Finding good quality fitness equipment on a budget can be hard, especially if you’re looking for home gyms. However, challenging doesn’t mean impossible. Today we’ll show you our picks for the top 5 best budget home gyms under $500.
After we go over each pick and lay out its pros and cons, we’ll cover the basics of budget home gyms. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you should have all the information you need to make an educated decision and get yourself the right machine. Let’s get into it!
Best Budget Home Gyms At a Glance
Top Budget Home Gym Overall
Marcy’s contribution to the budget home gym marketplace is nothing short of impressive. They’ve found a way of introducing flagship features and some of that flagship performance to the budget segment. The MWM-990 is a traditional home gym setup, but one that brings plenty of quality!
Next Best Pick
Finding a compact, well thought out home gym can be tricky even with a generous budget. However, ICON Fitness has made that task easy with their XRS 50. This is another traditional rig that brings all the core workout stations in a package that won’t take too much space in your house.
Something a Bit Different
The BodyBoss 2.0 is an innovative home gym design that’s all about mobility. Created for those who travel, this setup offers plenty of resistance and functionality using nothing more than resistance bands and a base plate. It takes some getting used to, but BodyBoss 2.0 definitely works.
The Best Budget Home Gyms
|Marcy MWM-990 150lb Multifunctional Home Gym Station||
|ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50||
|BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Home Gym||
|Weider 2980 Home Gym||
|Goplus Multifunctional Trainer Home Gym||
|Marcy MWM-990 150lb Multifunctional Home Gym Station|
|ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS 50|
|BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Home Gym|
|Weider 2980 Home Gym|
|Goplus Multifunctional Trainer Home Gym|
Marcy’s offer in this segment of the market comes in the form of the MWM-990. It’s not the cheapest home gym they offer, but it’s cheap enough to be budget-friendly. On the other hand, Marcy has packed this model with all kinds of features often found on their flagship series. All things considered, this is the most well-rounded option out there for this kind of money.
Another reason why we’ve chosen the MWM-990 as our top pick is the functionality. This is a legitimate home gym with all the workout stations that one would expect. You’re getting the chest press/fly station, the lat pulldown station, and a lower body station that’s fitted with an ankle strap. There’s even a curling station — a feature often reserved for models much more expensive than this one.
One thing we’ve learned to appreciate is a solid frame. Marcy has done a solid job in this regard with the MWM-990. It features heavy-duty steel tubing that delivers all the stability you need while working out.
In addition, the weight stack on this model comes with 150lbs of plates and is shielded. You also get a weight locking pin with a combination lock.
- Solid steel construction allows for a stable platform
- Features more than just the core workout stations
- Comes with decent padding
- Shielded weight stack that comes with a combination lock
The Not So Good
- The 150lb weight stack might be too light for some
- Not particularly compact
Being on a budget means you’re looking to get the most out of your money. In terms of budget home gyms, that’s the Gym XRS 50. This is undoubtedly one of the best home gyms when it comes to balancing quality and affordability. The gym is fairly compact as well, which is a plus for those dealing with limited space.
What makes this model such a steal is the fact that it offers a total of 280lbs of resistance using a 112lb stack of weights. Unfortunately, the weights on this rig come in pretty large increments of 20lbs and more depending on the plate. This might be a problem for users who are just starting out. Aside from that, the XRS 50 is a truly great machine that functions at a very high level for its price.
You’re getting the usual fly/chest station, the leg developer, and a high pulley/low pulley combo. The machine is made to a reliable and durable standard. The frame is made of solid steel tubing that will give you plenty of stability during a workout. All the padding is basic but durable, which is exactly what you’d want in this price range. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck option, this is definitely one to consider.
- Arguably the best bang for your buck option on the market
- Comes with 280lbs of available resistance which is impressive for this price range
- Decent padding
- Good build quality
The Not So Good
- The weight stack only goes up in large increments, which may make progressing more difficult
- Assembly can be a bit tricky as the factory manual isn’t particularly clear
Home gyms are a great way to work out at home, but what if you’re on the move a lot? Since you obviously can’t lug around an average home gym, you’ll need something different. Something like the BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Home Gym. This is one of the most unusual home gyms you’ll see out there but it works. The whole thing consists of a set of resistance bands, a base plate with anchor points, and several accessories such as various grips.
The idea here is to use the resistance bands to simulate just about every movement you’d be performing in a gym. You can curl, deadlift, squat, do just about anything you can imagine – all while using a fully mobile system.
