We picked and reviewed the best home gym for any budget. All in one gym machines allows doing multiple exercises without other equipment, ideal for the home.
We'll cover machines ranging from less than $500 and up to $3,000.
But what is a home gym anyway? Well, the term has different meanings.
The most basic definition of a home gym: it is the area in your home that is used for practicing your fitness routine.
It is also a term used to refer to a single machine that allows you to perform many exercises. In the UK the more common term is a multi-gym or multi-station. These are all essentially the same thing, an all-in-one machine that does it all.
It saves the headache of shopping for different exercise equipment, consumes much less space and costs less than if you would buy separate machines for different exercises.
The Benefits of Home Gym ALL-IN-ONE Machines
- CONVENIENCE – An all-in-one home gym incorporates many different weight machines in a small space. Instead of having equipment spread over different areas, taking up lots of your limited space, the home gym is designed to be space saving.
Home gyms are made to allow easy movement between exercises. You can quickly move from one exercise to another. Perform a normal workout, or do circuit training; swiftly move from one movement to another.
Don’t worry about choosing between different manufacturers, for various fitness machine options.
Choosing a multi-station home gym for your exercise room means making one choice that takes care of many training options.
- PRICE – You’ll save money buying a multiple exercise machine. You’d spend more money if you bought each machine separately that the multi-station home gym already included.
- SPACE SAVING – A well-designed home gym with multiple exercise stations saves space. Separate exercise machines need to be widely spaced away from each other for safe use. This can quickly use up floor space, limiting the potential utility of your home workout set-up.
Choose a multi-station home gym to maximize your floor space. You’ll have more area for fitness use, such as; calisthenics, barbell/dumbbell exercises, or space intensive kettlebell and sandbag workouts.
- EASE OF USE – A quality home gym is easy to use. Worry more about working out and less about proper form or getting into the right position.
A home gym has each exercise properly supported and situated for quick use. Your only concern is adjusting the amount of weight you want to use.
Whether you’re training upper, or lower body the home gym lets you quickly move into position and start training.
- MORE THAN ONE PERSON – Some multi-station machines allow for 2 or even 3 people to safely workout at the same time. No need to worry about getting in each other’s way. Each exercise station in a home gym is safely located away from the other.
Enjoy training with 1 or 2 other family members or friends keeping you company.
Are Home Gym Machines Safe?
To correctly perform free-weight exercises requires learning the correct techniques. If you’re tired or not paying attention, it’s easy to hurt yourself.
Joints are delicate and easily injured by improper form. Muscles and tendons can experience chronic pain from poorly executed exercises.
Just one wrong move due to inattention or rushing through your workout will put you out of commission until you heal back to normal.
Using a home gym set-up removes the worry of doing something wrong that could ruin your health instead of enhancing it.
Here's how a home gym keeps your workout safe:
- Each exercise in the home gym is designed for proper use without worrying about dropping a heavy weight, losing control of the movement, or placing your body in the correct position.
- The home gym has each station built into a separate location; you won’t trip over one machine to get to the one you want to use.
- The weights are safely secured away from your body. No more worries about a heavy plate or dumbbell landing on your feet or head.
- Since all the exercises are incorporated into one piece of equipment, maintenance is easy; look over everything easily to make sure your machine is in perfect working order.
- You don’t worry about keeping multiple separate exercise machines in good order.
The Disadvantages of Home Gyms Machines
Nothing is perfect, and the home gym machine is not an exception.
These are the disadvantages to using these all-in-one machines:
- You’re limited to training your muscles using a limited range of motion without the ability to vary the angle of the movement.
- While an exercise machine is effective at training the muscle it’s intended to, you won’t effectively train the stabilizing muscles around it. This could result in less than optimal all-around strength.
- Boredom. It’s important to stay interested in your workout; boredom will lead to skipped workouts. A home gym will only provide the same exercises, every- time, without variation.
All-In-One Machine vs. Buying Multiple Machines
Buying separate machines that perform each of the exercises found in a multi-station machine can be a good idea under certain conditions:
- Is there a single exercise machine that allows a movement that you can’t find in a multi-station home gym?
- You’ve found a single exercise machine at a fantastic price that will save you money.
- You’re an advanced lifter who needs an individual machine that has an extraordinary weight capacity to improve your already advanced strength levels.
For most uses, a multi-station home gym is still the best exercise machine choice to quickly and efficiently equip a home exercise room.
With a multi-station home gym:
- You save money over the cost of multiple single exercise machines.
- Floor space use is maximized; a multi-gym takes up much less space than several exercise machines that do what one multi-gym does.
- The convenience of researching and purchasing one quality machine instead of trying to find the best single exercise machines for your home gym from different sellers.
Is a Multi Gym Machine Really Worth It?
Whether a home gym machine is worth it or not is something that only you can decide for yourself.
But here's my take and I will try to make it extra clear with bigger font:
Buy an all in one machine ONLY if:
A. You already covered the basics of having good dumbbells and an adjustable bench.
B. You won't find a multi gym machine an excuse for using it exclusively, neglecting free weights such as dumbbells or barbells.
It is only if A and B are covered that you can go ahead and buy a home gym machine.
And it goes without saying you need space and money, but you knew that already right?
Understand that there is nothing wrong with using only dumbbells, a bench and a squat rack (power rack). Don't stress yourself too much if you don't have the budget.
Home gym machines give more variety, and they work the muscles slightly different and thus are perfect to complement (not replace altogether) free weight exercises.
Free Weights are the must-have, Home Gym Machines are the-nice-to-have.
What Kinds of Exercises Can You Do With Most Home Gyms
While there are variations between different makes of multi-station home gym, most offer the same basic exercises:
- Bench Press
- Shoulder Press
- Lat Pull Down
- Leg Press
- Leg Extension
- Leg Curl
- Seated Row
You can also do a variety of cable exercises and isolation exercises, like:
- Triceps Extensions
- Biceps Curls
- Calf Raises
- High Pulls
- Wrist Curls
- Abs Cable Crunches
- Cables are very flexible so there are many exercise variations you can work with them.
What You Should Look For in a Home Gym
There are several important things you’ll need to consider when choosing the right multi-purpose machine:
- How much space does the home gym take up? There are different sizes in multi-station exercise machines, each with a greater or lesser selection of exercises designed into it. How much space do you have?
