Save Money and Get Fit With Used Exercise Equipment

Is Used Fitness Equipment a Good Buy?

Close up of indoor treadmill machine
tammykayphoto / Getty Images

Buying used fitness equipment may be a great investment for your health and your wallet as long as you know what to look for before handing over your cash.

You can save a lot of money buying used fitness equipment. Used treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines, and weight equipment are a fraction of the cost compared to the same equipment brand new. If you are planning to set up a home gym, buying used equipment can save you thousands of dollars.

Not all used fitness equipment is worth the savings, however. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for used fitness equipment.

What to Buy

The variety of equipment available is endless. The specific pieces of used fitness equipment you choose to buy should be based on the type of exercise you enjoy doing, as well as pertain to your fitness goals. You may only need a stationary bike to ride during the evening news or a few dumbbells to add to your running routine. If, however, you are planning on setting up a basic home gym, learn about the must-have items.

Try Before You Buy

It's a good idea to shop for used fitness equipment that you have previously used at a gym, a store, or a friend's home. Make sure the equipment is something you are not only familiar with, but that you like enough to actually use on a regular basis. Avoid buying something just because it's a good deal or it may end up in your garage sale next year.

Choose Quality Brands

Even though you are buying used equipment, don't think you can't buy brand name items. When it comes to electronics and fitness equipment, purchasing name brands will generally save you money in the long run. Buying a cheap heart rate monitor, motorized treadmill, or other fitness equipment may result in a lower quality item that is poorly made and more likely to break than a well-known and trusted brand.

Check for Excessive Wear

Before buying any used fitness equipment, be sure you inspect the items for any kind of damage, excessive wear, cracks, rust, or other defects. Thoroughly test out the equipment before you buy it to ensure that everything works as it should. If it needs any parts cleaned or replaced, make sure they are still available for purchase and are reasonably priced.

Check Safety Features

Another important aspect of buying used fitness equipment is to ensure that the equipment is safe to use. This may mean checking the emergency shut-off switches, and inspecting the electronics and wires for fraying or other signs of damage. Any rubber or plastic parts should not show signs of cracks or excessive wear and tear. Iron dumbbells should not be rusty, and stationary bikes should pedal smoothly and stop easily.

Check the Warranty

Used fitness equipment will likely no longer be under warranty, but it's still a good idea to check. If this is a high-end item, contact the manufacturer to ask about the product and ask if they offer any service or support. It also can't hurt to ask about purchasing an extended warranty plan if there's one available. At a minimum, check to see if the equipment had any recalls and if replacement parts are easy to get.

Where to Buy

You can find used fitness equipment at garage sales, your local classifieds, and websites such as Craigslist, eBay, and Recycler. Be sure that any vendor you purchase from is a verified buyer to avoid any potential scams.

How Much Should You Pay for Used Fitness Equipment?

The easiest way to know what the equipment is worth is to first check the retail price at an online site such as Amazon or by going directly to the company's website. You could also peruse the classified ads to find out the going rates for the used equipment in your area. This will give you a good idea of the market value of the item. From there, you can negotiate with the seller and get the equipment for a fair price you feel good about.

Is There Any Fitness Equipment You Shouldn't Buy Used?

Some people may say that you should avoid buying used electronics or shoes. While it's a good idea to thoroughly check out any of these items before you buy, you can still get some great used heart rate monitors and even sports shoes if you know what it is you're looking for. The best advice on these items is to do thorough research, refrain from impulsive purchases, and ask a lot of questions of the seller. If you have a bad feeling, aren't getting straight answers to your questions, or see any inconsistencies between the product and the seller's story, move on. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Was this page helpful?