The best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and accessories

All you need to train in the comfort of your own front room or garage
Home gym equipment for any budget

You don't have to spend a fortune to create a useful home gym. While many people kit out their garage like it's a branch of Equinox, a few dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells in the corner can make working out cheaper as well as more convenient.

If you're on a limited budget, we've selected some great value options, or if you're a big spender then we've found the sleekest home dumbbell set on the market.

For those who are low on space, we've picked out dumbbells and barbells that are easy to store, so you won't end up with a living room looking like your local gym.

And if you're looking to go heavy? Not a problem – keep reading to find out our top pick of Olympic lifting gear, and also our guides to the best pull-up bars.

Best adjustable weights

Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells

Your home gym wishlist

Bowflex's SelectTech dumbbells allow you to select your weight with a handy dial system: you simply turn the dial at the end of the dumbbell to the weight you want to use, lift it out and you're done. Each one is adjustable from 5lbs (2.3kg) to 52.5lbs (23.8kg), and you can quickly switch the weight by putting the handle back into the weight set and reselecting using the dial.

The first 25lbs of weight can be adjusted in small increases of 2.5lbs, meaning there are no major weight jumps to contend with – ideal for those who are new to lifting. Each barbell is fairly long and chunky, but the adjustable design makes them perfect if you don't have space for tons of different weight dumbbells at home.

PowerBlock EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbells

Your home gym wishlist

To the unfamiliar eye, the PowerBlock EXP dumbbells can look very confusing, but once the mechanism is broken down it becomes clear they have an incredibly smart design. Using a selector pin, as you would with a weights machine at the gym, you select the weight you want to lift. This then connects the PowerBlock's handle with the requisite weights (which sit at the side ends of the dumbbell, the bits that look like an iron bread loaf) and you're lifting.

The PowerBlock EXP Stage 1, as we've featured here, has a weight range of 5lbs (2.3kg) to 50lbs (22.7kg), and can be expanded all the way up to 70lbs (32.8kg) or 90lbs (40.8kg) if you buy the Stage 2 and 3 kits.

While its chunky design may not be to everyone's taste and could interfere with the ease of certain moves, there's no denying the PowerBlock EXP dumbbell is a genius piece of kit.

Bowflex Selecttech 840 Kettlebell

Kettlebells offer a range of movements and benefits that are often difficult to achieve with dumbbells. Like dumbells, that range of exercises requires a varied selection of weights as you train different body parts. The problem is – even more so than with dumbbells – kettlebells are expensive and due to their awkward shape and size, aren't a great choice for home workouts.

The Bowflex Selecttech 840 Kettlebell follows on from its Adjustable Dumbbell, offering a sleek and smart way to train with kettlebells within a limited space. The 'kettlebell' is essentially a compact set of weighted plates within the unit which are selected via a dial on the top. Just place the unit on the base, twist the handle to the desired weight and it's ready to go.

When we first tested the 840 Kettlebell we were slightly concerned about stability when using it indoors due to the swinging motion of most kettlebell exercises. Fortunately, like the adjustable dumbbells, the build of the unit feels both secure and safe to use indoors.

The unit has six weighted options between 3.5 to 18kg, meaning it's suitable for training across all muscle groups for most users. When compared to an actual kettlebell, the shape and size isn't quite perfect in terms of feel and weight distribution, but it's not far off meaning you can do anything from swings to Turkish get-ups.

For a list of exercises that can be done using the Bowflex Selecttech 840 Kettlebell click here.


Best for big budgets

Technogym Wellness Rack

Your home gym wishlist

You may well have seen high-spec Technogym machines lining your local gym, so it's a plus to know this pro brand makes home gym equipment too. The Wellness Rack is a stylish storage solution that comes with two handles which can be loaded up with disc weights: the set includes eight 2kg (4.4lb) discs and eight 0.5kg (1.1lb) discs.

