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It’s so hard to narrow down one single choice as to what is the single best portable exercise equipment right now.
If I could only choose one item, it would be the WOD Nation jump rope. But if you want something more complete with a bit of “oomph”, then the TRX GO is an excellent piece of home gym equipment for small spaces.
But, before you make your choice, consider checking out the other compact exercise machines for small spaces below.
There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or not!
Best portable workout equipment comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)
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Compact cardio in small spaces
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Use while working
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Emulating being in a gym
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These best portable exercise equipment reviews contain an all-manner of different options to emulate the gym, different types of fitness and to enhance your training workout at home or on the move, whether you want a resistance workout, something for cardio or want to focus on building muscle.
1. WOD Nation speed jump rope (the overall best handheld exercise equipment)
It would be sacrilege to exclude a jump rope from this list. Simply because, a jump rope is by far the most compact handheld piece of equipment you’ll ever find, and right now, this WOD Nation speed jump rope is the best of the bunch, for me.
Of course, there’s a place for static small home cardio equipment like the various ones I’ve covered below, but for something simple and easy to pack in your bag for traveling, or simple storage at home, look no further. You’ll also find other options in our best home exercise equipment reviews.
Not only that, but some view a jump rope as one of the most complete pieces of workout equipment.
But why this specific jump rope out of the thousands out there?
Build quality. WOD Nation, time-and-time-again, delivers the best quality in its products, and I’ve been using this particular skipping rope for a good few months with no issues. In particular, you’ve got some high-quality ball bearings, but you may need to tighten them from time to time.
Not only is it affordable, but the set comes with two thick cables for replacements. But honestly, if you’re using this rope correctly, you won’t need to change these up for a long time.
In addition, the 2.5mm cable is coated for protection, but the coating will wear away if you use it on concrete, asphalt or cement—but this is the case with any jump rope! A single cable will simply last you years 🙂
The set also offers simple storage and portability due to the included carry case. Simply pop it in and take it wherever you go.
Something to be aware of is that while the cables are adjustable, you’ll need to cut them yourself rather than using an adjustable mechanism. While this can be a hindrance, you’ll only need to do it once if you’re using them for yourself as opposed to sharing them with a partner or kid.
2. TRX GO Suspension Trainer System (best portable exercise system)
It’s really hard to look beyond ANY of the TRX all-in-one suspension training systems, but in terms of the most portable options, the TRX GO is, right now, the best portable home solution.
In particular, it’s designed to be used while traveling (not literally while you’re driving or on the train or plane!) or for a simple storage option at home. This is solely down to it being two things:
- Excellent to store
Despite it being so lightweight, the quality is exceptional, with customers raving how sturdy and secure it is when fixing up to door frames and other fixed positions at home, in the garage or on the go.
And, this is the case even if you’re a lightweight or heavyweight. 90 or 100kgs plus? No problemo for the TRX GO!
Something else to love about the TRX GO is how easy it is to pick up and use. Not only is this due to the excellent design but also the included training videos, which are great for both resistance training and cardio.
These workouts are accessed via an included key card, but note that sometimes this isn’t included in error. By simply contacting the manufacturer, this has been quickly rectified and isn’t a common problem.
Aimed at both beginners and those with more experience, you can work any part of your body, focusing on certain areas or going for the complete full-body workout. When you’re done, simply pack it away for easy storage.
Just be careful to not pull too close to the anchor points. Even though the build is very sturdy, nothing is breakable; not even the TRX GO.
3. Total Gym XLS (best small exercise equipment for apartment use)
If you need apartment-size exercise equipment, then the Total Gym XLS is a great option since it provides a wide range of exercises in such a small space, which customers love.
It offers an all-in-one solution without needing extra bells and whistles. Once it’s set up, you can alter the equipment to suit your needs. You can also simply fold it up and store it away when done.
Sure, it doesn’t have the compactness that the TRX system above offers, but it isn’t just a resistance exercise option like the TRX GO is.
