9 must-have pieces of workout equipment for small spaces – CNET

If you live in a small apartment, it can be hard to exercise at home instead of the gym. You could turn to some of CNET’s favorite fitness apps, but if you’re looking to take your home workouts up a notch, you’ll need to stock up on equipment — and not the bulky, commercial gym kind.

Plenty of fitness equipment functions well in a small space, and just because you don’t have a room dedicated to a whole home gym doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your workouts. If you’re ready to upgrade your workout space at home, we’ve got some great recommendations for you. 

Below, we’ve listed some of the best pieces of workout equipment that work well in small spaces, are easily stored and are space-savers.


If you’re looking for the home gym equivalent to cable machines at the gym, then the Maxpro is your solution. This portable cable gym was designed to be a space-saving, versatile and easy resistance training workout tool that can be used anywhere, anytime. Upon looking at it, it’s reminiscent of a hoverboard with cable attachments and dials on the side that you can adjust to increase or decrease resistance. 

The best part about the Maxpro is that once you’re done, you can fold it in half and store it away in the travel bag it comes in. The strength training machine has over 50 different resistance settings, and weights range between 5 and 300 pounds. It also includes two workout handles, a pair of ankle and wrist straps, a quick connect bar and a door mount kit (in case you have the room for a permanent fixture) and a long bar to best fit your strength training needs. Additionally, the Maxpro has an app you can connect to via Bluetooth when you’re looking for personalized workout classes or to learn new exercises. 


If you don’t have room to spare for the Tempo Studio, the Tempo Move is your next best option. This version has a compact weight storage cabinet that can hold all of your smart weight plates and fits into just about any space in your home. It requires a TV or HDMI connection to access its thousands of workout classes. The one downside is that this home gym is only compatible with iPhones, so not everyone will be able to access the programs. 

To view the fitness classes, you’ll need a Tempo membership, which costs $39 a month and gives you access to thousands of classes. To add to the personalized experience, you can get real-time feedback on your form and reps via the 3D Tempo vision. Reviews show that customers are satisfied with the Tempo Move – many call it one of the best purchases they’ve made during the pandemic.


If you don’t have room for multiple dumbbells, then adjustable dumbbells are your best bet. The Bowflex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells replace 17 sets of weights and can be adjusted in 5-pound increments with weight ranges of 10 to 90 pounds. These are ideal if you’re trying to maintain your gains while taking a hiatus from the gym. 

One common thing I’ve heard about these dumbbells is that the size takes some getting used to because of how bulky they are. CNET contributor Lindsay Boyers said these dumbbells are best for heavy lifters, and the weights’ rounded shape and grooved texture make it easy to hold during single dumbbell exercises. 


It’s possible to have a weight bench at home without it taking over your living room. The key is to choose one that can be folded in half after use for easy storage. The Flybird Adjustable Bench is a versatile option that is designed with six back positions and four seat positions. It can hold up to 600 pounds and is made up of heavy-duty commercial quality steel. 

Reviewers say this bench is sturdy and just as good as the ones found at the gym, and can easily be adjusted. Users rave that this is the ideal bench for a small space, because it’s simple to fold for storage and can fit under the bed or in a corner when not in use. 


You can easily turn any door into a piece of gym equipment by hanging a pull-up bar on the frame. Whether you’re a seasoned pro at pull ups or are trying to get better at them, you can practice them at home. ProsourceFit’s multigrip chin-up and pull-up bar is a tried and true bar that’s easy to assemble and store away. It also has multiple grips, making it ideal to practice both your chin ups and pull ups. 

This bar can support up to 300 pounds and can fit in doorways that are at least 36 inches wide. CNET recommended this pull up bar as the best multi-use bar for home gyms because of its affordable price tag and positive customer reviews. 


Having a set of resistance bands is ideal if you’re just starting to strength train. They don’t take up much room and can be easily stored away in your closet. Making sure you have high quality bands is key too, because there are many on the market that easily break. Resistance bands are made of sturdy elastic tubes covered in a safety sleeve to protect you if the band ever breaks.

These FitCord X-Over resistance bands are available in seven different weights, which is why they’re suitable for both beginners and advanced users alike. CNET writer Amanda Capritto previously recommended these resistance bands because of their longevity. Many Amazon customers agree, saying they’re well-designed and nicely constructed. To further prove how versatile the bands are, some people say they’ve been able to use them as part of their physical therapy exercises. 


If you’re looking to strengthen your core at home without doing sit-ups, then workout sliders are your next best bet. They’re affordable, portable, can be used in limited spaces, and they pack a punch when training your abs. The ProsourceFit Core Sliding Exercise Discs are a pair of flat round dual-sided sliders that you can use on carpeting or wood floors.

These sliders are a good way to get your heart rate up, improve your stability and make exercises such as mountain climbers, pikes, leg exercises, roll outs and push-ups more challenging. I swear by this little tool when I’m looking to progress my planks, push ups, and even doing physical therapy exercises. If you’re looking for ideas on how to use these sliders in your daily workouts, you can use this CNET tutorial as a guide. 


Kettlebells are an excellent all-in-one workout tool that lets you reap the benefits of strength and endurance training. If you’re new to kettlebells or want to brush up on your skills, it helps to follow some instructional videos to do the exercises safely. The Bowflex’s SelectTech 840 adjustable kettlebell is a great addition for your home gym because it replaces six kettlebell weights, ranging between 6 and 40 pounds, and can be adjusted using a dial. 

So even if you’re new to kettlebells, you can work your way up to the heavier weights as you become more experienced. Bowflex users appreciate that the adjustable kettlebell saves them space and is a durable and useful piece of home gym equipment.   


When weather prevents you from taking a walk or going for a jog, a treadmill can be your best bet to get steps in. Although most treadmills require a lot of room, the Echelon Stride treadmill is meant for small spaces. This treadmill was designed to take up minimal space and to fold flat in three easy steps. This allows it to be easily stored under your bed or propped up against the wall when it’s not in use. 

You can go for a leisurely walk, jog or sprint (the speed maxes out at 12 mph) all without stepping outside. Reviewers enjoy the convenience of this treadmill, and one person even set up their home office around it so they could get their steps in while they work. One thing to keep in mind is that this treadmill might be best for shorter individuals as some reviews say the length of the belt came up short for taller users. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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