Buying a second hand cross trainer can save you a lot of money. It’s not uncommon for people to get into a “fitness kick,” purchase a bunch of equipment and hardly use any of it. And there are often gyms and health clubs that phase out their older equipment, which you can often purchase.
If you want to buy a second hand cross trainer, you’ll find a lot of great models available – and a few bad ones.
Knowing how to buy and conduct your own pre-purchase research can go a long way in ensuring that you purchase the perfect cross trainer for you.
Don’t Buy a Second Hand Cross Trainer Without Pre-Purchase Research
If you’ve owned a cross trainer in the past, you may have a list of must-have features that you really enjoy using on the trainer. For anyone else that hasn’t owned a cross trainer in the past or just used one at the gym, it’s very important to evaluate your needs and to know a little more about how this type of equipment works.
A few of the vital things everyone must know before buying a cross trainer are:
- Stride length is important, especially for taller users or those with longer legs. Adequate stride length ensures a full range of motion. A 20” stride is good for people that are 6’ or taller, while a 14” stride is good for people under 5’. Most gym quality cross trainers have a 20” stride to accommodate a multitude of users.
- Heart rate monitors allow users to try and maintain a high heart rate while exercising. High heart rates are important for judging your intensity level and how many calories you’re burning during a session. The British Heart Foundation outlines how to calculate your heart rate to keep it in a safe zone based on your age.
- Resistance is an essential part of fitness and cardio training. Adding resistance engages the muscles, breaks down muscle fibres and also challenges you. The additional resistance will also lead to burning more calories. Resistance is rather standard but look for models with easy-to-adjust resistance.
- Size will be important because some of these models, especially if they’re commercial quality, can take up a lot of space. Measure the room where you’ll be placing the unit and then research the unit’s overall size to ensure that it will fit in the room properly.
- Monitor tracking helps you keep track of your session. Some monitors are basic and monitor only time, calories and speed, while others will include workout profile, time in zone, distance climbed, watts, etc. Find the monitoring options you deem most important before making your purchase.
- Programmes may or may not be built-in, and while not a necessity, they can be very beneficial. These programmes may help you burn more fat, stay in a specific heart rate zone or challenge you in different ways.
- Max user weight is important, especially for lower-end machines. Be sure that you choose a model designed to withstand your weight or the weight of anyone using the cross trainer.
You’ll also want to research prices. Some sellers think their four-year-old equipment is worth 50 pounds less than when they purchased it. You might as well buy new in this case because you don’t know what kind of wear and tear was put on the unit.
Standardizations in price don’t exist when buying used fitness equipment.
What we recommend you do is:
- Research the price of the model(s) new
- Find the right model for you
- Scour used prices online
If you can’t find the exact model that you want to buy used online, look for similarly priced models.
When you familiarise yourself with the going prices for a cross trainer, you’ll be better able to spot deals when buying them used. Of course, a model that is selling for more used may be a worthwhile purchase if it is in impeccable condition and comes with a warranty from the seller.
Try Before You Buy
Ideally, you’ll try the machine before you buy it. You want to be sure that the cross trainer works, and the only way to do this is to purchase from a reputable company or try it for yourself.
There are two main ways to make a purchase:
Private sellers often offer better pricing, but you also lose a lot of the protections you gain with a public seller.
Trying Out the Cross Trainer
Ideally, you’ll be able to try out the cross trainer before you buy it. You should try every piece of equipment, especially electrical models, because you never know if they work properly. When you try it out, be prepared to go for a full session or close to it (not an hour or anything, just enough to try it out).
You’ll want to:
- Make sure the monitor works
- Check the heart rate monitor if one exists
- Try out the various programs
- Make sure that the pedals and arms move smoothly
- Listen for squeaking or any other odd sounds
- Check to see if the buttons are worn
- Look for any potential signs of rust or other kinds of excessive wear
Look at all of the components for damage and especially near the pedals. Even inspect for cracks or for damage to the bolts. If you’re buying from a well-known public seller with a warranty, you can have confidence that your purchase is protected. Private sellers will not offer you a refund once you hand over your money.
