Turbo trainers, indoor trainers, ergo static trainers whatever you want to call these, they are a great way of keeping fit if the weather is simply too bad for you to get outside training, or if you want a good quality quick workout around your daily commitments.
All the ones that we are going to show you today allow you to put your own bike on them and have the advantage that means you are in the same position you are out on the road. And if you’ve you got power metre on your bike, you will get compatible measurements for when you are normally training.
So here is the list of best budget turbo trainers that you can purchase without breaking the bank.
1. LifeLine TT-01 Magnetic
- 6 levels of magnetic resistance
- A quick and easy QR system
- Folds up for storage
- Includes riser block
- Comes with turbo trainer QR skewer
If you want to get into the world of Zwift but don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds, LifeLine TT-01 trainer is for you. It is a magnetic bike trainer that offers you resistance up to 6 levels. The ride is smooth, realistic and it will maintain your fitness levels when poor weather prevents outdoor riding. This trainer is compatible with a variety of bike types. There’s an ergonomically shaped handlebar, which allows you to control the levels of resistance. Also, LifeLine has included a front-wheel riser to your riding position more like how your bike would feel on the road.
The wide steel construction with folding rubber feet offers a very solid and stable platform. It is in the Zwift classic trainer hardware list. You can convert this trainer into a smart one with the addition of speed and cadence sensor and ANT+ stick (sold separately). As for the sound goes, it is a bit loud. You wouldn’t want to use it at night with people below you. In daytimes, you can put a foam mat under it and you’ll be fine. One of the downsides of this trainer is that the flywheel is a bit light. But it can be disassembled and upgraded easily.
Pros: Great value, fast and easy to set up, compact, foldable, stable in use
Cons: A little noisy but manageable.
2. PedalPro Magnetic
- Magnetic resistance
- 7 Resistance settings
- Can be folded very small
- With front-wheel support
- Good compatibility
PedalPro Magnetic Trainer is a well-designed and very sturdy turbo trainer. The setup is very easy, you just put the bicycle in and get going. Make sure that the axle of the rear wheel is placed between the two supports and secured with the appropriate mechanism. You can fold it away under your bed after use. Due to this convenient folding mechanism, it’s also easy to store. The PedalPro Magnetic is suitable for bicycles with 26- to 28-inch or 700c wheels. The trainer comes with everything you need; a quick release skewer, wheel block, and a resistance controller. You can clamp the resistance controller to your handlebars but the clamp is quite small.
This trainer does not generate much noise however it is noisy enough to annoy people in your house. You can use your road bike on it with slick tyres but expect it to be nosier with mountain bike tyres. Overall, the noise is fairly low if going at slow speeds but you can expect the noise to correlate with your speed.
Pros: Portable to pack away when you need the room, sturdy build
Cons: Noisy but manageable
3. LifeLine TT-02 Fluid
- Compatible with bike types from 26″ to 700c wheels
- Folds up to a small size
- Adjustable rubber feet
- Quick and easy setup
- 2-year warranty
The LifeLine TT-02 Fluid is quiet compared to the LifeLine TT-01 Magnetic but it’s slightly expensive. It’s a fluid turbo trainer so there are no controls to fiddle around with but they have different resistance curves. For example with the magnetic one, you have 6 different magnetic resistance levels but with the fluid one, it gets exponentially harder as you pedal faster. Out of the box, it is not compatible with Zwift or TrainerRoad because it’s not a smart trainer. It needs a power metre or speed sensor to work with training apps.
The setup is simple. Just pop the legs out, lock your bike, and pop the riser block under the front wheel. There is an included quick release skewer that you’ll need to lock your bike. It can also be converted for use with thru-axle bikes. You’ll need a LifeLine Thru-Axle adaptor to make it work. This trainer is compatible with almost all common bike types from 26″ to 700c. The overall construction of the unit is sturdy and feels solid. It folds up into a compact size for easy storage. If you are looking for a reliable and affordable trainer that can be used with interactive training apps, LifeLine TT-02 Fluid can be a good option.
Pros: Quieter than the magnetic one, perfect for indoor training, folds up for storage
Cons: No thru-axle adapter, eats tyre, poor power curve
4. Yaheetech Magnetic
- Compatible with almost all bikes of 26″ to 29″ wheel size
- Ultra-quiet magnetic roller design
- 6 Variable resistances
- Front-wheel support blocks
- Fold-flat collapsible design
Yaheetech is a standard Magnetic Turbo Trainer with dual quick releases and handlebar mounted variable resistance gears. The trainer has designed to allow you to change up your training and workouts with ease. The trainer also comes with a front wheel stand. Yaheetech is compatible with almost all bikes of 26″ to 29″ wheel size. The trainer comes fully assembled but can be easily folded for travel and storage. It features a smooth mechanism that offers one of the quietest rides on the market. The built quality of this trainer feels sturdy and it gives very rock steady rides on the carpet and it won’t let you take a tumble.
