Best Home Exercise Equipment for Weight Loss Reviewed
Losing weight is hard! Whether you have a few pounds that you need to shave off around your midsection or a more ambitious goal, you need tools to help you get there. Since there is no magical pill to take to give you the body you have always wanted, you need to earn it!
Home exercise equipment for weight loss has to follow one simple rule: it needs to get your heart pumping. Pounds start to slowly melt away when your heart rate lives in that hot spot of 55-80 percent of your max rate. Treadmills, rowing machines, ellipticals, bikes, and HIIT trainers are all perfect companions to help shed those pounds.
In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite machines that will actually get your excited to lace up those sneakers and work up an amazing fat-burning sweat!
- NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
- Bowflex Max Trainer Series
- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
- ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
- Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
- Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle
- StairMaster SM5 StepMill
- Weslo Stepfit Climber
- Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
- Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
FlexSelect shock absorption
Best Home Exercise Equipment for Wegiht Loss
1. NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
FlexSelect shock absorption
You can’t really go wrong with the humble treadmill. Whether you want to use it to make sure that you hit your daily steps for the day, or you want to train for a marathon, this design from NordicTrack is the Cadillac of all treadmills. It has a sturdy frame that helps absorb impact like you are running on soft earth, and a ton of helpful features to keep things exciting.Read more
The most impressive feature of this treadmill is the wide belt with shock absorbers to help absorb the impact of your stride. The FlexSelect deck helps cushion your steps which means that this design takes it easy on your knees, hips, and lower back.
The detailed dashboard offered advanced features similar to the expensive commercial models at your local gym. It is Bluetooth compatible, so users can connect their smartphones to track progress on your favorite health app. You also have the ability to adjust your speed (up to an impressive 10 miles an hour) and incline with a touch of a button on the dashboard.
The SmartResponse motor adjusts to your gait as well as weight to keep the speed even and consistent as you train. If you want to shed pounds the old-fashioned way by getting your steps in or going for a run, the NordicTrack T Series Treadmills is one of the best treadmills out there on the market!
2. Bowflex Max Trainer Series
Kind on joints
Heart rate monitor
Want to shed pounds but don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to working out? This full-body workout machine from Bowflex is designed to really shed pounds and elevate your heart rate without a long and drawn out routine. Not only does this device get you sweating within minutes, but it also provides a low impact workout to protect your joints.Read more
The style of this machine lives somewhere between a stair climber and an elliptical. The moving pedals limit the impact on your joints which limits the time sidelined because your lower back is upset. The range of motion provided helps not only elevate your heart rate, but it also helps to build muscles in your legs, glutes, and upper body as well.
The dashboard of this design looks like the cockpit of a rocketship! It has a detailed LCD screen that shows you calories burned, time traveled, speed, and distance as well. The stationary handlebars below the dashboard have medal plates that allow you to check in on your heart rate as well.
If you are in the market for something that is a little more compact than a treadmill and is designed to burn the ultimate amount of calories in a short time, this is a great option. It is important to note, however, that this unit is incredibly expensive. However, if weight loss is the ultimate goal, this is one of your best options to sculpt your perfect beach body.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
Squeaks over time
It’s hard to believe that you can shed many calories with a machine where you are sitting down, but you would be very wrong! An effective rowing machine not only helps you elevate your heart rate, but it also provides a full-body workout that lights up all the muscles in your body like a Christmas tree! What we loved about this design from Sunny Health & Fitness is that it is super comfortable, easy to use, and effective!Read more
Instead of using a bulky flywheel powered by air or water, this option uses a compact magnetic flywheel to create resistance on the line. This magnetic flywheel is also much lighter than other models, weighing in at just 11 pounds. It offers a smooth ride without the annoying squeaks, and the resistance levels are taut throughout the entirety of your movement.
What users love most about this design is that it is foldable! If you need to clear up some space in your home gym, this unit can be placed on its side and the seat folds into the wheel for compact storage. It boasts a comfortable seat that contours to your body and handles that are coated in foam for a non-slip finish.
If you don’t have a lot of room in your home gym for bulky fitness machines, this design from Sunny Health & Fitness is one of your best options. It is made from quality materials that hold up well over time, and magnetic resistance helps elevate your heart rate and build muscle at the same time.
4. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
Heart rate monitor
24 resistance levels
Difficult to assemble
HIIT training is one of the best ways to shed pounds in a short amount of time. This design from Proform provides users with a machine that helps elevate your heart rate and build muscle in workouts that are just 10 minutes long! If you are in the market for a great HIIT trainer, this design from Proform comes in at a much more affordable price point when compared to other similar designs.Read more
Users love that the pedal on this design is super comfortable and cradle your feet to prevent slipping. They have deep rubber grooves that connect with the soles of your sneakers to keep your feet securely in place as you crank up the intensity. The curved handlebars also allow users to change up their grip for whatever feels most comfortable.
The dashboard of this option looks like something right out of a commercial gym (without the commercial price tag). The backlit LCD screen details time in use, your resistance level, calories burned, and distance traveled. The metal plates on the stationary handlebars also read your heart rate and display it on the central screen as well.
If you are in the market for a great HIIT trainer but don’t have the cash to spend on some of the higher-end models, this design from Proform is a great choice. It provides users with all of the beneficial bells and whistles without draining your bank account too much.
5. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
Backlit LCD display
Elliptical machines are a great choice of burning calories because the movement of the pedals helps to reduce the strain in your joints when compared to treadmills. What we liked most about this model from Schwinn is that it is made from quality materials that allow you to go for longer distances without feeling strained, and it is slightly more compact than other models out there on the market.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed is found in the detailed backlit LCD monitor. This screen looks like something right out of a commercial gym without the commercial price tag. The screen details the resistance on the flywheel, calories burned, heart rate, and distance traveled. It is also Bluetooth compatible so you can connect it to your favorite health app to track your progress.
We also appreciate the construction of the pedals as well as the handlebars. The pedals offer a deep lip at the front that cradles your feet and prevents them from slipping off of the front as you start to pick up the pace. The handlebars move with your body to help build muscles in your hands and are coated with a layer of foam for a comfortable grip.
Ellipticals are a great alternative to treadmills because it offers the same movement without the impact with the ground. What we loved most about this design from Schwinn is that it provides users with a stable ride and tons of innovative features to keep your workouts fresh and new.
6. Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle
Seamless resistance transitions
No LCD screen
Looking to recreate your spin class from home? What we loved most about this upright exercise bike from Marcy is that it has all of the components of your spin class ride without the heavy price tag! It boasts a heavy-duty flywheel that provides excellent stability to really dig into those uphill climbs!Read more
What really stands out most is the exposed 40-pound steel flywheel. It provides users with a smooth and stable ride. This means you can turn up the intensity without the entire unit shaking around as you pick up the pace. This design stores rotational energy to provide seamless resistance transitions like the bikes at your local spin class.
Users also really love the super padded seat that keeps your rear comfortable on those downhill cooldowns and warmups. It also boasts well-placed handlebars to keep your upper body engaged to burn the maximum amount of calories in a single ride.
If you are in the market for something that is built tough without the painful price tag, this is a great place to start. It is important to note, however, this design does not have a central dashboard for progress updates like some of the other options out there on the market.
7. StairMaster SM5 StepMill
Backlit LCD screen
Great glute workout
If you are looking for something that is a little different from all of the standard bikes and treadmills, climbing stairs is a fun alternative! What we liked most about the StairMaster SM5 is that it really helps burn calories while also sculpting that butt to rock those retired jeans in the back of your closet!Read more
Sometimes the most beneficial workouts are the most effective. This device uses a set of stairs that run on a belt much like a treadmill. This design boasts a long pair of handlebars that run along the side of the unit to ensure that you never lose your footing. Plus, the stairs are deep enough to provide a natural range of motion as you start to climb.
What we loved most about this design is the detailed backlit dashboard. At a glance, users can monitor time traveled, floors climbed, and calories burned while in use. It also comes with pre-programmed workouts to keep things interesting and exciting as you start to master the art of climbing stairs.
If you are in the market for something that really helps build muscles in your lower body with a slightly different motion than treadmills or bikes, this is a great option. When compared to other options, nothing builds muscles in your legs and glutes quite like this machine.
8. Weslo Stepfit Climber
Easy to use
High progress screen
Weslo is a brand you may have never heard before, but they are a great choice for those that want quality gear without a price tag that invokes pain. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to this humble climber. We love that it has a small footprint, but offers a maximum impact on burning calories and toning.Read more
What we loved most about this design is that it is super easy to use. Climb aboard, and create the motion like you are climbing up a rock wall. If you want to adjust the resistance on the pedals, simply turn the dials at the side of the pedals to make things a little bit more challenging.