- How sturdy is it? If more than one person is going to use it, it will need to be built to take it.
- Will you use extremely heavy weight? If you’re an advanced trainee, you’ll need a multi-gym that can hold lots of weight.
- Is it made to last? Is the machine made from quality steel and with strong welds? Research product reviews and find out how the home gym stand up to regular use over time.
- Price is always an important consideration. Is the home gym you purchase a good deal for the features it has, and the quality of its construction?
Reviews Of The Top Home Gyms
These are the Home Gyms (All-In-One) machines that we review and recommend. You can jump directly to a specific machine by clicking on its name, or read chronologically.
I also suggest you read about the benefits of these machines below
Gold's Gym XR 55
- Adjustable 6 Workout Stations - The XR 55 allows for a total body workout with six distinct exercise stations; biceps curl pad (with three adjustments), pec fly station, chest press, lat pulldown/high pulley, low pulley for seated rows and other movements, and a leg extension attachment.
- Low & High Cable Pulley - The XR 55 has a low and high cable pulley set up that allows for a wide range of possible exercises. Using different handles and ankle cuffs the XR 55 cable pullies can be used to perform isolation exercises such as kickbacks, single leg curls, and other isolation exercises. It's nice to have low and high pulleys in such an inexpensive machine.
- Reasonably Small Footprint - This multi-gym takes a minimal amount of space. The XR 55 measures 77 inches long, by 43 inches wide and 83 inches tall, comparing well with other multi-gyms available.
- Sturdy Enough to Support Heavy People - According to the manufacturer, the XR 55 can support a person of up to 300 lbs in weight.
- 330 lbs (150 kg) Maximum Resistance - The XR 55 can provide a total of 330 lbs weighted resistance (150 kg) with only a 125 lbs vinyl covered plate stack.
- Durable and Comfortable Padded Cushions - The XR 55 seat and backrest are made of thick and comfortable padding covered in easy to clean vinyl. They also allow for three different adjustments, providing comfort for a broad range of body types.
- Quiet Machine - The weight stack is vinyl covered cement, so the weight stack doesn't make much noise when the separate plates hit each other. The vinyl covered cables move smoothly through the pulleys which prevent vibration and squeaking.
- Odd Weight Stack - Even though the vinyl weight stack plates all weigh in at 10 lbs, each plate will weigh more or less depending on the exercise. One ten pound plate on the stack will weigh 19 lbs in the pec fly, 22 lbs in the high pulley, and 57 lbs in the low pulley. This can be slightly confusing when working out, but many machines work that way so it's not such a big deal.
- Vinyl Covered Concrete Weight Stack - The weight stack isn’t made of iron or steel. Vinyl covered cement is not as durable as metal in the long-term.
- Not Comfortable For Tall or Short People - The XR 55 is made to be comfortable for a narrow range of heights. If you are much above six feet in height (185 cm), or under five feet five inches (165 cm) the XR 55 may not be as comfortable to use for many exercises. While this is true for many types of equipment, it's more apparent in the XR 55.
- Assembly Can Take Hours - Assembling the XR 55 can take over five hours. The XR 55 arrives in three separate boxes and should be unpacked and assembled in the room it will be used in. I don't think that's a problem as you only do this once.
- The XR 55 is Very Heavy - This multi-gym weighs in at something over 300 lbs (136 kg).
- Weight Stack Cannot Be Upgraded - The XR 55 weight stack cannot be upgraded for more weight. You also cannot add any attachments for a larger choice of exercises as you can in other more expensive home gym machines.
- Poor Ninety Days Warranty - The warranty is only good for ninety days. Once purchased you have only a ninety days warranty. After the warranty period is over, you’ll pay out of pocket for any replacement parts.
- Replacement Parts Can Be Expensive - If something breaks on the XR 55 it can be a sizable percentage of the original purchase price to buy the replacement. That's usually the case for inexpensive equipment.
The Bottom Line
The XR 55 is a good value for money. While it may not be as sturdy or versatile as a machine costing three times more, it's still pretty sturdy and versatile machine. Most people can get more than satisfactory workout from it.
The vinyl covered weight plates that make up the selectorized stack are quiet when they make contact, and the cables move smoothly through the pullies.
If you have neighbors, they won’t be bothered by any noise while you train.
This home gym is reasonably priced for the quality and range of exercises that you can perform on it.
With care, the XR 55 should last a long time, and even if you don't, it's so much cheaper than other options that even if it would only last for a couple of years it would still be considered a good purchase.
If you need an all in one machine to complete your home gym set up and on a low-budget, the XR 55 is a definite contender.
Marcy MWM-990 Home Gym
- Over 30 Exercises - With a leg extension/curl attachment, pec fly, high and low pulleys, lat bar and preacher curl bench the MWM-990 enables the trainee to perform a full body workout. The 150 lbs selectorized steel weight stack provides sufficient resistance for consistent strength gains.
- Powerfully Constructed - The MWM-990 is a solid steel construction with high-quality welds, smooth pulley wheels, and heavy duty cables. Once you’ve assembled this multi-gym it will last for years of training.
- Very Reasonably Priced - Considering the quality of this machine's construction, the solid steel weight stack and its versatility, the MWM-990 is a bargain. This is perhaps its prominent advantage over most machines. You could easily spend a lot more money for a home gym of similar quality.
- Multi-Function Chest-Press and Fly Attachment - The machine saves space with a dual function, independent motion chest press and fly attachment for vertical upper body exercise.
- The Versatility of Cables - The MWM-990 has high and low pullies that will allow for an incredible variety of exercise choices. From triceps and biceps, to leg abduction and adduction, cables allow for a range of movements limited only by your imagination. Weighted cable exercise adds even greater utility to an already versatile machine.
- Saves Space - This multi-gym is only 78 inches tall so it will fit under most ceiling heights.
- Cambered Lat Pull-Down Bar - The MWM-990 comes with a cambered pull-down bar that can be used with different grips to isolate particular muscles in the back. It doubles as a cambered curl bar that is attached to the low pulley for a variety of biceps exercises.
- High-Density Foam Padding - All the padding on the MWM-990 is high-density foam covered in thick vinyl. It’s easy to clean, takes a lot of abuse, and is comfortable to rest your body against.
