All-in-one home gyms are great for a full-body workout. These machines allow you to perform a wide variety of exercises on a single piece of fitness equipment.
There are a lot of different models on the market. So choosing one might be a bit confusing. If you need help to find the best all-in-one workout machine for your needs, then I suggest you read this article. So let’s take a look!
Quick overview of our top picks:
- Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM2500S
- Weider Ultimate Body Works
- Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System
- Total Gym XLS
- Bowflex PR1000
How to find The home gym for your needs
There are two main types of all-in-one fitness machines, I like to call them; ‘weight based’ and ‘resistance-based’ machines.
A weight-based machine uses weight stacks to add extra resistance to your workout, while resistance-based machines use bands/rods or your body weight to create resistance. Sometimes the resistance based machines use a combination of bands and your body weight to create resistance.
Which type suits your needs mainly depends on your overall fitness goal. To decide which home gym suits your needs it’s important to ask yourself the question; ‘What is my main fitness goal?’.
Getting in shape
In general, we can usually divide people who are looking for a home gym into two groups. The first group are those whose primary goal is to get in shape. They want to use their home gym to tone their muscles and get rid of body fat, which is a great goal!
If your main goal is to burn body fat, you could go for resistance based home gym or a weight-based home gym. In the end, you’ll burn calories on both machines. So you can achieve your goal on both types of machines.
If your main goal is to gain a lot of muscles, then you probably want to go for a weight-based machine. Because these machines usually allow you to train with a higher amount of resistance. You’ll usually need the relatively high amount of resistance to build muscle, especially if you’re already an experienced user.
What to look for in a home-gym?
After you’ve decided if you need a weight- or resistance based machine, it's time to compare the different features. Below you’ll find the most important things you may want to look for.
The functionality of the machine is one of the most important factors. If you mainly want to train your lower body, then you don’t want a machine that’s geared towards training your upper body. Luckily most machines allow you to train your upper- and lower body. However, some tend to mainly focus on upper-body workouts.
Additionally, you could look at the number of exercises. The number of exercises usually varies between 20 and 100. I recommend choosing a model with at least 30 exercises. This way you’ll have enough options to change your workout routine.
Furthermore, you might want to think about the amount of weight you need to lift to see results (now and in the future). Some weight-based machines have one weight stack which you can’t upgrade. That's certainly not ideal if you plan to gain a lot of strength, as you might ‘outgrow’ the machine.
First of all, it’s essential to check if the weights are included or not. This is especially important if you want to buy a weight-based machine because sometimes weight-based machines come without weights.
If you’re a beginner, then you may want to choose a model with an included workout guide. Some machines don’t come with a workout guide, which might make it difficult to figure out how to perform the exercises.
Manufacturers might also include a poster, a DVD or even a full workout/meal guide. A good guide gives you an overview of which exercises target which muscles. It also contains step-by-step instructions on how to perform the exercises.
A workout DVD and nutrition plan might be helpful if you need more guidance on your fitness journey. A DVD motivates you during your training session and might be useful if you’re a complete beginner, while a nutrition plan can help you to take your fitness to the next level.
What are the benefits of an all-in one home gym?
There are several reasons why you may want to go for a home-gym instead of another type of fitness equipment. In my opinion, the main reasons could be;
- The variety of workouts
Usually, home-gyms offer a variety of workouts. Some of these machines offer over 80 different strength exercises. All-in-one machines tend to provide a lot of variety compared to other types of home fitness equipment. This is helpful for people who want to gain muscle and lose weight, as you can target different muscle groups.
- For every fitness level
Another benefit of a home-gym is the fact that it can be used by beginners as well as experienced users. Beginners will usually start with a lot less resistance as opposed to experienced users. But, most machines challenge both beginners and more experienced users.
The home-gym itself might be relatively big compared to other types of equipment. However, if you take into account that a home-gym offer a variety of exercises, it could save space because you don’t have to buy all of the stand-alone equipment to do the exercises. So it could be a space-saver.
Please always make sure you check the dimensions of the room before you buy one!
All-in-one workout machine reviews (Our choices)
The Body-Solid StrengthTech is a weight-based machine. It has a total weight stack of 210 pounds, and each plate weighs 10 pounds. So the amount of resistance can be challenging for beginners as well as more experienced users.
Furthermore, the EXM2500S is a sturdy model. The frame is made of heavy-duty steel. It also has steel 'aircraft cables' with a nylon sheath which don’t require a lot of maintenance and improve durability. Additionally, the nylon pulleys are reinforced with fiberglass which makes them extra strong.
The dimensions of the StrengthTech are; 51” width, 83” length and 83” height. These are rather ‘normal’ dimensions for a weight-based machine. However, keep in mind that these are the dimensions without the leg press. So you might want to keep a bit of extra room to perform those leg curls.
