The 7 Best Budget Home Gyms Under $300 – Home Gains on a Budget

We gave this article a much-needed refresh to bring it up-to-date for 2019; removing a few older models – including the Weider 2980 – and adding a total of five new affordable home gyms.

These comprised our top choice, the Weider Ultimate Body Works, as well as the innovative BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0. The classic Total Gym 1400 also made an appearance, as did both the COSTWAY Home Gym and GOPLUS Multifunctional Home Gym.

The winner after the latest chart update:
Weider-Ultimate-Body-Works-300x300
  • Resistance: Bodyweight plus resistance bands (50lbs)
  • Adjustable Resistance: Yes
  • Folding: Yes
  • Features: Cable and pulley system, nylon strap handles, removable base plate and handles, 50+ movements

Anybody with a busy lifestyle will know the problem of squeezing in a gym session. Even if you are a committed member of a traditional gym, your family life, work and holidays can all get in the way of regular sessions.

But this should never be an excuse – not when so many affordable home multigyms are available!

These popular home gyms are ideal when you are short on time or don’t want to travel, but still want to work your entire body with resistance.

In this article, we are going run you through seven of the best cheap multigyms, all coming in at under $300. We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of each one, before assessing this market in more detail – and answering some of your FAQs along the way.

Top 7 Best Budget Home Gyms Under $300:

Pros

  • Low price and awesome value for money
  • Offers 50+ movements for a total body workout
  • Adjustable resistance bands add a greater challenge
  • Very compact design

Cons

  • Lacks the stability that some of the more expensive units offer
  • Nylon straps don’t feel particularly durable
  • You may struggle for a full range of motion if you are tall

Resistance: Bodyweight plus resistance bands (50lbs)
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: Yes
Features: Cable and pulley system, nylon strap handles, removable base plate and handles, 50+ movements

Compared to some of the bigger units on this list, the Ultimate Body Works from Weider shows off an impressive space-saving design without really compromising on functionality.

Taking inspiration from the Total Gym collection (see below), this style of machine offers a genuinely effective full-body workout for all abilities – even if it naturally appeals more to beginners. This machine utilizes your own bodyweight as the resistance, with a moving board and pulley system working together to deliver a multitude of exercises.

These include movements such as the chest press, upper back row, assisted pullups, and bicep curls. The additional tension cables add an increased challenge for more advanced users. We’ve dissected this unit in more depth in the full review of the Weider Ultimate Body Works.

Read more

Pros

  • Great price for a solid machine
  • Perform more than 60 movements
  • Features a workout DVD, exercise guide and nutrition advice

Cons

  • Not as well built as the more expensive Total Gyms
  • No resistance bands to increase difficulty like the cheaper Weider option (above)

Resistance: Bodyweight
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: Yes
Features: Cable and pulley system, exercise flip chart, nylon strap handles, 60+ movements, workout DVD, nutrition guide

Total Gym is a big name in the home fitness industry, with the 1400 a staple of home gyms everywhere. This one is similar in design to Weider’s offering above, although feels slightly higher end in its quality… and pricing.

It’s a sturdy, well-made unit that offers a wide range of bodyweight resistance exercises, courtesy of a sliding bench working with the cable and pulley system. Sixty different movements are on offer, including chest press, rowing variations, pulldowns and bicep curls.

This allows for a solid full-body workout in the comfort of your living room. This easy-folding device also comes with some extras including a workout DVD and nutrition guide. Even though the price is higher than its competitors, the original is still one of the best.

Read more

Pros

  • Inexpensive option to suit any budget
  • Most compact multi gym on this list
  • Plenty of attachments to deliver a total body workout
  • Easy to take on the go – from the office to a vacation!

Cons

  • The 40lb resistance bands may not be challenging enough for some users
  • Additional resistance bands are sold separately
  • Base doesn’t always feel sturdy

Resistance: Resistance bands
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: Yes
Features: Easy to store, hundreds of exercises, squat bar, wrist/ankle straps, handles, non-slip base

The Home Gym 2.0 from BodyBoss is a very interesting prospect and very compact, making it perfect for those tight on both space and cash. Yet, despite its tiny footprint, this pandora’s box delivers everything you need for a solid home workout.

