Best Portable Home Gym Equipment
Some love going to the gym, and some dread it. For some, the gym atmosphere alone gives them the fuel they need to have a motivating workout. But it's not always possible to make it, especially if you're traveling. Others never miss a workout day but dread the gym environment. We get it---facing off with sweaty crowds and waiting in equipment lines can make working out feel even more like a chore.
Luckily, there's a way to enjoy all the perks (and none of the annoyances) of a gym membership without ever leaving home. Portable options even let you take the gym with you on the road.
For those that like the idea of a portable home gym, the cost and demands on space have always been prohibitive. Thankfully, many innovative, effective, and affordable portable home gym options have emerged in recent years.
When it comes to saving space and saving money, resistance band packages and bodyweight training systems have proven to be the best options. We review the best portable home gym equipment for 2021. owing home gym reviews will help you answer these questions and more.
Table of Contents
What Is a Portable Gym?
Searching for the Best Portable Gym
X3 Bar Elite Portable Home Gym
Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym
Body Boss 2.0 Home Gym
OYO Personal Gym
TRX All-in-One Suspension Training
Innstar Resistance Bands Gym
BodyGym Core System
Fusion Motion Portable Gym
Gymwell Portable Home Gym
Best Portable Home Gym Equipment - Summary
What Is a Portable Gym? #
First, let’s define the term “portable gym”. These compact workout systems can be transported and used practically anywhere. Smart gyms, adjustable dumbbells, and weights don’t qualify. If you have ever tried to lug around a set of weights, you understand.
The portable workout equipment on this list can be stored easily. They can be used at home, in neighborhood parks, and even in an office.
Portable gyms shouldn’t require ample space. If we couldn’t perform each gym’s prescribed workout in a crowded park or cluttered family room, we removed it from contention.
We ruled out any equipment that was heavy, poorly constructed, or ergonomically unsound. Most resistance band packages lack sufficient force and stability; and therefore, we left them off the list.
Searching for the Best Portable Gym #
Before researching and testing equipment, we had to ask ourselves a simple question: What are the requirements for the best portable home gym?
The goal was to find a portable, affordable home gym that could truly replace a gym membership without the need for a dedicated workout space.
The ideal product should offer the following:
We rated each one on its ability to accommodate different uses, styles, and body sizes.
The functionality and price of different brands and models vary dramatically. But with so many options, most people find something that works for them.
When looking for the best home portable gym equipment in 2021, we evaluated components, resistance ranges, price points, safety features, and more.
Luckily, we found some winners, each of which is detailed below.
Best Overall Portable Home Gym - $549 #
1. X3 Bar Elite Portable Home Gym #
The X3 Bar , also called the X3 System, is a home exercise training device and 12-week workout program created by biomedical engineer Dr. John Jaquish. It uses heavy-duty elastic bands and a 21.5-inch long steel bar which allows you to perform various exercises designed to increase muscle mass, strength, and bone density.
While researching bone density for his first invention, OsteoStrong, Dr. Jaquish determined a sevenfold difference between strength in the strong and weak ranges in weightlifting movements. Max lifts are limited by an athlete’s strength in their weakest range.
So what was needed to maximize muscle growth and optimize inefficiencies? A weight that changes as we move, giving us a lighter load in the weak, joint-compromised range and tremendously high force in the strong range.
John set out to invent a fitness system to help people build muscle faster and easier than conventional free weights or resistance bands. The result? X3, a resistance bands home gym with the power to build more muscle than an entire gym.
Why Does the X3 Bar Work so Well? #
The X3 Bar is the most advanced form of variable resistance training available. Traditional weights overload your joints and underload your muscles. As mentioned above, the human body is seven times stronger at full extension in impact-ready positions compared to joint-compromised starting positions. The X3 system provides varied resistance through each movement, freeing you to target more muscle, produce higher growth hormone levels , and trigger greater gains.
