Best home exercise equipment in terms of benefits & cost

Home gym exercise equipment

Home exercise equipmentFind handy information about many types of home exercise equipment here. These qualify as the best home exercise equipment for effectiveness, quality, and cost. This includes super cheap alternatives to the Total Gym. There are many great items in the exercise equipment realm to have for home use. I have invested in ones that I love and ones that, conversely, were mistakes.

If you have an exercise in mind, but don’t know what equipment you would like to use for it. This may help…


Here is my page about equipment that I have gotten and do not appreciate… this may help you on decisions about these.

This is a page that provides information about equipment that is beneficial for those who do not have great mobility.

Exercise equipment that is valuable to have

1) Total Gym information

This is my big favorite… the Total Gym… I have an entire page devoted to this equipment. Consider yourself invited to go there! There is a wide range of models now and the low end prices may surprise you.
TOTAL GYM EQUIPMENT My Page on this site

2) Stepper block

The best exercise equipment buy I ever made was my simple foam stepper block. Sadly, this stepper I got back in the 1980s is not possible to get easily anymore. I use it all the time, and have even used it to do exercise variations with my Total Gym machine. There are lots of modern stepper designs. This exercise duplicates climbing flights of stairs. The use of a block simplifies this so that you can do complex aerobic workouts safely and adding fun as well.

Height is very important

I started my home stepper block exercise using a plastic milk crate. Then I came across information that made me realize that this was creating a 90 degree angle for my knee that was putting many times my body weight in destructive force on the knee. It really is important to use a stepper at a height lower than 90 degrees for your knee when you step onto it. PLEASE do NOT use a Plyometric box for this!

Modern Stepper Blocks & Workouts

There are many styles of stepper block sets. Most sets have pieces which make it possible to set the stepper to whatever elevation is desired. With a long history of exercise routines set to many types of music, there is no limit in what routines to find online to use.

“No brainer” stepper workout

Feel free to print out this “No brainer workout” for stepper block. It is great for beginners or times when you want to fit in a workout. You can watch TV while doing this and not worry about which foot has to do what.
No Brainer Step Exercise

KLB Sport Adjustable Exercise Equipment Step Platform For Sports & Fitness. 11″ X 27″ surface area and 4″ or 6″ high. Supports up to 500 lbs. 4.3 out of 5 stars for over 75 reviews.
The KLB Sport 31″ Adjustable Workout Aerobic Stepper In Fitness & Exercise. 11″ X 31″ surface area and 4″, 6″, or 8″ high. Supports up to 550 lbs. 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 45 reviews
Actually, this one is the best selling stepper block. 16″ X 43″ surface area and 4″, 6″, or 8″ high. This one supports up to 300 lbs. 4.8 out of 5 stars from over 560 reviews.


3) Exercise trampoline

The trampoline is of course fun exercise. Additionally, this exercise can improve your balance. Trampolines give low impact and surprisingly high intensity exercise. You may only be capable of 10 minutes at first, but you can work your way up to longer sessions. There are benefits that are not obvious beforehand! Just sit on the trampoline and get a bounce going that has your bottom as the sole contact area, and leaning back a small amount to make a V. This simple maneuver is incredibly great exercise for your core muscles!

Highly beneficial to the Lymph system

Another great benefit of the trampoline is the improvement in your lymph system circulation. This system does not have a pump like the heart to circulate fluid. It relies on the movement of the body to achieve this. Jumping activity circulates it remarkably more effective. This circulation improvement can eliminate fluid retention that causes things like eye bags and thickening around the ankles.


IF YOU USE THE TRAMPOLINE AND YOU ARE A WOMAN, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A HIGH-IMPACT DESIGN BRA. This support is absolutely essential for any size. Without this you will experience damage and pain that is totally unnecessary to endure. This is something that you may not realize if you have not been on a trampoline since you were a child.

