Gym Equipment Is Expensive. Here's How to Find High-Quality Used Gear (2023)

Home exercise equipment can easily add up. This is especially true if you're looking to complete your gym with bigger pieces like a treadmill, elliptical, dumbbells or even a squat rack. The good news is that you don't necessarily have to buy all of this equipment brand new. You can save money by purchasing some pieces used and still get a perfectly good product. You can find used exercise equipment online, at secondhand stores or even garage sales in your neighborhood.

But before you impulsively purchase that used treadmill, there are a few things you should know. We spoke to some experts for tips on what to look for when buying used exercise equipment, and which pieces you're better off buying brand new. Keep reading to learn what you need to keep in mind while shopping for used exercise equipment.

Look for simple, durable items

Gym Equipment Is Expensive. Here's How to Find High-Quality Used Gear (1)

There are some pieces of workout equipment that are better to buy used than others. Cooper Mitchell, founder of Garage Gym Reviews, recommends buying items that are built to last a long time and won't break down. "Some pieces of equipment I would go for are dumbbells, kettlebells and weight plates," he says, adding, "These items are basic and they're made out of cast iron, so they're gonna last a long time."

If you're looking at used cardio equipment, Caroline Grainger, an International Sports Sciences Association certified personal trainer suggests going for a stationary bike. "Stationary bikes, especially older ones with fewer electronic components, are virtually indestructible and are definitely worth buying used," she says. So if you're not looking for the latest Peloton bike, this could be a good alternative to have in your home.

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Matt Claes, founder of Weight Loss Made Practical also recommends buying a used rowing machine if you're looking for another option in the cardio machine category. He says, "Rowing machines like the Concept 2 RowErg have a reputation for being really good second-hand purchases due to their durability." If you're uncertain which rowing machine brands to trust, you can use CNET's best rowing machine picks as your shopping guide.

Know how to avoid duds

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If you're purchasing any of these items, there are a couple of inspections you should make before you get out your wallet. "If you're buying a used barbell, you should make sure that it's not bent or the knurling hasn't been worn down," Mitchell points out. "If it's a weight plate, I would bring a scale and make sure it's accurate," he adds. Often there's a discrepancy because pieces can get chipped off during use, and you want to make sure the used product is still in the best condition possible.

Although many of these pieces are designed to last, it's not a guarantee that they still hold up equally. "There is a big difference between a barbell that was used to do 250-pound back squats every day for seven years versus a barbell that was used for 40-pound shoulder presses two times a week for three years," explains Claes.

You should be prepared to test the product out and know the basics about the machine. "Research the name of the product, the specific model and year, because it's going to give you good customer reviews to learn about how well this product is going to hold up in the long run, as well as any recalls or other important information to consider," advises Grainger.

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Also, if possible, don't be afraid to ask the previous owner any questions you may have about the product. "Ask why they are selling the machine and how many years they've had it, because if their response is that they simply don't use it, that's good to know before purchasing," says Mitchell. However, if they tell you they broke something on it or it doesn't work properly, that's a good reason to not go through with the purchase.

Where to look for deals

Gym Equipment Is Expensive. Here's How to Find High-Quality Used Gear (3)

You can find used workout gear at individual yard or garage sales, or in some second-hand stores. Nowadays, used workout equipment is also often purchased on online platforms like Facebook marketplace. You can even find used equipment on Amazon and eBay. So which is best?

"The real value tends to come from individual sellers on less visible markets like Facebook marketplace or even garage sales," says Grainger. Still, Claes warns that you should be selective about what exercise products you purchase online. "Depending on the reputation and return policies of the websites, you could consider purchasing relatively budget-friendly used exercise equipment online," he says, adding," But for pricier equipment and websites or sellers you don't know the history of, you likely want to have an in-person look before making any decisions."

A benefit to purchasing used equipment from an individual seller is that there's room to negotiate the price. "You can always lowball and see what they come back with, because you can always raise the negotiation price after if needed," says Mitchell. Another haggling trick he suggests is to be very specific in your pricing. "It sounds a little bizarre, but if you say you'll pay $207 versus $200 for example, the other party will think you're well researched and really know what you're talking about."

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If you're not finding what you're looking for on Facebook marketplace, you can also check out retailers like Play-It-Again Sports, a second-hand sporting goods store that can be found in some cities and is known to carry fitness equipment.

Skip buying these machines used

Gym Equipment Is Expensive. Here's How to Find High-Quality Used Gear (4)

There are some pieces of equipment that you should be extra-cautious about buying second-hand. This can be because of safety precautions or machine longevity. "Treadmills are hard to buy used because the motors break down, they're expensive and they're heavy so they're hard to transport," says Mitchell. Another piece of equipment he advises buying brand-new are cable machines. "Cable machines get used and abused and not taken care of well in most garages," he warns.

Claes agrees and says most electronic cardio machines should be purchased new. "The reason for this is that these machines tend to have a limited lifetime and if someone else used the machine for a few years, a treadmill may sound inexpensive, but it may not have that many years left." Not to mention, the warranties of used machines can be tricky since some brands allow the warranty to be transferable and others do not.

