How To Repaint Gym Equipment So It Looks Brand New!

Repainting your gym equipment can be a quick and easy way to give it a new lease of life, but if you get it wrong, then it can look worse than ever.

There are a lot of different paints and painting techniques out there, and you might not know how to approach this DIY project.

Well don’t worry, because in this guide we’ll explain how to paint gym equipment, so it looks amazing every time.

The exact supplies you’ll need will depend on your project, but you’ll generally find this is what's required:

  • Protective Clothing
    Both regular and spray paint can cause irritation to your skin, so you should wear protective gloves when you handle it. You should also wear protective eye coverings, so the paint doesn't get in your eyes, and overalls to stop it from getting all over your clothes. If you're using spray paint, you should always wear a mask and only paint in a well-ventilated area, so you don't breathe it in.  
  • Primer  
    Primer is used as a base coat on your gym equipment. This gives your topcoat of paint a much more even surface and helps it adhere to it more evenly. Try to get a primer that is the same type as your topcoat for the best results.  
  • Paint  
    It’s pretty obvious that you'll need paint. Look for a spray paint or regular paint which works on metal, and try to go for a tougher enamel finish if possible. There's a lot of paint to choose from, so you should be able to find a color and finish which works for you 
  • White Wine Vinegar 
    Before you paint your gym equipment, you need to clean it down and remove all impurities. White wine vinegar is acidic and will help dissolve any dirt and debris and eliminate any top layer of rust. You'll need a brush so you can scrub your power rack, machine, or weights clean after you've used the vinegar mixture.  
  • Wire Brush 
    Most gym equipment is repainted because it’s become rusty. You’ll need to file down the layer of rust so that it doesn’t impact how the paint lands on the surface. Use the wire brush to file down the layer of rust so that you can paint over it effectively. 
repainted gym equipment

Preparing The Gym Equipment

Almost all gym equipment is made from metal and can be painted without issue. Some fitness gear will have a specific finish, making it difficult for some paints to adhere to it, but most weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, and power racks are fine to paint.

However, for reliable results, you'll need to prepare the gym equipment first.  

You should start by cleaning your gym equipment. By removing the dirt and grime which has accumulated, you'll clear the way for paint to land and improve the look of your equipment. The best way to do this is by using a white wine vinegar solution and scrubbing it clean.[1]

Once clean, you'll need to sand down your gym equipment. This will help remove rust and give you a better surface for the paint to adhere to. 

You can use sandpaper for this, or a wire brush. It shouldn't take you too long to file it down, but it's a crucial step if there’s any rust on the outer surface.  

You should now have clean, smooth metal ready for a primer. You should try to paint your gym equipment in a well-ventilated area where possible, and if you're using spray paint, you should try to do it outside. 

It can be challenging moving your larger gym machines and power racks outside, but it's important to allow you to paint it safely.

Learn More About - How To Clean Dumbbells

rusted dumbbells that need cleaning

How To Easily Repaint Your Gym Equipment 

Old, rusty gym equipment can look terrible but be totally usable. To bring it back to life, you can just apply a new coat of paint to the outside, but you have to approach it the right way.

You will need some paint, a primer, a wire brush, a coarse brush, white wine vinegar, protective gloves, and protective eye coverings. Here are the steps you need to follow:  

1. Choose Your Paint 

First, you need to start by getting the correct paint. We'd recommend spray paint because it's much easier to get even coverage. It's essential that you pick a tough spray paint because your gym equipment will normally experience a lot of wear and tear.

We usually go for a strong acrylic enamel spray paint because it's tough and durable.

Well-known brands, like Rust-oleum, are usually the most reliable, so we'd recommend going with a brand you trust.

Rust-Oleum 7779830-6PK Stops Rust Spray...
  • Weather and corrosion resistant coating...
  • Oil-based formula provides a durable...
  • Dries to touch in 2 to 4 hours and covers up...
  • Excellent resistance to abrasion, fading and...

2. Choose The Color 

Once you've settled on the type of paint, you need to decide which color to use. You're usually looking to refresh old gym equipment, and we'd recommend using the same color that the equipment was originally. 

Avoid light colors because they'll give an uneven coat, and silver or black will work best.

3. Prepare The Fitness Equipment  

It's vital that you take the time to prep your equipment. With larger pieces like power racks and machines, you need to remove all of the padding and fittings from the sides.

Spray your equipment with a white wine vinegar mixture to help dissolve any dirt and impurities on the outside.

Use your brush to scrub it clean, and keep going until your kettlebells, weights, power rack, or gym machine is completely clean. Use water to clean away the white wine vinegar once you’re done.

Read More On - How To Clean A Barbell Ready For Paint

underground garage home gym full of gear

4. Remove The Rust 

Paint won’t land evenly on rust, which can lead to a patchy coat of paint. Use a wire brush on your power rack or fitness equipment to scrape off the top layer of rust. 

Keep going until it looks flat and smooth.

Related Article - How To Clean Rusty Weight Plates and Gym Equipment

5. Lay Down Rags  

Spray paint will go everywhere, so lay down some old rags or sheets around your fitness equipment before you start painting. 