Design possibilities

There are designs that allow the legs to fold for easy storage. Many have a safety handle. The handle is there to catch yourself if you need it. It can also help you with your balance while exercising. I removed mine. This safety feature was a distraction for my activity. You should not get a child’s trampoline for this usage. They may not be designed for the weight of an adult.

Portable & Fold-able Trampoline – 40″ Diameter Durable And Safe Construction with Padded Frame Cover and Handle. The handle is removable. 4.5 out of 5 stars for over 3,400 reviews.

This one has a padded frame and adjustable safety handle, and 40” diameter. The handle is removable. 3.9 out of 5 stars for over 550 reviews.

Trampoline with a padded frame and adjustable safety handle, 48” diameter, also comes in 40” diameter. The handle is removable. 4.4 out 5 stars for over 50 reviews.

Jumping fun good
for lymph circulation

This one is more expensive, but it is very, very highly rated and designed to be very quiet. There is no handle. JumpSport Fitness Trampoline Model 220 — No-Tip Arched Legs — Quietest Bounce for Mini Rebounding — Long Lasting Premium Bungees — Top Rated for Quality and Durability — Music Workout Video Included. 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 260 reviews.

4) Exercise ball

This is another inexpensive exercise product. The one that I love and use is a big inflated exercise ball. If you wish to do exercises that have added weight, you should consider smaller, more solid medicine balls. There is a half exercise ball that has a platform base (Balance trainer), or a Wobble cushion (the cheaper alternative), if the exercise ball seems too unstable.

3 types of exercise I love

There are many types of exercise that are possible on the inflated exercise ball. The 3 that are most important to me are: Straight and diagonal sit-ups resting on the ball, Passing the ball back and forth from hands to legs while lying, and Passing the ball side to side while seated and legs up (Russian twist). These are all impressively beneficial.

Another type…

The exercise ball can also be used for a type of exercise called back extensions. For these you drape yourself hips down on the ball (if necessary plant your feet against a wall), and lift your upper body from near the floor upward with your arms behind your neck. Usually a special bench with support bars is used for this. The ball engages even more muscles for balance. There are many more than these I have listed…

Incredible stretch for back decompression

If you drape yourself over the ball on your stomach and relax your body, this lengthens and decompresses the spine. It is a stretch that feels great and works remarkably well. The stretch is most effective with the large size exercise ball though.

The exercise balls – all highly rated and thousands of reviews

This comes in purple, black, blue, and red, and comes in sizes from about 18” to over 33” diameter. It is 2000 lbs static strength.

Pink 65cm (over 25″) exercise ball – this comes in pink, black, blue, green, purple, red, grey, and white, and come in sizes from about 18” to over 33” diameter. It is professional anti-burst.

This comes in blue, black, pink, and grey comes in sizes from about 18” to about 30”. It is 2000 lbs static strength.

Also called
Balance balls

The medicine ball – all highly rated and hundreds of reviews

If you are new to medicine balls, you should start at a low weight and work your way up to heavier ones.
10 lb – this also comes in 4 lb, 6 lb, 10 lb, 12 lb, and is very solid design.

20 lb – this also comes in 6 lb, 10 lb, 12 lb, 15 lb, 18 lb, 20 lb, 25 lb, 30 lb, and has a soft shell covering.

My favorite exercise with
medicine balls is the Russian twist (ab)

5) Gazelle

The Gazelle is a very affordable home exercise machine. It is low impact and the level of intensity depends of how fast you go and the stride you use. The platform contains swinging gliders for the feet. Handles are connected to the top end of these peddle frames. Platform and peddle levers all fold up flat to store more easily. It is a simple design. The machine is sturdy and lightweight.

Exercise possibilities

You can work both your arms and legs in the swing of each stride on this machine. If you are comfortable with your motion, you can leave your legs as the sole propulsion and work your arms independently. It is also possible to stand sideways and swing your legs in a side to side motion. This can be adapted for either inner or outer thigh muscle emphasis.