The plates have a silicone lining to avoid causing damage to your floor should you drop them, and come in a stylish white design. While this set may not be ideal for those big on bodybuilding – you can only reach a max of 10kg on each dumbbell – they're an excellent quality addition to a home gym, particularly if you have a light, airy design in mind.


Ironmaster Quick-lock Dumbbells

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

The Ironmaster dumbbell design is one of the nicest we've seen across the various options available. Not only does the square shape mean they don't roll around, but the clever screw-style lock system means that they're both easy to change and avoid the usual long pointy bar coming out each end.

The set comes with two 20kg adjustable dumbbells that can be modified from a starting weight of 2.2 kg. You can also increase the weight, using add-on kits, to beef them up to 74kg, which makes them perfect for anyone looking to invest in a long term training plan with equipment that will last for decades to come.


LesMills Smartbar and Weights Set

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

If you've been to any of LesMills' classes around the world it's likely that you'll have come across its Smartbar equipment. Unlike most barbell kit, the 'gator teeth' design is made to allow quick and easy changing of weights throughout a workout. Something that's extremely useful if you're doing a full-body session and only have a few seconds to increase or decrease the weight for different body parts.

The set comes with 17kg of plates to add to the 2.6kg bar, which should be more than enough for any HIIT workouts. Those plates also have a special ergonomic design which means you can use them for single-arm movements – saving you money of buying a separate set of dumbbells as well.


Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

If you're serious about you're training and you plan to incorporate more advanced movements into your workouts you're going to need a heavy-duty bar. Rogue is by far our favorite equipment supplier when it comes to workout kit designed for the serious athlete, creating tough, durable and well-made products that'll have your garage doubling as a CrossFit box instantly.

The Echo Bar is the cheapest Olympic bar Rogue offer and isn't far off some of the pricier alternatives on the site. It features 190,000 PSI tensile strength steel, Olympic knurl marks and comes with a durable Bright Zinc finish. As well as a one year warranty, it also has an F8-R rating meaning it has the highest resistance against consistent drops from overhead lifting.


Best for value

AmazonBasics Dumbbells

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

Not everyone wants or needs a vast array of weights, so for those who want a more streamlined equipment collection or don't want to invest in a large set, these AmazonBasics dumbbells are a great choice.

Advertisement

Buyers have the option of buying these dumbbells pair by pair, in a range of weights from 1lb (0.45kg) to 20lb (9kg), although the larger options are only available in the US. The lighter options are a useful addition to Pilates or barre routines, while the heavier weights are ideal for circuit training or high-rep weightlifting.

The neoprene coating on these dumbbells stops sweaty hands from slipping on the handles, plus the hexagonal design prevents them from rolling away should you drop them. A simple yet functional piece of kit that will serve you well for a variety of at-home workouts.

Mirafit 20kg Studio Pump Set (UK Only)

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

If you're looking for a nice balance between affordability and function, the Mirafit Studio Pump Set is a great cost-effective option that'll cover you for a range of full-body workouts.

The 140cm bar includes two 1.25kg weights, two 2.5kg weights and two 5kg weights along with some very handy quick release collars. It also has a soft padded finish, which means it'll be comfortable over longer varied workouts.

If you're working towards lifting heavy, then you'll need to invest in a more advanced bar, however, if you're looking to carry out full body conditioning workouts in the front room then this piece of kit will have you covered.


If you're in the US a good alternative is the US Weight Duracast Bar ($54.99)

AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Set (US only)

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

This three-pair dumbbell set comes in a compact rack that can easily be stored in a cupboard or corner. The dumbbells come in 4lb (1.8kg), 8lb (3.6kg) and 12lb (5.4kg) weights, well suited for adding to aerobics, barre or Pilates-based workouts.

Each dumbbell has an iron core for weight and is coated with neoprene for a non-slip grip. An extra useful feature of this set is the handle attached to the rack, meaning it's portable and simple to put away without having to unload or dismantle anything. A well-priced, versatile piece of equipment that's ideal if you're low on space.


