Buying a treadmill?
The good news is that you have more options than ever with over 30 different brands and literally hundreds of home treadmills to choose from!
You can find everything from basic, walker-friendly treadmills all the way up to health-club style monster machines with streaming workouts or super-high inclines!
However in all of the hype, it’s easy to get distracted and end up making an all-too-common buyer mistake.
This article will show you 3 common treadmill buying mistakes – and how to avoid them!
So let’s dive in:
Top 3 Treadmill Buying Mistakes:
#1 Getting Distracted By the Goodies
Treadmills today have more “goodies” than ever – from full-color touch-screens to streaming workouts to Bluetooth syncing to tablet holders so you can watch Netflix on your tablet as you walk – and much more.
Don’t get me wrong – the goodies are nice.
They can definitely turn a dull, mundane workout into a fun, effective, dare-I-say-it, life-changing experience.
However goodies – no matter how impressive – will never replace the basics of a high quality treadmill. Make sure your treadmil has good basics before you look at the goodies.
What are the basics you should be considering?
Motor power is the first one. The stronger the better.
If you’ll be walking for example, you’ll want a minimum 2.5 HP motor – preferable 3.0 HP. If you’re running, you should be looking for minimum 3.0 HP motor, preferably higher.
The second thing to consider is the size of the running belt.
Average belts run around 50 – 55 inches long. They’re ok for walking and maybe some slower jogging. But if you’re planning on running or sprinting, you’ll probably want more space. So look for a belt of at least 60 inches long.
Another factor to consider is whether the treadmill offers incline – and how many levels of incline.
If you’re in pretty good shape, you’ll probably want to go up as high as 15% (or higher like an incline trainer). If you just plan on occasional walking and don’t really want to push too hard, you’ll probably be fine with a 10% incline.
Finally, ask yourself whether you want a folding – or non folding treadmill.
Most people prefer folding units. However non-folding treadmills can have benefits too. For example, they can be a bit more stable than non-folding treadmills, which is great if you plan on heavy, intense workouts.
While treadmill toys and goodies are always fun – and can make your workouts much more enjoyable – don’t ignore the basics of a good treadmill.
Make sure your chosen treadmill has these basics first (scroll down for several recommendations below) – then enjoy the toys. That way you’ll make a smart investment that will give you the support you need for years to come!
#2 Going Light on Cushioning
Cushioning is something many people just don’t think about. Manufacturers don’t really talk about it either. But good cushioning is a must-have, especially for runners.
A lot of cheap or compact treadmills today come with garbage cushioning.
And so while the treadmill may feel fine when you start out on it, you may notice that after a few months, your knees start to ache within 5 minutes of walking on it. Or maybe it’s your lower back that hurts, or your hips.
That’s what poor cushioning on a treadmill does to you over time – and you don’t want to go down that road.
You’ll end up with a treadmill you don’t use because it hurts to walk on it (not to mention the injuries you’ve incurred).
How do you find good cushioning?
Well, for the most part, look for a good brand name like Nordictrack, Bowflex, Proform or Horizon.
These brands are all large companies that have been making quality treadmills for years. So they know how to put a quality cushioning system on their machines.
And then gravitate towards their higher end or premium models. For example, Nordictrack has a series of “Commercial” treadmills like the popular Nordictrack Commercial 1750 for example.
These machines are built with a higher grade of cushioning than their starter models and they’re a pretty safe bet.
Bowflex doesn’t really make starter models – both of their treadmill are mid-range and very high quality when it comes to cushioning so they’re pretty good as well.
Horizon has their Studio Series or their Elite series of treadmills – again which have higher-end cushioning to give you extra protection.
Bottom line? If you’re going for a high quality name and a mid-range to high end treadmill, you’re pretty much assured of getting a high-quality cushioning system.
#3 Buying A Treadmill Brand You Don’t Recognize
If you don’t recognize the brand name, steer clear of the treadmill.
Most of the quality treadmill brands have been around for years and everyone pretty much knows who they are (many are on this website).
But today with the rise of drop-shipping, the Amazon seller program and FBA, any Joe Schmoe in his basement can get a cheap treadmill shipped from China and slap their own brand on there.
They then sell it thru Amazon or another large online marketplace.
But, you may say, they have all these 5-star reviews!
Did you know that there are places online where you can go to buy 5-star customer reviews? There are lots of places popping up online that offer paid 5-star reviews for your Amazon product.
So it may look like you’re getting a “good” treadmill because there are hundreds of 5 star reviews. But ask yourself – is there really a large company behind the brand?
What kind of customer service will you get if something goes wrong with your treadmill? Chances are, probably nada.
So stay safe and go with a trusted brand name that has been manufacturing treadmills for years.
When buying a treadmill, you can find some fantastic options. And you can get an amazing machine that helps you get in the best shape of your life in the comfort of your own home.
Just make sure to look for a treadmill with solid basics and a quality cushioning system. Buy from a well-known brand name and steer clear of any brand of treadmill you don’t recognize.
Want to learn more?
Here are several of the most popular, quality treadmills I like for 2020:
Quality Treadmills To Consider:
This one has been around for years (with updates every year) and has taken home many “Best Buy” awards. It gives you all of the must-have basics like a strong motor, extra-long belt, excellent cushioning (it’s even adjustable) and it also folds up to save space.
Plus it has a full-color, touch-screen HD console with streaming workouts or world trail runs from iFit – so you have a lot of fun stuff as well.
This is Horizon’s premium model with all the bells and whistles. It has a stronger motor, tougher deck and larger rollers than Horizon’s other treadmills.
Plus the QuickDial controls let you make super-fast incline or speed changes on the fly.
It’s a bit bulkier than the Nordictrack 1750 and not as polished. But it’s still a great, stable treadmill with excellent cushioning, built to last a long time.
Bowflex makes 2 treadmills – the BXT116 and the 216. Both are excellent as far as cushioning and treadmill basics go. But I thought I’d include this one as it’s the most affordable option.
One thing I like about these treadmills is that they both have intuitive consoles with media shelves.
So you can set up your tablet and watch YouTube or Netflix videos as you go. You can even charge it with the console USB port. You can also track and sync your results online with the (free) Bowflex app.
So those are 3 of the top treadmill buying mistakes you’ll want to avoid. No matter what you choose to do, take your time, do your research and choose a machine that gets you excited at the end of the day.
And then have fun working out in the comfort of your own home!