Buying a Used Elliptical Trainer: Your Complete Guide
An elliptical is like a complete package of a gym. With this, you can work on the muscles of your arm, chest, and back as well as lower body parts. You can also target specific muscles which are difficult by using other devices, e.g., Treadmill. Ellipticals are costly, so buying a used one is often a good choice. When purchasing a used elliptical, there are quite a few things you should look into.
Not only elliptical, when buying anything preowned; you should look at the warranty, how long it was used and if any damage or wear is present. As you are purchasing an elliptical trainer, you should also consider the type, length, resistance, and if any additional features are present.
In this article, I will talk about the things you should know and look for when buying a used elliptical trainer. I will also discuss the benefits of used ellipticals and places where you are most likely to get the best deals. I have structured this buying guide to give you an overall view of all the things you need to know. So. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Is It Worth Buying A Used Elliptical?
Ellipticals are pricey. Their parts and servicing also tend to be expensive. If money is not a problem for you, you can go for brand new elliptical trainers. But I recommend that you comb all the marketplaces you know to find good deals on preowned ones. Because used ellipticals that have been handled with care are as good as new ones.
And they will cut your expense by at least half. So, you are getting something good as new at half the price. Even if it needs some minor servicing, I’d say go for it. Even with the repair ng costs, your expenses won’t be anywhere near the original price.
Things to Consider While Buying an Elliptical
There are lots of things you must be aware of when buying elliptical trainers. And when the product is preowned, those things become tenfold. Besides checking the brand, presence or absence of physical damage, and warranty, you will also have to keep in mind things like features, place of purchase, payment methods, etc.
So, let’s breakdown the things you should be knowledgeable about when buying a used elliptical trainer:
Purchasing a product from a renowned brand goes a long way. Especially when you are buying something preowned, it often comes as a blessing. Non-branded ellipticals are poorly made and lack durability. And when it is used extensively by someone for quite some time, the chances of getting a quality unit becomes low.
So always go for popular brands even if it costs you a bit more. Top brands make their products in such a way that even after prolonged usage, the product remains good as new if used with care. Look for elliptical trainers from brands like Bowflex, Nautilus, NordicTrack.
As elliptical trainers incorporate lots of moving parts, it’s very usual that they will face wear due to constant usage. Check for excessive wear in the unit that you are looking to buy. The most likely place to have wear is the flywheel. It has ball bearings inside it, just like any rotating part. It also has magnets to determine the resistance.
Check these areas for wear. Bring an expert technician with you for thorough checking. Although high-quality ellipticals do not suffer from wearing that much, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Many elliptical trainers offer various extra features like a cool-down period, child lock, heart rate monitor, bottle holder, etc. While they are not mandatory, it’s always nice to have some unique features. When you are buying new directly from the manufacturer or vendors like amazon, you can return within a given period if you don’t like the product.
In the case of preowned purchases, there are no such options. If you feel like a feature is lacking, you cannot return it and get another model. So, check what features the particular model has and what features you want.
Warranty is a must-have when buying any used elliptical trainer. These are expensive devices. Slight malfunctions often require costly repairs. If the impairment is irreparable and needs replacement, you will feel the heat on your wallet. So, try to purchase an elliptical trainer that has at least a few months of warranty left.
If you are buying from someone that you know and trust, that’s a different matter. But when it’s a public marketplace, be sure that the seller provides a warranty, and it’s legit. Scammers might try to scam by forging fake warranty papers. Beware of those.
How much it has been used
When buying used ellipticals or any other gym equipment, many disregard how long the product was used by the previous owner. They think as long as the device has a warranty, that’s good enough. But that’s not the case. If the elliptical is used heavily, its durability shall decrease in time.
If the device starts malfunctioning after a month or two of the warranty periods ending, the warranty providers won’t respond. Plus, in case of bodily damage that might be a result of heavy usage, the manufacturers won’t provide a warranty. Look for ellipticals that are less used and still in good shape.
