Purchasing Exercise Equipment? Here’s What To Buy and What To Avoid

Close up of a person jogging on a treadmill in fitness center.
Tina Zupancic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

After the pandemic hit, sales for at-home workout equipment skyrocketed. Health and fitness equipment sales doubled from March to October of 2020, reaching $2.3 billion total. With the Delta variant of COVID-19, people are still wary of going to gyms, making more and more households opt for treadmills, exercise bikes and the like. Of course, these pieces of equipment can cost thousands of dollars. However, there are more affordable alternatives that offer the same benefits without the price tag. Here’s a look at some of our top affordable picks for when the best model on the market just isn’t in the budget. 

See: Are These Top Fitness and Food-Tracking Apps Worth the Cost?
Read More: 14 Cheap Ways To Invest In Your Health

Don’t Buy: Peloton Bike – $1,495

Do Buy: Echelon Connect Bike EX-3 – $800

There’s  no arguing that, when it comes to exercise bikes, Peloton is top of the line, but $1,495 can be cost prohibitive. Not to mention the mandatory extra $39 a month for the Peloton All-Access Membership.

The Echelon Connect Bike EX-3 doesn’t have a screen like the Peloton does, but the hardware is similar to Peloton’s and this bike has a device holder that will fit a phone or tablet. Plus, right now when you buy the bike and get the Echelon FitPass starting at $11.99 a month, Echelon will throw in a free iPad, enabling you to work out while watching whatever you want! The classes from Echelon FitPass are similar in structure and variety to Peloton’s, but cost a fraction of the price. You can always choose to buy a cheaper bike, and subscribe to the Peloton app for $12.99 a month, giving you the Peloton experience without paying the price. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Don’t Buy: Bowflex – Treadmill 22 – $2,699

Do Buy: Horizon – T101 Treadmill – $799

Once again, you’re sacrificing the built-in screen and fitness classes the Bowflex model offers, but at a third of the price, it’s an easy fix. The Horizon T101 Treadmill offers a device holder and rapid-charge USB port with Bluetooth connection capabilities, so you can connect any device for workouts or entertainment. Plus, you could buy a new iPad for $329 and still be spending less than buying the Bowflex treadmill. Then, you can access the fitness app or YouTube videos of your choosing. Additionally, the Horizon treadmill folds up for easy storage in smaller living spaces.

More Alternatives: 6 Affordable Substitutes for Pricey Ingredients

Don’t Buy: NordicTrack – Commercial 14.9 Elliptical – $1,999

Do Buy: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical – $498.52

Though the NordicTrack machine offers immersive classes via the iFit app, it still costs four times as much as the Sunny model. Both models have a similar weight capacity. The NordicTrack model has 26 resistance levels, while the Sunny model only has 16, but comes with 24 adjustable programs. The NordicTrack machine has a built-in screen to view iFit workouts (and nothing else), but the Sunny elliptical has a device holder. Subscribing to the iFit app independently will cost you less and you could use the Peloton app or watch reruns of your favorite show on your tablet. 

Make Your Money Work for You

Don’t Buy: Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine – $1510.00

Do Buy: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine – $248.99

Once again, Sunny brings the heat with affordable workout equipment. Both models have the ability to track your progress and deliver multiple stats to you on a state of the art screen. The Concept2 model folds for easy storage and offers Bluetooth connectivity but only has a 2 year warranty. However, the Sunny rower can be tilted and rolled for storage, plus it offers a 3 year warranty. 

Don’t Buy: Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell – $499.00 for one

Do Buy: Foverós Adjustable Dumbbell – $299.00 for a pair

The adjustable dumbbell is a game-changer. These devices offer a wide range of weights in a small device, rather than having a large display of dumbbells of various weights. The BowFlex offers an impressively wide range of 10-90 lbs, but it’ll cost you $499 for just one. Conversely, the Foverós dumbbells come in pairs of 2 for $299. Foverós’ weight range isn’t as wide as Bowflex’s, offering 5-52.5 lbs, but it does leave a few more bucks in the budget if you want to buy the heavier weights. The Foverós weights also have safety locks to ensure the dumbbells are always fastened tightly. 

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Last updated: Oct. 22, 2021

About the Author

Sam DiSalvo is an LA-based comedian, writer and actor who's performed all over the country. Her written work has appeared in numerous digital publications. As a copywriter, she's worked with a variety of major brands including GoldieBlox and Thrive Causemetics. Sam loves dogs and is currently perusing leisure suits to buy for her corgi mix, Barry

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