Whether you’ve got a busy schedule or simply prefer to break a sweat in the comfort and privacy of your own four walls, creating a home gym might be worth considering.

Especially as fall inches near and temperatures drop, we set out to find the best of the best when it comes to home gym equipment. From kettlebells to jump ropes, our staffers put the essentials to the test for our Start TODAY x Shop TODAY Wellness Awards.

Out of over 300 products considered, this is the gym gear that delighted our editors when it came to cardio, low impact movement and beyond.

To shop this article by category, click on the links below. Or, keep reading to see them all.

Start TODAY x Shop TODAY Wellness Awards: At-Home Gym Essentials for 2023

Dumbbells | Kettlebells | Jump ropes | Bands | Fitness rings | Muscle rollers | All-in-one gym alternatives

Best dumbbells for home gym

Portzon Dumbbells

Award: Best for Beginners | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Need an affordable (yet reliable!) pair of dumbbells for at-home strength training? Our editors were pleased with this set, which comes in the hex shape style and comes in a weight range of 1-15 pounds.

Deals editor Rebecca Brown used them regularly for strength-training at home and says despite regularly dropping them, the neoprene material hasn’t cracked at all. “They’ve been a great pair of weights to have in the house and I use them as often as I can,” she added.

Amazon Basics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell Set

Award: Best All-in-one set | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

If you want a little more bang for your buck, editors also liked using this set (that comes with its own storage rack) for home workouts. Sets range from 2 pounds to 60 pounds, total.

TODAY social media producer Dana Samuel used them for a variety of home workouts — including pilates and HIIT workouts — and says they were especially effective. “The soft grip handle is much gentler on my hands than metal-handle dumbbells,” she said. “The storage rack makes it look more aesthetically pleasing in my room.”

Bala Bars

Award: Best for Travel | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Though they aren’t shaped like your average dumbbell, Bala Bars can be used in the same way as the typical exercise essential. The brand says they are designed for walking, HIIT and aerobics, among other forms of exercise.

“I would definitely take these on a longer walk outside and not worry about my hands getting uncomfortable,” commerce partnerships associate Victoria Herlocker said. “I also really prefer this shape to the shape of a dumbbell and I think it’s because the entire bar felt so balanced.”

Best kettlebells for home gym

Amazon Basics Vinyl Kettlebell

Award: Best Budget | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

True to its brand name, staffers found that this kettlebell was a no-frills option that could carry you through a workout.

“This is a classic basic kettlebell. I like that it has the vinyl coating to protect my apartment when I inevitably drop it or just put it down too quickly,” said TODAY health reporter Sarah Jacoby. “It feels good to use — the handle is smooth yet easy to grip.”

Bionic Body Soft Kettlebell 

Award: Best Overall | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Bionic Body’s kettlebell, unlike others we considered, is constructed from a softer fabric that the brand says is designed to help prevent injuries and damage from accidental drops.

Commerce art director Andrew Ward liked the unique design and felt it made a difference in his workouts. “I loved the softbody construction — it helped as normally harder kettlebells swing against my wrist when lifting them above my head,” he said.

Best Choice Products 3-Piece Kettlebell Set

Award: Best All-in-one-set | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Some movements aren’t meant for dumbbells. Staffers liked that this three-piece set gave them more opportunities for exercise, particularly with compound movements.

“I did kettlebell swings, single-arm rows, and lots of squats and lunges that are just harder to do with dumbbells,” Brown said.

Bala Power Ring

Award: Best Splurge | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Most workout equipment isn’t what we’d call aesthetically pleasing, but the Bala Power Ring makes a case for eye-catching equipment. Staffers liked its slim design and sleek profile (which made it easy to store when not in use). Since it is shaped differently than most kettlebells, we should note that the brand has a workout regimen catered to its unique build.

“I liked that I definitely got a full body pilates workout,” TODAY senior editor Elena Nicolau said, but added that she didn’t like having to learn new exercises to use it.

Best jump ropes for home gym

Sivvderi Digital Jump Rope

Award: Best Overall | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

If you like the nostalgic feel of a corded jump rope, this one pleased reviewers who gave it a good amount of swings. Unlike your average jump rope, this one uses a digital screen, which enables you to track total jumps and elapsed time, so you can focus on your workout.

“It’s nice that the timer automatically stops if you miss and the rope stops spinning,” wrote one reviewer. “There seems to be added weight in the handles that feels good when you’re using it. It feels responsive and the rope whips around nicely.”

Redify Weighted Cordless Jump Rope

Award: Best Ropeless | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Whether your at-home gym needs to be constructed in your living room or while you’re on the move, this cordless jump rope might be a worthy addition to your routine.

“I didn’t have to worry about tripping over a rope or getting slashed in the ankles,” said audience development writer Danielle Murphy. “Because there are heavy-ish ball weights on the end of two short ropes, it feels like I’m actually skipping in time with a rope. Very cool. Easy to get a good workout in.”

Best workout bands for home gym

Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands 

Award: Best Rubber Bands | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

“I personally use and love these resistance bands!” said Stephanie Mansour, TODAY fitness contributor, about these Fit Simplify bands. This pick comes in a set of five, so you can add varying amount of resistance to your workout routine without having to splurge on equipment.