Simple design and simple maintenance

I got this machine in the early days when it was a simple, uncomplicated basic model. Now the base model comes with a fitness computer. They will develop a squeak with time and usage. Here is the simple maintenance for that problem. It is important to lubricate with something that is not destructive to plastic. In this video, they demonstrate this simple process and use bicycle lubricant:

There are now 3 types of Gazelles. These are the Supreme, Freestyle, and Edge. The Gazelle is a great cardio exercise machine for the money! It is fun, low impact exercise, and lightweight equipment that folds away easily.
These all have 4 out 5 stars and over 200 reviews

Edge (base Gazelle model)

Total Body Workout DVD (Basic workout DVD)
Fitness computer
Handles up to 250 lbs
Dimensions: 43” L x 29.25” W x 53.75”H
Folded Dimensions: 66” L x 29.25” W x 8.5”H


Freestyle (middle Gazelle model)

Total Body Workout DVD (Basic workout DVD)
Tony Little’s Buttkickin’ Workout DVD
Fitness computer that can measure your pulse by your thumb
Handles up to 300 lbs
Cup holder and 22 oz. Water bottle
Dimensions: 44″L x 33.5″W x 53.5″H
Folded Dimensions: 66″L x 33.5″W x 10.5″H


Supreme (top Gazelle model)

Total Body Workout DVD (Basic workout DVD)
Tony Little’s Lower Body Solutions Workout DVD
Tony Little’s Crosstrainer Workout DVD
Fitness computer that can measure your pulse by grip
Handles up to 300 lbs
Cup holder and 22 oz. Water bottle
Has pistons so that you can set for the resistance you want
Dimensions: 44″L x 31.5″W x 55″H
Folded Dimensions: 65″L x 29.5″W x 13″H

6) Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a good investment. They do not cost much and are incredibly valuable to your exercise program. Resistance exercise for muscle building is very important for fitness, strength, and weight loss. I highly recommend the ones that have rubber, neoprene, or vinyl coating on the outside of them. This gives you a better grip and is protection from the hard metal of the dumbbell.

Optimizing your weight lifting

If you are concerned about the climbing to a high weight dumbbell in the long term, you can employ variety in your exercise routines. You can do low reps and sets, high reps and sets, and sessions where you go slow on the downward motion (eccentric focus) exercise. Just mix it up.

Low reps and sets combination gives muscle building, high reps and sets give strength. The eccentric part of the motion is the part of the movement where the muscle is contracting (getting shorter). When you slow this movement, you challenge the muscle in a way that strengthens it faster with faster recovery and increased metabolic rate.

If you also want kettle bells… this converts them for you!

Dumbbell sets

This is a fantastic buy! It has the 2 lb, 3 lb, and 5 lb sets and the weight stand for them. It has 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 900 reviews.

10 lb neoprene coated dumbbells – this also comes in 2, 3, 5, and 8 lb. 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 200 reviews.

30 lb neoprene coated – this also come in 2 to 20 lbs. 4.6 out of 5 stars and over 400 reviews.

Adjustable sets

allow you to change weight quickly

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)
Weight adjusts from 10 pounds up to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments with the twist of a dial.

Adjustable Dumbbell (66 lbs total) set – 4.1 out of 5 for over 1,000 reviews

Adustable Dumbbell (71.5 lb total) set – 4.5 out of 5 for over 1,200 reviews

Gloves really
can help in weight lifting

Weight gloves

If you want to get weight gloves for handling the dumbbells better while you are getting sweaty exercising. They can give you a better grip. I prefer the ones that have mesh on the outside to breath well.

Lightweight/breathable gloves – available in S to XL – 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 1,700 reviews

These gloves are available in size XS to XXL, come in black. 4.3 out of 5 stars and over 75 reviews.

