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December 07, 2022 13 min read

Planet Fitness and 24-Hour Fitness are both national fitness chains in North America, but each one caters to different types of gym-goers. First, we'll look at how they portray themselves on their respective websites, and then delve into the real difference as reported by  someone who worked out at both facilities.

According to the Planet Fitness website, they offer a variety of gym equipment, group exercise classes, tanning beds, and massage chairs. They have a “Judgement Free Zone” policy and focus on providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for all fitness levels. Planet Fitness also offers access to a personal trainer, corporate wellness programs, and monthly memberships.

Planet Fitness offers a Black Card membership that allows holders to bring a guest for free, as often as they like.

The Planet Fitness website offers a 7-minute virtual tour of a Planet Fitness club that describes why Planet Fitness gyms are approachable, motivating, and fun.

24-Hour Fitness offers a wide range of services including strength training, cardio equipment, group exercise classes, racquetball courts, and a variety of other amenities. They have certified personal trainers available, a variety of membership options, and a mobile app for tracking workouts.

24-Hour Fitness Offers a Free 3-Day Pass for prospective new members.

They also have a virtual training facility allowing members to meet with coaches from the privacy of their homes. 24-Hour Fitness also offers discounts for corporate wellness programs.

When looking at comments of gym rats and fitness enthusiasts online the comments mostly mention the difference in atmosphere between the two. Planet Fitness focuses on providing a comfortable and relaxed environment, while 24-Hour Fitness has a more traditional gym atmosphere. Additionally, 24-Hour Fitness offers more amenities and services, while Planet Fitness is generally more affordable.

What do People Consider Before Joining?

We'll be taking a look at the best gym memberships and what features to consider before signing up.

  • Cost: People typically consider the cost of membership, as well as any additional fees or services.
  • Location: People may choose a gym that is conveniently located and easily accessible.
  • Amenities: People may consider the types of amenities that the gym offers, such as classes, equipment, and other services like swimming pools, saunas, spas, steam rooms, basketball courts, and indoor tracks.
  • Classes and Trainers:Classes offered and experience of trainers.
  • Hours: People may pick a gym with convenient hours that fit their schedule.
  • Atmosphere: People may consider the atmosphere of the gym, including whether it is clean and well-maintained.

Overall Impressions

These two fitness chains offer different experiences that appeal to different types of gym-goers. Let’s look at the overall pros and cons of each.

24-Hour Fitness

Image from Shutterstock
PROS CONS
Always open for business Gym size and type may vary based on location
Large fitness centers with lots of space Not a good fit if you’re looking for a basic gym membership
Monthly membership is middle-range for price Gym is often crowded at peak hours
Extensive features and services
Free Wi-Fi

 

You'll find a bit of everything you love at 24-Hour Fitness. It's a 24-hour facility with plenty of equipment and floor space, group fitness classes, personal training, and even a workout app to make it easy to plan your exercise routines.

You should keep in mind, however, that there are various levels of 24-Hour Fitness gyms, with varying amenities. Compared to Super-Sport and Ultra-Sport clubs, Active and Sports clubs are often single-story facilities with limited amenities.

No matter which way you choose, you'll have access to all the basic equipment: weight machines, free weights, cardio equipment, floor equipment, towels, locker rooms, studio rooms, and saunas. 

Typically, 24-Hour Fitness memberships cost $30 to $60 per month, putting it right in the middle when it comes to budgeting. It's not the cheapest, but it's not the most expensive, and it's packed with great features.

Planet Fitness

When it comes to affordable gym memberships, Planet Fitness is a clear winner. With monthly fees as low as roughly $10, you have no reason to skip your next workout.

 Image from Shutterstock

 

PROS CONS
Most affordable membership options Basic facilities with minimal amenities
Black Card members get free guest passes Not for bodybuilding and weightlifting 
“No Judgement Zone” policy Some locations don’t have squat racks and other Olympic equipment
Free Wi-Fi
With over 2,000 facilities across North America, there will likely be one in your area.

 

The low price tag and inclusivity of Planet Fitness set it apart from its competition. For just $10 per month, members have access to virtually every type of cardio machine, weight machine, dumbbell, and barbell you could need for weight loss, making membership worth it.

In addition to its “No Judgement Zone” policy, Planet Fitness has become renowned for its inclusive culture. If you're new to fitness or feel intimidated by gyms, this is a great place to start.

“No Judgement Zone” – Image from Shutterstock

It is forbidden to drop weights, grunt or yell, or do anything that might make fellow gym-goers uncomfortable. Moreover, Planet Fitness allows members to attend free group training sessions five days a week. If you don't know where to begin, attend one of these sessions.

