Essential Home Gym Equipment

by | Feb 11, 2021 | Fitness

The information we gathered here was done so collectively by our editorial team.  If you purchase any of the items through our links, we may get a small commission.

Between all of the closures and product shortages, this pandemic has been a real kick in the rear for many of us.

If you’ve searched for home gym equipment in the past year, you’ve witnessed how quickly they were flying off the shelves. Heck, you were lucky if you could find 5lb. weights.

Most of the popular equipment were sold out for weeks and back-ordered.
But all of these backorders doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wait.

If you’re not a bodybuilder or competitive weightlifter, there are plenty of other options for you that won’t drain your wallet…or take up a lot of space.

With a little creativity and a few basic pieces of equipment, you can still build a great gym without splurging for machines or heavy weights.

To get you started, here’s a list of some essential home gym equipment you can get on a budget:


Kettlebells are the funny equipment you see at most gyms that look like cannonballs with handles.

They come in a multitude of colors and weights and although they may appear a bit intimidating for beginners, kettlebells are very effective if used correctly.

If you’ve never used one before, you can find countless tutorials online that can teach all of the popular exercises.

One of the many benefits is its ability to provide you with both strength training and cardio training…and they’re inexpensive.

They can cost as little as $10 and go up to $100 depending on weight and manufacturer.

You can read more about Kettlebells.

Yoga Ball (Exercise or Stability Ball)

Kids love to play with them and pets are terrified of them…yet somehow, an oversized bouncy ball is incredibly useful.

Some people have even substituted desk chairs for yoga balls believing the ergonomic benefits when using yoga balls as chairs.

They’re a common tool among physical therapists and a lot of users find it beneficial for your pelvis, spine, core, and legs.

You can get exercise balls for about $10 but the price typically ranges anywhere between $10 to $30. They also come in playful colors and various sizes (diameters).

For more details, you can read about exercise balls.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Dumbbells are popular in gyms of all types and an essential tool for various exercises.

They’re versatile and an extremely effective tool regardless of exercise.

Adjustable dumbbells take all of the benefits of regular dumbbells with one additional benefit: weight adjustment.

You can change the weight you’re lifting without the need for multiple sets of dumbbells saving you significant space and in most cases, money.

You can read our review on the best adjustable dumbbells.

Resistance Bands

Whether it’s tubes or bands, the benefits of resistance bands are endless.

First, they’re the most versatile pieces of gym equipment allowing for countless variations of exercises. Whatever you can do with dumbbells, you can do with resistance bands…and more.

Second, they’re portable. You can take them with you and use them almost anywhere. No other piece of equipment is as effective and portable.

They are the perfect and in some cases, better alternative to dumbbells.

Jump Rope

Yep, a jump rope. Don’t underestimate it.

Jump roping, aka skipping, turns you into a fat-burning furnace.

Eat reasonably and jump rope consistently and you’ll find yourself burning calories faster than any diet or exercise (other than HIIT).

Another benefit is that it’s great for your heart. It’s one of the best cardio exercises that elevates the heart rate in turn reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Most of the jump ropes cost under $20 so it’s extremely affordable.

And another great benefit…you can literally take it with you anywhere.

Pullup Bar

Pull up bars have evolved over the years. They’re not just your typical straight bar hanging in between the doorway.

Thanks to Iron Gym, pull up bars are designed for multiple purposes and can be easily placed and removed without the need to drill anything within the doorway.

These new pull-up bars now use the door casing and leverages your weight against the door jam. The only hardware you need to screw in are the safety brackets which are completely optional.

There are a number of other pull-up bars that have copied Iron Gym’s design and some have made a few design changes allowing for more grip variations.

Whichever bars you choose, pull-ups are an excellent strength training exercise that everyone should do.

Even if you can’t do one…keep trying until you do.

Some Tips:

Don’t be afraid to get creative.  We know when there are limitations when you don’t have a lot of space but the wonderful thing about fitness is that there are a lot of different methods and tools that you can use to achieve your results.

If your goal is to focus on cardio and weight reduction, then you don’t really need that much. In some cases, all you may need is a jump rope…or do a few bodyweight exercises.

In other cases, all you may need are a pair of tennis shoes, resistance bands, and/or a video program like P90X or Insanity.

But if you’re looking for muscle development, then you go with the obvious like the resistance bands, dumbbells, and pull up bars…and/or even focus on bodyweight exercises like pushups and pullups.


Other Non Essentials

There are a few items that don’t aren’t very important but would be nice to have and could be a little beneficial.


If you have hardwood or tile floors, it would probably be beneficial to have rubber mats although you could always substitute them for rugs.

Mats help absorb and cushion the impact and are easier on your feet. Also, tile, wood, and laminate flooring can get damaged rather easily.



Try to invest in a mirror…a full-length mirror, if you can but a mirror nonetheless where you can see and watch yourself exercising.

It’s motivating…especially when you start feeling/seeing the results. Then you’ll want to look at yourself more as you continually progress.



This one is debatable and you probably already have one but some say another good investment would be a television set.

Probably seems a bit counterintuitive but if your workouts become tedious, it’s nice to have the game on or a show to watch. It definitely helps during cardio workouts and definitely makes the time fly.

Also, with all of the streaming fitness classes available, a TV set might be better than a tablet or phone.


Whatever you decide, know that there are plenty of options and you don’t always have to spend that much money.

There are plenty of affordable options and in some cases, you don’t need to buy anything.  

Just use what’s in your house and be creative.


Photos credit: Resistance Bands – Woman photo created by karlyukav –