Best Gym Memberships

24-Hour Fitness is our top pick overall because of its features and services

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Whether you’re new to exercise or looking to break up with your current gym, finding the best gym membership to meet your needs is key to sticking to a workout routine. The best gym memberships should fit your budget, needs, and preferences. These gyms should offer a variety of fitness classes at different levels, have experienced trainers, have reasonable operating hours, and provide strength and cardio equipment that is safe and up-to-date. 

Additionally, some gyms may have extra perks and amenities like swimming pools, saunas, spas, steam rooms, basketball courts, and indoor tracks. Keep reading to compare the best gym memberships and review features to consider before signing up.

Best Gym Memberships of 2023

Best Overall : 24-Hour Fitness


24 Hour Fitness

 24 Hour Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: $20–$50/ month
  • Basic Amenities: Free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, floor equipment, locker rooms, towels, studio rooms, and saunas
  • Notable Feature: Open 24 hours
Why We Chose It

Open spaces, lots of equipment, excellent group fitness classes, and extra amenities like basketball courts, pools, saunas, and spas make 24-Hour Fitness our top pick.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Always open for business

  • Large facility with lots of space

  • Monthly membership is middle-range for price

  • Extensive features and services

Cons
  • Gym size and type may vary based on location

  • Not a good fit if you’re looking for a basic gym membership

  • Gym is often busy at peak hours

Overview

24-Hour Fitness has a little bit of everything and a lot of the things that most gym-goers love: It’s a 24-hour facility, has ample floor space and equipment, offers group fitness classes and personal training, and even a workout app that provides workout plans so you don’t have to program your own. 

Keep in mind, though, that there are different levels of 24-Hour Fitness gyms with different amenities. Active and Sport clubs have fewer than Super-Sport and Ultra-Sport clubs, the latter of which are often multiple-story facilities with luxury amenities. Either way, though, you’ll have access to the basics: free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, floor equipment, locker rooms, towels, studio rooms, and saunas. 

An average 24-Hour Fitness membership ranges from $20 to $50 per month, putting it right in the middle, budget-wise; it’s not the cheapest, but it’s far from the most expensive, and you get great features and services for the price. 

Best Budget Membership : Planet Fitness


Planet Fitness

 Planet Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: $10–$24.99/ month
  • Basic Amenities: Cardio machines, basic weight machines, floor space, dumbbells, and barbells
  • Notable Feature: "Judgement Free Zone"
Why We Chose It

When it comes to affordable gym memberships, Planet Fitness is a clear winner. With monthly fees as low as roughly $10, you have no reason to skip your next workout.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Most affordable membership options

  • Black Card membership comes with free guest pass

  • “Judgement Free Zone” policy

Cons
  • Basic facilities with minimal amenities

  • Some locations don’t have squat racks and other Olympic equipment

Overview

On the end of the gym spectrum opposite Equinox, Planet Fitness is known for its inclusivity, simplicity, and small price tag. For just $10 per month, members can access virtually all types of cardio machines, basic weight machines, floor space, dumbbells, and barbells—everything you need to work up a good sweat. 

If you’re willing to pay $14.99 more for the PF Black Card membership for a total of $24.99 per month, you can get access to all 2,400+ locations in the U.S. and bring a friend for free every time you visit. The Black Card membership also gives you unlimited access to spas at all locations that have them.

Planet Fitness has also become renowned for its “Judgement Free Zone” policy. It strives to make everyone feel welcome, no matter what level of fitness they're at. If you’re new to fitness and feel intimidated by gyms, Planet Fitness is a great place to get your feet wet. There are rules in place about dropping weights, yelling, grunting, and doing other things that typically make fellow gym-goers uncomfortable called the Lunk Alarm.

On top of that, Planet Fitness offers a schedule of free fitness training seven days per week: If you aren’t sure where to start, attend one of these small group training sessions for no extra cost. 

