This may come as a shock to you (not!), but not everyone has a huge-a*s garage to build a home gym that would make Bob Harper green with envy.
So, if you have tiny-apartment issues, these 6 too-good-to-pass-up exercise machines for small spaces are just what you need.
What's Inside This Article?
The Best Exercise Machines For Small Spaces, My POV
Out of all the exercise machines for small spaces that are out there, the one I really appreciate the most (mainly because I’ve once experienced it before) is the Stamina ATS Air Power Rowing Machine.
The machine is able to make you work out both on cardio and strength by putting you in aerobic mode and toning the muscles at the same time.
Thanks to its high-quality design, it also slides very easily, and the floor pads make sure it’s planted into the floor, minimizing any accidents or injuries.
And yeah, it costs more than most of the picks on this list, but in my opinion, it’s a lifetime investment that’ll deliver, no matter what.
Other names on my list are:
- Relife Rebuild Your Life Power Tower
- Emson Flex Force Resistance Chair Gym
- Bowflex Select Tech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
The 6 Best Exercise Machines For Small Spaces, Reviewed
- Built-In LCD Display Shows Your Progress
- Adjustable Height Knob Provides WorkoutVariety
- Long-Lasting Design
- Detachable Resistance Bands Target Upper Body As Well
- Anti-Slip Foot Plates Keep You Safe
- Easy on the Joints
- Squeals Occasionally Which Can Be Annoying
I’ll be honest: Cardio, especially the static kind- isn’t my cup of tea (or strong suit, for that matter).
So, whenever I do something cardio-esque, it’s because I need to take a break from the weights.
However, this small-space twist stepper does so much more than just increase the heart rate.
First off, the knee-friendly design helps to work on your legs, from glutes to calves, without putting excess stress on your joints.
It also has an adjustable height knob, so you can fine-tune it depending on how deep you want to go.
This may add variety to your workouts, depending on which muscle groups you want to target.
It also has a set of detachable resistance bands attached that allows you to work your upper body (arms, chest, shoulders) whenever you feel like it – so, always.
I like that it’s made from heavy-duty materials, which means it’s in it for the long haul.
Its anti-slip foot pads help to stay put during a workout, even if you choose to wear no socks or shoes (you’ll be at home, after all!).
The machine also features an LCD display, which enables you to keep track of your progress, from how many calories you burned to how long you’ve been training.
- Foldable, Space-Saving Design
- Several Stability Feats (Suction Cups, etc.)
- Durable Materials
- Multiple Height Settings for Variety in Workouts
- Springs Reduce Impact on Joints
- 2-Year Warranty
- Not Fit for Super-Tall Guys
When you don’t have enough floor space to spread out all your workout sh*t, the only logical thought is to go vertical.
I decided to consider this climber thinking on the matter of a very limited amount of space. In my opinion, this is literally the most efficient vertical climber I could recommend.
This Sports Royals climber comes with 5 adjustable height settings, which means you can easily regulate the machine based on the intensity that you want to achieve.
I’m also a fan of its surprisingly sturdy design, which provides stability, no matter how hard you work out.
Specifically, it features a triangular structure that distributes your weight evenly and keeps it from caving, and it also has suction cups at the bottom, which prevent it from sliding.
It’s also made of frosted steel, which in my experience, can last for years on end without corroding.
Thanks to the springs at the bottom, it also reduces the impact on your knees and ankles.
But, the best thing about this machine is that it takes almost zero space when stored.
In fact, it folds and ends up covering 20% of its original scope.
Oh, and for those of you who want to keep track of your progress, note that it has an LCD monitor that records your workout stats, including your time, speed, and distance covered.
- Stable, Safe-to-Use Design
- High Weight Capacity
- LCD Monitor Records Your Progress
- Padded Seat and Handles Make it Easier to Use
- Angled Rail Supports Smooth Sliding
- Easy to Store
- Non-Adjustable Drag
Call me an idiot, but the main reason I am investing my reputation in this rowing machine is that I know it can deliver the best of both worlds.
We all know that rowing blurs the lines between cardio and resistance training. So, I took my chances with this model, and it came out pretty decent.
First off, its well-thought-out design is able to activate almost 90% of your body’s muscles, which means you don’t have to top it off with lifts every time you crack it open.
Its LCD monitor also keeps a record of your “stats,” allowing you to compare your efficiency between workouts.
It also has a padded seat and adjustable footplates, which make each pull feel more natural.
And let’s not forget the floor protectors which keep the thing put at all times.
The weight capacity on the model is 250lbs, which means it can even accommodate a fully grown adult.
It has a 3-year frame (and one-year parts) warranty, so even if it caves down the road, you’re 100% covered.
The two major drawbacks I think this product has are: it is very expensive for a piece of small-space exercising equipment, and doesn’t come with adjustable drag for tailoring the workout to your needs.
- Adjustable Height, Back Cushion & Armrests
- Secure, Stable Design
- Durable Materials
- Lifetime Warranty on Spare Parts
- Squeaks Most of the Times
At first glance, this exercise machine looks like the ultimate space-hogger.
But, trust me, it’s not. Its footprint is pretty small as it utilizes mostly vertical space.
Plus, it’s designed to use your body’s weight, so there’s no need to stock up on dumbbells or kettlebells, which also saves you some space.
