5 Most Popular Fitness Machines

The Most Frequently Bought Types of Exercise Equipment

Fashions in the best home fitness equipment may change, though the list of the most popular items of all remains static.

This page takes you down the list of the 5 most popular items bought for the home. Along with each I have covered the basic pros and cons, plus the expected price range and what you will get for your money at the budget and mid-range levels. If you like the look of any of the types of equipment below, then you can follow the link to the more detailed guide to choosing the specific model which best suits your needs.

Most Popular Fitness Equipment #1 – Treadmills

Year after year more treadmills are bought than any other piece of home gym equipment.

My ‘theory’ for why involves the ‘familiarity factor’. With many other items, you are not totally sure what you are getting or whether you will enjoy the exercises after the first few times. With a treadmill, you know exactly what you are getting (at least in basic functions!).

One of the biggest benefits of a treadmill is that you have a range of intensity from a fast walk through to intensive running. This means you can build up slowly. Many models have interval type programs specifically for cardio workouts, and will track distance, speed, calories burned and your heart rate too. Incline is a feature to look out for. Even a small slope will make a big difference. This is a way of varying your workout too.

Treadmills can be bulky, though many models will fold away after use. They can also be noisy compared to some other machines – especially when you start running hard.

While it is possible to pick up a home treadmill for under £100, I recommend going just a little higher and looking into the £200 range. This will get you a much better (quieter) build, better computer and monitors too.

You’ll find my detailed guide to choosing a treadmill right here.

Value and Price are Not the Same Thing!

The table below covers the most popular models (based on 2017 sales volumes) in different budget categories. If you are on a super-tight budget, you can also check out my page on budget / cheap treadmills. Keep in mind that, with only a little care, a decent treadmill will last for years. Think value more than just price, and the monthly cost of keeping fit will be super-low!

Best Home Treadmill - Budget  - HomCom Motorised

Budget Rec - HomCom Motorised Treadmill

Popular model, with an equally huge amazon.co.uk discount bringing it from mid-range to budget - has incline + music compatibility. 10km / hr top speed.

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Best Home Treadmill - Mid-Range - JLL S300

Mid-Range Rec - JLL S300 Home Treadmill

Top level spec including auto-incline and amazing console setup + shock-absorbing surface - another with a big amazon.co.uk discount.

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Best Home Treadmill - Upper End - Nordic Track Elite 2500

Top-End Rec - Nordic Track Elite 2500

Nordic Track are famous for their high-quality, top-end machines. This super stylish 22km / hr commerical treadmill is an excellent example - a beautifully put together machine!

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treadmills remain the most popular type of home fitness equipment

Most Popular Fitness Equipment #2 – Exercise Bikes

We all cycle as kids, though adult life tends to see this replaced by less healthy means of transport! Exercise bikes are a hugely popular type of home fitness equipment for several reasons. The biggest for many people is nothing to do with the calories burned or cardio fitness – its more to do with watching TV. Exercise bikes are quiet, allowing you to cycle while you catch up with the soaps or evening news.

These machines can burn a lot of calories too, especially when you set the resistance levels high. The best bikes take you through programs where you’ll be cruising at some points, then sprinting, and then doing a climb portion of the program.

Exercise bikes are difficult to fold, so the main disadvantage is that they can take up a lot of space. This can even lead to ‘exercise bike clothes rack’ syndrome, a common problem! Those that do fold are usually the super-budget options, which can be too wobbly for comfort. Speaking of comfort, you can always opt for a gel / padded saddle cover, or even go for a recumbent (sit back) bike.

You can pick up very basic exercise bikes for around $70, with the top end models going for £500 and up. You really do not need to spend too much to get a decent bike, with many solid and versatile models going for around £125 to £150.

You’ll find my detailed guide to choosing an exercise bike on this page.

Popular Exercise Bikes for Different Budgets

Below I have highlighted the hugely popular York Fitness 210, this is a bargain for the spec you are getting and one of the most popular choices at amazon.co.uk – it is a mid-range bike, though you can find some great alternatives at amazon if you are on a budget.

