Best Small Home Gym Equipment — Shape Best In Fitness Awards 2023

This is the best small fitness equipment experts raved about to take your home gym to the next level.

As amazing as it would be to have an entire wing of your house dedicated to a decked-out home gym, the reality is that most people just don't have that kind of space. But square footage doesn't have to stop you from getting after your fitness goals. For Best Small Home Gym Equipment, experts tested and selected the products that can make a huge difference in your workout routine — without taking up valuable real estate in your home.

Best Adjustable Weights: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

These adjustable dumbbells, which sit nestled in a storage tray in between sets, can easily go from five to 52.5 pounds with the turn of a dial, so you won’t have to store multiple pairs of dumbbells or feel restricted in what exercises you can do with the weights you have available. Plus, with 15 weight options, the dumbbells will save you serious storage space.

Certified fitness trainer testimonial: "The Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells are incredibly user-friendly, allowing you to easily adjust the weight for your workout. I've owned my set for over a decade now, and their functionality and appearance remain as excellent as when they were brand new."- Kira Stokes, CEO of Kira Stokes Fitness, NASM-certified personal trainer, and creator of the KiraStokesFit app.

Best At-Home Glute Trainer: BootySprout

If your fitness goals include growing that peach, you know that the hip thrust is a key movement. The BootySprout lets you perform heavy hip thrusts without actual weight, thanks to its three heavy resistance bands (think: 45 pounds each) and sturdy platform with a cushioned backrest — and in a much smaller space than the hip thrust machine at the gym.

Expert Review: "For my at-home lower body workouts, doing hip thrusts on the edge of my couch just wasn't cutting it anymore. The BootySprout gives me way more resistance than I'd previously been able to get with only dumbbells or mini-bands, and it folds up neatly to store when not in use. Plus, the name is just chef's kiss." — Kristen Geil, NASM-certified personal trainer and Shape senior fitness editor

Best Dumbbell Set: Eleiko Evo Dumbbells

These dumbbells won for best overall set thanks to a simple yet super functional design. The dumbbell heads are multisided, meaning they won't roll away during renegade rows, and they're made of durable polyurethane that holds up to your toughest workouts. The stainless steel handles feature a pattern of crossed lines for easy gripping.

Expert Review: "I'm super picky about my dumbbells, and the Eleiko Evo weights meet my high standards. They stay in place when I set them on the ground, and they're a manageable length for my petite frame (with some dumbbells, I feel like Polly Pocket trying to lift something as long as my torso)." — Geil

Best High-Tech Dumbbells: JaxJox Dumbbell Connect

Not only does this strength system pack eight different sets of weights into two dumbbells, but it also counts your reps, sets, time, average power, weight used, and total volume — and displays these metrics on the accompanying app. Choose to load each dumbbell anywhere from 8 to 50 pounds with a push of a button on the dumbbell stand or via the app, and trust you’ll never lose count of your reps again.

Expert Review: "This product is a great space-saver since everything stays in its sleek holder. They've traveled with me from apartment to apartment (no small feat, TBH, but they're worth it), and I like to use them in combination with my favorite apps." — Marietta Alessi, Shape social media director

Best Kettlebell: Rogue Fitness Kettlebell

Rogue Fitness and kettlebells go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you're looking to get into kettlebells for the first time or want to expand your collection, a bell from the brand is a smart investment. These weights are durable, come in a massive variety of weights (from 9 pounds up to a 203-pound monster bell), and have just the right amount of texture to grip any weight with confidence.

Expert Opinion: "My initiation into kettlebell workouts made me realize the pivotal role the texture and feel of the kettlebell play, apart from maintaining the correct form. The Rogue Fitness Kettlebells boast a textured grip that provides comfort and prevents rough handling, thus safeguarding my hands and forearms, especially when in racked position." — Alyssa Sparacino, an editorial director at Shape and an ACE-certified personal trainer

Best Medicine Ball: Rogue Fitness Medicine Ball

For high-intensity training, Rogue Fitness medicine balls offer the durability and versatility you need. Double-stitched and coated in a protective vinyl shell, they're tough enough for all the wall balls you can manage — and the interior filling keeps its shape over time while still being pliable enough to catch safely.

Expert Review: "I love the Rogue medicine ball. It comes in different weights and it’s easy to grip [thanks to the vinyl coating], and it doesn’t slide out of your hand while using it, even when you're sweaty." Anastasia Pagonis, gold and bronze medaled Paralympic swimmer

Best Multi-Functional Tool: YBell Neo

This four-in-one free weight functions as a dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, and push-up stand, allowing you to tackle any strength workout without giving up valuable storage space. Thanks to the grippy texture, the free weight won't slip out of your hand mid-swing, and its unique shape provides plenty of stability when used during uneven push-ups.