This device also has a small LCD screen that requires 2 AA batteries to operate. The screen details how far you have climbed, time in use, and calories burned. It is important to note that some users felt that the placement of the screen was a little too high to read easily at a glance. However, the numbers are large enough that most climbers didn’t have much of a problem.
If you are in the market for something that has a super small footprint to host in your living room, this is a great option. It is made from quality materials that hold up well over time, and it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
9. Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
Difficult to assemble
What we loved about this design from Nautilus is that it is packed with features to help you get the most out of your workouts. It is composed of quality materials that hold up well to years of continued use and has various programs to help keep things new and challenging as you build endurance.Read more
This humble machine is packed with all of the features you’d find at a commercial-grade machine at the gym. The dashboard boasts Bluetooth connectivity with speakers so you can play your favorite music or podcasts right through the speakers of the machine. It also has a built-in fan to keep you cool, and preset programs that keep things interesting.
It has wide and long pedals with deep lips to ensure that your feet don’t slip off the edge. By utilizing large pedals, most users can mirror their natural gait as they ride this machine. It also has a pair of handlebars coated in comfortable foam for a surefire grip that also wicks away sweat.
If you are in the market for a serious piece of equipment designed to shed pounds, this is a really great option. Ellipticals are designed to give users all of the benefits of running or walking without the painful impact that can anger weak joints and tendons. This design may take up a lot of room in your home gym, but we feel that it is well worth it.
10. Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
Abbreviated progress screen
If space and price are two of your biggest obstacles when shopping for gear, this walking treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness is a great option. It doesn’t require any power source (for the exception of your legs!) and it has a super small footprint that is perfect for even the smallest of spaces. Plus, it even folds compact for quick and easy storage!Read more
This design boasts a belt that is cocked at an angle so that it feels like you are always walking up a slight hill. Due to the fact that this unit does not have a motor, the belt is powered when you start walking in it. If you want the belt to move faster, you simply need to pick up the pace!
We loved the simplicity of this design. Calories die when you get up off of the sofa and move your body! This design helps users reach their daily step goals, but it also helps engage those larger muscle groups such as your glutes and hamstrings. It might be simple, but it is incredibly effective.
When you are finished with your workout, folding this device is super simple. Plus, it only weighs just over 45 pounds, so moving it into storage or into another room is super easy. If you are in the market for something small and simple that won’t break the bank, this design is a great choice!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
If a piece of gear is too complicated to use, it may turn into a very expensive coat rack!
When you are working to lose weight, you spend a lot of your day tracking calories and weighing the food that you eat. The last thing you want to deal with is workout gear that is difficult to use!
That’s why we made sure that the styles that we selected for our list were not only easy to use but easy to put together as well. It’s incredibly important that these devices are put together in the right way right out of the box. If something isn’t put on the right way, you risk damaging your device beyond repair.
If you aren’t a very handy person, there is hope! Many brands provide users with in-home installation at an additional cost. It may sting a little to pay more to have your device assembled by a professional, but it sure beats the cost of having your machine repaired because it wasn’t put together right.
Once it’s assembled, we also wanted to ensure that it was easy to use. For most powered machines, a quick start button is key. On the dashboard of all of the devices we selected, we made sure that each option was equipped with a bright green quick-start button that turns the device on so you can use it immediately.
Pre-programmed workouts are nice and are an option once you become familiar with the device. A quick-start button means you can jump on your machine without the need to sit down and thoroughly read the giant instruction booklet before you get moving.
One of the most important features of these devices is whether or not it actually helps you shed pounds.
Building muscles is a beneficial feature, but fat reduction happens when your heart rate is elevated to that sweet spot that sheds pounds. We wanted to get into a few of the key features we considered when selecting products to help shed those unwanted pounds.
It was important to select devices that engage your entire body, not just targeted muscle groups. If you hate the extra weight around through thighs, targeted thigh workouts just aren’t effective. There is no machine on planet earth designed to slim down certain areas of your body.
To elevate your heart rate, you need to engage all of the muscles in your body. Machines such as ellipticals, treadmills, vertical climbers, HIIT trainers, and rowing machines do exactly that. These devices not only engage the muscles in our legs, but they work your arms and back muscles as well.
If you want to trim your belly fat, only doing sit-ups just won’t cut it. Fat loss happens when your heart rate gets pumping and all of your muscles are engaged.
