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Used Smith machine: DO NOT buy a second hand Smith machine that's for sale until you read this!

By Henry Wilson
Last Updated on 8th July 2020

When you find a Smith machine for sale used and the price is reasonable, it can be tempting to throw common sense out the window and grab yourself what appears to be a bargain.

But unfortunately, most used Smith machines for sale on the web can often do us more harm than good. And I don't just mean financial harm.

Yes, that's right. Buying a used Smith machine can pose a significant risk to your health. Don't believe me?

Well, I'm glad you're optimistic, but your personal safety isn't something to act blasé about. A few years ago, I purchased a second hand Smith machine from a well-know used gym equipment company here in the UK. I got it for a decent price (with some persistent northern negotiation), but nothing special.

fitness equipment for strength training at a gym

Anyway. My Smith machine worked ok for a few weeks, but it was clear from the get-go that the previous owner hadn't looked after it because the lifting motion felt about as smooth as sandpaper. And ironically, I would've probably built more muscle by sanding down my walls that training on my old piece of crap.

Anyhow, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, disaster struck. And it still haunts me to this day. I'd just done a few warm-up sets and was loading the Smith bar up for my first working set of bench press. But as I put the final plate on the barbell (if you can call it that), the bar hooks started to come away from the frame, causing the so-called "barbell" to crash violently onto my bench.

image of man wincing in pain while at the gym

Thankfully, I wasn't laying on the bench at the time of the accident; otherwise, things could've been a lot worse. Now, I'm not one to moan about being uncomfortable. But a 100kg barbell resting on your chest doesn't seem like a pleasant way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

However, just imagine a 100kg barbell falling from height onto your chest. Now we're talking about serious, perhaps even life-threatening injuries. And for what? Saving a few hundred quid? Not worth it if you ask me.

All of that said, I don't want to scare you off buying a used Smith machine if that's your mission. And I know that nobody likes a moaner. However, I thought it was important for you to hear the worst-case scenario so that you can be prepared.

Advantages of buying a used Smith Machine

Despite my horror stories (which aren't all that uncommon), there are still several advantages to buying a used Smith machine.

You might save money

Brunette looking worried over bills in kitchen

If you look hard enough, you'll find some affordable Smith machine home gyms for sale that are still in good condition.

Smith machines themselves aren't dangerous, far from it. If anything, they're the safest piece of gym equipment around. However, the trouble starts when the previous owner shortchanges you on the parts, making the frame unstable, or when you realise that they treated it more like a punching bag, rather than a Smith machine.

Still, if you find something that's not long out of the box, you can definitely get a bargain. Look for people who're moving house and need to make a quick sale. Not only will this scenario save you money, but you're likely to get a quality piece of equipment because the person is selling for a reason other than mechanical failure.

Buying an ex-demo Smith machine is another little-known hack to save yourself some cash. These machines are a steal if you can get your hands on one because they're almost always in excellent condition. When people try out gym equipment in person, they're not typically performing full workouts, and they're certainly not disrespecting the equipment like they might do at home or in a commercial gym.

As a result, ex-demo Smith machines are the closest thing you can get to brand new without actually paying the brand new price tag. The only downside of ex-demo equipment is that it doesn't last long because it's in extremely high demand. Turns out us Brits who train at home love to save money! And who can blame us?

You could get free delivery

delivery man carrying parcel

Gym equipment companies often charge us a hefty delivery fee unless we spend a certain amount of money with them. However, the threshold for free delivery on fitness equipment has decreased significantly in recent years.

Usually, you only need to spend about £200 to get fast and free shipping. But it wasn't always this way. I remember the days in the not too distant past when you either had to order from the Argos catalogue or pay £50 and wait three weeks for your new gym equipment.

You see, working out at home just wasn't as popular back then, and you had to pay through the nose for the privilege.

However, another option that guarantees free delivery (regardless of how much you spend) is local pickup. I don't personally buy second hand gym equipment (anymore). But if you can find a good deal close to home, it could be worth the drive.

Disadvantages of buying a used Smith machine

Whenever you find a second hand Smith machine for sale online that piques your interest, there are three crucial factors that you need to consider before you actually buy it.

Hit and miss quality

questionnaire with tick

Buying a Smith machine used is like ordering household products from China. Sometimes the quality is fantastic, and you can't tell it apart from the real thing. But other times, the quality is so bad that you put it straight in the bin.