Best for Frequent Travelers : Anytime Fitness


Anytime Fitness

 Anytime Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: About $41/ month
  • Basic Amenities: Barbells and racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, boxes, cardio equipment, weight machines, and yoga mats
  • Notable Feature: Your own key fob to enter the gym without an employee needed
Why We Chose It

With access to over 4,700 locations—even some international—you'll be almost sure to find a location near you when you travel.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Always open for business 24/7

  • Over 4,700 franchise locations worldwide

  • Additional savings if you sign a 6-, 12-, or 18-month contract

Cons
  • Not staffed all hours of the day

  • Lacks amenities like a sauna, steam room, and pool

  • Minimal strength and cardio equipment

Overview

Anytime Fitness offers a unique amenity that most commercial gyms—even 24-hour ones—don’t: your very own key fob to enter the gym at any time of day or night, without needing a gym employee there to let you in. This unique travel-friendly feature (plus the more than 4,700 franchises) makes Anytime Fitness a great gym membership option for people who often find themselves in different parts of the country, whether they travel for business or for leisure. 

Most Anytime Fitness locations have all of the space and equipment you need for a good workout, including barbells and racks, dumbbells, kettlebells, boxes, cardio equipment, weight machines, and yoga mats. The membership fees won’t hurt your wallet as much as some commercial gym chains, either: The average monthly fee is about $41.

The only real downside to Anytime Fitness is that it’s a fast-growing chain, which can present discrepancies in franchise quality. Your home Anytime Fitness might be fantastically clean and have functional equipment, but another across the country might not. This is often the price you pay for convenience and availability. 

Best for Bodybuilders : Gold’s Gym


Gold’s Gym

 Gold’s Gym

Key Specs
  • Price: $35-$60/ month (varies by location)
  • Basic Amenities: Squat racks, plates and barbells, heavy dumbbells, a variety of weight machines, lockers, showers, saunas, steam rooms, lap pools, personal training, and group fitness classes
  • Notable Feature: Known for its focus on heavy lifting and muscle building
Why We Chose It

If you want an old-school bodybuilding environment with updated equipment, you can’t go wrong with Gold’s Gym.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Focus on heavy lifting with an intense atmosphere

  • Squat racks, free weights, powerlifting, cardio, resistance machines, group fitness, personal training

  • Larger facilities have steam rooms, lap pools, basketball courts, racquetball, and running tracks

Cons
  • Locations concentrated in California

  • Bodybuilding atmosphere might be intimidating for beginners

Overview

Gold’s Gym is technically a national franchise—there are over 700 locations, but the highest concentration of Gold’s Gym franchises is in California. It makes sense, as the original Gold’s Gym, the mecca of bodybuilding, was built across the street from the renowned Muscle Beach in Venice, California. 

Since then, Gold’s has grown into a commercial gym chain known for its focus on heavy lifting and muscle building. The majority of Gold’s Gyms are stocked with squat racks, plates and barbells, heavy dumbbells, and a variety of weight machines. 

The amenities and services at Gold’s Gym vary by location, but most offer the basic things you’d expect from a good gym: lockers, showers, saunas, steam rooms, lap pools, personal training, and group fitness classes. Membership terms and prices also vary by location but start around $35 per month.  

Best for Luxury and Amenities : Equinox


Equinox

 Equinox

Key Specs
  • Price: About $200+/ month (varies by location)
  • Basic Amenities: Cold eucalyptus towels, a full-service spa, a lifestyle shop, unlimited group classes, steam rooms, saunas, and more
  • Notable Feature: High-end amenities
Why We Chose It

Equinox earned the top spot for luxury and because of its lavish environment, expert instructors, top-of-the-line equipment, and endless amenities.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Spacious workout areas, expert-led classes, and other high-quality equipment

  • Full-service spa, steam room, sauna, locker rooms, pool, and other high-end amenities

  • Recruit well-known certified personal trainers and fitness instructors

Cons
  • Significantly more expensive than other gyms and fitness facilities

  • Membership fees vary and depend on location and club type

  • Not a good fit if you’re looking for a basic gym membership

Overview

If you enjoy the finer things in life, you’ll probably feel very at home in one of the 100-plus Equinox locations around the U.S. Equinox is known for its high-end amenities, high-quality equipment, modern interior design, and sleek branding—and it had an eye-widening monthly membership price tag to match. 

If you can handle the base price of $200 or more per month, you’ll get access to cold eucalyptus towels, a full-service spa, a lifestyle shop, unlimited group classes, steam rooms, saunas, and more. A membership also lends itself to exclusive events, such as rooftop fitness classes at One World Observatory in New York City and cooking classes with famous chefs. 