Place to Buy
Unless the seller is someone you know or some renowned vendor, always meet in a neutral place. Don’t go anywhere the seller asks you to. Don’t meet in a secluded spot. If possible, ask the seller to give home delivery. Even when meeting in a neutral place, take a friend or two with you.
If the seller sounds sketchy, don’t hesitate to seek the help of the police.
This is another critical thing to watch out for when buying pre-owned products. Never pay in advance, even a fraction. Scammers might ask for a small percentage to ‘confirm’ the deal, but that’s just it. Any genuine seller will never ask for anything in advance. When meeting with the seller, don’t carry cash with you.
Pay by card or wire transfer. If the seller complies, you can also pay by bank checks.
Features You Should Look for When Buying an Elliptical
Elliptical trainers have some standard features. Different devices have different features that aren’t available on all models. Here are some of the features that you should look for when buying an elliptical, regardless of new or used.
There are three types of elliptical trainers based on the position of the flywheel. They are front-drive, center-drive, and rear-drive.
The front-drive designs have the flywheel at the front. This is the most basic design and the most affordable. Also, because of the structure, these types of ellipticals vibrate a bit more and hence are noisy.
- Center drive
Center drive models have the flywheel at the center, parallel to the pedals. Due to the positioning of the flywheel and the pedal, this model takes the least space.
Rear drive elliptical trainers have the flywheel at the back of the pedal. These are the longest in size among the three. They give a fluid and natural feel and offer a smooth workout experience.
Elliptical trainers are relatively large. They are among the largest gym equipment. So, when purchasing one, whether brand-new or preowned, you should compare the size you are getting with the size of your room. They are usually between four to seven feet long. When using, the pedals extend a foot or two beyond the length.
So, make sure your room has at least 12 feet of space. If you are planning to keep it in your basement, consider the height of the ceiling. Basements are usually low in height, and when using elliptical, the maximum height you will reach is one or one and a half feet. Be sure your basement has that much headspace.
- Adjustable Incline
Incline adjustment is not available in all models, but it is pretty handy if you want to increase your workout gradually. It’s similar to a treadmill, where the front of the conveyor belt rises while the back remains in the same position, increasing the inclination. The pedals of ellipticals rise in the same way, making the workout more challenging.
Some ellipticals have a manually adjustable incline, some have an automatically adjustable incline, while some models do not have that feature at all. With Manually adjustable inclines, you will have to stop the workout completely and adjust manually. With the automatic ones, you can change the slope on the go with just a press of a button.
With the non-adjustable models, the incline stays the same. You cannot take your workout to the next level or target specific muscles. Adjustable models cost slightly more, but they are worth it since it’s a one-time investment and a big one.
- Adjustable Resistance
Resistance in ellipticals means the amount of force you need to apply on the paddle to complete a pedal cycle. In most models, this resistance can be changed between a given range. The wider the range is, the better. Ellipticals have either manual, motorized, or electromagnetic resistance.
The electromagnetic resistance is the most popular, widely used, and most comfortable. You can manually select the resistance percentage. In some advanced models, you can choose the resistance level for specific purposes such as weight loss, muscle gain, etc.
- Stride Length
Stride length is an essential factor of ellipticals that are often disregarded. It is the distance between the rear-most point of the rear pedal and the front-most point of the front pedal when they are farthest from one another. This might sound insignificant, but it plays a vital role in your workout.
The stride length should be similar to the natural stride when you are walking. Some machines have only a 14-inch stride length, but it should be higher. The ideal stride length can be measured from your height. You can follow this chart to choose the suitable stride length for your elliptical.
- Pedal Spacing
Optimal spacing between two pedals should be maintained. The models available in the market have pedal spacing between one and a half inches to eight inches. The lower extreme seems too close to each other while the higher looks too wide. The ideal space between two feet is three to five inches.
The best option is to look for models that have adjustable pedal spacing.