It offers over 80 exercises in just one piece of equipment, which is incredible! These include:
- resistance training
- strength training
- bodyweight exercises
- and more!
The main premise of the Total Gym XLS is using gravity to work you harder, which comes from the sloped angle of the bench. When you combine this with the six resistance levels, you’re guaranteed a complete workout.
It’s especially excellent if you’re recovering from injury, with customers of all ages raving how the system has encouraged them back from injury.
One thing to watch out for is that it can be a bit tricky to set up initially. However, once this is done, you won’t have any issues using it and storing it afterward.
Right now, this is one of the best exercise equipment for a small apartment that you can buy; there’s no doubt about it!
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4. Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper (best compact cardio equipment for small spaces)
Need a low-impact fitness system that’s portable, affordable and easy to store at home? This Sunny Health stepper is an excellent option for just this as space saving cardio equipment. This portable exercise machine is perfect for home workouts or even when traveling.
A stand-out feature is the adjustable resistance, allowing you to find that just-right intensity for your workout, which combines well with the non-slip pedals—these have textured surfaces for a stable stepping experience.
Furthermore, it features an LCD console that displays time, calories, rep count functions and scan mode—essentially, everything you need to get the basics done during your home workout.
All-in-all, it’s an excellent portable workout machine—easy to store away when not in use and quick to set up when you’re ready to sweat it out! Customers rave at is compactness and being able to store it under their bed—pulling it out and working out within seconds.
While most of the users are super-happy-steppers, there are reports that the mechanism broke after a few months. It seems this is due to a rare defect, and the products were replaced without fuss and without repeated incidents.
Something else to keep in mind is it being limited to just low-impact stepping. Sure, the resistance bands add another dimension to your workouts, but if you’re after a more rigorous cardio workout while still using something portable, check out the UREVO 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill below.
5. UREVO 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill (Top space saving cardio equipment)
Imagine being able to use a treadmill while working at your desk. With the UREVO under-desk treadmill, you can do just this! I know some of you might scoff at combining exercise and work, but it’s becoming more of a need in our busy lives.
If you’re struggling to get outside to get your 10k daily steps in (which is always a better option), this is an excellent solution to your problems.
Reading emails, logging into Zooms, doing homework, watching a movie—all possible while using this high-quality under-desk treadmill.
Sure, you’d need to have a standing desk to do this effectively, but you could actually use the UREVO while sitting down—it would just feel a bit awkward!
Right now, the UREVO is one of the best cardio equipment for small spaces due to its foldability. It stores really neatly in any space in your home, office, garage, or anywhere else you need it to. Why not just keep it stored under your desk? Or permanently erected?
(Be sure to have a look at the best small space home office gym combo ideas if you need more options for a home office).
It has all you need from a traditional treadmill, such as different speed settings, LED display to track time, distance and calories burned. This is all done via remote control, avoiding that awkward wobbly finger when trying to push buttons and running (come on! you know you’ve done that).
Customers love how easy it is to “plug and play”… it’s usable straight out of the box, and very simply to get set up. This is enhanced by the included wheels, allowing for easy installation and moving around both before and after your workout.
In addition, if you live with neighbors close-by, such as in an apartment, it doesn’t make a lot of noise, which is a factor customers look for, whether it’s for use during work or for recreational purposes and not annoying the rest of the household!
No matter if you need a solution for occasional use or for regular, daily workouts, it’s most definitely a valuable option. Just note that sometimes the motor can get a bit heated, but this is only during excessive use and it cools quickly.
6. Escape Fitness Deck V2.0 Workout Platform (top fold away fitness equipment)
Foldable workout equipment is becoming more and more in demand as the work from home trend continues and we juggle to balance work, fitness, kids and everything else we cram into the short days.
With this in mind, Escape Fitness has come up with an excellent workout platform with the V2.0 Fitness Deck. While other workout platforms/benches/decks are flimsy and unstable, the Escape Fitness workout platform is sturdy and robust while remaining lightweight (at 30 pounds) and simple to store. It also comes with included resistance bands! (Be sure to read up on the best resistance bands!)