York Fitness Perform 210 Exercise Bike

York Fitness has a reputation for solid and effective equipment. This attractive mid-range bike hits the sweet spot between price and features.

Most Popular Fitness Equipment #3 – Free Weights / Benches

There are many variations of free weights available these days. Kettlebells have recently seen an uptick in popularity, though dumbbells are the most popular of all. Your basic choices is whether to get a set, each with a different weight – or a bar which you can add or remove weights too. There are even some nice design options (hexagonal weights) and comfort features like vinyl or plastic coatings.

Storage is not a big problem with free weights, though it can help to keep them close to where you intend to use them. The downside is that you’ll have to design and follow your own routine, since no ‘onboard computer’ will help you. Free weights are a great compliment to other types of fitness equipment, or just right to give you a quick workout between gym sessions.

You will not need to spend a fortune for a basic set of free weights, which come in the £20 to £60 range. Check out my reviews of the most popular models in this ‘free weights’ section of the site.

Of course, the logical next step up from a weight set is a bench or small / compact home gym. Some models are designed with the home user in mind, keeping everything in one compact unit. You’ll find a lot of different options over on my home gyms main page.

popular fitness equipment - free weights

Most Popular Fitness Equipment #4 – Abs Machines

Not everyone who buys an abs machine is dreaming of a 6-pack. For most of us, simply toning up and getting rid of excess bulk would be an excellent goal. There are several different types of equipment you can buy to tone up your abs. These include floor-standing machines, rollers, sit up benches and even more advanced equipment like hyperextension benches or ‘power towers’.

From a popularity perspective, sit up benches, ab machines and ab rollers are the key pieces of equipment. Rollers are the smallest, though not everyone finds them comfortable to use. Machines take up the most space, with the loop of the arm holding bars preventing them folding away. Benches vary, though usually fold.

This is not the most expensive fitness equipment, with the cheaper end starting at around £20. There are no huge advances in technology as you spend more, though you’ll find trusted brand names with a reputation for solid equipment in the £30 to £60 range.

You can find out more about the different types of abs equipment and brands available in this article.

The table below features the best-selling abs and core equipment in several different categories. Remember, the very best results need you to lose that layer of belly fat at the same time as strengthening your muscles.

Thane WonderCore 2 - Crunch Trainer Pick

Cruch Trainer Pick - Thane WonderCore 2

An upgrade to the best-selling Thane Wondercore, this new model adds arm workouts to the abs / core ones. Excellent feedback so far!

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Best Ab Roller - CSX

Ab Roller Pick - CSX Ab Roller

Robust Ab roller which comes with a mat for your knees. This deceptively simply machine gets results very fast.

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Sit Up Bench Top Pick - We R Sports

Traditional Sit Up Bench Pick - We R Sports

It is the flexibility of this We R Sports sit up bench which made it my top pick. A robust bench from a well-respected brand name.

Product Page Review Soon!
Best Budget Cross Trainer - VFit MCCT1

Toning Belt Pick - Slendertone Abs3

Unisex abs toning belt from the respected Slendertone. This has impressive feedback from buyers, and shows results fast!

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Most Popular Fitness Equipment #5 – Elliptical Cross Trainers / Rowers

We have a tie for 5th position!

Rowing machines and elliptical cross trainers can be found in thousands of households. These might be completely different in design and build, though they do share one common characteristic. Both are quiet (compared to treadmills especially) and will give you a solid fat burning / cardio workout without being too hard on the joints. You will also find that both give you a full body workout.

Both of these machines take up space. Cross Trainers are the most bulky, though rowing machines without the ability to fold can also be large and often heavy. I would suggest setting aside a dedicated area if you decide on either of these.

You can get budget rowers and ellipticals for under £100, though this is one type of equipment where I would be skeptical about going for the cheapest models. Smoothness of the resistance is very important, and with ellipticals, the stride length also needs to be taken into account. You do not need to go to the £1000+ top-end to get a great machine – the £200 range kit for both is the sweet spot between functionality and value.

Here are links to my detailed guides on choosing these types of fitness equipment (with some bonus links to other popular guides!) :