- Leg extension/curl attachment is dual function and independent motion - The leg exercise attachment allows for one or both legs to be trained at a time.
- The MWM-990 is Not One Size Fits All - Like any mass produced machine, the MWM-990 is made to fit most people well. But if you’re unusually tall or short, some exercises will be less comfortable to do.
- Assembly Can Be an Involved Process - This multi-gym arrives disassembled and will take a diligent effort to assemble, and you need to set aside a few hours to do that. According to the instructions you’ll need the help of two to three people to finish it properly.
- Heavy - The MWM-990 weighs in at a solid, floor creaking 271 lbs. You’ll need to ensure that the surface you set it on can handle the full weight of the multi-gym in addition to your own weight on it. Unless your home gym is set up in a room with a level concrete floor, you will have to be careful where you set it up. This is true for most home gyms but still something to bear in mind.
- No Upgrades - The MWM-990 multi-gym can’t be upgraded from its original configuration. You can’t increase the amount of the weight stack, or add any other attachments to the machine. Fortunately, it is a complete workout machine.
The Bottom Line
The MWM-990 is a well-made tank of a multi-gym. This machine is versatile and durable. This machine has a small footprint, saving valuable floor space.
The dual functioning independent motion attachments will add a valuable dimension to your training efforts.
If you’ve decided that a multi-gym is what you need to complete your home gym, the MWM-990 shouldn't disappoint you.
SIDE NOTE: The cable system allows you to buy additional attachments like; ankle cuffs, bars and handles for a broader range of exercises.
Bowflex PR1000 Home Gym
- No Weights - The Bowflex PR1000 is a flexible rod based all-in-one home gym that provides a wide range of exercises in one machine – without using conventional weights.
The PR1000 uses flexible rods, which Bowflex call power rods. The are made of a sturdy composite material attached by cable and pulley to comfortable handles.
The machine even includes a rowing machine rail so you can easily add cardio training to your training program. You can perform over 30 strength exercises using a resistance that ranges from 5 lbs to a maximum of 210 lbs.
- High Capacity - The PR-1000 can support up to 300 lbs user weight, making it a sturdy machine.
- Variable Resistance - While metal weights are consistent over an exercise’s range of motion, there is an advantage to using power rods instead. That's because the power rods give you variable resistance training.
Your muscles are always weaker when extended than they are closer to full contraction. A good example is the bench press; you can lift far more weight over the last couple of inches than you can from chest level. This fact limits the amount of resistance you can use for maximum results.
Flexible materials, such as the Bowflex power rod system create variable resistance. The resistance level increases as you near full contraction; this allows you to train with optimal resistance from beginning to end.
Each type of resistance has its place in a workout program, but the power rod system will effectively stimulate your muscles for strength and size increases.
- Space Efficient - The PR-1000 will only need a 100 x 78-inch workout area, making it very portable compared to other home gym machines.
When you factor in the absence of metal weights, it is a very space-efficient option for any home gym.
The rowing machine option for cardio training saves even more space (and money) as you won't need a separate machine for endurance work.
The PR-1000 folds away. This is one of the most valuable space-saving features that the PR-1000 has.
After you’ve finished using it, you can fold it away.
- Easy to Move - The PR-1000 weighs in at a light 125 lbs (57 kg) , making it easy to move around, and very easy on your floor.
- Easy to Assemble - The PR-1000 arrives unassembled, but includes easy-to-follow detailed instructions. Assembly time is approximately one to two hours.
- The PR-1000 has Hand Grips - Instead of a conventional bar, the PR-1000 uses hand grips attached by D-clip to cables.
Hand grips allow for free movement throughout the range of motion. It is much easier to avoid injury when you can adjust your body properly during an exercise.
With the PR-1000 you aren’t locked into one groove; you can adjust the movement to be as joint safe as possible.
- Handgrips Double as Ankle Cuffs - Ankle cuffs give you more exercise possibilities for exercises. You can do leg adductor, leg abductor, and abdominal training
- Adjustable Bench - The bench is adjustable for a full range of angles; incline, flat, and even decline. Being able to train in the decline position adds an extra dimension that many other multi-gym machines do not offer.
- The Rowing Machine Feature - The PR-1000 can be quickly set up for use as a rowing machine. A sliding rail allows for a full-body cardio workout. Here is where the variable resistance nature of the power rod system shines.
Unlike conventional rowing machines, the PR-1000 provides a smooth increase in resistance as you pull the handles to your chest and fully extend your legs. The varying resistance adds a unique muscle building dimension to your endurance training
- Not good for very short or very tall people - If you are unusually short, or far above average height; some exercises will be awkward to perform. Of course, keep in mind that this a drawback of most mass produced exercise machines.
- No Upgrade - You can’t upgrade the PR-1000 with extra power rods. This Bowflex model does not come with an option for increased weight, 210 lbs is the maximum resistance level this unit will provide.
While 210 lbs are sufficient for many people, it may be to limiting for stronger individuals who require greater resistance to see results.
If you want a Bowlfex with upgradable resistance consider the more expensive Bowflex PR3000 also reviewed in this article.
The Bottom Line
The Bowflex PR-1000 is a versatile multi-gym that is safe to use and easy to store. The variable resistance nature of the power rods provides a unique and efficient training stimulus without the need of weights.
The rowing machine option is an extraordinary feature that exponentially increases the versatility of this multi-gym.
It’s a joint-friendly way to train your entire body; get fit and don’t worry about getting injured.
The hand grips are comfortable to use and provide much more versatility of motion than a solid bar would.
The Bowflex PR-1000 is reasonably priced and very portable. It is a great multi-gym for any home gym set up.
SIDE NOTE: The Bowflex PR-1000 is the base model of the range of multi-gyms they manufacture. The more advanced models have a greater range of available exercises and include the option of upgrading to greater maximum resistance. Conider the Bowlfex PR-3000 also reviewed in this article.
Body-Solid Powerline BSG10X Home Gym
- Very Easy to Assemble – The Powerline comes, for the most part, pre-assembled. To complete assembly, you only need to fasten and tighten a few bolts.
Compared to every other home gym machine reviewed, the Powerline has the quickest set up for use. You can get it assembled in less than an hour.
