Is Building a Garage Gym Cost-Effective?

With the New Year comes the new resolutions. One of the most common ones is to be fit and healthy. Of course, this is the best resolution that you can take and maintain throughout life. And even more recently, other factors have come into consideration regarding keeping things “in house” -for everything from work to play. This shift has caused everyone to take a step back and evaluate their options. So with a home workout regimen, why not allocate some garage space to the cause of staying healthy and get your sweat on in there? But, the question is: can a garage gym be cost-effective? Can it help you attain fitness goals and be kind to your budget? To know more about home workout vs. monthly gym membership, read on.

Is Building a Garage Gym Cost-Effective? - Gym memberships can het pricey. Is it worth it to collect your own equipment and set up a home gym?

Is Building Your Own Garage Gym Cost-Effective?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by all fitness lovers and enthusiasts. It is indeed cost-effective to build your own garage gym. It can save a lot of your money in a very reasonable timeframe. Though you may have to invest a certain amount of money to set up the gym and buy equipment or tools that are needed, you don’t have to continue paying hundreds of dollars for a gym membership.

All you have to do is to build an inexpensive garage gym at your home with all the basics and some of the advanced equipment that you will need for the workout. You don’t have to invest a lot of money to make your gym look breathtaking but a simple renovation of the garage and the right placement of the tools can make it functional with your budget.

Cost- Effectiveness of Garage Gym vs. Monthly Gym Membership

If you are thinking about setting up a gym in your garage, you are certainly not alone. For many people, the appeal of building their own workout alcove is the money they can save in the long-run by canceling their gym membership. But how much you will save depends on a few different factors such as the cost of your gym membership, the money you spend on your commute, and what equipment you favor for working out.

Factor #1 – Your current monthly gym membership. This can cost anywhere between $30 to $100 depending on the type of gym and the location. Along with that, you will also have to pay a hefty amount upfront for joining. The average monthly membership cost of a gym in the U.S is about $50. That means, in a year you almost spend about $600 on the gym membership.

Factor #2 – The commute. This could literally translate to how much you spend on gas, but also consider the time you spend in the car. A friend of mine hits the gym on his way home from work. But when he wants to go on a Saturday, it’s 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back. That’s nearly an hour out of his day that could be spent on something else. Your time is valuable. Remember to factor this into your overall cost.

Factor #3 – Equipment and workout preferences. When you go to a gym, it can be easy to have favorite machines or weights for cardio and strength training. Knowing yourself and which areas you want to target can help you build your cost-effective garage gym. One option is to explore refurbished or used gym equipment, rather than spending astronomical amounts on the newest high-end models. Some of the most important equipment that you might need for your garage gym:

  • Cross trainer ($200 approximately)
  • Set of dumbbells ($100 to $150 approximately)
  • Set of barbells ($80 to $100 approximately)
  • Workout bench ($150 to $200 approximately)
  • Gym bike ($250 to $350)
  • Resistance bands ($30 to $50)
  • Roller wheels ($20 to $30)

All these prices are mentioned at an approximate range. The total of which comes to $1,000 approximately. So, it will cost you about $1,000 to $1,200 for the equipment and you can consider some more for the renovation works (if needed).

If you are paying $50 monthly for your gym, then in just two years you are spending $1,200 for the gym membership. On the other hand, you can spend the same amount approximately to set up your own gym and workout for many more years. That means you may have to invest two years of your gym membership at once to set up your gym, but then you can save the money for the rest of the years you will exercise. Plus, there is no extra cost for commuting to the gym or a particular time schedule to follow. You can use your gym anytime and any day you want.

Pros & Cons of a Garage Gym

Before you make the final decision to create a gym at your own garage, you may also want to consider all the advantages and drawbacks. To make it easier and better for you to evaluate, we have compiled a comparative list. Here are some of the pros and cons of having your own cost-effective garage gym:


  • It can save a lot of money in the long run (as you can see above) and you don’t have to pay monthly fees.
  • You don’t have to wait for your turn to start working out in the gym.
  • You will not have to commute from your house to the gym which will save your money as well as your time.
  • No disturbance while working out as you will be doing it alone or with your family and friends only.
  • You can inhale fresh air as there will not be a lot of people working out with you.
  • It is accessible 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.


  • Access to limited equipment initially
  • Sole responsibility to clean and wipe the equipment
  • Space may be limited (But this doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker!) Check out our article on the best compact equipment for your garage gym.

Pros & Cons of a Monthly Gym Membership

Being a fitness enthusiast, having access to the gym is an essential thing. You may already know the advantages of visiting a gym but have you ever considered the drawbacks? Here are both the advantages (pros) and drawbacks (cons) of having a monthly gym membership:


  • You will have access to many equipment and amenities at a gym
  • Specialized trainers and classes available for guiding you
  • Great way to have social interactions and making friends
  • Can set the right mindset for working out


  • Hard to concentrate or focus due to the number of people working out at the same time
  • You may have to wait for getting your turn to use the equipment
  • Extra cost or energy for commute
  • There are particular opening and closing times of the gym

Effective Ways to Work Out at Home

From the above pros and cons of both scenarios, it is quite clear that there are benefits that go beyond saving money with your own garage gym set up. But it is very important to have the right tools and equipment at your gym for an effective workout session at the home. Some of the most important equipment pieces we recommend include:

An exercise bike for cardio

A cross trainer for full-body workout.

Dumbbell set for weight training

Barbell set for weight training

Resistance bands for the resistance training

Roller wheels for ab workout

Exercise ball for better stability workout

Of course, this is just a starter list. Your workout routine could include anything from circuit training to yoga, depending on your body type and fitness goals. Which, as you may have guessed, will require some different equipment. But, because it’s YOUR garage gym, you can tweak the pieces you start with and then go back and invest more as needed.


Having a garage gym can be cost-effective! As the numbers show, it will be an investment on the front end, but it will gradually pay itself off as you save in monthly membership fees. Most gyms will additionally ask for a separate joining fee or a yearly maintenance fee. Hence, if you calculate what you are going to pay in the next 2 to 3 years for your gym membership, it will be a lot of money. You can invest approximately the same amount in your own garage gym build and start saving money in the years ahead.

In the meantime, your workout doesn’t have to be limited if you are selective about your equipment and invest wisely. Do your research, compare some numbers, and get yourself fired up to walk across the house to your free-access for life garage gym, instead of taking a drive to the local one. Then, all you have to do is to keep yourself focused and motivated by creating some goals and follow through. You will already have done the cost-effective part. Enjoy your garage gym and the money you will save in the long-run!

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