6 Affordable Alternatives to Pricey Exercise Equipment

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Making your health a priority can be a challenge, especially during a pandemic when gyms are changing their policies due to frequently changing public health requirements and you just might not want to break a sweat with many other people. Fortunately, you have tons of exercise equipment at home, many of which now come with “smart” technology like online personal trainers and courses. However, choosing can be tricky. Does a higher price mean higher quality? Do you have to spend a lot of money to get in shape? To make it easier for you to choose, we’ve offered a lower-cost alternative to a number of popular exercise machines you’ve probably heard of.

See: Are These Top Fitness and Food Tracking Apps Worth the Cost?
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Horizon T101 treadmill ($ 699) vs. NordicTrack treadmill ($ 1,899)

If you’ve got your eye on a NordicTrack treadmill that can start at around $ 1,899, it’s time to check out the Horizon T101 treadmill, which, with just as many bells and whistles, is nearly a third of the cost. According to treadmill reviews, the T101 offers a 10% incline and variable cushioning that reduces stress on your joints. Other features include bluetooth speakers, a fan to cool your sweaty self, a tablet holder and a USB charging port. It also folds up for travel and storage.

Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3 ($ 999) vs. Peloton Spin Bike ($ 1,495 +)

Peloton made a name for itself in the world of spinning wheels, and you might think it’s the only spinning wheel worth having, but it’s not. For starters, a basic Peleton bike starts at $ 1,495 and prices go up quickly from there and you pay for subscription service too. Echelon manufactures a “smart bike”, which CNET describes as comparable to Peloton, with a display holder for an iPad or other tablet. One CNET reviewer found it “slim, sturdy, compact and impressive-looking”. Another reviewer at FitRated.com admired its lever-like adjustment knob that sets the resistance value; the magnetic resistance of the motor; and a 13 KG flywheel. Users must use the Echelon app for personalized videos and training.

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Sunny Health & Fitness elliptical trainer ($ 179) vs. PreCor EFX 222 elliptical trainer ($ 2,799)

PreCor is a big name for professional fitness equipment, so it’s no surprise that even its home fitness equipment comes at a steep price. PreCor ellipticals can start at $ 2,799 and go way up from there. Instead, NBC News recommends a much cheaper option: the Sunny Health & Fitness SF E905 elliptical, which is available on Amazon for just $ 179. Small in size, with wheels on the bottom for easy movement, it has eight resistance levels and a heart rate monitor that measures heart rate, exercise time and the number of calories burned.

Bluefin Fitness Blade ($ 399) vs. Hydro Row ($ 2,245)

Hydro Row is considered “the peloton of rowing machines,” according to Dynasystech, which means you will pay a very high price for it – at least $ 2,245. Instead, Dynasystech reviewers recommend the Bluefin Fitness Blade at a fraction of the price – just $ 399 on Amazon for the base model. The bike has an LCD console that shows important data such as calories burned, rowed distance and time. The magnetic resistance has eight adjustable levels and has a padded seat and ergonomic handlebars. Its pedals are designed to prevent slipping. It is also foldable.

Echelon Smart Connect fitness mirror ($ 922) vs. The Mirror ($ 1,495)

The Mirror uses LCD technology to bring a fitness trainer into your home through a mountable mirror that also doubles as a screen and offers you “live” classes and personal training. But $ 1,495 can be a lot more than you would want to spend on something like this. Instead, try Echelon’s cheaper alternative, the Reflect Smart Connect Fitness Mirror. The 40-inch mirror costs around $ 922 with an Amazon Prime membership. According to Retail Me Not, you get the same functionality as The Mirror, but it’s smaller, cheaper, and easy to set up.

Epic Fitness Dumbbells ($ 349) vs. NordicTrack Vault ($ 2,999)

The NordicTrack Vault combines physical equipment with virtual training for a high price of nearly $ 3,000. While there are other semi-comparable products like The Mirror (without equipment) for around half the price, you can just invest in a range of weights and take advantage of the huge world of videos online for a fraction of the price. A good, full set of Epic Fitness dumbbells costs around $ 349, and many online workout subscriptions start at just $ 9.99 per month.

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Last updated: September 3, 2021

About the author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a BA from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays on finance and other topics have appeared in a wide variety of publications and clients including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business customers. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

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