Five Step Treadmill Buying Guide
The right home treadmill can help you lose weight sensibly, incorporate fitness into your daily life, and enjoy exercise from the comfort of your home regardless of weather conditions. If you’re on the hunt for a new home treadmill, learn more about how to find your perfect match with the help of our free treadmill buying guide below. It covers what features to look for when browsing treadmill options and how you can save time and money along the way.
This five-step treadmill buying guide covers all the key components to consider in an organized way. Nothing’s worse than buying a treadmill only to find it won’t fit into your space, provide the necessary horsepower, or offer the range of functions you need. That’s why we walk you through everything you never thought to consider in a comprehensible, step-by-step format.
When you reach the end of the guide and are more familiar with key treadmill terms and features, you will be ready to explore which brands and models are right for you. To help with this, the guide concludes with links to our honest treadmill reviews and overall brand reviews.
In this guide, we have two goals in mind. Firstly, we want you to avoid brain sprain! With a huge array of brands, models, and offers on the market, treadmill shopping can be overwhelming. Warming up will help you narrow down your options and give you a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. Secondly, companies play price games. If you don’t know the rules, you could end up feeling cheated instead of happy with your decision. So, without further adieu, let’s learn how to buy a treadmill!
Step 1-Define Your Prerequisites
Step 2-Learn About Treadmill Mechanics
Step 3-Explore Treadmill Features
Step 4-In-Person Test Run vs Online Treadmill Reviews
Step 5-Purchase the Perfect Treadmill for Your Needs
Watch Our Video “How to Buy a Treadmill” To Get Started
Step 1: Define Your Prerequisites
The best starting point is to decide what you’re willing to spend on your new treadmill. This will allow you to narrow down your options using our convenient, price-based roundups. Before you compare your current bank account balance with your ability to pay, consider two points: you get what you pay for, and many manufacturers provide financing options.
If you expect heavy usage and high demands like frequent top speed intervals and incline training, it can be worth it to spend more. Not only are these products often built with higher quality standards, but they tend to be backed by more protective warranties. On the other hand, if you only plan to use your treadmill for walking or otherwise light usage, it could make sense to spend less. Regardless, sweat is corrosive, and higher-quality steels with features like electrostatic powder coatings are less susceptible to rusting. In the long run, this could translate to a lower overall cost of ownership.
Budgeting Pointer- Some products like the Horizon line of treadmills skip out on the big, fancy touchscreens. Sometimes, lower cost could mean less tech and not necessarily reflect compromises in quality.
Cheaper Treadmills: Comparing Treadmills Up To $1,000
Treadmills under $500 are very low-end, so even when $499 reflects a deep discount, we’d proceed with lots of caution. In this price range, the warranties are often void after just 90 days. These treadmills can be handy for occasional walking or jogging during bad weather, but if you use them regularly or intensely, they could break down within a few months. Common shortcomings include wobbly frames, noisy belts, very small workout areas, flickering data screens, and minimal workout programming.
A small minority of treadmills under $800 earn high scores in our reviews. Most machines priced around $799 can serve hassle-free for at least a year, especially when they’re used just for walking, but it’s difficult to supply all-around high quality at this price. Generally, shoppers need to choose between durability and engaging features.
For example, you could get manual incline at this price point but not power incline. Contact heart rate monitor may be provided but not a more accurate wireless pulse reader. Speeds tend to max out at 10 mph and incline, if available, ranges between 0%-10%. For help sorting through the options you can see our list of best “cheap” treadmills.
With about $1,000 to spend at a big treadmill sale, a walker or jogger can find some great bargains. Some of these machines have full prices around $1,499 with parts and labor coverage for a couple of years. The best buys have full tracks, modest power inclines, patented cushioning technology, and a good variety of workout programs.
As for their displays, classic LCD monitors are most common on treadmills under $1,000, but sometimes 7-inch touch screens are available, too. These treadmills usually provide speakers with an AUX port for you to stream music or listen to podcasts and are sometimes compatible with wireless heart rate transmitters. See our list of best treadmills under $1,000 for some options in this price range.