Whether something you want soft or hard, it offers 6 levels of resistance allow for a great level of customization. The lever attached to the handlebars allows you to change the resistance up or down. Overall, it is a well-made turbo trainer especially designed for those bikers who want a little bit more out of their indoor bike trainer without breaking the bank.
Pros: Easy to set up, good resistance on the roller, solid and sturdy whilst riding
Cons: Very noisy even on low resistance.
5. HOMCOM Indoor Bike Trainer
- Variable speed
- Includes quick release bar and front-wheel stand
- Suitable for 650C, 700C or 26″-29″ wheel sizes
- 8 Magnetic resistance levels
- Heavy-duty steel construction
HOMCOM II is an entry-level bike trainer that is suitable for those who want to exercise on their own bike in the comfort of their home. The trainer is simple and easy to set up and use. It offers 8 flexible settings that allow you to adjust the desired customisations.
The trainer works great with 650C, 700C or 26″-29″ wheels. It holds your bike secure while you pedal against the resistor. Ideal for training before a race or simply keeping fit. HOMCOM takes just 5 minutes to set up. There is a quick-release bar included converting your bike in case your bike does not have quick-release wheels.
If your bike has quick-release wheels, just twist the knobs either side to widen the gap until your wheel fits inside. It can be difficult to hold the bike while you adjust each side. Ask someone to hold the bike in place while you adjust each side.
Pros: Sturdy, good level of magnetic resistance, runs very smoothly
Cons: Not much difference in the settings for resistance. All feels the same.
6. GETS Bicycle Stand
- Adjustable resistance
- Upgraded resistance wheel offers better grip between tyre & resistor
- Suitable for 20″ – 28″ wheel sizes
- Sturdy iron and steel construction
- Easy installation
GETS Bicycle Stand is compatible with 20″ – 28″ wheel sizes. The trainer has a folding design and it includes quick-release skewer for bicycle rear hub and front wheel mount black/raiser. The GETS Bicycle Stand offers different magnetic resistance levels to suit your workout intensity and it includes handlebar-mounted control as well.
The trainer is easy to set up and does exactly what you expect. You can fold it away when you’re done, this makes using your everyday bike a doddle. The upgraded resistance wheel offers a better grip between tyre and resistor.
GETS Bicycle Stand is an ideal choice for anyone wanting to get in some extra mileage, while in the comfort of their own home.
Pros: Well designed, easy to attach/remove resistance control
Cons: Slight bit of noise but nothing major.
7. Saris CycleOps Fluid2
- PowerTuned for optimal road-like feel
- Noise level at 20 mph is super quiet 64-68 decibels
- Comes on foldable Classic frame with spring-loaded, bolt-action lever
- Fluid resistance unit provides a quiet and consistent ride
- Features clutch knob for perfect roller to tire tension each ride
Fluid2 Trainer offered by CycleOps is the first fluid trainer in the CycleOps series. Fluid2 costs a little bit more than other trainers in the list but it is still the best selling in the market and has tons of great features.
The Fluid2 Trainer uses progressive fluid resistance mechanism which gives you a smooth experience that you would not get with a magnetic or wind trainer. Fluid resistance also makes it quieter than magnetic and wind trainers. It automatically adjusts the resistance so you don’t need to adjust by the use of a knob. When you pedal fast, it resists more and workout becomes harder. This feature makes it necessary equipment if you are training for a race or looking to push yourself.
The trainer is compact, easy to set up, store and transport. It only takes 10 minutes from setting it up starting your workout. The support legs and the mainframe are attached, but the resistance unit is separate. You also have to set up the wheel locking pin.
Pros: Compatible with virtual training apps, offers smooth resistance, quiet and durable
Cons: Comes with poorly written instructions, expensive
8. UNISKY Bike Trainer
- Foldable compact design for easy storage and travel
- Premium steel material
- Clamp locks down on quick release or bolt-on rear wheels
- Works with bikes with a wheel size of 26″ to 29″, 700C Wheel
- Comes with fixing seat for the front-wheel
UNISKY is a very basic entry-level trainer that is compatible with 26” to 29” and 700C wheel sizes. It comes with a quick-release skewer and requires a bike with a rear quick-release wheel. This trainer is suitable for those who want to lose weight and increase their fitness level. Again, it is a basic trainer and we do not recommend it for serious cyclists or people already with a high fitness level.
