Why are new weight sets so expensive, and used ones so cheap?

This would be a GQ, but I suspect the real answer involves a lot of snark :P.

I’ve been noticing that I haven’t gotten to the gym as much lately, largely due to my recent move rendering trips to the gym more inconvenient. So I’ve been thinking of buying home exercise equipment; if I can’t make it to the gym, maybe i can bring the gym to me. Specifically, I was looking for free weights. Christmas is coming, maybe I could buy a few adjustable dumbbells.

Adjustable dumbbells, of any variety, apparently go for upwards of $300. Even regular iron glob dumbbells go for about a $1 a pound. Truly terrifying numbers, and much more than i’d expected based on my years’ old garage sale experiences. Then i checked craigslist. Full weight sets (plates), including benches and bars, for $150.

I know a lot of people buy exercise equipment, never use it, then sell it at a loss. But these are weights! Pieces of metal. No fancy electronics…there is barely anything that CAN break, become obsolete, or go out of style. How can the new and used markets be so divergent?

Supply and demand. There is much greater demand for new equipment than used.

Try looking on Freecycle. Or posting to it.

Shipping costs for the raw materials to the factory can be very high. Lots of weight in a small volume means a partly empty truck going to one place.

Their weight adds cost in terms of transport and handling. And there is some value in higher quality weights - more accurate, better feel, easier collars, etc.

When you no longer want them, you just want to get rid of them.

But unless you are a SERIOUS lifter, I say get them as cheaply as you can. Keep looking, and you’ll find some for WAY under $150 - and you’ll pick up a bench by the side of the road come garbage day.

EDIT - DARN YOU TO HECK runner pat! :wink:

WAG…Because so much equipment gets bought, but not used, we can guess that a lot of people buying this equipment are not dedicated athletes, but rather people looking to “try getting in shape” for the first time and change their habits.

In other words, they are looking to create a “whole new you.”

I think buying new equipment fits into that whole myth. If you are looking for new habits and a new body, you are psychologically going to want to “start new” with shiny new equipment. In fact, I bet making that investment feels pretty good. By spending a lot, people can feel like they are already making an investment in their new program.

Looking around on Craig’s List just doesn’t have the same sense of satisfaction as “starting fresh.”

Of course, stuff gets sold cheaply because something you never use is worth nothing at all to you. Basically, any price is a good one. Especially if it is something as bulky and unsightly as weights.

Roid sweat. It’s all over the used weights. Gross.


If I get used weights (highly likely) i’m going to scrub them down for precisely this reason.

Thanks for the good comments guys. I’m not a serious lifter,* so I’m likely to take the cheapest deal that gets me bench and curl bars and more than my bench press worth of weights. I just couldn’t help the feeling that there must be SOMETHING wrong with used weights given what people were willing to pay for new ones.

*My original workout buddy was a former power lifter and he set the bar for serious for me. I outweighed him by 50% and he was still stronger than me everywhere but in the legs. Bah, such people shouldn’t be allowed.

Heh, if you play your cards right, someone might pay you to come take that heavy crap off their hands.

I bet you’d see similar price disparity in treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines. Once they become clothing racks, the desire to be rid of them translates to bargain prices.

Must resist… :smiley:

Watch out for quality…we have ancient plates from an old gym, and newer ones made in China…

Guess which rusted out quickly?

I can think of few things more sensible to buy second-hand than free weights. As the OP says, new weights are extremely expensive, while used ones can be had for little money, and they are just as good and still last for a lifetime or two. Over a period of a year or so I built a very adjustable (lots of small plates alongside the 20’s and 45’s) free weight set of 800 lbs. with roughly 300 dollars, buying everything second-hand. A similar stack bought new would’ve fetched well over a grand here. Among my most-prized possessions are the 20 kg plates I got from a prison auction for pocket change. Roid sweat ain’t nuthin’ - I’ve got murderer and arsonist sweat on mine!

High-end plates and bars really are much better than the motley hoard I’ve got, but incredibly expensive, as well. Eleiko plates, for instance, go for roughly 4 dollars per pound, S & H not included. I’ll get those when I win the lottery.

Raises hand

Or almost anyway. I’ve got some weight plates and a barbell you can have. You move them, you own them.

Like Dinsdale said, new weights are more accurate. Older weights can become water-logged, rust, or have any number of chemical reactions based on where they have been stored, for how long, and at what temperature.

The good news is that, if anything, the old weights will tend to be heavier than what they are labeled as, rather than lighter. The bad news is that if the weight has shifted, it may no longer be evenly distributed throughout the weight plates/dumbbells.

I was able to buy an adjustable dumbbell set, new, for around $50. I think there was a set with four 5 lb. weight plates and four 3 lb. weight plates, and I bought four 10 lb. weight plates because 16 lbs. isn’t enough weight.

Also, just a warning: While I saved a lot of money by buying plate-loading dumbbells, there’s no denying that getting the Bowflex ones which adjust in seconds would have given me a better workout. The time it takes to load and unload the plates is enough for your heart rate to go down. Just something to keep in mind.

They’re sold new for what they are worth, and sold used for what it’s worth to be rid of them.

As simple as they look, weights are, after all, a lot of material, and it can only be sold so cheaply. They might seem like a ripoff but the markup over material, manufacturing and transportation and storage costs isn’t nearly as high as you might think.

But when the’yre occupying space in someone’s house, the priority is on getting rid of them, not whether iron’s at .57 a pound or .43.

It is crazy how much cheaper you can get stuff used. I inherited some dumbbells for free that are good enough for now -I want to lift heavier and I need a real bar, but I’ve just been doing more reps because I’m so poor ATM- but I want a kettlebell and was horrified to find that a 24kg chunk of metal costs upwards of $130 when you buy it new. Thank goodness for craigslist.

Most sets are never used, and stay so still that Brownian motion sets in and the isotopes of the materials used decay and change the actual mass of the sets. Since you don’t want to lifting the wrong amount of weight, you need new ones, not used ones.