How much space do you have? Although some home gyms fold to reduce their footprint (and some glideboard models can fold to store under the bed), they're usually going to stay put after assembly. We also recommend that you measure -- and not just estimate -- your workout space so that you know exactly how much space you have to work with. And remember, it's not enough to account for the home gym's footprint; you also need to allow extra room for any moving parts and your body. Don't forget to measure for height, too.
What types of exercises do you want to do? If you just want to do strength training, almost any home gym will do just fine. If you'd like the whole package -- cardio and strength -- look for a machine that converts to a rower.
How much resistance do you need? Keep in mind that as you continue lifting weights, you're going to get stronger and need even more resistance to challenge yourself. So use your current maximum as a starting point, not the end point. A weight stack of 150 pounds might be enough for a light exerciser, but dedicated users will want more.
How many people are going to use the gym at once? If you and a workout partner want to exercise at the same time, you'll want a gym with separate stations and separate resistance mechanisms. These tend to be very pricey, but often feature a commercial-quality build.
Do you want to assemble it yourself? We've included estimates of how long it takes to assemble each home gym. Assign a dollar value to your time, do the math and then consider this: Would the time, money, and frustration saved be worth hiring someone else to assemble your home gym for you? Most retailers offer packages that, for a few hundred dollars more, include delivery and set up.
Can you try it out first? Home gyms are big and expensive, and can become the world's largest towel hanger very quickly if they aren't a good fit. We strongly recommended trying one out at a fitness or sporting goods store before buying.