The trainer is strong and sturdy and it may make some noise but not so great that if you’re doing it through the day anyone could complain. If you have a quick-release rear wheel, you can use the bar that comes with it. Just unscrew the quick-release bar that goes through your wheel and replace it with the one that comes with the device. If your bike doesn’t have a quick-release rear wheel, don’t worry, it also comes with a pod for your front wheel.
Pros: Durable, sturdy and does a great job.
Cons: Not recommended for serious cyclists.
9. Clarke Bike Trainer
- 7 position adjuster mounts on handlebars
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Quick-release skewer
- Suitable for bikes with 26′ – 28′ tyres
Clarke Bike Trainer is a solid machine that does what you’d expect for the money. It is a great entry-level option for those who want to give the turbo a try without breaking the bank. The trainer is quiet, smooth in action, and it has a wide base for added stability. It offers 7 levels of magnetic resistance, which are enough for the bike riding enthusiast who wants tough training sessions. The trainer comes with a bar-mounted resistance dial and a spare quick release to replace your rear wheel. Using the handlebar-mounted resistance adjuster, you can change your ride from open flat roads through moderate slopes to steep hills. The flywheel is not very heavy and feels a bit choppy at first but it gives a smooth pedal action and is perfectly usable.
The trainer has a sturdy built, which is suitable for all bikes with 26 to 28 inches quick-release wheels. The quick-release skewer allows fast rear wheel mounting and releasing. The stability of this trainer is quite good and it fits most road tyers just fine. It is maintenance-free and it even folds flat for easy storage and travel. This cost-effective Clarke Bike Trainer weighs in at only 5 kilos. It’s ideal for training sessions for years to come.
Pros: Solid machine at an affordable price, light enough to be transportable
Cons: Choppy when starting and noisy at pace
10. Tacx Antares Rollers
- Suitable for bikes with a wheel diameter of 26 to 29 in
- Heavy-duty tapered rollers
- Allows training at high resistances
- Standalone training possible
- Ideal for track racing training
Tacx Antares Rollers has a simple design with a very stable and robust frame. It has conical rollers that keep you in the middle and ensure that your bike always remains in the middle of the roller while you are riding. The assembly is so easy that you’ll be on the rollers in just 30 minutes! If you are a beginner and getting a roller first time, this would be a great option as it teaches you balancing skills and how to pedal smoothly.
When you ride first time on these rollers, it requires some concentration. Get used to them and trying not to fall off! You can put a chair on either side of the roller so that you have something to hold on to while you get used to balancing while riding. Once started, you’ll be paddling normally within 10 minutes. It is a fact that your bike isn’t fixed and you continuously need to concentrate on your balance.
The rollers give a little resistance but it feels like you are riding on the flat road. You can increase the resistance by moving up the gears on your bike or you could experiment with tyre pressures. Overall, Tacx Antares Rollers are sturdy, well-constructed, and are of good quality. They are quite, give a great work out and slide together to allow a reasonably small storage footprint.
Pros: Lightweight, robust, can be stored easily
Cons: Unable to stand up cycle on it.
11. Saris CycleOps Mag
- Adjustable foot pads
- Quick-release handle
- Folding legs for storage
- Sturdy steel frame
- Eccentric levelling feet
Cycleops Mag Indoor Trainer is designed with magnetic brakes. It utilises a unique internal flywheel that provides a smooth and quiet ride. This trainer offers up to five levels of resistance settings. The frame is made of durable steel and it has levelling feet for stability. Also, the legs are foldable so you can easily store and set-up your bike. The CycleOps Mag also comes with an informational DVD. The trainer also features adjustable footpads and a quick release handle.
The magnet part, the part that provides resistance has an adjustment dial. If you turn it, it has five different modes of difficulty. The resistances are very consistent and do give a good workout. There are only 2 bolts that hold the resistance unit on, which makes it a little difficult to assemble. Overall, it is a basic unit that is stable. Keep in mind that this trainer is only designed to only work with bikes with quick release rear wheels.
Pros: It is a nice and stable stand and it holds the bike well.
Cons: At higher speeds, it gets loud and eats tyres.