With X3, you can:
Reduce risk of injury compared to traditional weights
Lift heavy loads with higher repetitions
Protect both joints and tendons
Reach complete muscle fatigue faster for greater gains
What Comes with the X3 Bar System? #
The Steel Bar
The 21.5-inch steel bar features machined alloy steel. It’s designed to hold over 600 pounds worth of force. Each side of the bar has ball bearings with a hook attached that allows the bar to rotate, so the band’s orientation remains consistent. In addition, the ball bearing feature ensures the bands never get twisted or kinked during a set.
Users note the bar feels like they’re holding a normal barbell, which is a massive improvement over the flimsy plastic bars on the market.
The Resistance Bands
X3 comes with four resistance bands. The heavy-duty resistance bands are designed to provide more resistance than bands you’ve probably seen in the past.
Each resistance band is made specifically for the X3 system and features layered latex for superior strength. The four included resistance bands come in the following resistance ranges:
Super lightweight: 10 – 50+ lbs as a single loop, then doubled over, 100+ lbs
Lightweight: 25 – 80+ lbs as a single loop, then doubled over, 160+ lbs
Middleweight: 50 – 120+ lbs as a single loop, then doubled over, 240+ lbs
Heavyweight: 60 – 150+ lbs as a single loop, then doubled over, 300+ lbs
You can also “double over” a resistance band to double the resistance (the heavyweight band goes up to over 300 lbs).
The X3 Elite resistance band can be purchased separately. It provides 110–300 lb of resistance and up to 600 lb when doubled over.
The quality and resistance level of the bands is one of the biggest factors that set the X3 Bar apart from the competition. Before X3, the heaviest resistant tubes seen on the market provided half this resistance weight at most. These high resistance bands wouldn’t be nearly as effective or safe without a strong olympic style bar or ground plate.
The Ground Plate
One thing everyone hates about resistance band training is having to stand on the bands. They dig into your feet and put an enormous amount of pressure on both bones and tendons. Not to mention, it’s unsafe. The X3 system solves this common problem by providing a stabilizing ground plate.
The high-density polyethylene surface has a notched-out area on the bottom designed to keep the band in place. Using the ground plate makes exercises like biceps curls and shoulder presses a lot safer and more comfortable.
The plate is designed to withstand over 600 lb of force, allowing it to keep up with the heavy-duty resistance bands.
The X3 Home Gym System comes with a 12-week online training program to help you get the most out of every workout.
In the beginning, each week consists of two different workouts, each performed twice per week (one workout on Monday and Thursday, the other on Tuesday and Friday for a total of 4 workouts per week). After completing week 4, users move to a 6-day workout schedule.
Each workout is simple and only consists of four exercises. Users perform just one set per exercise. However, that one set is performed to failure (until you can’t move the bar even an inch).
The online program also includes nutrition tips to help you lose weight and gain muscle. The tips vary from week to week and are designed to be progressive. Dr. Jaquish puts a lot of emphasis on different ways to cut sugar out of your diet.
X3 Bar Pros #
The X3 Bar Elite comes packed with benefits.
Get a great workout fast thanks to stronger resistance bands
Great for building muscle and strength
Easy-to-follow videos teach you how to use the system
The X3 12-week training program provides advanced workouts, diet and food prep tips, advice for better sleep, and more
Portable gym equipment allows the user to workout at home or on the road
More resistance while protecting joints
The X3 Bar and Ground Plate provide the ability to withstand high workout forces- exceeding 600 lbs.
The X3 Bar is designed and engineered to help you maintain grip throughout the workout
Resistance bands are provided for various fitness levels, with an additional X3 Elite Band for more intense training available
Recommended by over 95% of its customers
No tools are required for assembly
X3 Bar Cons #
Despite all of its scientifically proven benefits, the X3 Bar isn’t for everyone. Here are a few reasons to consider other options:
1. X3 workouts are not easy. If you can't commit to an intense, 10-minute muscle-building workout that will often leave you gasping for air, look elsewhere.
2. You must follow directions. If you want amazing results, you must follow the X3 12-Week Program. Modifications can lead to injury.