- Additional Features
Some manufacturers integrate advanced features that are useful in workout sessions. They may seem like a part of more expensive models, but they’re not. You just need to look closer and find the brand and model that uses that feature. Let’s discuss some of those:
Heart Rate Monitor: The heart rate monitor is the most useful extra feature that you can have in an elliptical trainer. These models come with a band that is attached to your chest to read your heart rate. The machine automatically adjusts the resistance, inclination, and other variables accordingly to give the most productive workout session.
Fitness Tracker App: Ellipticals that coordinate with fitness apps are helpful if you are working towards a goal, like muscle building, weight loss, upper body workout. You can keep track of your sessions, the time you have spent, the resistance you are using and how it’s affecting you, etc.
WIFI Connectivity: Smart ellipticals make your job a lot easier. You can connect it with your smartphone and control everything from it without accessing the console. You can adjust the resistance, inclination, pedal spacing and many other features with your phone.
Touch Panel: Touch panels are nothing mandatory, but they feel luxurious to use. Instead of using the console with various buttons spread around, you can just look at the screen and touch the corresponding command.
Benefits of Buying Used Ellipticals
Ellipticals are costly. So, if you can source some good and reliable ones, I always recommend buying pre-owned units. There are lots of benefits you can have by buying used elliptical trainers such as:
When buying brand new sealed units from a store, you don’t know what’s inside the box. Yes, if the device is damaged, you can always get a refund but that’s quite a hassle. If buying pre-owned ellipticals from a known source, you can be assured of the quality. The previous owner can walk you through the ins and outs of the machine, and you know what you are getting.
If there’s any minor problem or anything that needs repairing, the owner shall let you know that as well. Unlike buying from a store, you get a real-time user review of the device. You get to know about the durability, features, functionalities and overall quality.
The main goal of buying used ellipticals is affordability. Ellipticals are pricey and if you are looking for quality ones, you should at least have a budget of 2000 dollars. It is a lot of money, especially considering that you can get a good condition elliptical unit at one-fourth of that price.
As I said before, if you can get from trusted sources like friends, family, or any gym that you used to be a member of, always go for it. It will save you a lot of money and even if there is a minor repair needed, you can avail yourself of that too with all the bucks you just saved.
Knowing the Pros
It’s usually pretty tricky to know all the good things about the elliptical machine you are looking to buy. The store salespersons will only talk about the things that they were taught and what’s on the user manual. Unless someone has used the device personally, it is near impossible to know everything that the elliptical machine has to offer.
Contact freely with the previous owner and ask everything that you want to know. You never know what hidden feature might become helpful for you.
Knowing the Cons
Just like knowing the pros, you can understand the bad sides of the elliptical when buying pre-owned. Store representatives will never tell you anything negative about the product they are trying to sell. Even if you ask on point, they will reply in a vague term. Online reviewers won’t tell the truth either because they are also trying to make a sale.
So, the only person you can trust is someone who has used the elliptical personally, and that’s your seller. He can point out everything substandard about the machine. But here’s a thing, he is also trying to make a sale. So, it’s unlikely for him to tell the truth. That’s why transparency on the seller’s behalf is crucial here.
I recommend finding a trustable source who will let you in on everything.
Best Places to Get a Good Deal on Pre-Owned Ellipticals
As I have mentioned numerous times before, the source should be trustable. And that can be hard to find. So, I have done the heavy lifting and come up with eight best places for you to get the best deals on used elliptical trainers:
If you are in the USA and looking to buy used gym equipment, there is no better place than Global Fitness. They have over 20 years of experience in this sector and are highly praised by many customers. Besides selling used equipment, they also offer installation, repairing, after-sales service, and other services.
Their website is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can shop by brands. Each product has a price tag, user reviews, and ratings, so their transparency is unquestionable. You can ask for additional pictures of any product. All of their products have warranties, and they also offer relocation service.