This is a huge plus, most all in one machines require complex assembly. In fact, complicated assembly is the number one complaints people have on 95% of home gym machines, so the Powerline BSG10X being easy to assemble makes it stand out from the rest.
- Doesn’t Take Much Space – The Powerline is one of the most compact machines in their category. It is a less than 4 feet wide (110 cm), 6.5 feet tall (205 cm) and a little more than six feet long (193 cm). If you need a home gym and are short on space, this is one of the better options as it can be fitted even in smaller places.
- Heavy Duty Cable – Body-Solid the manufacturer of the Powerline proud itself with using extremely durable strong cables, so that's one less thing to worry about going bad.
Besides being durable, a good cable system means smoother movement through the exercise.
I can tell you that this is something you really learn to appreciate after using some bad machines which I used in the past with less than stellar machines. It's reassuring to know the Powerline machine employs good cable system.
Another plus is that the Powerline does not require cumbersome changing between doing low pulley and high pulley exercises like some budget machines sometimes do.
- Lat Bar Also Effective For Biceps and Triceps exercises - It can be used with the high pulley to perform triceps exercises and low pulleys to perform biceps exercises.
- Included Accessories - The machine includes a low row bar, a lat bar that’s effective not just for back exercises but also for doing arm exercises, and ab harness for doing ab crunches with added resistance.
- Multi-grip Vertical Chest Press - The chest press has 3 different grip options for working the pectorals muscles in slightly different ways.
- Long Warranty Period With Extension Options - Body-Solid provides a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty on frame against defects. That’s a decent warranty for a relatively low-cost machine. The 10 years is only on the frame but you can extend the warranty during purchase, adding a 2 or 3 years service plans that all parts and labor.
- Trains The Entire Body - You can perform about 40 exercises which is pretty good for a machine that is quite compact, simple to assemble and is not so expensive.
- Weight Stack Can’t Be Upgraded - The Powerline comes with just 160 lbs weight stack (72kg), you cannot add more weight to it. It may be a deal breaker for advanced trainees and stronger people. If you are into bodybuilding this isn't the machine for you.
- Leg Press Attachment Not Included - The leg press attachment needs to be purchased separately. This is a considerable disadvantage for many people. The point of a home gym machine is that you have all the exercises you need in one device, and leg press is a very basic movement.
- It is Quite Heavy - This machine weighs in at over 300 lbs (136 kg). It's not super heavy but it isn't light either. This will limit the places you can set it up. You’ll be limited to concrete surfaces, which isn’t a problem if your home gym is located in a basement or garage, but city dwellers must ensure they have a sturdy surface for it.
- Short Warranty Period on Moving Parts - The standard manufacturer’s warranty on moving parts is just one year.
While the machine is well-built and sturdy, this can present a problem for some people. If any moving parts go wrong after the warranty expires you will be spending money to order a replacement. A short warranty also gives you little confidence in how much the company believes in the quality of what they are selling.
The good part is that you can purchase extended warranty when ordering.
The Bottom Line
Body-solid is a company with a long reputation for manufacturing commercial gym rates equipment. I have used their various machines many times in the past and these machines last for years without problems.
The Powerline is their more affordable model but still does a pretty good job. It is a reasonably priced and well-built. The small footprint, 160 lbs weight stack, and broad range of exercises make it a valuable addition to any home gym.
For sure, the biggest selling point of the Powerline BSG10X This machine is very easy to assemble.
You can assemble the Powerline BSG10X in half an hour and even if you are non-technical it shouldn't take more than 90 minutes. FYI, other home gyms can take good several hours to assemble and aren't always easy to do so. People complain about assembly all the time. If you hate to assemble stuff, then you should strongly consider this home gym.
Some issues may make it unsuitable for some people, such as the short warranty on moving parts and the need to buy the leg press separately.
The weight stack can’t be upgraded this can be a deal breaker for many.
This is a machine for light fitness, if you are into hardcore strength training or bodybuilding, this is not the best machine for you. Look for other machines in this review that offer heavier weight stacks or plate loaded systems.
For most people though, the weight resistance should be sufficient to achieve their fitness goals, and they are unlikely to need adding more resistance than the machine has to offer.
The Bowflex PR3000
- The Bowflex PR3000 Has No Weight Stack - It uses a unique power rods resistance system giving up to 210 lbs (95 Kg) of resistance without a floor straining weight stack. This also means the machine is very to move.
- Variable Resistance Training - The elastic nature of the power rods provides a unique form of variable resistance training. The exercise starts out lighter when your muscles are weakest, and levels up as you near the end of the exercise; when your muscles are strongest. This type of training will stimulate your muscles effectively through the whole range of motion.
- Sturdy - The Bowflex PR3000 is rated to support individuals up to 300 lbs in weight, an indicator of well-built machine.
- Many Exercises - You can perform over 50 different strength building exercises with the PR3000, including two favorite mass builders like lat pull downs and vertical bench press.
- Small Footprint - The Bowflex PR-3000 only needs a 100 x 78-Inch area on your home gym floor. That's a relatively small area for the functionality the machine provides.
- No Cable Change Needed - Move smoothly from one exercise to another with the Bowflex no cable change design.
- Easy Assembly - The PR-3000 is quick and easy to assemble with clear, easy to follow instructions.
- Seven Year Warranty On The Bowflex Power Rods - This is a great feature that gives the purchaser confidence that the company trusts its products to withstand long term use without defects.
- Light Machine - The PR-3000 is less than 130 lbs (60 Kg) when assembled, that's a very light machine. If you need to move this multi-gym to another location, you can easily do so. Placement is not an issue with the PR-3000 either; any floor will easily support this multi-gym.
- Removable Seat - The seat is removable so you can perform standing exercises, which is a nice touch.
- Easy To Upgrade The Weights - You can increase the amount of resistance by purchasing new power rods up to a total of 310 lbs (140 Kg) of resistance.
- Can’t Do Leg Curls With Both Legs - While the leg exercise attachment allows for a good leg workout, as for leg curls, you can only perform them only in a standing position and using one leg at a time. Some people actually prefer doing one-legged curls so this may not be a big deal.
- The Resistance May Not Please Everyone - Some people may not enjoy the different type of resistance provided by the power rods. Even though the power rod resistance is effective for developing strength, you may prefer the feel of lifting metal plates.
