Last updated on December 1st, 2021 at 01:59 pm
Most people building a garage or basement gym can’t go to a local store to see, feel, and try things before buying them. There simply aren’t that many stores in the world that display and sell quality home gym gear.
Big box retailers and sporting goods stores have some stuff, but it’s primarily low to mediocre quality, and there isn’t much of an assortment. There certainly aren’t any well-known and respected brands.
If you want to buy high-quality gear for your home gym, you are most likely going to have to do it online, sight unseen. And to make it even harder, there is a ton of junk on the internet that looks good until you get it home and realize just how cheap it is (see 90% of the squat racks and benches on Amazon as examples).
When building a home gym, the best way to make sure you are getting great value and quality gear is to know where to buy. And that’s exactly why I wrote this article!
What are the best places to buy home gym equipment online?
I’m not a big fan of buying everything in one place. I don’t think any one company or website out there has mastered everything. They each have their specialties.
If I did have to shop at only one site for my entire garage gym, it would probably be at Rep Fitness. I think they present the widest assortment of reasonably priced and quality-made home gym equipment of any site on the internet.
But that said, I think you are better of going to different sites for different things. Below I list each main type of gear you are likely to buy for your home gym and the best place to buy that particular piece of equipment. I’ve also provided links to those sites and specific items so you can take a look for yourself.
What to look for in a home gym equipment website.
The first thing I look at whenever I buy something for my gym (or to review for GymCrafter) is quality. While I’m not necessarily looking for top-of-the-line break-the-bank quality (see Kabuki Strength and Ghost Strong for examples), I am looking for reliably well-made quality. The gear has to stand up to the abuse it will receive in a well-used home gym.
Does the site have multiple options at multiple price points to choose from? Different people have different needs, and a site should cater to that. Some people need basic black bumpers, and others might want high-end calibrated plates.
At the same time, do they have too much to pick from? A sure sign that a site is out for your money first and best interests second is that they have way too much to choose from. You just don’t need 30 different types of power bars. All that does is confuse your customers.
Value for the money.
To me, the term “best” equates to the most value for your money. As an example, Kabuki could reasonably be classed as having the “best” barbells on the market. Their quality and materials are second to none.
But they also cost more than I spent on my first car! To me, they don’t present value for the money. I think there are exceptionally good alternatives at much lower prices. So, those lower-priced options are what I consider the “best.”
It’s all puppy dogs and sunshine when it comes to taking your money. A lot of sites are really good at that. But what about when there’s a problem? What if your shipment is lost or damaged? What if something breaks?
No company made this list if I’ve had multiple poor customer experiences with them.
I don’t care how good their products seem to be, If they don’t take care of you after they take your money, they shouldn’t get your money in the first place!
The best home, garage, and basement gym equipment websites by category.
Below you’ll find all the primary categories of gear you would need to build a “complete” home gym. I’ve included both resistance training and cardio gear.
I have a ton of personal experience with each of these sites. I’ve purchased from them in the past many times. I’ll buy from them again. They are who I recommend to family and friends when they ask.
Best place to buy a squat or power rack for your home gym: Rep Fitness
For all-around build quality, value for your money, available attachments, and looks, I don’t think anyone makes a better power or squat rack than Rep Fitness.
Rep offers a large assortment of attachments and accessories than most and their lat pulldown is especially good. If you will be using your rack as the base for a lot of attachments and accessories, it’s worth it to go with a rack from Rep.
Specifically, check out the PR-4000 and PR-5000 racks. Both are great choices, and either one would be the last rack you’ll ever need to buy. If I were to rebuild my garage gym today and had a bigger budget than I did for my current build, I’d go with a PR-4000 in a heartbeat.
Best place to buy budget squat racks or power racks for your home gym: Titan Fitness
Titan racks are solid, reliable, functional, and exceptionally reasonably priced. That combination makes them my top recommendation when people ask me where to buy their rack when they are also on a budget.
They aren’t the prettiest racks in the world (although they have announced new color options coming in early 2022!), but they do the job as well or better than racks that cost twice as much.
My current rack is a Titan X-3 30″ deep flat foot power rack. I’ve had it for years, and I absolutely love it. I was able to get a rack, bench, and barbell for what the rack alone would have cost at many other places (cough, cough, Rogue, cough, cough). The cost savings Titan offered allowed me to build a great garage gym I love without breaking the bank.
If you are building your gym on a budget and need a rack, look no further than Titan Fitness.
Best place to buy home gym weight benches: Rep Fitness
There is no one out there selling a better or more complete lineup of weight benches for your garage or basement gym than Rep Fitness. In my opinion, it’s the one piece of gear they are the strongest at.
Rep is the only place I send people looking to buy a bench for their home gym!
Best place to buy a barbell for your home gym: American Barbell
When Coop over at Garage Gym Reviews wanted to test a newly released barbell by Rogue, he grabbed an American Barbell bar to compare it to. The reason? In his words, “American barbell has the tightest tolerances of any bar that I’ve seen out of the box.” (see the video here, his comment is at 5:10).
In other words, when it comes to design, build quality, fit, and finish, no one does it better than American Barbell. American Barbell has been around longer than almost any other fitness equipment company doing business today (they started making bars in 1978).
