Buying sports equipment
Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.
The DoneDeal guide to buying sports equipment
Basic buying tips
Buying sports goods is similar to sport itself: the more effort and preparation you put in, the better the results.
There are many factors to consider when making a sporting purchase, including safety, quality, your own sporting ability and your personal goals.
For all sports goods - be prepared
- Understand which equipment suits your needs: cardio, muscle building, stamina, leisure, outdoor pursuits, etc.
- Do your research.
- Is this the correct equipment for you?
- If you know people who are actively involved in your chosen sport, talk to them about the equipment required.
- When buying clubs, either as a set or individually, a person’s height has a big influence on the type of club to purchase.
- For a novice, a set of clubs of standard length is sufficient.
- Taller players need longer club shafts, shorter players need shorter shafts.
- Be aware. More and more imitation goods are on the market.
- Each club has specific traits, be it colour, shape of head, markings, etc. Know these before purchasing.
- Before you buy – especially if the clubs are second hand – try them out.
- Meet the seller at their home, a golf club, or driving range, as this gives you a better feel for the deal.
- Always test the equipment.
Snooker and Pool
- Make sure you are buying a table that fits the dimensions of the space available.
- The length of the table is always in inches and feet, not centimetres and metres.
- Table cushions, cloth, slate and pockets are expensive. Before buying, test out the table extensively. Look for bumps, dead cushions, worn cloth, etc.
Richard Kennedy, personal trainer and director of FitnessFreak.ie shares his advice:
- Go to see the equipment, test it out and listen to noises.
- For cross trainers, bikes, rowers or treadmills, if it doesn’t sound right don’t buy it.
- Always test the machine out.
- Regular gym goers should look for commercial standard when buying, to maintain the standard they are used to at the gym.
- Always check gym equipment such as bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, for user weight, some equipment has a maximum load.
- The weight of a machine or equipment is also a sign of quality.
- The heavier the better.
- Treadmill belt lengths should be at least 48 inches and of at least 1.5 horse power.
- When it comes to weights, if there is rust on them, don’t get them. Good weights should last forever.
- The bar is the most important piece in a weight, if there is a bend in it, don’t buy it.
Each sport, be it football, soccer, hurling or rugby, has very specific equipment. Footwear and training gear differ per sport.
- Know exactly which equipment is best suited to each game.
- When buying clothing, check sizes and usage.
- Look for internationally recognised safety certification on equipment such as helmets, shin guards and body pads.
- Balls should also be certified.
- Hurling helmets have a lifespan of four years – regardless of use. If buying second hand, ask when it was purchased.
- Cricket uses equipment such as pads for legs, arms, midriff and crotch. To ensure the equipment you purchase is of an adequate standard, contact a club or member of a team.
In all racquet sports, tennis, squash, racquetball and badminton, the type of racquet varies for levels of skill, as does the price.
- Manufacturers make racquets specifically for skill levels.
- For beginners, racquet heads are usually bigger with a large sweet spot.
- For the more experienced, the heads are smaller for greater accuracy and power focus.
- All racquet sports require different balls and they have to comply with international safety standards.
- For racquetball and squash, eye protection is mandatory at most levels.
- Make sure you purchase equipment with internationally recognised certification.
- Purchase sport specific footwear.
- Footwear can differ from indoors to outdoors, including non-mark trainers and type of grip.
Buying a tennis racquet
- The main thing to do when buying a tennis racquet is to try it out.
- Hold it. See how it feels in your hand.
- Does it feel comfortable?
Finding the right grip size
According to Peter Farrell of Tennis Ireland and Tennis Coach Ireland, there is no hard or fast rule as to the grip size that will suit you best.
- It is advisable to go to a sports shop and ask them to assess.
- Try a few different racquets.
- Pick one that feels comfortable.
- If you buy a used racquet that looks nice, but has the wrong grip size, you risk injury such as tennis elbow.
- Modern racquets are quite lightweight and most racquets weigh between 270g and 330g.
- The preferred weight of a racquet is purely personal choice.
- Many believe that the tighter the string tension, the further a ball will travel. However, the opposite is the case.
- Racquets with more give in the string tension allow a ball to travel further.
- However, if the string tension is too loose, it can cause you to hit the ball ‘out’ more frequently.
- If you buy a good racquet and find the tension is not right, it can be restrung for between €10 and €20.
Types of racquet
- Most racquets are made from either aluminium or graphite.
- Aluminium is not as strong as graphite.
- The standard length of an adult racquet for an adult is 27”.
- Before buying a racquet, check for cracks.
- Even hairline cracks around the head of a racquet can be a problem.
- If cracks exist, the tension of the strings could cause it to collapse over time.
Buying for children
- It’s important to buy the right size racquet, relevant to the child’s size. The following is a guide:
- If a child is under 92 cm, choose a 17” racquet
- 92-100cm = 18”
- 100-110cm = 19”
- 110-120cm = 21”
- 120-130cm = 23”
- 130-137cm = 25”
- 137-148cm = 26”
- above 148cm = 27”
- Using the wrong size racquet could cause the game to be more difficult and so discourage a child from playing.
- The correct size racquet helps enormously in developing good technique.
- When buying a net, unroll it and check for wear and tear.
- Is it ripped in places, or has it been patched?
- Nets can be easily fixed, but if they are damaged you can use this to negotiate price.
- Some traders use classified ads to sell products and equipment. These people are aware that the consumer has no redress or comeback by private sale.
- Test them by asking about specific sport equipment, for example, ‘the bike’, etc.
- If they have to ask which equipment or bike you are referring to, the chances are they’re traders and not individual sellers.