There is also enough room for leg raises and tucks, too. The bars have a foam grip for comfort, which is a step up from traditional parrallettes.

Coop recommends this piece of equipment for people who don’t have pull-up bars or rings, or don’t have the ability to mount that equipment on a wall. This is also a great portable piece of equipment, as they are lightweight and fairly compact.

The biggest drawback on the Lebert Equalizer Bars is the price. At over $100 dollars, they are pretty expensive for what they are. It is pretty simple to build a DIY pair of parrallettes using PVC piping and industrial glue, and it’ll be done a lot cheaper; plus, you can make them to your desired dimensions. Still, if the main complaint is the price, it’s a pretty good product. If you’re looking for a piece of equipment to train your core, then this is a solid contender.

Price$119
Product weight9 lbs each
Footprint31” H x 25” W
WarrantyLimited lifetime

Best Portable Home Gym Under $500: Animalhouse MonkeyFeet

Good for: Those needing a great piece of equipment for a leg and core workout that can be traveled with

Best Portable

MonkeyFeet

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 2.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

MonkeyFeet, developed by Animalhouse Fitness, takes the old school, 80s-inspired ankle weights to a whole new level. This innovative design features a ratchet-based attachment for shoes designed to securely hold a standard dumbbell. Simply fold, clamp, and ratchet the dumbbell securely below the heel which maximizes comfort. Capable of supporting up to 160 pounds in weight, MonkeyFeet allow you to work your legs in ways you would otherwise not be able to, opening up dozens of leg and core training movements. They are versatile, portable, space-saving, and lightweight making it easy to train anywhere.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Cushioned forefoot
  • Fit securely
  • These seem to be the easiest way to secure a dumbbell to your foot
  • Provide a way to work legs typically reserved for machines

Cons

  • Not as smooth or efficient as a machine (i.e. leg extension)
  • Can feel awkward at first
  • Weight you can attach is limited

Bottom Line

MonkeyFeet are an effective way to securely attach weight to your feet allowing you to do a wide variety of exercises. They are an affordable and potentially worthwhile purchase of at-home training equipment.

With a weight just over a pound, MonkeyFeet from Animalhouse is our pick for the best portable home gym under $500. Designed after ankle weights, the MonkeyFeet puts a brace on your ankle that allows you to hold dumbbells or other weights on your feet. “It’s a way to basically put a hand on your foot,” Coop says in his review of the fitness equipment.

Because it is attached to your foot, MonkeyFeet are used primarily for lower-body exercises, namely leg curls and leg extensions. However, they’re more versatile than that, as Coop has used them for various hamstring, glute, quad, and hip flexor exercises. Because each foot is free moving, even with two MonkeyFeet at once, they would move independently of each other, making these great for unilateral training.

Capable of holding as heavy as a 160-pound dumbbell per foot, the MonkeyFeet can hold most any dumbbell…that has a minimum handle length of 5 inches, and a maximum handle diameter of 1.45. The design fits most shoe sizes as well, claiming to fit most U.S. men’s size 14 shoes.

MonkeyFeet are sold individually, so if you want two, you’ll have to make a second purchase. However, the product is designed to fit either foot, so buying a second isn’t necessary. Because of the uniqueness of the product, though, this gym equipment can feel awkward at first, both from wearing it and using it. However, if you’re looking for a lower-body workout that you can travel with, MonkeyFeet fit the bill.

Price$79
Product weight1.2 lbs
Maximum Foot SizeMost U.S. men’s size 14
Warranty1 year

Most Versatile Home Gym Under $500: Pullup & Dip Bar

Good for: Anyone wanting the versatility of a power tower in a compact footprint

Most Versatile

Pullup & Dip Bar

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Detachable pull-up and dip bar
  • Mount on an interior or exterior wall
  • Change from pull-ups to dips within seconds without any tools
  • Selectable grip width
  • More than 20 exercises possible
  • Locking pin for safety 
  • Free e-book of exercises with purchase

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Two-in-one bar
  • Can mount indoors or outdoors
  • 330-lb weight capacity
  • 5 grip positions
  • 30-day return period

Cons

  • Concrete or brick walls are recommended for installation
  • 5-year warranty
  • $250 is still an investment for a pull-up bar

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a secure way to perform both pull-ups and dips at home, the Pull-Up & Dip bar could be for you.

