One of the main drawcards of a commercial gym is the variety of equipment at your disposal – especially if you’re into strength training. There are myriad machines, racks, benches, and free weights; everything you need to build considerable muscle size, strength, power, and endurance. On the other hand, you also have other people wanting to use that equipment, you have to get yourself to the gym in the first place if they’re even open at all (thanks, COVID).
It’s these pain points that are driving more people towards training at home. Unfortunately, few of us have the space in our homes or the bank balance needed to replace all that gym equipment.
Home gyms offer an alternative.
These all-in-one machines offer the functionality of multiple pieces of strength equipment. In this article, we’ll show you our picks for the top 5 best home gyms under $1000. After we go through each pick in detail, we’ll also discuss the pros and cons that home gyms bring to the table, what to look for when buying one, and more!
Top Home Gyms for Less Than $1000 At a Glance
Best Home Gym Under $1k Overall
The Bowflex PR3000 brings the core of Bowflex technology with all of its perks. It’s a powerful home gym rig that delivers all of the functionality without the massive footprint that usually comes with such machines. With over 50 exercises available and 210 lbs. of resistance rods, you’ll be getting a good workout on the daily. On top of that, they’ve left room for 100 lbs. of additional rods you can add.
Best Value Home Gym Under $1k
If you’re looking for a traditional home gym and don’t have to worry about space, Marcy MKM-81010 is an absolute must-have. This gym is packed with all of the core workout stations and features a 200 lbs. shielded weight stack. Despite being chunky, Marcy has done their best to keep everything as streamlined as possible. At its value-laden price, the Marcy MKM-81010 is an obvious choice.
The Best Home Gyms Under $1000
|Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym||
|Marcy Stack Dual Function Home Gym||
|Marcy Smith Cage Machine||
|Body Solid BSG10X Home Gym||
|Body Solid G1S Home Gym||
|Bowflex PR3000 Home Gym|
|Marcy Stack Dual Function Home Gym|
|Marcy Smith Cage Machine|
|Body Solid BSG10X Home Gym|
|Body Solid G1S Home Gym|
When Bowflex first appeared on the market, the industry was saturated with all kinds of basic home gyms. However, Bowflex managed to stand out through innovation. Where others used standard weights to create resistance, Bowflex decided to use polymer rods to create resistance. This system has proven to be a popular choice among workout enthusiasts.
The Bowflex PR3000 is a compact home gym that’s easy to use and packed with features. The Power Rods that come with this model offer 210lb of resistance, which is enough even for advanced users who need that extra challenge. If desired, additional rods can be used to introduce an extra 100 lbs of resistance.
As far as versatility goes, you’re looking at over 50 different exercises that operate through various pulley combinations. Since this isn’t your regular home gym, there are no defined stations. However, you do get a padded seat that can be used for all kinds of exercises.
The overall quality is top-notch. Bowflex has always used quality materials, thus ensuring that their machines are rock solid. There’s no corner-cutting going on with the PR3000, which is why it’s not only the best you can get for less than $1k, it’s one of the best home gyms you can get period.
- One of the most original systems out there
- A compact form factor due to the lack of a regular weight stack
- Comes with 210 lbs. of resistance with room for more
- Allows for over 50 different exercises
- Solid build quality all around
The Not So Good
- The pulley and Power Rod system might be confusing for users who are used to standard home gyms
- The 210 lbs. of resistance may feel like less
If you’re interested in getting a more conventional home gym, Marcy’s MKM-81010 Stack Dual Function model might be more your thing. Marcy is one of those brands that’s well established in all spheres of the fitness equipment industry, offering great bang for your buck no matter the price range. The same applies for this rig. This is a rock-solid home gym that features a robust frame, a solid selection of stations and a quality pulley system to deliver the resistance and versatility needed for a great workout!
The reason why we think this is one of the best home gyms under $1000 is its streamlined design. Home gyms can sometimes become a mess of pulleys and cables, which not only looks cluttered but also reduces the overall reliability of the device. What Marcy did was reduce the number of pulleys to a bare minimum. As a result, you’ve got a system that’s both efficient and reliable.
One of the MKM-81010’s best features is the fact that it offers a lot of different stations for a mid-range home gym. You’ve got the lat pull down, chest press, flies station, leg extensions and once you add the curl extension, you can curl as well. All of these stations employ the 200 lbs. fully shielded stack to provide more resistance than most people will use over the journey.
As far as build quality goes, Marcy went above and beyond. This rig is made of 14-gauge steel tubing, which offers great stability and durability. The seat is nicely padded and comfortable even after extensive use. Overall, this is one of the best conventional home gyms out there.
- Solid build quality based on 14-gauge tubing
- Streamlined design that makes this a fairly robust rig
- Comes with all of the main workout stations
- Dual-action press arm
- 200 lbs. shielded stack offers plenty of resistance
The Not So Good
- This is a fairly large gym with a sizable footprint
- The black paint may be prone to chipping
- Assembly can be time consuming as the instructions aren’t great
Home gyms come in all different shapes and sizes. Not all of them are based solely on cables and pulleys. Marcy’s Smith Cage Machine is a much more traditional setup that still runs cables for some of the workout stations, but also incorporates the Smith machine. That little addition allows you to perform classic bench press, squats, and other exercises that utilize the barbell.