Customers rave at how it’s the perfect compliment to their already-set-up garage or home gym due to it being a high-quality piece of collapsible exercise equipment. Not only is it ideal for general cardio workouts but also doubles-up as a weights bench for barbell bench presses, your usual dumbbell bicep curls, as a stepping platform or for a resistance band workout.
(Check out our reviews on the best barbell for home gym use for more detailed info on barbells)
This versatility is largely due to it boasting 16 adjustable configurations but also thanks to the included resistance band. In addition, there’s space underneath the seat for storage: ideal for storing a bag, resistance bands/tubes, dumbbells, ab roller, ankle straps, towels, water bottles, pre-workout, protein and anything else you can think of!
If you’re lacking in space at home or in the office, it really is an excellent option, no matter if you want to build strength, to develop your core, use free weights, or anything else that you’d usually use the bench in your local gym for.
In fact, this bench will do everything your gym bench does, and more, while remaining durable and with excellent portability. And, this applies no matter your shape or size. 230+ pounds? No problem!
Once thing to note that is that it might not be high enough—up to 14″ off the ground—although customers report that they can still do all their usual workouts on it; it just takes a bit of adjusting to get used to the height change. At the lowest setting, it’s around 8 to 9″ off the ground.
7. DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine (ideal while working at your desk)
If the UREVO treadmill above is too much for you to handle, the DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine is much smaller and still gets you that workout while you’re at your desk.
This elliptical is designed to fit under most desks since it’s nice and compact, with dimensions of 23″D x 18″W x 10″H. So if you need a piece of portable workout equipment that you don’t have to keep storing and getting out each time, this could be the one!
Not only that, but it’s incredibly quiet, which surprised us as well as customers, who talk about how their colleagues don’t even notice the gentle whirring sound when it’s in use.
They might be asking questions after they notice you glancing down at the LCD screen to track your time, distance, speed, and calories burned, though!
Customers also rave at how the adjustable resistance levels allow them to customize their workout accordingly. Sure, it’s just an elliptical, but some workout while you’re at your desk is better than none, right?
Don’t be put off if you just need something for gentle exercise, either. With the 8 different resistant levels and optional feet placement (thanks to the long and wide footrests), you can take it as casually or as fast as you need. Sometimes, just getting some motion through the legs is enough for some customers.
Overall, this elliptical machine is a great choice for anyone looking to stay active while they work. It is a bit heavier than people first expect, so keep this in mind when you buy. It’s still very much a portable unit, though, while remaining sturdy and not shifting in situ.
8. OYO Personal Gym (great for travel)
The OYO Personal Gym is a portable and versatile piece of fitness equipment that can be used at home, in the office or while traveling. It’s most definitely a go-to option for those who travel lots due to its compatibility.
Customers love how it offers a wide range of exercises that target all the major muscle groups, from your arms and shoulders to your legs and abs. It’s also easy to adjust, making it suitable for users of all fitness levels.
Note only does it provide a full-body workout, but one of the key features of the OYO Personal Gym is its resistance technology, which is based on NASA SpiraFlex and ensures a smooth and consistent resistance.
In particular, the OYO full-body gym has helped some back from injuries and severe accidents to rebuild not only muscle strength and mass but also cardiovascular conditioning.
Note that this piece of equipment will only take you so far with building muscle, though. It has a maximum capacity and some report that it’s too low for them.
Also, most customers report that the build quality is high, although there are reports of units breaking far too soon. Since the team at OYO Fitness are well-known for high-quality products, the quality issues are rare.
9. MBB ab-crunch machine
If you don’t want an all-body piece of equipment at home but would rather just hone those abs, then the MBB ab-crunch machine is worth checking out.
One thing customers particularly love about this ab machine is the comfortable, padded seat. There’s nothing worse than your butt hurting from doing crunches (I must start using a yoga mat more!). This makes it perfect for those of you who don’t have much, let’s say, “natural” padding in the rear.