Planet Fitness stands out in a few areas even though 24-Hour Fitness is the clear winner. When choosing a gym, here are the 10 things you should take into consideration when comparing the two.

1. Cost Comparison

A gym's monthly fees are important to consider when determining a budget-friendly gym, but you'll also need to think about initiation fees, taxes, and whether the gym charges additional fees for access cards, key fobs and personal training. You may find that the cost of your membership is higher than it first appears when you add up all those extras.

Planet Fitness

For a Classic membership, Planet Fitness charges $10/month plus taxes, but if you want the Black Card membership for $12.99 more, it'll cost you $22.99. It gives you access to all 2,300+ Planet Fitness locations in the U.S. and you can bring a friend for free.

Members of the Black Card can also access spas at all locations where they are available. In both plans, you must pay $39 annually. The Classic plan only has an initiation fee, which is usually discounted to only $1.

24-Hour Fitness

The pricing structure of 24-Hour Fitness is a bit confusing. There are two ways to pay for membership: monthly for $35 to $56.99, or you can pay for a two-year membership in full for a small discount.

You can also choose between national, regional, or single club memberships at 24-Hour Fitness. Most memberships require an annual fee of $49 per year.

24-Hour Fitness offers a free 3-day pass for prospective members.

And The Winner Is...

Anybody looking to save money on a gym membership will find Planet Fitness' prices hard to beat.

2. Contract Length Comparison

To understand what kind of commitment you are making, it's important to know what kind of contracts your gym offers. A gym's contract can either be annual or month-to-month, but some gyms only offer one or the other.

Planet Fitness

Classic memberships at Planet Fitness are month-to-month, while Black Card memberships are annual.

24-Hour Fitness

It is possible to sign up for a month-to-month contract as well as a one-year or two-year membership at 24-Hour Fitness. You can also buy a one-week, one-month, or three-month membership if you are only looking for a short-term membership.

And The Winner Is...

In addition to its standard monthly and annual contracts, 24-Hour Fitness offers flexible, short-term memberships.

3. Atmosphere Comparison

At 24-Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness, the atmosphere can vary greatly from location to location.

An environment that is supportive and welcoming is crucial when choosing a gym. You will be more motivated if you go to a gym that has a positive atmosphere since you won't dread going there.

As well as evaluating the type of people that attend a gym, you should ensure you're training with people who share your goals.

Planet Fitness

In general, Planet Fitness has a more relaxed atmosphere, with loud music playing and televisions broadcasting popular shows and movies. The judgment-free zone that Planet Fitness enforces helps to create a more inviting and social atmosphere.

Casual Atmosphere at Planet Fitness – Image from Shutterstock

If you visit Planet Fitness, you're likely to meet beginners or people who like to stay fit without being the strongest. It is not an ideal gym for those who like to lift heavy weights due to the lack of strength equipment.

There is also the infamous Planet Fitness lunk alarm, which is set off if the staff thinks you're intimidating other members. Although not all gyms use it, the mere thought of it can make you feel embarrassed in a gym.

24-Hour Fitness

In addition to offering a safe, welcoming environment for beginners and casual gym-goers, 24-Hour Fitness attracts a crowd that is more serious about training

Serious workouts at 24-Hour Fitness – Image from Shutterstock

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There is a more serious atmosphere at 24-Hour Fitness, which focuses on providing the best fitness experience possible for its members. Televisions are usually set to sporting events or newscasts, with music often played at a low volume.

With its lifting platforms, barbells, and bumper plates, it caters primarily to powerlifters and weightlifters. There are also classes for HIIT, cardio, functional fitness, and group training.

Those who prefer to train alone and don't want to make friends at the gym may be interested in 24-Hour Fitness since its members tend to keep to themselves.

And The Winner Is...

24-Hour Fitness doesn't have a community-like atmosphere, but it's more welcoming to people of all experience levels. We also like the fact that there's no gimmicky lunk alarm.

4. Equipment Comparison

The types of equipment that gyms offer vary quite a bit. Gyms have a wide range of equipment, from top-of-the-line equipment to more basic pieces. Furthermore, there are gyms that cater to people who prefer strength training, and others that cater to people who prefer cardio workouts.

So, make sure your preferred gym has the equipment you need so you can do the workouts you enjoy.

Planet Fitness

The cardio equipment at Planet Fitness is large, but the strength training equipment isn't. Aside from rows upon rows of bikes treadmills, ellipticals, and some strength machines, there are no barbells, lift platforms, plates, or squat racks to be found. 

