Best home gym equipment: Dumbbells, barbells and more

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 dumbbells

PowerBlock EXP Stage 1 Adjustable Dumbbells

Buy now: Amazon | $322

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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 Adjustable Dumbbells

Buy now: Fitness Superstore (UK) / Amazon (US) | $299

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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.

Best for big budgets

Technogym Wellness Rack

Buy now: Technogym (US) GymMarine (UK) | $1060

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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.

Best for value

Day 1 Neoprene Dumbbells

Buy now: Amazon | From $18.12

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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 Day 1 dumbbells are a great choice.

Buyers have the option of buying these dumbbells pair by pair, in a range of weights from 1lb (0.45kg) to 20lb (9kg). 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 – and they come in a variety of bold colours if you're not into black and steel-coloured workout gear.

Gymshark Medium Resistance Band

Buy now: Gymshark (UK) / Gymshark (US) / Amazon | From $20

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.

Best for space-saving

Troy 12 Sided Rubber Straight Barbell

Buy now: Amazon (US) | From $60

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One easy way to save space is to invest in a single fixed weight barbell; you won't need to store additional plates and it can be stashed in a cupboard or rolled under a bed when you're done. This Troy barbell comes in straight or EZ options.

Not sure which to choose? Straight barbells are typically used for lunges, deadlifts, squats, chest presses and so on, while the EZ bar is used for bicep curls as its angles alter the way you'll hit your muscles.

The barbell comes in nine weights, from 20lb (9kg) to 110lb (50kg), and features rubber-coated weights affixed to a chrome steel bar. If you regularly boost the weights you use this isn't the best choice for obvious reasons, but for occasional users or those with specific physio exercises requiring a fixed weight, this is perfect.

WF Athletic Supply Dumbbell Set With Rack

Buy now: Amazon | $114.98

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This three-pair dumbbell set comes in a compact rack that can easily be stored in a cupboard or corner. The dumbbells come in 5lb (2.3kg), 8lb (3.6kg) and 10lb (4.5kg) 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.

Best for going heavy

Gymenist Hex Rubber Dumbbells

Buy now: Amazon | From $17.99

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If you're a bodybuilder or wannabe strongman, you're going to need to go heavy – and these dumbbells by Gymenist will help you do exactly that. They start retailing at light weights, but can go all the way from 40lb (18kg) up to 100lb (45.4kg). Unsurprisingly, the prices increase as the size does, but these hex-shaped weights with chrome handles aren't going out of use any time soon, so consider them a worthy investment. Bear in mind that the heaviest of these dumbbells weighs as much as a small adult, so test your lifting abilities in a safe environment first before ordering anything huge.

Troy USA Sports 350lb Bumper Plate Weight Set Bar

Buy now: Amazon | $809

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If you've got a big space and big lifting goals to match, you're in luck. This Troy USA Olympic barbell set comes with a 45lb (20.4kg), 30mm thick bar along with six pairs of plates from 10lb (4.5kg) all the way up to 45lb (20.4kg) – and you get two sets of the heaviest plates for good measure. This is a great addition to a garage gym for anyone into CrossFit, powerlifting or Olympic lifting, and the bumper plates offer a bit more give than stiffer designs. It’s a big investment, but one that you’ll need to make at some point if you’re planning on lifting heavy and functional. Note: It's also worth getting yourself a lifting platform if you're concerned about damaging the floor you'll be dropping these weights onto.

GoPlus Barbell Weights Set

Buy now: Amazon | $129.99

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Barbell weight sets don't come cheap, but this GoPlus product offers fantastic value for a huge range of weights. The bar comes with four 22lb (10kg) plates, two 11lb (5kg) plates and two 4.4lb (2kg) plates, for a max on-bar weight of 132lbs (60kg). The spin-lock ends will hold the plates on securely without being too tricky to remove.

It's worth a heads up that these aren't bumper plates and the bar is only an inch thick, so this barbell isn't suitable for big compound lifts followed by a drop, but it's perfect for classic weight training for your chest, arms, legs and back. All in all, an excellent option for budget home gyms.

Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

Buy now: Amazon | $69.99

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.
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