Bottom line

Most importantly, make sure you do your research on the used equipment you're looking to buy. Claes recommends visiting at least one garage sale before committing to buying used exercise equipment from a store. By taking your time to properly research the product, you'll learn the average price and quality, which will help determine whether or not you're getting a good deal.

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"For example, barbells aren't that much cheaper when you buy them used," says Mitchell. So in this case, you may fare better off buying the product from a website such as Rogue Fitness, REP Fitness or Titan Fitness. If you're looking for new cardio equipment, you'll want to consider sites like NordicTrack, Bowflex or even Peloton. These brands have a reputation for making fitness equipment that lasts.

Claes advises that you make sure you are investing in at least a decent piece of exercise equipment. "In the short term, the low price may seem attractive," he says. "However, if you need to buy new equipment every few months, the used exercise equipment options may turn out to be not that budget-friendly."

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


What to look for when buying second hand gym equipment? ›

4 Things You Should Consider When Buying Used Gym Equipment
  • Choose Established Brands. ...
  • Check the Warranty. ...
  • Buy the Right Equipment for Your Goals. ...
  • Inspect the Equipment. ...
  • The Benefits of Buying Used Gym Equipment.
Jan 21, 2022

What does Planet Fitness do with their old equipment? ›

Planet Fitness has also donated old equipment to other non-profit organizations in the area.

What is the most used piece of gym equipment? ›

The treadmill is the most popular home gym equipment, with nearly 300,000 global average monthly searches.

Should you buy used weights? ›

There is nothing wrong with buying used equipment and you can find a great deal price-wise. Many home exercisers have used their equipment as a clothes hanger for years and the piece may be in excellent shape with little wear-and-tear. Used commercial equipment can also be a great buy.

What is the life expectancy of gym equipment? ›

With regular use, the average piece of fitness equipment should last between seven and twelve years. However, it may not last that long with excessive use and if it is not properly maintained. It may exceed its lifespan with regular maintenance and if used sparingly.

Is it worth buying own gym equipment? ›

Even if you decide to stick with a gym membership, you'll likely find that having some equipment at home is a huge advantage on days where you just can't make it or are short on time. At the end of the day, a home gym is definitely worth it!

Why does Planet Fitness take 40 dollars? ›

The $40 fee that you pay mid-way through your membership is your annual fee which goes towards new equipment and repairs! Hi Turane. We'd hate to see you go, but we understand! For further instructions on cancelling your membership or requesting a refund, feel free to give your club a call.

Where does old gym equipment go? ›

If that treadmill still works, consider donating it. Check with your local community center, senior center or even high school to see if they are interested in the used gym equipment. If the exercise equipment is in working order, donation pick-up organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army may also take it.

What do commercial gyms do with old equipment? ›

Going-out-of-business sales or equipment-upgrade sales.

These events are held by gyms and fitness centers when they're making changes to their business, and you can often profit from this. Such places will typically hold auctions where they will sell off unwanted equipment to the highest bidder.

What brand machines do gyms use? ›

Commercial Gym Equipment Brands
  • Life Fitness. Life Fitness was founded in 1968 by Jack and Barbara Deaver in Southern California. ...
  • Precor. Precor was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Woodinville, Washington. ...
  • Technogym. ...
  • Matrix. ...
  • Cybex. ...
  • Nautilus. ...
  • Quality. ...
  • Space.
Aug 30, 2022

How much is a full gym equipment? ›

Details of Cost

Expect to pay $60 to $100 per month per item to lease common gym equipment like commercial treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals. These items usually start at around $2,000 to purchase, and heavier equipment—like weight machines—can cost between $4,000 and $7,000 outright.

How much does all the equipment in a gym cost? ›

Gym Equipment

Typically, equipment costs will run from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the amount of equipment you need and the quality of it that you get. This includes things like free weights, treadmills, weight machines, that sort of thing.

How do I find used weights? ›

You can find used workout gear at individual yard or garage sales, or in some second-hand stores. Nowadays, used workout equipment is also often purchased on online platforms like Facebook marketplace. You can even find used equipment on Amazon and eBay.

What is a fair price for weights? ›

Typically between $1 - $2 per pound. However, their cost can differ depending on the material they're made from, their weight, and whether they're new or not. That is why you need to first decide what kind you want before making the decision to buy one or multiple pairs.

Is it true that free weights are better than machines? ›

Free weights help develop greater power, as compared to machines. Working out with free weights is a more efficient way to hit most fitness goals, including increasing strength and muscle size, changing body composition, and weight loss.

Is gym good after 50 years? ›

It's never too late. Many people starting out with exercise in middle age are discouraged because they think it's probably too late to reap real benefits. In fact, the opposite is true. Studies show that it's never too late to start realising benefits from exercise.

Is gym good after 40 years? ›

It's never too late to get in shape and reap the health benefits of physical fitness. So says a new study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

When should gym equipment be replaced? ›

Although it varies by facility—depending on the amount of use, the condition of the equipment at the start and the overall quality of the equipment—group cycles last five to seven years, cardio equipment lasts seven to 10 years and strength equipment lasts 10 years or more.

