Fitness Equipment Buying Guide

Fitness equipment can be very expensive but purchasing an exercise machine is undoubtedly the best way to stay in shape without leaving the comfort of your own home. Therefore, take a look at this buying guide before you spend several hundred dollars on something that you may end up regretting.





A treadmill’s motor is probably the most important aspect to consider. This is because the motor will determine whether you will be able to walk or run an a machine. Clearly, the more you spend the more likely you will be able to run on a treadmill. Therefore, if you’re planning to run on a treadmill then you will definitely want to purchase one that is equipped with at least a 2.5-horsepower motor, such as this one by LifeSpan – the TR1200i, or the following treadmill by Sole. If not, then opt for a treadmill that retails for just a few hundred dollars, such as the Avari Magnetic Treadmill.


The computer console is another important thing to consider, as it provides you with feedback on your workout, such as calories burned, distance covered, heart rate, speed etc. If you’re looking for a treadmill with one of the most technologically advanced consoles on the market, then consider the Bowflex TreadClimber TC10.


We always recommend purchasing a treadmill with an incline feature, as this can make your workout more challenging and thus help you to lose weight or get in tip top shape more quickly. A good example of a reasonably priced treadmill that fits the bill is the Proform Performance 1450.

A good number of treadmill reviews can be read here.

Rowing Machines

With rowing machines there is pretty much only one thing to consider: how resistance is determined.

Air Resistance

Air resistance rowing machines, like the Lifecore R100, provide more or less of a challenge, depending on how quickly or slowly you row at. Row faster and the resistance increases and vice versa. The Proteus PAR-5500 is also an excellent choice, although just as expensive.

Water Resistance

Water resistance rowers, such as the ProRower H2O RX-950, are often considered to be the best, as they accurately mimic the feel of on the water rowing. Just like air resistance models, water resistance rowers resistance is determined by the speed that you row at. However, if you want to increase the resistance level then you can simply add more water to the tank.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic resistance rowers, like the awesome Trident from  First Degree Fitness,  Concept2 Model D and Velocity Rower over at WxFitness, are controlled by electromagnets and are able to deliver a quiet workout. The good thing about these type of rowers is how you’re able to control the level of resistance exactly to your liking, simply by pressing a button on the compute console.

A range of rowing machine reviews can be found by clicking on this link.

Elliptical Trainers

The most important thing to consider is the stride length.

Stride Length

The stride length is so important because it is the only thing that determines whether your workout will be a comfortable experience or not. If you’re short, think about purchasing an elliptical with an 18 inch stride, like the following:  Nautilus E514AFG 3.1 AE, or ProForm Hybrid Trainer; if tall, you will need an elliptical with a 20 inch stride, such as the Spirit Esprit EL-455. For an adjustable stride, consider the Smooth Fitness Agile DMT-X2, Bowflex PR1000, or Sole E35.

Check out the following link for

Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are probably the most popular and frequently purchased exercise machines. There are 3 different kinds of exercise bikes.


Recumbent bikes are ideal for people who want the most comfortable workout experience possible, namely for those who suffer from back trouble or simply for those who like to watch TV as they exercise. This is because the seat features a backrest and tends to feature a generous amount of padding. A few very popular models include the Schwinn 250 , Stamina Elite, Sole Fitness B94, and this recumbent bike from Livestrong.

Semi Recumbent

Semi recumbent bikes, like the FitDesk  Pedal Desk and this recumbent bike from Horizon are halfway between recumbent bikes and upright bikes. Therefore, they are reasonably comfortable to use.


Upright bikes, like this upright bike from Sunny, Bowflex SelectTech 552, and the  ProForm 280 CSX  have similar seats to traditional, upright bikes; therefore they aren’t all that comfortable to use. However, people often purchase a gel seat cover to makes things a little more comfortable, although the Magneto Trainer manufactured by Cycleops already comes with one, so it’s a model to consider, as is the Weslo Pro CTX.

Visit this resource for upright exercise bike reviews, and the following for Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews

Just one more thing to add is that when it comes to step machines there is one model which is heads and shoulders above the rest  – the Xiser Commercial Portable Stepper. We didn’t feel as if it warranted its own category because of this.

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