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Building a home gym is one of the best ways you can optimize your living space. While quality exercise equipment is undoubtedly an up-front investment, it can be worth it for the convenience and the killer workout you can get without leaving your home. Whether you’re looking for one workout machine to up your at-home cardio game or several key pieces to build out your home gym, our ACTIVE Reviews Team can help with the decision-making process.
We looked at all of the available workout equipment and narrowed it down to the 10 best home exercise machines across all categories. We included cardiovascular machines, resistance training equipment, and high-tech models that guide you through both types of workouts. We also considered space and budget concerns to come up with a comprehensive list of options.
The Best Home Exercise Machines
- Best Exercise Bike - Schwinn IC4
- Best Treadmill for Runners - Sole F63
- Best Compact Treadmill - Echelon Stride
- Best Home Gym - Tonal
- Best Elliptical Under $1,000 - Horizon 7.0 AE
- Best Budget Stair Climber - Maxi Climber
- Best Elliptical - NordicTrack Commercial 14.9
- Best Portable Home Gym - MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
- Best Rowing Machine - ProForm 750 R Rower
- Best Exercise Machine With Weights - Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
Best Exercise Bike - Schwinn IC4
The Schwinn IC4 is a sturdy, indoor cycling bike that offers a solid ride, thanks to its 32-pound flywheel and all-metal frame. Priced at under $1,000, it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of more expensive spin bikes like the Peloton Bike—for example, it has a tablet holder instead of a large, integrated screen—but this setup gives you the ability to connect the bike to any of your favorite apps, including JRNY (it comes with a one-year membership), Zwift and Peloton, rather than limiting you to specific programs.
Without the tablet hooked up, it’s a regular stationary bike with a basic console that tracks standard metrics like time, speed and distance. It has magnetic resistance, so you can expect a smooth ride during your cardio workout, and you can adjust to an impressive 100 resistance levels.
Key Feature: Magnetic resistance with 100 resistance levels and a 32-pound flywheel
Dimensions: 48.7" L x 21.2" W x 51.8" H
- Warranty: 10 years for the frame and three years for mechanical and electrical
Best Treadmill for Runners - Sole F63
Sole Fitness makes really great treadmills, especially for the price. The F63, one of the most popular models, boasts a 3.0 horsepower motor, 15 levels of incline and a top speed of 12 miles per hour. But a feature that makes it especially great for runners is the Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, a Sole-exclusive technology that’s designed to give you a low-impact workout by reducing the strain on your joints, even at higher running speeds. The running deck measures 20 inches, which isn’t the largest in the industry, but it offers plenty of room so you don’t feel boxed in by the handles as you run.
While the F63 does have a fairly large footprint, it folds up for storage so you can minimize the space it takes up when you’re not using it. As for the display? It comes with a pretty basic console that shows metrics and nothing else, but it does have an integrated tablet holder that you can use to connect to apps.
Key Feature: 20-inch Cushion Flex Whisper Deck
Dimensions: 82" L x 35" W x 66" H
- Warranty: Lifetime for the frame and motor and three years for deck, electronics and parts
Best Compact Treadmill - Echelon Stride
Treadmills aren’t always ideal for small spaces, and most folding treadmills stay at an awkward, bulky angle instead of folding completely flat. This is what makes the Echelon Stride so unique. It quite literally folds down to a minimal 10 inches tall, and the space-saving process is totally automatic. All you have to do is press a button and watch it go.
The Stride has a lot to offer as far as features go too. While the motor isn’t the most powerful out there—it clocks in at 1.75 CHP—it has a roomy 20-inch running deck, 12 incline levels that max out at 10% and a top speed of 12 miles per hour. The easy-to-read console is unique too, spanning across the entire face of the treadmill. There’s no large screen, but there is a sturdy tablet holder if you want to turn it into a makeshift smart machine.
Key Feature: Folds to 10 inches flat
Dimensions: 69" L x 31" W X 49" H
- Warranty: One-year (limited parts and labor)
Best Home Gym - Tonal
The past few years have brought a whole new class of smart home gym equipment with them: all-in-one workout mirrors. These compact machines essentially turn wall space (that you’re probably not using anyway) into a full home gym. While some have more features than others, the Tonal has all of the bases covered. Instead of dumbbells, barbells or kettlebells, it utilizes digital weights—up to 200 pounds—and accessories, like handles, a workout bar, a rope and a roller, to provide a full-body strength training workout.
The Tonal keeps track of your reps and sets for you and monitors other metrics like range of motion and time under tension. It utilizes this information to track changes over time, so you can measure your progress toward your fitness goals with real, up-to-date data. There are hundreds of on-demand workout programs, from HIIT to barre to yoga, and Tonal recently announced live classes that you can follow along with from the comfort of your own home.
Key Feature: Utilizes digital weights
Dimensions: 21.5" W X 50.9" H
- Warranty: Three-year limited
Best Elliptical Under $1,000 - Horizon 7.0 AE
You don’t have to shell out a lot of cash to get a quality cardio machine. While this budget-friendly model isn’t as powerful as commercial-grade ellipticals, it has a 23-pound flywheel and a 20-inch stride length that allow for smooth, frictionless movement and full range of motion. Built-in workouts include heart rate training and interval training.
The console is fairly basic, but the user-friendly design makes it easy to operate while in motion. Intuitive handlebar controls also help you quickly toggle through the 20 resistance levels. If you want to upgrade the setup, you can hook up your own tablet or phone through the Bluetooth connectivity, and use the integrated speakers for clearer audio.
