So, you’ve decided to buy an exercise treadmill to help give your body the cardiovascular workout it needs. But buying an exercise treadmill is actually harder than using one. With so many treadmills to choose from and with prices ranging from $500 to over $4,000, how do you choose the best exercise treadmill?
First thing to do is to decide where to put a new exercise treadmill. Treadmills are large pieces of exercise equipment, so you’ll need to make sure you’ll have enough room for the machine and for you to comfortably use it – remember most exercise treadmills come with incline, so you need to make sure there’s headroom. Take down measurement of the space you have so that you can make sure the exercise treadmill is going to fit.
I know it sounds silly, buy will your floor take the weight? It’ll have to support your weight plus the weight of the exercise treadmill, which can weight anything up to 400 lbs.
Before you head out to the store, put on your gym clothes and training shoes, as you’ll want to try out the machines.
If there’s one determining factor in how long an exercise treadmill is going to last it’s the motor. Whatever budget you have look for an exercise treadmill with a good, large motor. You also need to understand about horsepower – as that’s how motors are rated. There are two ratings; peak duty rating and continuous duty rating. You’ll always see the peak duty advertised on the treadmill but its the continuous rating, stamped directly on the motor that really determines its quality and durability. For walking purposes an HP rating of 1.5 is sufficient, for running get a larger motor.
The next thing to look at is the treadbelt. This is the belt that rotates as you run. As you can imagine, the treadbelt takes quite a bit of punishment. Cheap exercise treadmills come with 1-ply treadbelts, mid-price come with 2-ply and the best exercise treadmills come with 4-ply. The longer the tread belt the better. For walking it should be at least 48″ long and for running about 58″ is sufficient. Also get a treadbelt with a minimum width of 17″; the industry norm on mid-priced and up is 20″.
The thickness of the walking deck needs some consideration too. The thickness of the deck determines the comfort of the legs and feet after prolonged use. The deck should be at least 3/4″ though starting at around 1″ is better. Many manufacturers use bamboozling techno-sounding names for their belts and decks. You can’t really trust what they say, so just make sure that the deck and belt has the qualities mentioned above.
The above are the most important things to look out for when buying an exercise treadmill. However, many now come with lots of additional features. Less expensive have less fancy electronic boards for giving data feedback and they’ll give basic information like speed, distance, incline and calories. The more expensive will have very fancy consoles and a myriad of preset programs that can replicate, cross-country, sprint, mountain running etc.
It’s these ‘extras’ that can add hundreds of dollars on to the price of an exercise treadmill. It’s the one area that you can save money on without compromising the quality of the treadmill. So, if you are on a budget, ask yourself if you really need these motivational features.
Finally, always look at the warranty. Cheap exercise treadmills come with warranties, that are, quite frankly, worthless. Many mid-price exercise treadmills come with a lifetime warranty on the frame with usually 2, 3 or 5 years on the motor. Some exercise treadmill companies will give 10 year warranty of the motor, or longer. However, a word of caution: companies that give these long warranties usually have many loopholes and disclaimers. Always check with you supplier to make sure the warranty will still be valid after you’ve bought and installed the exercise treadmill.
If you choose a good quality exercise treadmill it will last years and will definitely help you achieve your specific goals. But, before you buy an exercise treadmill, take time to find the one that’s best for you.