3. X3 is $549 (interest-free financing starting at $51/month). That's roughly equivalent to the average annual gym membership (not including fees, gasoline, commute times, etc.). If you're wondering whether or not it's worth it, pay a quick visit to the X3 Users Group on Facebook.
What Customers Say About X3 #
Not only is X3 used by several professional NFL, NBA and MMA athletes, but over 4,000 reviewers give the X3 bar 5 out of 5 stars. The following are just a few of their endorsements.
“My X3 is literally my favorite thing I own. In 9 months, I increased lung capacity, dropped 9 pounds of body fat, and added over 22 pounds of muscle. I’m now sitting comfortably around 9-10% body fat.” - Brett D
“I lost 30 pounds of fat in 4 months and gained muscle. My body has transformed. X3 is amazing. THANK YOU!” - Mabel F
“I am a first responder so keeping fit is required, and now I am stronger and better conditioned than I ever imagined I could be. Best decision I ever made.” - Eric B
Best Ultra-Portable Home Gym Equipment - $200 #
2. Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym #
Gorilla Bow is strong and durable because it’s manufactured from a special type of aluminum used in the aircraft industry. Its weight capacity is rated at around 300 lbs. So you shouldn’t have to worry about putting too much pressure or tension on the bow.
What Comes with the Gorilla Bow Home Gym System? #
The Gorilla Bow comes with four different resistance bands, each with its own color and level of strength. Here are the bands you will get:
Yellow band – good for tension of up to 10 pounds
Red band – 20 pounds
Green band –30 pounds
Blue band – 50 pounds
The list above shows only the main bands that are delivered with the bow. The company has included some additional stronger bands since launching:
Gorilla Bow Pros #
Gorilla Bow benefits include the following:
Gorilla Bow offers a decent full-body workout
The versatile device can be used for both strength and cardio
The company offers good customer support
The strong, durable frame is made of high-quality aircraft aluminum
An included travel bag makes it easy to store and carry
Gorilla Bow Cons #
There are some limitations to the Gorilla Bow that might make you hesitate:
The 56 inch-long bow doesn’t fold, which makes it tricky to take on an airplane
You’ll need to buy the heavier weight bands separately if you want a more challenging workout
With no ground plate, setup can be difficult when using heavier resistance bands
Gorilla Bow vs. X3 Bar Elite #
There is some overlap between these two portable gym systems and some key differences.
The Gorilla Bow and X3 Bar have the following features in common:
Both systems provide four bands for various resistance levels
Both use a bar feature to reduce strain on the joints
Both provide workout videos
Both are portable
There are some big differences to consider when deciding between the Gorilla Bow or the X3 Bar:
The Gorilla Bow comes with an accessory case for storage and Gorilla Bow band wrap
The Gorilla Bow provides customers with a library of free workouts, but it’s shipped separately
The Gorilla Bow bands provide a maximum resistance of up to 110 lbs. In contrast, the X3 Bar resistance bands provide over 300 lbs of resistance. (Or over 600lbs with the Elite Band)
What Customers Say About the Gorilla Bow #
Gorilla bow reviews are mixed. As we’ve discovered, it’s ‘portable’ in that you can store it under your bed, but is not so easy to transport, despite the included traveling case. However, the extra long bar, which also offers a thicker grip, is what customers like most about the device.
The most common complaint is that the bands simply aren’t strong enough. One customer who claims to be of “average strength” lamented the need for an upgrade, since none of the bands it comes with were strong enough to provide him with muscle-building resistance. Others say even the stronger bands quickly wear down and frequently need to be replaced.
Best Cardio-Focused Resistance Band Trainer - $179 #
3. Body Boss 2.0 Home Gym #
The BodyBoss 2.0 is a resistance band-based fitness product designed to travel with you whether you’re on the road for work or pleasure. The entire system consists of a base, resistance bands, and a series of attachments.
