How To Choose The Best Treadmill : The Ultimate Guide

treadmillWalking, jogging and running are some of the oldest and the most trusted forms of workout routines, be it for strength training, endurance training, for losing weight or as cardiovascular exercises. But going out for a jog isn’t always an option because of changing weather conditions, tight schedules, familial responsibilities, etc.

Now, imagine being able to get all the benefits of jogging from the comfort of your own home or a gym. That is what makes treadmills so popular around the world and unquestionably, the first indoor workout machine that anyone goes for, be it an athlete training to maintain his fitness or someone with weight issues trying to deal with it.

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Treadmills can broadly be classified into 2 categories:

Manual Treadmills: These treadmills have lost their popularity since the yesteryears. These are driven or “powered” by the jogger movement itself. The main disadvantage of these kinds of treadmills is that it doesn’t give the jogger a steady rhythm to work with. Moreover, now that a lot of the automatic treadmills with many advanced features are available in the same price range as these manual ones, it is a natural decision for the user to go for the latter.

Automatic Treadmills: These are the more popular choices for treadmills worldwide. These are motor-driven and give its users the ability to set their pace, inclination and many other variables while jogging. Moreover, the fact that many come with advanced features such apps to track your workouts, workout videos, music-playing capabilities, etc., these are the ideal choice for treadmills.

Considering the above factors, we will only be reviewing automatic treadmills in this guide.

The Top 10 Treadmills

Treadmill
Type of Treadmill
Weight Capacity
Storage
Performance Monitor
Programmable
Height
User Rating
Value Added Service
Price ($)
LifeSpan Fitness TR1200-DT-TR1200-DT5Treadmill DeskSupports users max 300-350 pounds (*Machine weighs between 103-198 Pounds) Yes (Distance, Calories and Step count)NoAdjustable to accommodate 4ft 8” to 6ft 10” user4 and ½ StarLifetime Frame, 1 year Labor  and 3 year Motor Warranty1,199-1,999
TreDesk Treadmill DeskTreadmill Desk55 Pounds (Equipment)

* Mill Weighs 58 pounds
Easy to Store, Folds for StorageNoNoAdjustable to accommodate 5ft 4” to 6ft4” user4 and ½ Star2 year Warranty 479
Phoenix 98516Manual250 Pound max weight limitEasy to Store, Folds for StorageYes (Distance, Calories and Time)No50”3 and ½ Star90 days on parts and One year Frame Warranty129
Phoenix 98510Manual250 Pound max weight limitEasy to Store, Folds for StorageYes (Distance, Calories and Time)No50”4 and ½ Star90 days on parts and One year Frame Warranty177
Stamina Avari Magnetic TreadmillMagnetic250 PoundsEasy to Store. Has wheels for easy movement Yes (Distance, Calories and Time)No44”4 and ½ StarLifetime warranty on frame and motor249
Confidence Fitness Magnetic TreadmillMagnetic Max User weight 220 pounds.Easy to Store, Folds for StorageYes (Distance, Calories, Time and Odometer)Yes. 8 Adjustable Levels of resistance 48”Not Rated1 Year Warranty149
LifeSpan Fitness TR40001Motor Driven FoldingMax user weight 350 poundsEasy to Store, Folds for StorageYes (Distance, Calories, Time and More)Yes. Various weight loss, healthy living, sports training and heart rate programs52”4 and ½ Star5 year frame, 90 parts warranty1,699
Sole Fitness F65Motor Driven FoldingMax user weight 350 poundsEasy to Store, Folds for StorageYes (Distance, Calories, Time and More)Yes. Includes 6 preset programs57”4 StarLifetime on frame  deck and Motor plus two year on electronics and labor.1,299
ProForm 1210 Rt TreadmillMotor DrivenMax user weight 350 poundsEasy to Store, Folds vertically for Storage Yes (Distance, Calories, Time and More)Yes. 30 built in routines. Wifi and Google maps for online routines. 3.0 hp motor and incline controlNot ProvidedNew (Not yet rated)Lifetime frame and motor plus 1 year parts and labor warranty1600
Precor 9.27Motor Driven – Club quality fits in homeNot ProvidedEasy to StoreYes (Distance, Calories, Time and More)Yes. Select 10 preset programs. 3.0 hp motor and incline control54”4 and ½ StarLifetime on frame, 5 years on parts and wear items plus 1 year labor warranty2,299

ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill has been ranked on top here because, while it lies just above the lower price range of $0-$1000, it offers so many advanced features than the higher priced ones do. First of all, its 3.25 CHP Mach Z Commercial Pro motor is one of the best in class and is important to support high intensity; high speed and/or high incline workouts. It supports a user weight of up to 350 lbs, which again is one of the highest in class. The running surface is extremely spacious (20’’x60’’) and can easily accommodate users of almost all sizes. It also comes with FS2 Full Surface Cushioning which highly reduces the shock on joints. Lastly, it comes with iFit and 24 built-in workouts which can be used to add variation and keep it interesting.

LifeSpan TR4000i Folding Treadmill is priced slightly higher than ProForm but is a good buy too. While a lot of the features of these two machines are identical, like the 3.25 HP motor (ProForm Pro 2000 has a 3.25 CHP motor which is stronger than LifeSpan TR4000i’s 3.25 HP motor), the 20’’x60’’ running surface etc., this differs in a few aspects like the aluminum side rails, EZ Drop foldability, and so on.