Equinox membership fees vary based on which club you attend and how many clubs and amenities you have access to: more clubs plus more amenities equal a higher fee. This is definitely more than a simple gym membership and is best for those who want more of a lifestyle integration, rather than just a simple place to hit the weights. 

Best for Machines and Muscle Isolation : LA Fitness


LA Fitness

 LA Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: Starts at $19.99/ month (varies by state)
  • Basic Amenities: Vast selection of weight machines, ample group fitness offerings, and personal training, and most locations have an entire floor dedicated to cardio equipment only
  • Notable Feature: Focus on muscle-building workouts
Why We Chose It

We chose LA Fitness because of its extensive selection of machines and free weights and its focus on strength training and overall fitness.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large selection of free weights and resistance training machines

  • Workout areas are spacious and allow for Olympic style lifting

  • Affordable membership options and 600+ locations in U.S. and Canada

  • Group fitness classes include cycling and aqua options

Cons
  • Expensive enrollment fee

  • Not all facilities offer the same classes, equipment, or workout spaces

  • Some locations do not have a pool or spa

Overview

Like Gold’s Gym, LA Fitness is another commercial gym that caters to bodybuilders and anyone looking to perform hypertrophy-focused (muscle-building) workouts. The floor layout typically includes a vast selection of weight machines that allow you to hit any muscle you can think of from any angle. Really: You can do lying hamstring curls, seated hamstring curls, and standing hamstring curls all at an LA Fitness. 

LA Fitness locations also include standard free weights, including barbells and dumbbells, but the small bit of functional training floor space is usually reserved for personal trainers and their clients. 

But if there’s an LA Fitness near you, don’t be put off by the idea that it’s swarming with bodybuilders. LA Fitness also has ample group fitness offerings and personal training, and most locations have an entire floor dedicated to cardio equipment only. Many locations also have lap pools and saunas, making LA Fitness a really well-rounded gym chain. 

LA Fitness memberships start at $19.99 per month but vary by state and increase if you want multi-club or multi-state access. 

Best for Group Classes : Crunch Fitness


Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: $85/ month for access to one Crunch club; $99/ month for access to two Crunch clubs; and $140/ month for access to all 345 Crunch clubs around the U.S.
  • Basic Amenities: Classes for yoga, HIIT, muscle-sculpting, TRX training, and pilates, in addition to cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines
  • Notable Feature: Extensive class options
Why We Chose It

The basic Crunch Fitness memberships offer a budget-friendly package with plenty of group classes. Bump up to a Signature location, and you’ll have access to some of the top fitness classes around.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Different membership options

  • Budget-friendly basic membership

  • Fun and effective classes like cycling, yoga, action sports, cardio, dance, and strength training

  • Save monthly by signing a contract

Cons
  • Lacks amenities like a sauna, steam room, and pool

  • Membership fees vary based on location and ownership

  • Signature locations are significantly more expensive than other Crunch facilities

  • Requires an enrollment and annual fee

Overview

Like all commercial gyms, the offerings at Crunch Fitness vary by location. However, Crunch Fitness has earned itself a good reputation for having a large variety of fun, effective group workout classes. The Crunch Fitness on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, for example, offers more than 20 different classes in any given week. 

Whether you’re into yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), muscle-sculpting, TRX training, pilates, or something else, there’s a good chance that a Crunch Fitness near you has a class to suit you. Of course, if you aren’t feeling a group class one day, you can do your own thing with cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines. 

Crunch Fitness offers three membership options: $14.99 per month for the Base plan with access to one Crunch club without the use of free classes; $21.99 per month for access to 389 Crunch clubs and most classes; and $29.99 per month for access to all 389 Crunch clubs, all group classes, and guest privileges.

