Cheap Weight Benches, How to Find Them and What to Look For

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So, you need a new weight bench. And you don’t have much money to spend. Can you really get a decent weight bench, and workout in total safety while spending less than $200?

I wish I could give you a simple yes or no answer, but it’s really a little more complex than that.  If you think you’re gonna spend under $200 and still get all of the features that you get with an expensive weight bench, you’re mistaken.  But if you’re willing to give up some of the bells and whistles and instead concentrate on the basics, then you should do just fine.

We’re going to be talking about the best places to find cheap weight benches in a few paragraphs, but first let’s discuss some of the things that you should be looking for, and some of the things that you should be trying to avoid in your attempt to set up a weightlifting area at home while saving money.

What should I look for when picking out my cheap bench?

To start with, you need to be sure that you’re going to be happy with a standard weight set. By this I mean a weight set with the total poundage somewhere below 250, and a simple knurled 6 foot barbell. By making this decision, you make it much more likely that you’ll be able to find a weight bench at a very low price that will suit your needs.

But you’re giving a few things up:

Cheap benches typically have uprights that are placed much closer together than those on an Olympic weight lifting bench.  The idea here is that moving outwards from the middle of the weight bench we have the uprights and then your hands, and then finally the inside collars, then the weight plates and then the retaining collars.

For some people this is an issue.  For me it is.  I would much rather have all the room that I need to use inside the collars of the barbell.  I want the freedom of taking either a narrow or a wide grip when I bench, so for me a standard barbell and a standard weight bench simply won’t work.

The next area were a cheap weight bench might fall short for you is in terms of strength and stability.  Just as the uprights are more narrowly space, so will be the legs of the weight bench.  Obviously, this makes it less stable.

In addition, your less expensive weight benches are going to be made either of tubular stock or smaller square stock.  This is OK, as long as you’re only going to be lifting a couple hundred pounds.  If you plan to do any benching of significance, I think you should simply bite the bullet and spend what you need to spend to get a solid piece of equipment.

Where can I find a cheap weight bench?

It’s not hard to find an inexpensive weight bench -you just have to know where to look.  The first decision you’re going to have to make is whether or not you would be happy with a used piece of equipment.  If you’ve got a truck, or have a friend with a truck and you’re willing to do a little driving, the odds are that you may be able to find a really nice piece of equipment for the same price you would’ve paid for a very flimsy bench purchase from Wal-Mart or Sears.

I would steer away from online sources like EBay when searching for used weight equipment, and here’s why:

You’re going to want to actually try out, or at least take a good hard look at the equipment before you take it home.  You have to remember, we’re not buying a toaster here.  You’re going to be laying on that bench and balancing a barbell with a few 100 pounds up over your face.  This is not the time to skip due diligence.  Having said that there is a least one place online where you’re likely to find good quality used equipment at a reasonable price: Craigslist.

cheap weight bench

Cheap Weight Bench

Even if you’ve never used Craigslist before, you’ll find it very easy.  All you have to do is sort on your state and then your city.  Next you simply drill down until you get to fitness equipment and start hunting.  I normally immediately skip over any advertisements for weightlifting equipment that do not include pictures.  What you find a listing that makes sense to you, contact the poster and arrange for viewing.

If you’d like to stick with new retail equipment, your choices are going to be somewhat more limited.  First place to start would be at your local Wal-Mart or Sears.  You’re not gonna see that there’s any shortage of weight benches for cheap, but what you may see is a lack of stability and solid workmanship.  But hey, you get what you pay for.

If you’re determined to go retail I recommend that you do the following:

Skip the bells and whistles.  You don’t need a leg extension or pull-down machine built on to a simple weight bench like this.  The money they spent to give you those attachments is money that they did not spend on quality steel and solid welding techniques.

Pay close attention to the quality of the padding and the upholstery material.  Cheaper weight benches often have been inferior quality plastic as an upholstery cover and easily compacted stuffing.

Take a close look it any bolts, knots or fasteners that are part of the weight bench and.  If all they are using is quarter 20 bolts and lock washers, that thing is gonna come apart the first time you do a good hard set.

I hope I’ve given you the information that you needed in your quest to save money and still has something decent to lift off of.  To reiterate – your best bet is to check Craigslist for a used weight bench -you will get a lot more bench for your money, and you can still get your bench cheap.

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