- It uses the more ‘traditional’ weight stacks for resistance.
- Different work out stations which provide a variety of exercises.
- The EXM2500S consists of relatively high-quality materials.
- Not a lot of options to train your lower body.
- The manufacturer doesn’t provide an option to (really) upgrade the weight stack.
- The assembly might be a bit difficult because, relatively seen, the machine has a lot of different components.
The Weider Ultimate Body Works is a resistance-based workout machine. The resistance bands provide a maximum resistance of 50-pounds. Depending on the exercise, you can also perform the exercise with the resistance from your body weight.
Additionally, you can use the bands to increase or decrease the resistance or adjust the incline of the bench.
The resistance is heavy enough for beginners to intermediate users but might not be heavy enough for more experienced users or individuals who want to build large muscles.
Furthermore, the Ultimate Body Works supports a variety of different exercises. The pulley & cable system increases the flexibility of the machine, which is one of the reasons this machine supports over 50 different exercises. You can use it to train your; legs, core, shoulders, arms and back.
- The machine can be folded for storage.
- The Ultimate Body Works supports more than 50 different exercises, which you can use to train your lower- and upper-body.
- It includes an exercise chart with instructions. The chart is particularly useful for beginners who want to learn new exercises.
- The standard 90 days warranty on parts & labor might be a bit short.
- It is less suited for more experienced users.
The weight-based Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System is a serious all-in-one workout solution. It is a combination of a; smith machine, free-weight rack and a pulley system routed by cables. The machine supports more than 100 exercises. So it will probably keep you busy for a while.
As you may expect, the machine itself is stable. You obviously don't want any shakiness from the machine during your workout.
The construction is made from heavy duty tubular steel. Furthermore, it has; adjustable commercial grade pop pins, a relatively strong frame design and high-weight capacity aircraft-like cables.
The combination of exercises, stability, and durability, make this machine especially suited for people who take their fitness seriously.
- The Elite Smith System offers a wide variety of exercises which are suited for experienced users.
- You can use your weight plates. So you aren’t restricted to the plates of the machine.
- The ‘off the floor’ design provides a solid base.
- Please note, you’ll need to buy your weight plates. These aren’t included.
- Might be difficult for some people to assemble. It consists of many parts.
The Total Gym XLS works with your body weight in combination with cables to create resistance. The XLS and the “Weider Ultimate Body Works” are comparable machines. They have a similar design and offer similar types of exercises.
One of the things that sets the XLS apart is the fact that it comes fully assembled. This is good news for people with ‘two left hands,’ as there’s no assembly required. So after unboxing and placing your machine, you can start your workout right away.
Furthermore, it includes five workout DVD’s, an exercise chart with 35 exercises and a nutritional program/meal plan from Dan Isaacson who is a professional personal trainer. These extra’s are especially useful for beginners and people who struggle with motivation.
Lastly, you might want to know that Total Gym offers a lifetime warranty on the frame of the XLS and a six month warranty period on all parts.
- No assembly required, it arrives fully-assembled.
- It folds for easier storage. The folded dimensions are; 19” width, 51” length and 9” height.
- The XLS offers over 80 exercises which you can use to train different muscle groups.
- If you are a relatively small person, it might be difficult to perform some of the exercises.
The PR1000 from Bowflex is, as I call it a resistance-based machine. The power rods provide a maximum resistance of 210 pounds, which is more than enough resistance for beginners as well as more experienced users.
One of the things that sets the PR1000 apart is the fact that it has a foldable rowing rail which you can use for rowing. So the PR1000 offers a combination of strength and cardio training.
The PR1000 comes with a one year warranty on parts, five-year warranty on the power rods and a 60-day warranty on parts, which seems reasonable compared to similar machines.
- It has over 30 exercises which allow you to train every muscle group. You can use the PR1000 to target your; arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest and abs.
- Good machine for a beginner to get in shape.
- Bowflex home gym models, in general, provide a good workout experience.
- The rowing rail can be used for cardio training.
- The 210 pounds of resistance can’t be upgraded.
- The machine is less suited for serious users.
- The assembly might be a bit difficult because it’s a machine with a lot of different parts.
You might want to know which of the above machines is the best choice. That’s a tough question to answer because every user is different. Beginners will need a different machine as opposed to experienced lifters. It also depends on your personal preferences.
If I were a beginner, then I would choose the Bowflex PR1000. In my opinion, it has all of the exercises a beginner might want.
If I had to choose an all-in-one workout machine for a more experienced user, then I would pick the Marcy Diamond Elite Smith System. It’s a higher-end machine with a lot of different exercises. Plus, the machine gives you the freedom to choose your weight plates. That’s why I would go for the Diamond Elite Smith System.