What do Gyms do with Old Equipment?

What do Gyms do with Old Equipment

There are so many options for gyms to sell it, toss it out, recycle it, or trade it up for new equipment if they lease the current one with a company. Gyms are just like any other company; they want to save as much money and make as much money in the same process. If they can, they will likely try to sell it first and dispose of it later.

Check in with your local gym first if you are in the market for some used gym equipment at a reasonable price.

When its Time to Go- Lower the Price Tag

Selling used gym equipment is the most lucrative way for a gym to get rid of old equipment. There are platforms and websites where gym owners can post the equipment, and retailers or individuals can bid on or buy each piece. Although old and used equipment has a low ROI- return on investment from the purchase price, getting something is better than nothing.

Typically, large gym equipment depreciates by about 10% a year, so if you are selling or buying old equipment, take that into consideration and ask how old it is. If you really want to get picky, you can check out this handy formula to give you an estimate.

Auctioning off equipment can potentially bring in a bigger sale over setting a fixed price. Since the value of the equipment is based on the buyer's needs, letting multiple persons bid on one machine is always more beneficial to the seller. One buyer who wants a treadmill will bid higher than someone out browsing for overall gym equipment.

Trade up or Trade in When Possible

Suppose the gym is leasing the equipment, which is likely with big machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and most of the weight lifting section. In that case, they may be able to go back to the leaser and either trade the old equipment up for the newest model or trade it in and get a discount on newer equipment.

Either way, that leasing company will still get money from the trade-off. It can turn around and sell or rent out that old equipment again as long as it is still safe and fully functioning.

Donate What you Can't Use

As a business, gyms have an obligation to keep up with old equipment and replace it far more often than at-home gym users. Sometimes the cost of getting rid of outdated gym equipment is more than the value of selling it. In that case, they will likely donate it to a smaller business, a charity, a church, or offer it to existing members.

This option still has its value. A business can do a tax write-off for donations depending on their value, so come tax season, they will still get a little slice of their purchase back. The other small perk of donating old equipment is the delivery system. Some charities offer to pick up large loads for free, and individuals will also come to pick up the equipment, especially if they get it for free.

Recycle What you Can't Sell or Donate

There are some things you just can't upcycle, and those need to be deposed of properly. Trash gets pushed into a landfill, but recycling metal and plastic equipment is not only environmentally friendly but also saves the next potential user from hurting themselves on broken or worn-out equipment.

There is a downside to recycling, and that is the potential cost to the gym. Many times you have to pay to drop it off at the recycling center, but this is the best option for completely unusable equipment.

In the Market to Buy Used?

If you are reading this and want to buy said old equipment, your best bet is the reach out to all the gyms in your area, however far you are willing to travel, and see what their policy is for getting rid of their equipment.

Most likely, they will let you know what they can and can't offer you or when they have an auction or sale so both parties can profit from a needed facelift at the gym.

Other options are online retailers, Facebook, garage sales, and social media platforms to make a cheap purchase.

What to Watch for When Buying Old Equipment

Gyms get rid of their old equipment for one reason: it needs to be updated, so it is safer and usable for clients. That is not to say you, as an individual, can't still get some reps out of an old Smith Machine. Still, businesses are held to higher standards for safety reasons.

Make sure you inspect the equipment whenever possible. Test it out, move all the parts, and ask the necessary questions to ensure you are truly buying something worth it.

Check for rips, tears, and missing parts. You don't want to spend a single dollar on something you can't use and now have to potentially pay to get rid of. It is a buyer's beware market out there when it comes to the buying and selling of used anything, so do your due diligence and check from top to bottom.

Know what you are buying. If you are in the market for some cardio equipment, make sure what you are looking at does the job.

Helpful Tip: A half-priced Smith Machine is excellent, but a discounted treadmill is WORTH more to your cardio goal. Don’t needlessly buy just because the price is right.

In the end, gyms get rid of old equipment just like the rest of us do when it's time to upgrade. They will first try to get as much money back from their initial investment, but as products are used and worn out, value deprecates, and the ROI just isn't what they might expect.

It is better to get something rather than nothing, but if nothing is the cost of client safety, donating, tossing and recycling are other options gyms will make with equipment that is no longer deemed gym worthy.


Hey, I'm Michael Jones and I support this blog with a group of authors consisting of Personal Trainers, Physiotherapist and sellers of fitness equipment.

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