Argos gym equipment review
Argos's Opti range of gym equipment includes exercise bikes, treadmills, cross trainers and rowing machines, to suit a whole range of cardio workouts.
The Opti brand, founded in 2016, also offers weights and weight benches for strength training from home. Opti's main focus is on selling affordable fitness equipment that's cheaper than many of its competitors.
Read on to find out about the full range of Opti gym equipment, including foldable models and exercise bikes and treadmills for £100 or less, plus whether Opti's budget proposition held it back from scoring well in our exercise brand satisfaction survey.
Opti satisfaction survey results
The table below shows how Opti scored in our October 2020 exercise equipment brand satisfaction survey, which looked at the most important factors if you're buying home gym equipment.
While the Opti brand includes a wide range of equipment types, we only had enough responses to calculate scores for its exercise bikes and weights.
|Opti equipment type||Customer score||Ease of use||Build quality||Value for money|
Table notes: Scores are based on an online survey of 3,548 members of the public in October 2020. Sample size for each equipment type shown in brackets. Customer score: based on satisfaction with the brand and likelihood to recommend. Ease of use: the brands that scored highly in our survey had products that were rated as easy to use on a day-to-day basis. Build quality: brands that scored highly in this area had products that were rated as well made and designed. Value for money: high-scoring brands had products that were rated as worth the money they cost to buy.
Opti cross trainers
Opti Air Cross Trainer
This Opti cross trainer has a fan which turns when you pedal, and this air produces resistance. The faster you go, the more resistance there is. A small, rudimentary console shows you time, speed, distance and calorie information.
Opti Magnetic Cross Trainer
Rather than air, this model uses an electromagnet which produces variable amounts of resistance depending on your settings. It boasts a few extra features, including pulse sensors and seven user programmes to customise your routine.
How much do Opti cross trainers cost?
Costs are low, with both models hovering around the £100 mark; the magnetic cross trainer is the marginally more expensive of the two. Opti also offers two cross trainer/exercise bike combo machines, for those that want the versatility of two types of workout in one machine.
Opti exercise bikes
Opti Mini Exercise Bike 2020
Opti's cheapest model is quite literally a set of pedals attached to a box. It has limited uses, but you can put it under your desk and cycle from your usual chair. This odd-looking product might come in handy for those that spend a lot of time sat in front of a computer.
Opti Manual Exercise Bike
Opti's cheapest model with handlebars and a console is advertised as suitable for users who want low resistance levels and simplistic controls. It's not ideal if you want to adjust resistance to replicate an uphill climb or to create an intense workout, but for novice users, it's low price can make it a great introduction to home cycling.
Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike
This is a basic bike that looks a little spare, but it has a folding mechanism which lets you collapse it and store it away easily. It uses a magnetic resistance system and it has a small pedometer-like console to relay information such as speed and distance. It does the minimum, for people who don't need any bells and whistles.
Opti Magnetic Exercise Bike
This is a non-foldable version of the magnetic exercise bike. What you lose in portability, you gain in the form of eight adjustable tension settings and adjustable pedal straps. If storage isn't an issue then it's a good alternative.
Opti Aerobic Manual Exercise Bike
This model is pricier than the others, but still comes in at less than £200. It has the largest and heaviest flywheel at 14kg, which should provide a more controlled, less erratic cycling experience. It has wheels so you can transport it from one room to another quite smoothly and variable tension settings, although its console is just as basic as that of other bikes in the range.
How much does an Opti exercise bike cost?
Costs range from £40 for a simple set of pedals to £180 for a more advanced model. All of these Opti bikes are incredibly cheap compared with their rivals, but you have quite a lot of choice within this price range.
Opti rowing machines
Opti Manual Rowing Machine
This model will work your arms, legs and heart with 12 levels of tension and a pebble-sized console which relays basic information such as time and distance travelled. It's as basic as a rowing machines get, which is Opti's intent.
Opti Hydraulic Rowing Machine
This model uses a hydraulic cylinder to create resistance as you push a piston in and out of the cylinder. Although it's a low-tech mechanism that doesn't feel as natural as real boat rowing, it enables a rowing machine workout that isn't too pricey.
Opti Magnetic Rowing Machine
Opti's third rowing machine uses a magnetic resistance system with eight resistance settings to change the intensity of the workout. Magnetic resistance systems tend to offer a smoother and quieter mechanism than other types of resistance.
How much does an Opti rowing machine cost?
Prices range between £80 and £150, which is very cheap for a rowing machine. The resistance type determines how much you'll pay for an Opti rower, and the most expensive one (the magnetic rower) will offer the most refined intensity adjustment.
Opti Non-Motorised Folding Treadmill
This manually powered treadmill has a slight incline, which you can't change, and it folds for easier storage. It has a console at shoulder-level that looks like a small pedometer and relays basic information such as speed and distance travelled.
It doesn't have a motor, so you move the belt yourself with your feet as you run. This may hamper you if you want to run quickly, so it's best for a slow and steady pace.
Opti Motorised Walking Treadmill
This treadmill has two incline options and it runs from the mains. It offers 15 preset programmes to choose from, but with a maximum speed of 6km per hour, it's targeted at power-walkers rather than runners.
Opti Folding Treadmill
This motorised treadmill has a maximum speed of 12km per hour and a holster for a tablet to be inserted. It has three elevation levels (2.8%, 5%, 6.5%) plus a hand grip pulse sensor.
Opti Easy Fold Treadmill
This treadmill starts to include some of the features you expect from a pricier model, such as built-in speakers, mp3 connectivity, a backlit LCD screen, and a faster maximum speed of 13km per hour. This motorised treadmill folds for easier storage and it has a manual incline.
You can also buy this treadmill with electric incline and Bluetooth for a higher price, so you can click a playlist on your phone and listen to it through the treadmill's speakers.
How much does an Opti treadmill cost?
Prices range from around £100 to £500, which again is as cheap as you will find. Treadmills are one of the pricier gym equipment types you can buy, so the treadmills Opti sells particularly cheap are quite bare-bones, and in one case not even motorised.
Opti weights and weight benches
Opti's selection of weights is too extensive to detail fully in this article, as you'd expect from a fitness brand in this space. But it includes dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells ranging from 2kg to 50kg. You can buy weights made from cast iron, neoprene or vinyl; barbells designed for serious strength training are cast iron.
Opti weights come in sets, but you can buy free plates too. You can buy 5kg and 10kg plates to add to your load.
The Opti Weight Lifting Bench folds for easier storage and it has a padded backrest for your support. It can be adjusted to accommodate shoulder, chest, back and abdominal lifting routines.
How much do Opti weights and weight benches cost?
Prices vary significantly depending on the size and type of the weights, but Opti sells a 20kg dumbbell set for £30. The heaviest cast iron barbell set costs £80. Meanwhile, the Opti Weight Lifting Bench costs £40.
Prices last checked February 2021.