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How To Build A Home Gym | Right With This Budget Home Gym Setup

You can build a budget home gym in your basement or spare room with just the essential equipment, including barbells, weight benches, and weight plates. However, you will have to consider some important factors while choosing the right equipment.

How to build a home gym

What’s more difficult than exercising on a Monday morning? Creating a home gym out of scratch!

With a wide variety of gym equipment and materials required to build your own home gym, it can get overwhelming for anyone. While you may be a gym buff and know exactly which cardio equipment, flat bench, and adjustable dumbbells to buy, creating a personal gym needs more than that.

On that note, I have curated this guide to building your own home gym. 

How To Build A Home Gym - The Ultimate Guide

How To Build A Home Gym - The Ultimate Guide

Like any other challenging task, start by setting your priorities and realizing your goals. For instance, if you want to lose weight for the summer, you can do that with a gym membership. Or, if you don’t have the budget for that, start watching workout videos on YouTube and Tiktok. So, you don’t have to build a gym of your own. 

However, if you do not have an ideal body weight or type in mind and simply want to lead a healthy lifestyle, you can consider building a home gym. Having a home gym space will prevent you from skipping your workout sessions every other day and may even encourage you to eat healthy. 

After all, you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into building a gym right at home. You can’t let that go to waste by binging on a large pizza!

As such, some benefits I experienced and felt after building a home gym for myself are… 

  • I was able to actually use the gym without excuses
  • I was able to stay more focused and disciplined
  • I didn’t have to worry about waiting to use a particular gym equipment
  • I was able to workout with my family
  • My home gym became a place I frequented during stressful times
  • I was able to save more money in the long run 

Now, I understand if the last point confused you. Of course, the initial cost of building a home gym is high. But trust me - you will be saving a lot in the long run. No monthly expenses like the gym membership, no transportation costs for commuting to the gym, no unnecessary spending in the gym cafeteria, etc.

So, that brings me to the next section…

How Is Working Out At A Home Gym Cheaper Than Getting A Gym Membership?

Stating the exact cost of building a home gym from scratch is a lofty task. However, it is safe to assume that a decent gym space with new equipment will cost around $1,000. 

Compare that to the average gym membership across the globe, and you’ll realize that using home gyms can actually help save money. For instance, in the US, a gym membership generally costs around $50 a month. As such, most Americans spend approximately $155 in a month to maintain their health. 

So, considering you spend the same amount each month to renew your gym membership, building a home gym is equivalent to around 20 months of expenditure. Thereafter, you will be saving every month. 

In fact, you can find budget home gym equipment, too, especially during special occasions like Black Friday. However, if you think a gym membership fee is all that you’re avoiding by investing in a home gym, here’s what you should know…

  • With the liberty and privacy that comes from a home gym, you can exercise in any comfy clothing, so there is no need to buy new gym clothes and gear.
  • You already have healthy, nutritious food at home, so you won’t require supplements.
  • You can easily avoid hiring a personal trainer by checking out YouTube videos with tons of exercises and professional advice for free. 

How Much Does A Home Gym Cost?

How Much Does A Home Gym Cost & Home Gym Benefits

The average home gym may cost around $3,000. However, you can look at budget-priced options and lower the overall cost to $500. 


Keep in mind that cheaper equipment may need to be upgraded, repaired, or replaced sooner. As such, it may not be a cost-effective option in the long run. But then again, you may not need high-end equipment too. So, consider your preferences and requirements so that you don’t waste money on fancy items.

For those on a tight budget, I recommend buying a cheaper bench press and weight plates. As for a squat rack and barbell, I suggest opting for mid-range options. 

Price RangeBarbellPlates (250 lb set)Squat RackBenchTotal
Mid Range$255$450$350$250$1,305
Our Best PickMidBudgetMidBudget$905

Where Should You Buy Your Gym Equipment From?

You can easily get your hands on high-quality equipment on Amazon. Or, you could check some online and physical stores and opt for renowned brands to be on the safer side.

But if you wish to save more, you can search for used equipment on the following…

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Estate sales/local garage sales
  • LetGo
  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp

Additionally, if you’ve got some creativity and building skills, switch on to YouTube and try building some gym equipment, like…

  • Do-it-yourself pulling blocks
  • Power racks
  • Plate holders
  • Platform with plywood and stall mats
  • Reverse hypers

By doing so, you can even build a home gym for under $100! 

