How to Buy Used Fitness Equipment

Four Parts:Finding Used Fitness EquipmentEvaluating the Quality of the EquipmentInspecting the EquipmentDeciding What to Buy

Having exercise equipment in your home can be a great decision for your health but a poor one for your wallet. If you want to exercise at home but don’t have the money for that new Bowflex machine, buying used fitness equipment may be the right choice for you. Before you buy used fitness equipment, though, you should make sure that your purchase will be worthwhile and long-lasting.

Part 1
Finding Used Fitness Equipment

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    Look for stores that exclusively sell used fitness equipment. Search online to see if there is a retailer near you that sells used fitness equipment. Some stores, such as Play It Again, buy back old fitness equipment and sell it in their stores.[1] Primo Fitness also sells used fitness equipment.[2] If there is a retailer near you, call them to ask if they have the type of equipment you’re looking for. Since they sell used equipment, they might not always have certain items in stock.
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    Keep an eye out for yard sales and estate sales in your area. Join a Facebook group for your area that alerts its members of upcoming yard sales. There are also websites, such as, that help people advertise their yard sales and find yard sales in their areas.[3]
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    Search online classified pages, such as and Craigslist has a special section for sporting goods. Filter your results so that you are only seeing results in your general area. If you don’t see what you want immediately, keep checking back every few days. Sellers are constantly adding new ads to Craigslist. There is also a way to filter your search results on eBay so that you only see sellers in your area. Looking for people selling equipment in your area will make it easier to pick up the equipment and avoid expensive shipping costs.
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    Call local pawn shops. The inventory of a pawn shop depends on what people sell to the pawn shop and what the pawn shop chooses to accept. Find local pawn shops online or in the phone book. Call to ask if they have the fitness equipment that you’re looking to buy.[4]
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    Look at newspaper classifieds. Newspaper classified pages have a myriad of things that people are looking to sell. Consider putting your own classified ad in the newspaper, asking for the type of fitness equipment you want to buy. Some people who may have forgotten about their fitness equipment or just haven’t considered selling it might see your ad and respond.
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    See if any gyms in your area are closing. Look in the newspaper and online for any notification about gyms that are shutting down for good. Gyms that are closing often sell their used (but typically high quality) fitness equipment at a deep discount.[5]

Part 2
Evaluating the Quality of the Equipment

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    Research the equipment you want to purchase. Once you’ve found a piece of equipment you potentially want to buy, Google the exact model. Read user reviews. Make sure that the equipment has not been recalled or criticized for being unsafe. See how long users say the equipment lasts. For example, if one user says that a treadmill completely stopped running after five years, reconsider buying that same treadmill if it’s four years old.
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    Look at the warranty of the equipment (or the absence of warranty). Many individual sellers may not give you a warranty or guarantee for their used fitness equipment. Ask individual sellers if the original manufacturing warranty on their equipment is still in effect. If you’re considering buying from a store, ask about the warranty of the particular product you want to buy. Keep in mind that if the warranty has expired, you will have no free way of fixing your equipment.[6]
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    Read user reviews of the seller. Whether you are buying from an eBay seller or a sporting good store, read online reviews written by people who have bought things from the source beforehand. Reconsider buying from a place or person who has sold faulty exercise equipment in the past, according to reviews.
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    Investigate the price of the equipment. In order to make sure that you get a good price for your exercise equipment, you should research the particular piece of equipment you’re trying to buy. Before you purchase any equipment, research the following aspects of your equipment.
    • How much it cost when it was new. Make sure that you are getting a significant discount that makes a used piece of equipment worth buying.
    • How much it costs on other websites. If you can find a better price at another retailer, ask yourself if you found the best price. If your price is way lower than the price at other retailers, make sure that the quality of the equipment is top notch.
    • If your seller is willing to negotiate the price. One benefit of using a seller from a place like eBay or Craigslist is that the seller might be willing to negotiate the price with you.
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    Look for a good brand name. Higher quality equipment may age better than lower quality equipment. If you spend a little more money and get a “brand name” piece of fitness equipment, it could save you money in the long run. Look for a piece of fitness that would have been top of the line in its prime.[7]

Part 3
Inspecting the Equipment

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    Ask the seller questions about the equipment. Make a list of questions beforehand to ask when you inspect the equipment or before you even go to look at it. Here’s a list of questions you might want to ask:
    • Does the machine run?
    • How long have you had this?
    • How often has it been used?
    • Why are you selling it?
    • Is it missing any parts?
    • Does it require any maintenance?
    • How much did you pay for it? In what year?
    • Where did you get it?
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    Test out all the elements of the equipment before you buy it. Turn on and try out every piece of equipment before you buy it. If a treadmill or a stationary bike has an emergency stop button, make sure that it works.[8] Try a variety of speeds on treadmills and weights on other fitness equipment. Unplug and plug everything on every piece of equipment.
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    Inspect the outside and inside of all equipment. Make sure that there are no frayed wires, rusty gears, or excessively worn pieces of the equipment you’re buying. Gentle wear and tear is okay, but keep an eye out for anything that looks as though it’s about to break. If anything needs to be replaced, see how much the replacement would cost and if it would need professional maintenance.[9]

Part 4
Deciding What to Buy

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    Try out different types of fitness equipment. Go to your local gym and try out all the fitness equipment there. When you are buying fitness equipment used, you will want to know how it compares to other fitness equipment. Using high-quality equipment can help you determine the quality of the used equipment you want to purchase. Try cardio equipment, strength equipment, and free weights.[10] Make a list of your favorite machines to use.
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    Evaluate your fitness goals. Think about why you want to buy this equipment. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to strengthen your arms and shoulders? Or do you have another goal entirely? Make a list of everything you want in your home gym. You may just want an elliptical, or perhaps you want dumbbells and a yoga mat, too. What you want to buy depends on your specific workout style and fitness goals.[11]
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    Look at your home gym space. Measure the space in your home that you’ve chosen to designate for your fitness equipment. Look up the measurements of the equipment you would like to buy. Mark out the spaces for this equipment in your home by putting masking tape on the floor. Take length, width, and height of the equipment into account.[12]
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    Keep long-lasting equipment in mind. Depending on where you buy your fitness equipment, the equipment itself might not have a warranty. Therefore, if it breaks, you will have no free way of fixing it. Some fitness equipment, though, will last almost forever. Free weights, kettlebells, and punching bags will last for a long time. Something electric like a treadmill, however, will be useless if broken. Consider buying fitness equipment that is long-lasting and not electric.


  • Always get a piece of equipment with a warranty, when you can.
  • Some great inexpensive gym equipment is a jump rope, dumbbells, and a yoga mat! Don’t think you have to spend a fortune to get a great workout.[13]


  • Be careful of ads on websites like Craiglist or eBay where you need to pick the equipment up. Always tell someone where you are going beforehand, bring a friend, and leave the situation immediately if the person seems untrustworthy.
  • If a piece of electrical equipment stops working, do not try to fix it yourself. Call an electrician or a specialist who will fix it safely.

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Categories: Sports and Fitness