If you are on the hunt for a treadmill and prefer to work out in the safety and comfort of your home, then this buying guide is for you.
It is a comprehensive guide on treadmills that not only tackles all the tips and tricks one must be aware of while searching for the right treadmill but also introduces you to all the main features and elements that one must include in their treadmill.
Hopefully, when you reach the final parts, you’ll be a lot more educated about treadmills than you once were.
How To Buy a Treadmill – Step by Step Guide
Usually, when we think about shopping for something, we just dive right into the process without coming up for air. That is the most rookie mistake you can ever make.
Soaking up all the details of the products in the market without making sense of the output is something nobody wants.
For something like this, you want to be true to yourself about why you want that product.
A little warm-up before the spree will give you enough time to consider all your options and be aware of the rules. This way you won’t come out as a loser in the end!
Choose your workout space and treadmill size:
Deciding on the best possible space to keep your treadmill in, is the first thing you do before you purchase a treadmill. For this, one has to measure the space they want to fit their treadmill in.
Do this by measuring the floor while leaving out some extra space for the width. If you’re shopping for a folding treadmill, measure the height, width, and length of any area that you want to spare in your room.
While doing this, be sure to measure up all the space that surrounds your treadmill as well. If you’ll be doing some exercises on the treadmill, there should be enough space to move your arms around.
Since the incline pushes you nearer to the ceiling, you want to make sure the ceiling has a lot of space for that as well. Measure the height up to the highest incline option and add this to the space measurements.
If you’re looking for a folding treadmill be sure to choose one with a hydraulic system. This makes it easier to manage the folding treadmill. The hydraulic system pushes the deck up and down the machine without it needing your assistance to firmly keep your hand on the machine.
Treadmills come in all different sizes, so if you’re short on space you look into folding treadmills which are a great space saver!
Treadmill belts are another feature that you want to concern yourself with while looking into the size of a treadmill.
Runners require a belt size up to 20’’ wide and 60’’ long as their stride is longer. On the other hand, walkers require a belt size with a width of 17.5 to 20’’ and a length of 45’’ to 60’’.
Imagine your treadmill workouts
As we’ve already mentioned, knowing why you want a treadmill for yourself is the best way you can assist yourself in purchasing a treadmill. What do you think of when you imagine yourself having a treadmill?
Do you see yourself engaged in an intense workout or just light walking to have a daily workout routine for health purposes?
This will help you determine the motor power and the track size. If the workout’s more intense, you’ll need a more powerful motor and more track room to maneuver yourself through.
Set your price
If you’re on a budget and can’t afford all those high-priced treadmills on the market, you need to set a budget for yourself. See how much you can splurge on the machine. Each price range has several treadmills that you can look into.
- Treadmill Under $500:
Treadmills under $500 are considered to be some of the most amazing low-quality machines on the market. Since they are cheap, they’re manufactured with equally cheap parts that do not last a long time. They are only recommended for extremely light use where you use them occasionally during certain weather. They are not for regular use and if you do so, they’ll be damaged in no time.
It is extremely hard to find treadmills with good quality in this price range. You will only find a handful of treadmills that will last a year and would work amazingly to provide the perfect quality treadmill. However, you might have to sacrifice some features in the process. With these treadmills, you won’t be able to get all the fancy features that are typically part of high-end treadmills. There might not be a power incline but a manual incline for other purposes. There might be a contact heart rate monitor but not a wireless pulse reader.
At the market sale, most customers get a fair deal of treadmills within a price range of $1400. The best deals usually have a great incline, full tracks, and a large number of workout programs that you can certainly look into. The LCD display and many other features like speakers that you can connect with AUX are another detail many would be eager to have. You might also find a clear difference in the cushioning technology of the treadmills. The speed of most of these treadmills might go up to 12 MPH. They are the perfect choice for walkers and joggers. However, if you’re a regular runner, you might want to consider some other choices.