Where to Buy Second Hand Cross Trainers Privately
Private sellers may be a good option because they’ll let you come and see the machine. You might even get to try it before you buy it, which is very important. You’ll want to see how well the machine is maintained, and this is possible with some – not all – private sellers. Here’s my cross trainer maintenance and troubleshooting guide.
A few places to buy second hand cross trainers are:
When you go to buy second hand, you’ll want to ask the seller quite a few questions to get a better understanding of the potential quality of the cross trainer. A few of the questions to ask and/or look for in the seller’s product description are:
- How long was the unit used?
- Were you the only owner?
- Why are you selling it?
- What kind of maintenance is required?
- Has anything needed to be repaired?
- Where did you buy it originally?
- Can I try it (depending on where you’re purchasing)?
Sometimes, people will use their cross trainer daily and multiple people will use it. These units are often going to need some maintenance and will have more wear and tear than others that used their machine once or twice a week.
Ask any questions that you may have to ensure that you have a good idea of how well the cross trainer was maintained and feel confident with your purchase.
Where to Buy Second Hand Cross Trainers Publicly
Buying publicly has its advantages, although you’ll likely pay a little more than if you purchased privately. First, you should be able to view the unit in-person and also try it out. Of course, if you’re buying online, I do recommend that you purchase only new or from well-known, trusted sources.
Two places that I recommend are:
- Pinnacle Fitness
- Pawn Brokers
You’ll want to read reviews on the pawn broker you choose to make sure that they sell quality products. A few of the questions that you’ll want to ask are:
- Is there a warranty?
- Can you buy a warranty?
- Where did the equipment come from? Was it a commercial or home setting?
- How do they classify its condition? Used/Refurbished/Serviced & Cleaned/Demo/Floor Model/Returned Item/Remanufactured?
Condition will play a big role in your purchase, and you’ll want to know and ask questions about a few condition types:
- Refurbished. What was wrong with the machine, and what needed to be fixed? Is there a warranty on this specific component?
- Returned. Why did the buyer return the model?
- Remanufactured. What type of warranty is provided? These models undergo an extensive rebuild, so it’s important to learn about the warranty. Oftentimes, these are great buys that will last a long time.
I highly recommend buying a warranty if one is available. Commercial models are better built than home models, and gyms will often keep them well-maintained. Just because a unit is commercial, do not disregard it because they’re usually the most durable options on the market.
You’ll be able to try out different and new models, too.
It’s important to try new models so that you have a way to compare the used models to something. You’ll be able to quickly notice the difference between a non-maintained and well-maintained cross trainer.
When is the Best Time of Year to Purchase a Cross Trainer?
The time of year that you make your purchase will have a direct correlation to the price the cross trainer is being sold at. If you are buying in January when everyone is entering their “I’m going to get fit this year” phase, you’ll find prices are much higher than other times of the year.
Ideally, you’ll wait until prices start to drop, which occurs between:
Closer to December, prices will start to rise again. Sometimes, prices will rise at the start of summer as people want to lose weight, but this is not the same level increase as in December or January.
How to Pay for a Used Machine – Avoid Fraud Warning Signs
Fraud can occur any time that you buy second hand cross trainers. You need to do your due diligence to ensure that you’re not another victim of fraud. A few of the many ways to avoid scams are:
- Meet in-person to exchange money for the cross trainer
- Meet in a public place and bring someone else with you
- Don’t bring any additional money with you
If you have to exchange your money before a purchase, use PayPal or another service that will provide you with compensation if the item isn’t received or as described in the product description.
Avoid any Internet banking or BACs, as reversing the payment for a direct bank deposit is not possible.
If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is. Always make sure you spend time researching the seller and using a smart, secure payment method to avoid being scammed.
If you’re looking to sell a used cross trainer you own before buying a replacement, I created a seller’s guide.