Comparing Treadmills $1,000+
The most popular home treadmills for runners and serious walkers have full prices around $1,999 and up, but you can order one for $1,499 during sales. Compared with treadmills under $1,000, these cardio trainers are higher-powered and more comfortable to use. They are also equipped with better features such as steeper power inclines, larger touch screens, enhanced workout options such as heart-rate controlled workout programs, and wireless chest straps. See our list of best treadmills under $1,500 for some options in this price class.
Our top-rated home treadmills under $2,000 have impressive performance, cutting-edge electronics, and all the comforts of health club treadmills. The best treadmills in this price class are ideal for avid runners and households with more than one trainee.
Some of the most valuable features of these treadmills are found behind the scenes. Machines costing a bit less might look similar (with 10? touch screens and spacious tracks, for instance) but won’t necessarily endure as long or perform as well. In this price range, you begin to unlock features like 15% incline, higher weight limits, expansive workout programs, and sturdier frames built to sustain more aggressive training.
The best treadmills under $2,000 tend to have higher quality belts that last longer than others in their price class. These higher quality belts may also be maintenance-free as opposed to other belts that require occasional waxing. Improved cushioning systems make a big difference in comfort and endurance and have even been shown to boost calorie burn rates. Check out our favorite treadmills under $2,000.
$2,000 and Up
Premium treadmills are often sale-priced at $2,000 at up with full prices reaching $3,500 or more. This category includes incline trainer treadmills (great for calorie burn), high-speed treadmills for marathon runners, and all-round luxury treadmills for everyday exercise at any intensity.
These cardio trainers carry light commercial warranties and/or very long residential warranties. Highlights vary among the treadmill brands and models, but some top features in this top tier include very high maximum speeds, excellent absorption of shock and sound, extra-large monitors, web-enabled touch screens, integrated television, fitness tests, built-in programming, and app integration. The best-value models in this price range have maintenance-free tracks and reversible decks which give them twice the life. We’ve rounded up our favorite treadmills under $2,500 here.
Different models within the same price class can vary in features and performance significantly. Our in-depth treadmill reviews walk you through how specific models compare with each other. You can also use our lists of best treadmills by price as a reference.
How much room can you offer a treadmill in your home, and where are you going to put it? To save time before shopping, it’s critical you measure the floor space. If you’re considering a folding treadmill, also measure any space (L x W x H) you have to spare for storage. Knowing your dimension constraints is a great way to quickly eliminate products that won’t make the cut.
Treadmill dimensions are usually published, and keeping this information handy makes you a more efficient shopper. Keep in mind that the required running space, typically listed in specs as treadmill belt size, can also impact the overall footprint of the treadmill. We recommend a 22? wide belt for runners and 20? for walkers. Although a 20? belt can suffice for runners, it just leaves a little less room for error and keeps taller runners in mind.
As a general rule, a minimum of 50? in belt length is recommended for walkers, 55? for runners and 60? for runners over 6? tall.
Once you have worked out how much space you need in your home for your treadmill, you can start thinking about treadmill size. Standard home treadmills are about 7? long and 3? wide. Although there are many folding treadmills on the market which are significantly shorter, they still require lots of room when they’re in use.
Vertical space is easy to overlook, but a low ceiling height can put limitations on shopping. Look for the step-up height, and use the following equation:
Step-Up Height + Tallest User Height + 3 feet < Ceiling Height
Looking for a foldable home treadmill? Luckily, foldable treadmills are now offered at every price point. Be sure to review the specs and dimensions of any folding treadmill you have your eye on before buying, and measure your space to ensure you have ample room. One example of a high-quality folding treadmill for runners is the Sole F85. If you’re looking for more options, browse our picks of the best folding treadmills when you’re ready.
Spend too much time sitting at work? You should try a desk treadmill. They work just the same as standard treadmills whilst also providing desk space and can be great for boosting productivity at work. Depending on your weight, you can burn between 80-180 calories per hour walking at a moderate speed That’s up to 1,440 calories in a single work day! You can check out our top picks for desk treadmills if that sounds like the solution for you.