Staying on this point briefly, just be aware that the hand grip can rub on the skin, especially if you’re prone to sweaty hands. A good way to combat this is with some basic workout gloves.
Having high comfort levels is also an attractive feature for beginners and the elderly who are looking for high levels of support. It’s a simple feature that adds to the basic, yet effective, nature of this high-quality device.
In addition, the ease of use of the different modes is great to see, with three core exercise options:
These, with the five intensity settings, create a total of 21 different exercise modes, making it easy to create diversity and prevent boredom. Who said that the only ab exercise was a basic crunch, huh?!
Customers also love that it’s easy to transport at home, which is thanks to how compact it is.
Overall, YOU get to choose your workout and in comfort in as little as 8 minutes per day. Something is better than nothing, and this is more accessible since it’s so compact—an excellent option for beginners and the elderly.
One final thing to mention is that it comes pre-made, so there’s no need to worry about dusting off your toolbox, and you’ll get working those abs instantly.
10. INNSTAR Portable Home Resistance Kit (top compact home gym system)
INNSTAR is renowned for its world-class resistance bands, of that there’s no doubt. So, why should you consider this INNSTAR portable home resistance kit over any of its other products or a competitor like the Bodyboss 2.0? (Note: you can check more on the BodyBoss in our BodyBoss vs Gorilla Bow comparison)
Well, this product is deliberately designed to emulate working out in a gym. Perhaps the best way to showcase is by looking at the included parts:
- 1x bench press resistance band
- 1x training bar
- 4x resistance bands
- 2x handles
- 2x ankle cuffs
- 2x foot straps
- 2x door anchors
The standout element here is the bench press resistance band, which effectively allows you to mirror every workout that you’d do in the gym but at home WITHOUT having to invest heavily in a bench press and all the extra kit needed.
This combines well with the training bar, to which you can attach the resistance bands to perform classic exercises, such as:
- Bicep curls
- And more!
Even if you’re a beginner and need some guidance, customers comment on how the included workout manual for the 40 potential exercises helped them get started, build core strength, get leaner, fitter and stronger.
Having that variation is key to sustained exercise and not getting bored quickly—that’s not solely the case with resistance bands workouts but also with weightlifting, powerlifting, cardio and bodyweight exercises.
But, whether you’re a beginner or are more experienced with working out in general, there are different resistance levels for you to tailor your product to your needs.
In addition, you can combine long resistance bands with short ones in the different resistance packages. Here’s the breakdown:
- Beginner (85lb resistance)—long bands: A-Camo Blue
- Beginner (85lb resistance)—long & short bands: B-Camo Blue
- Intermediate (120lb resistance)—long bands only: A-Camo Green
- Advanced (160lb resistance)—long & short bands: B-Camo Brown
- Advanced (160lb resistance)—long bands: A-Camo Brown
Top tip: Go for one of the long & short combos to vary your workout 🙂
This all sounds great, and it feels like there’s a lot of equipment to store at home, so what makes it compact? Simply bundle all the gear up into the included carrying bag.
Just be aware that customers comment on how the zip broke on the carrying bag too easily, but this could have been a freak incident or poor care from the user.
11. MAXPRO portable cable home gym (best compact home gym system for the techies)
It’s definitely a tough call between the MAXPRO cable home gym compared to the INNSTAR option above for this review, but just know that they’re both high-quality compact pieces of equipment.
I’d say the biggest difference between them is three-fold; this MAXPRO option:
- Has cables rather than bands
- Is more for the tech-savvy
- Contains mounting brackets
Cables might benefit you better since they provide consistent tension through the workout, as soon as you start, whereas resistance bands gradually work as you put more tension through them.
And, since you’re not swapping resistance bands in and changing their length to alter the resistance level, workout customization comes from the dial that allows you to turn the resistance up to 300lbs (which is much more than the INNSTAR can do).
If you’re thinking 300lbs of resistance is too much for you, the lowest setting starts at only 5lbs of resistance—perfect for beginners and those recovering from injuries.
