Every gym bro has dreamed of having their own home gym at some point, and I’m no different. Skipping the commute, the annoying music, and even worse patrons, being able to train whenever you want, in the comfort of your own home.
That dream has never been more relevant than today when gyms open and close without warning, and that bulk you were on turns into just getting fat without being able to train…
…Trust me, checking your diet doesn’t always turn out to be the magic bullet to losing weight, even when I stopped eating sugar and stuck to taking one meal a day and fasting, I hardly shed off as many pounds as I had hoped to.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the space for conventional gym equipment. Some of us live in apartments, others already have other stuff taking up space. Whatever the case, in this article, we’ll cover space saver exercise machines of all types; Rowers, treadmills, ellipticals, and even full-blown gyms.
Best Compact Space Saving Rowers
I’ve always loved rowing as it gives me just the right dose of cardio after my workout sessions. There are not many workout equipment that allow you to build bigger quads as well as work on your arms, and back, while also putting your cardiovascular system through its phases. And hey, you can lose weight using a rowing machine too, it’s a win-win really.
Yes they are some of the best fitness equipment for home use, but there's a catch. By their own design, saving space on a rower is hard. Especially so if you’re using one of those rowers that have water acting as resistance. Yes, they are very cool, but they don’t just take a lot of floor space, they’re noisy as hell.
That’s why for this list I chose to forego rowers with water in them, there’s no point in being able to fit a rower or any other workout equipment in your apartment if using it is gonna piss off your neighbors. With that out of the way, let’s get into our top 3 space-saving rowers.
This rower gets double props, it’s not just small for super easy storage, it’s also absurdly affordable. If you’re a student or someone who doesn’t wanna break the bank for a home gym equipment, this is the rower for you as it ranks among the most affordable cardio machines out there.
Of course, that’s not all the SF-RW1205 has to offer. With 12 levels of resistance and a butter-smooth hydraulic system, it’s suitable for people of all ability levels and dead silent no matter how hard you go.
Finally, we gotta talk about the footprint for this thing. It’s absolutely tiny, while still being comfortable thanks to its ergonomic design.
Believe it or not, this rower is only 54 inches long and 20 inches wide. Seriously, it's perfectly designed and sized for people looking to get the best of both worlds as far as using the small space available while still getting in an intense cardio that will help them achieve their fitness goals.
- Ergonomic Seat
- Multifunctional digital monitor
- 12 levels of hydraulic resistance
- Textured handlebar
- Pivoting pedals
- Dimensions: 54L x 20W x 23H in
- Max user weight: 220lbs
- Monitor tracks calories, distance, and time
If the previous entry was the budget option, this is the extreme space-saving edition. Yes, once displayed it doesn’t look too different from a regular rowing machine but this puppy is actually foldable.
Yes, you read that right. Set it up, get your workout in, then fold it up and put it back in your closet. If that sounds like a good setup for you, then MaxKare is where it’s at.
This unit is a bit pricier than our previous cardio machine, but in exchange for the extra moolah, you get a 16 level magnetic resistance system, which is dead quiet since no parts are rubbing up against each other. That’s not all though, somehow this machine is usable by people up to 6.5 feet tall and of varying weight range, which is a wonder on its own considering this is scha compact exercise equipment.
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- Multi-functional monitor
- Usable by people up to 6 foot tall
- Dimensions: : 44.49 x 25.59 x 8.27 inches
- Max user weight: 243 pounds
- Max user height: 6’5
- Steel slide rail
- Includes transport wheels.
This rower is for those that are looking for a bit more tech in their rowing machines. The stamina 1130 comes with a backlit multi-function monitor that tracks total strokes, strokes per minute, workout time, distance, calories burned, and scans.
Believe it or not, that’s not even all the tech the 1130 has to offer. It also comes with a chest strap that will monitor your heart rate to keep tab of your cardiovascular health, as well as getting a better calorie estimate while you use it.
Don’t worry though, you’re still getting 16 levels of resistance and an upgraded seat for extra comfort. After all, what good is a rower that’s too uncomfortable to sit in?
Side note** This isn’t the only rower from this brand. If this Stamina rower sounds awesome to you, then you’ll definitely love the Stamina Avari programmable rower too.
We found the Avari to be the better alternative to this one thanks to its programmable function and a whole lot of other cool features as well. Check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
Now, back to the Stamina magnetic rowing machine 1130.