After much contemplation, it was clear that $1500 is the benchmark that most treadmills are found to be of great performance. They come with bigger touch screens and more powerful motors. It is the most amazing treadmill one can have for themselves with top-notch workout programs and power inclines along with features that make life that much more convenient for you. They are honestly the best treadmills a serious walker or runner can have in their possession.
Coming across such a price range would make you wonder what exactly is so different about treadmills with this price range and the ones cheaper despite having the same outlook. This is the price range where you’ll find many extra features to keep up with. Multiple workout programs along with Bluetooth connectivity make your experience much more convenient. They are also considered to be extremely durable and long-lasting. You’ll find yourself using them even after a good couple of years. Treadmills in this price range are considered to be some of the most reliable pieces that are great for runners and joggers. It’s highly recommended for people who are in daily use of such equipment.
- Under $2500:
The majority of treadmills found in this price range are leaning more towards commercial use. This means having the capacity to take on more intense workouts with high-quality features that give you more control over the equipment. They might not be full-fledge gym-quality but are sufficient to be a part of an office or hotel gym. They have features to have access to all your workout needs including great high-speed settings, a large monitor, tremendous shock-absorption, and whatnot. Many treadmills in this price range have reversible decks and maintenance-free tracks as well.
Decide which features you’ll use
With time, technological advancement has made it possible for workout equipment like treadmills to be more convenient every day. You just have to make sure which features you want in your accessibility. Features like tv, preset workout programs, and Bluetooth connectivity might make your workout experience much more convenient but might not be a necessity to reach your fitness goals. That’s what you need to contemplate before you search for the right treadmill.
The following are considered the most important features of a treadmill.
- Automated incline:
Adding an automated incline to your list of features would be an effective way to have an amazing workout session. These features make it highly possible for you to not only go easy on your joints and burn calories but have great muscle definition as well. Many home treadmills have an incline balance of 10, 15, or 20%. This is usually the kind of percentage that is added to these treadmills. The highest percentage that a treadmill has gone up to, is 40%. If you’re serious about your fitness, this percentage would burn all the calories in no time!
- Workout programs:
Often you might get bored of the monotonous routine of your workouts and might want a challenge to spice up your session. What’s better than some hardcore workout programs to help you achieve your fitness goals? Unfortunately, such features are not found in cheap treadmills. High-quality treadmills with an equally high price range have features like these to make your life much more entertaining. Instead of using the manual functions, get on those workout programs and get yourself a challenge to work through.
This fitness application introduces you to a whole new world of workouts. It syncs with other treadmill brands and gives you unlimited access to their workout routines and goals. The app even provides its users with workout courses and nutritional coaching along with directing you through different routes in a virtual experience. This is all thanks to its collaboration with Google Maps. The experience is extremely surreal as it even helps you feel the incline/decline in terrain as it moves up and down.
- Passport Virtual Active:
This app will help you experience a complete interactive workout session through videos. The passport player within connects itself to your home TV so you can have the full experience of exercising. As the routine progresses, the audio and video will adjust accordingly, keeping up with the intensity of the workout.
- Wireless pulse monitor:
These wireless pulse monitors provide you with the most authentic heart rate data. They are highly responsive and have a consistent and accurate system to diagnose your heart rate within a short time. Some treadmills even have preset programs to assist you in controlling your heart rate.
- Treadmill Accessories:
Oftentimes, treadmill accessories can sway your decision to buy a treadmill of a certain brand. Manufacturers include such features to make your experience of handling a treadmill much more personalized so you can enjoy your workout even more. Sometimes these accessories make it even easier to reach your fitness goals without removing the challenge from them.
- Treadmill mats:
Treadmills aren’t cheap so you would want to prolong their life as much as you can. That’s where treadmill mats come into the picture. They improve the quality and durability of the machine as well as the flooring where you put the treadmill. It also has the benefit of increasing muting the noise and vibration coming out of your treadmill.
- Treadmill cleaning material:
The best way to increase the life of your precious machine is by cleaning it. This doesn’t mean cleaning it by just wiping away the dust with a damp towel. It means using proper cleaning solutions to make your cleaning authentic and effective. For this, you’ll have to wait for the manual to arrive so you can do things according.