As far as workouts go, this rig comes with an instruction manual while there is also a set of workout videos you can follow along. Each resistance band offers around 30lbs of resistance. In order to get more, just shorten the band by doubling it through the available anchor points.
The coolest thing about the BodyBoss 2.0 is its lightweight design. You can pack this system in a suitcase if you’re traveling. The BodyBoss 2.0 is the gym you can take with you, wherever you go!
- An extremely mobile solution that’s light, compact and travel-ready
- Allows you to perform dozens of workouts using nothing more than the resistance bands and the base plate
- Good build quality
- Great price
The Not So Good
- High mobility achieved at the cost of increased resistance
- It will take some time to get used to working this system
Weider’s 2980 Home Gym is another good choice of the more traditional home gyms. It’s a well-rounded machine that doesn’t necessarily stand out in any particular way. In all honesty, that’s probably its best trait. This model brings all the usual work stations with the addition of a curling bench. In total, you’re getting the chest/fly station, the lat pulldown, and a lower body section.
This particular model comes with a weight stack that offers 81lbs of weights. Through the use of cables and friction, that resistance can be bumped up to 214lbs in total. You may run into the issue of significant weight increment increases between plates which is only amplified by the cable system. However, at this price range, we can’t really complain too much.
As far as build quality goes, Weider has used decent tubing all round for the most part. You could say that the frame looks somewhat skinny compared to other similar home gyms, but it is still solid enough. The padding is simple but does the job. Overall, this is a decent choice if you’re looking for a traditional budget setup.
- A traditional home gym that offers a well-rounded set of features
- Good build quality
- Comes with the essential workout stations
The Not So Good
- 81lb stack is slightly behind the curve
- The frame could have been slightly beefier
The Goplus Multifunctional Trainer Home Gym station has a truly unique setup. Whereas most home gyms use weight stacks to achieve resistance, this one uses your own bodyweight! The system works by routing all the workout stations to move your body as you’re sitting down. There are 9 adjustment positions at the base of the machine that are used to control resistance.
One of the most obvious benefits of such a system is its footprint. Since there’s no physical weight stack and since the actual center of mass is now near the seat itself, Goplus was able to keep everything tight. Needless to say, this home gym might be a good choice if you’re dealing with limited room.
The Goplus Multifunctional Trainer Home Gym offers seven total-body exercises revolving around the chest press, lat pulldown, and leg extensions. It’s also worth mentioning that the chest press can also be adjusted for resistance. There are 5 available positions you can choose.
Naturally, there are limitations with setups like this one. For one, the 9 levels of resistance greatly differ depending on who is using the machine. Heavier users might find that there’s not enough fine-tuning between different levels to get to the exact resistance you’re looking for. However, this is a small price to pay for what you’re getting in return. Goplus has done a solid job with this rig, making it a great choice for those who need a compact machine.
- The small form factor makes it great if you’re working with limited space
- Features solid build quality and a stable frame
- Utilizes your own body weight for resistance
The Not So Good
- Resistance depends on the weight of the user
- Adjusting resistance can be confusing for some
Should You Get a Budget Home Gym?
Home gyms are often seen as these super expensive rigs that you have to sink a lot of money into. While that may have been the case a decade or so ago, things have definitely changed. Today, if you’re looking to work out at home on a budget, you can definitely find a decent home gym to accommodate your needs. So, should you get a budget home gym? Absolutely. As long as you are comfortable with some of the limitations these rigs have, you should be more than fine.
A budget home gym won’t be the same as a $1000+ home gym. If you’d like to see what that segment has to offer, check out the guide we did on those home gyms. The lack of advanced features doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great workout, though. Even though most budget gyms feature limited weight stacks or no weight stacks at all, they have other ways of delivering enough resistance to build, strengthen, and tone your muscles.
Another consideration when deciding whether you should get one needs to be the fact that cheaper home gyms are exactly that: Cheaper. The old adage that “you get what you pay for” is true in most industries, but especially in the fitness equipment industry. Retailers / manufacturers can offer these machines at low costs because they spent less to research, develop and produce them. And spending less to produce them means the build quality is usually lower, which means they’re more susceptible to design flaws and defects. Don’t expect a perfect, high-quality machine when you’re forking out less than $500. And don’t be surprised if parts wear out quicker, break or bend, or don’t assemble perfectly.
Choosing the Right Low Cost Home Gym
The budget segment of the home gym market is full of interesting models that all look attractive to some degree. The trick to finding the perfect one for you is to know what to look for. Here are some things you’d want to consider when looking for the best home gym your money can buy!
