Treadmill Buying Guide Shopping for a treadmill can be a bewildering experience! A large part of the problem lies with the manufacturers and the retailers. In a never ending battle to one up the competition, companies will sometimes crank out the most ludicrously complex names for components and systems in an effort to make their models sound the most cutting edge. For example, ProForm one of the largest makers of treadmills is notorious for using fancy lingo to describe their treadmills and it’s various features. I’m sure you’re fully aware of the difference between their ProShox™ Elite 2 Cushioning system and their ProTech™ Advanced Adjustable Cushioning right?! No wonder shopping for a treadmill can be confusing. We don’t mean to pick solely on ProForm since they make some great treadmills and most of the manufacturers are guilty of this type of thing to a degree. But what this little guide aims to do, is distill the most important core features down for you so you, as the shopper, can choose the best treadmill for your specific need. The advantage of shopping for a treadmill online is that you can take your time, compare stats and feel no pressure from any salesman trying to cash in on a commission. (Especially since fitness equipment salesman can be particularly persistent!)
Core Features To Look Out For Motor Are you an avid runner? This is probably the most important question you need to answer when it comes to choosing your motor. If you are going to be using your treadmill for heavy duty running and training then you’ll almost certainly want a treadmill that can take a
BuyTheBestTreadmill.com beating. If you like to train really hard and think you’re gonna use your treadmill day in and day out then a treadmill with at least 3.0 HP motor is probably the way to go. If you’re more of a casual runner then a motor with 2.5 to 2.75 HP should be fine. The bigger the motor the smoother the operation and the longer it will last. Tip: Be sure the motor is “continuous duty” so that you have an accurate picture of the true horsepower. Watch out for any fancy terms like “peak horsepower” or “muffin assisted” that may be used to create the impression of higher horse power. Generally speaking however the brands reviewed on this site are all reputable and this shouldn’t be an issue. (And if it is we’ll mention it.) Put simply: • Walker 2.5 HP – 1.5 HP Motor • Casual Runner 2.75 – 2.5 HP Motor • Intense Runner 2.75 HP Motor and Above
Treadmill Belt Sometimes referred to as the walking surface, running surface, running area, walking area, treadbelt and other similar type names. Again it comes down to whether you’re a runner or not. Treadmill belts will be labeled on each page of the site with a width measurement and a length measurement. For example the Yowza Smyrna has a 20″ x 60″ treadmill belt or running surface. This is a large treadmill belt and is good for runners. If you’re a runner that likes to push themselves then a belt with at least 55″ of length is essential. To be fair, you should probably aim for the 60″ length range. That way you can take long comfortable strides. For the reallly tall people (over 6’5), you may want to look for a super long treadmill belt of 6’2″. (These can sometimes be tough to find though)
BuyTheBestTreadmill.com In terms of width you’ll want at least 18″ across to stay comfortable. We’re seeing most treadmills around 20′ in width these days which is perfect for most walkers and runners. Put simply: Treadmill Belt Width • At Least 18″ Treadmill Belt Length • • • •
Under 5’7″ Tall: 52″ Minimum 5’7 – 6’4″ Tall: 55″ Minimum Over 6’4″ Tall” 60″ Minimum Hardcore Runners No Matter What Height: 55″ Minimum
The Frame Welded vs. Bolted Try and go with a welded frame whenever possible. Bolted frames can be pretty flimsy and won’t last for the long term. Steel vs. Aluminum Steel is generally more durable and sturdier and is therefore the metal of choice for avid runners. Aluminum on the other hand doesn’t rust and is lighter. Aluminum can be a good choice for walkers and casual joggers. To Fold or Not To Fold It used to be that any hard core runner should always opt for a non-folding treadmill in order to get the stablest performance from their treadmill. These days however, tech has become so advanced that a lot of folding treadmills are steady enough to withstand even the most intense workouts. So this desicion isn’t as critical as it once was. Having said that, non folding
BuyTheBestTreadmill.com treadmills are still the option of choice for high level athletes so it depends on your preference. If you have plenty of space and are a high performance trainer you may as well opt for the solid performance of a non folding treadmill.
Treadmill Speed • Walkers: Around 5 mph • Runners: 8-11 mph. (12 mph if you mean business) Tip: Just because a treadmill lists that it has a top speed of 11 mph, does NOT mean it’s necessarily able to provide a good running experience. If you opt for an underweight and poorly built treadmill you just might shake it apart trying to run on it at 11 mph! Tip: Vibration is the number one cause of monitor/screen/computer malfunctions. That’s another reason you want a solid machine if you’re a runner. Luckily BuyTheBestTreadmill.com helps you avoid shoddy treadmills.