- Multi-function backlit monitor
- Included heart rate chest strap
- Upgraded seat cushion
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- Quiet when used
- Pivoting footplates for a wider range of motion
- Dimensions: 60" x 22" x 27"
- Product Weight: 41 pounds
- Color: Black, Silver
- Includes phone/Water Bottle Holder
Best Compact Treadmills That Save Space
Alright, if you wanted a compact rower for your gym, you’ve got it. Now, it’s time to move on to treadmills, as before, I tried putting together a list with a really cheap one, one that saves a TON of space, and one that’s a bit more premium.
I used to think treadmills were a bit of a waste in a home gym set up, after all, you can always run around your neighborhood, right?
While not technically wrong, after setting up a home gym in my backyard and getting my own treadmill, I’ve come to appreciate just how useful they can be. Especially for longer cardio sessions where you can watch a show or movie while you run, more so if you run for long on a treadmill.
NordicTrack T Series Treadmill - Amazing Features
If you’re into treadmills, then you’ve probably heard of NordicTrack before. They’re one of the best brands in the industry, with a legacy of top-notch products and the T series treadmills are no different.
As you might have caught on from the name, the T series isn’t just one treadmill but a whole series of them with slightly different features, but all based around the same frame. That means that all of them will have the same footprint, which is quite small and compact, and foldable – features that make it one of Nordictrack’s best space saver treadmill models. If you are looking for a compact treadmill, this is it.
As a baseline, we’ll take a look at their T- 6.5S Treadmill. It’s not the cheapest in the series, nor the most expensive, so it should give you an idea of what to expect.
In this case, besides other smart accessories, you get a 5’’ backlit display that will allow you to set up several different workouts as well as see the data on your current run.
Calories burned, heart rate, distance, and more, and thanks to the included heart rate strap, you won’t even have to use the handles for it.
And trust me, you are gonna need to know your heart rate since this treadmill comes with an incline functionality that ramps up the rate at which you will be burning calories, as well as taxing your leg muscles. Besides, every time I used incline on a treadmill my heart started racing.
That’s not all though, you won’t miss out on your apps and shows, since there is a smartly placed tablet holder and your device can be plugged into the integrated speakers so that you can hear whatever it is you’re watching.
Finally, they also have their FlexSelect cushioning which allows you to turn shock dampeners on and off with the flick of a switch in order to protect your joints or simulate a real road conditions on your workout machine.
- 5 inch backlit display
- Tablet holder for media
- Compatible with Zwift App
- FlexSelect variable cushioning
- 2.6 CPH Motor
- 10 MPH Top speed
- 0-10% Incline Control
- EKG Grip Pulse w/ iFit Tracking Capabilities
- 300 Lb. User Capacity
- Dimensions 73.5” L X 36” W X 54” H
Sunny Health & Fitness ASUNA Premium Slim Folding Treadmill
The ASUNA Premium Folding Treadmill is the first of two instances you’ll see of Sunny & Health treadmills. It’s their premium option, which is comparable to the Nordictrack but it really takes up no space at all. It folds completely flat on itself, so you can store it wherever, even under a couch.
For those of you who have virtually no space or you only have a compact storage space but still want to stick to a fitness routine, this might just be the best compact exercise equipment for you.
Of course, since it’s a premium device, it comes with pretty good features too, the one I like the most is the speakers. When you’re working out for a while, using speakers rather than headphones is way more comfortable.
- Folds completely flat
- Comes with a display that tracks time, speed, and calories
- Comes with an integrated pedometer
- 2.5 HP motor
- Has transportation wheels
- Speed Range: 0.6 - 8.0 MPH
- Max User Weight: 220 pounds
- Running Surface: 49 L x 17.75W in
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M - Cheapest Option
The T1407M is our budget option for treadmills. The one caveat for this workout machine is that it’s a walking treadmill. That means it’s not powered by an engine, you have to power it yourself – by running.
It may seem dumb, but it makes the exercise a whole lot harder, which is actually ideal for those running to gain weight by burning off fat tissue and stacking up on muscles. It's also the go-to machine if you really want to work your leg muscles and the lower body a little more than you would with a powered treadmill.
It may seem worse, but in the long run, a harder exercise will show better results not only by burning calories more intensly, but also by increasing muscle mass on the specific muscle groups that you target.