12. Elite Novo Force
- Compact magnetic resistance unit
- Compatible with My E-Training and third-party apps
- Magnetic inner resistance
- Wheel-on transmission
- 690w power output
Elite Novo Force is a high-performance home trainer. It has a very compact design and offers a compact magnetic resistance unit. It features five resistance settings, operated from the handlebar. The design has been renewed compared to other models in this category. The trainer also features a sturdy frame with very unique features.
To make the experience more exciting and stimulating, Novo Force is compatible with many third-party apps such as My E-Training. These features usually require a paid subscription.
The roller is made of Elastogel, an exclusive polyurethane compound which improves tyre adherence. Furthermore, it decreases the noise coming from the roller/tyre friction by 50% and tyre consumption by 20%.
Pros: Robust, well-made, easy to put together, has a quality feel
Cons: Overly complicated instructions for putting it together.
13. Jetblack Z2
- Fluid resistance curve up to 900 watts
- Pre-assembled and ready to ride
- Rock-solid design is stable for any size or style
- Wide base and anti-slip feet
- Folds into a compact shape
Jetblack Z2 is a budget bike trainer that comes fully assembled. It has a wide base with removable anti-slip plastic feet. It also comes with a steel quick-release, and the package also includes one coaching session CD. When setting it up, make sure the plastic feet are on the right way so that the wide part faces the ground. These plastic feet give the unit stability.
The roller is made of plastic and it grips the tyre better and it’s quieter than a metal roller. There’s a roller to tyre contact adjuster and its locking nut. There’s a 3 kg flywheel, which basically keeps real wheel going around a bit longer when you stop paddling, stimulating a real on-road feel.
It’s a good idea to have a separate wheel that you use just for the trainer. On this wheel, you can use a heavier duty tyre. Remember, there’s a heat buildup between the roller and the tyre on contract. With the dedicated wheel, preferably it will have an alloy rim. The mechanism is not too noisy. You can talk quite clearly, watch TV and listen to music without earphones.
Pros: Smooth, reasonable, and quiet
Cons: No resistance levels, you adjust the resistance by using the gears on your bike.
14. Tacx Blue Matic
- 2×8 Permanent ferrite magnets
- Transmission- Roller, 30 mm
- Universal fit for wheels with diameter 600 to 710 mm
- Easy to assemble brake system
- No mains voltage required
The Tacx Blue is an ideal and simple turbo trainer for home use. It is easy to set up and provides a sniff of the smart trainer world without the need to buy an expensive smart trainer. It gives you Tacx’s own training software app or the likes of TrainerRoad and Zwift.
You can easily change the resistance manually with 10 handlebar positions (ranging from 100 watts to 700 watts). Although it comes with relatively small flywheel, still it has a very decent and smooth ride feel. The flywheel (which is 1.25kg) is able to replicate a mass inertia effect of 8kg, enough to give you the feeling of riding outdoors.
The roll is made of a hardened steel sleeve with a soft core of Elastogel. The steel sleeve prevents wear of the trainer, while the Elastogel absorbs vibrations to reduce noise.
Overall the assembly is easy to set up. You can easily set it up with just two easy clicks. Your bike is securely locked in the trainer frame, making sure that your bike is safely fixed and doesn’t go anywhere.
Pros: Provides estimated power from sensors, quiet operation, Stable under load
Cons: Not universally compatible, poor resistance switch, power estimation naturally inaccurate
15. Minoura B60-R
- Durable steel frame
- Standard Ferrite magnet
- Generates 425 Watt power at 40 km/h (H range)
- Lightweight and adjustable power
Minoura B60-R is a cheap turbo trainer that is smooth, quiet and offers wide resistance performance. It has a U-shaped frame with 38 mm steel tubing that supports up to 120 kg. The frame has fold-out legs and needs to be bolted together before you start. Minoura B60-R offers 3 levels of resistance via a manual lever on the unit.
It is an entry-level trainer and it uses a ferrite magnetic and a 0.6 kg dual steel flywheel to generate its resistance and inertial forces. It has a lightweight yet solid frame that weighs around 5.5 kg and it comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
This trainer generates 425 Watts of power when you get up to 40km/h in speed or 662 Watts of power if you reach 60 km/h. The trainer also features a Minoura’s Magturbo braking system. This was the first and original magnetic resistance braking unit ever used on turbo trainers.