If you’re concerned with how much “actual weight” you can lift in every workout the PR-3000 may not be for you.
- Assembly Instructions Slightly Confusing - The instructions aren't bad, but there are some inconsistencies. It's not that you won't be able to assemble it, just that it may take a bit more patience. For some reason, this is very common with a lot of machines manufacturers.
The Bottom Line
The Bowflex PR-3000 is very light and portable at less than 130 lbs (60 kgs), mainly due to the use of the power rods resistance system which doesn't use traditional floor crushing massive weight stacks.
While every machine at any price level has its pros and cons, the Bowflex PR3000 clearly has more advantages than disadvantages.
The main disadvantages boil down to the non-weight based resistance system which some guys claim to 'feel' it differently.
Some people find the cheaper Bowflex PR1000 model (also reviewed here) a better value, but keep in mind the PR1000 takes more floor space and its resistance isn't upgradable like it is with the PR3000.
Overall the PR3000 is an excellent choice which is reflected by the large number of people raving about this machine.
Marcy Diamond Elite Smith
Smith Cage Combo MD-9010G
- Great Value - The Marcy Diamond Elite Smith Cage Combo is a lot of "home gym" at a low price. Compared to other equipment, the Marcy Diamond Elite offers an incredible combination of versatility and commercial grade gym build quality.
- Commercial Grade Construction - The Smith cage uprights and seated row foot-plates have heavy-duty, diamond-pattern striker/foot plates. The machine is made of high-quality steel with thick welds and connecting bolts that will ensure years of trouble-free use.
- Includes Many Attachments - The Marcy Diamond Elite comes with many useful accessories, including:
• Lat Bar
• Triceps Rope
• Shiver Bar
• Chrome Row Handle
• 2 Single Handles for cable exercises
Additionally, the machine comes with a leg extension/curl attachment that doubles as the preacher curl handle.
- Perform Over 100 Bodybuilding Exercises - The Marcy Diamond Elite is an all-in-one home gym that is designed for maximum versatility.
It is the unique combination of the Smith Machine with a good cable system that allows for doing so many compound exercises as well as isolation and cable exercises. Winning combo that's hard to find in other home gym equipment.
- Commercial Gym Style Adjustable Sliding Track - The back pad angle is easily and quickly adjustable with a commercial gym style sliding pull-knob on a chrome track.
- Optimized Leg Developer Pivot Point - Attention was given to for a better range of motion when doing leg exercises by using the leg developer attachment with a specially angled pivot bar.
- Smoother Exercise Movement - Marcy Diamond Elite has sturdy nylon pulley wheels with sealed, stainless steel ball bearings. It allows for smoother movement through the exercise and long-term reliability.
- Removable Adjustable Bench - The Marcy Diamond Elite has a bench that you can easily remove from the Smith Machine cage.
You can use the bench as a flat bench, or adjust it for incline or even to a decline position. Being able to set the bench to a decline position is something that isn't seen so often, but it is an excellent way to stimulate the pectorals muscles with less involvement of the delts and triceps.
Decline smith presses and dumbbells chest presses is something that I particularly like and frequently incorporate to my workouts.
- Smith Machine Movements - Having a home gym machine that also acts as a smith machine is a huge plus. You have the option of removing the flat bench and performing squats, lunges, high pulls and other Smith Machine exercises safely without a spotter.
- Cable Cross Dual Pulley - The cable cross dual pulley system is similar to the one found in commercial gyms. It allows for many variations of single and dual cable-based exercises.
- Built-in Olympic Weight Racks - Conveniently store your weight plates right on the machine's sides, similar to what you see in commercial gym machines. You don't need to buy a separate weight plate rack, and it helps keep the place neat.
- Heavy Duty Cables - Marcy rates their cable pulley resistance system to withstand 2000 lbs. It uses an aircraft quality cable so you can train as heavy as you want.
- Includes Preacher Curl Attachment - Some machines have the preacher bench is an add-on you have to purchase separately. With the Marcy, you get a seated preacher curl attachment as standard, useful for isolating the biceps.
- Pec Deck - The attachment allows you to do pec deck flyes to isolate the chest muscles working. Most machines only allow for chest pressing movements. Being able to do flyes with the Marcy is a great plus as flyes work the pectoral muscles differently.
- No Selectorized Weight Stack - The Marcy Diamond Elite uses Olympic weight plates for resistance. This is something that some people can actually consider an advantage (I do) as it gives you the freedom to do even small increments in weight and not being limited to the large increments of a selectorized weight stack.
This can also slow down changing weights and some people simply want the convenience of a selectorized system rather than lifting, mounting and dismounting plates.
- Heavy Machine - The sturdiness comes at a price, this machine weighs approximately 240 lbs (108 kg) without Olympic plates. It's not crazily heavy, but it isn't light either. The location of the Marcy Diamond Elite is limited by the carrying capacity of the floor.
- The Marcy Diamond Elite is large - Measuring 95 x 79 x 86 inches the Marcy Diamond Elite will require a significant amount of area and considerable ceiling height. That's the case with all Smith machines. If you have an unusually short ceiling, that machine isn't for you.
- Regular Lubrication - One again, this is inherent with all Smith Machines. Parts will require regular lubrication to minimize noise and prevent metal fatigue.
- Weights & Barbell Not Included - You will have to buy the Olympic plates separately, take that into consideration in your budget. You don't have buy tons of weight right from the get go. Buy just what you need initially and add more plates later as your strength increases.
You will also need to purchase a 7 foot Olympic barbell bar to use the Smith Machine. As economical as this multi-gym is, the absence of weights and barbell bar can be a deal breaker for many people.
- Challenging and Involved Assembly - As with any machine that has many moving parts that must function under a significant amount of weight, assembling the Marcy Diamond Elite takes time and close attention to detail.
The assembly will require more than one person, some tools, and several hours of work. As with so many other machines from other manufacturers, the instructions aren't very clear.
The Bottom Line
Giving the advantages and disadvantages of the Marcy Diamond Elite, it is still an incredibly versatile machine.
The removable bench is a huge plus, you are not limited to using it with the machine, you can also use it for dumbbell exercises as you would with a normal bench.
