Space-saving Gear You Can Stow
If space is at a premium, all you really want is compact gear you can stow away between workouts. A small adjustable dumbbell is the Swiss-army knife of workout equipment. Add a set of stretch bands and a yoga mat, and you just created a home gym you can store in a drawer! These three pieces allow you to do thousands of exercise. Ask me how!
An Adjustable Dumbbell
The bread-and-butter of any home gym, the adjustable dumbbell is as compact as it is versatile. I used to prefer the Powerblock line, but recently Nuobell has become my favourite. They are more compact, more easily adjustable and more ergonomic than the Powerblocks.
CoreFX.ca also has a good adjustable dumbbell, but it is less compact and has more moving parts.
Notice I only said "an" adjustable dumbbell. That is because you really only need one. Pairs are nice, but I'm a big fan of single-leg and single-arm training, plus the space-savings help, too!
A yoga mat is very helpful to have to provide a stable, grippy base to lift from. There are a million options. Lululemon makes an amazing mat that is priced accordingly.
I have two AmazonBasics mats that are currently $30 and worth every penny. They are 1/2" mats, quite a bit thicker than the usual yoga mat. It is actually quite tough to balance on this mat because of all the give, but they have lasted me several years of frequent use, and the thickness makes them an excellent choice for hardwood or tile floors.
Stretch Bands with Handles
Good stretch bands are incredibly compact and multi-role in any home gym, and they should be purchase no. 2 after an adjustable dumbbell. The only good choice that is available everywhere is CoreFX.ca's Advanced Toner Series. It comes in five versions, from light to ultra-heavy (I recommend getting all but the ultra-heavy).
You can do a million exercises with these bands in the tiniest spaces, and then store them completely out of the way! These bands are also excellent travel companions if you want to maintain a fitness routine while away.
I recommend getting the 6-foot version for most bands, as they are the most versatile and useful.