- Entertainment Accessories:
If you want to save a few hundred bucks by not adding a large screen to your treadmill, you can just make use of the technology you already have. Make a few alterations to your treadmill by adding a tablet holder or a reading rack so you can have the perfect experience of working out along with being entertained by your favorite hobbies!
Some extra accessories also include an audio system, fan, USB port, etc.
Take a Test Run and Read the Treadmill Review
Believe it or not, testing a treadmill right before making your purchase is a crucial part of buying a treadmill. You won’t know what you’re getting yourself into if you don’t put yourself in that position either. It is recommended that you at least try to work through the machine that you’re interested in but there’s something that you should do first. Do thorough research before shopping for a treadmill. This means knowing what kind of treadmills are present in the market and which ones are best sellers within them. The perfect way you can know that is by reading through the reviews. Ask people around you who’ve bought a home treadmill, and get their opinion on what they think is the best treadmill to purchase. It’ll surely put things into perspective for you before you dive into the market.
Understand the Elements of a Treadmill
If you’re a beginner and don’t have a lot of idea about gym equipment, there are some tips you need to follow religiously. One of them is to utterly familiarize yourself with the specifics that make them up. The same goes for treadmills; you won’t know what you’re getting yourself into unless you have some kind of idea about the elements it is possessed with.
A motor is the most important element of a treadmill. It charges up the track of the treadmill to make sure it keeps ongoing. It is measured as horsepower (HP) or continuous horsepower (CHP). CHP tells you how much capacity the motor has to keep on going continuously or just at the highest setting. Usually, home treadmills have a motor power of 2.25 or 4.25 CHP. However, it all depends on the kind of workout you want to do and the amount of weight you possess.
3.0 HP or less: Ideal for light running (6mph) and walking. This is sufficient power for individuals who intend to stroll or hike uphill. Long-distance training is not encouraged, and many users may not be supported (more than an hour per day)
3.0–3.5 HP: Supports a wide range of exercises. You should be able to walk, hike, jog, and run without difficulty. The most cost-effective solutions are in this price range, and they provide adequate speed and power. For high-speed interval training, longer distances (8+ miles), several users, or lengthy use (2+ hours per day), this may be slightly underpowered.
3.5 – 4.0 HP: For treadmill power, this is the ideal spot. Most users and fitness routines will be supported by a motor in this price range. Because just a few motors have more than 4.0 HP, this range is ideal for marathon training, walking, and many users.
Greater Than 4.0 HP: For a treadmill, this is high power output. Anything with a horsepower rating of more than 4.0 is intended for heavy use, long distances, and high speeds.
If you’re someone who weighs more than 200 pounds, It would be a smart idea to add in an extra 0.5 CHP. This way the motor won’t give in to the strain and would last much longer. You should also pay attention to the warranty provided by the motor. If it’s providing a lifetime warranty, that’s great! If not then it’s probably due to its cheaper price range.
Track size is a factor that many overlook while searching for the right treadmill. It might not be a big deal for short heightened walkers but is important for tall walkers and runners who take longer strides. The length of track size is usually found to be 55’’ for walkers and nearly 58 to 60’’ for joggers and runners. However, if you’re more concerned about track width then you can just have wide treadmill tracks for yourself.
Tread belt durability is crucial to the workout and the fitness routine that you’re planning to get a treadmill for. There are certain factors that you need to incorporate into your shopping game while looking for tread belt durability. The first is to check the thickness of the belt. If it’s two-ply or four-ply thicker, it’s already as durable as it can be, in addition to being quiet. This is the best selling point that brands usually use to advertise their treadmills. Then there are the metal rollers. Make sure there are big-sized metal rollers with a big diameter as well. These remove pressure from the motor, hence increasing the life of a tread belt.
Lubricating your tread belt is another way to improve its durability of the belt. This would help the tread belt perform well within its range and provide great results.