One of the most versatile pieces of equipment in this price range is simply titled the Pullup & Dip Bar. That’s it. As you may have guessed, the Pullup & Dip Bar is a wall-mounted pull-up bar that can be adjusted for dips quickly and easily. Being mounted against the wall and with a weight capacity of up to 330 pounds, the Pullup & Dip Bar is a very stable alternative to a power tower.

Made by the company Pullup & Dip (another creative title), a plate is secured on your interior or exterior wall by screwing into the wall studs. The angled pull-up bar is attached and secured. When angled up, the bar is high enough for pull-ups, with grip positions for a wide grip, neutral grip, or narrow grip.

After pull-ups, the bar can be taken off and flipped over to be angled downward. Now, the bar is low enough to be used for dips. To add more versatility, you can add a suspension trainer or wooden gymnastic rings to diversify your upper body workout. In his review, Coop spoke highly of the versatility of this piece of equipment in such a compact space, noting, “I think it’s really smart. I love when people find unique ways to use their wall studs.”

One of the main drawbacks is the price, as $259 is a bit of an investment for a pull-up bar. Still, with the amount of versatility it adds aside from pull-ups, the Pullup & Dip Bar is a great piece of gym equipment.

Price$259
Product weight17 lbs
Footprint40.5” W x 15.4” D
Warranty5 years

Best Cardio Machine Under $500: Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rowing Machine

Good for: Those looking for a good full-body cardio workout at a budget-friendly price

Best Cardio Machine

Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rowing Machine

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Quiet nylon belt drive system
  • 14 different levels of resistance
  • Compatible to MyCloudFitness app
  • Foldable for easy storage
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • Phone holder on console

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Dial adjustment for resistance
  • 3-year added protection available
  • Soft anti-slip handle
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Assembles in less than 1 hour
  • Smooth and quiet machine
  • AA batteries for display included
  • Comparably affordable cost

Cons

  • Low weight capacity
  • 3.5-inch LCD display
  • No pre-installed programs

Bottom Line

If you need or want a simple machine at a low cost, the Fitness Reality 1000 Magnetic Rowing Machine is one that you should have high on the list. It will provide a satisfying full-body challenge and help you burn calories and reach your health goals.

If you’re just looking to get a sweat on, the best cardio machines can still be expensive. Regardless, there are still decent budget options. Our pick for the best cardio machine under $500 is the Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rowing Machine. For less than $300, you get a rower with 14 different magnetic resistance levels, as well as Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to sync up with both Apple Health and Google Fit. That’s quite a bit for not too much money.

RELATED: Best Rowing Machines Under $300

In addition to syncing with your health app, this rower is compatible with the MyCloudFitness app, which offers workout programming. There is both a free and premium subscription (at $14.99 per month), with the free version limiting the number of rowing workouts and fitness programs accessible to you.

man using fitness reality rower

The frame of the rowing machine is foldable, making it easy to store while not in use. While it’s not the largest rower, it still can support user heights of up to 6 feet, 6 inches tall. 

Still, the maximum weight capacity on this rower is 250 pounds, so it still may not be a feasible choice for a larger person. The LCD monitor is also a tad on the smaller side. Still, at this price, you’re sure to still get great cardio workouts.

Price$268
Product weight63.5 lbs
Footprint88.5″ L x 21.5″ W x 21.5″ H
Warranty1-year limited

Other Home Gyms Under $500 We Researched

There are a lot of great pieces of equipment that have the versatility of a home gym at a budget-friendly price. Here are a few products we’ve tested and liked, but just didn’t make our list:

