treadmill buying guide - Retrofit Wiki
TREADMILL BUYING GUIDE
There are a wide variety of treadmills available for purchase, and they are not all created equally. Treadmills range
in price from around 500 dollars up to 3000+ dollars. The more expensive treadmills are generally higher quality and
have more features, but before purchasing one, you need to consider what you will be using the treadmill for. All of
the following characteristics affect which treadmill you need - make sure to purchase a treadmill at a store with a
knowledgeable sales staff that can help you consider all of these points.
Budget: You may not be willing to spend $3000 on a nice treadmill, and fortunately you may not need to. Based on
the usage and features you need, you may be able to get by with a cheaper model. But before you even look at
treadmills, set a general price range you will consider spending.
Usage
§ Who: If only one person will be using the treadmill, you may not need as durable of a machine as you would
if 5 members of your family would use it. Also consider body weight. Treadmill motors wear out based on
their workload - a treadmill motor will work harder to move a 250 pound person versus a 100 pound
person. The number of users and weight of those users is important to consider - as both numbers increase,
you will need a more durable treadmill with a stronger motor, otherwise you risk the treadmill breaking earlier
in its lifespan.
§ When: This question ties in to Who. If one person will be using the treadmill one day each week for a half
hour, a strong, durable model probably isn’t necessary. But if a family of 5 will get 5-6 hours of usage on the
treadmill each week, you will want to purchase a machine that can handle a high workload. While this may
mean a more expensive model, it also means not needing to pay for repairs or a new treadmill sooner rather
than later.
§ How: Again considering Who and When, how will your treadmill be used. Running on a treadmill strains the
motor much more than walking. Will you need a treadmill that can go to 10 mph if you are only going to walk
at 3mph? Do you need a treadmill that can rise to a 15% incline if you will never use an incline?
Now that you have an idea of your budget and usage for the treadmill, consider these treadmill specifics:
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Size: Make sure that you know where you will put your treadmill in your home, and measure the area. Do
not buy a treadmill that you cannot fit in your home! Some treadmills may be foldable to help store it.
Motor: The motor is the most important part of the treadmill. Depending on your planned usage, this is one
area you do not want to skimp on. Treadmill motors are rated for horsepower. Consider these when
choosing one for you:
o Walking or light jogging: at least 1.0 - 1.5 continuous HP
o Running: at least 1.5 - 2.0 continuous HP
Belt/Deck: This is the surface you run/walk on. A thicker belt isn’t necessarily better, as it means more
work for the motor. The same goes for a longer belt; however, it is important to make sure that you buy a
treadmill that has a long enough belt/deck for you. If you are tall with long legs and plan on running on your
treadmill, you may need a longer deck/belt. This is where it becomes important to test out the treadmill you
are looking to purchase, if at all possible. Do not buy a treadmill with a longer belt/deck than you need, as
this results in extra costs and strain on the motor.
Speed/Incline: Again, this depends on your planned usage, but do not buy a treadmill that can go up to
15mph if you only plan on walking. The same goes for incline.
High Tech options:
o Heart Rate Monitor support
o iPod docks
o USB ports
o Heart rate sensors
o Various programming options
o Fancy displays, etc.
o By no means are any of these things necessary to use a treadmill. If any of these interest you, go
for it, but none are required - the mechanical aspects are more important.
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Safety Features: Emergency Stop button, emergency stop tether - both things to consider. Also look into a
treadmill with longer sidebars to hold onto if you are at risk for falls.
Noise: Some models may make more noise than others, so make sure to test it and listen, if noise will be an
issue for you.
Warranty: Treadmills do break, especially if overused given the make/model, so consider a warranty. Many
treadmills will come with a warranty, but look into the specifics.
Bring up all of these points that are important to you with the salesperson. Remember that the motor is the most
important piece, and truly consider your usage when purchasing your treadmill.
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