Small exercise equipment does not equate to a less effective workout. Some of the smallest workout equipment on the market today effectively provide both a full-body cardio workout for weight loss or resistance training for muscle toning.
Our list starts with the smallest and most compact workout equipment that you can easily pack into a gym bag or luggage when traveling. Followed by very portable exercise equipment and small cardio machines you can easily fit into any small home or apartment.
And finally, we will finish with more compact workout equipment that directly targets specific muscle groups.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Our Top 20 List of Small Exercise Equipment at a Glance
Here is my top twenty smallest exercise equipment list. You will not find gimmicky equipment such as small under-desk seated ellipticals or balance boards. But rather true and time tested exercise equipment that works and is small enough to fit in a bag, or any home or small apartment setup.
All small exercise equipment in this review will give you a full upper body and lower body workout, or even both. This equipment is useful for conditioning and cardio workouts to help you lose weight, but also tone and build muscle.
- Power Bands
- Tube Resistance Bands
- Suspension Training Straps
- Resistance Band Bar
- Water Filled Dumbbells
- Workout Sandbags
- Adjustable Kettlebells
- Adjustable Dumbbells
- Foldable Exercise Bike
- Collapsible Treadmill
- Compact Rowing Machine
- Compact Elliptical Machine
- Vertical Climber Machine
- Collapsible Weight Bench
- Wall Mounted Cable Pulley
- Portable Pull-up Bar
- Glute Resistance Bands
- Forearm Developers
- Push-up Bars
- Doorway Situp Bar
Small Exercise Equipment for Home & Travel [Top 20 Gift Ideas]
Here are my top 20 choices for the most compact and portable exercise equipment available online. All of the following exercise equipment includes my top pick, plus a link to more selections from my product reviews.
With that said, let’s start with our first category.
Small Exercise Equipment You Can Fit in a Bag
1. Power Bands
A bit more heavy-duty than the tube resistance bands are the power bands. You can use them as pull-up assist bands, but they are also ideal for a full-body workout.
You can use these bands for many exercises on their own. But when adding accessories such as handles, anchors, or even a bar, you can perform an endless array of exercise routines.
My personal favorites are the Clench Fitness power bands with handles (see image).
You can find more heavy band options here.
2. Tube Resistance Bands
When it comes to small exercise equipment for travel, nothing beats tube resistance bands. This extremely lightweight and compact set of bands are my favorite workout companion when on the go. But they are ideal for home use as well.
Here, the set you see is 100 lbs of resistance and includes 5 bands, 2 handles, 2 ankle straps, 1 door anchor, and a small carry bag. Thus, providing for a full upper and lower body workout anywhere.
I especially like the added door anchor, which can be attached to any door at home or hotel room—thus adding many more workout options to your exercise routine.
For more selections, see my review on the 6 best resistance bands with door anchors.
3. Suspension Training Straps
Suspension training straps are also very compact and lightweight. They are also very easily stored in a bag and ready to take on the go. You can attach them to just about anything for full-body resistance training or cardio workouts.
The difference between these and the resistance bands above is how you use these bands.
As opposed to resistance bands where you use band resistance, you use these straps to suspend your body in many different positions and use your body weight as resistance.
Find out more about suspension training straps and my top 6 choices.
Small Exercise Equipment That Will Fit in Your Luggage
4. Resistance Band Bar
With resistance band bars, you can attach either tube resistance bands or power bands to a bar to mimic using a weighted barbell or cable pulley machine.
Great for performing exercises such as bicep curls, shoulder presses, triceps extensions, or even squats and deadlifts.
To see these bars in action, check out my resistance band bars review.
5. Water Filled Dumbbells
When it comes to portability, the water-filled dumbbells are by far the most compact option if you’re into weight training on the go.
When not filled with water, these dumbbells are incredibly lightweight and will easily store in your luggage or handbag.
At your destination, simply fill them with water, and you’re ready for a full-body workout just as you would with traditional dumbbells.
For more options, see all 4 water-filled dumbbells in my review.
Small Exercise Equipment that is Weight Adjustable
6. Workout Sandbags
These exercise sandbags are very compact and use sandbags as weights. The weight can be adjustable and range from only a few pounds to over 100 lbs. You can use these bags outdoors, but they are also ideal for indoors since the soft weighted fillers are easy on floors.
Exercise sandbags are great for functional training and resistance training to gain strength and tone muscles.
Watch the following WOD and see just how great these workout sandbags can be at getting you shredded in no time.
To learn more read my review on workout sandbags.
7. Adjustable Kettlebell
I’d have to say the adjustable kettlebells are my favorite after workout sandbags when it comes to weights. Seeing that you can adjust one kettlebell to replace 4 to 5 kettlebells is not only a huge space saver but also far less expensive.
I love using kettlebells at home to perform overhead presses, squats, and one-legged deadlifts.
You may also be interested in soft kettlebells as they are safer around kids and quiet on floors.
8. Adjustable Dumbbells
If you like using dumbbells, like the adjustable kettlebells, these adjustable dumbbells will save you a lot of space. Most of these are relatively quick to adjust once you get the hang of it.
Do note that adjustable dumbbells are a bit awkward at first and take some getting used to as they are larger than your traditional dumbbells.
Other than that, they are excellent for replacing multiple dumbbells that could cost you quite a bit of coin.
Small Cardio Machines & Foldable Exercise Equipment
9. Foldable Exercise Bikes for Small Spaces
Indoor exercise bikes are relatively small, to begin with, but a folding exercise bike is a bonus and will take up even less space when not in use.
