Wondering what to look for when buying a treadmill?
Confused by all of the different choices?
It can be overwhelming – there are hundreds, if not thousands of options on the market. And new models come out every year.
But not to worry. If you know what to look for when buying a treadmill, you’ll know how to spot a good value when you find it.
With that in mind, here are 7 key things you must look for when buying your treadmill:
What To Look For When Buying A Treadmill – 7 Must-Haves
The motor is the heart and soul of your treadmill – your power source so to speak.
A strong motor can power your treadmill even through tough, extra-long running workouts. A weak motor will quickly burn out and shorten the life of your treadmill.
The kind of motor you need will also depend on how much you plan on using the treadmill.
For example, occasional walkers could probably get away with a 2.5 – 3.0 HP motor.
But runners or those who plan on frequent, long workouts, need at least a 3.0 HP motor – or higher.
The console is basically what you’ll be looking at the most as you walk or run.
You want to make sure it’s a bright, easy-to-read screen (backlit is best) and a well-laid out console with easy-to-reach stop and start buttons.
For example, you’ll see the console below is bright and backlit with one-touch speed and incline buttons running up the sides. It’s well laid out and easy to use (you don’t need to read a manual to figure it out).
The start and stop buttons are easy to reach at the bottom along with an emergency stop key (in red).
This is an example of a great console. Want an example of a poor console? Check out the one below:
The console window is tiny and hard to read. It doesn’t give you a lot of information or feedback. You’ll be straining to see it the entire time you’re walking.
Most treadmills today do come with some form of incline. Some Nordictrack treadmills even come with decline!
Starter treadmills tend to come with a 0 – 10% or 0 – 12% incline whereas higher end models give you up to 15% incline.
Walkers may be fine with a 10 or 12% incline limit. But if you want to really challenge yourself (or if you just want room to grow as your fitness level improves), you may want to opt for a 15% incline limit.
Most inclines are power inclines meaning they can be changed directly from the console without having to get off the treadmill.
You want enough room to stretch out and feel like you’re not going to fall off the edge of your treadmill. This is especially true if you’re taller or plan on running.
A healthy belt size is about 152 cm long. Shorter users may be able to get away with 145 cm – but 152 cm or longer is usually best.
You also want to make sure there’s a good cushioning system on your treadmill. For example, many Nordictrack treadmills now give you adjustable cushioning – so you can increase the cushioning protection on your knees, hips and joints for example.
A good cushioning system is a must for runners since they need that extra protection as they’ll be pounding down on the deck many times during their workout.
#5 Heart Rate Monitor
Many people like to track their heart rate while they workout – to make sure they stay in their target fat-burning zone. Most treadmills give you an EKG grip pulse sensor somewhere in front of the console – which is fine.
But you may want to step up to a wireless chest strap monitor if you don’t want the inconvenience of continually having to grasp the hand sensors just to get a continual heart rate reading.
This is largely subjective but let’s face it – any type of exercise can be boring. If you get bored easily, you’ll want to make sure there are ways to entertain and challenge yourself on your treadmill.
For example, many Nordictrack treadmills like the C1650 model now come with a built-in touch-screen web browser in the console. So you can surf the net or watch YouTube videos as you walk.
Some treadmills like the Elite 5000 also have HD TV’s attached above the console – so you can watch your favorite shows while working out.
Some treadmills also have built-in workouts to add extra challenge to your workouts as well. Make sure you look at all of your options and go with a treadmill that can keep you entertained as well as busy!
While there are some non-folding treadmills on the market, many people prefer to have a folding unit nowadays, just because it’s easier to move and to clean around.
Look for a treadmill with shock-assisted folding to make it easier to fold up and save the strain on your back. Most treadmills also come with some wheels on the bottom, making it easy to move the treadmill around.
So those are 7 things to look for when buying a treadmill. Keep them in mind when you go shopping and you’re guaranteed to find a great treadmill for your home!