The track speed options depend on the kind of workout you’re planning to do. If it’s extremely intense with different fitness routines then you need a high-speed setting so you can push yourself to your limit. For regular runners, a speed of 10 mph is just perfect but with actual runners that are practicing for a 5-minute mile race, pushing the speed up to 12 mph wouldn’t hurt.
If you’re an athlete who wants to preserve your joints and muscles as much as you want then this element is the one you most want in our treadmill. Soft cushioning within the track absorbs impact, removing it up to 15-40%. It has multiple benefits where it not only increases stamina but reduces the risk of any injuries you might have the chance to attain while working out. Although that doesn’t mean you can’t control the level of support you want. Some treadmills have the option to adjust your support settings.
If you’re someone with Arthritis then check these best treadmills for bad knees.
If you’re highly impatient and want quick results, add incline settings to the list of elements you need your treadmill to be a part of. The higher the incline percentage, the quicker you’re going to shed calories. It is the most effective way of burning calories along with relieving pressure from your joints. 40% is the highest incline one can easily and efficiently make their workout routines more successful. Many treadmills have motorized inclines so they work automatically while cheap ones have a manual incline.
Many treadmills already have built-in preset programs that you work through. However its important whether these programs will be beneficial for you or not. The best way to know that is by looking through the treadmill reviews on the brand page and determining whether you’ll want them to be a part of the elements. These programs revolve around workout training and speed and other settings. One of the most popular technologies includes iFit. It has many features and work routines that you can challenge yourself with and also has an intriguing concept of interactive Google map navigation. This is quite new and would be an interesting addition to your treadmill features. A little pricier option is the passport virtual active technology. This is more of a virtual experience through videos that entertain you while you’re working out through your TV screen.
Other extra features that might inspire you to work out more, include holders, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, speakers, etc.
Warranty doesn’t always happen to be of the whole treadmill. You might find warranties for many features and elements of a treadmill which mostly include frame, motor, parts, and labor.
Frame: It might seem surprising but many treadmills provide warranties to their customers.
Motor: You’ll find many brands providing lifetime warranties for motors however low priced treadmills aren’t one of them. Their motor warranties are up to 2 to 25 years.
Parts: Unfortunately there isn’t a fixed warranty time for parts and electronics. They can either be for 90-days or have no warranty at all. But high-end treadmills usually have a 5-year warranty which is quite a lot.
Labour: This is another feature that you want to look into. Labor isn’t usually presented by as many brands as you might wish. Those who do, have some stipulations that you’ll have to follow.
Overlooking this factor can’t be good for your treadmill. Each treadmill has a certain weight capacity that limits you from putting more than the weight mentioned. Every time you sprint, or step, the impact turns out to be twice your weight.
This is quite the pressure you’ll be putting your treadmill under therefore it’s best if you stay within the weight limit provided by the treadmill.
When considering this factor, be sure to choose a treadmill with a weight limit of more than 50 pounds of your original weight so you’re on the safe side.
If you’re a big guy then check these articles:
- 9 Best Heavy Duty Treadmills
- 10 Best Treadmills for Heavy People 300 lbs to 500 lbs
- Best Treadmills with 400 lb Weight Capacity
Storage and Portability:
With time and technological advancements, brands have been launching storage-friendly and portable treadmills to make it more convenient for you to store treadmills.
With the help of foldable treadmills, you can fold up your machine and rest it against a wall to free-up floor space. Some even have power assistance through which you can easily fold up your treadmill with or without physical effort.
There are portable treadmills that feature wheels, and a compact structure to make it easier for you to carry them around and store them.
Safety and security should be the highest priority for every treadmill-seeker especially if you’re a senior. There are too many possible accidents that can occur while you’re on that machine.
Therefore, you must take extra precautions to prevent any of that from happening. For something like this, there is an Auto-stop option that is controlled by a key.
While the workout goes on, the key gets attached to you with the help of a lanyard. If you come across an accident, the key would immediately turn off the treadmill. It is highly recommended for people of older ages and households with pets and children.