Pros: Well-built, sturdy, delivers a great workout
Cons: Flimsy wheel tension adjustment knob
16. Tacx Satori Smart Trainer
- Includes Skyliner
- Max brake power (10 sec) 950 watt, Sprint power (1 min) 750 watt
- 10 handlebar positions
- Dual material roll
- Front wheel support
The Vortex Smart Trainer is an entry-level or budget turbo trainer for people to dip their toe into erg mode, Zwift and all those interactive smart training programmes. It comes with things like Flux and Neo that improve that premium experience indoors.
Although this unit was out in 2015, it still supports everything that’s popular today. So ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth. Reporting power, speed and cadence. It goes up to 950 Watts for a few seconds in the sprint at about 40 kilometres an hour. The trainer does not change resistance based on the virtual gradient. This is a downside because hill simulation is supposed to be one of the advantages of a smart trainer. So you’re not going to get those really steep pinches, but it’s enough for a good training session.
The flywheel weight of this unit is 1.65 kilos with mass inertia of 16.9 kilos.
Pros: Good option for those looking for a starting level interactive smart trainer.
Cons: The assembly is not very easy.
17. Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+
- Electric-motor resistance controlled by Zwift or TrainerRoad
- Light and folds down
- Can do ANT+ or Bluetooth
- Relies on rider weight for tyre/roller contact
Elite Qubo Digital Smart B+ is an entry-level and budget-friendly option that gives you smart trainer control. It is ideal for those who want to get into the virtual riding game without spending a fortune. It is simple to use, you just clamp your rear axle in, plug it, pair it to your favourite app, and you are good to go.
The trainer has a wide table and an easy one-hand operation clamping mechanism. It folds almost flat for storage when not in use. The resistance unit provides ample power that has a smooth variable power curve. This trainer comes equipped with Misuoro B+ Bluetooth and ANT sensor that transmits speed and cadence information to compatible devices. It allows you to train interactively. You can upload your data to Elite My E-Training App.
This trainer comes with a six-month free subscription to that application. But it can also be used on a host of other training sites. Most customers buying this trainer are using it with Zwift. It’s fully compatible with Zwift training application and it allows you to upload your data and play. Just to be clear, this trainer transmits a virtual power curve and allows the rider to interact on Zwift. It does not receive data back from Zwift. It sets the resistance on the trainer.
Pros: Most affordable smart turbo trainer on the market, folds for storage, lightweight
Cons: Short power cord, inaccurate power measurement, a little noisy but manageable
How to Choose a Turbo Trainer?
A few different types of turbo trainers that are currently available on the market to enable you to make a decision as to which one is right for you.
Magnetic trainer gets its resistance through opposing magnets. These trainers are suitable for entry-level cyclers. You might want to consider this one if you are on a budget or you simply don’t think you are going to be riding that much indoors.
Other advantages apart from that price point that you can change the resistance using handlebars. Which makes it’s great if you want to do intervals during your session.
The disadvantage of this one, being an entry-level trainer, it doesn’t feel that realistic when you compare it to the feeling of being out on the road. And it’s also particularly noisy, so if you’re in an apartment block, or if you’ve got some neighbours that don’t like the noise or even a partner that gets sick of your addiction to cycling, well, then you might want to consider the next trainer.
As the name suggests, it gets its resistance from the fluid at the rear roller. The main advantage of this one over the magnetic trainer, it’s got a much more realistic road feel to it and it’s also much quieter. It is not going to annoy those people close to you as much. And also, if you listen to TV or radio or music whilst you’re training you will be able to hear that clearly without having to turn the volume up to its maximum.
The main disadvantage of this fluid trainer over the magnetic one is simply the price point. It’s around about one third more expensive.
These types of trainers are called rollers. You will see track riders warming up on these a lot before their events, and that’s because they can really get a lot of leg speed because there isn’t that much resistance. They make time go past that little bit quicker, because you actually have to concentrate on keeping upright, which is believe me a lot harder.
The disadvantage of these is lack of resistance which means that if you’re a powerful rider, you might not have enough bare to be able to get decent into the workout done.
The next trainer is called smart, and as you can probably tell, the main difference is that you have to take the rear wheel out of your bike and then mount the frame. The chain will wrap around the cassette. The main advantage of this, it’s extremely stable. There is not much side to side rocking even when you are going really hard. It’s also got a very realistic road feel similar to what you experience when you are actually outside training. It is also extremely quiet, so you are not going to disturb anyone.
You can also link this particular trainer to different media devices if you want to take your training to the next level. If you are somebody that wants to do sprints indoors, this is definitely the one for you because unlike the magnetic or fluid one, you are not going to experience any rear wheel slippage.