Basement vs Garage Home Gym: Which is Better for YOU?

Written by — Tonya

With so many people swapping to a home gym setup, an important debate needs to be settled: basement gym or garage gym?

Basement gyms have more stable temperatures, a strong concrete slab, and plenty of space. In contrast, garage gyms have easy accessibility, plenty of overhead space, and better access to ventilation and natural light.

Whether you want an impressive collection of kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands, or you want to go full gung ho with a bench press and squat rack setup, we’ve had to put our gym setup in some odd places over the years.

The rest of this article will help you decide whether a basement or garage gym is the better option for you.

Is It Better to Have a Garage gym or Basement gym?

In all honesty, the answer to where you want to set up your equipment depends on the kind of workouts you’re doing and the kind of space you need.

Got a whole bunch of heavy equipment that has a big floor profile? The basement might be the right pick for you.

Like to run a few laps outside to warm up and cool down? The garage might be a more location-sensitive option.

The Breakdown: How Basement and Garage Home Gyms Differ

Here’s a quick table outlining the pros and cons of a basement gym and a garage gym

ProsCons
Basement Gym– Stable temperature
– Sound isolation
– Even flooring
– Strong concrete base
– Easily adjustable
– Plentiful space
– Lower ceiling space
– Harder to access
– Poor ventilation
– Lack of natural light
– Storage conflicts
– Damp
Garage Gym– Easily set up
– Lots of overhead space
– Plenty of fresh air and ventilation
– Natural light
– Outdoor accessibility
– Guest friendly
– Limited floor space
– Temperature control issues
– Moisture and rust
– The floor may be uneven

Home Gym in the Garage: Pros and Cons

Pros

Home gyms in the garage are the king of convenience. Just pull your car into your garage, hop out, and you’re in your home gym. Nothing beats coming home from work, changing out of your clothes, and hitting some reps.

If you’ve got a more minimalist setup—some free weights, a barbell or two, and a machine here or there—the garage is the place to go.

It offers better vertical clearance than the basement in most cases and gives you all the versatility you need to get your workouts done.

Got a multipurpose machine to stick in the corner? Add a tidy weight rack next to it, and you’re all set for a home gym in the garage.

In the garage, you also have much better ventilation, reducing the stale air and smell you produce while working up a sweat.

The natural light can also be a plus so that you don’t feel like you’re in an isolated box while working out.

The garage also has many added benefits for all you CrossFit and mixed training enthusiasts.

If you need to go outside to hit some reps that you don’t have space for in the garage, it’s right there at your convenience with the push of a button.

Cons

The biggest problem with a home gym setup in the garage is space. If you’ve got a car, you’ll have to get comfortable parking it outside to have enough space to use your machines.

Frequently, a garage has limited floor space if you’re using it as a mini-mechanic shop and a home gym, so you’ll have to space it out carefully to fit everything in. Certainly doable, but not ideal.

Depending on the insulation quality of your garage, you may find that the temperature fluctuates more there than in the rest of your home.

If you like to stay nice and cool during your workouts, the garage might make you break a sweat faster than usual.

Lastly, depending on the quality of the floor install (and how proactive you are with protecting your gym flooring), the garage floor can be a little uneven.

Level footing and balance is crucial to exercising properly, so if your garage floor is bumpier than a government-funded road, then you’ll either want to have it resurfaced by a professional or relocate your gym setup.

Floors can also be slightly uneven for drainage, so you might have to deal with some runaway weights. Manageable but annoying.

Home Gym in the Basement: Pros and Cons

Pros

The basement is a pretty swell place for a gym setup. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve got their own personal batcave to train in?

The best part about a basement setup is that it’s often nicely soundproofed and provides plenty of space for all your gym equipment.

It has a strong concrete base just in case you drop anything (but that would never happen), and it’s usually a little easier to temperature control than the garage.

If you enjoy your private space and prefer to work out to the sound of your own tunes, then the basement is the perfect getaway for you to put anything and everything your heart could desire into a basement gym setup.

Cons

Unfortunately, this land of limitless opportunity comes with some drawbacks.

First, most basements don’t have the same vertical clearance as a garage, meaning that you might be ‘pressed’ for space if you’re doing overhead movements (pun entirely intended).

Aside from the space concerns, basements aren’t usually as well ventilated and can be damp, making the area more humid. This is especially frustrating when your sweat doesn’t evaporate as easily. Of course, you can always install fans to counteract the lack of airflow in the basement.

You might also find the basement a little harder to access when you’re lugging your equipment down there. Make sure to measure before buying a machine that doesn’t fit through your basement door.

The lack of natural light can also be off-putting for some people. Of course, you can spritz up your basement with some clean fluorescent lights, but it just doesn’t compare with natural light.

Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t hop back upstairs to get some natural lights in between sets or when you’re done with your workout, but exposure to artificial lights is also associated with an increased risk of eye disease.

Other Places for a Home Gym

There are plenty of other options for a home gym if neither the basement nor the garage sound appealing.

Backyard

If you live somewhere with a more temperate climate that doesn’t get too hot during the day, then there’s no reason why you can’t set up your home gym outdoors.

Make sure any equipment you’re using is secured or put away after use to prevent theft.

Setting up in the backyard gives you fresh air and privacy to enjoy your workout session, and the natural sunlight can also do wonders for your mood, skin, and stress levels.

Shed

A shed is a workable place to set up your home gym, although it has many of the same concerns as the basement regarding dampness and ventilation.

If your basement is full of stuff and you don’t mind workout out amidst all your tools, then the shed can work perfectly as a home gym.

Figure out how you’ll make space and add airflow, and you’ve got a private, secure sanctuary anytime you want to hit a few reps.

Balcony

Depending on where you live, a balcony is a great place to set up your home gym.

If you’re more of a free weight, calisthenics, or resistance bands kind of person, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the fresh outdoor air while working out.

Roll up a mat on a shelf, get a weight rack, and you’re all set to enjoy some exercise out on the balcony any day of the week.

Just be aware of anyone below you and adhere to any restrictions your HOA or renter’s agreement outlined.

The Verdict

Home gyms are becoming more and more popular as people take fitness into their own hands, and in light of your fitness goals, space requirements, and environmental preferences, both basements and garages are excellent options when it comes to working out at home.