Originally a Kickstarter project, this gym was designed to simulate thousands of dollars’ worth of gym gear – and it succeeds. It comes with a selection of equipment, including a base, a pair of 40lb resistance bands, squat bar, handles, and straps for wrists and ankles.

Depending on how you set up this equipment, you can complete a great full-body workout, adding resistance to squats, bicep curls, shoulder presses, upright rows, rear delt flyes, and triceps extensions to name a few!

Read more

Pros

  • Up to 280lbs of resistance on offer
  • A compact but sturdy frame
  • Offers a wide range of both upper and lower body movements
  • One of the most stylish home gyms in this chart

Cons

  • Less versatile than other multigyms in this range
  • Not great for complete beginners due to the heavy starting load
  • Pretty complicated to put together

Resistance: Vinyl weight stack
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: No
Features: High and low pulleys, multi-grip lat bar, leg developer, chest press/flye station, padded vinyl seat, exercise chart

Gold’s Gym is a brand that is world famous for its fitness prestige, with its Venice gym known as the ‘Mecca of Bodybuilding’ for good reason!

So, how do they fare in the home multigym market? Pretty well in fact, with their XRS 50 a popular unit in the budget range. While quite minimalist, it offers everything you need to work your full body at an affordable price.

With a compact form and sturdy frame, the XRS 50 features a 112lb vinyl weight stack offering up to 280lbs of resistance – more than the average home gym in this price range usually delivers. As for the workouts available, you can perform everything from lat pulldowns and leg extensions to bicep curls and chest presses.

Read more

Pros

  • Offers a complete workout for both upper and lower body
  • Seat features four adjustable heights
  • Up to 220lbs of combined resistance on offer

Cons

  • Takes some time to put the unit together
  • Not as compact as some of the other multigyms we feature

Resistance: Vinyl weight stack
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: No
Features: High and low pulley system, lat pulldown bar, chest press/flye station, leg developer, adjustable seat

A new addition to our chart, the COSTWAY home gym is another tempting prospect if $300 is as high as you can go. Like some of the others, this one features both a high and low pulley system to offer a complete body workout.

It provides a high bar for lat pulldowns, padded arms for chest flyes, and lower arms for the traditional chest press. You can also perform preacher curls and leg curls, as well as some other movements thanks to the extra lower pulley.

The build is pretty robust and utilizes both bodyweight and a 90lb weight stack to provide up to 220lbs of total resistance. A bonus is that the seat is adjustable, which isn’t always the case on these entry-level multigyms.

Read more

Pros

  • Features multiple movements for chest, back, arms and legs
  • Uses bodyweight as resistance
  • Smooth and quiet operation

Cons

  • Takes a while to put together
  • Feels like a lower-quality product than our top picks

Resistance: Bodyweight
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: No
Features: Cables and pulley system, lat pulldown bar, adjustable press arms, leg developer, adjustable back rest

This offering from XtremepowerUS is a great embodiment of everything a home multigym in this budget range should offer. It combines some of the most popular gym-based workout stations and adds them to a reliable home gym setup.

With a robust chassis and pulley system, this machine comes with 100lbs of weight – adjustable with a simple pin mechanism – that adds resistance to movements such as the lat pulldown, chest press and even bicep curls, thanks to an additional pulley. There is also a fully-functioning leg developer to help you work on those quads!

It’s not perfect, but shopping in the budget category rarely is. For the price, this multifunctional machine is a very good multigym system for getting in a solid full-body workout.

Read more

Pros

  • Features 100lbs of adjustable weight
  • Good range of movements for both upper and lower body
  • Has a sturdy steel frame

Cons

  • Takes a while to put the unit together
  • Some smaller parts can be missing from package
  • Nothing that really makes it stand out

Resistance: Vinyl weight stack
Adjustable Resistance: Yes
Folding: No
Features: High and low pulley system, lat pulldown bar, chest press/flye station, leg developer, bicep pad

This offering from XtremepowerUS is a great embodiment of everything a home multigym in this budget range should offer. It combines some of the most popular gym-based workout stations and adds them to a reliable home gym setup.

