Buying the fitness equipment you enjoy using makes a huge difference to your long-term fitness. Sure, one type of exercise machine may burn more calories. Another may cover more muscle groups, or take up less space. Will-power alone never works for long. Choosing a quality machine that you are happy to fit in to your fitness routine long term is key to getting you fit – and keeping you working out.
This page covers all the popular types of fitness equipment. You will find comparisons, reviews and guides covering treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, elliptical cross trainers and steppers here. There are options for all budgets – and warnings about what not to buy. If you are new to using cardio fitness equipment, then check out the comparisons and guides that will show you what to expect.
On a sale-by-sale basis, then exercise bikes and treadmills are the most popular home fitness equipment by a long way. Both of these items have the advantage of being easy for beginners to get started at a lower intensity on – and both allow you to increase the length and intensity of your workouts once start to feel fit.
Below you will find the most popular treadmill and bike options in 3 different price bands, based on the number bought so far this year. You can take a look at the reviews for more detailed information, or head over to Amazon and check the customer feedback.
Everyone has a unique combination of health and fitness goals, space, budget and personal preferences. Some of these are covered in detail in specific guides here at Fitness Review. Below is a summary to give you a starting point for the types of fitness equipment to look into based on some broad categories:
This is a common query. People have put on a couple of extra pounds, and would like to find an exercise machine to turn the tide. An important factor here is that the machine needs to be enjoyable enough to use regularly. For those with busy lives, speed of the workout is also a factor.
I created a detailed article which covers the best home fitness equipment for weight loss. This includes comparisons of the hourly calorie burn of the main types of exercise machines. Of course, no machine will overcome an unhealthy lifestyle on its own…
Many of us simply enjoy being fit – and giving the heart and lungs a good workout is a great way to achieve that. Your choice of home gym equipment should cover you from getting started and still be useful when you are already fit. Time is again a factor, with some machines ideal for the shorter and more intensive cardio workouts.
As much as we’d all love a separate home gym, the reality is that many of us are pushed for space. Some equipment folds away more easily than others, and some machines are naturally smaller than others to begin with.
Fitness equipment to help you build muscles or stay toned is covered in depth here at Fitness Review. This includes home gyms, weights, kettle bells and much more. You can find this information in the weight training section of the site.
If the ‘logic’ of a home gym equipment purchase points to a type of machine you do not think you’d enjoy using – then I recommend that you do not buy it.
Yes, I’m going to say that something is more important than the science when it comes to choosing the best exercise equipment for you!
You might use a new machine for a couple of weeks by sheer will-power alone. However if you go with one you genuinely enjoy using (even if it does not quite match the calorie burn or intensity of the ‘ideal’ piece of kit), then you are far more likely to keep going for the long term.
When it comes to fitness equipment, I recommend you find the main choices which come close to your goals – and then go with the one you will enjoy using the most.
Your next step is to check out these detailed review and comparison pages, which will show you the different options, features and price brackets within each category.
If you are on a tighter budget, then this guide to choosing the best home fitness equipment for under £100 could be just right for you!
Sometimes, the space we have available – or even family considerations – mean that our choice of home fitness equipment is constrained. Space, noise and the time available to work out all play a role here. If you have a spare room to dedicate to your equipment, your options are different to those who do not.
Often, the space we have available – or even family considerations – mean that our choice of home fitness equipment is constrained. Space, noise and the time available to work out all play a role here. If you have a spare room to dedicate to your equipment, your options are different to those who do not.
Here are some of the best options for different situations:
Here are some ideas for those who get to exercise after the kids have gone to bed, or do not want to overly disturb the rest of the family. My first tip is to avoid treadmills, especially those at the cheaper end of the range. These are by far the nosiest piece of equipment. Quiet alternatives include exercise bikes and elliptical trainers – with rowing machines and steppers sitting in-between.
If you are pushed for space, then a fully spec’d elliptical cross trainer is probably not the right option. You might want to choose items which you can fold up and wheel into a corner (or flat against the wall) instead. Alternatively, you can find small items which pack a big punch for their size. Steppers, are the smallest main category of home cardio equipment. These are 30cms tall, though can give you a vigorous workout.
Folding equipment includes treadmills, exercise bikes and some rowing machines. Keep in mind that the rowers will take up a fair amount of space even when folded, and that folding bikes tend to be the budget level ones. Treadmills are ideal space-savers. While they are fairly big, the setup means you can often fold them flat against a wall.
Schedules are increasingly busy, so equipment which lets you work out quickly and intensively is a popular option. Your own goals (see the section at the top portion of this page) are the key factor here. Some ideas include steppers, which can be effective in short sharp bursts. Cross Trainers are also intensive, as are items like ab rollers – or even vibration plates.
At the top of this page you will see 6 icons, each of these will take you to a detailed page which covers the options in its category. Here is a quick summary of what to expect from the different types of equipment, including your main choices within each type.
Whether you want to start with a gentle stroll, do a cardio routine or interval training – there are treadmill options out there. These are hugely popular year after year (something to do with that British weather!). You can get a budget model for around £250, with some quality designs for twice that amount and up. Folding models have the advantage of easy storage. If you get a model with incline included, this will add a new dimension to your runs.
Check out my detailed Treadmill Reviews Page for more.
New! British brand JLL have great specs for the price – see my JLL Treadmill Guide for more.
I could add a lot of detail about why this is a popular choice – only the most common reason for choosing this one is not to do with fitness. Exercise bikes are quiet and stable enough that you can watch TV while you work out! This is a positive, since you will be less inclined to skip workouts. Budget folding bikes start at less than £100. Many people choose an add-on, in the form of a large gel saddle for extra comfort while they spin the wheels.
Check out my detailed Exercise Bike Reviews Page for more.
This is the first item which gives a ‘full body’ workout (ellipicals do this too). Rowing is low impact on your joints, and can give you an intensive workout. These machines are long, and will need some extra space. Some pivot for storage. A new fad with rowing machines is to use water tanks to provide resistance. These are at the more expensive end of the range. Budget rowing machines start at around £150.
Check out my detailed Rowing Machine Reviews Page for more.
Sometimes called Ellipticals, sometimes just Cross Trainers – these machines give you a full-body workout with circular leg motion + arm poles. Cross trainers are quiet, and often double-up as exercise bikes. These are low impact on your joints, and can give you an intensive workout if you up the resistance levels. Ellipticals are larger items, and the design does not make it too easy to fold.
Check out my detailed Elliptical Trainer Reviews Page for more.
The smallest items in the regular fitness equipment list, steppers pack a big punch considering their size. Some have a twisting motion in addition to the up / down part – others have elasticated arm bands. Steppers are cheap, starting at around £20 for a budget model. At the extreme opposite end of the stepping spectrum, you can get Stairmills for many thousands of pounds. These are like escalators, as you step up, they go down!
Check out my detailed Stepper Reviews Page for more.
A big category, with many complimentary devices. Traditional equipment includes sit up benches. You can now also buy ab-rollers (very effective!), crunches devices (for example the WonderCore), and sliding plates. While some people are sceptical, abs toning belts have a lot of fans. These tone up your abs using electrical muscle stimulation.
Check out my Abs / Core Equipment Reviews Page for more.
This section of the site focuses on workout equipment. There are plenty more options once you get into weight / strength training too.
Still Need Ideas?
Check out the individual reviews below for some great value home fitness equipment!
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