Best Place To Build Your Home Gym

1. The Basement Or Garage

Building a garage gym will help optimize a lot of space in your house since you won’t have to make any major changes other than adding home gym equipment. Plus, the concrete floor of the garage gym is durable for heavy equipment.

However, having your equipment in the garage (residential) can result in you avoiding your workout routine. Out of sight, out of mind!

Not to forget, the garage is an area that tends to get hot in the summer and chilly during winters. 

2. An Empty/Spare Room

A spare room is the most appealing area when building a home gym. It allows easy access and temperature control, unlike a garage gym. But having a personal gym in just another room in the house will take up space. Because of this very reason, storing home gym equipment in an empty room can get dangerous if you have kids at home. 

Additionally, the flooring will require additional protection if it isn’t made of concrete. 

3. Outside Your House

Simply moving your home gym equipment to your garden, backyard, deck, etc., can help you make the most of the fresh air outside! After all, what’s better than working out under the blue sky, surrounded by lush greenery? 

However, the biggest disadvantage of setting up a gym outside is the damage to your equipment. Plus, your workout sessions will become weather-dependent.

Basic Home Gym Equipment You Should Check Out

Now comes the most important part of building a home gym - buying equipment! So, after selecting a suitable place at your home, here are the most basic gym equipment you should invest in… 

  • A Weight Bench
  • Weight Plates
  • A Barbell
  • A Squat Rack

You can add dumbbells too, but they are not mandatory in most exercises. 


If you’re low on funds and don’t have much experience in weightlifting, consider adjustable dumbbells instead of weight plates, barbells, and racks. 

How To Choose The Best Home Gym Equipment?

Again, this depends on your fitness goals and preferences. In fact, my suggestions above may not cater to you, and you may end up buying a treadmill instead. But if you ask me, here’s how I decided on the aforementioned gym equipment.

First, I considered the most common types of movements I indulge in while working out. Those are…

  • Deadlift
  • Curl
  • Shrug
  • Tricep press 
  • Burpee (exercise)
  • Overhead press
  • Bench press
  • Chin-up or pull-up (exercise)
  • Row
  • Squat (exercise)

As such, a barbell is ideal for performing all of these. In fact, you can use it for 90% of the exercises mentioned above. 

So, instead of buying tons of equipment like a pull-up bar and ankle weights, getting an Olympic barbell will help you stick to your budget and workout efficiently.

Why No Treadmill?

Of course, the treadmill is the most popular cardio equipment. However, it is not really needed when you can simply go running or jogging. Or an even better alternative is cycling. You can top it up with a high-intensity sesh with a jump rope and feel your legs burn!

Should You Buy An “All In One” Home Gym

Should You Buy An “All In One” Home Gym?

Although some believe that free weights work more muscles in your body, there is not much scientific research to back the claim. Here, too, it comes down to your preference, but I must add that most people are, in fact, more comfortable with such machines.

Why Should You Opt For “All In One” Machines?

  • Versatile for anyone, so invest in an all in one” home gym if you workout with your partner, family members, etc.
  • It won’t damage the floor
  • It will push you to “failure” safely and help you improve gradually

Why Should You NOT Opt For “All In One” Machines?

  • You cannot perform all types of exercises on them
  • There is a weight limit for such machines
  • Such machines tend to engage fewer muscles
  • Even budget-priced options for this machine will cost more than the “essential” equipment suggested above

Lastly, limiting yourself to a single machine can get monotonous in the long run. Personally, I prefer using free weights and recommend the same to anyone who is just starting off. You’ll be able to engage more muscle, try out more variety of aerobic exercises, and perhaps, see more progress.

How To Choose The Best Home Gym Equipment?

Start off by doing the following…

  • Measure the amount of space available for the home gym
  • Recognize the type of workouts and weight training/strength training you want to do
  • Create a budget
  • Check out well-known brands that manufacture home gym equipment

Additionally, if you want to keep your expenses low, I suggest buying equipment one at a time and not everything at once. However, do not buy cheap items only to have them break within a few uses. If you find a new brand, check it out on Google or Amazon, read the customer reviews, preferably those accompanied by pictures, and then make your pick.

You must also note that popular brands may be pricier but often offer warranties, free returns and exchanges, trial periods, etc. So, always opt for them over lesser-known brands. Not to forget, reputable branded equipment will be much easier to replace or upgrade in the future. 

Some of my go-to brands for home gym equipment are as follows…

  • Rogue
  • Fringe
  • Eleiko
  • Rep Fitness
  • Bowflex
  • Kabuki
  • American Barbell
  • Titan

Home Gym Equipment Buying Guide

1. Barbell

For me, the barbell is the most important gym equipment. It allows you to engage your entire body without requiring any other parts. 

