Fact Checked

What are the Best Tips for Buying Used Gym Equipment?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

When considering used gym equipment, the most important consideration one can make is the determination of where, how and by whom the equipment will be used. Aside from the overall condition of the equipment, the users of the equipment will best determine the effectiveness of the purchased used gym equipment, and though a buyer may find the perfect piece, it may not be a good choice because of size constraints. It is important to consider the space in which the used gym equipment will be placed, as a home user may have different requirements than someone looking to start a small to medium gym or fitness center.

A fitness center or gym will need to purchase used gym equipment that is still perfectly functional; beyond that requirement, the equipment must be nearly new or at least close to it, as the equipment will get daily, consistent use from a variety of users. While a more beat up and worn out piece of used gym equipment may be fine for a home user who will only be using the equipment two or three times a week, fitness center and gym equipment will be used frequently every day. The joints, bearings, cables, weights, and supports of the used gym equipment must be able to withstand regular use.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Any shopper considering buying used gym equipment should inspect the unit for functionality and safety. One should look for unnatural bends or cracks in metal supports and beams; frayed or worn cables on a cable machine can affect both the functionality and the safety of the equipment; broken or missing footings on a piece can cause instability, which can lead to injury; weights should be intact with no cracks; and any bearings and joints should be present and functional. While rips and tears in the fabric of seats or cushions can be repaired, it is important to keep in mind that such repairs will add cost to the used equipment.

If the buyer is looking to put together a home gym or small fitness center that is limited by space, it is important to buy used equipment that will work together effectively in a few ways. First, the equipment must be a logical presence — in other words, the machine should be a general fitness machine common in gyms, not a highly specialized piece of equipment that can't be used in combination with other pieces in the gym for a good workout. The piece should further work with other pieces to maximize usable space in the gym without interfering with the functioning of other pieces.

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Discussion Comments


@ddljohn-- All of my fitness equipment is used and I have not had any problems with them. But it is true that some of the used gym equipment on the market is unreliable.

I think it's best to buy used gym equipment from people who have a home gym and who bought the equipment brand new. It's a risk to get it from wholesalers because their equipment is refurbished and can be in bad shape with wrong parts, etc.

In order to attract customers but also keep the price low, some sellers take good brand equipment that no longer work and put in cheap parts from different brands. So even though the equipment looks good from the outside, it has a very short life.


I heard that most used gym fitness equipment is very bad and breaks down soon afterward. It's a waste of money because there is no guarantee and it costs a ton to have it fixed. Is this true?


I think it's fine to buy used exercise equipment if the original costs a lot and this applies to most exercise machines like treadmills. Of course, the equipment has to be in working condition.

But I wouldn't buy all types of equipment used. If an unused version of an exercise equipment is affordable, I'd rather buy it brand new. And some equipment is unhygienic when used, like yoga mats.

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