Expert Review: “I love that the YBells have two different handle options to make my workouts more comfortable. The center handles on my 18.5-pound weights are perfect for biceps curls and shoulder presses, and the outer handles work great for deadlifts and kettlebell swings.” — Megan Falk, Shape assistant editor

Best TRX Starter Pack: TRX Pro4 System

This TRX system has it all: a suspension trainer, door anchor, suspension anchor, extension strap, and a mesh bag that stashes all the supplies. It’s perfect for full-body or targeted workouts that challenge your ability to push and pull your own body weight, whether you’re a fitness newbie or a pro. 

Expert Review: “The TRX Suspension Trainer is one of my ‘never leave home without it’ pieces of equipment. I travel with it, I bring it to clients' homes if they don’t have one (but inevitably they end up buying their own), and I use it myself at home almost every day.” — Stokes

Best Small Adaptive Cardio Equipment: Equip Products Adaptive Multi Ropes

Designed for seated athletes, these adaptive ropes swing smoothly no matter how quickly or slowly you’re rotating them, thanks to the patented frictionless swivel attachment system, which gives the user a smooth, hitch-free tempo. The handles also feature an ergonomic design that helps you keep a natural, relaxed grip to prevent forearm fatigue.

Expert Opinion: "The multi-ropes' handles offer a rotation that minimally impacts your wrists. These are my constant travel companions. For economical cardio solutions, they're my top choice." – Jesi Stracham, practiced adaptive fitness trainer, qualified CrossFit coach for adaptations, and developer of the Wheel With Me Fitness app.

Most Versatile Resistance Band Set: Blogilates Loop Bands

Created by Cassey Ho of Blogilates, this set includes four mini loop bands of different resistances, all of which are clearly labeled (e.g. “light,” “crazy”) so you don’t have to remember which color band offers the amount of tension you need for a given move. Add them to your glute bridges, squats, or deadlifts to take your workout up a notch.

Renowned fitness expert, Phyllicia Bonanno, is thoroughly impressed with the versatility and portability of this vibrant pink resistance band set. She praises the range of resistances it offers to cater to various workout intensities. Phyllicia, a seasoned yoga and meditation instructor as well as a Sweat trainer, finds these bands particularly useful when she travels or finds herself in places without gym facilities.

Best Mini Loop Bands That Won't Roll: Buckleband

If you've ever stopped a set of resistance band squats in frustration because your mini loop bands keep rolling up your thighs, Bucklebands are the innovation you need. A seatbelt-like clip keeps the bands in place (and makes them easy to get on and off). Plus, they're made from industrial-strength silicone to prevent snapping.

Expert Review: "Bucklebands are my new fitness obsession. Not only do they during workouts, but the buckle design means you can quickly take bands on and off during fast-paced workouts — without tripping over your own two feet or having to sit on the ground to readjust." — Geil

Best Barbell for Beginners: Bala Beam

This weighted bar, available in 15- and 20-pound options, will give you the feel of training with a barbell without the stress of loading weight plates — or fear of dropping them on your toes, a legit concern of many beginner lifters. To provide optimal comfort during squats and good mornings, the bar is also contoured to match the curve of your neck.

Expert Review: “The Bala Beam is perfect for those that don’t want to have a barbell set in their home, [and] it's functional and super cute. It’s great for [building] strength and endurance in your workout.” — Bonanno

Best Plyobox: Rep Fitness 3-in-1 Soft Plyo Boxes

For box jumps, step-ups, and tricep dips, you'll need the sturdiness of a plyo box — without the hard, potentially bruising edges. The Rep Fitness 3-in1 Soft Plyo Boxes give you the stability to hit box jumps with confidence (read: it won't tip over with your force), but the soft foam outer layer helps absorb your body's impact and prevent scraped knees if you miss a jump.

Expert Review: "As far as plyo boxes go, the Rep Fitness 3-in-1 Soft Plyo Box is the best of both worlds. It has a hard wooden inner core that keeps the box glued to the ground, but a soft foam cover makes the box ideal for delicate shins and knees." Gabrielle Kassel, Shape contributor and CrossFit coach

Best Exercise Sliders: Kira Stokes Stoked Sliders

Whether you’re training on carpet, hardwood, or tile, these sliders, which are designed to glide smoothly on all of these surfaces, are up for the challenge. The mint-green tools have a large foam surface, so your hands won’t ache after tackling a round of sliding push-ups.