What Comes with the Body Boss 2.0 Home Gym System? #
The Body Boss 2.0 package includes the following:
Instruction Manual with Visuals
Durable Accessories Carrying Bag
Fold up VectorFit Base
Collapsible Workout Bar
One set of 2 Handles
One set of 2 Wrist/Ankle Straps
One Set of 2 Custom Cloth bands (80lbs of resistance per band)
Door Anchor w/ Ring
Body Boss 2.0 Pros #
The Body Boss 2.0 gets people’s attention for the following benefits:
The portable home gym system allows you to workout anywhere
The folding base adds extra exercise variety
Handles and wrist/ankle cuffs provide a comfortable grip
The bar allows you to perform familiar moves like squats
The door anchor secures the bands in nearly any room
Carrying case makes attachments easy to store
A ton of online workouts will help you reach your goals
The system is affordable
Body Boss 2.0 Cons #
Some limitations to consider before purchasing the Body Boss 2.0:
Only two resistance bands are included
Band resistance maxes out at 80lbs, which is not enough resistance for most people to build muscle
The included attachments don’t fit inside the folded base
Body Boss 2.0 vs. X3 Bar Elite #
It’s important to consider the key similarities and differences when choosing between the X3 and the Body Boss 2.0
The Body Boss 2.0 and X3 Bar have the following features in common:
Both come with a base and resistance bands
Both provide free training programs
There are some big differences to consider when deciding between the Body Boss 2.0 and the X3 Bar:
The Boss Body 2.0 system uses two individual bands instead of one
The X3 Bar Elite system provides more bands for a greater variety of resistance
The X3 Bar Elite system is capable of offering greater resistance than the Body Boss 2.0 for a workout that can trigger greater muscle growth
The X3 Bar Elite system provides you with a repeating, 12-week program, whereas the Boss Body 2.0 program is only three weeks long
What Customers Say About Body Boss 2.0 #
Like Gorilla Bow, users overwhelmingly report the two bands that come with the Body Boss don’t provide enough resistance for muscle building. Ordering more is an option, but customers say the fabric covered bands don’t work well when multiples are loaded onto the device.
Customers who love it include those with disabilities or others rehabbing from injuries. They report the device is much safer to work with than dumbbells, and helps them workout more confidently, with no spot needed.
Most Compact Home Gym - $130 #
4. OYO Personal Gym #
The OYO Fitness inventor, Paul Francis, invented Spiraflex technology for NASA to counter bone and muscle loss in astronauts when in zero gravity. This device uses resistance bands and has been used for over a decade on the International Space Station (ISS). A 16-week study by NASA found similar benefits when comparing resistance training with Spiraflex vs. free weights.
This portable gym device is designed to build muscle, burn fat, strengthen various muscle groups, and improve cardio endurance while being very compact and lightweight. OYO has developed over 60 workout programs and videos for both men and women to use with their home gym system.
What Comes with the OYO Personal Gym? #
When you purchase the OYO Personal Gym, you will receive the following:
The OYO Personal Gym LE
One 5-pound SpiraFlex disc
Two 10-pound SpiraFlex discs
One door anchor
Two foot anchors
Exercise guide/wall chart and coaching app
As mentioned above, you also get access to the free OYO coaching app with over 60 workout guides, and you can watch 197 workout videos online.
OYO Personal Gym Pros #
Here are the top pros for the OYO personal gym:
Portable design, compact and ultra-lightweight
Can support a broad range of exercises
Easy-to-use and beginner-friendly
It comes with a nutrition guide
Easy to store anywhere due to its small size
Quiet during use
OYO Personal Gym Cons #
The OYO Personal Gym has one big con that could make it the wrong choice depending on your goals.
- Only 25 lbs of resistance, which is not enough for muscle growth
What Customers Say About OYO Personal Gym #
Most customers who bought the OYO Personal Gym simply feel the device doesn’t offer enough resistance for a serious strength-building workout. Quality is also an issue. Reports of breakage and worn components are common.
Users report movements can be ‘quirky’ and awkward with the OYO, but find the YouTube tutorials helpful.