Imagine Your Treadmill Workouts
Do you envision relaxing walks, intense running, or something in-between? Answering this question will help you narrow down your treadmill selection by motor power. The heavier the exercise you anticipate, the higher-powered motor you will need. We will take a look at motor power in more detail later in this guide.
Your answer to the above question can also help you choose the track size for your workout needs. Walkers can save money by choosing shorter treadmill tracks and runners (especially tall runners) will need more room to stretch out. Let’s take a moment to pinpoint common types of treadmill users and the type of machine they need.
- Low Activity/Senior
- If you plan to use your treadmill primarily for walking, the good news is you can often explore the less expensive options. In many cases, a treadmill in the under $1,000 range will suffice. If you plan to incorporate incline training, expect to pay on the higher end of this price spectrum.
- Progressive Low-to-Mid Activity
- If you’re new to fitness or overcoming an injury, you’ll likely start off your treadmill usage with more restrictions. However, as you become better able to push yourself harder, it’s good to buy a treadmill that’s capable of keeping up with progressive demands. Browsing in the $1,000 to $1,500 price range is a good place to start.
- Cross Training
- Whether you plan to use your treadmill to improve your favorite sport, or you just want to maintain a well-rounded fitness regimen, cross training is ideal. By incorporating more than just cardio, you promote muscle development, flexibility, proprioception, balance, and more. Shoppers who focus on all areas of fitness are often able to sustain more aggressive treadmill workouts, and products in the $1,500 to $2,000 range offer improved durability with warranties better-suited for more advanced training.
- Heavy Treadmill Training
- If you are a highly-active runner or expect multiple runners to use your treadmill, we suggest shopping in the $2,000+ price range. These high-mileage products will offer the durability and reliability you need for the long term.
- Over 6’ Tall
- If you’re over 6’ tall and plan to run on your treadmill, special consideration must be made regarding the belt length. In order to ensure ample space for your gait, look for a treadmill with a belt at least 60” long.
- Over 300 Lbs.
- If you carry a lot of weight, pay special attention to the manufacturer’s suggested weight limit. Purchasing a product with an insufficient weight capacity can lead to premature wear and tear, and you could begin to experience premature mechanical issues.
Step 2: Learn About Treadmill Mechanics
Treadmills are advertised with lists of their specifications or “specs”. Whether these features are fantastic or you could get better value elsewhere, marketers manage to make them all sound pretty great. This section to give you a better understanding of how to read between the lines and find a treadmill with elements that fit your needs.
A weak, wobbly frame has a direct impact on the quality of your workout, not to mention the durability of your treadmill. Frame warranties range from 10-years to lifetime. Always check to see how well the manufacturer backs their quality. (We’ll detail warranty aspects later in this guide.) There are a few other features to look for that indicate a strong, sturdy treadmill frame:
- Inclusion of crossbars
- Steel construction
- Wide base
- Heavy weight
- Curved uprights for treadmills with large consoles
A treadmill’s motor powers the track. Treadmill motor power is described in terms of horsepower (HP) or continuous horsepower (CHP). CHP is ideal, because it indicates how much power a motor can put out continuously versus just at its peak. Most home treadmill motors rate somewhere between 2.25 and 4.25 CHP. While some machines weigh in at either side of that spectrum with 1.5 CHP or 5.0 CHP motors, they represent the minority.
How much treadmill motor power do you need? That depends on the type of exercise you plan to do on your treadmill and your body weight. For people weighing up to 200 pounds, here are our general recommendations:
- Walking: Choose 2.0 CHP or higher
- Jogging: Choose 2.5 CHP or higher
- Running: Choose 3.0 CHP or higher
- Fast, Frequent Running: Choose a 4.0 CHP or higher
- Commercial Gym or Health Club: Choose a 5.0 CHP
If you weigh over 200 pounds then it’s a good idea to add another 0.5 CHP, because a motor running at nearly full capacity will wear out faster than one with more power to spare.