To be effective, these machines need to also be engaging as well. If you aren’t interested in climbing aboard, you are more inclined to continue your couch potato lifestyle. That’s why we wanted to make sure that we selected products that stepped outside of the box to make things fun.
Rowing machines are often overlooked when it comes to shedding fat, but they are actually really fun! These machines have a bit of a learning curve because the motion may seem a little foreign for those that are longtime treadmill users.
While it may not seem like you get the same cardio workout, these machines actually work more muscles than standard cardio gear! The pulling motion on the line activates muscles in your back and arms as well, which is something that a treadmill cannot do!
Not all home gyms have the same amount of available floor space.
Whether you have a very small area or your entire garage is packed to the brim with machines and weight lifting gear, we wanted to select designs that would fit even in the smallest of spaces.
There were a few things that we took into consideration before selecting a product that was small and compact. For many devices, the maximum weight capacity starts to suffer when the unit is small or more compact. Before we selected a smaller design, we made sure to check that the maximum weight capacity was still reasonable.
Sometimes when selecting a smaller unit, it also means that it isn’t as durable as some of the full-size designs. Before we selected a smaller option, we made sure to comb through hundreds of user reviews to ensure each product selected was something that would last you for years of continued use.
Foldability is a great feature to consider if you are working with limited space. Rowing machines, for instance, take up a lot of floor space. To make room for more gear, we selected designs that could fold in half to be easily tucked up on a wall like a hideaway bed.
There is one style of machine that is small and compact and is a great option for small spaces. The vertical climber offers a super small footprint because users climb in an upright position. Before you take the plunge and select a vertical climber, make sure that your ceiling is high enough!
If you have your gym set up in the garage, height will not be much of a problem. However, if you have your gym in the basement of your home, be sure to measure the height of your ceiling to ensure that you have enough room to use this device.
Connecting to your device means that you can track your progress on your phone.
We have stated it once before but it’s worth repeating: tracking is the key to success. When you push past your personal goals, it can really motivate you to keep pushing and keep shedding pounds.
We wanted to select machines that are able to connect to your phone or your fitness devices (such as a FitBit) to help track your progress. Many of the devices out there on the market offer Bluetooth connectivity to free yourself of wires.
Some of the higher-end brands, such as NordicTrack, offer subscription apps such as iFit. What we love most about the iFit app is that it puts you in contact with personal trainers that design workout programs for your specific machine to help you reach your goals.
Working out alone from home can be tough. At the gym, you are surrounded by peers with similar goals which can really help motivate you. At home, you may only have your cat as emotional and motivational support. By connecting your phone to your device, it’s like you have all of the support of a gym right at your fingertips.
Special features built into each device are there to make your life just a little bit easier.
While some features may make your life easier, others make it a bit harder - but in a good way! We wanted to select products that were sure to give you help when you need it, and the ability to increase the intensity at the press of a button. Below, we wanted to explain some of the features that we felt were the most beneficial for all users.
Heart rate monitor: When the goal is to shed pounds, elevating your heart rate is the quickest way to achieve your weight loss goals. That’s why it is important to always keep tabs on how hard your heart is pumping.
We wanted to ensure that we selected machines that came with a heart rate monitor device. Typically, monitors are metal plates on the stationary handlebars on your device and display your heart rate in real-time on the central display screen.
Speed/incline adjustment: Walking or running on a flat surface day after day triggers the exact same muscle groups in the exact same way. After a while, it just won't feel as engaging as when you first started. That’s why we wanted to select devices that allowed users not only to change up the speed but also the incline.
When you change the incline, you suddenly trigger different muscle groups than when you run or walk on a flat surface. By adjusting the device to a slight incline, you will activate large muscle groups such as your glutes and hamstrings.
Bluetooth capability: We are all very glued to our phones, and it is because all of our important information lives there! We were drawn to devices that enabled Bluetooth connectivity so that you can hook up your smart device right to your exercise machine.
Pairing your device with an app such as iFit allows you to track calories burned, distance traveled, and time spent workout out all from your phone. Plus, it also provides you with special workouts to help keep you motivated.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Weight loss happens 80 percent in the kitchen, and 20 percent in the gym. Even though your clocked 60 minutes on the bike in the morning doesn’t mean you are free to eat donuts for every meal. If you don’t want to curb your diet, you will need to run at least 10 miles per day to shed 1 pound per week! For optimal results, keep your calories low, fruit and veggies high, and stay active.