Best Body Weight Portable Home Gym - $200 #
5. TRX All-in-One Suspension Training #
The TRX system is one of the most recognized bodyweight training systems available. The system was first developed by Randy Hetrick, a Navy Seal squadron commander. He rigged up a system using a belt and parachute webbing while deployed. Today, TRX is used by the military, pro athletes and can be found in many gym chains across the country. By using your own body weight as resistance, TRX allows you to target key muscle groups in the back and core especially.
While TRX offers some properties which are similar to variable resistance, its resistance curves are opposite those sought after by most strength trainers. The device loads weak ranges more, while strong ranges are loaded less (the opposite of X3).
What Comes with the TRX Portable Gym? #
When you purchase the basic TRX training system, you will receive the following:
TRX HOME2 Suspension Trainer
Mesh Carry Bag
7-Day Free TRX Training Club Membership
TRX All-in-One Suspension Training Pros #
Here are the top pros for the TRX home gym:
It’s the original suspension training system
Suspension adds balance to traditional bodyweight routines
You can set it up anywhere you can get a steady anchor
Lighter than other suspension trainers and multi-use workout devices
TRX All-in-One Suspension Training Cons #
Here are the top cons for the TRX home gym:
The doorway anchor limits range of motion
Not designed for building substantial muscle
More risk for injury as TRX puts higher loads on your weaker range
What Customers Say About TRX Suspension Training #
Customers love that TRX is affordable and versatile. Even after months of use, there are new workout routines to be discovered, and it’s difficult to get bored.
Most of the user complaints about TRX relate to a lack of customer service, and an app full of workouts that miss the mark. Beginners can’t find the classes they need, and advanced users say the workouts frequently include components that must be purchased separately.
Best Handle Resistance Bands - $160 #
6. Innstar Resistance Bands Gym #
The Innstar Portable Gym 3.0 has some interesting additions and omissions from the “standard” portable gym setup. Innstar includes most of the same components as many of its competitors but also includes a thick band with multiple, short resistance bands meant primarily for chest exercises.
Durable carabiners help keep time spent swapping out components to a minimum. For added convenience, everything fits into a small, lightweight bag.
The set comes with just one level of resistance bands. If you seek progression, Innstar offers a handful of other resistance bands, but this will greatly increase the total cost of your set.
What Comes with the Innstar Portable Gym 3.0? #
When you purchase the Innstar Portable Gym 3.0 system, you will receive the following:
One adjustable resistance belt
Four resistance bands (33 lbs each)
One pull training bar
Two door anchors
Two foot straps
One carry bag
One workout guide
Innstar Portable Gym 3.0 Pros #
Here are the top benefits of the Innstar system:
Plenty of exercise options
Solid construction and features
Simple to interchange components
Innstar Portable Gym 3.0 Cons #
Here are the top drawbacks of the Innstar system:
Limited resistance bands included
The bench press strap is awkward to set up
What Customers Are Saying About Innstar #
While most customers love Innstar, others find the 38" bar is a bit too narrow for some movements, such as back squats, which require the bar to mount across the shoulders.
Those who’d prefer more resistance have similar complaints as Gorilla Bow users. Although more bands are available, it’s difficult to hook multiple bands to the small connector. From online reviews, it appears many customers use this bar with stronger resistance bands they have purchased from other providers.
Best Low-Budget Home Gym - $43 #
7. BodyGym Core System #
If you’re on a tight budget and want to add something extra to your workouts, the BodyGym Core System is an option. A single, long resistance band attaches to a lightweight plastic bar for quick assembly.
A padded foam section and a pair of foot loops split the middle of the band, offering a bit more support than resistance bands alone.
Illustrated stickers demonstrating exercises are located right on the bar, making it easy to do your workout and get on with your day. The set comes with two DVDs which include additional workouts and exercises.
The BodyGym Core System is the smallest and lightest home gym in our line-up. However, this level of simplicity is limiting when it comes to strength-building. The single long band can be wound around the bar to increase resistance, though its below-average strength and weak construction put its long-term durability into question.
In general, every piece of this home gym is far lighter and less robust than just about every other model we tested. The price is the primary benefit of this introductory piece of equipment.
