All of us who have a home gym, or are at least looking into building out our own home gym, have to face an uncomfortable truth.
Gym equipment is expensive.
Yes, long term, having a gym in your garage is cheaper than a gym membership. But, that logic doesn’t help when you’re about to spend a thousand dollars on a rack and a barbell.
However, if you know where to look, there are some good places where you can buy weights for cheap. Notice I didn’t say “buy cheap weights.” If you want to buy cheap weights, just go to Amazon. But, you’ll be back buying weights again before you know it.
Here are a few places where you can find good deals on weight equipment, some new, but mostly used.
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Best Places to Find Lifting Equipment Cheap
In most areas of the country (in the US at least), Facebook Marketplace is the current king of finding used gym equipment. Whether it’s weights like racks and barbells or cardio equipment like rowers or bikes – you can usually find it on Facebook Marketplace.
Here are a few tips for navigating the marketplace from someone who has bought successfully from, and also has been burned by, the marketplace.
If time is not on your side and you want your equipment in your home NOW so you can start working out tomorrow, then Facebook may not be able to help you unless you get a little lucky.
But, if you have time (and the sheer ability) to be a little patient, then you can find some great deals. The key is to check for new marketplace additions a couple of times a day because new things are always being added and pieces can go fast.
Once you do find that piece you want at a price that you feel good about, be aggressive. If you think the price is fair, don’t bother haggling. And, if you can pick the piece up today – go get it!
I’ve been on both sides of both buying and selling on the marketplace and typically the first person that can show up with cash in hand is going to get it.
Having someone ‘hold’ something for you for a couple of days, especially after negotiating a lower price with them, is a dangerous game.
You have to look at it from the seller’s side as well. I personally have held things for people, turned down other offers, only to have the person ‘no show’ me on the deal. It only takes a once or twice of that happening for you to change your opinion on how you sell your items.
So, be patient until you see what you want to hit the marketplace, then once you do, get it ASAP.
Craigslist, LetGo and OfferUp
These are all second-hand marketplaces like Facebook, just in my experience not as popular.
Craigslist is a close second to Facebook and something I also check on a regular basis. You can often find unique pieces that aren’t on any of the other marketplace platforms and I’ve scored a couple of really good deals through Craigslist.
LetGo and OfferUp just don’t have the same level of volume as Facebook and Craigslist when it comes to weight equipment. The few times I have seen things on one of these apps, the same item was also listed on Facebook by the same seller. For those reasons, I don’t use either anymore.
Same rules to these marketplaces though. Try to be patient and then pounce when you find what you’ve been looking for.
Do a Google search for equipment warehouses near you. Chances are you have at least one or two within driving distance.
What is an equipment warehouse?
These places buy up equipment in bulk, typically when commercial gyms go out of business.
You may have to call ahead to set up an appointment or you may just be able to show up and walk around during business hours. I would check to make sure before making the drive.
These places can be gold mines, especially for random pieces of equipment.
All of us have that favorite piece of equipment in the gym. For me, it’s the Hammer Strength Iso Row. I love that machine and sooner rather than later I’m going to find one at an equipment warehouse and that machine will be mine.
My tip for equipment warehouses is to know what you want and know the price it should cost. You can find some things for cheap at a warehouse, but other things might not even be a great deal. So, knowing how much dumbbells should actually cost, for instance, is really important.
This one is my personal favorite. I love going to estate sales.
If you have an affluent neighborhood near where you live (or maybe you live in the affluent neighborhood, if so, good for you), start looking for estate sales.
Many of these million-dollar homes will have fully furnished gyms located somewhere within them full of really nice equipment. Most of which look almost brand new.
I’ve picked up everything from dumbbells to an indoor bike and even an inversion table at estate sales. Every piece I’ve picked up has been for at least less than half of what I would have paid for it new.
Why Buy Used Equipment?
Pretty much every place I just gave you was dealing with used equipment. Why am I so big on buying equipment used?
The obvious reason is that, like buying anything used, you can get stuff cheaper. But, buying used equipment makes a lot of sense in more ways than just the price tag.
Quality weights can last almost forever. I’ve had racks, barbells and plates that have been used in college weight rooms for over a decade.
Think about that for a second. Hundreds of athletes, every day, snatching, cleaning, squatting, etc. If that equipment is still going strong, how long do you think a barbell who is only being used by you and your neighbor going to last?
Here’s something you may also not be thinking about:
Most “used” weight equipment has not really been “used” at all.
Many people buy equipment with the intention of working out at home. But, after two weeks, that equipment turns into clothes hangers or just collects dust in the garage.
I’ve bought used pieces before that look like they may have never actually been used. One dumbbell I bought even still had the original price tag on it.
Finally, a lot of weight equipment is pretty similar.
Take a squat rack for example. If a rack is 3×3, 11 gauge steel and made by a reputable company, then you can buy it. There’s not much of a need to zero in on one particular brand when there are multiple companies that make really good equipment.
Make Sure You Can Get It Home
My final tip is a pretty obvious one, but one I think still needs to be mentioned.
Make sure that whatever you buy, you have the means to be able to get it home. Squat Racks are big and they are heavy. Barbells are long.
Don’t show up to get your equipment and then realize it’s not going to fit in your Nissan Altima.
If it’s something big, bring proper tools so you can take it apart. Bringing someone to help you move and carry it isn’t a bad idea either.
I hope this guide has helped point you in the right direction to getting your own weight equipment for cheap!