This set is available in size S to XL, Tan & white. 4.1 out of 5 stars for over 100 reviews. This is just like mine that I love!
Gel pad in

palm of glove

These are gel padded. They are available in size XS to XXL, pink & white. 4.3 out of 5 stars from over 100 reviews.
Breathable gloves with gel pad. It comes in S to XL, blue, grey, and black. 4.4 out 5 stars from over 500 reviews.
Gloves help
when hands get sweaty

7) Resistance bands – alternative to pulley exercises

Resistance bands are great for a variety of exercises. They are commonly used as tools for physical therapy. You cannot find a more easily transported and versatile exercise tool than these! They are a good alternative for exercises that use a pulley system. The ones here are flexible loops, and complex frameworks. Some can be used in a framework that can be anchored.

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide, Carry Bag, EBook and Online Workout Videos, Set of 5.
5 levels: extra light to extra heavy. 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 5700 reviews

Limm Exercise Resistance Loop Bands – Set of 5, 12-inch Workout Bands – Best for Pilates, Stretching, Physical Therapy, Yoga and Home Fitness – Bonus eBook, Manual, Online Videos & Handy Carry Bag
5 levels: extra light to extra heavy. 4.6 out of 5 stars and over 2600 reviews
Phantom Fit Resistance Loop Bands – Set of 4 – Best Fitness Exercise Bands for Working Out or Physical Therapy. 4 levels: light to extra heavy.
4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1300 reviews.

These are
larger sets


Resistance Bands – 11pc Set – With Door Anchor & Ankle Strap for Legs Workout & Carry Case – Heavy Duty Anti-Snap Technology – Bonus 20 Fat Burning Workouts Ebook. 4.6 out of 5 stars and over 700 reviews.

Kinzi Resistance Band Set with Door Anchor, Ankle Strap, Exercise Chart & Resistance Band Carrying Case. 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 900 reviews.

Resistance bands
travel very well


8) Core Coaster – alternative to Total Gym

This is a triangular coaster with wheels under each of the 3 corners. When you have a pair of these coasters, you can do most of the exercises possible on the rolling platform of the Total Gym or Pilates Reformer. You can use them under your hands or your feet, depending on the exercise you want to do.

Range of motion exercises

Coasters are great for many exercises where you are rolling through a range of motion. Range of motion exercises can reach a wide range of muscles and be a lot of fun. These are great for the kneeling position roll-out exercises that work all the core muscles. They can help in performing many Pilates exercises. With these, it possible to do rolling motion lunges.


The design of this one is an even safer than the ones with which I am most familiar. Rollers are made to be compact and low to the floor to make it easier to control. This design is even easier to pack up in a bag. It is highly rated and has an impressive number of reviews.

Core Flyte Pro V2 – Increase Athletic Performance, Build a Rock-Solid Core & Activate More Muscle (Pair, Online Workout Videos, Carrying Case + Guide)
4.1 out of 5 stars and over 70 reviews.
Core Coaster – Ab, Core and Total Body Exerciser (2 Core Coasters)
3.8 out of 5 stars for over 70 reviews

These can do what
the ab wheels can, and more too


9) Sliding pads or Glider discs – alternative to Total Gym

This is another tool like the Core Coaster in use. Range of motion exercises are easy and fun with these pads. Their sliding pad designs are popular for a method of moving heavy furniture as well, so there is another purpose in having them around. Sliding pads and Glider discs work well on carpets and wood floors.

This one is popular with many celebrities

Valslides – 4.4 out of 5 stars and 120 reviews. These are green, but they also come in black and pink. There are many celebrity reviews for Valslides which I found to include Jennifer Garner.

Core Sliders – 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 35 reviews

Elite Sportz Exercise Sliders are Double Sided and Work Smoothly on Any Surface. Wide Variety of Low Impact Exercise’s You Can Do. Full Body Workout, Compact for Travel or Home Ab Workout.
4.5 out of 5 stars and over 1000 reviews.
Sliders are also

used for moving furniture

Elite Core Workout Exercise Sliders – Set of 2 Gliding Discs – Dual Sided for Carpet or Hard Floors. 4.4 out of 5 stars and over 200 reviews.