Is it cheaper to buy gym equipment or go to gym? ›

Buying gym equipment costs money, requires space and makes working out a solitary venture. Gym memberships cost money in monthly fees and other charges, requires added time and effort to get there and makes working out more of a social venture. Many experts favor a combination of membership and home equipment.

Do gym owners make a lot of money? › reports that the average salary for a gym owner is $52,263 as of July 26, 2022.

Does owning a gym make a lot of money? ›

According to a report by ZipRecruiter, a Gym Owner in the USA can make anywhere from $17,000 to $187,500 per year depending on the above-mentioned factors. A good average would be $69,794 per year which makes $5,816 per month. These figures can also vary due to the area or state in which the gym is operating in.

What should I look for in home gym equipment? ›

How to Choose Your Best Home Gym Equipment
  • Types.
  • Setting Goals.
  • Cost.
  • Space.
  • Number of Users.
  • Installation.
  • Safety.
  • Second-Hand Equipment.
Mar 30, 2021

What should you consider before purchasing home exercise equipment? ›

7 Factors to Consider Before Buying Home Fitness Equipment
  1. Types of Gym Equipment. ...
  2. Evaluate Your Fitness Needs. ...
  3. Associated Costs. ...
  4. Space Available. ...
  5. Determine Equipment Features. ...
  6. Buy from Reputable Stores. ...
  7. Equipment Repair and Maintenance.
Oct 14, 2019

Does quality of gym equipment matter? ›

Anyone serious about gym can tell you that it's essential to have good quality weights, bars, machines, and other equipment when training. Having strong, reliable, and comfortable equipment will make your workout more effective, less time consuming, and offer an enjoyable experience to keep you coming back for more.

What gym equipment should I look for? ›

  • Training bench. A basic but multi-purpose training bench is a must-have in your gym. ...
  • Dumbbell set. Also an important necessity for beginners, young athletes and seniors. ...
  • Treadmill. ...
  • Stationary bicycle. ...
  • Barbell Set. ...
  • Rowing machine. ...
  • Low-impact treadmills. ...
  • Ellipticals.
Dec 23, 2019

What color should a home gym be? ›

For more intense workout rooms, go with energetic colors like reds and oranges, says Old Crow Painting's Travis Nolan. “These will help evoke energetic feelings, giving you that extra psychological boost to power through your reps,” Nolan says.

What is the best exercise equipment to invest in? ›

Best Home Exercise Equipment for 2023
  • TRX All-in-One suspension training system. A whole-body gym system that fits anywhere. ...
  • FitCord X-Over resistance band. Heavy-duty resistance bands. ...
  • Manduka Pro yoga mat. The last yoga mat you'll ever need. ...
  • NordicTrack Commercial 14.9. Our top-pick elliptical. ...
  • Loocio jump rope.
Feb 6, 2023

What is the most important factor to consider when purchasing exercise gear? ›

Cost, quality, and quantity might be at the top of your list, but don't forget about the variety of equipment you need, along with delivery, installation, and maintenance after you have made the purchase. Keep these factors in mind to ensure your purchasing decisions are right for your fitness center.

What is better than elliptical? ›

The treadmill does, however, have the edge over the elliptical when it comes to calorie burn and bone strength, Ellis says since it's high-impact, whereas the elliptical is low-impact. The intensity level of workouts on either cardio machine can be either high or low, depending on how hard you go.

Should you buy expensive workout clothes? ›

A: For the most part, yes. But no need to break the bank! Fabrics in the higher-end pants are a noticeable difference. The fabric is typically more durable, holds shape, and has great stretch and moves with the body.

How often should gym equipment be replaced? ›

Although it varies by facility—depending on the amount of use, the condition of the equipment at the start and the overall quality of the equipment—group cycles last five to seven years, cardio equipment lasts seven to 10 years and strength equipment lasts 10 years or more.

Should I wear the same gym clothes everyday? ›

The short answer is no, it's not recommended to re-wear your workout clothes because bacteria and yeast tend to rub off onto your clothing, especially after you sweat.

Is A treadmill better than an Elliptical? ›

Treadmills are better for aerobic workouts, too, said Hodges. A small 2021 study found that people using a treadmill burned more fat than those using an elliptical. The study suggested that exercising on a treadmill is a good way to improve cardio-metabolic health.

What is the best equipment to start with at the gym? ›

A treadmill is a classic workout machine for beginners, since at the very least, you can start off by just walking at an incline to raise your heartbeat. You'll get in some cardio and a leg workout, too.

How can I look more classy at the gym? ›

10 Ways To Look Great While Working Out
  1. Flatter your figure. ...
  2. Opt for breathable materials. ...
  3. Go for natural makeup. ...
  4. Wear a well fitted sports bra. ...
  5. Create your perfect silhouette. ...
  6. Opt for an updo. ...
  7. Blot away shine. ...
  8. Accessorise.


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