Do you have fitness equipment collecting dust that you no longer need or use?
If so, this article discusses the pros & cons of several different ways you can sell any unwanted exercise equipment.
Where to sell used exercise equipment
- Sell it using your local newspaper’s online & print classified ads.
- Sell it to a used exercise equipment retailer.
- Sell it to a pawn shop that accepts fitness equipment.
- Sell it on eBay using their Local Pickup Only option.
- Sell it at a neighborhood garage sale.
Later in the article I’ll discuss these different selling options in detail, including how each of them work and what their respective benefits & drawbacks are.
But first let’s look at the used exercise equipment marketplace, since this is where prices are set.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Used fitness equipment reality check
You can certainly make back a bit of the money you originally spent, if you decide to try & sell a piece of used exercise equipment that is still in good working condition.
However, there are a few realities to come to grips with if you’re unfamiliar with the used fitness equipment market:
- Poor resale value of used exercise equipment
- Excess supply of used exercise equipment
- Many charities won’t accept certain exercise equipment
Poor resale value
The monetary value of most exercise equipment drops dramatically the minute it’s first purchased.
Meaning that the second it goes from being new to being pre-owned, it’s value is greatly reduced.
The reality of this poor resale value situation becomes apparent when you hear how little you’re offered for the piece of exercise equipment you’re trying to sell.
This is especially true of home cardio machines like:
- Exercise bikes / stationary bikes
- Elliptical machines
- Rowing machines
- Stepper & climber machines
- Infomercial “home gyms”
Excess supply of used fitness equipment
Anyone who’s been around the fitness industry or fitness equipment for a decent length of time knows that there are thousands if not millions of exercise machines in American homes that are unused and just sitting around gathering dust.
So, there are a lot more people with unwanted used exercise equipment than there are people looking to buy used exercise equipment.
Used exercise equipment dealers know this, pawn shop owners know this, and anyone who’s ever bought & sold used fitness equipment a couple of times knows this.
It’s a little better selling used free weights
Note that free weights hold onto their value better than exercise machines.
After all, it’s just one piece of metal and nothing can wear out or go wrong with it.
Plus, there’s a lot more demand for used free weights than for used cardio machines too.
Some charities don’t take used equipment
Another price indicator of sorts is the fact that many charities have various restrictions on accepting donations of used exercise equipment.
This includes charities that make a good portion of their money by re-selling used goods.
It’s a case-by-case basis as to what equipment they do or don’t accept and why that is the case.
But on some level it’s obviously not worth it to them to accept certain types of used fitness equipment.
Bottom line: Have reasonable expectations for how much you think your used exercise equipment is worth.
Next, here are a few simple (& perhaps obvious) suggestions to help you get the best price possible when selling your used fitness equipment.
Tips for selling used exercise equipment
- Reach as wide a buying audience as you can
- Make sure the equipment is working smoothly
- Make sure it’s as clean as new
- Take good photos for your online listings
- Write an honest but positive description
1. Reach as wide a buying audience as you can
Consider using as many selling avenues as is practical for you to do so.
I list several in the next section: online classified ads of various kinds, eBay, used equipment retailers, etc.
The goal here is to put your product listing before as many potential buyers as possible, to increase the chances of getting the best price for it that you can.
2. Make sure the equipment is working smoothly
If your exercise equipment has moving parts like a treadmill, bike, or all-in-one home gym, confirm that it’s put together as it should be and operates smoothly.
A prospective buyer will likely want to “test drive” it, so be sure your exercise equipment is good to go.
Consult the owner’s manual to check that all the parts are installed where they should be.
If you’ve lost the owner’s manual, go online to the equipment manufacturer’s website and download & print a copy.
Have it handy for anyone who comes to look at what you’re selling.
3. Make sure it’s as clean as new
Spruce up your equipment as best you can.
Take the time to thoroughly clean it from top to bottom, and disinfect any parts that come in contact with human skin or sweat, like handlebars, seats, etc.