Planet Fitness Equipment – Image from Shutterstock

At most locations, however, you will find EZ curl bars, benches, and fixed straight bars. Dumbbells are also available, but you'll have a hard time finding ones heavier than 60-80lbs.

24-Hour Fitness

At 24-Hour Fitness, cardio equipment is plentiful, as well as cable machines, hack squat machines, leg presses, and various other strength machines.

As well as barbells and bumper plates from Rogue and Eleiko, trap bars, dumbbells, EZ curl bars, and fixed barbells, it offers a wide range of fitness equipment. A squat rack and a deadlift platform are usually available at most locations.

Strength Building Equipment – Image from Shutterstock

In addition to the physical exercise facilities, 24-Hour Fitness locations also offer functional fitness areas with sleds, tires, medicine balls, slam balls, plyo boxes, battle ropes, TRX bands.

And The Winner Is...

In the end, 24-Hour Fitness is the clear winner. It offers strength training equipment as well as functional training equipment, so it caters to a wider range of training objectives.

5. Gym Rules and Perks Comparison

There are rules at every gym, but some are stricter than others. To avoid committing a faux pas while you're working out, you should understand all of a gym's policies before joining.

Planet Fitness

As far as gyms go, Planet Fitness has some unusual rules. Because it wants to create a non-intimidating atmosphere, crop tops and booty shorts are not allowed. Additionally, some locations prohibit overhead presses from being performed. Chalk and dropping weights are also prohibited.

Despite this, Planet Fitness has an excellent guest policy. You can bring an unlimited number of guests per month if you have a Black Card membership.

Planet Fitness has a decent cancellation policy as well. Classic month-to-month plans can be canceled at any time. Those with Black Cards can cancel early for a fee of $58. A cancellation form must be completed in person to submit a request.

24-Hour Fitness

As far as chalk and dropping weights go, 24-Hour Fitness is pretty lenient. Powdered chalk and liquid chalk are permitted, and if you use bumper plates and lift on a platform, you can drop weights from overhead. The dress code is relaxed, but barefoot lifting is not allowed.

Chalk Use Allowed at 24-Hour Fitness – Image from Shutterstock

A member of 24-Hour Fitness may bring a guest who is 18 years or older. The first time you bring a guest, they will be free. However, if you wish to bring them again, there will be a small fee.

Your membership can be canceled by writing a letter to your primary location or sending it via certified mail.  However, 24-Hour Fitness has a 12-month commitment cancellation policy. This means that members must commit to a 12-month contract to join and must pay a cancellation fee if they wish to cancel before the 12-month period is up. In addition, 24-Hour Fitness may also require a 30-day advance written notice of the cancellation

And The Winner Is...

For people who want to be able to lift what they want, 24-Hour Fitness is a better choice. For those who would like to be able to cancel their month-to-month contract at any time, Planet Fitness might be the better choice.

6. Group Classes Comparison

Group classes are offered at most chain gyms, but the options vary by location. Some gyms offer small group training sessions, but they don't always provide the same level of fun as group classes. It is important to check whether your preferred gym offers the classes you want.

Planet Fitness

The Planet Fitness program does not offer traditional group classes such as Zumba or kickboxing. In place of this, there are small group training sessions called PE@PF, offering three types of PE@PF classes:

Group Class – Image from Shutterstock
  • Beginners’ orientation classes to show them how to use the gym's equipment

  • Quick, full-body circuit training sessions for those seeking quick results

  • Muscle-toning classes for specific body parts, such as the legs and shoulders

24-Hour Fitness

There is a variety of classes at 24-Hour Fitness, including HIIT, yoga, barre, Pilates, Zumba, spin, Body Pump, and strength training. The classes offered at each location vary. In addition to class times being limited, some classes are not offered every day.

Zumba Group Class – Image from Shutterstock

And The Winner Is...

24-Hour Fitness has a better overall selection, even if it only offers a limited number of daily classes, it is the better choice for those who enjoy group fitness.

7. Amenities Comparison

If all you want is to work out and go home, amenities might not be important to you. Some gyms also offer amenities like showers and saunas, which many people enjoy, so it's important to find a gym that offers amenities you'll use frequently.

Planet Fitness

All members have access to showers, and lockers. Also available are red light therapy, tanning booths, massage chairs, and smoothie bars. Due to its low membership fees, it does not have racquetball or basketball courts, saunas, pools, or childcare.