Best for Cross-Training : Orangetheory Fitness


Orangetheory Fitness

 Orangetheory Fitness

Key Specs
  • Price: Varies based on which club you attend and promotions going on at time of signup
  • Basic Amenities: Resistance training and cardiovascular fitness all wrapped up into a structured one-hour workout coached by certified fitness professionals
  • Notable Feature: Class-only facility
Overview

Orangetheory provides members with a heart-pumping cardio and strength workout in a class setting.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Cross-training style workout packed into one class

  • Efficient and effective

  • Class structure and exercises change often so you never get bored

  • Environment is high-energy and fun

Cons
  • Class-only facility; no open access

  • Classes fill quickly

  • More costly than a regular gym membership

Overview

If you’re looking for a place that has more structure and isn’t centered around the weight room, Orangetheory Fitness is a good bet. This studio gym utilizes HIIT and incorporates loads of variety into the workouts. With an Orangetheory membership, you’ll experience everything from treadmill sprints to full-out cross-training circuits complete with dumbbell squats and kettlebell swings. 

You’ll get the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular fitness all wrapped up into a structured one-hour workout coached by certified fitness professionals—perfect for people who don’t really want to think about what they’re doing, reap the benefits of a professionally designed fitness program, and get in and out in less than 90 minutes.

Orangetheory Fitness offers three membership options: Basic, for four classes per month; Elite, for eight classes per month; and Premium, for unlimited classes per month. Prices vary based on which club you attend and promotions going on when you sign up.

Final Verdict 

Choosing the best gym membership comes down to your budget, needs, and preferences. While most gyms have cardio equipment, free weights, resistance training machines, stretching areas, and locker rooms, people looking for a larger facility with more fitness opportunities, amenities, and classes, should consider 24-Hour Fitness. This gym is our pick for best overall because it is moderately priced and offers more than enough features and equipment for most people. Plus, it is always open, which is incredibly convenient.

Gym Memberships vs. Personal Trainers

If you’re trying to decide between signing up for a gym membership or hiring a personal trainer, we’ve got a few things for you to consider. Depending on the gym or fitness studio, a free session or two might be included with your gym membership. Additionally, many facilities employ trainers to work the floor and offer assistance to members. While not the same as personal training, this help may be all you need. Hiring a personal trainer is significantly more expensive than a gym membership. It’s also limited in time. That said, working individually with a trainer can do wonders for your workouts. Want the best of both worlds? Look for a gym that offers a membership deal that includes a few personal training sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Gym Memberships Cost?

Gym memberships range from approximately $10 to $300+ a month. Sometimes, there are discounts available for longer subscriptions. Prices vary based on the equipment, hours of operation, number of classes offered, quality of instructors and workouts, included amenities and services, and access to other locations.

Is a Gym Membership Worth It?

If you’re committed to a regular exercise routine, a gym membership can help you improve your physical and mental health, lose weight, expand your social circle, and give you access to lots of exercise equipment and amenities. Whether paying for a gym membership is worth it comes down to your lifestyle, preferences for exercise, and schedule. People who don’t have space or the budget for a robust home gym may decide that joining a gym or health club is the most convenient way for them to exercise. If you’re the type of person who needs to work out with others, you’ll benefit from the motivation you get from going to the gym.

Can Joining a Gym Help Me Lose Weight?

Regular exercise can definitely help with weight loss efforts, especially if you meet or exceed the recommended amount of weekly exercise to lose weight. At a gym, you’ll have access to a variety of cardio machines, free weights, weight machines, and classes that may motivate you to do different types of workouts. However, signing up for a gym membership doesn’t guarantee that you’ll exercise on a regular basis. Some people have the best intentions to go to the gym frequently, but find themselves too busy or just not motivated to fit in exercise.

What Should I Wear to the Gym?

Workout clothing should be made from fabrics that are light, breathable, and moisture-wicking, such as spandex and polyester blends. Working out could lead to profuse sweating, so technical fabrics will help keep you dry and chafe-free. Whether you wear loose or tight-fitting is your personal preference, as long as your clothes are comfortable and allow for a full range of motion.

Methodology 

We researched over a dozen gym memberships nationwide. To make the final list, we considered membership costs, enrollment fees, contracts, sign-up fees, hours of operation, exercise class offerings, cardio equipment, weight machines and equipment, locker rooms, customer reviews, and employee assistance. When vetting companies for this list, we focused on well-established gyms with a variety of locations and brand reputation.

Gym

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By Amanda Capritto, ACE-CPT, INHC
Amanda Capritto, ACE-CPT, INHC, is an advocate for simple health and wellness. She writes about nutrition, exercise and overall well-being.