Crunch vs Planet Fitness: Which Gym Offers the Best Value?

Joining a gym is a great way to get in shape.

It motivates you to stick to your workouts and provides access to expensive gym equipment.

First, you need to find the right gym.

Crunch and Planet Fitness are a couple of popular choices. Both options offer affordable membership plans and have hundreds of locations throughout the country.

With either option, you’re saving money compared to some of the high-end gyms.

So which gym provides the best value? To find out, we’ll need to compare Crunch vs Planet Fitness.

Here’s an in-depth look at the main features, pros, and cons of each option:

Crunch Overview and History

Crunch opened in 1989 as a fitness studio and it’s had a rough journey.

In 2001, Bally Total Fitness bought the company and then sold it to a private equity firm in 2005. It filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and it’s recently changed hands again.

Luckily, it’s still open. You can find over 300 franchises across the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Planet Fitness Overview and History

Planet Fitness opened in 1992 in Dover, New Hampshire. The franchise has grown rapidly, thanks to its low-cost memberships.

You can now find over 1800 Planet Fitness locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Most of these locations have popped up in just the last decade.

It’s now the second-most popular fitness club after LA Fitness, based on the number of members. In 2017, Planet Fitness reached the 10 million member mark.

What Details Should You Compare to Find the Right Gym?

If you want to compare Crunch vs Planet Fitness, it helps to focus on the features that matter most to you.

Do you need specific gym equipment? Do you want the lowest price?

The answers should help you choose the best option. Some of the details you may want to consider include:

  • Hours
  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Classes
  • Amenities

Before we start exploring these factors, find out if you have a Crunch or Planet Fitness gym in your area.

As I stated, Crunch has over 300 locations and Planet Fitness has over 1,800 locations. If you only have one gym in your area, you may not need to read any further.

What Are the Hours?

If you do have both options in your area, check their hours of operation. If you want to work out before you go to work, make sure that the gym opens early enough.

Most Planet Fitness clubs stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can work out any time of the day or night.

However, as a franchise, the hours aren’t consistent. Some locations may close at night.

I’ve found a few locations that only stay open from 9 am to 9 pm. It depends on the popularity of the gym, the franchise owner, and the needs of the local clientele.

Most Crunch Fitness locations open at 5 am and close at 11 pm on the weekdays. On the weekends, they may only stay open between 7 am and 9 pm.

Not all Planet Fitness locations have the same hours. The same is true with Crunch Fitness locations.

To find the exact hours of operation for your local gyms, you’ll need to visit their websites or contact them.

Winner: Planet Fitness

How Much Does the Gym Membership Cost?

Planet Fitness is known for offering low-cost gym memberships. Crunch does have low-cost options but only at the “Crunch Essentials” locations.

Here is a breakdown of the costs:

  • Base Plan: $9.95 per month
  • Peak Plan: $19.95 per month
  • Peak Plus Plan: $24.95 per month

All three plans include access to gym equipment and online nutrition.

The base plan doesn’t include access to the group fitness classes, tanning, or hydromassage chairs. It’s also only good at one location.

With the Peak or Peak Plus plan, you get to visit any Crunch Essential club.

At the “Crunch Signature” facilities, memberships start at $79.99 per month. The Signature locations offer the same features as the Essential clubs but with a few extra features.

The Signature locations have full-service locker rooms, saunas, steam rooms, and dedicated group fitness studios.

The variety of options at Crunch makes choosing a membership a bit confusing.

Planet Fitness keeps it simple. You can choose from two membership plans at Planet Fitness:

  • Basic Plan: $10.00 per month
  • Black Card: $22.99 per month

The basic plan only offers access to one club. With the Black Card, you can visit any Planet Fitness location, access the hydromassage chair, and bring a guest for free.

Winner: Tie

What Types of Equipment Do They Offer?

When you walk into one of these gyms, you’ll see a wide range of exercise equipment. You can typically find everything that you need, no matter if you visit Planet Fitness or Crunch.

You can jump on a treadmill and then go hit the weights. You can find barbells, free weights, and a wide range of strength-training equipment.

However, Planet Fitness gyms tend to focus more on cardio. They’ve got treadmills, elliptical machines, rowing machines, stair climbers, and stationary bikes.

You can still use weights but you may find a smaller selection compared to your local Crunch Fitness club.

Winner: Crunch

Do They Offer Classes?

Yes, both options offer classes.

At Crunch gyms, you may find yoga classes, spin classes, and a wide range of group fitness classes depending on the location.

It’s based on demand. If people in your area aren’t interested in these classes, your local Crunch may stop offering them.

You can check the available Crunch gym classes in your neighborhood before joining.

Unfortunately, you don’t have access to the classes at Crunch unless you choose the Peak or Peak Plus Plan.

Planet Fitness doesn’t charge extra but they only offer one class, PE@PF. It’s a series of fitness sessions led by a certified instructor. It’s a one-size-fits-all group class.

Winner: Crunch (if you choose one of the more expensive plans)

What Amenities Do They Have?

Planet Fitness is a bare-bones gym with no real amenities. They have a locker room and showers. That’s it.

At Crunch, you can access a variety of special features with one of the high-end memberships such as Peak, Peak Plus, One Crunch, or All Crunch.

You can swim in the pool, soak in the sauna, and even leave your child with the on-site childcare center.

Winner: Crunch (if you choose one of the more expensive plans)

Last Thoughts on Crunch vs Planet Fitness

After reviewing the details of Crunch vs Planet Fitness, which is the best gym?

It’s mostly a tie if you’re just looking at the basic plans. The cheapest options at Planet Fitness and Crunch cost about $10.00 per month and provide basic access to the gym equipment.

The two advantages of Planet Fitness are the PE@PF class and 24-hour access. You can’t join any of the classes with the cheapest Crunch membership and most locations close at night.

However, once you start comparing some of the higher-priced membership options, Crunch gyms start to pull ahead of Planet Fitness.

They have more amenities and a greater selection of equipment.

In the end, the choice depends on what you’re looking for. If you want all the special features and a variety of classes, you can sign up at Crunch and choose any plan except for the base plan.

If you just want a no-frills gym membership, both options are equal. However, if you want to work out at night, Planet Fitness has you covered.

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