7 Best Portable Gyms To Use At Home, Work & On The Go

woman using portable gym

If you’re a regular traveler or have ever struggled to drag yourself over to the gym, you’ve probably wished you had a portable gym at hand. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home parent, or your lunch break is the only exercise opportunity you get.

Whatever the case may be, these on-the-go gym sets might just be the answer you’ve been looking for. They come at varying price ranges and quality, and it may be intimidating trying to choose the equipment that best suits you without having tried it yourself.

Luckily for you, we’ve tested and rounded up the best portable gym equipment so you can skip the hours of research and hop straight into your next workout.

What Is a Portable Gym?

Portable gyms are handy sets of workout equipment that are compact and light enough to pack up and move around as you wish. They usually involve the use of resistance bands or tubes and other accessories to deliver an effective full-body or targeted workout.

Portable fitness equipment allows you to keep up with your personal fitness goals wherever you find yourself. This enables you to maintain your fitness levels while traveling, get your heart rate up in the comfort of your own home, or take your workout outside. 

Studies have found resistance bands to be as effective as calisthenics or weighted workouts at strengthening the body. So while portable equipment won’t simulate the full gym experience, you can expect positive results nonetheless.

It’s also an affordable alternative to gym memberships and will take up less space in your home than an elliptical or treadmill would.

Best Portable Gym Buying Guide

Choosing the right portable gym will depend on your fitness goals, budget, and travel needs. Below are a few factors to keep in mind.

Portability

The required level of portability will depend on whether you’re regularly traveling for work or just want to take your workout to the park.

If you don’t want to add to your luggage weight, the Gymwell kit or TRX suspension trainer will work best. If you’re simply taking the kit outside, you probably won’t mind the bulkier or weightier kits.

Space requirements

If you’re living in a small apartment or are considering working out in your office, you may want the kit to be easily stored away. Also, if you don’t have much floor space, the simpler OYO gym may be more suitable than the more versatile kits like the Gonex.

Versatility

If you prefer using a variety of equipment in your workout, an all-in-one kit will be your best bet. But, you may have to compromise on versatility if your space is limited or you need something more portable.

Fitness level

Some portable workout kits have less resistance than others and will thus be better for beginners or those looking for a lighter workout. Other sets, like the Gymwell and Gorilla Bow, have more resistance, making them better for intensive training.

Price

While portable and home gyms cost much less than a weight rack or gym membership, we all have limits on how much we’re willing to spend on equipment. Our list includes both budget and pricier options, both of which add value in one way or another.

Best Portable Exercise Equipment Kits

Whether looking for the best portable home gym or a travel-friendly gym, you’re bound to find your match from our top picks below.

Gonex Portable Home Gym Workout Equipment
  • Portability: Good
  • Space requirements: Average
  • Versatility: Excellent
  • Price: $$$

When it comes to quality, the Gonex portable home gym doesn’t disappoint. At first, its flexible base made us uneasy, but we found it sturdier than expected.

The board has ten buckles on its border where you can attach the fabric-covered resistance bands. You can also weave the resistance bands through multiple loops to increase tension.

While we found the buckles handy, we would have preferred having bands with different resistance levels instead. We found that having to weave the bands through holes to adjust the tension interrupted our workout flow.

That being said, the handy booklet that came with the kit had instructions and diagrams of every possible workout you can imagine. So we had no trouble getting started and finished off with an excellent full-body burn.

With the product being sturdy and of high quality, it weighs a good 20lbs — meaning it’s not the most ideal option for travel. But,it was compact enough to store away in our car boot or cupboard, so if you’re mostly using it at home, the weight might not be much of a hindrance.

Fusion Motion Portable Gym
  • Portability: Great
  • Space requirements: Average
  • Versatility: Excellent
  • Price: $$$

If you’re a beginner in the fitness world, we think this portable home gym may be perfect for you. We loved the variety of accessories that came with the kit and especially appreciated the two sets of resistance bands with varying tension.

However, we found both sets of resistance bands to provide very little tension, which isn’t ideal for those used to heavy lifting but is excellent for lighter exercises. Unless you’re willing to buy stronger bands from a different brand, we wouldn’t recommend this kit for heavy lifters.

While the base design made it compact and easy to store or carry, we noticed the shape of the outer edges limited the width of our squat stance. Nonetheless, we liked that it was strong enough to hold up under even the ‘sturdiest’ of us.

The gym set comes with a detailed booklet that includes various exercise options for different goals and directions on using the correct form. If you’re a bit gym shy, this kit will be great for getting prepped and confident before joining the gym.

BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0 - Full Portable Gym Home Workout Package
  • Portability: Good
  • Space requirements: Minimal
  • Versatility: Excellent
  • Price: $$

The BodyBoss 2.0 is perfect for those looking for a more affordable alternative to the Gonex home gym.

We found the base to be extra sturdy, and the straps and buckles were decent. We appreciated the additional carry bag for all the accessories as it was a challenge trying to fit it into the foldable base.

We have our doubts about the durability of the foam coating on the handles and collapsible workout bar as it was soft and dented easily. But we appreciated the cushioning when doing squats with the bar overhead.

The workout pamphlet that comes with the kit wasn’t of much value as it provided very little information. But a quick search on Youtube rendered tons of workout videos which is great for those of us who like to work out with “company.”

Weighing around 16lbs and being slightly smaller in dimension, we found it easier to travel with. We could easily pop it into our luggage bag or slide it under the sofa for later use.

