How to Choose Exercise Equipment

So you are thinking about purchasing fitness equipment to train at home. It is not easy, I know. There are so many types of products out there. If you browse Amazon, there are millions of equipment you can choose from. If you are new to workout, it is hard to decide which one is the best option for you.

Should I buy a home gym? Or free weights? Or purchase a cardio equipment such as a treadmill or a stationary bike?

For a newbie, it is hard to decide.

home exercise equipment

That is why I write this guide to help the average men to find the right type of exercise equipment for their workout programs. After reading this guide, I’m sure you will be able to decide what is the best fitness equipment for you.

But before jumping into the details, I would like to congratulate for you because you have made the first step towards a healthier and fitter life. It is a fact that regular exercising is vital to a healthy lifestyle. And if you have something to work out with at home you can train whenever you want. You do not need to go to the gym wasting time and money.

A well-chosen exercise equipment will provide you years of training. I can say you that for sure because I have been working out at home for about four years having the same results, or even better ones, as if I went to a gym.

Ok, now let’s focus on the exercise equipment you can get to train at home.

What types of exercise equipment are there?

home exercise fitness equipment

To pick the right type of equipment, you have to decide how you want to workout and what your aims are.

There are two basic sorts of exercises: aerobic (cardio) and strength training (lifting weights).

Cardio Equipment

cardio equipment

Do you want to lose weight, so you need something to burn calories? Do you wish to enhance the capacity of your lung and strengthen your heart? Would you like to increase the metabolism of you body naturally? Do you need an alternative to running?

Then, you need something that allows you to do cardiovascular training (aerobic exercises.) You should choose from trainers like:

  • Exercise bikes or recumbent bikes
  • Rowing machines
  • ​Treadmills
  • ​Elliptical trainers
  • ​Stair steppers or tread climbers
  • Cross trainers
  • ​Pedal exercisers

Of course there are a few more, but these are the most suggested pieces of cardio equipment.

Now let’s get into details of the mentioned fitness equipment.


There are two kinds of treadmills, the manual and the powered.

Recommended: What to look for when buying a treadmill

The manual treadmills are simple and more affordable than powered ones. The belt on the manual treadmill moves as you walk on it. So, there is not an engine that drives the belt, but you do it with the pressure of your feet.

The problem with manual treadmills is that they provide limited usage. They are not suitable for running, just walking. If you exercise regularly, you are going to outgrow it sooner or later as your endurance develops.

Check the video below to learn more about manual treadmills.

Powered treadmills are very popular these days, and there are hundreds of models out there with different functions.

Why are they better than the manual ones? Firstly, because there is a motor that moves the belt, so you have to run or walk at a constant speed. By setting it, you can choose from various programs to run faster or slower. And most of the models lets you change the angle of the working area making your workout more challenging as if you run uphill.

And there are so many other functions they provide such as the display panel that shows you all sort of information about your training such as calories burned, the speed, distance, etc.

Recommended: Best Treadmills Under $1000

Watch the video below to learn how to buy a powered treadmill.

Best Selling Treadmills

SaleBestseller No. 1
Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
2907 Reviews
Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
  • Space saver design. This treadmill can fold up.
  • Six personal trainer workouts.
SaleBestseller No. 2
XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill Black
1 Reviews
XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill Black
  • Large 16" x 50" walking/running surface
  • Large 5 inch LCD display is easy to read and keeps you updated on speed, incline, time, distance, calories, and Pulse
Bestseller No. 3
ANCHEER S8400 Electric Treadmill
22 Reviews
ANCHEER S8400 Electric Treadmill
  • [SPACE SAVER]: Max user weight: 220LB. Free installation! Foldable treadmill for storage. Portable treadmill wheels for move
  • [LCD COMPUTER DISPLAYS]: LCD computer displays time, distance, speed, calories

Elliptical Trainers

Another typical cardio equipment that sculptures several muscle groups at once are the elliptical trainers. These machines have adjustable resistance as well. The better models can be used in reverse mode, and their display panel shows you detailed information about your workout. The high-quality machines provide smooth and natural motion, and they are quiet.

Watch the video below to learn more about elliptical trainers.

