How often should a gym change equipment?

Gyms pay a significant upfront cost to kit out new and existing fitness spaces. Commercial equipment is an investment, and...

Gyms pay a significant upfront cost to kit out new and existing fitness spaces. Commercial equipment is an investment, and so maximising its lifespan is one way of achieving a healthy ROI. Still, there comes a time when even the most durable and reliable pieces of equipment must be replaced.

A good range of modern equipment acts as a draw for potential new members and can influence whether existing members renew their memberships

The availability of that equipment, its technology and software, cleanliness, functionality and ease of use all affect member retention. Gym equipment is also a means of identifying a gym’s mission, brand, and values. It helps signify its services and identify its community—for example, cross-fit, strength training, boxing, sustainability, boutique, etc.  Failing to replace equipment at the right time, therefore, affects not only membership acquisition and retention but also the perception of that brand and, of course, safety.  



How long does commercial gym equipment last? 

Allianz writes that fitness machines ‘have an average life of ten years,’ but there’s no hard and fast rule regarding how long equipment lasts. Several factors can influence lifespan including the type of equipment, its mechanical and software elements, and the number of people regularly using it. The immediate environment will also be a factor, as dust, sweat, humidity, etc., can also negatively impact longevity. Accuro argues that the average lifespan for most pieces of commercial equipment is between five and seven years. Cardiovascular equipment lasts between seven and ten years, while strength equipment can last for more than ten years.  

It’s important to remember that it’s not just about whether ageing equipment is breaking down. The IHRSA writes that once every ten years, ‘most facilities will require a total overhaul/reconfiguration if they wish to maintain market momentum and remain competitive.’ 

As fitness equipment becomes more technically and technologically advanced, clients and members will likely expect a gym’s current inventory to reflect this. Machines with built-in software may become outdated more quickly. Gyms that want to provide people with a more exciting and engaging experience and offering may have to replace equipment more regularly.  

 Female in coral crop top and leggings sitting on a tyre in a gym with her head down

How do you know when to change gym equipment?  

Keeping track of maintenance schedules and recommended lifespan will make it easier to know when equipment is approaching replacement age. Decisions can then be made in good time. You don’t want to wait until the equipment starts regularly breaking down as this reduces available equipment on the gym floor and will frustrate your members.  

Octane Fitness suggests three signs of wear and tear: environmental, mechanical, and material.

  • Environmental factors are related to things like humidity and cleanliness.
  • Mechanical wear is related to the machine's working parts (noises or dips in performance can be an indicator).
  • Material fatigue is cracks or tears in the material parts.  

If a piece of equipment regularly breaks down or is often out-of-action, it’s a good sign that it will need to be replaced or require significant repair. Clients will usually understand that equipment breaks from time to time. Still, they will likely become irritated and frustrated if it's a continuing issue.  

Keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear. Daily, weekly, and monthly checks for tell-tale signs like rips, misalignment, and loss of traction or lubrication will help. Early intervention may prolong the life of the equipment considerably. This may help prevent expensive fixes, too. If you have a deal with a manufacturer, they’ll likely share details of your next equipment upgrade with you.

 air bike in the corner of a gym

How to ensure gym equipment stays in good condition  

Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for advice on how to care for and maintain your equipment. Visual checks are essential. Problems will usually get worse the longer they’re left, so quarantine faulty equipment before it gets worse to keep repairs to a minimum. Check equipment regularly visually and check for any sudden or unexpected noises, especially something with mechanical parts like a treadmill. Check things like belts, cables, and screws. You will also have to lubricate pulleys, etc, and weight machines. Check racks, units, and equipment for loose nuts or signs of rusting. Popular pieces of equipment will likely need more maintenance, so it’s worth having a good understanding of which pieces are used more regularly.  

Check the upholstery for rips and tears, because this looks unsightly and may put potential members off when they visit.  

Gym manufacturers usually insist on product servicing to maintain the warranty. These are designed to maximise the product’s lifespan and should be adhered to. You can also purchase service contracts performed by trained technicians. Energym offers a service package to ensure its electricity-generating bikes are working efficiently. Most manufacturers recommend services be carried out every year or every six months, depending on how busy your gym is. You'll find this information in the manufacturer’s instructions. Unless you’re qualified to maintain your own equipment, outsourcing it can be helpful, especially as gym equipment may be beyond your technical knowledge. Educating and encouraging members to wipe down equipment after using it will help prevent sweat from corroding it. You should also ensure that equipment is cleaned regularly for hygiene and to prevent dust from building up and causing damage over time.  


Ready to replace your indoor cycling bikes with ones that can generate clean electricity? Find out more about the RE:GEN for gyms and studio. 



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