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Strong Home Gym Recommendations: Build a Home Gym for $1,000-$3,000

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There are 3 items I would recommend everyone have access to when aiming for a fitness goal:

We’ve compiled thousands of hours of research and testing into one place with no fluff.

Commercial gym owners, personal trainers and even an engineer at Strong Home Gym have tested and compared hundreds of different gym equipment.

After all of this research and testing here are the results:

Strong Home Gym’s Best Picks ~$3,000

After all of this research here is where the best overall value (for most people) lies in our opinion. It’ll end up looking something like this…

Strong Home Gym Home Gym Set Up Recommendation

REP PR-4000 Power Rack

REP-PR-4000 Power Rack
Read our best squat rack guide here

Looking for an affordable yet high quality power rack?

Look no further!

After comparing over 100 types of squat racks the PR-4000 came out on top.

You can add any attachment to it (including cables, dip bars and plate holders). You can even add additional uprights to back to make it even more of a beast!

The 1 inch westside hole spacing means you can position the spotter arms to the ideal height when you bench press. So you can safely drop the bar and have a full range of motion when you lift.

And the 3×3″ 11 gauge steel make this the best value rack we could find.

REP AB-3000 Bench

REP AB-3000 Weight Bench
Read our best weight bench guide here

This is the weight bench we recommend for ‘most people’.

We compared over 70 benches against 12 criteria. This is our highest-ranked flat, incline & decline (FID) bench.

Some adjustable benches can be a bit wobbly when on the incline. But the AB-3000 is very sturdy.

With a height 18mm it’s comparable to benches that cost twice as much.

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plate
Read our best bumper plates guide here

Bumper plates are ideal for a home gym.

They can last a lifetime and allow you to do additional lifts which require you to drop the bar.

Our team has compared over 100 types and the Rogue Fleck plates came out on top.

They are great value, use color allowing you to quickly see how much you’re lifting and the pattern will give your home gym a unique look.

Rogue Ohio Cerakote Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar Cerakote
Read our best Olympic barbell guide here

This is the bar that we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 120 hours of research and tested over 100 barbells.

It is affordable but comes with some high specs. The Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength mean the bar will last a lifetime in a home gym.

It is a multi-purpose bar with a 28.5mm diameter shaft and composite bushings in the sleeves. This means it’s balanced for heavy slow bench presses but you can also perform snatches and fast overhead lifts.

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Adjustable Dumbbells

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Classic
Read our best adjustable dumbbell guide here

These are the dumbbells we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 50 hours of research and compared over 100 dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells make sense for most home gyms as they save space.

The Nüobell dumbbells go all the way to 80lbs per hand. This means they are much more versatile than most 50lbs adjustable dumbbells. You can use these for heavy shrugs, squats and bench press etc.

The main reason they are the top pick is because of their shape. They actually feel like real dumbbells and are not awkward to lift like some others.

We’ve polled over 1,000 people to find out that the average home gym costs $3,141. And our recommendations here come in right in line with this average.

This setup will give you a solid power rack that can evolve with you, an epic barbell and bumper plates. This allows you to do powerlifting, CrossFit or Olympic lifts in one space.

The dumbbells and the cable pulley are perfect for isolation lifts, lat pulldowns, rows, face pulls etc.

The jump rope adds a cardio item which is super affordable.

The quality of this gym will last you a lifetime! And all of these items will also have a high resale value.

This is a home gym to be proud of and will help you make serious gains!

$500 Home Gym Build

When you have this budget we would recommend NOT getting a power rack and barbell. You won’t be able to get many plates and at some stage you’ll want to replace it all.

Instead, we recommend a set of adjustable dumbbells and bench. You can then add to these items over time rather than needing to sell them.

USA $500 Home Gym

Other dumbbells options:

UK $500 Home Gym

A Premium Home Gym For ~$1,500

If you are on a tight budget this is exactly what I would recommend:

You still get an adjustable bench and a very good power rack.

There really aren’t many barbells that exist that are better than the Rogue Ohio and the price is a bit of a steal compared to alternatives.