The sturdy Smith Machine allow a total body workout that is comparable to using commercial gym equipment. The fact that you can use is a smith machine for doing squats and lunges is a huge plus over other machines.
The major disadvantages are the dimensions of this home gym and that you would have to purchase the weight plates and barbell separately which depending on what you buy can add another couple of hundreds to the price.
Other than that, this machine is extremely versatile and highly recommended.
Powertec Fitness Workbench Lever Gym
- Very Sturdy & Highly Reliable - There isn't much to go wrong with the Powertec. There is more iron in this machine than most other machines.
The lever system or plate-loaded system as it sometimes called, has a minimal number of moving parts and a simple yet very effective design.
The more moving parts and the more complex the machine design is, the more things can go wrong. That's not a problem you should have with the Powertec Workbench.
While this is rated as a home-grade machine, I have used this machine in a commercial gym for years and only noticed minor issues. Thinking about how much beating the machine took from careless trainees all the time and still functioned, says a lot about how reliable this machine is.
- Excellent Squat & Calf Work - For me, that's the biggest advantage, I just like doing squats with this machine. The design and angles just feel right and work in harmony with the bio-mechanics of my body. The design also allows for good calves work.
- Sshhh.. Very Quiet - The Powertec is a Plate-Loaded system. Rather than using a traditional weight stack it uses real plates. You won't hear the usual noises when the stack weights slam into one another, a sound that's very familiar in every gym.
There's padding that eliminates any noise even at the bottom position. The great Hammer Strength machines use a similar system, though the Hammer Strength plate-loaded machines are extremely expensive and intended for commercial use.
- Small Increments in Resistance - Because this system uses plate-loading system as opposed to a weight stack, you can increase the weight in small increments.
For example you can add a small .5 pound (about 0.250 gr) of weight. It's especially useful as you are getting stronger and near your physical limitations, that's when you need to make small gradual increments in resistance to keep getting stronger.
You can't do that most traditional weight stacks because you are limited to the increments of each bar on the stack.
- Seems To Work Fine Even For Tall People - Many all-in-one machines seems to be less comfortable for really short or tall people. The Powertec seems to do a better job than the rest of the machines. It's very comfortable for a wider range of individuals.
This video demonstrates some of the exercises that you can do with the Powertec Lever Gym
- You Have To Purchase Weights Separately - It does not come with any plates. You will have to buy the plates separately, and this will add to the already expensive cost of this machine. Remember it uses Olympic weight plates, the same ones you use for barbells.
- Poor Instructions - I have used the Powertec machine for years, but I have to admit I never constructed one myself but I have heard people complain that the instructions for assembling this machine are terrible.
It's just something you need to be aware of. I still think it should be easier to assemble than machines with lots of moving parts like the Marcy Smith cage combo or the Body-Solid EXM2500S.
The Bottom Line
This is an extremely reliable and robust machine. I like relaying the plate loading system that allows me to make small increments in resistance. It is also a favorite of some elite bodybuilders.
Lee Priest one of the most famous bodybuilders and several times Mr. Olympia contender working out on the Powertec Lever Gym
At first glance, this machine doesn't look as high tech as some other machines. It's got a fairly simple look, yet that's a versatile piece of equipment that's highly recommended and one my favorite all-around machine.
Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S Home Gym
- Toughly Built - This machine is constructed with 2”x4” 12 gauge high tensile strength steel and it uses military spec cables, so the EXM2500S will hold up to the hardest workout.
For greater durability, the cables are wrapped in a protective nylon sheath. The multi- gym frame is covered in a protective powder coat finish that is scratch, chip, and peel resistant; the EXM2500S will stay sharp looking through years of training.
The EXM2500S is probably sturdy enough to see use in a commercial health club; it can survive anything you can throw at it in your home gym.
- Consumer Magazine’s Best Buy Home Gym - The EXM2500S was Consumer Magazine’s choice for the best buy in a home gym. While this is not strictly an advantage for the Body-Solid multi-gym, it is reassuring to know that the machine is highly-rated by an independent organization.
- Steel Bearing Pullies - All pulleys rotate on steel bearings for smooth, frictionless motion. Less friction means; the pullies will last a long time, weights will move smoothly, and your home gym will last longer.
- Heavy-Duty Support Pads - This multi- gym features thick well-upholstered pads using Body-solid’s own DuraFirm Technology for comfort and durability. The backrest pad features a comfortable and secure lumbar support curve. You can train from a seated position with your back powerfully supported.
- Classic Selectorized Weight Stack - The EXM2500S features a sturdy selectorized weight stack with 210 lbs (95 kg) of weight divided into 10 lbs plates (2.25 kg). You can go light or heavy in small increments, with quick weight adjustments between exercises.
- Perform 21 Different Exercises - This all-in-one is versatile and allows for enough exercise options to cover whole-body workout.
- Lifetime Warranty - Body-Solid also offers a lifetime warranty “on everything forever.” This type of warranty is unusual, and you can purchase this home gym with confidence.
According to Body-Solid you are warrantied against just about any problem you might have, for the life of the machine.
- Useful Accessories - The EX2500S comes with useful accessories that provide a comprehensive range of exercise possibilities. Use the included lateral and straight bars for a full range of pulling and pushing movements. You can also easily purchase items that will increase the multi- gym’s utility.
Many different straps and bars can be purchased for use with the machine’s cable system. Body-Solid also sells 5 lb weight stack adapter plates, allowing for more increments on the standard weight stack.
The EX2500S does include some great attachments; you’ll use the well-made utility and ab/triceps straps to isolate your core, arms, and even leg abductors/adductors.
Cables combined with different bars and straps mean an incredible variety of possible exercises.
- Includes Wall Chart - A nice extra that's included with the EX2500S is a handy wall chart detailing the various exercises that are possible.
- The EX2500S Has Been Discontinued - Since body solid has discontinued this model you cannot buy the leg press accessory, though you can try to look for it on eBay. The absence of a leg press option is a potential deal breaker for many consumers. If that's important for you, you can consider the EXM3000LPS which is Body-Solid's more expensive current model (also reviewed in this article)
- Hard To Assemble - The EX2500S is a complicated piece of machinery that only includes visual instructions. You will need access to socket tools to complete assembly of the machine.
There are no text instructions to guide you through the process. Some people say they have spent as much as 6 hours assembling the EX2500S for use.