24-Hour Fitness

Along with locker rooms and showers, 24-Hour Fitness has racquetball courts, basketball courts, saunas, and pools. It offers childcare, and pro shops or juice bars are available at most locations.

Swimming Pool Workout – Image from Shutterstock

And The Winner Is...

24-Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness offer a similar number of amenities even though the actual services vary. It’s a tie between them, so it will be up to you to decide if you would rather swim and play basketball or tan and relax in a massage chair.

8. Personal Trainer Comparison

Working out with a personal trainer is an excellent way to get guidance. However, not all gyms offer the same personal training experience, and personal training packages aren't always cheap.

In addition, not all personal trainers are competent, so it's important to evaluate the qualifications of your gym's trainers before hiring them.

Planet Fitness

There are certified personal trainers at Planet Fitness, but they won't coach you one-on-one. If you need assistance with the machines, they're available for free consultations, but they won't provide the accountability or support you'd get from personal trainers at other gyms.

24-Hour Fitness

With 24-Hour Fitness, you'll be working with someone who has at least one year of experience in training. Additionally, they must be certified by NASM, ACE, or another similar organization, though they do not need degrees in exercise science or kinesiology.

Costs vary by location, but you can expect personal training sessions to start at around $85 per hour and go up to $97.50 per hour. Packages with four sessions each are also available.

And The Winner Is...

With 24-Hour Fitness, you'll get more hands-on training. Their trainers will pay more attention to you than those at Planet Fitness, but you will have to pay more.

9. Locations Comparison

The location of your gym may not matter to you, but joining a gym with multiple locations may be a good idea. In case you find yourself out of town, you might want to exercise while you're away.

Frequent traveling for work or going on vacation doesn’t have to interfere with your fitness goals. With these popular, high-quality gym chains, you’re bound to find a place to call home, regardless of where you are.

Wherever you go, don’t forget to pack your Charged-AF to increase performance, energy, and focus while providing you with essential nutrients to optimize anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

You may be able to attend another club instead of canceling your membership if you do not like the location you joined.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness has over 2,300 locations in the US, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

With a Black Card membership, you can use it to visit any location in any country.

24-Hour Fitness

24-Hour Fitness has approximately 300 clubs located in 11 US States, primarily on the west and east coasts. You can visit any club in the country with some membership plans, but only within 50 miles of your primary club with others.

24-Hour Fitness also has partnerships with Goodlife Fitness and Energie Cardio, two chain gyms in Canada. You can use your 24-Hour Fitness membership at either Canadian gym.

And The Winner Is...

If you want to make sure that you can always find Planet Fitness anywhere you travel in the US or its surrounding countries, you can't go wrong with Planet Fitness.

10. Hours of Operation Comparison

Gyms are often open from 5 a.m. all the way until 11 p.m. There are even gyms that are open 24 hours a day, so it is convenient for you to exercise whenever you want. Before you sign up for a gym, check its operating hours to make sure you'll be able to work out when it's convenient for you.

Planet Fitness

The majority of Planet Fitness locations are open 24/7. The ones that aren’t are usually open from 5 a.m. until 10 or 11 p.m.

24-Hour Fitness

Almost all 24-Hour Fitness locations are open 24/7, except those in states with blue laws, which prevent certain businesses from being open on Sundays. Typically, these businesses are also not allowed to remain open 24 hours a day. However, these types of locations are rare.

And The Winner Is...

It’s a tie since the majority of locations at both gyms are accessible 24/7.

To Conclude

With all that said, let’s look at the type of fitness enthusiast Planet Fitness and 24-Hour Fitness are designed for.

Planet Fitness is a good gym for

  • Beginners

  • People who are not interested in heavy lifting

  • Those looking for a low-cost gym membership

  • Frequent travelers around the US and other North American countries.

24-Hour Fitness is a good gym for

  • Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters

  • People who want to work with a personal trainer

  • Those interested in playing basketball or swimming

  • People who are interested in functional fitness

Researchers say there are 140 million members of fitness chains worldwide

Many of the countries have limited choices of different brands, having to go to what is available. In North America, many different fitness chains are available, two of which we compared in this article. Other popular gyms include Equinox, La Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym, and more.

Overall, both Planet Fitness and 24-Hour Fitness are great options when it comes to finding the right gym to meet your fitness needs. Planet Fitness offers a wide variety of classes and amenities within a budget-friendly membership plan with access to a wide array of locations.

24-Hour Fitness offers a more comprehensive membership plan.

Both gyms provide a safe and welcoming environment, so you can be sure you'll find the right gym to help you achieve your fitness goals.