6 Affordable Alternatives to Pricey Exercise Equipment

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Making your health a priority can be challenging, particularly during a pandemic, where gyms shift their guidelines due to often-changing public health mandates, and you might just not want to be sweating around a lot of other people. Thankfully there are tons of pieces of exercise equipment available to you at home, many of them now featuring “smart” technology such as online personal trainers and classes. However, choosing can be difficult. Does higher price mean higher quality? Do you need to spend a lot of money to get in shape? In order to help you choose, we’ve offered a more affordable alternative to a number of popular pieces of exercise equipment you’ve likely heard about.

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Horizon T101 Treadmill ($699) vs. NordicTrack Treadmill ($1,899)

If you’ve had your eye on a NordicTrack Treadmill, which can start at around $1,899, it’s time to check out the Horizon T101 treadmill, which is almost one-third the cost with just as many bells and whistles. According to Treadmill Reviews, the T101 offers a 10% incline and variable response cushioning, which reduces the impact on your joints. Other features include Bluetooth speakers, a fan to cool your sweaty self, a tablet holder and a USB charging port. It also folds up for both travel and storage.

Make Your Money Work for You

Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3 ($999) vs. Peloton Spin Bike ($1,495+)

Peloton has made quite a name for itself in the world of spin bikes, and one could start to believe it’s the only spin bike worth having, but that is not the case. For starters, on sale, a basic Peleton bike starts at $1,495, and prices go up rapidly from there and you also pay for the subscription service. Echelon makes a “smart bike” that CNET calls comparable to Peloton with a display mount for an iPad or other tablet. One CNET reviewer found it “sleek, sturdy, compact and impressive-looking.” Another reviewer at FitRated.com admired its lever-style adjustment knob, which sets resistance level; the magnetic resistance of the motor; and a 13 KG flywheel. Users will have to use the Echelon app for personalized videos and training.

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Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical ($179) vs. PreCor EFX 222 Elliptical ($2,799)

PreCor is a big name in professional gym equipment, so it’s no surprise that even its home gym equipment carries a heavy price. PreCor ellipticals can start at $2,799 and go way up from there. Instead, NBC News recommends a vastly less expensive option: the Sunny Health & Fitness SF E905 Elliptical machine, which can be purchased for as little as $179 through Amazon. Small, with wheels on the bottom for easy moving, it features eight resistance levels and a pulse monitor that tracks heart rate, time exercised and number of calories burned.

Bluefin Fitness Blade ($399) vs. Hydro Row ($2,245)

Hydro Row is considered “the Peloton of rowing machines,” according to Dynasystech, which means you’re going to pay a very high price for it — at least $2,245. Instead, Dynasystech reviewers recommend the Bluefin Fitness Blade, at a fraction of the price — just $399 on Amazon for the basic model. The bike features an LCD console that shows key data such as calories burned, distance rowed and time. Magnetic resistance includes eight adjustable levels and it has a padded cushion seat and ergonomic handlebars. Its pedals are designed to prevent slippage. Additionally, it’s foldable.

Make Your Money Work for You

Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Mirror ($922) vs. The Mirror ($1,495)

The Mirror uses LCD technology to bring a fitness trainer into your home via a mountable mirror that also acts as a screen, offering you “live” classes and personal training. But $1,495 can be a lot more than you want to spend for such a thing. Instead, try Echelon’s lower-priced alternative, the Reflect Smart Connect Fitness Mirror. The 40-inch mirror is around $922 with an Amazon Prime membership. According to Retail Me Not, you get the same function as The Mirror, but it’s smaller, cheaper and easy to set up.

Epic Fitness Dumbbells ($349) vs. NordicTrack Vault ($2,999)

The NordicTrack Vault combines physical equipment with virtual training at a hefty price, almost $3,000. While there are other semi-comparable products, such as The Mirror (no equipment) for about half that price, the fact is, you can simply invest in a set of weights and utilize the vast world of videos online for a fraction of the price. A good full set of Epic Fitness dumbbells will run about $349 and many online workout subscriptions start for as low as $9.99 per month.

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Last updated: Sept. 3, 2021