While they both focus on a resistance-style of workout, you’re encouraged to hook yourself up to online workouts and tracking your progress with the MAXPRO home gym kit via Bluetooth. You’ll also get access to an app with plenty of analytics and coaches to help evaluate your progress.
In terms of equipment, you get:
- 1x base unit
- 1x heavy-duty long bar
- 2x ankle/wrist straps
- 2x workout handles
- 2x door mounting brackets
- 1x USB charger
This might seem like a short and basic list of equipment, but thanks to the tech capabilities, you can perform these types of workouts with the kit:
Just note that there isn’t much wiggle-room for eccentrics workouts, but you can just about do them on the lightest resistance setting.
Even so, customers love how customizable it is while being insanely company and portable, weighing in at less than 9lbs. Some do comment on how expensive it is, but when you factor in the saving from going to a gym each month, it pays back between 12 and 18 months.
On a final note—the MAXPRO kit is endorsed by the mountain of a man and personality that is Shaquille O’Neal, so that definitely adds some weight!
12. Daiwa Rodeo Core (high-quality cardio portable workout machine)
While the Daiwa Rodeo Core may look like you’re about to ride a rodeo bull at a wedding party, it’s actually an intense portable exercise machine that targets the butt, abs and legs.
The team behind the Rode Core claims that just 10 minutes is the equivalent of doing 100 sit-ups. I’d say the jury is out on that claim, but there’s no doubting that the movements needed to build momentum most-definitely ensure you’re working the abs and core, as well as thighs.
To get started, you simply start to rock back and forth to build momentum, mirroring the proper bucking bronco motion, while holding onto the handle. This instantly engages the muscles around your core and needs sustained effort to keep going.
The knock-on effect of this is a cardio workout for those areas, but you can also add in light dumbbells like these to work the upper body at the same time. Just be sure to get used to the Rodeo Core without weights first before adding in more complexity.
What’s also great about this small home cardio equipment is how simple it is to move around and store. No electricity is needed so you don’t need to be near a power source. This makes it usable anywhere at home! Also, the system comes mostly pre-assembled so you can get started really quickly.
One thing to be aware of is how uncomfortable the seat can be. It might be worth adding an additional foam layer between your butt and the seat, especially if you’re not used to working out while sat down.
In addition, if you’re near the 5’4″ height region, you’ll need to use the highest setting. Anything below this and you’ll need to sit on a cushion or something similar (which will actually help with the extra butt-padding, anyway!)
13. SereneLife Folding Electric Treadmill
Who of you out there have been put-off buying a treadmill for home because you feel they’re too big and bulky and will drown your space at home?
Well, the SereneLife folding electric treadmill is certainly a compact option that can be comfortably tucked away under the bed, stood up in the corner or in the storage closet with the ironing board (do people still “do” ironing these days?!)
In addition, you won’t need to be built like the world’s strongest person to move it around thanks to the wheels for easy maneuvering. Once wheeled in place, simply fold the handle down, or fold the handle down first to get into the tighter spaces.
You’d be forgiven for assuming such a compact and simple treadmill would just be a self-momentum-creating piece of kit, but it’s a fully electric treadmill and is very plug-and-play with the included 5ft power cord.
Customers comment on how well the LCD display works to keep track of:
- Calories burned, and
Not only that but you can customize your workout via the touch controls and remote control to increase and decrease the speed. One thing to note is that it isn’t as customizable compared to a 3G Cardio machine that you’re more likely to find in your local gym, but the trade-off is the compactness for home use.
Staying with the remote control… customers have noted that theirs are either inconsistent, drain the battery quickly or break easily. Despite this, there’s been no issue getting replacements, which then worked just fine.
Naturally, it also has an emergency off button in case you need to stop in a hurry (Don’t be a TikTok sensation and wipe out on the treadmill!)
14. Lululemon Studio Mirror (formerly, “Mirror”)
Ever imagined working out at home in front of a mirror that doubles as a streaming medium? With the Lululemon Studio Mirror, you essentially watch the instructor in the mirror while seeing yourself workout.