“It allows you to build up to the strength that challenges you,” Shop TODAY intern Domonique Tolliver said. “They also include a packet of possible workouts to try with the bands depending on which area of your body you want to work on.”

Vergali Resistance Bands

Awards: Best Fabric Bands | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

These bands also vary by levels of resistance, which can help add some intensity to at-home workouts. However, given their intensity. they might be more suitable for intermediate levels of exercise.

“You can definitely feel the different levels immediately. I also absolutely loved that the bands came with a card that had suggested workout moves to try,” said Commerce editor Vivien Moon. “It helped me use them correctly. The bands were of good quality and felt secure during use.”

Best fitness rings for home gym

RitFit Pilates Ring

Award: Best In-studio | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

This affordable pilates ring earned approval from reviewers who liked its convenient size and feel.  

“It has more give than other rings I’ve used in the past, but is well-made and sufficient for increasing the difficulty of pilates mat classes,” said TODAY senior director of Art and Photography, Kara Haupt.

Gaiam Pilates Ring 15″ 

Award: Best At-home | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Reviewers appreciated how simple this pilates ring is to use and even said it compared to those that they’ve tried in-studio.

“The non-slip handles are easy to use and kept the ring in place during my workout,” Charisse Larado, senior producer at TODAY All Day, said, adding that the ring is “super high quality.”

Lionscool Pilates Ring Set

Award: Best All-in-one set | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

If you want some bang for your buck, staffers said you can’t go wrong with this pick.

“I love that this product comes with a pilates workout guide,” SEO writer Jannely Espinal said. “The ring is easy to bend for arm and leg workouts but sturdy enough that it won’t break. The quality is also good and the cushioning area is smooth.”

Best muscle rollers for home gym

Gaiam Restore Textured Foam Roller

Award: Best Overall | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Affordable and effective, this 18-inch roller checked all the boxes for most staffers, who awarded it the best overall roller out of those considered.

If you’re familiar with foam rolling, you might appreciate the textured design of this particular roller. “The texture was really nice, it felt a lot easier to use than other foam rollers,” partnerships editorial assistant Lauren Biggerstaff said. “The size made it great for using on my back and shoulders especially.”

Amazon Basics Foam Roller

Award: Best Budget | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

New to the world of foam rolling? This basic roller is a budget-friendly option to consider, according to reviewers. While it may not have any standout features, it can help provide post-workout relief.

“I liked how straightforward and simple this is,” Shop TODAY photo editor Vivian Le said. “It’s not a complicated tool and it’s really cheap.”

Theragun Wave Series Wave Duo

Award: Best Splurge | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

If you’re willing to indulge on your recovery routine, reviewers liked this electric roller from Theragun.

“I liked how it felt like an elevated version of my foam roller,” Shop TODAY SEO editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger said. “The vibrating feature was synonymous with a massage gun, making it feel like I was getting more out of it than if I was simply using a foam roller.”

Best all-in-one at-home gym alternatives

Coba Board The Coba Board Plus

Award: Best Minimal Equipment | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

The rule of thumb for exercise is having proper technique if you want to achieve your results safely and effectively. But, something as little as foot placement isn’t as simple as you’d think. That’s where the Coba Board comes in. 

Although first designed for glute and leg workouts, this upgraded version encourages a full-body routine with fourteen attachments. You can use the main handle for deadlifts, the bridge bands for hip thrusts or the extra handles to target the biceps — the options are endless. Each has dedicated sections on the elevated platform for specific movements.

If you don’t know where to start, though, the brand offers free online instructions and classes on their site. 


Award: Best Overall | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Don’t let this small set fool you — it does more than one might expect. That’s one of many reasons our reviewers labeled it as our “Best Overall.” 

The LIT AXIS promises to fulfill most cardio, strength and pilates workouts with its advanced resistance system. Its built-in sensors are designed to detect repetition, weights and muscle imbalances to perfect your workout. But that’s not all: The universal anchors can attach to any surface with no additional tools required. 

Meta Quest 2

Award: Best Smart-Gym | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

The most important aspect of this option is that you need a virtual reality set to access the Supernatural Fitness app. But its affordable monthly subscription (at just $15 a month) and immersive workout experience makes it incomparable to most at-home smart equipment. 

Reviewers think of the program as a collaboration between exercise, recovery and gameplay. You might find yourself boxing on the surface of Mars one day, and meditating on a tropical beach the next. Supernatural also allows you to track your progress, interact with live action coaches, listen to a massive playlist library (everything from rap, rock, pop and hip hop, to country, classical and Disney hits) and compete with other users while you break a sweat.

Tempo Core

Award: Best Guided Workout | Category: At-home Gym Essentials

Using just your iPhone and a phone dock, Tempo Core provides an alternative to personal training. The dock connects your phone’s screen to your television and uses 3D camera sensors to monitor your workouts. This then streams real-time feedback to your device so you can correct your technique and increase your motivation. Tempo Core Starter offers all of this on top of personalized weighted dumbbells. If you want more options, however, the cost increases.

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