URBNFit Glider Discs – Core Sliders For Abdominal and Total Body Exercises. Glides Smoothly on Hardwood Floors and Carpet. Perfect For At Home Workouts and Travel.
4 out of 5 stars and over 80 reviews.
Sliders are great
for ab and leg range of motion exercise

10) Thighmaster set

These are the spring exercisers made famous by Suzanne Somers. I have the set that includes the inner thigh and outer thigh exercisers. They are a large, hinged spring device with foam insulation cover. These are very simple devices that work extremely well. They are very powerful springs. I have a loose hip socket problem now because of going to a high a weight on the thigh machine at the gym. This is a safe, valuable, and easy home tool.

Holds up well long term

I have consistently used my set since I got them back in the 1990s. These are a very focused exerciser so they should be a tool to add into your leg exercise routine. They are holding up through all this usage very well. There are plenty of cheaper imitation equipment, but they only come in the inner thigh device. The outer thigh one is not available with any of the sets I have found.

11) Wobble cushion

This is a far more affordable alternative to the Bosu or Balance trainer equipment. Balance trainers are like a half an exercise ball with a platform base. Wobble cushions are inflatable, but disc shaped. They can be used in the very same way.

Like the Bosu, they are more stable for usage than the exercise ball. The wobble cushion is the most of all. These are a more cost effective alternative to the Bosu, which are about 5 times or more on the cost. They are very comparable to the exercise ball on cost. There ARE exercises in the middle ground between balance training for joints and the big exercise ball that the Bosu is IDEAL for usage.

Many great uses

This can be added under your foot as you do a lunge. Like the exercise ball, it makes you use more muscles to keep your balance. In the case of lunges, they work many additional muscles including ones that strengthen ankles. They can be used for many exercise ball moves and balance trainer exercises. Just stepping on and off of this is a good starting point to strengthens the ankle and improves balance.

4.5 out of 5 stars and over 950 reviews.
4/3 out of 5 stars and over 850 reviews.
Very affordable
eqpt for balance exercise

12) Bosu/Balance Trainer

If you are wanting to do exercises in that middle ground between joint strength training and the big inflatable exercise ball, this is what you need. There are exercises that are ideally suited for this piece of exercise equipment. It can also be used with the inflatable side up or platform side up depending on what you need. You may be able to substitute the cheaper wobble cushion in some cases, evaluate the exercise that you want to accomplish carefully.
Bosu Balance Trainer equipment

13) Pilates ring

This is another very inexpensive exercise tool and it is used for Pilates. There are many exercise routines where this item is handy. Many of its uses are easily replaced by an exercise ball that will hold up better over time. If you have a feel for what exercise you want to do, you can evaluate the value of this piece of exercise equipment. They can be an alternative to the Thighmaster set and can be found at a very low price.

14) Simply Fit Board

I love the fun, versatility, and effectiveness of this exercise equipment. These are all highly rated and an incredibly simple design. This can be used to do a swiveling twist kind of exercise in a standing position, to works the core muscles.

So many uses

The Simply Fit Board is a great platform for doing push-ups that forces your core to be even more involved at the same time, for balance. You can even use the platform to do many other kinds of exercises and engage your core muscles more. Unlike the exercise ball, you have much better stability. This device can give unique variations for planks. You get a very good idea of the versatility and possibilities from this video:

Simply Fit Board workout DVD

Simply Fit Board – The Abs Legs Core Workout Balance Board with A Twist. This comes in blue, but also green, magenta, orange, and purple.