With a robust chassis and pulley system, this machine comes with 100lbs of weight – adjustable with a simple pin mechanism – that adds resistance to movements such as the lat pulldown, chest press and even bicep curls, thanks to an additional pulley. There is also a fully-functioning leg developer to help you work on those quads!

It’s not perfect, but shopping in the budget category rarely is. For the price, this multifunctional machine is a very good multigym system for getting in a solid full-body workout.

Read more

Shopping for a Home Gym Under $300

While it can be pretty cool to do so, you don’t have to invest in a $1,000 home gym to end up with something that will give you a good workout at home.

On the contrary, there is plenty of choice in the budget market. Yet, for every worthwhile unit, you will find a handful of multigyms worth avoiding. So, what should you look out for when buying in this range?

Design

Unlike treadmills or stationary bikes, multigyms literally come in all shapes and sizes. Some will look pretty much as you’d expect, with the classic gym-style setup – padded seat, hefty weight stack, and an array of pulleys, cables and attachments. These tend to be the most familiar and make up the majority of the market.

However, some other styles exist. For example, you will come across those that still use a pulley system, but with a less traditional design.

These will usually be more compact and perhaps completely foldable, with an incline bodyweight design, featuring an angled bench on rails that glides up and down. Weider’s Ultimate Body Works and the classic Total Gym 1400 are prime examples of this style.

Alternatively, this range features some ‘home gyms in a box’. While these don’t give you the same experience as a more traditional gym-style unit, this variation offers a very compact and portable option.

The design you go for will be up to you and your goals. What is more important to you – being able to do a heavy chest press or being able to store your gym in the closet after your workout? Luckily the sub-$300 price range has plenty of choice regardless of your preferences.

Features

Units in this category are not as well-stocked as those in the higher price ranges. If you are looking for things like an incorporated squat rack or a generous stack of weight, you’ll have to considerably up your budget.

However, most multigyms in this range will offer means to hit multiple body parts – chest, back, shoulders, arms and legs. How effectively depends on the attachments the unit comes with.

Those with traditional seats, pulleys and cables will offer you stations such as a lat pulldown bar to target your back, a dedicated chest press, or a leg developer to train your quads.

If the unit has more of a space-saving design, then you will still be able to target these areas, but using more imagination – and perhaps less resistance.

Some units in this sub-$300 range will provide things like DVDs, exercise charts or workout guides, although many don’t. If you are a complete beginner, you may need to head over to YouTube to check out videos from other users for inspiration.

Resistance

Of course, traditional weight stacks are available in this range, although external weight is not as common as on home gyms in the $500 range. The reason being that additional weight costs additional money.

Still, you can find home gyms with a stack of vinyl weights to offer a hefty amount of resistance if that’s what you are looking for.

The only problem in this entry-level range is that these weight stacks don’t always allow for small progression. You are limited to the weight increments and, if these are too heavy, you will struggle to progress. For example, if you can only just lift 30lbs for 10 reps, trying to go up a level to 60lbs in your next session will be a tough ask!

Alternatively, some units will offer the means for adding your own weighted plates. The advantage of these is that you can add as much or as little weight to suit your needs. However, the obvious downfall is that you need to buy these weight plates separately, which quickly bumps up the overall amount you spend.

In this range, using bodyweight is still a very popular method of resistance for manufacturers. After all, they don’t need to spend extra money on providing weights, which results in them being able to offer a better-quality unit for a lower price.

Think that’s a bit limiting? Surprisingly it doesn’t have to be. Some units will feature a bodyweight resistance system, but will also include a way of altering – and even increasing – the resistance on offer. This may be as simple as adjusting the position of the seat/bench or the addition of extra resistance bands.

On that note, some home gyms won’t rely on bodyweight or pulley systems of any kind. Rather, they use only resistance bands and various attachments.

These are excellent space-saving units, although the limitations are obvious – they may not give you enough resistance to build muscle, while the amount of exercises you can do also becomes limited.