Things To Consider When Buying A Barbell For Your Home Gym

First off, know that an Olympic barbell features “sleeves” of 50 mm diameter at the ends. Most plates fit on these, and hence, you shouldn’t opt for anything with smaller diameters. Here are other factors you should consider…

A. Knurling

Adequate knurling on the barbell allows you to maintain your grip while working out. Plus, if you’re lifting heavy weights, checking the depth, pattern, and aggressiveness of the knurling is essential. As such, here are the three different patterns of barbell knurling:

  • Volcano: the grippiest
  • Mountain: medium grip
  • Hill: least grip

B. Finish

The material and finish of the barbell will determine whether it will be prone to rust, corrosion, and damage. So, here are the three common finishes to look out for:

  • Chrome-plated: priciest but long-lasting
  • Zinc-plated: average lifespan 
  • Black finish: the cheapest option but not durable; the knurling may worsen overtime 

C. Tensile Strength of Steel

The barbell should not break or bend with repeated use. As such, opt for a bar that offers at least 180,000 PSI of tensile strength. 

D. Spin

The “sleeves” or ends of the barbell should be able to turn well, especially if you are into CrossFit and Olympic weight lifting. Consequently, you will be able to maintain good posture and technique. Sleeves that don’t spin can even cause twists and injuries. 

E. Price

  • Budget-priced options retail for $75-$150
  • Mid-range options can go up to $350
  • High-end, upgraded versions may cost between $500 and $700
  • Competition bars may even cost up to $1,000

Olympic barbell buying guide

Overall, when you buy a good quality bar, you won’t have to worry about it again since it should be durable enough to last years of working out. However, if you don’t particularly indulge in weightlifting, you can get started with a cheaper option and upgrade it later. You may continue using the previous bar for practice or sell it online. 

But if you ask me, I do not recommend sacrificing quality for a few bucks. I’d rather spend an extra $100 and never think about upgrading my barbell, but that’s just me!

2. Weight Plates

Weight plates are a must-have for any gym freak who wants to make gradual progress. Too bad they are the type of equipment you’ll be spending the most on. However, my iron plates are one of the sole reasons I enjoy gymming since I can actually feel and see my progress (a.k.a. my jacked back and biceps!). 

Things To Consider When Buying Weight Plates For Your Home Gym

Roughly, there are five factors you must keep in mind while buying plates. Or you may accidentally buy one that doesn’t even fit on your pull-up bar!

A. Size And Shape

Considering the center of Olympic plates should be 2”, the rest of the parts should have the following dimensions/sizes/shapes:

  • If you get a 45 lb plate, its diameter should be 17.7”
  • Slowing edges and handles allow easy movement of the plate
  • It’s better to get thinner plates, so you can add or reduce the overall weight of the bar as and when you like
  • Round plates are better than flat surfaces that can cause injuries if you accidentally drop them
  1. Type Of Plates
  • Competition plates: In this type, you’ll find accurate dimensions and weights 
  • Bumper plates: These are made to drop from Oly/CrossFit weightlifting lifts, and all weights are the same diameter with different thickness 
  • Traditional iron plates: You’ll notice a lot of variations in quality, weight, and dimensions in iron plates

B. Weight

In this aspect, you should be careful while purchasing cheaper options since the actual weight can be starkly different from what’s stated in the product description. Not only can it be dangerous to have an uneven bar, but it can also give you a wrong estimate of your capabilities. 

Imagine participating in a competition for lifting 400 lbs when all this time you were practicing with just 350 lbs!

C. Smell

Again, buying cheap, off-brand products can smell nasty because of the cheap rubber used in them. 

D. Price

  • Competition plates are rather expensive, retailing at $6+ per lb
  • Bumper plates can cost anywhere between $1.8 and $4.50 per lb
  • Iron plates with urethane or rubber coating can cost $1.50-$3 per lb 
  • Regular iron plates (without coating) can retail between $1 and $1.50 per lb

So, besides competition plates, if you want to invest in a 250 lb set, bumper plates will cost around $450-$1,125. Iron plates with coating will amount to $375-$750, and the cheapest option may be priced around $250-$375. 

Weight plates buying guide

At the end of the day, though, you can opt for cheaper options when buying plates, but you must maintain your equipment. Plus, your home gym should be equipped with padding and mats to drop your weights. 