The collars are top class and currently, there aren’t any weight plates that you can get cheaper than the PRx option (plates are the ideal place to save money in my eyes!)

A Home Gym For Under $1,000

I would highly recommend the above option for 99% of people on a tight budget. However, I know some people just want a decent enough gym for as cheap as possible.

Here are the items I’d recommend to build a home gym for under $1,000:

There really aren’t many ways you can save much more money than this option. But the majority is still good enough to have a decent workout.

See how I did this in under 24 hours here:

A Space Saving/ Folding Home Gym ~$2,500

If you’re tight on space or want to use your gym space for something else then here is what I’d recommend:

Money No Object Home Gym ~$8,500

Here are the recommendations for you if money isn’t a concern:

Force USA G15 Machine

Force USA G15 All-In-One Trainer
Read our best all in one home gym guide here

The Force USA G15 combines a Smith machine, a squat rack, and a pulley system in one compact machine.

The G15 pulley cables have a 2-to-1 and a 4-to-1 ratio allowing you to perform any movement on it. The cable length is longer than a 1-to-1 ratio and allows you to lift lighter weight, ideal for lat raises etc.

Add a leg press and lat pull-down attachment to make it become a true all-in-one home gym machine.

After comparing over 100 machines the G15 came out on top for quality, versatility, and nothing competes at this price point.

TRX Pro4

Read our best suspension trainers guide here

This is the suspension trainer that we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent compared over 50 of them and ran them against our criteria.

It’s robust, very high quality, easy to adjust and pack away.

The main reason it gets our top spot is because of its versatility. The adjustable feet straps and rubber handles allow you to do more movements than other trainers that don’t have these features.

There are a lot of extra items of equipment you can get but these are the basics that will be more than enough for 99% of home gym owners.

When you get a very good power rack, cable machine, dumbbells and bumper plates you can do almost any movement in a gym.

Add a great suspension trainer and some cardio machines like a rower and you have enough versatility to avoid getting bored after 12 weeks!

The One Thing Most People Get Wrong When Building a Home Gym They’ll Actually Use!

There are tons of mistakes I’ve seen people make when building a home gym such as:

  • Thinking short term (buying cheap stuff)
  • Not having a plan
  • Buying things you don’t need
  • Not sorting out the flooring first
  • Having poor ventilation (too hot or cold)
  • Choosing style or brands over function

But the main issue that prevents people from actually using their home gym is this…


Here’s what I mean…

You have an idea of what equipment you use to reach your goals. You do a quick search (obviously on Strong Home Gym) to find what equipment you’d like.

Then you close your laptop and go about your day.

Three months later you figure, ‘oh yeah… I should look in that squat rack again.’

Then you realize you’re hungry and go look in the fridge.

Three months later, the cycle continues.

It’s far better to just look on Craigslist or FB marketplace and get something… anything.

A set of adjustable dumbbells is infinitely better than nothing. A cheap second-hand barbell and chipped plates will help you gain strength if you use them.

The key here is to start.

You can always sell things on and replace them as you go. And if you follow our advice on how to build a home gym then you’ll be sure to get equipment that holds its value anyway.

Other Strong Home Gym Buying Guides

You can find out a ton more about our testing process in our epic guides here:

For most people, these are the essential 4 items that you will need in a home gym to see serious gains. These 4 items increase the versatility and reduce the amount of equipment you need, which saves money and space!

This is the 80/20 principle at its finest!

You can read more about why we think this suits most people in our how to build a home gym guide. There are some useful tips about setting up your home gym in there too, which can save you $1,000’s and a lot of wasted time.

Some close additional items are:

Other people prefer just to get an all-in-one machine:

If you want to check out more of our guides then you can here:


Squat racks

Home gym machines

Strength accessories

Storage/ gym decor

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Mike Beatty is a health and fitness enthusiast and qualified PE teacher who wants to help as many people as possible live a healthy lifestyle, without depriving themselves. Since finishing his Sports Science degree he's continued to study & practice numerous types of exercise including weight training, CrossFit, Tabata and yoga. When he's not in his home gym he's found chasing his two children around.

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