We know that all you want to do after a 30-minute run is to immediately shut the machine off and lie face-down on the carpet. Don’t do that! After your run, be sure to cool down and slowly lower your heart rate. This can simply be a nice 5-minute walk at a leisurely pace. If you don’t properly cool down, you can’t flush lactic acid and waste from your muscles which means you will be super sore the next day!
When you schedule your workouts, you are more likely to stick to it. Pick a time of day that works best for you. If you are not a morning person, fit in a workout in the evening. We know that mustering up the enthusiasm to work out from home is tough, so pick a time that works best for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Does walking really help burn calories?
Yes! As long as you are moving, you are burning calories. While walking doesn’t burn as many calories as HIIT training or running, it still has it’s benefits. In fact, some dieticians feel that walking is one of the best ways to lose weight because it is low impact and there is less of a risk of becoming sidelined from an injury.
To ensure that you reap the most benefits from your walks, it is important to set personal daily goals. Walking just 30 minutes per day helps keep your heart pumping, which sends much-needed blood to your muscles. For most adults, 10,000 steps per day are about average.
If you are far from 10,000 steps, don’t worry- that’s what goals are for! We suggest setting weekly step goals to hit per week, and then increasing steps each week.
q: What is HIIT training?
HIIT training is a great way to burn a lot of calories in a very short time frame. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Basically, you raise your heart rate really fast (we’re talking in a matter of 30-60 seconds), hold it there for 2-3 minutes, and then slow down the intensity to lower your heart rate.
Most HIIT training workouts burn between 15-22 calories per minute of exercise. To put that into perspective, just 30 minutes of HIIT training can burn up to 660 calories! That means that it will take you 30 minutes of heart-pumping HIIT training to work off 2 jelly donuts.
It is important to note that HIIT training isn’t for everyone. If you are older or recovering from an injury, it is important that you consult with your doctor before engaging in any intense training!
q: What's the best way to track my progress?
The key to any successful exercise and diet endeavor begins and ends with trackable progress. If you feel that you have been doing everything right but don’t see that reward on the scale, you are more likely to give up. That’s why tracking your progress as well as pounds loss is a great way to stay motivated.
We suggest downloading a health app on your phone to track your steps and your activity levels. If you are really serious about tracking progress, a FitBit is another great solution. Wearable fitness trackers not only track how many steps or miles traveled throughout the day but they also intermittently check your heart rate as well.
Checking your heart rate is key for maximin fat burning. The harder that your heart has to pump during exercise, the more calories burned. Your targeted heart rate during exercise should be between 55-80 percent of your max heart rate. Keeping your heart rate in that sweet spot is where you will lose the most weight.
With a fitness tracker equipped to your arm, keeping tabs on your heart rate is a cinch!
q: What are some of the benefits of using an elliptical?
Ellipticals are great because they provide all of the benefits of running on a treadmill without the impact on your joints. The pedals work to mirror the exact same motion made when running, but there is absolutely no impact on the ground.
This motion helps protect your knees, hips, and lower back from strain while you work to elevate that heart rate. For older users, or those recovering from an injury, an elliptical is your best option.
q: Are they easy to assemble?
The answer to this question depends upon how handy you are with a screwdriver and a set of instructions. For most, these products are fairly easy to assemble and may take you between 30-60 minutes to go from box to ready to use.
It’s super important that you assemble your product so that it is stable and won’t fall apart when you use it. If you feel unsure of your handyman abilities, there are other options to ensure that your product is assembled correctly.
Many companies offer expert installation so you can feel confident that your machine was put together the right way. It is important to note that this service comes at an additional cost. However, it is better to spend a little more money to ensure that your product will hold up well over time and won’t fall apart on you!
q: Do I still need to wear shoes?
We know it may be tempting to pop onto a machine wearing your slippers but resist the urge! Even though you are in the comforts of your home, shoes are essential! A good pair of trainers not only protect your feet, but they also offer a good deal of support as well. If you are using a bike, for instance, the last thing you want is for your feet to slip off of the pedal as you start to pick up the speed.
The good news here is that for home use, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a good pair of trainers. For working out at home on a treadmill or a bike, you simply need a pair of shoes that offer support to your arches, and that have a good grip on the base.
If you are running on a treadmill, we suggest trainers that provide a good deal of shock absorption because treadmills have a history of being hard and unforgiving on your feet and joints. We suggest running shoes that have a drop of at least 5 mm or more for ample protection.