Tips For Buying A Treadmill 101
If you haven’t bought a treadmill in a few years, you’re in for a shock. The treadmill market is so competitive that it’s caused a lot of companies to constantly up their game and add more “stuff” to their machines – sometimes ever year!
That’s good news in a way – because you, the buyer, have a lot more choices. And the quality of machine you can get now is much higher than in the past.
But how do you navigate around all of the sales hype? What should you really be looking for? And do you REALLY need that $3000+ machine that the salesman says you should get?
(Chances are no, you don’t)
With that in mind here are some general tips for buying a treadmill you should keep in mind when you go shopping for a home walking or running machine:
Tip #1 Know the Basics
While you don’t need to know all the details about peak duty and constant duty motors or web hookups with internet access on the console, you should know the basics.
So let’s start with the motor. The motor is the heart of your machine – the higher the power, the better. Most motor powers range from 1.5 HP up to 4.0 HP – with most treadmills falling around 2.5 HP. Try to go for at least a 2.5 HP motor.
Keep in mind that a 1.5 HP motor will have to work twice as hard as a 3.0 HP motor to power the belt. That means it may wear out faster and you’ll be facing a pricey repair bill.
The size of the walking belt is also important. If you’re taller or plan on running, go for at least a 58 inch belt – 60 inch is ideal. It will give you more room to stretch out.
Quality cushioning is also important, especially if you’ll be running. This tends to be a price issue. If you go for a good brand name in the $1200 and up range, you’ll have decent cushioning. The cheaper treadmills however ($800 and below), be a lot more careful.
The console can be a matter of preference – but you need to at least have the basics. Most people like a backlit console so they can read their workout stats, even in a dark room.
Tip #2 Think About How Much You’ll Be Using The Treadmill
For example, are you planning on short, gentle walks a few times a week (light use)? Or will you be running on it every day for an hour or more (heavy use)?
The heavier you plan on using your treadmill, the stronger the basics (above) need to be. So for example, runners will want a stronger motor, better cushioning and longer belt. You’ll also want to look for a longer manufacturer’s warranty (which is often an indication of the quality of parts used in construction).
Walkers can usually get away with a bit less in terms of motor and cushioning.
Tip #3 Know Your Unique Exercise “Type”
How do you like to workout? If you’re like me and you really don’t like to even be aware that you’re exercising, you may want to consider getting a treadmill with lots of distraction options: iPod dock, built-in web browser, TV, book rack etc.
If you prefer to walk (or run) for the pure relaxation of it, then you may not need all of these distractions that are so useful for those of us in the ADHD crowd.
If you are a multi-tasker, you might want a treadmill with a desk option – so you can work on your laptop or computer as you walk (or use the treadmill as both a slow walking workdesk and a fast exercise machine at various times).
By knowing your exercise “type” you’ll be more apt to choose a treadmill that will fit your lifestyle – and you’ll be a lot happier in the long run!
So those are 3 main tips on buying a treadmill. Keep them in mind when shopping and you’ll be ahead of 99% of treadmill buyers out there!
Want to read more? Here are some in-depth reviews of 3 treadmills I think are the best values out there:
Proform Thinline Pro (Desk Treadmill)