Depending on what type of equipment you’re selling, you may need to vacuum inside the undercarriage where dust can accumulate on moving parts (treadmills, recumbent bikes, elliptical machines, etc.).
Make a positive impression by having it look and smell as clean & new as possible.
4. Take good photos for your online listings
Once your equipment is looking its best, take a few pics from different angles and in good lighting.
Portray your equipment as attractively as you can, since in an online ad all a buyer has to go on is your description and the images you provide.
5. Write an honest but positive description
Here are a few things to include in your ad’s description section besides the make, model, and asking price.
*The price you paid for it new…
…Or link to the manufacturer’s website (or Amazon) where the cost of a new model is displayed.
A prospective buyer will be able to see how much of a discount you’re offering compared to the brand new price.
*A link to the manufacturer’s product page…
…that provides the in-depth description & technical specifications for the equipment that you’re selling.
This gives the buyer a lot of useful (& positive) information about your item that you’re not going to know anyway.
Let the manufacturer help you sell it.
*A brief description…
of your (hopefully positive) experiences with the equipment.
Describe any cosmetic damage accurately.
Also list any broken or missing parts (hopefully there aren’t any).
You can (some say should) also provide the reason you’re selling it as long as that doesn’t make your fitness equipment look bad.
OK, with these suggestions in mind let’s look at the different places where you can sell your fitness equipment.
Where to sell used exercise equipment
Online & print classified ads.
Sell it to a used exercise equipment retailer.
Sell it to a pawn shop that accepts fitness equipment.
Sell it on eBay using their Local Pickup Only option.
Sell it at a neighborhood garage sale.
In the broadest sense, your two options for where to sell your fitness equipment are locally or non-locally.
Local includes attracting buyers in your area via classified ad listings and contacting retailers in your area that buy & sell used exercise equipment.
An example of non-local selling would be listing your equipment online on a site like eBay, which allows it to be found by people from all over the country.
I’ll go through each one of these 5 selling avenues separately.
1. Local ads/online classified listings
Take out a classified ad in your local newspaper, whether in print or online.
Local online classifieds also includes local listing sites like Craigslist.
*You can set the price you want for your equipment.
*Some sites like Craigslist allow you to post your ads for free.
*No transporting or shipping costs.
*Time & energy required to manage all of the communications, appointment settings, etc.
*Most classified ad services charge you for your ad.
*Dealing with people coming to your home.
*Popular online ad sites like Craigslist are frequented by spammers & scammers, so you may have to sift through some garbage messages to get to the sincerely interested buyers.
Another place you can sell your used exercise equipment is eBay.
eBay provides a safe & moderated online marketplace that handles the financial transaction, manages any issues, etc.
You can use it for local or non-local buyers, as I’ll explain below.
*Your listing will be seen by buyers who are actively looking for your product.
They’ll be willing to pay more than retailers will.
*eBay manages the financial transaction side of things, any issues like dispute resolution, etc.
*If selling it non-local: You have to handle shipping it, including packing it properly so that it can’t be damaged during transit.
It’s your responsibility if it is.
Also, shipping charges on heavy items can be costly.
*If you use eBay for Local Pickup Only, you’ll have people coming to your home, and need to manage that accordingly.
eBay for non-local buyers
To reach out to potential non-local buyers eBay’s a solid way to go, since your product’s now listed nationally with arguably the most well-known company in the used product marketplace.
This greatly expands your potential customer base of people who are actively looking for the type of equipment you’re selling.
However, remember that there’s the shipping cost to deal with that I mentioned earlier.
Even when using the ‘Ground’ versions of UPS or FedEx, anything remotely heavy won’t be cheap to ship.
Savvy buyers on eBay who are used to free or inexpensive shipping will likely pass on your offer if you tack on the shipping charges.
You might need to eat the shipping cost to get the sale.
eBay for local buyers
eBay does have the option for you to limit your buyers to local only. You do this by going into the Shipping Details section and changing the shipping option to Local Pickup Only.
