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There is a seemingly limitless variety of fitness equipment available for purchase online and in retail stores – but beware, not all equipment is created equally. Whether buying commercial or residential gym equipment, there are some essentials to consider before making a hefty decision.

Fitness equipment Treadmill

1. Ease of use

Is the particular piece of gym equipment easy to use and does it come with instructions? Be sure you know how to use the equipment properly, and that it is not overly complicated. The last thing you want to do is spend a pretty penny on a piece of fitness equipment only to find out you don’t know how it works. Check things like whether it’s self powered or needs to be plugged in, does it come assembled or would you have to figure it out. Even in the case of buying something like a treadmill or a elliptical – have look at the console and make sure it is user-friendly.

2. Is the fitness equipment of a high standard and quality?

Modern gym equipment is usually technical and contains moving parts – make sure these are of excellent quality by checking that they are durable, solid and move easily and quietly. You can also ask for warranties and whether the equipment is approved by a standards committee (like the SABS).

In the gym equipment industry, price is directly related to quality. If you think you found a treadmill that is cheap, then it probably is cheap! Beware of under-priced goods – at the end of the day you safety is at stake; you want to make sure that the gym equipment you purchase will not break or falter during use.

3. Is the exercise equipment comfortable to use?

Comfort is of vital importance when working out. Make sure that seats are padded, handles and bars allow for a comfortable grip, and that the machine is height adjustable. Never underestimate the ergonomics of exercise equipment – there is nothing worse than being uncomfortable whilst cycling or weight training.

Fitness equipment elliptical

4. Safety

A fundamental consideration when buying any gym equipment, especially if you are buying it online, is user safety. Check what allowances have been made for safety – is the equipment stable and sturdy and does it come with a ‘stop’ button in the case of a treadmill for example? Do pedals have a non-slip surface and handles provide for a firm grip? These are necessities to check before buying any commercial fitness equipment.

5. The Manufacturer

Gym equipment should always be purchased from a reputable retailer. You should also make sure you receive a warranty; these can range from a few months to a lifetime. Ideally the company should also offer maintenance and after-sales servicing, regardless of whether it’s for commercial or home use. (see Matrix After Sales Support)

By checking for the above five essentials before purchasing your gym equipment, particularly if you are purchasing equipment online and are not able to test it first, you can be certain of a sensible purchase.