You should try to move your weights and fitness equipment outside before you start painting because it’s much safer. 

6. Apply Primer 

Primer is used so your top coat of paint has an even surface to land on. It can end up patchy without it, and it won't look good.

You should select a primer that's the same as your main topcoat, and we'd recommend looking for spray paint metal primers to use on your old equipment. 

If you're using a paintbrush for your gym equipment, you may not need a primer because the paint is thicker, but we would still recommend it for power racks or oversized pieces.

7. Paint The Equipment 

Using your spray paint (or brush paint) to apply an even coat to the outside of your gym equipment. Try to keep the coverage even across the gym equipment, and if you’re spray painting, you’ll need to apply at least 2 coats.  

See Our Detailed Guides Below For More Information:

8. Leave It To Dry  

Leave your gym equipment in a sheltered area to dry thoroughly. 

Try to hang your kettlebells and weight plates up so they dry more quickly, and make sure your power racks and bigger pieces of equipment are away from the wind because it can cause the paint to drip.

Once fully dry, it should be safe to move back in and use.  

painting gym equipment blue and yellow

Spray Paint Vs Regular Paint (What's Best For Gym Gear?)

Spray paint is useful for DIY projects because it allows you to cover a large area quickly. The aerosol paint will help coat a surface evenly, and it's often used to bring old pieces of furniture and home equipment back to life.

The disadvantage of spray paint is that it doesn't stick on every surface, so you can't use it on every material. 

Regular paint tends to be thicker than spray paint, which means it can be used on more types of material. It gives a smoother look and generally lasts longer, but it takes a lot longer to apply. It's also harder to get even coverage, and you need to have a better technique.[2]

The good news is that most gym equipment is made from metal, and both spray paint and regular paint will work on it. There are many different types of traditional and spray paints to choose from, and the most well-known brands will have specific paints for use on metal.

We'd recommend going for a tougher enamel paint because this will last longer on gym equipment that sees heavy use and provide extra protection 

For larger pieces of gym equipment, like painting power racks and big machines, you should go for spray paint. You can apply it much more quickly and get good, even coverage very fast. For smaller pieces of equipment, you can choose between spray paint or regular paint.

Regular paint is thicker, so it works well if you want to use bold colors on your weight plates or kettlebells. Spray paint is quicker but thinner, so you're better off using darker colors for even coverage.  

Generally, we think spray paint is better for painting gym equipment because It’s quicker and easier. It can be a little more hazardous to use, though, so make sure you only ever use it in a well-ventilated space.

More DIY Projects - How To Make Your Own Bench

blue painted gym equipment in commercial gym

Why Repaint Gym Equipment? (Benefits Explained)

Repainting your gym equipment may seem like an unnecessary task to some people, but it offers a few key benefits:  

Covers Rust 

A lot of old and used gym equipment is rusty. This corrosion on the outside of the metal is common for dumbbells and weight plates, but it doesn't mean that it's not safe to use.

Repainting your gym equipment will hide the rust and make your gym equipment look better and make it more likely that you can resell it to make some money back.  

Looks Like New 

The most obvious benefit of repainting your gym equipment is that it looks like new. A fresh, even coat of paint will make it look so much better and can refresh old gym equipment you’ve had for years.

You can also paint it to match your other gym equipment and make your whole garage gym look coordinated. If you want to change up your home gym without spending thousands of dollars on new gear, then you should consider repainting it. Just make sure you paint it well, or you could leave it looking worse.  

Protective Coating

A well applied coat of paint can actually give your gym equipment a protective layer on the outside. It can help keep water away from the metal and provide protection from rust and corrosion.

This is especially useful for painting your barbell and dumbbells, and can help to improve the longevity of your gym equipment.  

Common Questions About Painting Gym Gear

Can you paint neoprene weights? 

Yes, you can paint neoprene weights, but you’ll need to use a rubber-based paint, or it won’t adhere to the surface.

How do you paint a rusted gym machine? 

Start by cleaning down the surfaces with white wine vinegar and filing down the rust with a wire brush. Then, apply a primer and a few coats of spray paint until it looks like new.

How long does paint generally last on gym equipment? 

Gym equipment can last up to 20 years, but you’ll probably start to notice chips in the paint after 3-5 years. This means you’ll need to consider repainting your gym equipment every 5 years to keep it looking fresh.  

What is the best spray paint brand for gym equipment? 

Two of the best brands are Krylon and Rust-oleum. They are reliable spray paint brands with a range of metal friendly paints which will work well on your gym equipment.

What is the best can paint brand for gym equipment? 

Two of the best can paint brands are Montana and Sherwin Williams. They are two reliable paints that we've found work well for repainting gym equipment.  


Repainting your gym machines and equipment can make it look brand new, but you need to get it right.

You need to make sure you choose the right paint and prepare the metal properly before you start work because this will let you get a full, even coat.

Hopefully this guide has helped explain how to paint your gym equipment properly, and you now feel more comfortable doing it yourself.  




Last Updated on December 17, 2022

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.