  • Tempo Move: This incredibly compact smart home gym trainer comes in just under $500, and provides immediate feedback during exercises and workouts. However, the Tempo setup doesn’t work with common strength training disciplines—CrossFit, weightlifting, or powerlifting. Additionally, the $39 per month subscription service will begin to add up as well. Our Tempo Move review covers more.
  • NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells: While often our pick for the best budget adjustable dumbbell, the NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells don’t allow for expansion or upgraded weights like other adjustable dumbbells. Check out more of our thoughts in our in-depth NordicTrack Dumbbell review.
  • Force USA MyBench: This FID bench from Force USA is extremely versatile, coming with a preacher curl and leg developer attachment, all for under $400. Still, the attachments aren’t the best or sturdiest. Additionally, the 22-inch height of the seat might make this a difficult bench for a shorter person to properly bench press with. You can see more of our thoughts in our Force USA MyBench review.
  • REP Fitness PR-1100: The PR-1100 is one of our favorite budget-friendly power racks on the market, only costing $379. With that said, adding a lat pull-down attachment, while still pretty inexpensive, pushes the rack to nearly $650. While still a solid pick, there are less expensive options that still provide great value. Read our full REP PR-1100 review for more information.

How We Picked and Tested Home Gyms Under $500

For our list of the best home gyms under $500, we took a look at many of the products we’ve researched and tested over the years and looked at several different factors to determine their value, including versatility, durability, and price point.

The most important factor, arguably, was the versatility of the piece of equipment. When we think of a home gym system, we think of something that will provide a variety of exercises and the ability to get a full-body workout in. While not all of our picks are traditional home gyms, like functional trainers and cable machines are typically considered, we made sure that each piece of equipment we suggested provided a variety of exercises and uses.

Because each piece of equipment can be so different, we took them through a variety of workouts, considering each piece’s construction and durability. Additionally, we considered the item’s footprint, and whether or not the piece would be considered compact.

With testing and research done, we compiled our favorites together to make our final list. Each piece on our list provides loads of versatility and variety, ensuring that if you have to wait a while before your next home gym purchase, you’ll get plenty of worth and value out of your current, minimalist home gym set-up.

Benefits of Home Gyms Under $500

Home gyms in general save you money as compared to the long-term cost of a gym membership. The amount of money you save can be even greater if you’re choosing from budget-friendly options. Here are some of the benefits of home gyms, particularly those under $500.

Save Money

An inexpensive home gym can save you money in the long run in a couple of different ways:

  • Inexpensive equipment: By making smart decisions and buying inexpensive equipment with good value and versatility, you can save a lot on your initial home gym investment. This frees up money for the rest of your life…or you can start looking at what else you want for your home gym (we’re not biased).
  • No gym memberships or fees: Having your own home gym eliminates the need for any sort of gym membership. While it may be a bigger initial investment, the cost of a gym membership can really start to add up over time, and if you’re picking budget equipment, that initial cost can be offset by the savings in a few short months.

RELATED: Home Gym vs Gym Membership

Save Time

In addition to not having to spend money on any gym fees, you also save on the time needed to commute to the gym. Instead of a 20- to 30-minute drive that can be compounded by traffic, you can simply walk downstairs to your basement or into your garage and get some back squats in. The convenience of a gym within mere feet of you is a huge benefit.

Save Space

With budget-friendly picks under $500 in particular, most home gyms you can pick in that price range will also be fairly compact, and save you space. If you don’t have the space for a large functional trainer, perhaps a compact, wall-mounted pulley tower will work. Need something smaller? Try adjustable dumbbells or gymnastics rings. There are many pieces of equipment that can fulfill your home gym needs while still remaining compact and saving space.

Stick to Your Routine and Schedule

Your home gym, typically, doesn’t have open and closed hours like most commercial gyms do. Unlike having to work around a gym’s schedule, you can easily workout at your own leisure. If you have a busy day, you can wake up early and get your workout in then; or, you can come home late and get your training in.

The only issue you may run into is if you have family in the house, or neighbors. If that’s the case, here are some tips on how to soundproof your home gym.

Get Privacy…Or Not

When you have your own workout space, you can workout in private, or with whoever you want. I myself prefer to lift with friends, while my wife prefers to train alone. While we can train just fine in different environments, a home gym can let us conform the space to our needs for the day.

If you have kids, the home gym is also a fantastic place to workout with or around your children, so that they can get excited about fitness themselves!