Most treadmill motors today are under lifetime warranty, but cheaper models offer much shorter motor warranties (anywhere from 2 to 25 years of coverage), so it’s best to check with a sales representative what’s offered on the machine you’re looking at before purchasing.
Need some more help on how to buy a treadmill with the right motor for you? We’ve laid out everything you need to know in this helpful treadmill motor guide.
Track length isn’t of great importance to petite walkers, but it’s a critical consideration for treadmill users who take longer strides. While today’s standards for treadmill track length are 55? for walking treadmills and 58? or 60? for running treadmills, some treadmills for runners have tracks up to 63? long.
As for track width, the industry standard is 20?. Extra-wide treadmill tracks are becoming more common and are key for larger trainees and incline training. These tracks are usually 22? inches wide. Let’s break down a few common length-to-width ratios and assess who they’re suited for.
- 20”x55”- Walkers/Joggers under 6’ tall
- 20”x60”- Standard for joggers and runners
- 22”x60”- Good for running and incline training
Durability- 4 Key Factors
As we consider durability expectations of a treadmill, there are four key factors to look at.
While not a foolproof way to determine a treadmill’s durability, the warranty is an indicator of a manufacturer’s confidence in the products they put to market. Typically, there’s a direct correlation between cost and warranty length. As a rule of thumb, high-quality products meet the following criteria:
- At least 30 years to lifetime motor/frame warranties
- At least 5 year warranty on electronics
- At least 2-3 year warranty on parts
- At least 1 year on labor
A higher weight capacity is an indicator of a sturdier frame. Like the warranty, you can typically expect this spec to increase with price. Let’s break down common weight limits with their durability expectations:
- Low durability- Less than 200 lbs.
- Medium durability- 200-300 lbs
- High durability- 300-500 lbs
- Premium durability- Over 500 lbs.
Most treadmill tracks move over two rollers, one located in the back and another in the front. Size varies depending on the treadmill and is an important factor. The larger the roller, the less wear on both the track and motor. Furthermore, a roller with a larger diameter is able to keep a better grip on the belt. Not only does this maintain belt tension, but it also helps keep your belt centered and reduces maintenance. Rollers are the most commonly damaged parts on a treadmill. As you assess roller size, here’s what to look for:
- 1.6”- runs risk of running hot, hence hesitations
- 2.5” and above- indicates good durability
Aside from size, another factor to consider around the roller construction is whether it’s solid or hollow. Solid rollers are less likely to strip over time.
The specs on treadmill belt will specify whether it’s 1-ply, 2-ply, 3-ply, or 4-ply. Thicker tread belts tend to be quieter during use. Many home treadmills that are budget-priced or mid-priced have one-ply tracks. This feature might be omitted from the specs list as advertisers boast about thick tracks but tend to keep quiet when tracks are basic.
Just like Baby Bear’s porridge, the mid-range 2-ply belt is “just right”. These belts are typically composed of a top rubber layer supplemented with a bottom layer of cotton, polyester, urethane or mono-filament. This sweet spot typically is quiet, durable, and results in less heat buildup, thus meaning you won’t have to lubricate as frequently as you would with a 1-ply alternative.
Lubrication is another important aspect of tread belt durability. Unless otherwise specified, treadmill belts must be lubricated for smooth performance. Sometimes this job falls to the treadmill owner, where you’ll treat the track every few months. The best treadmill tracks are maintenance-free. These are usually infused with silicone or another lubricant. Precor treadmill tracks are a good example of these.
Track cushioning helps protect your joints from the impact of exercise. Compared with road running, cushioned treadmill running typically reduces impact by about 15-40%. Although cushioning is most important for runners, it reduces the impact on anyone’s body by minimizing the risk of injury and promoting stamina.
