Fitness Equipment Buyers' Guide

Fitness Equipment Buyers Guide: How To Avoid Buyers Remorse

I am sure you have all experienced it at some point in time. You decide you need something, you emotionally prepare yourself for the purchase, you work hard and save your money and then you take the leap. You press the Add To Cart button, continue through the checkout process online and then wait for your delivery to turn up and when it does you find out it’s the wrong size or the wrong color or even worse not what you ordered  at all! Now this may not be a big deal if you spent $20 on a T-Shirt, Music CD or a toy for your child. But what if it happened on a large purchase? 

When shopping for fitness equipment, especially online, it is all too easy to make the wrong decisions. We constantly hear feedback in our retail stores about people who felt they were tricked in to buying a dud from ebay and online discount websites. Whether it’s a new treadmill, exercise bike, home gym, smith machine, weight bench, cross trainer, rowing machine or even just a pair of dumbbells, you need to make sure you know how to spot a dud at a distance. 

We have been in the fitness game since 1982 and a lot has changed over the years with many cheaper products coming in to the market. Most people immediately think that competition is healthy as the consumer is guaranteed to win when the prices come down. What they don’t realise is that it’s not the competition bringing the prices down, it’s the manufacturers. 

Why should you worry when the prices are getting cheaper and cheaper, especially online? 

Because to lower the selling price of an item you need to lower the manufacturing cost of that same item

There are many ways this can be done with fitness equipment. With a treadmill for example, you could take out the decent sized motor and replace it with something the size of a beer can. Nobody would know because the cheap plastic cover would make most people think that there is still a huge motor underneath it. Another way you could do it would be to reduce the thickness of the deck or the gauge of the steel used in the frame. 

With a home gym, they could use very flimsy steel, basic spot welds and give it a quick and nasty paint job. With an elliptical, again they could use the cheapest steel available and shotty internals, resulting in a horrible stride and ride. On an exercise bike, they would go for a one piece crank system and a dodgy belt resistance system prone to slipping even at lower levels of resistance. The list goes on… 

When shopping online, your investment is based on what you see (what they want you to see) a couple of images. I have called them images because you can’t really tell if they are real photographs of the actual items being sold. Even if they are real photographs, you can’t possibly tell the quality of an item just by looking at a picture. 

Here’s an analogy for you. A Google search for “Cheapest New Car” quickly leads me to the 2013 “Chery” at sub $10,000.00 drive away. In its pictures it looks, well, brand new. It’s got nice paint, four wheels, a few doors and apparently it drives so it must be just what I was looking for – the cheapest new car on the market. Where’s that add to cart button? But hang on, as my grandfather taught me I should do some research and make a few comparisons first. So I do, and it turns out the Chery may be withdrawn from market because the manufacturer simply can’t sustain that price. 

In their effort to drive down the price (pardon the pun) they have reduced the quality to a point where the Chery is prone to breaking down. Hmm, perhaps I should spend more money and get a reliable vehicle? After all, I plan on actually driving the car and hope to have it for many, many years. 

Think about the above for a moment and then think about the fitness equipment you are planning to purchase. Do you plan on actually using it? How long do you expect it last when used regularly? How good do you expect it feel? Are you aware of the internal components that could make or break it? None of this can be reflected online on any website. The only way you could have these important issues addressed is by visiting a retail store and physically trying the equipment before buying it. If you don’t do this, you risk experiencing buyers remorse. 

Here are the top 10 complaints we hear in our stores 

  1. I bought a Treadmill online, it broke down and now I can’t get parts to have it fixed as the seller disappeared. 
  1. I bought a Smith machine online and it doesn’t run as smooth as I hoped it would, it’s really jerky when you put weight on it. 
  1. I bought Rubber Dumbbells online and they stink like an old rubber tyre and are really greasy. 
  1. I bought a Treadmill online and it is really noisy and flimsy and when you run on it the mat slips. 
  1. I bought an Exercise Bike online, the seat is uncomfortable and when I put resistance on, it feels really jerky. 
  1. I bought a Weight Bench online and the steel is very thin and flimsy, it feels like it’s going to buckle underneath me. 
  1. I bought a Cross Trainer online and its so small that my knees hit the center console when I use it. 
  1. I bought a Home Gym online and the cables and pulleys aren’t smooth and it’s too small. 
  1. I bought a Weight Bench online and the upholstery is so thin that the steel support digs into my back. 
  1. I bought a Rowing Machine online and with the resistance all the way up, it’s still way too easy. 

Come into our store and test the equipment first that you are looking to buy and avoid the disappointment others have experienced. 

If you cannot get to one of our stores, talk us online and we will be more than happy to help you find the RIGHT piece of equipment to suit YOUR NEEDS and YOUR GOALS. 

Remember, the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.