Best Selling Elliptical Trainers

Bestseller No. 1
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
3132 Reviews
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
  • 24.5
  • Electronic fitness monitor displays number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned or scan all stats
Bestseller No. 2
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
755 Reviews
Bestseller No. 3
NordicTrack E 7.0 Z Elliptical Trainer
73 Reviews
NordicTrack E 7.0 Z Elliptical Trainer
  • 20 workout Apps. Get professional training with 20 preloaded workout programs designed by a Certified personal trainer. The Apps will automatically adjust your machine's resistance to reach certain fitness goals
  • Adjustable incline ramp. Tone and target quads, calves and gluts when you modify your five-position ramp incline between 0 and 20 degrees

Rowing Machines

Well, I have to say that after running I think rowing machine is the most valuable fitness equipment for cardio. I love it, but unfortunately, I have not been able to buy a professional one such as the Concept 2.

Rowing machines are perfect since during the use almost all the muscles are engaged and that is why it boosts the heart rate and burns fat efficiently. The better models provide smooth and steady motion. You feel as if you row in a boat, especially if you buy a water rower.

I have tried both cheaper, and more expensive models and the difference is huge between them.

Watch the video to learn more about how this type of workout can help you.

Best Selling Rowing Machines

SaleBestseller No. 1
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor
508 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Magnetic Rowing Machine Rower w/ LCD Monitor
  • Magnetic tension System with (8) levels of adjustable resistance
  • Large LCD console displays time, count, calories, total count, Scan
Bestseller No. 2
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (Light Gray) with PM5
1303 Reviews
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine (Light Gray) with PM5
  • Indoor rowing is an effective full-body, low-impact workout; Flywheel design minimizes noise while maximizing a smooth feel
  • Includes the Performance Monitor 5, giving you accurate, comparable data for every row; Adjustable monitor arm
Bestseller No. 3
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
2112 Reviews
Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 Rowing Machine
  • Home rowing machine with compact footprint--23.5 x 46 inches
  • Adjustable gas-shock resistance

Exercise Bikes

Bikes are great to strengthen and tone your leg muscles. And of course, to improve your cardiovascular system. They can be used while you are in the living room watching TV.

There are a few types of exercise bikes out there. You can choose from traditional ones, recumbent bikes, and pedal trainers. What is the difference between them?

Ordinary stationary bikes are almost the same as a bike, but you can increase or decrease the resistance, and they show you details about your workout such as the distance, burnt calories, etc.

The recumbent bike is better for those who have lower back or spine problems since they put less stress on these areas. Simply, you pedal in a supine position.

Recommended: Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

exercise bike comparison

And the simplest equipment is the pedal trainer that you can use if you have problems with sitting on a bike. Also, it is ideal for those who sit too much every day since it can be put under the table.

Which is the best? If you have no joints or other problems, a traditional quality bike is the best option.

Best Selling Exercise Bikes

SaleBestseller No. 1
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
4484 Reviews
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY: Up to 300 lbs. Intended to be used on the hard flat floor.
  • SEATING COMFORT: Large seat cushion for people of any size, easily adjustable to fit anywhere from 5'3 inch to 6'1 inch users. HEART RATE: Hand Pulse Monitor
SaleBestseller No. 2
DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike Pedal Exerciser, White
1552 Reviews
DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike Pedal Exerciser, White
  • Lowest pedal height available; Only 10 Inches; Can work with desks as low as 27 Inches; See description for details,Pedal arm Length:3 1/2 inches
  • More than twice the resistance range of the other pedal exercisers; 8 calibrated resistance settings; from very easy to more than you need
SaleBestseller No. 3
Drive Medical Deluxe Folding Exercise Peddler with Electronic Display , Black Model # RTL10273
2118 Reviews
Drive Medical Deluxe Folding Exercise Peddler with Electronic Display , Black Model # RTL10273
  • Press and hold the red MODE button for 4 seconds when first operating.
  • Five function display indicates exercise time, revolution count, revolutions per minute (rpm) and calories burned; also includes scan feature for all values.

Stair Steppers

If you use the stairs instead of the elevator, you know how tiring it can be, and that is what a stair steppers imitate. They perfect for shaping your legs.

They come with adjustable resistance so you can do your workouts harder as your endurance and strength develop. The better models come with unique hydraulic systems that provide smooth motion.

And if you want the real stair climb feeling you can purchase a tread climber which is the combination of a treadmill and a stair stepper.