Some treadmills feature adjustable cushioning so that runners can choose their preferred level of support. Advanced treadmill decks have differential cushioning where you get firm support as you push off the track and more cushioning on landing. There are even a few brands that allow you to adjust cushioning, a plus if you train for outdoor running conditions that won’t include shock absorption.
Assessment of cushioning on a comfort level varies from one person to the next. If superior cushioning is a strong buying point for you, a good rule of thumb is to look for products that feature patented cushioning technology. This is an indicator special efforts were made to decrease the impact of each step.
Digital vs. Analog Speed Sensors
Your treadmill’s speed is regulated by sensors, and these will be either digital or analog. Both signals carry information, but digital signals are non-continuous while analog signals are continuous. In a nutshell, the continuous analog signals create a slower response and require the motor to react more frequently. Not only do digital sensors create a smoother running experience, but they also require less maintenance due to stress reduction on the motor with a quicker ability to adjust belt speed.
You can now find foldable treadmills in every home treadmill price category. With these treadmills, you can fold the deck upwards after your workout to free up some floor space. Power-assist technology, which is included with some foldable treadmills, makes this process easy regardless of your physical strength.
Some of the smallest treadmills are lightweight with transport wheels, making them easily portable. A portable treadmill can typically be stored under a bed, behind a door, or in a closet. Generally these are substandard products, but we do have some recommendations in our best treadmills for walkers roundup.
If portability is a high priority for you, there are a couple of specs to keep your eye on:
- Product Weight: A heavier treadmill, naturally, is harder to move. At the same time, a hefty product can also be a sign of good durability, so you’ll need to carefully weigh these conflicting priorities.
- Number of Transport Wheels: Some treadmills have as many as six transport wheels, making even heavier treadmills much easier to transport.
Treadmill user weight capacities generally range from 250 to 400 pounds. We recommend choosing a treadmill that can handle at least 50 pounds more than your body weight to help ensure that you don’t strain the motor. If you weigh more than this, you may need to invest in a higher-end product. There are treadmills out there capable of handling up to 500 pounds, but you’ll have to pay more.
Auto-stop is an important safety feature to many treadmill shoppers who are elderly or infirm or for those with pets or young children. Auto-stop is usually controlled with a key. When you’re exercising, the key is attached to your body with a lanyard, and if you slip, the key will disengage, automatically turning the treadmill off. What’s more, the key can be removed after each workout session to prevent accidental treadmill activation. Since the key can be removed, it’s not unusual to lose them, and we’ve written a helpful article on where to find replacements.
Step 3: Explore Treadmill Features
Treadmills with incline capabilities make exercise more interesting by varying your ride. They also have three very practical benefits: they make treadmill exercise easier on your joints, allow faster calorie burn, and support better muscle definition.
You may be thinking about how much incline you would actually use on your treadmill and how much incline you should be using to maximize calorie burn. Most home treadmills today have maximum inclines of 10, 15, and 20%. A few brands include small declines on their treadmills, too. Incline trainer treadmills have maximum inclines of 40%; these allow you to burn calories at a runner’s pace by simply walking. Most treadmill inclines are motorized. Only the cheapest treadmills with inclines require manual incline adjustment.
Treadmills that support top speeds of 10 mph are adequate for most trainees, but runners who are training for a 5-minute mile will want machines with higher top speeds. Home treadmills that reach 12 mph are increasingly available under $1,000, such as the Horizon 7.0 AT. Let’s break down speed ranges and assess what they mean in terms of training capabilities.
- Under 5 MPH- This speed range will keep your body in fat-burning mode and support walking.
- 5-10 MPH- If light jogging is your style, this speed range will support your needs.
- 10-12 MPH- Most runners will find a treadmill in this range to suffice.
- 12-15 MPH- If you’re a serious sprint trainer, it can be worth the extra investment in a product with a high top-speed.
As treadmill technology continues to advance, you’ll need to consider where your preferences fall on training options. This will make a big difference in the amount you spend on your treadmill. Paying for fancy equipment you’ll never use isn’t worth it. Conversely, if you’re a fan of fitness apps and programmed workouts, you’ll be disappointed if the treadmill you purchase is lacking.