This eliminates any of the hassle associated with shipping as well as its cost, since the buyer will be coming to you to pick it up.
Who buys used exercise equipment near me?
Two other options for selling your equipment locally are retailers who sell used sporting goods & fitness products, and the pawn shops who do as well.
*Deal with professional buyers at their store, not strangers in your home.
*Cash paid on the spot.
*No transporting or shipping costs.
*They don’t pay as well as a private buyer might.
*You have to get your equipment over to their place.
3. Used sports & fitness equipment stores
Depending on where you live, there may be a local store that buys & sells fitness equipment.
Or your area may even have a franchise of the large national chain Play It Again Sports, who mostly sells (and buys) used & new sporting goods.
But they will also buy certain types of used exercise equipment too, and that decision is up to each local store.
On their national website, Play It Again Sports lists the following used home exercise equipment they may purchase from you:
- Elliptical Trainers
- Heavy Bags
- Recumbent bikes
- Resistance Bands
- Upright Bikes
- Yoga Mats
They go on to say on that listings page that these may or may not be what each local store is currently in the market for.
They’re located in 47 different states so this is understandable.
They suggest contacting your local Play It Again Sports store to find out what type of used exercise equipment they’re willing to buy.
How much will I get for my stuff?
Play It Again Sports lists the above question in their FAQs, and answers it as follows:
We base our buying prices on brand, condition and demand for the items.
Typically we will resell our used items for about 40-60% of what they would sell for new today.
You would receive 30-50% of that amount depending on demand, condition and current inventory levels of like products.”
I can do a little quick math example for us to put some numbers to that purchasing policy of theirs.
* Let’s say we’re talking about a treadmill that costs $1000 new.
*40-60% of that is a range of $400-$600, what they’d sell it for.
* 30-50% of that $400-$600 range is $120 – $300, which is what they’d pay you.
This means they pay between 12¢ – 30¢ on the dollar for used exercise equipment.
(Remember what I said earlier in the article about used exercise equipment having poor resale value?)
4. Pawn shop
Pawn shops aren’t just for pawning an item in order to get a temporary loan: they also pay cash to buy certain things outright too.
Pawn shops have a mostly-unwarranted stigma attached to them, probably thanks to TV shows & movies.
But the truth of the matter is, they’re likely owned by someone who knows the accurate resale value of hundreds if not thousands of different used products.
Do pawn shops buy treadmills?
Some actually do, but it depends on their local market. Since not all pawn shops will want to buy your used exercise equipment, it’s a good idea to call first to see if it’s worth your while to stop by.
Or you can use the free service called PawnGuru.com, who operate like an information broker on your behalf when selling something to a pawn shop.
PawnGuru sends your listing to multiple local pawn shops
PawnGuru.com provides sellers like yourself a place to list your products for free, where they will be seen by all of the pawn shops in your area who’ve registered with PawnGuru.
Currently there are around 2,300 pawn shops nationwide who’ve signed up with them.
Pawn shops that are interested in buying your equipment will reply with their offer amount to the PawnGuru site, who forwards them to you via your phone or email.
You choose the offer you like most, then drive to that pawn shop with your exercise equipment to complete the transaction.
They’ll take your fitness gear and pay you cash.
Both pawn shops and used sports & fitness equipment retailers are buying your used exercise equipment from you in order to re-sell it and make a profit.
As such, they will typically pay you less than you’d get from a private buyer who’s actively looking to buy a used ______ that you happen to be selling.
5. Garage Sale
You could try & sell it at a garage sale that you or a neighbor hold.
* You can set the price you want.
* No advertising cost.
* No transporting or shipping cost.
* It’s a tough place for sellers trying to get the highest price.
People have garage sales to get rid of stuff they don’t want, and all the people who stop by to possibly buy something know this.
I hope that my article on the different ways to sell your unwanted & used exercise equipment is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.