Fit4Sale is a California-based online-offline shop with over 20 years of experience. Their physical shop is located in Gardena, California. Their website is a state-of-the-art e-commerce site that has everything to help you with your purchase. You can compare the prices of similar or different products. Some of their products might not have a price tag, so you’ll have to ask the seller.
The best part about Fit4Sale is that they have an in-house team of advisors that will guide you about building your home gym. There are lots of things to know like the flooring material, ambient temperature, handling the equipment, etc. Their expert team will have you covered on all of that.
CSM Fitness is one of the biggest suppliers of used gym equipment. They have both online and offline shops, though they are primarily offline-oriented. They have two warehouses, one in Georgia and one in California. Their warehouse is about 100,000 square feet, and they offer products from all the renowned brands.
As they are more focused on their offline shop, the website is not that user-friendly. The terms and conditions are not clearly stated on their site. So, I recommend you visit them in person or call them. They are very customer friendly and give you every information you need to know. Plus, they offer worldwide shipping.
Fitness Brokers have been selling used gym products for quite a long time with a reputation. They buy their products from trusted sources. Their website is very responsive. You can purchase and checkout your desired product just like that. They offer free shipping and curbside pickup on orders of two or more in New England.
They sell two types of products, the conditions in which they were brought in and reconditioned. The reconditioned products are disassembled, checked for any damage, repaired, and painted. Fitness brokers offer 90 days warranty on refurbished products and two years coverage at extra cost. However, the warranty does not apply to international clients.
It is an online-offline shop that sells both brand new and used gym products. FitnessTrendz has over 35 years of experience in this business. They sell, customize equipment, and also do advising on setting up your workout space or personal gym. In their area, which is Tampa, Florida, they offer servicing and maintenance at low cost.
A wide variety of gym equipment is available on FitnessTrendz from top brands. Each product has a specific price tag and description. They also have worldwide shipping. FitnessTrendz has a very user-friendly EMI policy. You can also sell your used gym products on their website.
Primo Fitness has a wide array of used gym products from renowned manufacturers. You can also sell on their platform. They have a group of expert advisors that will guide you if you are unsure of what to do. Besides selling quality gym products, they also offer services like customization, exchange, and delivery.
Their online shopping is really helpful. All you need to do is to add the product to the cart and checkout; that’s it. On their website, most of the products do not have a price tag. You’ll have to contact the seller in such cases. Primo Fitness has excellent pricing. You get almost 70% off the retail price.
Buy and sell Fitness has one of the most accessible websites for users. Like most other vendors on this list, they also offer installation, repair, servicing, and relocation facilities. However, they do not do any consultation. All of their products are from top brands and are thoroughly checked by their quality assurance team.
Some of their products might not have pricing information. In that case, you will have to contact the seller personally. Buy and Sell Fitness gives a 30 days labor warranty and 90 days parts warranty. They also provide international shipping.
When talking about gym equipment retailers, not mentioning Johnson Fitness and Wellness would be a crime. They sell both brand new and used items. The only downside is that they do not have an e-commerce website. You will have to visit their warehouse physically. That shouldn’t be a problem as they have around 100 warehouses in the US.
They provide expert consultation that will walk you through the buying process. Johnson Fitness and Wellness have a very informative website where you can find the address of all their physical stores. On pre-owned items, you can get discounts up to 70%. You can also contact the seller for any information. Their contact details are available on the site.
Ellipticals are the holy grail of any gym, whether that is commercial or home gym. It is so uniquely designed that you can work on your whole body with only a single device. You can also target specific muscles of your body which is fantastic. If you can afford only one gym device for your home, it should be a top-quality elliptical trainer.
Buying used products always leaves you with doubt. In this article, I have tried my best to erase that. I have talked about things you should consider when buying used ellipticals and features you should look for. I also mentioned some reliable places to get good deals.
I am confident that by following this guide, you will be able to get the right deal for you elliptical.