Need exercise equipment? Buy used and save money

March 5, 2013 3:22:32 PM PST
Getting swimsuit-ready begins around Spring Break, and this is about the time fitness equipment stores get busy with customers looking for equipment.

But you don't have to buy a brand new treadmill or elliptical machine. You can save big by buying used.

If you want to work out at home but you don't want to bust the bank, buying used exercise equipment will save you at least half the price of brand new equipment. You just have to know what to look for.

If you have been to a fitness store, you can easily spot the room full of good intentions. Somebody bought it and didn't use it, but it still has a lot of life left in it.

"We do like to cater to people who don't have the means to get something new to begin with," said Steve McCraw.

McCraw buys and sells used exercise equipment. He says the first thing to check is where the used machines are coming from. Don't buy one that's been in a health club.

"When a health club gets done using a piece, it's done," he said.

So look for a reputable dealership to guarantee safety.

"We as a company evaluate the equipment before it comes in. We also have a technician go over the machine," McCraw said.

The most popular piece of exercise equipment is the treadmill. Check out the condition of the unit by checking out the belt, deck and motor.

"If the motor is making a loud noise, then you know the motor doesn't have much life in it," McCraw said.

The Life Fitness treadmill brand new retails for $3,000, but a used machine is around $1,100.

When it comes to an elliptical, maintenance is going to be low and you are not going to have to grease or lube the machine like a treadmill. The two most important things about choosing an elliptical are the pedal spacing and stride length.

"The closer the pedal spacing, the less stress it is going to put on your knees, your hips and your lower back," McCraw explained.

We found a brand new that costs $2,800, but it's half the price used.

"Everybody has space for a bike," McCraw said. "The most important thing about a bike is do I want one that sets me upright or one with a bike rest?"

Things to look for on a stationary bike: condition of the seat and whether the console powers up when you start peddling.

"Stay away from anything where you have to put batteries in the back of it," McCraw said.

McCraw says a brand new Life Fitness bike costs $3,400, but used, the price comes down to $1,299.

And finally, if you are looking for weights or home gym units, just make sure there is no rust.

"You could find some great deals on used strength equipment," McCraw said.

Some home gym units cost $2,000 new, but they are about 50 percent off used.

If you are buying used equipment, be sure to ask about the warranty of the machine. If you buy at a store, it should come with a warranty.

You will save even more money shopping on Craigslist classifieds, but keep in mind, there is no warranty there.

How can you make money off your old equipment? You can sell your items locally. Check your area fitness store. For example, PreOwnedFitness.com will buy it from you, or even consign it for you.
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