Key Feature: Built-in workouts on a budget-friendly machine
Dimensions: 76" L x 24" W X 65.5" H
- Warranty: Lifetime for the frame, three years for parts and one year for flywheel and labor
Best Budget Stair Climber - Maxi Climber
The Maxi Climber proves that you don’t need sophisticated machinery to get a killer high-intensity workout. This budget-friendly stair climber has a vertical design that uses your own body weight as resistance, which really forces you to engage your core and gives you upper body and lower body workouts.
There’s no advanced technology here, but you can download a free companion app that provides workout routines and tracks your calorie burn. When you’re not using it, it folds up for easy storage. It’s worth noting that the Maxi Climber only supports users of up to 240 pounds. If you weigh more than that, you’ll have to opt for the Maxi Climber XL, which goes up to 300 pounds.
Key Feature: Uses body weight as resistance for a full body workout
Dimensions: 57" L x 10" W X 6" H
- Warranty: One-year limited
Best Elliptical - NordicTrack Commercial 14.9
The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 is one of the best at-home elliptical machines you can buy. Reminiscent of the machines you see at the gym (hence the name), this front-drive elliptical has a 32-pound flywheel that rewards you with smooth, non-jerky movement and an adjustable stride length that you can set to either 17.5 or 18.7 inches, which is convenient if more than one person will be using it.
The technology setup is really impressive too. The Commercial 14.9 has a 14-inch, full color touchscreen that allows you to connect to iFIT, Icon Fitness’ interactive program that gives you access to on-demand and live workouts with various personal trainers. One of our favorite features of iFIT integrated machines is that when you’re following along with a workout, the machine’s resistance and incline will automatically adjust as you go. You can also use iFIT to do other workouts, including Pilates, yoga, and strength training.
Key Feature: Interactive programming
Dimensions: 67" L x 29" W X 69" H
- Warranty: 10 years for the frame, two years for parts and one year for labor
Best Portable Home Gym - MaxPRO SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine
If you travel a lot and need a solution for working out on the road, or you just don’t have the space for a dedicated cable machine, the MaxPro SmartConnect Portable Cable Machine is the next best thing. The setup includes the main SmartConnect piece, workout handles, ankle/wrist straps and a door mount kit, in case you want the option for a fixed setup too.
The whole thing weighs less than 10 pounds, so you can easily throw it in your gym bag or suitcase and tote it around. And just because it’s portable, doesn’t mean it’s chintzy (a fact that’s reflected in the price). While MaxPro doesn’t provide too much information on how the patented system is made, the cables are stronger than steel and support up to 300 pounds of resistance.
Key Feature: Highly portable machine that offers versatility in workouts
Dimensions: 32.3" W X 75" H (when mounted)
- Warranty: Two-year limited
Best Rowing Machine - ProForm 750R
The ProForm 750R isn’t the fanciest rowing machine out there, but it’s a mid-level model that meets the needs of most people, and that’s why we love it. It has an inertia-enhanced flywheel with a near-silent magnetic resistance that allows you to operate the machine without disturbing anyone around you.
The ProForm 750R has iFIT integration that gives personal trainers the power to adjust the resistance based on your chosen workout. While it does have an impressively-designed tablet holder, it doesn’t have its own screen, so you’ll have to bring your own tablet to really experience all iFIT has to offer.
Key Feature: iFIT programming for a personal training experience
Dimensions: 86.5" L x 22" W X 45.5" H
- Warranty: 10 years for the frame and one year for parts and labor
Best Exercise Machine With Weights - Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
If you’re not into digital weights, and you have the room for a full-size home gym, the Blaze Home Gym from Bowflex is a clear standout. This versatile weight machine has an adjustable bench and various cable attachments that you can configure to offer up more than 60 different exercises that target upper, lower and full body muscle groups.
The base model starts at 210 pounds of resistance, but you can upgrade to 310 or 410 pounds, depending on your needs. While this machine certainly isn’t compact, the bench does fold up so you can considerably reduce the overall footprint when it’s not in use.
Key Feature: Offers up more than 60 different workouts
Dimensions: 90" L x 38" W X 83" H
- Warranty: Five years
What to Look For in Home Exercise Machines
While each piece of equipment has different considerations depending on which type of machine it is, there are some general things you should look for across the board when shopping for home fitness equipment.
Exercise machines can take up a lot of space, and if you don’t have a lot to spare, checking the dimensions of each machine becomes even more important. This also applies to machines that are labeled "compact" or "folding." That can mean different things to different manufacturers.
Check the specs for both the fully expanded and the folded size and then measure your space to make sure it will fit in your living room, garage or elsewhere. And don’t forget about the minimum ceiling height. Machines like ellipticals and treadmills will come with guidelines around how much head room you’ll need for proper clearance when at full incline.
Smart features aren’t necessarily a make-it-or-break-it consideration, but when looking at exercise machines, you have to decide what’s important for you and what you can live without. If you want a large screen that allows you to connect your favorite fitness or streaming apps, you’ll have to make sure you’re choosing one that fits the bill. If you don’t care so much about an integrated or even LCD screen, but you want to connect your own tablet, you’ll have to look for some type of connectivity option, whether that’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB.
Also consider the programming available. Beginners might want a machine with built-in workouts or connectivity to an app so they know what to do for their home workout. Others at more advanced fitness levels may feel okay on their own, or want a machine that offers challenges.
Exercise machines are an investment, so you want to make sure you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Machines come with varying levels of coverage, and some warranties get really specific about what’s protected and what isn’t. Dive into the warranty’s fine print before landing on a machine and make sure you’re comfortable with the protection before committing to a purchase. Manufacturers will often also offer the option to purchase an extended warranty or additional protection plan.