Choosing the best treadmill can seem overwhelming. There are dozens of good treadmill brands and hundreds of treadmill options. You can spend hours and hours researching only to be left as confused as when you began. For those of you just starting the research process, this treadmill buying guide will get you thinking about the questions you should be asking before buying a treadmill for your home. How To Choose a Treadmill
If you are looking for a LifeSpan treadmill, check out our LifeSpan treadmill comparison guide. Treadmills are the most popular home exercise machines. It’s easy to understand why; Next to good running shoes, a treadmill may be the single most important purchase fitness trainers, runners or joggers can make.
Practically anything your cardio training demands – hills, tempo, intervals, long distance – you can do on a treadmill. And you can record walking and running distance while watching Seinfeld re-runs or keeping an eye on your kids, without worrying about heat, cold, wind, rain, darkness or damaged footpaths. How To Choose a Treadmill
Before we explain more, though, a word of caution: Treadmills can be expensive, and they’re complex. A bad buying decision may leave you with one more inactive machine lying in the corner of your rumpus room. So tread carefully as we steer you through Choosing the best treadmill.
A Buyers Guide to Selecting the Right Treadmill
Running is a sport enjoyed by millions of enthusiasts around the world. The exhilaration of your body in motion as you pound the road in your stride releases endorphins and feel good hormones. Running can help you beat stress, improve cardiovascular fitness and enhance longevity; all you need to do is slip on your shoes and hit the road.
If you live in a dangerous part of the city or an environment that has a lot of rain, getting out for a run may be a hassle. However, technology has come to your aid, and you can now get your run in using a treadmill. Treadmills are a great way to get your run in at home, without exposing yourself to social dangers and environmental conditions.
However, choosing the right treadmill can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. With so many models and manufacturers of treadmills to choose from, where do you start? Here is our guide on how to select the right treadmill for your convenience and level of fitness. How To Choose a Treadmill
How To Choose a Treadmill For Home
Treadmill Buying Tips
All About the Motor
A motor powers the treadbelt of the treadmill. You can consider this motor to be the heart of the machine. An underpowered treadbelt motor will not engage the track and produce slippage, significantly reducing the treadmills operating life. It’s critical to select the right motor power for your application and bodyweight.
A treadmills motor power is measured in CPH (Continuous Horse Power) this indicates how much drive the motor produces continuously, instead of just at its operating peak. Home treadmills will use motors that have between 2.25 and 4.25 CHP. Here is a scale you can use to determine your ideal treadmill motor.
Walk: 2.0 CHP or more.
Jog: 2.5 CHP or more.
Run: 3.0 CHP or more.
For those people that weigh more than 200 pounds, add an extra 0.5CHP to your motor output to compensate for the added weight and strain on the motor.
How To Choose a Treadmill – Selecting the Right Track size
The track size is not crucial to walkers, however; those that wish to use their treadmill to run should take note of the track length before making their purchase. Standards for treadmill track length are 55-inches for walking and 58 to 60-inches for running. There are also track lengths that support professional runners or taller runners that have longer strides. Some of these treadmills such as BodyCraft and Landice make tracks up to 63-inches in length. As a standard, most tracks are 20 or 22-inches wide.
How To Choose a Treadmill – The Treadbelt
The treadbelt is the part of the treadmill that experiences the most wear and tear. It’s the only part of the machine that comes in contact with your body while it is in motion and it absorbs all of the direct impact energy from your running or walking. Therefore; it is crucial to have a treadbelt that is tough, durable, and resilient.
Good treadbelts feature a four-ply material that enhances the tensile strength of the treadbelt and reduces wear. Cheaper machines will only have a single-ply treadbelt and may need replacing frequently; some manufacturers neglect to mention this on their spec sheet, so make sure you note it before you buy.
The treadbelt is mounted onto rollers that are no less than 2 to 2.5-inches in diameter to allow for smooth operation and reduce the energy needed by the motor to drive the treadbelt. Unless you have purchased a premium machine, such as the Precor TRM 932i Commercial Series Treadmill, you will need to keep your treadbelt lubricated with some silicone lubricant. How To Choose a Treadmill
The majority of part-time runners and recreational runners will be fine with a treadmill that has speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. If you are a professional or advanced runner, then you may benefit from a machine that can handle higher speeds of up to 12 miles per hour, such as the NordicTrack C 990.
Many runners complain about the force and pressure that the foot-strike produces on joints such as the knees and ankles. Running on a treadmill allows runners to reduce the amount of impact that occurs from the foot-strike. Treadmills feature track padding underneath the treadbelt. This padding helps to absorb the shock on the joints and cushion the force of the foot-strike. Track cushioning can reduce impact force by as much as forty percent, extending the life of your joints and your treadbelt.
Make your workout more challenging and burn more calories during your workout by using incline control. Expensive treadmills will feature electronic control of the incline, while cheaper machines may require you to set it manually.
Treadmills in the $1,000 plus range will usually feature advanced electronic components, including a heart-rate monitor and calorie counter. Along with these features, the machine will have a programmable memory and options for preset workout programs. These preset programs are designed to give different workouts by adjusting the incline and speed or the treadmill over a specified distance and period. How To Choose a Treadmill
Added Extra Features
Some treadmills come with added comfort features such as a water bottle holder, towel rack, and speakers. There are even treadmills that come fitted with high definition television screens that you can use to link to your homes Wi-Fi network. While these bells and whistles may seem more ‘nice-to-have,’ than essential, they may help you stay motivated to keep training and push through your session to achieve your goals.
The warranty is possibly the most critical part of your treadmill. Treadmills feature moving parts and electronics that have the potential to create a fault. If you own a treadmill, you will eventually have to deal with some part of it that needs repairing or replacing. When your treadmill motor burns out six-months after purchase, you will be glad the manufacturer’s warranty covers the repair.
High-end treadmills come standard with lifetime warranties on all of their parts, except the treadbelt. Machines lower on the price-scale may only feature lifetime warranties on the frame and just five years on the motor. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the warranty terms and conditions before you make your final purchase decision.
Portability and Storage
Do you live in a small apartment where space is at a premium? Then consider buying a folding treadmill. These treadmills are mounted on casters and quickly moved between rooms in the home with ease. Just fold the treadmill out and complete your workout, then fold it up and store it out of the way until your next session. Some treadmills are so compact that they can be folded up and stored away in a closet.
Have you ever seen the hilarious YouTube videos of people falling off the back of a treadmill? Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen to you. Your treadmill should come with an emergency stop tether that halts the belt immediately as soon as the lanyard tether breaks. This feature is a must-have for those that are elderly to help prevent any accidental injury that may occur. How To Choose a Treadmill