What Comes with the BodyGym Core System? #
When you purchase the BodyGym system, you get:
The BodyGym Bar
One latex resistance band
Workout sticker guide
BodyGym Workout Guidebook
Targeted Workout DVD
What Customers are Saying About BodyGym Core #
Customers love the BodyGym Core. Users of the Basic Package primarily use it for rehabbing injuries or as an introduction to the movements of strength training. The high-rep, low-resistance device is praised for ease of use while cooking or watching TV.
The workout DVD is among the drawbacks most frequently cited. The fact is, most people no longer have a DVD player. To get the workouts online instead requires purchasing an app for an additional $10.
Most Versatile Baseboard - $140 #
8. Fusion Motion Portable Gym #
Fusion Motion is a good option if you’re looking for a baseboard for anchoring straps and push-up handles. Fusion Motion comes with fewer components than similar competitors, but it still has a lot to offer in a light, compact package.
A detailed instruction booklet gives instructions on how to use the product. By widening the resistance bands, you can achieve a broader range of lengths and resistance levels compared to other models with similar anchor points.
The Fusion Motion includes just three carabiners, making it time-consuming to switch between components. Additionally, winding the resistance bands to find the right length and strength requires repeatedly adjusting in the middle of your workout, and takes significant time to get right. Finally, there is no indication of how much resistance the bands have to offer, and no additional components are available as add ons.
What Comes with the Fusion Motion Portable Gym? #
Fusion Motion base
Two “Normal” resistance bands
Two “Strong” resistance bands
Two Dynamic pulse attachments
Two Dynamic pushup handles
Two Static pushup handles
Fusion bar / squat rack
Ab roller wheel
Training guide (includes 200 exercises)
What Customers Are Saying About Fusion Motion #
Fusion Motion doesn’t get stellar reviews. Customers find the device often arrives incomplete, and has some design flaws that don’t allow for each movement to be performed at every possible level of resistance. The ab roller is Fusion Motion’s most cited benefit, a component that’s easily purchased on its own.
Most Versatile Baseboard - $90 #
9. Gymwell Portable Home Gym #
If you’re okay with not having a baseboard and instead of using your feet and ankles to anchor your bands, then the Gymwell Portable Home Gym is a good option. It includes numerous components with multiple uses, making the setup convenient to use.
The ankle/foot straps are well made and combine the convenience and comfort of padded ankle straps with the security of an under-foot stirrup. Multiple anchors allow you to perform plenty of exercises without having to switch pieces.
The Gymwell Portable Home Gym has one of the longest bars on our list, making it a comfortable fit for wide-stance movements. The set also includes posters of exercises as well as two thick stacks of exercise cards on rings. Proper form is described in detail on the back of each card — for whatever muscle group you’re working on.
The entire set packs up easily into an impressively compact bag, making it more portable than most.
What Comes with the Gymwell Portable Home Gym System? #
Three sets of bands
Collapsible workout bar
Padded ankle straps
76 how-to workout cards
What Customers Say About Gymwell #
Customers love Gymwell’s small, portable size and the easy-to-follow exercise cards. What customers would like to see, however, are stronger resistance bands. Also, many say the short bands end up too short for some exercises, while the long bands are too long. Users complain that the frequent need to change bands is awkward and time consuming.
Best Portable Home Gym Equipment - Summary #
When it comes to portable home gyms, there’s no end to options. Every year more and more home gyms emerge. Whether your focus is on body-weight workouts, resistance-band workouts, or free weight workouts, there is something for you.
Portable gyms make fitness accessible and attainable. They break down barriers for those who can’t make it to the gym or just prefer working out at home. Make your workouts fun and repeatable, and you’ll have success. Portable home gyms allow for that with versatility and convenience.
Machine workouts and free weights are the go-to for most gym-goers but are difficult to incorporate into your home environment. Resistance band training can offer you the same muscle-building resistance at home, and in a safer, more effective way.
The X3 Bar Elite came in at the top of our list for overall best portable home gyms because it gives both novices and strength training enthusiasts the tools they need to build strength and lose weight at home or on the road.