3. Squat Rack (preferably with a pull-up bar)

If you aim to practice bench presses or squats, getting a squat rack will be beneficial in your fitness journey. Or else lifting your maximum weight will be impossible.

Besides helping you try out a range of different motions, a squat rack is a must-have if you’re working out alone. And considering you’re building a home gym, I assume you’ll indulge in a lot of solo workout sessions.

Interestingly, a squat rack can be further equipped with storage for plates, dip bars, and more. 

Four Types Of Squat Racks

4 types of squat rack

A. Half Rack

Here, too, two upright metal bars hold the barbell, with two more metal bars on the back for better support and added storage. This equipment also has a pull-up bar on top, and you must add safety arms as well. 

B. Power Rack Or Full Rack

This type of squat rack has four upright metal bars and sometimes two more at the back. It further features a pull-up bar on top and safety bars/straps. As a result, it is the most expensive of the lot. 

C. Foldable Rack

A foldable rack can be mounted on the wall and folded away for easy storage. As such, only two upright bars hold the barbell. However, you must add safety arms to the equipment if not included already.

D. Squat Rack Or Squat Stand

In this structure, two upright metal bars hold the barbell. It is the cheapest option among different types of racks, and you may attach a pull-up bar on top. Again, I recommend adding safety arms if not already included.

Note that brands often use different terms to refer to different equipment, so make sure to research well before making any purchase. 

Things To Consider When Buying A Squat Rack For Your Home Gym

When looking for a squat rack or weight bench, you must have heard about gauge steel. Well, it’s basically the thickness of the steel used in building the equipment. Note that the lower the rating, the stronger and thicker the steel. Consequently, thick, low-rated steel is pricier.


Gym equipment gauge steel thickness

Besides gauge steel, you must know about the following factors to choose the best squat rack for your physical fitness needs:

  1. Hole Size And Spacing

The hole sizes of squat racks can be 5/8”, 3/4” or 1”. Additionally, the holes can be spaced 1-2 inches apart.


A 1-inch spacing or “westside spacing” allows more position control while performing bench presses.

  1. Feet Type

There are three feet types when it comes to squat racks. First off is the “flat foot,” offering a 1-foot span base. It is the most stable in the lot.

Next, you have flanges that can be bolted on a platform or on the floor. Lastly, “upright” is the feet type that offers the least stability. 

  1. Size

Make sure you measure the size of your home gym and get a squat rack accordingly. 

  1. Price

Budget home gym options for a squat rack may cost between $100 and $250. Going about $100 over that can get you a 2×2” 11 gauge steel rack, which is what I recommend most of the time. 

For something larger, like a 3x3” 11 gauge steel rack, you’ll have to spend around $450-$600. And finally, to get your hands on some “monster racks,” you may have to shell out more than $1,000.

  1. Quality And Weight Capacity 

Heavier racks are usually a result of a better quality of steel being used for its construction. I also recommend being wary of online sites only displaying the “weight capacity” of a squat rack, as the numbers may be exaggerated.

As such, it becomes all the more important to know the gauge steel rating to bag the best deal. Usually, a rating of 11 or lower works well for most people. 

  1. Accessories 

If you get a squat rack with safety arms and j-hooks - that's the endgame! These add-ons are essential for working out effectively and safely. Other accessories that can enrich your overall experience include band pegs, a pull-up bar, plate storage, a dip station, etc. 

Power rack buying guide

Lastly, note that a high-quality power rack does not come cheap. And if possible, do not shy away from spending a little extra on a power rack. Working out with one made of cheap materials or devoid of safety arms is not worth the risk. So, the least you should go for is a 2×2” 11 gauge steel rack. If you can afford anything better than that - perfect!

4. Weight Bench

This one is another essential for any fitness enthusiast - whether a beginner or a seasoned gym buff! However, I don’t use it for each of my workout sessions, hence the slightly lower rank. 

Yet, I suggest investing in a high-quality weight bench, especially if you lift over 200 lbs., to prevent wobbles and accidents.  

Things To Consider When Buying A Weight Bench For Your Home Gym

  1. Safety

Ensure that you know the exact weight capacity as well as the weight of the bench itself before buying it. Here, you must note that a weight bench should weigh at least 75 lbs. Anything less than that is probably made of low-quality steel.

You should also note that the steel gauge rating should be 12 or under if you’re aiming to get a weight bench that lasts.  

  1. Practicality

Check if the equipment is adjustable or simply a flat bench. Moreover, know if it is FID (flat, incline, and decline) or FI (flat & incline).