Sure, there are a lot of options, but we’ll break it down so you know the primary features to look for and compare them against your needs. There are three main categories that any treadmill you may be considering will fall when it comes to electronics.
Keep It Simple- Low-Tech with Basic Programming Features
Who It’s For: Those who want to save money, do their own workout programming, and/or aren’t going to put in a lot of miles.
Whether you want to keep costs as low as possible or simply haven’t jumped on the tech train, there are products on the market that don’t put a focus on fancy electronics. You can expect to enjoy the basic features that are manually operated.
Just because a treadmill doesn’t incorporate lots of tech features doesn’t mean it doesn’t meet quality standards. For example, a treadmill with a huge, 32” touchscreen and 2.5 HP motor likely won’t last as long as one with a simple LCD screen powered by a 4.0 CHP motor.
Basic programming typically includes stat-tracking features that monitor your mileage, and they usually include a simple screen that displays your progress during any given workout. They may include speakers and/or audio jacks to allow you to listen to your favorite music while you work out.
Most treadmills today are sold with preset workout programs. These help support different exercise goals such as weight loss training and endurance training. Programs automatically control the speed of the treadmill, and they’ll adjust its incline/decline if applicable. Sprint 8 is a popular, scientifically-based programmed workout offered on some LifeSpan, Vision, Matrix, and Horizon treadmills.
Bring Your Own Tech
Who It’s For: Those who would prefer to use the smart devices they already have for fitness programming.
Unlike products that take a full-on low-tech approach, some treadmills are designed to work with the smart devices you probably already own. Whether you connect using Bluetooth or a USB cable, these treadmills have fitness apps to download that can be synced up with your machine to monitor all the stats that would normally be constrained to your console. This can make it easier to evaluate your fitness journey, strategize new techniques, and enjoy more variety without breaking the bank. This can also be a great feature if you travel a lot and anticipate doing some of your runs on the road or at the gym.
This approach makes sense for the manufacturer and consumer. After all, treadmill companies aren’t tech companies. Rather than reinventing the wheel, they take advantage of electronics and app features that already exist, allowing them to put more of a focus into quality construction.
High-Tech and Integration
Who It’s For: Those who thrive with lots of motivation and social interaction and are willing to pay a monthly subscription for programming.
If you want all the bells and whistles, this category is for you. Be prepared to pay more with touch screens as large as 32”, immersive content services, subscription fees, and more. While there are plenty of treadmills in the high-tech category also featuring good quality, be careful that you’re not paying more for the experience than build quality. Carefully analyze the specs we discussed in Step 2 to ensure you’ll be getting the construction needed to facilitate long-term training needs.
With that being said, high-tech features can be worth the investment if you enjoy things like live classes and coaching features. Many products integrate speed and incline to make remote trainer control possible. This allows the fitness app you’re using to automatically make changes to these variables to realistically emulate the terrain you see on the screen. It really makes it feel like you’re running through a scenic location instead of your home gym or living room.
Even if you choose a low-tech treadmill, there are hundreds of apps available you can use to supplement your workouts. Horizon Fitness has rounded up their favorites that are compatible with their products. Their FitU library is a good place to start if you’re curious about your options, and they’re not restricted to use with particular fitness brands.
These days, immersive workout technologies help sell many home treadmills. One popular option is iFit, available on home treadmills by NordicTrack, ProForm and HealthRider. The program offers a whole host of benefits but is especially enticing due to its unlimited interactive Google Maps workouts.
Another great (although more expensive) option is Passport Virtual Active technology, compatible with most treadmills by Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness. Here, scenic Virtual Active treadmill workouts are shown on your home TV and automatically adjust the speed and intensity of your exercise.