Behind the Smith Machine / Home Gym / Power Rack, you’ll find the chest station. Additionally, the bench comes with a leg press already installed. In addition to these, you also get cable crossovers which are an amazing tool that isn’t often found on home gyms. What really sold us to this design is how well it works with free weights. Aside from being a home gym machine, this is also a fully functioning squat rack that comes with solid J-hooks.
In fact, Marcy counts on you already having plates as there’s no standard weight stack on this machine. Because of that, we’d say that this model is best suited for those who do a lot of core barbell work such as squats, bench press, deadlifts, and others.
Since it’s designed to pack plates, Marcy has made this thing robust. They’ve used quality 14-gauge steel tubing for the frame, thus ensuring that you can load the weights you need without having to worry about any part of the rig failing on you.
- Good build quality all around
- Features a built-in Smith machine
- Geared towards barbell work
- Comes with a decent selection of workout stations
- Includes crossover cables, which is unique
The Not So Good
- It’s a fairly large home gym
- There are no built-in weights. Instead, this rig requires plates which are an additional cost
Body Solid’s BSG10X is all about bringing the core performance in a tight, compact package. This model has one of the smallest footprints when it comes to conventional weight stack home gyms. The design of the frame places most moving parts into one cluster, reducing the need for complex pulley systems and mechanisms. With that said, this is still a very functional gym that comes with all of the usual workout stations.
You’ve got the lat pull down, a complete chest/arms press station, lower body station, and even a chest harness. The chest/arms press station is especially interesting considering that it features 8 different positions. That way you can target a whole range of different muscles using just one station.
Overall, there are 40+ exercises that can be done on this compact model. The only thing to keep in mind is the fact that the weight stack is one of the lighter ones out there. Where most other models go up to 200 lbs., this one comes in at 160 lbs. Still, that’s plenty enough for most users.
Body Solid has a generally positive track record as far as build quality goes. The BSG10X features 11-gauge steel tubing, which is more than capable of providing all the stability and support you could need as you work out.
- Compact footprint for a standard home gym
- Features 11-gauge steel tubing construction
- 8 position adjustable chest press station
- Comes with all of the core workout stations
The Not So Good
- 160 lbs. weight stack is slightly less than what some other models offer
- Increasing resistance in 15 lbs. increments can be challenging for some people and on certain exercises
In case you’re looking for something minimalist, the Body Solid G1S might the answer. This is a more basic home gym that may lack some of the advanced features, but ultimately brings plenty of functionality to those who want to exercise on a budget. Such a minimalist approach has made the G1S a fairly compact home gym as well, which is also worth considering.
The G1S features a lat pulldown station, chest press station, and a lower body station. None of these stations require you to change the cables to use them. All you have to do is select the station you want to use and go at it.
The weight stack comes in at 160 lbs., which is perfectly in line with the budget nature of the G1S. It rides on two guide rods and is stable even during vigorous use. A quick look at the frame reveals where Body Solid cut the most corners to fit the budget.
The frame features 12-gauge steel tubing and is about as minimalist as they come. Body Solid did their best to find a balance between price and durability, and they’ve nailed it for the most part. However, the G1S does not offer as sturdy a frame as the more expensive models.
- Relatively small footprint for those looking for a compact home gym
- Comes with all the core workout stations
- Fairly robust in terms of build quality
The Not So Good
- 160 lbs. may too light for more advanced users
- Minimalist design means limited number of stations and possible exercises
Should You Get a Multi-Gym?
Not all of us can afford the time to hit the gym when we’d like to. If you’re on a hectic schedule or simply want the luxury of working out whenever you feel like it, you should absolutely get an all-in-one home gym machine (a.k.a. multi-gym). A multi-gym is a great way to get some weight training done without investing in a massive array of barbells, dumbbells, plates, racks, and other equipment.
Although free weights are generally a better option, taking that route is neither cheap nor practical for many. Spending a grand on a home gym may sound like a lot, but keep in mind that just a decent squat rack can cost you about as much. Not to mention the additional equipment you’d have to get (e.g., barbell, weight plates, dumbbells, etc.).
With home gyms, you’re getting the necessary functionality at a decent price and that’s absolutely the best thing about these devices.
Choosing the Right Home Gym Under $1k
The whole process of purchasing a home gym can be extremely confusing. There are so many different flavors out there, different brands, features, workout stations and other things to take into consideration. However, all of this can be simplified as long as you know what your needs are. Here are some of the things to factor in when searching for the right home gym for yourself.
The Overall Footprint
Unless you live in a mansion, space is always going to be a consideration when choosing any kind of bulky fitness equipment. This is especially true for home gyms as they’re one of the bulkiest pieces of equipment you can get outside of power racks.
The key here is to understand that the actual footprint of a home gym sometimes goes past what is declared by the manufacturer. A good example would be the Marcy Smith Cage machine from our list. While the machine itself takes a certain amount of room, the actual space needed to perform the exercises may be larger than the product’s listed size. You should add a few square meters on each side at the very least to accommodate for various exercises done using these tools. As long as you keep this in mind, you should be fine.
