The Complete Guide to Buying Cardio Equipment for Gyms

 |  Thomas Ferriere

The U.S. gym industry makes about $35 billion in revenue every year.

The market is wide with plenty of opportunities. It's no wonder that more and more passionate fitness entrepreneurs are opening exercise facilities all across the country. 

When building a gym, there are several things to consider: location, facility, insurance, and of course equipment. Today, we'll cover everything you need to know about buying cardio equipment for your gym.

Let's dive in. 

Important Factors for Buying Cardio Equipment for Your Gym

When choosing the perfect equipment for your gym, there are many different factors you should take into consideration. Let's take a look at a few.

Determine the Limitations of Your Gym Space

The first thing you should figure out is how much space you have in your gym. Remember that a significant amount of space will be taken up by non-equipment areas, such as:

  • Offices
  • Lobbies
  • Bathrooms
  • Utility rooms
  • Other extra features

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 45 to 75 square feet per piece of equipment, and most gyms tend to allocate about 60% of their space to equipment vs. non-equipment areas. 

Prepare Your Budget

Purchasing gym equipment isn't cheap. Make sure you set aside your budget for purchasing fitness equipment and choose the types and brands you buy accordingly. 

Make sure to do a lot of research and compare all of the best deals you can find online that fit your budget. Check online customer reviews and compare many vendors before purchasing from an exercise equipment store.

When figuring out your cardio equipment budget, it can be helpful to check out a few fitness tradeshows, too. You can see first-hand the best equipment from all the major players in the fitness industry.

Finance or Lease Equipment

When it comes to finances, all gyms have unique situations and needs. Depending on your situation, you should look at the pros and cons of buying fitness equipment, leasing it, or finding quality deals on refurbished equipment.

Leasing equipment means you can change your equipment every few years, which allows you to stay up-to-date with the newest machines on the market.

Buying new equipment means it's yours, which means you invest in an asset that you can later sell if you decide to. However, it can be pricey, especially for new, small gym owners. 

However, buying refurbished machines from a top-quality refurbisher allows you to get equipment from some of the best brands on the market for a fraction of the price!

Types of Cardio Machines

There are several different kinds of machines that can get your heart rate up. It's important to focus on the needs of your target market and do proper research on what kind of cardio machines they want to use when they come to your gym. Let's take a look at the most popular types.


Treadmills are a staple of most gyms. These work by pushing a moving platform with a conveyor belt that allows users to walk or run in place. They are very easy to use and can work at different speeds and inclines. This allows users to keep their heart rate consistent throughout their workout.

Treadmills are a great training aid for marathons and road races. They are typically very versatile with different workouts and can keep things fresh for your gym attendees.

They are often seen as the best cardio machine for burning calories, so they're great for people looking to lose weight.


Elliptical machines allow users to get a workout somewhere in between the circular motion of a bicycle and the flat motion of a treadmill. You can customize the speed, resistance, and intensity of these machines.

Unlike treadmills, they also involve the upper body, giving users a full-body workout. 

These machines aren't as intense as other cardio machines, but these low-impact cardio machines put much less stress on the knees and joints.

Exercise Bikes

As the name suggests, these machines copy the motion of outdoor biking with pedals and seats. However, there are several different kinds of exercise bikes to choose from: upright, indoor cycling, and recumbent. 

Upright bikes keep you in a conventional riding position with no back support. They usually have handlebars and front displays.

Recumbent bikes seat users in a reclined position in a wider, more comfortable seat. The pedals are further in front, which evens out bodyweight distribution. These are great for people with back issues, joint problems, or other injuries.

Indoor cycling bikes give a closer experience to actual outdoor cycling. They are designed to let riders sit and stand for high-intensity interval training. These are the bikes you usually find in fitness classes.

If you are planning on buying exercise bikes for your gym, make sure to find the best deals possible.

Rowing Machines

These machines simulate watercraft rowing. This motion uses your entire body and is often seen as one of the most effective cardio machines. 

They use your arms and back much more than other types of cardio equipment. They are also great for engaging your core muscles and building coordination. 

Stair Climbers and Steppers

Everyone knows climbing stairs is a great workout. These machines allow you to strengthen and tone your lower body while getting a great cardio workout in at the same time. The machine positions users in an upright position, which means they also get a core stabilizing workout as well.

Find the Perfect Cardio Equipment for Your Gym

That's a great first step to buying cardio equipment for your gym. Next, you need to figure out what will fit best with your gym's unique needs and clientele.

If you're looking for some of the best equipment from top brands for a fraction of the price, check out our refurbished equipment today!

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