Understanding the Costs of Setting Up and Maintaining a Home Gym

Reaching your ideal level of fitness can seem riddled with obstacles. Whether you struggle with staying committed to a routine or are reluctant to exercise in public settings, a home gym can help support your fitness efforts. Maybe you don’t struggle with self-discipline but rather, have difficulty scheduling the time. Perhaps the mere act of leaving your house to go to a gym is a deterrent. No matter your reasoning for not wanting to participate in traditional gyms, you can build the perfect gym right in your own home. Of course, the foremost concern is the cost of a home gym, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. 


Plan Before You Buy

Before considering the cost of a home gym, it’s important to consider what fitness tools you want access to at home and what you already have available to you. It’s typical to first think about the larger components of your home gym, such as the various machines and equipment, but there are many other aspects to consider when planning a home gym

Be realistic about how much space you have available for your home gym. You may feel compelled to buy large machinery mirroring what you see in the gym, but incorrectly sized equipment will create a cluttered environment and discourage you from exercising. Is the floor suitable for working out on or will you have to budget in the cost of nonslip mats? Do you have adequate lighting? Is there a fan or proper ventilation to keep you cool during your workout? 

There are also other components unrelated to equipment to contemplate. If you’ve ever set foot inside a gym, you may have noticed that some walls are lined in mirrors. This is less about vanity and more about checking your form. Mirrors can also help you track your progress and take pride in your gains. Even decorative items, such as posters with inspirational quotes, paintings, and pictures, can help you stay on track and should be considered in your budget.

After you have considered the basics of your space, it’s time to be honest with yourself about what you need to make your home workouts successful. Oftentimes, in the excitement of starting a new hobby, it’s common to buy more than you need to get started. If you’re new to working out, opting for the new, full-body workout machine that costs thousands of dollars may not be the best use of your budget. Only buy what you’ll use. 

The last and, arguably, the most important thing to think about when creating your perfect home gym are the goals that you want to reach. Are you focused more on strength, cardio, or general well-being? Your goals will determine what type of equipment you should buy. However, no matter your primary goal, it’s always important to have a well-rounded exercise routine. If you’re strength training, you should never skip a cardio warmup and cooldown. If you’re trying to lose weight, cardio is absolutely necessary, but research shows that a good weight loss program should also include strength training for building lean muscles.


Start With the Basics

A home gym doesn’t have to have an astronomical price tag. Depending on what you’ve decided to be a reasonable budget, you can meet all of your basic needs with a little shopping around. If you’re trying to replicate a workout that you might do at your local gym, think about which machines you use most often.

If you’re wanting to focus on building muscles, you don’t necessarily need to go all-in on an expensive weight machine. A good essential for your home gym is a set of bands of various resistances. Resistance bands can also be used for both arm and leg muscles, so you can target more muscles for less money. A set of durable resistance bands can be procured for as little as $20.

Free weights are also an important basic for any home gym. Free weights allow for a better range of motion and weight increase as you grow stronger. Of course, as your weight increases in size, so will the price. A set of free weights that go from 5 to 25 pounds costs in the ballpark of $200. You can also purchase weights one at a time as needed. If you’re not sure what your ideal weight is, you can go to a store and try some of their weights in person. Do a couple of lifting repetitions to see which range gives you the best workout.

If you’re already lifting weights that are more than 70 pounds, it might be more cost-effective to purchase a machine that allows for a higher range of growth. Home gym machines typically start at $400 and higher-end models can be as much as $5,000.

The great thing about cardio training is that you can get in a workout with absolutely no equipment. Going for a jog will raise your heart rate and have you sweating in no time. Of course, if you want to combine your cardio training with resistance training, it might be a good idea to invest in a treadmill, elliptical machine, or other cardio machine that has resistance settings. Basic treadmills start in the $300 range and continue up into the thousands, while an elliptical machine typically starts in the $500 range. 


Tips for Buying

Decide whether you want to buy new or used equipment. If you’re buying new equipment, are you more comfortable purchasing your equipment online or in person? Buying online means you can review and compare equipment from a variety of sellers at your own leisure. However, brick-and-mortar retailers can give you access to knowledgeable sales associates who can answer all of your questions. Many physical retailers also offer price match options if you find something for less online.

Buying new equipment also ensures that it comes with a warranty and customer service options in case anything goes wrong. Some retailers even allow for payment plans to defer the full blow of your equipment purchase. 

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can score some amazing deals by buying used equipment. However, if you’re going to buy used, it is important to carefully inspect the equipment to avoid any hazards that may cause injury or may cause the machine to stop working in the not-too-distant future. 

Whether you’re buying new equipment online or in person, or you’re buying used from a private seller, it’s important to compare prices and reviews. Even if you’re buying used, you can look up the product information to see how others have enjoyed that particular piece of equipment. In the case of older used items, it can also help you anticipate the longevity of your equipment.


Maintaining Your Home Gym

The cost of maintenance depends on your equipment and how often you maintain it. If you wipe down your equipment after every use, which you should, you decrease the likelihood that odor-causing bacteria will take over, which can sometimes force you to prematurely replace mats, resistance bands, benches, and other equipment with porous surfaces.

You should also regularly oil any machines with moving parts. Lubricants are relatively inexpensive and mostly rely on you remembering to do it. You can set a regular reminder on your calendar to make sure it gets done. This will ensure that your machine continues to work in top condition, without rust or part degradation. 

Of course, regardless of how well you care for your equipment, it may break down over time due to natural aging. If you purchased your equipment new, you might be able to have parts replaced through your warranty. If your warranty is up or you purchased used equipment, you may have to cash out for the replacements. In some cases, purchasing new equipment is more effective when the price of parts and repairs is too high.


Examples of Home Gyms

Below, we’ve broken down some example gyms and their price marks. When considering your budget, it’s important to frame it with a gym’s monthly and annual fees. This will help you decide on a price that seems reasonable when you’re thinking long term. These examples are only meant to give you an idea of a potential gym setup and can be changed according to your preference in equipment and brands.


Cost of a Home Gym Under $1,000

$199 weight set from Walmart

Flat exercise bench for $50 or adjustable bench with backrest for $90 from Amazon

Large exercise mat for $100 from Amazon

Kettlebell set between $37 and $130 from Amazon

Pushup/pullup bar combo for $27 from Amazon

Adjustable leg weights for $23 from Amazon

24-inch by 36-inch wall mirror for $90 from Home Depot

Fitness DVDs or apps; prices vary 


Cost of a Home Gym Under $5,000

NordicTrack treadmill for $899 

Bowflex home gym for $1,400

Leg press machine for $888 from Amazon

Roman (Ab) chair for $139 from Amazon

Large exercise mat for $100 from Amazon

LED light strips for $25 from Amazon

24-inch by 36-inch wall mirror for $90 from Home Depot

Floor fan for $30 from Amazon

Memberships to online communities; prices vary


No matter your budget, make your home gym work for you. Set your budget, get inspired, and get started!