Everyone likes a bargain. And buying your fitness equipment used (or “pre-owned” as the car industry has coined it) will certainly save you some money on the initial purchase. But are these pieces really the bargains that their price tags make them out to be? Let’s look at the two possible categories of used fitness equipment — from commercial settings and from home users.
Used Equipment from Fitness Centers
Commercial fitness facilities are businesses. That makes sense, right? And to remain in business, these facilities need to maximize profit. One-half of the profit equation is to keep expenses in check. No commercial facility is going to replace its equipment with expensive new models until either 1) the current units are so outdated that advances in biomechanics have made them less safe than newer options, or 2) the amount of use to which they have been subjected puts them on Death’s doorstep. You’ve heard: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? In commercial fitness facilities, that saying translates to: “If it’s still usable, don’t invest substantial money to replace it.”
Residential Used Equipment
For home used equipment, however, the unfortunate reality of many pieces is that they did not get the use their original owners had hoped to give them. The buyers most often started out with the best of intentions on pursuing their fitness goals with great frequency. But far too often, that enthusiasm soon wanes. We have purchased two-year-old “used” treadmills and ellipticals from homes and, after checking the odometers, found that the machines had less than 10 hours or 25 miles on them. The most common range of usage we find when checking the home used equipment we buy is that the average piece has the equivalent of 2-3 months of the expected 3 or so hours per week. Since high-quality fitness equipment is built to last 10-15 years, those products are just reaching their break-in periods.
Premier Fitness Source’s High-Quality Standards
At Premier Fitness Source, we rarely resell equipment that has come from a commercial facility. We will resell such pieces under the following conditions:
- For cardio pieces, we will check the odometers to be sure that the mileage or hours of use verify that the item still has a lot of life left in it. We will also thoroughly analyze the equipment with tools such as an ammeter (or Amp Meter) to determine that the power draw indicates the components are operating without undue friction. And finally, we will test the products in a quiet environment, with the motor shrouds off, to evaluate the machine for any squeaks or rattles which would indicate degraded bearings or connections.
- For strength equipment, we inspect the frame and check that the weight plates go smoothly up and down the guide rods, showing that there are no bends that would impair operation. We replace any cabling exhibiting wear. And finally, we ensure that any bearings or moving parts are functioning perfectly and without any “looseness” or vibration.
Premier Fitness Source has tried the refurbishing route, but we soon discovered that (after repairing the parts that had already failed) there were often several components at the end of their lifespans. Most resellers of commercial fitness equipment will claim that their products came from Senior Centers, hoping you’ll believe that those products incurred minimal wear. Don’t be fooled. If those products still had long life expectancies, those facilities would still have them in use. The reality for us is that when we take trade-in equipment from any type of commercial facility, after our thorough evaluation, the majority of the pieces go to metal recycling, and aren’t sold to our customers.
Therefore, our position on used equipment is that, for the most part, we will only buy and resell high-end products (no cheap, entry-level, Internet-quality items) from home users. We happily offer commercially rated pieces that the original users wanted for home fitness rooms. And under our strict guidelines, we will sometimes have commercial products available for resale.
Whether you’re considering a home-owned piece or one that came from a multi-user facility, in our Premier Fitness Source stores, you can try before you buy, to be sure that each piece is smooth and functions according to manufacturer specifications. And unlike most used equipment sellers, we offer long warranties on every product we sell, ensuring your peace of mind. With our used products, you really can take home a bargain!