MyTwistBoard-Balance Workout Sport And Yoga Fitness Twist Board

Another exercise
tool that travels well

Board plus resistance bands

5 In 1 Wobble Balance Board WITH WORKOUT BANDS by 5280 FITGENX,Fit Board Gets You Simply Fit By Toning Abs Legs Core Arms Total Body, Improves Balance, Fitness With a Twist
Solofit Balance Board-Fitness Board for Abs, Legs, Core, Back and Shoulders Workout-Yoga Twist Board with Resistance Tubes for Toning, Strengthening, Weight Loss + Instructions–Fit Board for Exercise
The addition of
resistance bands may be better for you

15) Horse back riding style exercise machine

This is a great exerciser! My dad loved this machine. It is very highly rated on Amazon too. These are not common. The machine was designed to use a combination of force on the peddles and the handles to lift you up and down much like motion of horseback riding. It uses your body weight for the exercise resistance. There is also a variation for its use that makes the upper body workout more intense by using only the handles and not the peddles.

Hard to beat the value

It can be folded up to store more easily. This is an extremely affordable exercise machine. I think you will be very surprised at the price. This is a quality, lightweight machine (31 lbs) and can handle up to 220 lbs.

16) Power Tower

I sooooooo love these things! They are one of my biggest favorite pieces of equipment at any gym. You can do many types of body weight exercises on these. They are tall and have a small footprint for your floor space too. There are many choices here. My personal favorite is the one that is also capable of doing inversion table things. It is not much more than the standard ones too!

Standard Power Towers

This one is highly rated and the best seller

There is an option of getting the standard, stable Power Tower and using inversion boots with it. This is a highly rated one and the best seller… the is also the best priced one.

The Inversion Power Tower

The exercise machine that I would have come up with if I designed one! This has all the power station functions that I love, plus it is an inversion table too! It can handle up to 250 pounds. The multi-angle inversion table with many exercise station options. This works well for folks 5 feet to nicely over 6 feet 3 inches or better.

High dip bars: chin ups, pull ups, hanging tricep dips
Low dip bars: tricep bench dip, modified push-ups, modified pull-ups
Arm rests: (hanging Roman chair exercises) straight orientation knee lifts and leg lifts, diagonal knee lifts and leg lifts, scissor kicks, leg circles
Inversion table: this can be used for angled inversion, inverted crunches, also the angled bench style Roman chair exercises as well

17) Parallel bars

OK… my dream was to get a Power station for chin ups, dips, etc. I used to have the space for one. That is no longer true. It is simple to find some fantastic workouts with parallel bars that accomplish the same things. I got some and I LOVE them. They are easy to pack away, which is also valuable.

This one is what I have gotten… Height is adjustable 30.31-34.25 inch. Quality of this is really great, the washers are even curved for an exact fit and the paint coating is beautifully done. The equipment is very strong, stable, and sturdy. Some of the exercises that you can do with these: Push ups, Inverted rows (pull up and chin up version), Tricep dips, Shoulder dips, Planche holds, Leg lifts, and even Leg lifts through an arc motion to hit more muscles.

Valuable exercise aid items that cost very little & are a great partner for your exercise equipment and your fitness program

This is an item that is a great companion for your home gym and I love very much. Neoprene bands are made out of the material that you see in wet suits. These can be wrapped around problem area that you want to focus on better. It will heat up that area more (while you exercise especially). This can increase your fat burning success.

I love this set and have them. The set includes ones for both arms and legs. Having worn out many sets of these, I can tell you this one is better than most…. the nicest ones I have ever had.

Neoprene waist band that is the best seller and very highly rated too.




Neoprene shorts that are the top seller and very, very highly rated.

There are of course other items that cost next to nothing

I am a huge fan of hiking out in beautiful natural areas. If hiking sounds intimidating, just substitute the word walking there. Jumping rope is fantastic cardio and is actually very intense exercise. Marching in place is better than walking and akin to stepper block work, and just as simple. You could use any solid, stable item of proper height for doing stepper block exercise too.

Yoga and floor exercises are great, and you can do them on a carpeted floor, a mat, or a towel if you do not have a yoga mat. If you like to work out on parallel bars, you can find DIY designs online. They can be made of PVC pipes very nicely. You can even do this kind of a build for a Roman chair design or framework to do pull ups. Maybe you can find a structure that is versatile enough for all of these. Leg lifts and pull ups can be done on the monkey bars in the park.