- iFit offers users unlimited personalized workouts through their monthly membership, which often comes free with certain brands’ treadmill purchase for a limited time. As well as accessing hundreds of video workouts delivered by personal trainers from fitness studios around the world, the iFit Google Maps app lets you draw any route in Google Maps and virtually experience it with your treadmill! Besides being immersed in a Google Street View of your choice, you’ll experience the rise and fall of terrain as the treadmill incline/decline responds to the programming. The treadmill brands that currently offer iFit are NordicTrack, HealthRider and ProForm. You can learn more about how iFit works with treadmills in our helpful guide.
- Passport Virtual Active workout programs are delivered through interactive videos. A Passport player works with your home TV to immerse you in scenic settings with ambient sound, and as your workout speed changes, the video and audio adjusts accordingly. Passport is compatible with most treadmills by Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness.
- Wireless Pulse Monitors can help you exercise more efficiently by providing accurate heart rate data. Wireless heart rate monitors offer the most accuracy, and some treadmills with wireless monitors also offer heart rate control; their preset workout programs will adjust to help you stay in your target heart rate zone.
We won’t get too detailed on your options in this Treadmill Buyer’s Guide, but you can learn much more in a roundup we’ve created featuring some of our favorite running apps.
A treadmill’s warranty is an excellent clue from the manufacturer regarding a treadmill’s durability. The typical treadmill warranty covers four components: frame, motor, parts, and labor.
- Frame: Many treadmills (including some cheap treadmills) have their frames under a lifetime warranty.
- Motor: Most treadmill motors have lifetime guarantees. Cheaper models offer much shorter motor warranties (anything from 2 to 25 years of coverage), so check with a sales representative before purchasing your machine.
- Parts: The most variation in treadmill warranties is found in parts and electronics. Typically a very cheap treadmill has a 90-day warranty or none at all. Slightly more reliable treadmills provide one-year parts warranties. The best home treadmills tend to have at least five-year parts warranties. Landice treadmills have lifetime parts warranties.
- Labor: Labor isn’t included on the cheapest treadmills. Others generally offer one or two years of free labor. However, the quality of labor warranties varies. For example, Landice provides labor in your home for free provided that you live within 60 miles of a dealer. NordicTrack, on the other hand, might expect you to pay shipping costs for machine repair.
Extra Features and Accessories
As you shop, think about how you work out and what additional features will facilitate your training. Here are some common extras that can make a big difference:
- Water Bottle Holders- Especially if you engage in high-intensity training, staying hydrated is paramount.
- Accessory Tray- This allows space to keep small items nearby that you might need during your workout.
- Device Holder- If you plan to use a tablet or smartphone, always look for a treadmill featuring a place for you to position your device where you can easily see the screen.
- Speakers- Listening to music can have a positive impact on your training, and many treadmills feature built-in speakers so you don’t have to rely on headphones.
- Bluetooth- Treadmills that can connect to your WiFi via Bluetooth provide the ability to stream your favorite music from your smart device.
- USB Charging Port- Many treadmills incorporating features that integrate your smart device into your workout provide a USB charging port for uninterrupted entertainment.
- Fan- Treadmill fans are a nice touch as you start working up a sweat.
- Heart Rate Monitoring- EKG heart rate monitoring is frequently made available on the handlebars, but they are known for inaccuracies. Wireless heart rate technology like chest straps are more reliable.
Most treadmill brands allow you to personalize your purchase. As you seek out the best treadmill for your specific needs, keep in mind there are a number of unique accessories to help you reach your fitness goals. Just a few extras you can consider as you weigh up your options include:
- Treadmill Mats: A treadmill mat can improve the durability of your treadmill and the flooring underneath, especially if you plan to place your machine on carpet. They also make it easier to clean the floor around your treadmill and minimize the noise caused by the vibration of using your machine.
- Treadmill Cleaning Materials: You want your treadmill to last. A great way to ensure this is to buy the proper cleaning and maintenance materials to help it stand the test of time, including lubrication kits and brushes specific to your treadmill. It’s best to wait until you receive your owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the appropriate materials for your machine.
