Top 14 Best Cardio Equipment on a Budget

woman using exercise mat

If you are looking for a great workout at home, you might be shopping for the best cardio equipment on a budget. Building your home gym does not have to cost a lot and you can think outside the box as far as what you include. If you choose some of the items we've listed, you'll be well on your way to a great at-home workout.

The first thing to do when planning your home gym is to determine where in your house you can dedicate some space. If you can't commit an entire room, there are ways to utilize your space and have it be multi-purpose. Consider the size and shape of your equipment and be creative to utilize unused space in closets and in and under furniture. Keep in mind that you'll want to be able to easily access your equipment. No excuses when it comes to exercising! We can show you some creative and inexpensive ways to establish your home workout space.

Make a List of Goals

As you embark on exercising at home, you should think a little bit about what your goals are. Exercise is good for the body and the mind. Consider goals such as:

  • amount time/per day
  • weight loss
  • stress-relief

As you look at our list of best cardioChoose equipment that offers a diverse workout. You'll want ones that provide cardio, strength, and stretching, and relaxation.

Best Cardio Equipment

#1 Exercise Mat

The foundation of any home gym is no doubt your exercise mat. Your exercise mat will allow you to stretch, build muscle, and relax in comfort. When shopping for an exercise mat or even a yoga mat, consider your flooring. There are thicker mats that may be more comfortable. Exercise mats come in a variety of thicknesses, materials, and colors.

Buy and Exercise Mat

#2 Ankle Weights

Adding ankle weights to your exercise regimen can be helpful in toning and adding muscle to your legs and glutes. It may seem that this exercise gear is a bit old-school but they actually are a current trend in fitness. Adding ankle weights can also help with core abdominal exercises as well.

Buy Ankle Weights

#3 Resistance Bands

Resistance bands offer a great workout and they are small and light. They come in different resistances usually in a variety of colors, some having handles and some without. They can be used for upper and lower body exercises. Try using them for glute bridges, side squats, or other types of reps with a band around your ankles or under the knees. You can also place a band under your feet and do bicep curls.

Buy Resistance Bands

#4 Trampoline

Investing in a small indoor fitness trampoline is a fun way to get your cardio done. Some have handles and some fold up for easier storage. Fitness trampolines offer a great whole body workout. The rebound effect burns fat and builds muscle. It also is a very fun activity.

Buy Trampoline

image of free weights

#5 Dumbbells and Free Weights

Having a set of dumbbells and free weights provides you a lot of options when working out at home. You can use them for strength training with exercises including bicep curls, tricep curls, lunges, and squats. Consider getting a medium set at first. After some time you can purchase some additional heavier weights. As you build up, you can consider a set of adjustable dumbells.

Buy Dumbells

#6 Kettlebell

If you are unfamiliar with what a kettlebell is, it is a popular handles weight for adding  resistance to your workout. It is a cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle attached to the top. You can use a kettlebell for both cardio and strength training. Kettlebell swings, squats and lunges are all great exercises you can do at home

Buy a Kettlebell

#7 Full Length Mirror

Having a good form while exercising is essential to a safe workout. Make sure your home gym includes a mirror where you will be able to safely exercise and monitor your form while doing it.

Buy Full Length Mirror

#8 Stability Ball

Especially if yoga or pilates is something you like to do, a stability ball is great cardio equipment. While it does take up some room, it offers a core workout unlike any other. It's really fun too!

Buy Stability Ball

#9 Jump Rope

There’s nothing like an old fashioned jump rope to get your heart pumping. It's compact and portable and it only takes moments to get your cardio workout done. 

Buy Jump Rope

#10 Gliding Discs

Gliding discs, or gliders offer you a challenge. Use them under your hands or your feet and it makes exercises like planks and lunges even more difficult. Gliding discs are a wonderful way to strengthen your core muscles.

Buy Gliding Discs

woman using medicine ball

#11 Medicine Ball

These weighted balls come in varying sizes and weights, usually between 2 and 30 pounds. They are a great addition for working on stability and strength.

Buy Medicine Ball

#12 Training Bench

Consider a bench for weight training. Use it flat or on an incline for added stability while doing work with dumbbells, free weights, or resistance bands. You don't have to purchase an expensive one to get a basic one. 

Buy Training Bench

#13 Step Platform

While step platforms are making a comeback, they are a great addition for your home gym. They are great for supporting you during abdominal and full body exercises. Try your tricep dips using a step platform and get your heart rate up with step ups.

Buy Step Platform

#14 Creative Options

As you start out in your home workouts, you can get creative in using other household items for cardio equipment and workout gear. Here are some examples:

  • towel for exercise mat
  • soup cans/water bottles for dumbbells
  • laundry soap jug for kettlebell
  • towels/socks/paper plates on hardwood floor for gliding discs
  • body resistance instead of resistance bands

Consider Buying Used

As you make purchases for your home gym, consider searching for pre-owned items. Sites like Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, Let Go, and Craigslist may all be great resources for good condition, affordable options. 

Closing Thoughts

Now you have no excuses to exercise at home and have an affordable home gym. Getting in shape at home does not have to cost a lot. Remember, it can be a process to build up your home workout area. You don't have to have ever type of gear out there to get a good workout. Invest in a few items so that you can get your workout in the comfort of your own home.