Unfortunately, Smith machines are much more expensive than mass-produced Chinese goods. I can get over wasting a few bob on a crappy laptop case or some cheap sunglasses. But blowing a few hundred quid on gym equipment that I was genuinely excited to train on is much more demoralising. And as we saw, potentially very dangerous.

On the flip side, you can find excellent quality Smith machines for sale used. However, just know that you're playing Russian roulette.

Are you willing to spend a bit more and invest in a reliable Smith machine? Or are you the gambler than always loses his money by trying to find that one magic offer?

Limited choice

interior of big empty storehouse

How does buying a used Smith machine differ from buying a new one?

Well, let me put it to you like this.

Ordering a used Smith machine is like trying to find a rare book in your local library. The process is cumbersome, old-fashioned and the choice is limited. The result? You're very unlikely to find your book, you just wanted an hour and now you're frustrated.

Investing in a new Smith machine is like searching for that same book on Amazon. It's fast, ultra-convenient and you're probably going to be spoilt for choice. You're highly likely to find your book in a few minutes at the most.

In other words, you're going to have to settle for an average Smith machine if you go down the second-hand route. You're limited to whatever the British public are selling at the time. And for obvious reasons, they're not going to be selling you an award-winning piece of gym equipment (and that's putting it politely).

No warranty

Not approved grunge rubber stamp on white background, vector illustration

The complete lack of warranty protection is the reason why I liken buying a used Smith machine to playing Russian roulette.

All maintenance costs come out of your own pocket.

And if something drastic goes wrong, then there's nothing that you can do except pay for expensive repairs or sit there in regretful silence as you watch your machine degrade in quality by the day.

My current Smith machine (which also doubles up as a home gym) comes with a lifetime warranty. I've never needed to use it, but having peace of mind while I'm pushing myself hard in my workouts is priceless.

Where can you find a used Smith machine for sale?

Amazon

Amazon sells mostly new gym equipment. However, you can also find a good selection of third-party sellers offering second-hand gear for various prices.

Pros

  • Large selection
  • Great reputation
  • Responsive customer service
  • Fast delivery with Prime
  • Refunds are simple

Cons

  • Third-party sellers vary in quality

Fitness Superstore

Fitness Superstore is one of the UK's most trusted gym equipment companies. And while they don't specialise in used gym equipment, you can sometimes find marked-down ex-demo machines that are nearly as good as new.

Pros

  • Honest company
  • Fantastic customer service
  • Well-packaged shipments
  • Variety of delivery options
  • Competitive prices

Cons

  • Limited selection of used Smith machines

Gumtree

Gumtree is great for finding local bargains near you. However, since there are so many people looking to offload their old gym junk, the quality can be hit and miss.

Pros

  • Large selection of used gym equipment
  • Reasonable prices
  • Can pick up locally

Cons

  • Mixed quality
  • Equipment doesn't have warranty protection
  • Equipment can look worse in person

eBay

eBay is probably the most popular website for finding a Smith weight machine for sale in the UK. The popular online auction site has a large selection of equipment at varying prices. But finding something good can mean spending hours glued to your laptop.

Pros

  • Massive selection of products
  • Auction system
  • Local pickup
  • Can see seller's feedback

Cons

  • Quality varies wildly
  • Not the best for Smith machines
  • No warranty protection

The verdict: Should you buy a used Smith machine?

image of a resistance training machine with extensive workout options

Buying a used Smith machine certainly has its benefits. For one, you can save money. And two, you're almost guaranteed to get free delivery.

However, pretty much every fitness company is offering free delivery these days. And there are many risks to ordering a used Smith machine [3] [4].

The complete lack of warranty protection is by far the most overlooked downside of going second hand. You might save a bit of money today by getting your Smith machine used, but in the long run, you're probably going to end up worse off (and undoubtedly much more frustrated).

man doing a flat bench press

Used Smith machines are notoriously hit and miss, and I certainly wouldn't gamble on one again.

Unless you can find a quality ex-demo machine on somewhere like Fitness Superstore, then I'd steer clear of used gym equipment and spend that bit extra to get quality and peace of mind instead.

Henry Wilson
I'm an experienced research assistant who's responsible for the scientific accuracy of the information provided by Smith Machine UK. When I'm not analysing the latest studies from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and advising university physiology departments, you'll find me cycling in the great British countryside.
At Smith Machine UK, we create in-depth tests of the latest and greatest gym equipment on the British market so that you can create your dream home gym.
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