- It Takes Up a Lot of Space - The EX2500S is a large (and heavy) piece of machinery. It is a little less than 7 feet tall and approximately 4 feet wide; you will need to reserve a healthy amount of space for it. The whole machine including 210 lb weight stack, weighs in at a floor-straining 440 lbs (200 kg)
If you’re installing the EX2500S is a home setting, you’ll want to make sure the floor is strong enough to support the weight of this machine.
The Bottom Line
The EX2500S is a durable and well made all-in-one machine for for home. It is a versatile tool you can use to improve your strength and fitness levels. The EX2500S is available at relatively low prices since it was discontinued by Body-Solid.
It is a huge and heavy machine for home gyms. It's complicated to assemble and could be an overwhelming project for some people.
Even considering the negatives, the EX2500S is a good value machine. The Body-Solid comprehensive lifetime warranty will give you peace of mind, any problems will be resolved for the life of the machine.
If you have space and a strong surface to rest it on – it’s a great asset for any home gym.
SIDE NOTE: Like other equipment the EX2500S may not be ideal for unusually tall or short people. It is a discontinued multi- gym model, so getting upgrade items like the leg press attachment will be a matter of luck and effort.
Bowflex Xtreme 2SE Home Gym
- Wide Range Of Exercise Options - The Xtreme 2SE provides over seventy different exercises, more than what most home gyms can offer.
- Built-in Pull and Chin-Up Bar - The lat tower as Bowflex calls it, adds the benefits of doing these basic mass building exercises the pull-ups and chin-ups. This option increases the versatility of this home gym machine.
- Power Rods Resistance System - The power rod system that the Xtreme 2SE uses provides variable resistance training, this is different from machines that use traditional weight stacks.
It reminds training with elastic resistance bands in that it provide less resistance at the weakest part of the exercise range of motion but more tension at the stronger part. This variable resistance is great as you receive the ideal stimulation at all points of an exercise.
- Up to 410 lbs (186 kg) of Resistance - The Xtreme 2SE comes out of the box with up to 210 lbs (95 kg) of resistance. It is upgradable up to 410 lbs of total resistance by buying additional Bowflex power rods.
- No Weight Stack - There are two benefits of the Bowflex power rods resistance system over conventional weight stacks. The first is the variable resistance which we talked about above. The second is that the lack of weight stack means the machine is much lighter compared to weight based home gyms, making it is easy to move to different locations as needed. It only takes about 8 foot by 7 floot of floor space.
- No-Change Cable Pulley System - Move quickly from one exercise to another with the Bowflex no-change cable system. Some home gyms, especially the cheaper ones, require that reroute the cable when changing between high pulley and low pulley positions. There's no need to do it in the Xtreme 2SE, so you can move to the next exercise quicker.
- Many Leg Exercises - The adjustable design allows you to do over 10 exercises for legs including squats.
- Resistance Ab Workout - The included pulley bar and abdominal training harness mean you can do ab crunches and other abdominal exercises with added resistance for a more intense ab workout.
- Hand-grips/ankle-cuffs - Use the included hand-grips and cuffs to perform an array of isolation and compound exercises.
- No weight stack - While having no weight stack can be viewed as an advantage (as listed in the advantages section above), some people may not be satisfied with it. Some guys need to see the actual weight plates that they are lifting, it's a mental kind of thing.
- The Resistance Feels Different - Bowflex Rod system feeling is different because the variable resistance means resistance is not linear. You'll feel more resistance at your stronger part of the lift and less at your weakest part, which is actually a good thing yet the feeling is different.
The Bottom Line
The Xtreme 2SE is a well designed strength training machine. You will get a full-body workout without the need for heavy and cumbersome weights.
This home gym is easy to move, simple to assemble, and a pleasure to use and look at.
If you have the need to fit a complete home gym solution in a small area; then this machine is for you, because it is quite compact for its features.
This machine has an overwhelmingly high number of very satisfied people acting as ambassadors of this machine so seems like Bowflex nailed it with this machine.
SIDE NOTE: The Xtreme 2SE arrives in four boxes. Pay lots of attention to the assembly instructions, and put them away somewhere safe in case you need to move it to another location.
Body-Solid EXM3000LPS Light Commercial Gym
- Heavy Duty Commercial Quality - The EXM3000LPS is rated for light commercial use, making it an excellent choice for use by small communities and hotel gyms. It is constructed of heavy-gauge steel throughout. The pulleys use thick nylon wheels and aircraft quality, wrapped steel cable.
The whole set up is quiet with steel ball bearings and heavy use bushings. This means the machine would easily withstand long-term home use and way beyond that.
- Three People Can Work At The Same Time - This home gym is designed to be used by up to 3 people simultaneously.
If you have friends or family working at with you, this machine will keep everybody moving, and nobody will get in your way.
It's also the ideal all-in-one gym machine for small communities and small shared building gyms.
- Versatile Arm Press Station - For doing vertical bench press, vertical incline presses and flyes pec deck station.
- Double Weight Stacks - This is the feature that makes the EXM3000LPS an excellent choice if you’re sharing your home gym with others. Two weight stacks mean that two people can perform resistance work simultaneously without waiting for the other to finish a set first.
- Lots Of Weight - There are two weight stacks each with 210 lbs. For leg presses you can combine the two together to get 420 lbs (190 kg) of resistance out of the box.
- Allows For Small Increments In Weight - Body-Solid also sell 2.5 lbs (1.10kg) and 5 lbs (2.25kg) removable weight plates, though you would have to purchase these separately if you want. The addon plates aren't expensive and having the ability to make small increments in weights is great. As you get stronger, you need to make smaller increases in the weight you lift to keep the progress.
- Leg and Calf Press Station - This machine includes a leg and calf press station based off of an adjustable non-slip footplate with adjustable training angles. Its positions are also ideal for doing calf presses. For leg presses and calf presses you can go all the way up to 420 lbs (190 kg) which should be enough for most people.
- Durable Thick Padding - Part of what makes the EXM-3000LPS rated for light commercial use is double-stitched thick pads which also have contoured lumbar support.
- Space Saving Design - The EXM3000LPS is not a small machine like the Bowflex machines are, but for the range of exercises that if offers and the ability for up to 3 people to work at the same time, it's very space efficient.
