Worth the Weight: Tips for Buying Used Gym Equipment

 |  Brett Labistour
Trying to get in shape? Good for you! There are hundreds of reasons why reducing weight and increasing activity levels is the right choice. But what if you can't afford to go get brand new home gym equipment? It's a big investment to go brand new. Some people shy away from the idea of buying used gym equipment, just because they associate exercise with sweat and dirt. But these machines don't hold the bulk of the sweat - people's clothes do. It's just like buying anything else used. As long as it's quality and the previous owner cleaned it, then you have nothing to fear. Want to know what to look for so you don't get a lemon of a unit? Read below.

Buying Used Gym Equipment

When you go check out the gym equipment in person, you should look for the following things. Don't be afraid to ask the owner questions, you're giving them a reasonable chunk of money after all.

1. Look for a Warranty

It's not likely that you'll buy used gym equipment that still has a warranty, but why not check? If you can find something that still has a warranty, you should ask to see the paperwork. What does the warranty cover? Does it cover normal wear and tear or bigger damages? Would it be possible for you to buy the machine and then claim the warranty? You'll need to ask the person you're buying from for the original proof of purchase. Many manufacturers won't accept a warranty request without the purchase receipt.

2. Check The Size

Will the unit fit in your space? That's an important thing to note. Measure the maximum amount of space in your home that your new equipment can take up. It's unlikely someone will list the dimensions when they're selling their used equipment. If you're interested, go see the unit and bring a measuring tape with you. Will it fit in the rectangle of space you have to work with? What about the power source? Is the power cord long enough? These units take a lot of power, so you'll have to buy a high-quality extension cord if it won't stretch. In general, stationary bikes take up the least space, followed by small treadmills and small ellipticals.

3. Check for Safety

This is an electronic unit, so there are the associated risks. When you're checking out the unit it's not unreasonable to ask to get on it. Does it work? Does it make any weird noises? Ask if anyone has ever tipped it over or fallen off? Ask about the accident history. Most of the time nothing will have happened, these are pretty hefty units with wide bases. Then, look at the power input and any wiring. Are there frays or bends in the wiring itself? That's not only a power hazard to the machine but also a fire hazard. There should be an instructional manual that comes with the machine. It'd be great if the original owner still had it, but you can look up most online. Just make sure you put the year and the model number to get the correct information.

4. Negotiate the Price

Research the model number and the year of the model. See what hat are people asking for online and if you can see what price retailers were asking for it when it was new. If it's over five years old, it's reasonable to pay 50{da057a4db0ee33a79479ac0c1e43a48e79f986b1c0fac9f42e229682af0d05aa} of the asking price. The more unique the model is, the more it'll cost. For example, treadmills that have integrated desks retail new for about $800 or $1000. Units that have high tech capabilities built in also cost more, like Peleton bikes that give you live class access. Some people will have wiggle room on the price. They're less likely to negotiate if they just listed it. If the listing has been up for a week or a few weeks, then they're more likely to be flexible. Look for people with language in their listing like "moving soon" or "must go". They need that out of their house and will let you take it for a lower price, just to not have to deal with it.

5. Don't Get Over-Ambitious

If you've never ridden a stationary bike, you probably shouldn't throw down $300 for one. It's okay to buy something you don't use regularly, but it shouldn't be brand new. If you want to buy something you've never used, then hire a personal trainer at a gym to give you tips on a similar model. That way you'll have a better idea of what you're doing when you throw down your cash. Do you need special equipment to use your new unit? Some stationary bikes require clip in shoes.

6. Take It All In

Before you agree to the purchase, think about all of these things. What replacement pieces will you need to buy in the near future? Are they cheap? Is it reasonable to pay what they're asking with the general downfalls of the unit? Usually, nothing is perfect. It may be a good price, but the elliptical squeaks when you get on it. It's all about what you're willing to put up with and what you're willing to pay. Above all, you need to make sure the unit is safe. If you do agree to buy it, how are you going to get it in there safely? Getting in shape isn't going to do any good if you pull your shoulder trying to lift a machine that's too heavy.

The Cool Down

Is there someone you can pay to come to get this heavy unit for you? Does it still make sense to buy used including the labor or delivery cost? These are heavy things, don't underestimate their heft. Stay cautious and trust your gut when buying used gym equipment and you'll be good to go! Want to read about Jen Selter's latest venture and more fitness news? Click here.

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