How to Build a Home Gym? & How Much Does It Cost?

Building a home gym isn’t an easy task. There are so many decisions you have to make. What’s the most suitable equipment for you? How much money to spend on the machines? Where to set up your gym at home?

But, it’s well worth the effort. You don’t need to spend your precious time traveling to the gym. And, in the long run, having a home gym costs less.

I used to have the same problem. I wanted to work out, but getting to the local gym took about 40 minutes, so I decided to build a home gym. I wanted to lift weights and do cardio as well. I researched which are the most beneficial but low-cost equipment for my aims. Now I can have a complete home workout in a room that we didn’t use.

To sum up, I’m satisfied.

Within this guide, I’m going to talk about how to plan your gym, the types of machines, and what you should look after.

What are Your Home Gym Essentials?

The first thing you have to decide is what sort of workout you would like to do at home.

  • Would you like to burn calories and improve your cardiovascular system?
  • Do you want to strengthen and tone your muscles by lifting weights?
  • Do you want to lift heavy weights?
  • Or you want to have complete training (both strength and cardio)?

Depending on your aims, you need to have the home gym equipment that suits your needs. There are two main groups.

Shopping tips: Cheap workout equipment for home

Cardio Machine – if your main goal is losing weight

woman running on treadmill
  • Treadmill
  • Indoor rowing machines
  • Exercise bikes (upright, recumbent, spinning)
  • Elliptical
  • Vertical climber

These are the typical cardio machines for a home.

For having cardio workouts unquestionably, the most beneficial fitness machines are the treadmill, rowing machine, and vertical climber.

Walking, jogging, and running have a lot of health benefits. You can do each of these activities with the help of a treadmill. You can set the speed, the angle of the running area, and you can get all the information about your training such as heart rate, burnt calories, etc. And, last but not least, you can choose from a lot of programs that suit your level or goals the best.

Unfortunately, the quality, commercial treadmills are pretty expensive, about $1000 or more. If you cannot afford to buy one yet, then a stationary bike or a rowing machine can be a beneficial solution.

I vote on the rowing machine since, besides the cardio benefits, it strengthens and tones almost all the other major muscle groups. And, since rowing is a compound exercise, it burns a lot of calories.

What if you have only a few bucks?

Then, get a jump rope, which is cheap, but very useful for fat burning and endurance development training.

Strength training equipment – if you want to build muscle

man lifting weight

If you prefer lifting weights, you need these:

  • Adjustable workout bench (at least a flat bench press)
  • Power rack (squat stand)
  • Barbell with weight plates
  • Dumbells
  • Not necessary but good to have: home gym machines (lat pulldown, multi-gym, leg press, etc.)

For bodyweight training, get these:

  • Power tower (pull up bar and dip stand)
  • Freestanding, wall-mounted or ceiling mounted pull up bar.

If you want to build muscle and develop your strength, then you need to lift free weight or use machines, or both.

A compact home gym machine is maybe a better solution for those who have no workout space (there are even folding models) or someone at a beginner level. With the help of this machine, we can work out all the major muscle groups and increase or decrease the resistance.

Personally, I prefer free weights because I believe they improve power better than machines since they require more control to perform the exercises. With that, more muscles are engaged, and better overall strength can be achieved.

You need to have at least dumbbells, a barbell set with bumper plates, an adjustable bench, and a squat rack.

Hence, these items need space, and the cost of building a garage gym can be pretty high if you buy everything at once.

More details about the essential weight training equipment.

However, you can save a lot of space if you purchase adjustable dumbbells, instead of single ones, that are beneficial for everyone. Such dumbbells are very versatile and compact.

You may also need a rubber floor to place the weights and for safety purposes.

Learn more: Essential home gym equipment

How much does it cost to build a home gym?

Depends on. For example, types and the number of equipment, the brand, if you need to modify the place, etc.

Typically, cardio machines are the most expensive. Better treadmills, rowers, and bikes are close or over a 1000 bucks. Although bikes and climbers are cheaper, at about $500. So, if you want to build a good cardio gym, you need to invest a few thousand dollars for sure.

Weight lifting equipment costs less, but we need more pieces. An adjustable workout bench starts at $150, a rack $300, bar with weight plates $300, a pair of dumbbells $100. But, these are beginner-level pieces that are not suitable for lifting heavy.

Home Gym Cost Calculator


Building a home gym under $1000?

Considering the prices above, you can build a garage gym under 1000 bucks for strength training if you pick cheap items. Although a professional cardio machine won’t fit that budget. I got a jump rope and plyometric box to substitute them.

So, yes, you can have a home gym on a budget.

Considering the annual fee of gyms these days, building a gym is worth it. It is a one-time investment, and you can enjoy it for a long time.

However, that does not mean you have to spend thousands on it. Firstly, buy the most essential pieces. Then purchase more to make your home workout more versatile.

What if you have no money at all?

Well, do bodyweight training (calisthenics). Almost no equipment is required, just a bar for pull-ups.

Where to set up your home gym?

No matter where you build it, a garage, a room, or a basement, just have enough space. To use the equipment comfortably and safely, you need a few feet around them. A stuffed garage gym is uncomfortable. You need room to exercise.

If you want to build it in a basement, carefully measure the height of the ceiling. That is important for the squat rack and the power tower.

Finally, choose an airy place. You can use a fan or an air conditioner, but it isn’t is the same as fresh air.

No matter what sorts of tools you would like to buy, always check the specifications to know if you have enough space to store and use the equipment.

Buying guide: Best compact exercise equipment

What can you do if you have only a small space?

You can buy compact workout equipment that is folding. For example, there are small squat racks, folding benches and treadmills, and adjustable dumbbells.

Here are some home gym ideas in different locations.

To conclude

Training at home unquestionably has a lot of advantages. You can build the body you want and even save money in the long run. Now you know how to make your own home gym, the next step is to decide what you want to achieve, buy the first items, and most importantly use them.


James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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