Exercise bikes are great cardio machines for shedding pounds and are also low impact and easy on your knees.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B2721 is highly adjustable, and is a very compact and portable indoor bike.
If you’d like to see my 8 favorite folding exercise bikes go here.
10. Collapsible Space Saving & Under-Desk Treadmills
If you thought all treadmills were big and bulky space hogs, think again.
I have found 3 types of treadmills that are very compact and will either fold upright, collapse flat and slide under a bed or even small enough to be used under a desk while working.
The WalkingPad R1 Pro actually folds in half. But I only recommend this model if you weigh under 200 lbs.
Check out all 6 compact treadmills in my review.
11. Compact Rowing Machine
Rowing machines can take up quite a bit of floor space. But I have found rowers that will take up very little space while in use or will at least fold up when done.
Check out the different types of rowers available in my review and decide for yourself which machine is small enough for your home or apartment.
12. Compact Elliptical Machine
Elliptical machines are typically quite large and heavy cardio machines. But I was able to find a handful of compact ellipticals that are lightweight and only have about a 2x3” footprint.
Ellipticals are extremely low impact cardio machines. So if your interested in a machine that is easy on your knees and ankles and small enough to fit into your apartment, then I highly suggest looking into these machines.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 (see image) is the most affordable and smallest elliptical machine in my review.
Compare all 6 compact elliptical machines here.
13. Vertical Climber Machine
The vertical climber is highly effective at burning high amounts of calories in a short amount of time.
On average, these small exercise machines only weigh about 40 pounds and use as little as 4x4 feet of floor space when in use and some as little as 2x3 feet. But when not being used can even be folded up to half that space.
One of my favorites and most popular machines is the all-new MaxiClimber XL-2000 with hydraulic resistance (see image).
Read my reviews on all 7 vertical climbers here.
14. Collapsible Weight Bench
A great addition to your adjustable dumbbells is a collapsible bench. Your typical weight bench will tape up 2x5 feet of floor space. But I have found workout benches that can be folded together to half that size and easily stored under a bed or in a closet.
The Soges workout bench is the smallest foldable bench I could find – but I have more choices to pick from in my review.
See all 8 collapsilbe workout benches here.
15. Wall-Mounted Cable Pulley Machine
The wall-mounted pulley system is like having a small gym at your fingertips. With this cable pulley machine, you can perform hundreds of exercise variations.
This machine does require some mounting, and additional weight plates are needed. But once set up, this machine is small enough to fit a 2x2 feet floor space.
Check out all 5 wall-mounted cable machines here.
Small Workout Equipment for Specific Muscle Groups
16. Portable Pull-up Bar
The portable pull up bar is a small piece of exercise equipment you can instantly attach to a door frame at home. They do not require any additional hardware for permanent attachments, making them extremely portable.
These are great for performing close and wide grip pullups, but also hanging leg raises.
Make sure to check out my other 6 best portable pull up bars with multi-grips for more options and information.
Read all 6 portable pull-up bar reviews here.
17. Glute Resistance Bands
Glute resistance bands are trendy and work great for directly targeting your glute muscles. These bands are very affordable and small enough to fit in a purse.
If you’re interested, take a look at the many different exercises you can perform with these bands.
My favorite bands and probably the best deal you will find online are those offered by Victorem Gear.
Read my full review for all 6 booty bands here.
18. Forearm Builders
If you’re ready to add some extra size to your forearms, here are two small pieces of equipment that will do the job.
The first choice is the Pro Wrist Roller by Power Systems (see image). It is the best bang for your buck and works exceptionally well at giving you that mind-blowing forearm pump.
My second recommendation is the Rogue Wrist Roller. It is a bit more robust with 2” thick grips and uses a band that maintains the center of gravity when rolling.
You can read more about my top 6 forearm developers here.
19. Push-up Bars
Push-up bars are very compact and lightweight. They are great for building your chest muscles by providing that extra stretch to activate more muscle fibers for added growth.
They will also help if you tend to suffer from wrist pain when performing push-ups on a flat surface.
Check out all my small push-up equipment and accessories here.
20. Doorway Situp Bars
These bars are great for doing situps without a spotter. Simply slide these small devices under a door and tighten. No drilling or screws required.
Doorway situp bars are very compact and portable. Use them on any door at home or take them along to do situps in your hotel or vacation lodge.
See all 5 doorway situp bars here.
Small exercise equipment makes perfect gifts for close friends or loved ones. No better gift shows you care more than getting someone started on a new fitness adventure. If you are looking for a gift that is small yet packs a lot of punch, I would recommend any of the following:
- Brute Force Workout Sandbags
- Clench Fitness Resistance Bands
- RubbaBands Resistance Bands
- Titan Fitness Adjustable Kettlebell
- Victorem Booty Bands (teen girls)
- Forearm Wrist Roller (teen boys)
Staying healthy and fit should be a top priority for everyone. And even if you don’t have access to a local gym, investing in some kind of exercise equipment small enough to fit into your home or apartment should be the least you can do for yourself.
So give yourself or your loved one the gift that keeps on giving.
I hope you enjoyed my selection of small exercise equipment and hopefully found something you like. There is no excuse not to own some type of exercise equipment you can use in your home or while traveling.
The exercise equipment on our list is conveniently small and portable, but also very inexpensive. I recommend any of the products listed here, but I also suggest reading any reviews related to those that interest you.
With over 30 years of experience in strength training and fitness, Mark LaRue is the founder of Fitness Mastered, a blog to help educate fitness enthusiasts of all fitness levels, ages, and gender. We write topics that range from weight training tips and exercise routines to home workout machine and fitness related product reviews, to name a few.