Cushioning This is where things can get especially tricky and confusing. The key factor to look for is a difference in the “give” of the treadmill depending on where your foot lands on the belt. You want a firmer “push off” point for your foot at the back of the “deck” and a lighter more forgiving feel at the front. This will create a great running and walking experience while preventing injuries. Manufacturers will often have different ways of describing this function, but at BuyTheBestTreadmill.com we’ll be sure to point out the features of each cushioning system.
Display LCD vs. LED Generally speaking you’re gonna be faced with these two options when it comes to treadmill displays. LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is what’s found in calculators and some digital clocks and LED (Light-Emitting Diodes) are made up of tiny individual light bulbs and can be found on huge outdoor display screens.
LED Display Typically you’ll find cheaper treadmills using LCD and more expensive units using LED. Why? LCD screens are cheaper to produce. Although LCD screens can be pretty pleasing to the eye, they do have a few downsides when compared to LED. If an LCD display malfunctions (goes black/blank), you’ll be forced to replace the whole screen. With an LED display since it’s made up of tiny bulbs, if a few of them go out you can simply replace those individual lights. A lot cheaper in the long run. Tip: Look at the electronics warranty on LCD display treadmills. The warranty can cover the cost of getting the LCD replaced. Tip: As mentioned above, vibration is the number one killer for displays. Especially LCD screens. So if you pick out a cheaper treadmill with an LCD display that isn’t built for running, and you run it into the ground you may be asking for problems. LCD screens also have certain viewing angles that work best. So if you’re
BuyTheBestTreadmill.com particularly short or tall the LCD screen may not be as clear as you’d like. LEDs don’t have this problem. (A lot of LCDs these days are backlit which can cut down on this problem.) Color Screens/Touch Screens: More and more we’re seeing beautiful color screens, a lot of them with “touch screen” capabilities, make their way out into the market. Look for them on high end models.
Warranty The warranty is an important part of the buying process when it comes to treadmills. It will probably come as no surprise to you to learn that a short warranty on the various components is clear indicator of a sub par manufacturer and most likely a sub par treadmill! Generally speaking the more expensive the treadmill the longer the warranty. HOWEVER, that does not always apply. For example, Yowza Fitness offers the same great warranty on all their models no matter what level. This type of thing is always a good sign and is usually and indicator of high quality. Motor: Lifetime warranty is always a good idea for the motor and is offered by most quality companies. Frame: Lifetime warranty on the frame should be the norm. Parts: Look for at least 2 years warranty on parts. Labor: 1 year minimum for in home labor. These are rough guidelines and what you will encounter in terms of warranty will depend on the manufacturer and the model of treadmill you are looking at. If you see any 90 day warranties, it’s usually a sign of low quality. Buying extended warranties is usually a waste of money EXCEPT when you’re buying a low end treadmill. For example you may want to talk an extra year onto any 90 day warranties.
Delivery Policy Be clear on what type of delivery you’re getting with your purchase. Is it “curbside”? Which is gonna entail you transporting the box into your house. Do you get “in home” delivery? where they’ll bring it inside for you. “In home” delivery can often be a good idea, even if you have to pay extra for it. Especially if you’ve purchased a large runner’s machine.
Ok! This little “Treadmills For Dummies” buying guide should help you make an informed purchase. We encourage you to use BuyTheBestTreadmill.com to browse through the various models and brands. We break down each treadmill and point out it’s strengths and weaknesses and provide all the in depth specs of each machine. Check out our “Best Buys” section to get a quick fix of some of the best treadmills on the market, in various categories. Thanks, we hope you enjoyed the guide! Here’s to you reaching your fitness goals and supercharging your health and vitality!
Check Out The Next Page For Links To Reviews Of A Few “Best Buy” Treadmills...
BuyTheBestTreadmill.com The BuyTheBestTreadmill.com Team
Best Buy Treadmill Models Proform Performance 400 Proform 590T Livestrong LS 10.0T Smooth 5.65 Yowza Smyrna Yowza Keewadin Nordictrack 1750 Different Approach To Cardio Bowflex Treadclimber TC1000 Bowflex Treadclimber TC5000 Bowflex Treadclimber TC5500
Some valuable tips on what to look for when buying a treadmill...