What We Like
- Price: New Merit treadmills can be had for under $500.
- Customer service: Wisconsin-based Johnson Tech is known for getting customer service right. Representatives are friendly and replacement parts are delivered promptly.
- Portability: Every Merit model can be folded for storage, and all models are lightweight for easy transport.
What We Don’t Like
- Manual incline: The 715T, which is the company’s simplest treadmill, does not have a motorized incline; users need to manually adjust the tilt. Furthermore, the 715T’s incline is just five degrees.
- Motors: Merit motors have as little as 1.25 horsepower. Compared with almost every other treadmill on the market, these don’t run for long without overheating. Also, they won’t support an athlete who weighs more than 250 pounds.
- Programs: Merit treadmills have fewer computerized workout programs than other economy brands. The 715T has only four, and the company’s top model – the Merit 735T – has just seven.
- Track size: The 715T has a tiny 16”x45” track. Merit’s best model, the 735T, isn’t competitive with its 18”x52” running space.
- Warranties: The 735T motor comes with a lifetime guarantee, but Merit’s other models have just one-year and two-year motor warranties. For all models, parts other than the motor are only guaranteed for 90 days.
Merit sells low-cost treadmills and provides good customer service. However, Merit treadmills have poor warranties and should not be expected to last for long. They also lack the bells and whistles that help make exercise fun, or at least bearable.