If you're in the UK, a good alternative is the Gold Coast Neoprene dumbbell set (£14.99)

Best accessories

Gymshark Medium Resistance Band

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

If you're looking to fire up your muscles before you lift, if you're into bodyweight workouts or if you're rehabbing an injury, there's one piece of kit you absolutely can't live without: the resistance band.

It sounds obvious, but the humble resistance band is extremely versatile and useful no matter what level of fitness you're at. This fabric band from Gymshark is a premium product, which will withstand workout after workout without the risk of you snapping it in a Hulk-like fashion.

The 7.5cm wide band and silicone taping on the inside means it won't flip or twist as you train, like rubber ones tend to do. Whether you're a runner, power lifter or HIIT lover, this band is a must for your home gym collection.


Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

Trap bars are brilliant for deadlifts, especially if you struggle with your form on straight bar ones. Instead of standing behind the weight, you'll stand inside the hexagon shape and lift with the weight directly next to you, putting a bit more effort through your quads and going a bit more gently on your lower back.

This product from Cap Barbell measures a little smaller than the average trap bar at 127cm long, 74cm wide and 36cm high, making it a good shout for a home gym. It weighs just under 13kg, but can be loaded up to over 220kg according to the manufacturers.

TRX GO Suspension Trainer

The best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and accessories

If there's one piece of kit that will take your home training to the next level it's a TRX. Yes, it may just look like an expensive pile of straps but there's a reason that people all over the world use a suspension trainer on a daily basis.

Bodyweight training is great and the amount of exercises you can do without the need for equipment can't be underestimated. However, there are certain muscles that are extremely difficult to train without additional help. One of the main areas is the muscles in the back. Even if you have a pull-up bar somewhere in the house it's fairly useless if you can't actually do a pull-up. A TRX offers the ability to modify a number of back exercises to make them easier as well as allow you to focus on different parts of the back.

The other major plus point of a TRX is that it takes up very little space. Once you've finished your work out, take it down, stuff it in the bag and pop it in a drawer. Simple, easy and extremely effective. There's even a partner app that gives you detailed information on loads of exercises that you can do with it.


Domyos Resistance Bands

The best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and accessories

Although they may appear to just be big loops of rubber, resistance bands are some of the most useful kit you can ever have in your home. Unlike weights, where the resistance comes from gravity, resistance bands come in a variety of sizes, with the larger ones offering greater levels of tensile strength.

The amount of things you can use them for is frankly enormous, from biceps curls and shoulder pulls to allowing complex modifications of exercises. They're also extremely good for use on mobility drills, allowing muscles to be forced into positions and movements that are difficult to do without.

The other thing about resistance bands is that, in comparison to most home gym equipment, they're extremely cheap – the cheapest bands coming in at around $7.


RX Jump Rope

The best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and accessories

There's a reason that boxers and CrossFitters do a lot of skipping: it's an incredibly efficient workout that has a whole heap of benefits. Not only does it offer a killer cardio workout in a short amount of time, but it also helps train balance, coordination and develops fast-twitch fibers – a useful skill when trying to dodge fists.

That's a lot of benefits from a tiny piece of kit that fits into your pocket, so it's worth investing in a rope that'll keep up with your training. The RX Jump Rope is one of the best all-round options out there and a popular piece of kit whether you're a complete beginner or a seasoned pro.

It uses an industrial grade multidirectional swivel axis bearing system for a frictionless rotation – something that also allows the speed to be controlled easily, has ergonomically contoured handles for comfort and to avoid fatigue in the hands and forearms, and uses absorbent grip tape used in racquet sports.

RX also offers a high level of customizable options from handle and cable color to allowing you to order different cable lengths, which, if you've ever tried to cut a speed rope cable, makes sense.

Tags:    Workout
Tagged    Workout