OYO Personal Gym - Full Body Portable Gym
  • Portability: Excellent
  • Space requirements: Minimal
  • Versatility: Limited to the upper body
  • Price: $$$

We’ll admit the OYO seemed like a gimmick, and we were reluctant to try it out at first. But we were happy to learn that this handheld exercise equipment is surprisingly effective. The nifty SpiraFlex technology used in this device was first designed for NASA astronauts to maintain muscle definition and bone density in space.

But if you’re into weightlifting or looking to gain major muscle, we’ll have to stop you here. The OYO provides a maximum of 25 lbs resistance, which is great for toning and muscle definition but may not deliver much in muscle gains.

While the brand claims that the product is useful for a full-body workout, we mostly used it for upper-body exercises. When it came to leg workouts, we felt awkward and uncomfortable and found squats and lunges with a standard resistance band more effective.

But, in terms of portability and weight, the OYO personal gym wins hands down. We loved its compactness, and, weighing only two pounds, we could easily pop it in a backpack and get going.

TRX All-in-One Suspension Trainer
  • Portability: Excellent
  • Space requirements: Minimal
  • Versatility: Good
  • Price: $$$

Having used the TRX at our local gym, we were happy to see it available online. We already knew what to expect from this simple suspension trainer; quality, durability, and reasonable versatility.

We loved that the kit, which includes a suspension trainer, door anchor, and suspension anchor, could easily fit into a small bag. We also found this the easiest to travel with, as we could pop it over the hotel door and get started.

We appreciated that the free trial was long enough to get the hang of things and learn a few workout routines. Once the trial was over, we hopped over to Youtube, where we found plenty of free cardio and strength exercises.

The suspension trainer is great for pull-ups, planks, lunges, and squats with an extra bit of resistance. But if you’re easily bored and prefer using a variety of workout equipment, you might want to consider the BodyBoss or Fusion Motion instead.

Gymwell Portable Resistance Workout Set
  • Portability: Great
  • Space requirements: Minimal
  • Versatility: Excellent
  • Price: $

If you’re not keen on carrying a workout base around, the Gymwell is the best alternative. The well-thought-out ankle straps serve as attachment points instead.

We found this set to incorporate many of the features we wished other kits would have — like the varied sets of resistance bands.

You can use anything from 30lbs resistance to 120lbs — making it one of the more challenging resistance bands we’ve seen. We also appreciated that the bands came in two different lengths to accommodate different workout positions.

The collapsible bar, consisting of three parts, made us even more excited, as it allowed us to use it as a squat bar or a narrower pull bar.

The illustrations on the workout pamphlet and cards that came with the Gymwell set were OK. But we found the free workout videos on their website to be more helpful.

Overall, for its relatively low price point, we found this well-thought-through portable fitness kit to be the most accommodating and provide the most value for money.

Gorilla Bow Portable Home Gym
  • Portability: Excellent
  • Space requirements: Minimal
  • Versatility: Great
  • Price: $$$

We’ll be the first to admit that this bow seemed a bit silly at first. And, being the most expensive portable equipment on our list, we had very high expectations.

To our relief, the Gorilla Bow did not disappoint. The bow, consisting of aircraft aluminum, felt durable and surprisingly light. And the different double-walled latex band sets that came with it felt secure and of excellent quality.

While we’d recommend the collapsible Gorilla Bow Travel, there is a range of different Gorilla bows to choose from. If you’ve got space to spare and don’t mind walking around with a giant bow, the Original Gorilla Bow will save you a few bucks.

For us, the highlight of the Gorilla bow was the fact that we could buy additional bands at various resistance levels. This allowed us to top up the resistance to an impressive 350lbs. So if you’re a heavy lifter, the Gorilla Bow is your best bet.

There’s not much to pick apart with this simple setup. The only thing we wished was added to the bands were labels indicating the different resistance levels. We got creative and improvised with some tape and a marker, but it would have been nice to skip the arts and crafts.

Exercises Portable Gyms Are Suited For

You may be wondering whether resistance bands or free weights may be best for you. The short answer is that it depends.

If your goal is to tone your muscles and lose weight, resistance bands are a great option. Resistance bands are often used in physical therapy as they cause less strain on muscles. This makes it an excellent choice for people of all ages and strength levels, as there’s less risk of straining. 

Resistance band equipment does, however, have its downsides that are worth considering before making a purchase. Resistance bands won’t last as long as weights would. They’re more likely to snap after years of use and may lose their elasticity over time — reducing their amount of resistance.

If you’re a beginner aiming to start building muscle, resistance bands will help you gain a relative amount, but you’re bound to reach a plateau. Not only because there’s a limit to the amount of tension most resistance training equipment has but also because it’s hard to measure how much resistance the bands provide.

With weights, you have complete control over how much you’re lifting and can keep progressing by adding more weight. One of the best methods for bulking up, after all, is progressive overload. So if you’re looking to build muscle, weights are the best option. 

But, when you can’t purchase expensive weights or can’t take them on a flight, portable gyms are the perfect tools for maintaining muscle mass wherever you are. 

Portable gyms allow you to target various muscle groups. While you can use each kit in multiple ways, the following exercises are good to start with: 

  • Hip abductions
  • Pull-ups
  • Bench press
  • Pulldowns
  • Tricep extensions
  • Shoulder press
  • Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Reverse wood chop

Best Portable Home Gyms – Summary

We genuinely love the idea of a portable gym and think the concept has a lot of potential. While certain kits had elements we felt needed improvement, we were overall impressed and think you’ll be too.

We feel that these portable gyms are not only great for their portability, but they’re also excellent starter kits for anyone embarking on their fitness journey. They allow you to explore different exercises and see what works best for you.

We’re all about at-home fitness, and these kits, averaging around $150, seem like an excellent option for a full-body burn. If you’re looking for an equally portable and effective option at a lower price point, check out this guide on the best parallettes on the market.

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