Things to look for in a Treadmill
This picture on the left is a blown up view of a treadmill and all of its many parts. There are so many parts, it’s amazing that these things can hold together as well as they do. All these different parts are much of the reason why some treadmills are excellent, and some are just pathetic. Some manufacturers choose to use quality parts that are designed to fit together seamlessly, and some choose to throw a bunch of cheap parts together and hope it holds together.
While, the price is often a good indicator of the quality, it’s sometimes completely irrelevant. The best way to decide on a treadmill is to actually use it before buying it. When you’re testing a treadmill look for a few main things.
#1: Is it SOLID. The more heavy and solid a treadmill feels, the more comfortable you should be with buying it. If it rattles or the deck feels weak, or it just feels lightweight and cheap, be careful. The solid feel is one thing that treadmill manufacturing companies, in all their different marketing techniques, can’t fake. Take it up to full speed, at the highest incline for while, and see how it feels then. Along with this, pay attention to the noise it makes. The noise indicates a lot about the quality of the motor, deck, belt, and rollers. The quieter the better. Even the best treadmills make a little noise, so don’t be too critical, but if it’s really loud, be careful not to put too much money into it.
#2: Look for reviews online. Try to find legitimate human reviews, and objective expert reviews. All reviews are just opinions, and may differ from eachother. One person may have a great experience with a treadmill, while someone else may have had a terrible experience with the same treadmill. However, reading up as much as possible about any treadmill is a good idea. This is especially important when you’re buying online, and don’t have a chance to actually try out the machine before you purchase it. If you’re at a dealer, don’t listen to the salesman. The only thing you should talk about with a salesman is how much of a discount you can get on it. Salesmen have to act like they know everything about the machines, but usually don’t know anything about them.
#3: Look at a few of the specs. If you have a few favorite features that you like to use, you can look for them, but don’t be swayed just because a treadmill has a long list of features. A lot of features end up not even being used. The most important specs to look at are the Motor size. I wouldn’t go under 3 CHP; the maximum weight capacity, which indicates a lot about the strength of the deck and motor, I wouldn’t go under 300 lbs; the speed limit (hopefully at 12MPH); The incline (hopefully 12% – 15%); and the belt size (hopefully not below 18″x55″).
#4: Warranty and customer service. The warranty is very important because chances are you’ll have to use it at some point. A good standard warranty is lifetime coverage on the frame and motor, 3 – 5 years on parts and electronics, and 1 – 3 years on in-home labor. Anything less than this is risky. A warranty says a lot about how long they expect their treadmills to last (and this expectation is based on many years of experience, so it’s usually about right). If you can get a lifetime warranty on the parts and electronics like Smooth and other higher-end brands offer, you should take it.
We try to provide insight into every treadmill we can to help you make your decisions, but you shouldn’t make your decisions based solely on our reviews. Hopefully this decision process outlined here can help you out.
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