American Barbell makes their bars in the US, and because of that (and their high-quality level), they are not a “value-priced” bar. They certainly aren’t the most expensive bars on the market, but they aren’t the cheapest either. If you have room in your budget, American Barbell is the best place to buy a barbell for your garage gym.
Best place to buy a barbell on a budget for your home gym: Rep Fitness
My personal choice in barbells for my garage gym is a stainless steel bar. They look amazing. Their lack of a coating gives them an excellent feel. And they are the most corrosion-resistant bar you can buy. They are also some of the most expensive bars on the market.
That’s why the barbell I use daily is the Rep Fitness stainless steel Power Bar V2. It’s an end-to-end stainless steel bar that comes in for over a hundred dollars less than the closest competitor. It’s a great bar, and I recommend it all the time.
I’d go with the American Barbell stainless steel bar if I weren’t watching my pennies. But outside of that, Rep Fitness is the best place to go when you want a great bar at a great price. They have plenty of bars to pick from. I’ve tried several of them, and they are all reliable choices!
Best place to buy bumper plates for your home gym: Fringe Sport
Bumper plates should be durable, well-made, and not cost a fortune. That’s where Fringe Sport comes in. They have the most durable bumpers on the market (check this video out where they drop a loaded bar from the top of a building to test them!).
These are some of the only bumper plates you can buy that are made from virgin rubber. This means a much lower odor and less off-gassing of toxic VOCs. Combine that with thoughtful design, construction that will take out any abuse you can dish out, and a great price point, and you have the single best place to buy bumper plates on the interwebs.
Best place to buy rubber-coated weight plates for your home gym: Amazon
When you buy rubber-coated iron weight plates, you want high-quality plates, accurate in weight, and have handles you can actually use as handles.
It’s that last point especially that leads me to recommend the basic XMark rubber coated Olympic plates over and over again. And make sure it’s the basic ones I link below, don’t get the Texas stars or diamond versions!
The other versions sure look cool, but the openings in the plates do not make comfortable handles. This is true of many rubber-coated weight plates out there (even the Rogue and Rep Fitness offerings have this issue.
*This is one of three categories here where I’ll recommend a specific product (the other two are iron plates and adjustable dumbells). All three categories have an easy winner for me, and I don’t think looking at a bunch of options is helpful. Just buy the specific item recommended and move on with your shopping!
Best place to buy standard iron weight plates for your home gym: Vulcan Strength Training Systems
If you look closely, no matter what website you look on to buy basic iron plates, it’s actually the same set of “standard barbell” iron weight plates. The differences only lie in the customer service and pricing on each site.
After a ton of research and price comparison, Vulcan Strength Training Systems is the best place to buy these iron plates. They have the best pricing as well as exceptional customer service.
If you are equipping your garage or basement gym with iron plates, this is the way to go!
Best place to buy adjustable dumbbells for your home gym: Amazon
While there are a lot of different types of adjustable dumbbells on the market (and more are popping up every day), there is still a clear winner in the adjustable dumbbell market… Powerblocks.
I recommend buying your PowerBlocks adjustable dumbbells on Amazon simply because that’s the easiest place to find them. With their wide array of sellers, they seem to have them in stock much more often than any other outlet.
Since PowerBlocks are the same price everywhere (don’t pay over retail if there is low stock, just wait a little bit, they’ll be back in stock at the regular retail price soon!), it makes sense to look for them where they are most likely to have them in stock.
Best place to buy fixed-weight dumbbells for your home gym: Rep Fitness.
If you have the space in your gym and room in your budget, a complete set of fixed-weight dumbbells is the way to go. I’ve tried this type of dumbbell from several different places and always come back to Rep Fitness as the single best place to buy them.
Their quality, selection, and pricing all stand above anyone else offering the same quality product. Rep Fitness is the best place to look if you are in the market for fixed-weight dumbbells.
The best place to buy cardio equipment for your home gym: NordicTrack.
For 19 years, I worked at a store that sold treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and rowers (among a ton of other stuff). They were the number one dealer in the country for every brand they carried (and they carried a lot of brands!).
Whenever I would ask the senior buyer for a recommendation on any cardio machine, he always said the same thing, “Just buy a Nordic Track. You’ll spend a little more, but it will last you forever. And they are nicer than almost anything else you can buy, even at much higher prices.”
Customer after customer after customer reinforced that advice. We got nothing but rave reviews on anything NordicTrack that they bought.
Because cardio machines are big, heavy, expensive, and require assembly, I recommend buying them NordicTrack directly. They offer in-home delivery and assembly as well as financing offers you might not find elsewhere.
Best place to buy cardio machines for your home gym if you are on a budget: Pro-Form.
I have owned a Pro-Form treadmill for years. I bought it when money was tight, and it was the perfect option for my needs. Because Pro-Form offers such high quality across a wide range of price points, they are my go-to recommendation for anyone looking to get a lot for their money when buying a bike, rower, elliptical, or treadmill.
If you are looking to add a cardio machine to your home gym, not break the bank, and still get something that will last and perform well for years, look no further than ProForm.
*I don’t recommend going super cheap on any cardio machine. Amazon is littered with $300 machines, and I can tell you from experience that they will not hold up to regular use!