Expert Review: “These sliders are great because they can work on just about any surface — Kira has thought about everything. I also love the aesthetic and the motivational sayings [enscribed on the sliders] to keep you going!” — Alessi

Best Weighted Vest: 5.11 Tactical TacTec Plate Carrier

This weighted vest is a favorite among CrossFit athletes, as it's engineered for high performance without packing on unnecessary bulk (you'll need room for the weight plates you load into it). The padded shoulder straps are comfy, yet allow for a full range of motion. Plus, built-in airflow channels prevent irritating rubs while maintaining breathability.

Expert Review: "There’s a reason this is the most popular weighted vest in the world of functional fitness: It’s adjustable, comfortable, and customizable. Velcro waist closures allow you to hug the gear tight to your torso, while padded shoulders keep the vest from chafing your traps while you train. Best of all, the outer sheath is Velcro, which gives you the option of adding unique-to-you patches." — Kassel

Best Wrist/Ankle Weights: Bala Bangles

Bala Bangles come in one- and two-pound weight options and are adjustable for comfortable wrist or ankle wear, thanks to Velcro straps.

Expert Review: “Bala Bangles look cute, which I can’t say for any of the other ankle weights I’ve tried. I’d recommend purchasing a set if you’re into at-home Pilates or barre and want a tool that’ll increase the intensity of your workouts without taking up space in your home.” — Renee Cherry, Shape associate editor

Best Jump Rope: Oak and Reed Metallic Weighted Jump Rope

Thanks to this jump rope’s metallic rose-gold hue, you won’t mind leaving it out on your coffee table. The compact piece of cardio equipment has foam handles that each contain a removable 1/4-pound weight, allowing you to scale up and tone down your workout as you see fit. And unlike your sweat-soaked ponytail, the PVC tubing will surely stay tangle-free as you jump.

Expert Review: “This jump rope always gets packed when I’m traveling. I love how it adds extra resistance from the weighted handles. And, of course, I love how chic it looks in rose gold.” — Bonanno

Best Adjustable Workout Bench: Barwing 10-7-4-3 Adjustable Weight Bench

With 10 backrest position adjustments, seven seat position adjustments, and four leg-hold-bar position adjustments, this adjustable bench can be used for a variety of exercises. Even better: It can be folded up and stored easily when not in use.

Expert review: "Voted 'best' because of its ability to fold up and be packed away. The versatility of this adjustable bench also supports several exercises from a seated incline press to a reverse sit-up." Kayla Jeter, NASM-certified personal trainer and certified functional strength coach

Best Workout Bench with Storage: Technogym Bench

This all-in-one functional training kit gives you everything you need for a solid strength workout: a variety of dumbbells, elastic bands, weighted knuckles, and a training mat — all of which fits within the bench itself to take up minimal space.

Expert Review: "The Technogym bench is an all-in-one functional training at-home strength system that takes up little space. I love the option to use the bench as a piece of equipment itself for a variety of step-ups or when working on my squat form. The design allows for easy storage of the dumbbells and the resistance band inside of the bench keeps everything needed for a good strength session quickly accessible. I love a simple, functional setup!" — Jeter

Best Strength Starter Set: Kira Stokes The Stoked Set

This strength training starter set has the tools you need to begin taking your bodyweight workouts to the next level. The exercise sliders will challenge your stability during lunges and mountain climbers, the mini loop resistance bands will fire up your booty during glute kickbacks or clamshells, and the small exercise ball will up the core challenge during your abs workout.

Expert Review: "Building a home gym can be expensive and daunting. That’s why I love recommending The Stoked Set. It got me through plenty of full-body quarantine burns at home. I’ve had these products for years, and they are all still with me in near-perfect condition. The aesthetic is beautiful, and the quality is fantastic — not to mention the price is such a steal." Alessi

Best Travel Boxing Equipment: FightCamp Trackers

No bag? No problem. These quick wraps (read: you can slip them on and off without manually wrapping fabric around your wrists and fingers) are equipped with trackers that count your punches, speed, and power, so you can easily keep tabs on your workout progress while shadowboxing in your hotel room. When paired with a monthly FightCamp membership, you can also compete against your friends.

Expert Review: “As a boxing aficionado for nine years, I can, without a doubt, say this is my favorite boxing product of all time. FightCamp makes fitness fun by gamifying boxing and shadowboxing. It got me through quarantine at home with incredibly little space. I didn't have a boxing bag then and just shadowboxed on my closet doors and mirror and still was able to have great workouts.” — Alessi

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