A common problem with treadmills is that people don’t push forward on the tread as they would on the ground. They just jump up and let the tread move under them which is counterproductive because it doesn’t tax their body enough to have the desired effect of having this exercise increase their metabolism, and in the long run, this means burning fewer calories.
There are other exercise equipment that would fit the “space saver” term. These include, stationary bikes and ellipticals, in which case you can drill down on such models as foldable exercise bikes with a backrest, or small elliptical models like the stamina InMotion elliptical and the likes. Even Pilates chairs can be considered compact exercise equipment too.
Any Other Space Saving Workout Options?
The cool thing about the machines we've listed above is that they are among the best compact exercise equipment for small spaces, which fits more home gym owners with limited floor space. They also feature the right tech to allow you set up personalized training, attend fitness classes in the comfort of your home, and just enjoy fun at home workouts.
However, these machines are mostly only good for cardio workouts. Be it a compact exercise bike like the stationary bike, a compact elliptical, a treadmill or rowing machine, they are basically .
If you are in for strength training, and more so aiming to get in a full body workout, you will need to throw in a few other exercise equipment as well. Luckily, finding fitness equipment that doesn't take much space isn't as complicated as it might seem.
Compact exercise equipment & Free weights
Free weights are great for targeting more muscle groups and really giving you an overall total body workout. But some like barbells and squat racks will need slightly more space, and thus are better suited for commercial gyms or folks with more floor space.
Not to worry, you should be just as fine with smaller weights like adjustable dumbbells or even traditional dumbbells. They are not space saving machines per se, but if you want to do complex exercises or step into the weight lifting space, these will get you on your way.
And yes, besides being some of the best exercise equipment for small spaces, they also help hit more muscle groups. And when it comes to building muscle mass, these little boys never disappoint.
Portable home gym equipment
Another great option here is a portable gym equipment. They are not only among the best exercise equipment for small spaces, they also offer a wide variety of workouts that hit both the upper and lower body. And the best part is, you can cheap out on some of the best portable home gym deals out there, as long as you do enough research to find the best bang for buck option.
Some of these gyms feature resistance bands, which also offer great cardio workout if used right. This particular one stands out in that you can not only lose weight using resistance bands, they're also perfect if you have virtually no space at all.
Besides, you can pull off different workouts with bands, and some packages like the booty belt workout come with multiple resistance bands of varying difficulty so you can pick the stiffer ones as you outgrow the easier ones.
Make the most of your own weight
You read that right! You can just as well decide to stick to some essential body weight exercise if you are seriously tight on space. And while it might not seem like much, you can actually achieve significant milestones with nothing more than body workout.
For this you might need a few equipment, like say a pull up bar pr a door anchor that you can easily install above your door frame. These will come in super handy for such body weight workouts like chin ups and pull ups, which are actually great for targetting virtually any major muscle group in your upper body.
Here's yet another cool thing, these gizmos are dirt cheap, even some of the best pull up bar and door anchor options on the market cost a mere fraction of most home gym equipment.
If your target is to hit both upper and lower body muscles, then you can get some yoga mats. With these you can do the planche lean, sit ups, crunches, planks and push ups, as well as a few other essential core exercises.
Another perk is...you can pull off your body workout just about anywhere, even right beside your office chair if you have enough space around. And as far as storage space goes, you can just roll your mat right up and throw it in the closet.
The Takeaway - Get the Best Workout Equipment for Your Needs
There's no denying that having a compact elliptical, a stationary bike, a rower, a treadmill or any similar space saving exercise equipment is priceless if you have enough space for a cardio machine.
However, if any of these doesn't match your fitness goals, or budget, you can either add strength training equipment to the mix. Such space saving exercise equipment like some budget adjustable dumbbells definitely fit the bill here.
For those of you who just don't have the floor space for such strength training fitness equipment and/or the larger cardio machines, body workout equipment like resistance bands, a pull up bar or a portable gym should suffice. These easy storage options will give you a total body workout without necessarily requiring any significant storage space at all.
My advice is, if you have enough floor space in your home gym for a cardio machine, and some room to spare, then consider getting both a compact workout machine and one or several of these other space saving exercise equipment.
That way, you can reap all the benefits of a cardio workout, strength training and overall full body workout to tone and grow different muscle groups without ever having to leave your apartment or home gym.
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