The last thing worth mentioning here is that budget machines often bring a compact form factor. As such, some of the best home gyms under $500 are also some of the most compact.
Build quality is always an important factor no matter what you’re spending money on. However, it’s even more important when we’re talking about heavy, weighted fitness equipment. For us, the frame is always the first thing we look at. A robust and reliable frame isn’t only going to keep you safe as you exercise, but it will also reduce the amount of movement of the home gym during use. Our suggestion would be to go with models that use beefy tubing, preferably 14-gauge and above.
Next, look at the cable and pulley system. The cables should be reasonably thick while still remaining as flexible as possible. Similarly, the pulley system should run smoothly without snagging.
It’s no secret that features are what make home gyms interesting in the first place. Some people go with a more-is-better approach while others are happy with just the basics. More features usually means more workout stations. The only problem with more stations is the increased complexity of the machine and more clutter in the form of cables and pulleys.
The best thing you can do is decide on the exercises that are a must for you and finding a machine that matches these needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home Gyms
If you’re reading this far then you’re obviously doing your due diligence – great job. There’s nothing worse than pulling the trigger on an expensive piece of equipment, only to get it and find out there’s some glaring flaw. So, you’ve probably got plenty of questions. Here are our responses to some of the most commonly asked questions about multi-gyms.
Are home gyms worth it?
If you’re asking whether an all-in-one home gym machine (a.k.a. multi-gym) is worth it, then the answer is definitely “it depends”. It depends primarily on your fitness goals, budget, and available space in your home.
Multi-gyms can and will provide resistance for your muscles to contract against, and therefore can and will help you build muscular strength and size. So, if you’re aiming to incorporate strength training / muscle building into your exercise routine but aren’t trying to be competitive lifter (of any kind), then a home gym machine can be a great investment. If, however, you’re getting into body building, or you’re already pretty strong, then a multi-gym probably won’t have enough weight to properly challenge you, and could leave you frustrated and out-of-pocket.
Similarly, your budget is going to be a factor in whether the machine you buy is ‘worth it’. There’s a lot of moving parts in a multi-gym, and heavy stuff tends to be expensive to manufacture. Therefore, while there are good budget home gyms, many of the lower priced machines have probably skimped on some element of their manufacturing. Thus, they’re more prone to wear and tear, defects, and just general malfunction. If you buy a lower priced machine and it craps out on you soon after, then it’s not going to be worth it all. As a general rule, you get what you pay for when buying fitness equipment.
Lastly, there’s the available space you have to dedicate to exercising. This is where we think multi-gyms can show their worth. Getting a good one means you’ve effectively crammed multiple pieces of equipment into the one, compact machine.
In the interest of answering the question in full, don’t get a home gym machine if you’re aiming to build competition level muscle size and / or strength, if you have plenty of money to spend on strength training equipment, or you’ve got lots of space (say in a two car garage) that could house multiple pieces of more specialized equipment.
If, on the other hand, you’re asking if setting up a gym in your home is worth it, then we think the obvious answer is yes. The advantage of having a home gym is that you can exercise whenever you want, you don’t have to travel far, you don’t have to compete with others for the equipment, and you’ll save a ton of money on membership fees.
What is the most effective home workout?
Sorry, again the correct answer here is it depends entirely on what you’re trying to achieve. No particular exercise or workout is ‘most effective’ for everyone. If your aim is to build your cardiorespiratory fitness to improve your general health, then a very strength training routine ain’t the best workout for you. You want to spend time doing cardio. Conversely, if you’re getting into Powerlifting, then you must lift heavy. Spending a lot of time doing cardio is likely going to impede your progress.
There are however, some general rules and principles of exercise training that, when followed / implemented, will help you achieve whatever goals you have:
- Progressive overload: You must progressively increase the demands you place on your body in order to keep moving towards your goals. Lift heavier, do more reps, run faster or longer.
- Specificity: Train for what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to get beter at running, then you gotta run. If you’re aiming to be more athletic when playing sport, then you’ve got to practice doing what you do on the field / court / wherever. If you’re aiming to get stronger in your daily life, then you’ve got to practice moving your bodyweight, as well as lifting and carrying heavy things.
- Consistency is key: Long-term, consistent training will lead to results. If you stop training, or you train inconsistently, you won’t see results and you’ll risk becoming discouraged and giving up.
What are the best home gyms?
We’ve done a ton of research and written plenty on the best home gyms for various segments of the market.
- Best Home Gym Overall: Bodycraft Xpress Pro Home Gym
- Best Beginner Home Gym, Best Budget Home Gym: Marcy 150 lb. Stack
- Best Mid-Range Home Gym, Best Home Gym Under $1k, Best Bowflex Home Gym: Bowflex PR3000
- Best Compact Home Gym: Body-Solid G1S Home Gym.
Well, there you have it: The Best Home Gyms Under $1000.
We’ve reviewed what we feel are the very best options on the market right now. Our shortlist includes a diverse range of designs and sizes, meaning that everyone should find the perfect sub $1k home gym to meet their needs.