With over 10,000 classes from 60 different categories, customers praise the variety of pre-loaded workouts they get. And that’s not forgetting the daily live streams if you prefer to do a live workout with an instructor and friends (or even strangers).
Sure, it’s confusing at first since you can also use the 5 megapixel camera to see your friends during the workouts, too. It’s a pretty cool gimmick but has inspired thousands to get off their hinies and work out.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the mirror is going to be this massive, cumbersome thing sat in your home, taking up loads of space and not being portable. But actually, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it’s 56″ tall (142cm), 22.4″ wide (57cm) and 1.4″ deep (3.6cm).
Even so, it is 70 pounds (32kg) in weight, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of storing it after each use. Some customers who are new to fitness and lifting found it to be a bit of an effort to do this each time. Perhaps plan ahead of where you want the mirror to sit at home to alleviate this.
If you do want it to be in a fixed position at home, it’s easily wall-mountable, but also comes with a carbon steel stand, so you don’t have to prop it up wherever you place it.
While it isn’t the most portable, customers rave at the high level of production, which is largely due to the frame being carbon steel, giving it some robustness. It’s also finished with a mineral bronze coating, making it look and feel stylish, suiting most home decors.
Finally, in terms of functionality, you’ll need a WiFi connection and access to an Android or iOS device to control the Mirror via an app. In addition, it pairs with Bluetooth devices for both audio and heart rate monitoring, such as Apple Watches.
One thing to be aware of is that after the up-front cost, you’ll need to pay a monthly sub. But, this balances out with not having to commit financially to a regular gym.
Criteria behind the best portable gym equipment selections
You’d think that going through home gym reviews and filtering for small workout equipment is a case of the very smallest choices being the best.
Well, it’s really not that simple. With well over 300 different products out there (I’m sure it’s much more than that!), you also need to factor in stability, how resistant the products are to wear and tear, safety features, and so much more.
Importantly, I filtered the products down into 3 different categories, in which I give you my top picks below:
- Inherently small
- Suitable for small spaces
- Ideal for travel
Inherently small exercise equipment
These options are simply ones that are small by design. They’re the perfect options for simple home storage and usually fit under beds, next to wardrobes and tucked away out of sight.
Being the most lightweight mini exercise equipment, you could also consider these for taking with you on your travels.
The stand-out small home gym equipment for this category from the above product list is the WOD Nation speed jump rope.
Compact exercise equipment for small spaces
Maybe you’re looking for something more expansive than say a skipping rope and want something for exercises like strength-building and cardio but only have a limited space at home. Or, maybe you live in a tiny apartment?
For me, the best exercise equipment for small spaces is the Total Gym XLS. It compacts down really well and doesn’t take up a lot of space when in use.
Having a piece of home exercise equipment for small spaces like this kicking around is an excellent solution when you need to mirror a gym’s setup without wanting the gym commute or the monthly outgoing.
Small gym equipment suitable for travel
Theoretically, you could travel with any of the options I’ve covered, but the simplest one for sliding into the boot of your car, your backpack, or even your pocket is the WOD Nation speed jump rope.
But, if you wanted something more substantial to take with you, even the TRX GO is a viable option due to how small and compact it is while providing a wide variety of workout options.
A notable mention goes to the OYO Personal Gym, which is also an excellent traveling choice.
What is the best compact workout equipment for me? Our conclusion
So, there you have it! The ultimate compact home gym equipment list you could ever ask for.
While there’s no best time to buy exercise equipment, the market is more competitive than ever due to us needing that work-from-home life balance.
If I could only pick one of the options (this is something I ask my kids, and it never works), you can’t ignore the overall impact a jump rope can bring to your life. So, the WOD Nation speed jump rope has to be the top choice.
Sure, it’s going to give you more of a cardio workout than anything else, but there’s a reason why CrossFitters and boxers swear by the benefits it can give you.
If you want something more complete; something that gives you a combination of resistance and strength training, then the TRX GO is an excellent choice.
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