Watch the video to learn more about stair steppers and its benefits.

Best Selling Exercise Bikes

Bestseller No. 1
Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
884 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
  • Low-Impact Aerobic Work Out
  • Height adjustment knob adjusts the step motion height
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sunny Twister Stepper with Handle Bar
779 Reviews
Sunny Twister Stepper with Handle Bar
  • Twist stepper workout machine with handlebar and multi-function LCD computer
  • Twist action works and tones buttock and leg muscles with reduced bone/joint pressure
SaleBestseller No. 3
Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
1539 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
  • Compact, surprisingly versatile home fitness device, is essentially a portable elliptical machine with built-in resistance training
  • Twist action helps you tone thighs and buttocks, while achieving a challenging cardiovascular workout; work deep muscles in hard-to-reach places without putting stress on joints

Cross Trainers

These machines provide the similar motion as if you ski. This way they work almost all the muscle groups and give an excellent low-impact cardio training.

Strength Training Equipment

weight training equipment

Home Gyms

home workout

Home gyms are maybe the most popular pieces of home exercise equipment since they are very versatile. The better models such as the Bowflex Revolution or the Marcy Diamond Elite home gyms come with all the features to have total body strength training at home.

Since there are a wide variety of models, I have already written a detailed guide about how to buy a home gym here.

Home gyms are maybe better for beginners since while you do the exercises, the motion is controlled by the machine. That is good until you get used to training with weights. However, I believe free weights are also vital for proper strength training.

Recommended: Best 10 Home Gyms

Workout Benches, Barbells, Dumbbells, and Weights

adjustable dumbbells

If you cannot afford to buy a professional home gym, then free weights can be a better choice for you.

Dumbbells are versatile pieces of equipment since there are a large number of exercises you can do with them for all the muscles at home. You can choose from various sizes and if you can afford you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells that combine multiple dumbbells into one.

A barbell with weight is another powerful tool to do compound exercises such as deadlift, presses, curls, etc. but to get the most of it, for example, to do bench press or squats, you will need a sturdy adjustable weight bench or a squat rack.

Adjustable weight benches are perfect for chest training since you can increase and decrease the angle of the board hitting your pectoralis muscles from different angles. And, of course, you can use it for several other exercises.

Recommended: How to Buy Weights for Your Home Gym

Squat Racks

PowerLine PPR200X

If you have a barbell and weights, a squat rack is the piece of equipment you consider to buy. The squat is one of the most beneficial exercises that has an effect on the entire body, but you can use the squat rack for many other exercises.

For example, for deadlift which is another powerful compound exercise, or for shoulder presses, or with a simple bench you can use it for bench presses.

Recommended: Review of the Best Power Racks for Home

Watch the video below to see what to look for in a squat rack.

Abdominal Equipment

One of the biggest dreams of most of us is to get six pack abs. And there are many types of equipment out there you can use to strengthen your abs and to get rid of the belly fat. I think the best two equipments are the adjustable sit up bench and the ab wheel. Which is the best for you? Read the following post.

Recommended: The best 8 Abdominal Equipment

Calisthenics Equipment

calisthenics fitness equipment

Let me finish this the strength training equipment section with equipment that requires your bodyweight. If you have read other posts on this site, you may have discovered that I combine bodyweight training with lifting weights. And it works for me extraordinarily well seeing my strength, endurance, and muscle mass. Bodyweight workouts or calisthenics has many benefits.

What is the best equipment for this purpose? I put my vote on a power tower. You can find the review of the best models here.

Related: What are the best calisthenics equipment?


Now you can decide what is the best equipment for you depending on your aims. If your primary goal is to lose fat than buy a cardio machine if you want to put on muscle, then get a strength training equipment. However, to get superb results, getting both is the best option (in case you can afford).

But be careful! Avoid buying low-quality and ultra cheap pieces of equipment that broke after few usage or do not work smoothly. Always check the customer reviews and the length of the warranty. If an elliptical trainer comes with a 30-day guarantee, I’m sure it is not the model we want to buy.

Pick a little bit more expensive products with a long warranty and, at least, 4-star reviews. A well-working equipment is going to make your home workouts enjoyable and efficient for long years.

In case you have questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

(Prices may differ as they are updated once every hour)

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Last update on 2017-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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