By nature, the machine accommodates a wide variety of exercises, from pull-ups to knee raises.
You can also adjust its height (it has 9 levels, indeed), so it can accommodate even the tallest of guys.
The back cushion can be fine-tuned depending on your chest size.
Now, when it comes to safety, the model has a locknut, which prevents the nut from falling when the machine is under extreme pressure, or it’s vibrating like crazy.
It features rotatable suction cups, which increase the station’s stability.
Unlike most power towers, it also features a padded armrest that adjusts based on the workout you want to perform.
IMO, that could spare you from lots of trouble, discomfort, and time.
The only thing that bugs me is the squeaking noise it makes when resting all the bodyweight on it.
- Accommodates Multiple Exercises Targeting Many Muscle Groups
- Easy to Assembly
- Foldable Design is Great for Small Spaces
- Comes with Warranty
- Heavy to Move Around
- Low Resistance Maintains Your Current Muscle Mass (Doesn’t Build More)
Buying a resistance chair that looks a lot like a mini home gym may seem counterintuitive (at least, when it comes to saving space), but this model makes the difference.
Sporting a foldable design and fitting in any closet (no joke!), this resistance chair is excellent for pretty much any city dweller with a small-ish apartment.
If you’re wondering what the heck is a resistance chair, well, it’s a chair with a set of dynamic bands attached on both sides.
Working a lot like chest fly machines (you just use resistance bands instead of armrests), the device allows you to perform an array of exercises such as curls, flyes, and presses.
In fact, it can accommodate up to 50 different activities, helping you work your upper body in one go.
But, don’t expect to grow huge muscles with this one as the resistance can only go so far.
IMO, it’s suitable for just preserving a small amount of gained muscle or just toning the body on those days (or weeks) when you can’t hit the gym.
Another thing I liked is that it comes almost completely assembled.
The only things that need to be installed are the seat and three separate pieces.
- User-Friendly Dial System for Adding/Removing Plates
- Dial System Keeps Plates Secure in Spot
- Special Molding Makes Lift-Off Easier
- Multiple Increments Reduce Clutter
- 2-Year Warranty
I know, I know!
Dumbbells are -technically- not machines, but the set of weights is a great piece of assets to hold on to for anyone with a small space and lots of will to build muscle.
Plus, the pair comes with multiple 2.5-pound increments, so it does require some basic setting.
That also means that you can adjust them based on your current strength and work your way up as you grow stronger. FYI, it weighs 52.5 pounds in total.
If you do the math, you’ll see that it combines 15 different dumbbells into one, so you can’t save more space than that.
The built-in dial system also makes the loading and unloading process a breeze, while keeping the plates secure in their spot.
I like the molding around the plates, which is flexible and makes lift-off that much easier.
Some of my favorite exercises that can be done with this pair include curls, deadlifts, and chest presses.
They also come with a 2-year warranty, which compared to most products on the market today, it’s more than we could ask for.
The Best Exercise Machines For Small Spaces Buying guide
Choosing the best gym equipment for small spaces is -ironically- no easy feat.
So, before you shell out your hard-earned cash on something that won’t do the trick, pay attention to these must-consider factors.
It seems obvious that the equipment you pick for your small apartment should be space-efficient – but that’s not always the case.
Well, the truth is I’ve seen many guys spend hundreds of dollars on equipment that is supposedly “compact” when it’s really not.
To avoid such a scenario, my advice is to always measure both the machine and the corner of your apartment you’re going to fit it into.
Being able to store your equipment easily is also a plus for when you go machine shopping.
That’s why you should watch out for gear that is either foldable, can be easily stowed in a closet or under the bed, or just takes up vertical space.
This feature is more of a nice-to-have than a must-have as some machines are designed to focus on one type of training or area on your body.
However, if you want to fuse multiple types of training or target various muscle groups, it’d be wise to invest in an exercise machine that accommodates a variety of working styles, from cardio to resistance training.
I know, these machines are few and far between, but they do exist (I’m looking at you, resistance chair!), and if they’re adequately manufactured, they can do a killing job.
This quality varies from person to person, but I think most of us don’t want to spend a good fraction of our paycheck on equipment.
And since we’re talking about small-space exercise machines, I’m going to go ahead and guess that none of us wants to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars.
IMO, anything more than that sends you straight to the home-gym field, which is a league of its own.
You should also take into account your fitness goals.
That said, you should opt for an elliptical, bike, vertical climber, or small-space treadmill if your goal is to build up your cardio.
On the other hand, if you want to increase your strength, you should keep an eye out for a workout station, resistance chair, or a compact power tower.
If you’re going to do a little bit of both, rowing machines (which btw, are great for posture) and foldable home gyms are where it’s at.
Apartment’s Aesthetics (Optional)
Disclaimer: This isn’t something that you should lose your sleepover, but if you are a guy who likes to keep his house neat, the machine’s aesthetic also plays a huge role.
From the color to the shape (to how it looks against your wall), each device comes with specific features that could make your house look coordinated and symmetrical or just a hot mess.
So, make sure you check out these feats if you want to keep things harmonical.
You don’t need to stick with only one exercise machine. If your budget allows you to, it is pretty practical to get a set of two or three.
If for instance, you decide to pick just one, my top recommendation would be Stamina ATS Air Power Rowing Machine as it combines the best from cardio and a little bit of strength training.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!