I live near Denver, Colorado, so I have a few choices when it comes to finding gym equipment. You’ve got the stores like Dick’s and Sports Authority that carry all sorts of crap, but the problem with them is that it’s either garbage, or way overpriced. For example their kettlebells are $120 for a 24kg kettlebell. That’s ridiculous compared to what else is available.
The other options I have are places that carry CrossFit stuff. One of the stores is Rage Fitness, and the other is Rep Fitness. Rage carries a huge amount of gear, but I’ve found that they generally have higher prices on their decent quality stuff, and some of their gear just isn’t that good like their bumpers. Rep Fitness has all sorts of CrossFit gear, and while their selection isn’t as big as Rage, they’ve got all of the major stuff covered and I’ve never seen a low quality product or a price that I thought was unreasonable.
There are a ton of choices when it comes to home gym equipment and most of the time, you get what you pay for.
If you’re just starting out, it might be worth checking out Craigslist to get some quality used gear. The most basic recommendation is a bar and plates, followed by a squat rack or a power rack if you can afford it. Most people will have decent quality used benches and racks that can save you a lot if you’re able to pick them up locally.
One thing to always be aware of is the quality of the steel. Try to check the model # out online to see what gauge steel the item you’re interested in is made out of. For benches and power racks, you generally want to see something that is 12 gauge or better (lower is better). The gauge of steel refers to the thickness, and most high quality equipment is going to be 11 gauge. Lots of high quality imports will be around 12 gauge, and the cheaper lower-end stuff will be 14 gauge or higher. You should never go above 12 gauge for a flat bench or a power rack because those items always need to handle the most weight.