Merit Fitness is a brand of discount exercise equipment for in-home use. It’s owned by Johnson Health Technology (JHT), which is a major manufacturer of residential and commercial fitness machines across the price spectrum. Unfortunately the durability and cutting-edge technology seen in other JHT brands haven’t worked their way into Merit Fitness treadmills. The ultra-compact Merit 715T Plus is a prime example: Humble specs for this model include a 1.5 CHP drive, an 18″ x 47″ workout surface and a 5% maximum incline. Overall the Merit 715T Plus can support occasional light cardio exercise, but it isn’t built to be a trusty partner for occasional running or frequent long walks.
The Merit 715T Plus is definitely a treadmill for beginners only. To help people exercise efficiently, it has three training programs that adjust the intensity of the challenge: Rolling Hills, Weight Loss and Interval. The treadmill can also be used in manual mode for alternating between speeds up to 10 mph. Trainees get feedback about speed, distance, time, calories burned and heart rate. Heart rate is an estimate based on data from built-in contact sensors.
The Merit 715T Plus is conveniently sized in terms of storage, and the low price is attractive, but overall it just isn’t the best buy for most shoppers. With regular use this cardio trainer would likely need servicing within a few months… and the parts are only under warranty for 90 days. In this treadmill review we point out some attractive points, but overall we recommend saving your hard-earned cash for a more durable alternative.
What We Like:
- Price: Low price is the key to Merit’s success. The Merit 715T Plus treadmill sells for about $315 on Amazon, whereas most treadmills cost at least twice as much. The Amazon price includes free shipping for Amazon Prime members.
- Compact Frame: The frame for this model measures just 29″ wide and 61″ long. It can be folded to become even more compact.
- Customer Service: The customer service department for Merit customers is based in the US. It scores well for being customer-friendly, and replacement parts tend to be delivered promptly. However, keep in mind that the standard warranty for this model doesn’t entitle the buyer to customer service for long.
- Portability: The 715T Plus, like all Merit treadmills, can be folded for storage.
- Assembly: Amazon sells this treadmill with optional $99 assembly, but owners report that assembly is straightforward.
Merit 715T Plus Treadmill - Key Specs:
|Incline:||0 to 5% (Manual)|
|Running Area:||18 x 47|
|Top Speed:||10 MPH|
|Weight Capacity:||250 LBS|
|Dimensions:||60" L x 29" W x 52" H|
- Manual Incline: Unlike most of its competitors, the Merit 715T Plus does not have a motorized incline; users manually adjust the tilt. The maximum incline setting is just 5% whereas most discount treadmills tilt to at least 10%.
- Motor: This cardio trainer has just 1.5 continuous horsepower, which is very weak even for a discount treadmill motor. Furthermore, the drive is lower quality than others with the same output.
- Not So Steady: The 715T Plus weighs just 108 pounds, which is very lightweight for a treadmill in any price category. And although the motor supports up to 10 mph, the treadmill becomes wobbly when used for jogging or running.
- Programs: The 715T Plus has only four workout programs, and that includes manual mode.
- Track Size: Don’t be fooled by marketing that describes the track as “spacious.” The 715T Plus track dimensions of 18″ x 47″ are very small. Most other brands’ treadmills for walkers have 20″ x 55″ (if not 20″ x 60″) tracks.
- Track Quality: Merit treadmill tracks are composed of thin material. This makes the treadmills rather noisy, and it adds to maintenance expenses too. Replacement belts for the 715T Plus cost about $65 each.
- No Console Extras: The 715T Plus has small ledges for storing accessories, but they aren’t secure for holding beverages. Most treadmill consoles have water bottle holders, accessory trays, smartphone holders and other conveniences.
- Warranties: The 715T Plus has a lifetime frame warranty but the parts are only protected for 90 days. The motor has a one-year warranty. Comparing this treadmill with options over $500 you’ll likely notice a big difference in terms of consumer protections.
Merit Fitness sells very low-cost treadmills and provides good customer service. However, prices and customer service alone aren’t enough to earn a positive product review. There is little that’s “Plus” about the Merit 715T Plus whether you consider ergonomics, durability, features or a host of other factors. The Merit 725T Plus, which also carries a 90-day parts warranty, isn’t much of an improvement.
Save yourself a hassle by spending a bit more time on treadmill research. See our best buy lists for different price categories as a guide.