What to Look for in Home Gyms Under $500

It’s relatively easy to find home gyms and gym equipment for less than $500. What can be a little tougher is to find home gyms that have good enough value at that low price point. There is more to value than having good durability and versatility. Don’t get me wrong, those are important; but value comes from the value you, the consumer, can get out of it.

Here are some things to consider when looking at home gyms under $500.

Workouts

First, you should consider the types of workouts you want to do. The type of training and fitness goals you want to focus on will determine and narrow down the types of workout equipment you should consider.

If you want to focus on strength training, then perhaps a budget-friendly squat rack and barbell would be a good item to use. If you’d rather focus on bodyweight movements, then you may consider gymnastics rings or a suspension trainer. Furthermore, you can use bands to create resistance in your training. The training that you’re interested in will have a big impact on what equipment you should consider.

Footprint

Obviously, with our home gyms under $500, we’ve established a maximum price point; however, you need to also consider how much space you have for your home gym or equipment. If you want to do some weight training, but don’t have the space for a power rack, barbell, and weight plates, you may want to consider a set of adjustable dumbbells. Some portable home gyms use resistance bands as resistance, which is another viable option for saving space.

Fortunately, a lot of budget-priced equipment for home gyms is also compact and space-saving. Still, not all equipment is as compact as the other, so make sure to factor how much space you have before a purchase.

Versatility

When talking about a home gym, we want a piece of equipment that will provide versatility; it needs to be able to do a lot. I love a reverse hyper machine; however, it takes up a lot of space and only does one basic exercise. Even if you can find a reverse hyper for under $500, it’s not a great initial purchase for a home gym, because you won’t be able to do much with it.

On the other hand, a power rack provides a place to safely use barbells for squats, as well as the ability to add other attachments. Gymnastics rings provide a multitude of upper body and core exercises, and parallettes do the same. Whatever your purchase is, you want it to have a lot of options, so that you don’t have to do the same one or two exercises each day.

Durability

No matter what price your equipment is, you want it to last. So consider the materials used for the equipment, to make sure the fitness equipment is long-lasting and will last through some general wear and tear.

Best Home Gyms Under $500: FAQs

Is it cheaper to go to a gym or to make a home gym?

Generally speaking, when you make a home gym, you are putting down an initial investment that will cost more upfront than a gym membership. However, over time, the gym membership fees will catch up to that initial cost, while your home gym will have had very minimal costs since that initial investment. So in time, the home gym will save you money. Add in the costs of travel to and from the gym, and you’re saving money faster.

How much does it cost to make a decent home gym?

Most home gyms cost between $1,000 and $2,000, although you can certainly get one for less, or much more. Because of the variety of gym equipment and prices available, the cost of your gym can vary wildly depending on how frugal you are trying to be. It’s very possible to have a home gym set-up for much less than $1,000.

RELATED: How Much Does a Home Gym Actually Cost?

Is it possible to make a home gym for less than $500?

There are lots of pieces of equipment and home gyms that are under $500, making it very possible to make a home gym for that price or less. Here are some of our picks for the best home gyms under $500:

Best Overall Home Gym Under $500: TRX Home Suspension Trainer
Best Bench Under $500: Ironmaster Super Bench Pro V2
Best Compact Home Gym Under $500: Living.Fit Resistance Bands
Best Cable Machine Under $500: Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pulley Tower V3
Best Weight Set Under $500: Powerblock Sports Series Adjustable Dumbbells
Best Home Gym Under $500 for Strength Training: X3 Bar
Best Durable Home Gym Under $500: Kensui EZ-Vest
Best Power Rack Under $500: Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
Best Budget Home Gym Under $500: Titan Fitness Gymnast Rings
Best Core Equipment Under $500: Lebert Equalizer
Best Portable Home Gym Under $500: AnimalHouse MonkeyFeet
Most Versatile Home Gym Under $500: Pullup & Dip Bar
Best Cardio Machine Under $500: Fitness Reality 1000 Plus Magnetic Rowing Machine

What are the benefits of a home gym?

A home gym can save you money and time when compared to the monthly cost and travel to a commercial gym. Additionally, you can workout based on your own schedule and routine, and with as much or as little privacy as you’d like.

Further reading

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