You can also look for a weight bench with wheels for more portability and check the weight of the equipment if you wish to store it after use. Additionally, ensure that the front legs do not prevent you from working out properly. 

  1. Comfort

I suggest getting a weight bench with at least 2-inch padding for a comfortable home workout.

  1. Gap

Always check the gap between the bench and the seat in case you’re opting for adjustable options. This is because some may find a certain gap way too huge and uncomfortable. That said, you can also find various “no gap” options on the market, albeit pricier than regular benches.

  1. Price

A basic flat bench ranges between $50 and $150, while an adjustable FID bench can cost up to $250-$450. However, if you opt for an adjustable FID no-gap bench, you may have to shell out more than $500. 

Weight bench buying guide

Altogether, if you’re willing to spend an additional $150 on a high-quality weight bench, I say go for it! After all, anything is better than a cheap, wobbly, unsafe flat bench. Not to forget, an adjustable bench is ideal for multiple movements like decline crunches and incline presses. And these two are the common positions that you’ll be using in an adjustable bench. 

How To Design The Ideal Home Gym

Now that you know what equipment is required to build a home gym, get ready to turn it into a space that you’ll actually use. You obviously don’t want to spend all that money only to have your equipment collecting dust in your garage gym, right? 

Hence, here are the two main steps one should take to make their home gym their favorite space!

1. Add Some More Essentials

Lighting, heating, ventilation, gym flooring - all of these are vital to make your home gym a place you truly like visiting. All these aspects become all the more important if you’re using a garage gym or any room that does not already have these basic features. 

Of course, you don’t have to go all out to ensure top-notch heating systems or fancy lighting. Sometimes, all you need is a single source of light and maybe a window for adequate ventilation. 

A. Gym Flooring

I recommend paying a little more attention to gym flooring since your equipment can hamper the floor, plates, etc. Now, you may think simply adding a carpet, some hardwood over cement, or tiling the floor will do the job.

Well, to put it simply - you’ll need a LOT more than that! But don’t fret, as there are plenty of affordable gym flooring options that will protect not just the floor but also save you from injuries.

As such, some of the most common home gym flooring materials are as follows:

  • Rubber flooring
  • Cork
  • Silencer pads
  • EVA foam
  • Lifting platform
  • Laminate flooring
  • Rubber horse stall mats

While choosing from the aforementioned options, you may come across many recommending EVA foam. But in my experience, it gets way too soft and squishy causing the power racks to wobble. Similarly, horse stall mats make a great budget-friendly pick, but again, they may be too spongy. Plus, they often emit a pungent rubber smell.

So, if you ask me, I will always suggest rubber flooring for your home gym as it is durable and safe.

B. Mirror Wall

Although not a necessity, I highly recommend getting mirrors in the home gym to maintain correct form and watch your progress. Plus, you can always steal a glance at your biceps or glutes in between sets!

However, if you go out and about looking for mirrors, you’ll be shocked at the prices. I definitely was because, for a mirror, there was no way I was going to pay anything more than $100. So, I recommend thrifting a mirror for about $20-30 and then customizing it according to your needs.

I got mine from Facebook Marketplace and used some electrical tape (you can try paint instead) around the edges to create a chic border. For mounting, I used some clips and a J channel. For more in-depth instructions, I recommend checking my article, “How To Make A Mirror Wall For Home Gym.”

2. Personalize The Home Gym Space

How about posters of your favorite weightlifter? Or inspirational quotes like, “No pain, no gain?” You could even add a sound system to enjoy some groovy tunes while getting ripped. Or add a beer refrigerator so that you have one more excuse to visit the gym! Anything that screams “you” or motivates you to workout for an additional 15 minutes - put it in the gym.


Although I don’t particularly need a TV in the gym, I recommend adding one to yours if you are planning to watch workout videos on YouTube.

Conclusion - How To Build A Home Gym

Conclusion - How To Build A Home Gym

By now, I’m sure you have realized that you don’t need an exorbitant amount of money to build a home gym. By carefully curating your equipment and other features in the gym, you can successfully create a budget home gym and achieve your fitness goals this year!

Simply use the 80/20 principle that I religiously follow, and you’ll be able to spend wisely on essentials. Do keep in mind your preferences too. 

For instance, I do not use a skipping rope and a resistance band as frequently, but they may be necessities in your home gym. Or, you may prefer yoga or bodyweight exercises, so you may not require much equipment.