Other Considerations

It’s worth thinking about what you are planning to use your multigym for. If it’s purely to build muscle, then you may need to supplement a cheap multigym with a bench and some dumbbells, or invest in a more expensive unit with heavier weights.

Also, multigyms may not directly target areas such as your core, so you may also want to buy some other equipment, such as an ab roller, Swiss ball or medicine ball.

In this price range, the materials and build quality are definitely worth focusing on. You may see a multigym with all the tools and attachments you need at a price you like, but if user reviews suggest it’s poorly made or unstable, it may not be worth the hassle of putting it together.

Remember, in this entry-level range, if something looks too good to be true, it most probably is. There are many affordable home gyms that overreach – trying to give you all kinds of workout stations on a tiny budget.

Unfortunately, doing so often means that the materials used are poor quality or that the build quality is going to be questionable at best. Being realistic with your expectations can save you a whole lot of trouble down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

Definitely! Of course, it depends on how much effort you actually put into using your home gym and the gear you have, but they can be as effective as going to a regular gym.

If you are buying a home multigym on a budget, you have to be careful when selecting the right model. Buying something that doesn’t allow you to, say, chest press when you want to build your pecs isn’t going to be particularly effective.

But, in general, providing you are able to do a selection of exercises with a good range of motion – and supplement these with some cardio work – you will find home gyms are very effective at keeping you fit and maintaining your muscle.

They certainly can be, although how effective they are at muscle-building will depend on a few things.

Firstly, your current level. If you are a complete beginner, working your body hard on any home gym will usually result in muscle growth. These are the traditional ‘newbie gains’, where the muscles of a beginner will be very responsive, and able to grow in size and strength fairly quickly.

However, the more advanced you are, the harder is it to increase your muscle size and strength. You need to challenge your body in new ways to spark new growth – increased resistance, reps and sets, or doing completely new movements.

Therefore, for a home multigym to be good at building muscle, it will have to have the right amount of weight to challenge you, as well as provide enough movements to keep things fresh.

Sadly, if you are already an experienced lifter, a budget home gym may not provide a suitable amount of weight or variation for you to see progress.

If this is the case, look towards a home gym in a higher price category, or buy a bench, dumbbells and/or a barbell to get a more effective muscle-building workout in at home.

With some home gyms offering up to 60 different movements, the question should be what exercises can’t you do on a multigym! As you have seen, home gyms come in several shapes and sizes. The more traditional multigyms can offer dedicated stations for the chest press, lat pulldown, leg extension and bicep curls. Those with space-saving designs can actually offer more versatility, allowing for things such as assisted pullups, squat variations, triceps extensions and shoulder raises. The budget ‘multigym in a box’ designs are also pretty versatile, with resistance bands allowing for things such as chest press, squats, overhead press, upright rows and bicep curls.

This completely depends on your goals and how big you want to go. If you have a huge space and an equally big budget, you can technically open your own Planet Fitness inside your garage! Of course, most people won’t be dreaming this big and will have less space to work with.

A good multigym – like those we have featured on this page – is excellent for helping you both build and tone muscle. If you have space and value your overall fitness, you’d be worth investing in a good treadmill or quality rowing machine as well.

With a multigym and a cardio machine at hand, you can get in a very good full-body and cardio workout. However, adding in a pair of space-saving adjustable dumbbells is another smart move, and can help you target the muscles a multigym can’t hit effectively.

Of course, if you want to take this further, you can start looking at things like weighted vests, resistance bands, medicine balls and pullup bars to give you endless options and a home gym to be proud of.

Just be sure to have a good aircon system and a fridge full of protein shakes, and you can start charging your friends to use it too!

The Ver(ve)dict!

As you can see from our list, budget home gyms are not only available, but a viable option as long as you are realistic with your expectations.

They probably won’t turn you into the next Mr. Olympia, but if you work hard and supplement these multigyms with some other gear, you’ll be surprised at the results you can achieve at home.

The multigym models we have highlighted in our chart are definitely some of the best you can buy for under $300. Of course, others are available, so have a browse – you may find something more suitable for your current level and fitness goals.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit