Top 5 Best Compact Home Gyms

Home gyms have been one of the best alternatives to actual gyms we have had so far. The whole idea is to have a good way of achieving physical fitness and building muscle at home, in one machine. Although practical, this idea ran into another problem.

What if space is an issue?  That is where compact home gyms come into play. Today we are going to show you our picks for top 5 best compact home gyms. As you’re about to find out, some of these are among the best home gyms on the market. Lets get right to it.

Top 5 Best Compact Home Gyms:

Body Solid is one of those brands who aren’t afraid to design something new and different in a market saturated with all kinds of home gym layouts. Their GLGS100 is truly a different design. Building a weighted home gym that has all the functionality of a standard unit, but also a footprint small enough to be called compact is extremely difficult.

Yet, Body Solid has found a way. Truth be told, they had to cut a few corners to get there. If you take a closer look, you will find that there is no bench on this home gym. Instead, they have redesigned all of the available workout stations so that you get to perform the workouts while standing. The cool thing about it is that you get to do all the exercises you can on a standard model, and then some.

Another awesome detail about the GLGS100 is that it comes with no weights of its own. Body Solid has instead opted to give the user the freedom to choose how much weights they want to use. The machine is fitted with Olympic plate carriers and will facilitate up to 600 lbs of said plates. It’s an awesome choice!

The current market of home gyms is chock full of what can only be described as a standard model. By that we mean a typical home gym that relies on weight stacks and pulleys to produce resistance. Even though that system offers proven reliability and simplicity, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to those who need something compact.

There is an alternative system which does meet all the requirements, though. Made by Bowflex, PR3000 home gym offers a solution that is every bit as efficient as the standard one, if not more depending on who you ask. Instead of relying on weight stacks, Bowflex uses a series of flexible rods to produce resistance. the benefit of that system is the fact that you can utilize the flexing of the rods to perform different exercises, which isn’t necessarily true for standard weight stacks.

This particular model has been selected for this list because it comes with a detachable bench. Even with the bench installed, it isn’t all too massive. Without the bench, it really fits the standards of a compact home gym. The system allows you to perform over 50 strength exercises, which is quite impressive if you think about it.

No list of compact home gyms can be complete without at least one Total Gym model in there somewhere. When this machine first appeared, many thought it was nothing more than another gimmick. However, having Chuck Norris himself as the face of Total Gym has made many people reconsider their initial impressions. That was years ago.

These days Total Gym has proven its worth numerous times. In all honesty, this is probably as compact as it gets. Total Gym XLS is a modern take on the original design and it shows you just how small of a footprint this entire setup has. Even when full extended, it takes less space than just about any other home gym system, especially the more traditional ones.

The key to its success is the fact that it doesn’t use artificial weights at all. Instead, it uses your body weight to produce varying levels of resistance. The entire machine is based on simple physics and that makes it that much better. Here’s the thing, though. It being a fairly proprietary design means that the exercises you can do on it are unusual as well. With that said, you can hit your entire body with it.

The compact segment of the home gym market is full of all kinds of different designs. You probably figured as much by our previous picks. However, there are also a number of traditional designs which fit this description. Sure, they won’t be nearly as compact, but they can be sufficiently compact depending on your needs.

One model that really comes to mind in this regard is the Weider home gym. Weider did a good job at eliminating a good portion of the size and footprint which plagues most modern traditional home gyms. They did that by bringing all of the relevant components closer together, which reduces the size of the machine on its own but also reduces the amount of tubing you need to keep it all upright and stable.

Here’s the best part about this Weider’s home gym. It packs a 214 lbs weight stack. That is quite impressive on its own. The overall build quality is pretty great no matter where you look. Wider has used good materials, tubing and put it all together using proper welds and hardware. The padding is a bit minimalist, but at this price we really can’t complain. Overall, it’s a viable system.

Last but not the least we have another model from Weider. Their Ultimate Body Works home gym represents a very interesting solution that borrows a lot from the Total Gym. However, unlike the Total Gym, it won’t put a decent dent in your finances. On the contrary, this has got to be one of the most affordable home gyms on the market.

The real question is, whether or not it’s worth the investment. If you ask us, it is and here is why. At a first glance it appears to be less robust than Total Gym, which is true to an extent. Weider is known to reduce a design to its bare minimum state which still offers good performance. Despite all that, all of the main elements and core features are there and they work just fine.

You really don’t have to worry about stability, reliability or safety in any way. This machine offers a very similar functionality to Total Gyms design. The reason why it’s so much cheaper are the various compromises Weider had to make in order for them to meet these pricing goals. In practice, the Ultimate Body Works offers plenty of challenge on a daily basis.

What Do Compact Home Gyms Offer?

Compact home gyms were born out of necessity, much like any other piece of fitness equipment that enjoys the status of being compact. However, since most home gyms are weighted, it is only logical to ask yourself whether or not compact home gyms are less efficient and less functional than their full size brethren? The answer is maybe. 

If you look at our list, you will find a number of diverse designs. Some of those designs have found a way to solve the footprint issue without reducing the functionality. In other words, there are weighted home gyms out there which are simply smaller. 

On the other hand, you also have the option of getting a home gym which uses a completely different resistance system. Take for example Bowflex with their flexible rods. Here’s another interesting thing to note. This category is full of home gyms that cost up to $1000

That includes both budget home gyms and higher end models. What that means for us is that we can find a model which works no matter the budget we are working with.

Understanding The Limitations Of Compact Home Gyms

As expected, there are going to be some limitations with home gyms that fit this category. Depending on which design you go with, these limitations can be light or they can be severe. If you once more look at our list up there, you will see that we have one home gym model which you could call traditional, but there is also the Total Gym which is anything but. 

The traditional home gym allows you to perform exercises most users are familiar with since you will run into those same machines in any commercial gym. On the other hand, Total Gym is a whole different ball game. This platform relies on a proprietary method of operation which means that you will be performing very specific exercises which may not coincide with machines or exercises you are familiar with. 

A good compromise between the two is Bowflex with their unique resistance system which is still pretty close to the traditional stuff. Sure, it isn’t as affordable as a traditional gym but it is also much more compact. It all comes down to how willing you are to compromise and where you draw the line between conventional and less conventional designs. The truth is that all three systems we have just mentioned will give you similar results in terms of physical fitness.

The Ver(ve)dict

Compact home gyms are a very niche category which is very exciting to shop. It’s the best place to look for unusual and unorthodox designs. The models we have listed above are by far some of the best compact home gyms you will find on the market. 

We did our best to find machines that have the smallest footprint but still provide all of the necessary performance for a good workout at home. As you can see, there are numerous different designs belonging to different price ranges. 

That way you’ll have higher chances of finding something that works for you.