 

Why should you buy the best Treadmill?

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to treadmills for any given set of requirements. But that doesn’t mean that all of them are good, reliable products. The costumer review sections for many of them are abuzz with complaints of things like the treadmill starting to squeak after a while, of it stopping working altogether, it breaking down or buckling, the motor starting to smoke and so on.

So it is extremely important to do your research and try to find the best possible treadmill for yourself so that you stay away from all those problems.

Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Treadmill:

 

Like mentioned in the previous sections, finding the best treadmill for yourself isn’t always easy, given the myriad of options that are out there for any given price range. To narrow your search down, you can consider other options that will make the process easier and help you find a treadmill that is exactly suited to your preferences.

To help you with your selection process, we list the 10 things that you should look for when buying a treadmill:

1. Your Specific Needs, Requirements: This is the first thing that you should make a list of while looking for a treadmill for yourself. If you are overweight and looking to lose those few extra pounds, the things that you would want in your treadmill are completely different from someone who is fit and is trying to maintain his fitness. Now, your age plays a very important role in determining the right treadmill for you too. If you have difficulty walking or have a previous history of joint problems or arthritis, you might want to look for a treadmill that has a sturdy frame; a set of good, sturdy hand and side rails and cushioning on the belt to absorb shock on your joints and provide ample support.

Now, if you are well built with a relatively larger frame and above average height, you might want to look for a treadmill that has a spacious running surface so that it doesn’t interfere with your workouts and/or you don’t get injured while doing so.

The intensity of your workouts is also an important factor to consider when searching for a treadmill; the more intense your workouts, the stronger your treadmill needs to be.

2. Price Range: After you have decided your needs and requirements, you have to decide the price range within which you want your treadmill to lie in. While on a site like Amazon, there might be over 1000 treadmills to choose from within any price range, still, this step significantly narrows down your choices.

The price range can broadly be broken down into 3 categories:

  • $0 – $1,000
  • $1,000 – $1,999, and
  • Over $1,999.

It is obvious that the amount and the number of features that you get are directly proportional to the price range that you go for.

3. Design: This includes things like the motor used, the flywheel, belt, material of the frame, availability of side rails and handrails, etc. A better design attributes to the fact that there is minimal noise during working out; the factor of safety involved is relatively high because of the better and sturdier design of the frame, reduction of shocks on joints which ultimately end up causing workout injuries, lack of major concerns regarding the product, etc.

The dimensions and the weight of the overall unit are important factors to consider too.

4. Weight Capacity: This is an important factor to consider for those who are overweight or even obese and are buying a treadmill to lose that weight. Treadmills in the lower price ranges have weight capacities of around 300 lbs while as you go for the higher priced ones, the weight capacities increase substantially.

As a rule of thumb, you should go for a treadmill that has a slightly higher weight capacity than your own weight, with the difference acting as a safety factor.

5. Advanced Features: While these do not aid your workout in any way, still, many go for additional features according to their needs. These features might include things like a built-in fan, android apps, workout trackers, music playing capabilities – speakers and/or iPod compatible ports, workout programs, workout videos, etc.

Choose at your own liking!

6. Consumer Reviews: When you think you have made a selection, try to look for customer reviews, specifically speaking, critical customer reviews because positive reviews can be manipulated. Look for problems that the users might have experienced with the treadmill and how those problems were solved, how efficient the customer service of the brand was in handling the issue, etc.

The average rating and the number of reviews that the product has received are also very important factors to consider. If the product has managed to gain a rating of 4 or more stars after a significant amount of ratings (more than its other competitors), it is a sign that the product is a strong runner in the market. If you see a lot of negative customer reviews about it, you might want to reconsider your options.

7. Customer Support: A treadmill is a machine after all and however well you care for it, it is highly unlikely that it will run without any issues for a lifetime. Once you experience an issue, the customer support is what comes to your rescue. So it is always a good idea to consider how competent the customer support of the given brand is.

On the product page, look for ways to reach the product’s customer support in case something goes wrong. Look for phone numbers, direct chat support, email support, etc. The consumer reviews section of the treadmill usually has a lot of information regarding the efficiency of the customer support.

8. Assembly Required, Foldability: These are things that buyers almost never consider but end up facing the repercussions later. If you live alone and end up ordering a heavy piece of equipment, assembly and placement might get really difficult. Also, foldability and the storage space required to place the equipment are important factors to consider too so that you don’t have to end up cramming the bulky equipment in a small space and damaging it.

9. Warranty: While it is highly unlikely that you will ever experience issues with the frame (hence, most companies provide a “lifetime warranty” on frame), chances of you experiencing issues with the parts are very real.

Most companies offer a warranty of 2-3 years on parts on an average. But many users start experiencing issues after the 2-year mark. So the longer the warranty on parts, the better it is.

10. Awards, Mentions: If a treadmill has won certain awards in its category and/or has been mentioned in popular health and fitness magazines, it generally means that the equipment has been genuinely liked by people, which in turn points to a good, solid product.

Now, you must have noticed that we didn’t mention things like speed, incline/decline, etc. Most treadmills have a speed range of 0-15 mph and an incline of 0-15 % (refer to chart) so it wasn’t worth mentioning it here individually.