Not All Home Gyms Are Created Equal
A quick glance over our shortlist above shows just how diverse budget home gyms can be. To say that not all of them are created equal would be an understatement as well. The very first thing you should do is figure out what kind of home gym you’re looking for.
Are you looking for a traditional model with a weight stack in the rear, or will an unconventional model work? Answering this question will help you narrow down your choices and filter out a lot of models that might seem attractive but are actually incompatible with your needs.
Size and Footprint
Size is a big factor when it comes to finding the best affordable home gym for your needs. These machines are not small. On the contrary, they’re often massive and require a lot more space than you might think!
Because of that, it’s important to figure out how much space you’re willing to allocate for a home gym and start from there. If you have plenty of space, you will have more options to choose from. However, if you’re working with a limited amount of room, you’ll have to pay close attention to which home gyms you consider.
Weight Stack Configuration
One of the biggest drawbacks of budget home gyms is the weight stack. They aren’t necessarily insufficient in terms of resistance even though some weigh in below 100lbs. Many home gym manufacturers have found ways of doubling or even tripling the resistance using nothing more than a cable and pulley system. The issue with affordable home gyms is that they often allow only for rough weight increments.
For example, your average lat pulldown machine found in a gym may use 2.5-5lb plates or thereabout. With some of these budget gyms, you’re looking at 20lb or even 30lb increments. While this isn’t necessarily an issue for intermediate lifters, those who are just starting out might find it difficult to progress the weight without sacrificing form. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent trend in this segment of the market so you might be hard-pressed to find something more fine-tuneable regarding weights.
Last but not least, you should look at the features that come with the machine. Some, like the Marcy MWM-990 are just packed with all kinds of cool stuff. For instance, Marcy ships these with a weight stack combination lock, an ankle strap as well as a removable curl pad.
Those features are often reserved for the higher end home gyms yet this budget model has them. However, what Marcy has done is an exception to the rule. With that in mind, you should always give a careful look at the machines you’re interested in. Some might bring extra bells and whistles while others might lack basic stuff.
Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Home Gyms
If you’re looking in the budget segment of this market, you’re probably a discerning individual who wants to make the best possible purchasing decision. Perhaps you don’t have a ton of cash to spend on fitness equipment and want to make sure you don’t make a dud purchase. Or, maybe you’re just careful with your money and want to get the best bang for your buck. Either way, you want plenty of info before pulling the trigger on a home gym. Well, we’ll do our best to accommodate by answering some of the most common questions asked about budget home gyms.
Which is the best home gym for the money?
Any of our top 3 picks will give you very good bang for buck, especially for relatively low-cost machines. The Marcy 150lb machine is a solid buy because it packs a lot of features you don’t normally see on cheaper home gyms. The preacher curl station, shroud around the weight stack, and press arm that allows for both flyes and presses are all very handy features. Also, the 150lb weight stack is one of the heavier stacks you’ll find on cheap machines.
Similarly, the XRS 50 is a relatively well-built and sturdy machine (for this segment) and has good basic features. It also has a user capacity of 300 lbs, which is decent.
Finally, the BodyBoss 2.0 is a very clever portable home gym, that is well worth the relatively low price you’ll pay for it. Just be aware that it will take some getting used to – these kinds of innovations usually do. As it uses resistance bands, it won’t be a 1:1 comparison with a standard home gym.
Do home gyms really work?
If by this question people are asking of they help to build and strengthen your muscles, then the answer is “of course they do”. These machines provide a source of external resistance against which your muscles can contract, which stimulates growth in contractile proteins in said muscles. This is the basis of both muscle growth and increased muscle strength. Now, a budget home gym will have lighter weight stacks, and therefore the room for muscle growth and increases in strength will be necessarily smaller than if you were using a home gym with a heavier weight stack, or an olympic weight set. However, resistance is resistance. If it challenges your muscles and you apply it wisely then those muscles will get bigger and stronger.
What is the best compact home gym?
We’ve previously looked at the best compact home gyms in a separate article. For those who want the short version, these were our top picks:
- The Body-Solid G1s Home Gym
- Marcy Multifunctional Steel Home Gym
- Weider Ultimate Body Works
Well, there you have it: The Best Budget Home Gyms
We’ve tried to pull together a list of home gyms that would offer a decent selection of home gyms that offer a great workout but don’t break the bank. As you can see, there are some pretty interesting models to choose from.
At the end of the day, these are by far some of the best rigs you can get for this kind of money. No matter which one you choose, you can rest assured that each one of these will provide you with the challenging workout you’re looking for!