It measures a tight 90 high, by 48 inches long, by 48 inches wide. While you’ll need a medium to large sized room to use it comfortably, it is a complete gym solution.
- This Home Gym is Very Heavy - The EXM3000LPS is almost 1,000 lbs (453 kg) of solid steel (ouch!). This is serious commercial quality multi-gym that will need to be situated on a powerfully reinforced/stable surface.
- Complicated and Involved Assembly - There are quite a few complaints about the instructions that come with the EXM3000LPS being somewhat vague. If you can get the help of a friend whose handyman or someone who have assembled quite a few things before, not necessarily home gyms, it would make it easier.
- Expensive - Even though the EXM3000LPS is a commercial quality multi-gym that provides an extraordinary range of exercise options, it is still one of the most expensive home gym machines out there.
The Bottom Line
The EXM3000LPS is a sturdy equipment that will last through years of heavy use by multiple people. The included attachments and seven separate work stations make it a true substitute for a gym membership.
You will pay for the quality and durability that you get and you do need some space and a strong floor for it as it weighs a lot.
THIS IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR COMMUNITY GYMS
The Body-Solid EXM3000LPS is most durable machine reviewed here and the only one that is rated for light commercial use. It is absolutely the most recommended one in case there's a need for multiple people to exercise simultaneously such as in community gyms.
ALL BY YOURSELF? THIS MAY BE TOO MUCH
If you are the only person who's going to work on the machine, you would be better off buying a machine like the Bowflex Revolution reviewed below or some of the other more affordable equipment we examined in this article.
- The Bowflex Revolution is beautiful - I know that may sound superficial, but this really is an amazingly sleek, gorgeous all in one home gym. It is a space-age thing of beauty, the Revolution will magnetically attract you to use it. With the cable training arms erected above it, it looks like it's about to take off.
- You Can Perform Over 100 Different Exercises - It's a complete training strength training solution. It feels like Bowflex have thought of everything here. The Revolution can be adjusted for multiple angles of training with an adjustable/removable bench and multi-function hand-grips/ankle cuffs.
- Revolutionary SpiraFlex Resistance Technology - This machine doesn't use weight stack for resistance. It uses a technology called SpiraFlex which is the same kind of technology used on some NASA exercise machines on the International Space Station.
SpiraFlex works by the use of elastic bands connected to a pivot point coil. As you train the elastic bands stretch creating a variable resistance that will train muscles through their complete range of motion. They resemble regular weight plates, but they don't weigh much. They are easy to change and light to move and carry.
- The Bowflex Revolution is Portable - This is one of the most portable home gym multi-trainer option. It can fit in almost any space, and weighing in at a feather-light 157 lbs (71 kgs) so it's easy to move. It offers just about every exercise option you could need. The Revolution measures 73 inches tall by 112 inches long, and 63 inches wide (185 cm x 285 cm x 160 cm).
If you live in an apartment, or need to move your multi-gym from room to room, the Revolution is the best choice. There is a handle built into the back of the Revolution that will tip the machine onto transport wheels. The seat rail and arms are retractable to reduce the space the Revolution takes up when not in use.
- Resistance Up To 220 lbs (100 kg) Out Of The Box - You don't have to buy Olympic weight plates as you do with some machines. 220 lbs (100 kg) is plenty for most folks and it's included. As your strength increases you can buy resistance upgrades up to a total of 300 lbs (136 kg).
- Included Leg Press Plate and Multi-Position Foot Harness - The Bowflex Revolution includes leg press option and five position foot harness. Used in conjunction with the leg extension and leg curl attachment you can train all the lower body muscles.
The ability to do leg presses is especially useful since leg presses is a compound strength and mass building exercise more than isolation exercises like leg extensions and leg curls.
- Included Preacher Curl Attachment - Attach the preacher curl and you can also do biceps isolation, no need to purchase anything extra.
- Non-slip Foot-plates - The rubber covered non-slip foot plates is a nice touch that makes for more secure training surface.
- Support Users Up To 300 lbs (136 kg) of Body Weight - It is a sturdy machine that is constructed of heavy gauge steel, assembled with steel bolts and strong welds.
- Bowflex Freedom Arm - These arms which you can see in the pictures can be moved into 10 different positions and be that can be moved into 10 different positions and be adjusted for angles up to 170 degrees. That's one of the reasons why you can do so many exercises with this machine.
- 10 Years Warranty - It's a long and comprehensive warranty, giving you the peace of mind, especially after investing so much in a machine of that kind.
- Good Exercise Manual With DVD - The compiled exercise guide and DVD are included to make sure you can get the most out of the variety of exercises that can be performed with the machine.
- Some People May Find it "Too Different" - This machine breaks the tradition of old school machines. Everything about this machine is different from the design down to the resistance system which doesn't use a regular weight stack. If you are after the 'feel' of the weight stack of weight plates you should look at other machines.
- Very Expensive - This is one of the most expensive home gym machines. It's true that you get everything you need in the package but it's still a premium price to pay that many may find overpriced.
The Bottom Line
Bowflex is well-respected name in home gym machines and this is their flagship home gym. It is a revolutionary concept in resistance training. From the very adjustable arms down to the SpiraFlex resistance technology. This is a very versatile and very portable machine that has tons of benefits.
Like every machine, this Bowflex it's not for everyone. Some people don't mind getting much bigger and heftier machines that use weight stacks. If you are looking for such an option around the same price range the Body-Solid EXM3000LPS reviewed above is an excellent choice.
The Bowflex Revolution can "morph" into so many positions which is quite ingenious and that allows for doing so many exercises without buying any additional equipment.
Some Final Piece Of Advice About The Various Home Gyms
The multi-station home gym allows you to create the home equivalent of a fully equipped commercial gym at a fraction of the cost of a yearly gym membership.
With a home gym, you don’t need to have someone spotting you; home gyms are very safe to use alone.
If you can’t, or don’t want, to go to a commercial gym, a home gym will provide the same productive workout with much greater convenience.
You can get stronger and bigger with just dumbbells, barbells or even by lifting stones, after all, that's how our ancestors got strong!
As I wrote earlier in this article, these machines are great for giving many exercise options and variety, but I always recommend first buying free weights and a bench.
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