- Entertainment Accessories: Don’t want to invest in a treadmill with a built-in screen? Maybe you already have a treadmill and just want to update it with the latest accessories or use the technology you already have. For this, you could buy a tablet holder so you can use your tablet or iPad while you workout or a reading rack so you can enjoy a book or magazine using your e-reader. You could even buy a TV stand to put in front of your treadmill so you can catch up on your shows while you burn calories.
Step 4: In-Person Test Run VS Online Treadmill Reviews
It’s wise to try a treadmill before inviting it home for good. You can test various brands in sporting goods stores and in some department stores such as Sears. However, if you do decide to test in-store to find your perfect match, be sure to buy your treadmill online! Usually the manufacturer’s website offers the best deal once you consider online discounts, sales tax, treadmill delivery, and consumer protections.
- Pros of Testing In-Store
- Get the chance to see the treadmill and take it for a test drive.
- Enjoy the ability to explore console features.
- Have a chance to ask questions in-person.
- Cons of Testing In-Store
- Demo treadmills have wear and tear that can impact your experience when using.
- Pushy salespeople may try to sell you something that won’t be a good fit.
- Newer salespeople may not provide accurate information.
- Options are limited compared to online shopping.
If testing a treadmill isn’t feasible, then it’s especially important to read honest reviews featuring feedback from real customers. This is something we take seriously in our review process. We’ll give you the inside scoop about which home treadmills you should put at the top of your list, which ones seem like quality health club treadmills, and so forth.
- Pros of Online Treadmill Reviews
- Benefit from feedback provided by real customers.
- Ensure information is reliable by researching credentials of review sites.
- Easily compare treadmills as you narrow your options.
- Cons of Online Treadmill Review
- Some reviewers are biased.
- It takes time to research the many products available online.
Step 5: Purchase the Perfect Treadmill for Your Needs
After you’ve determined any spacing limitations and budget, identified the treadmill mechanics needed for your training style, decided on the features you want, and picked out the perfect treadmill for your needs, it’s time to make the ultimate investment into your health and wellness. Sure, a treadmill will run a good chunk of change, but it can save even more in healthcare costs and add years to your life.
The fifth and final step is to decide how you’ll make the purchase. You can choose to purchase at a fitness retail store or online, so let’s take a look at what you can expect with each option.
Buying at a Retail Store
Buying your treadmill in-store gives you the opportunity to try out products you’re considering before you buy. Keep in mind, you’ll be working with third-party vendors, so they might not have the degree of expertise needed to answer important questions. If you decide to shop in-store, make sure you do your own research ahead of time.
- Pros of Buying at a Retail Store
- No need to wait for shipping.
- You can physically test the machine before you buy.
- Cons of Buying at a Retail Store
- You may be responsible for transporting and assembling.
- It may be necessary to register for your warranty.
- You’ll be susceptible to being encouraged to buy extras you don’t need.
Buying direct from the manufacturer comes with many benefits. You never have to leave the house, and many companies offer white glove delivery, allowing the option for assembly of your new treadmill in the room of your choice. You also have a direct line of contact for any warranty-covered labor in the future. Best of all, review sites like ours often offer special coupon deals to keep more money in your pocket.
- Pros of Buying Online
- Enjoy the perks of buying from the manufacturer like reliable answers to your questions and no extra overhead expenses.
- Explore multiple buying options for the best deal.
- Avoid having to transport the treadmill to your home.
- Cut out the middleman and pushy salespeople.
- Cons of Buying Online
- It can be difficult to talk to customer support.
- Online treadmills take longer to receive or return if needed.
- You can’t try the machine before you buy it.
We hope this guide has helped you understand how to buy a treadmill to suit your workout needs. It’s worthwhile to first determine your general needs and preferences, then choose a home treadmill that offers the best combination of components, features, and warranties that fits your home fitness budget.
Where should you start your treadmill search? Try our Treadmill Finder tool alongside our links below for honest treadmill reviews in three categories:
Happy treadmill shopping!
Treadmill Buying Guide FAQs
What should I look for when buying a treadmill?
A few factors to consider when shopping for a treadmill are budget, space, and your workout goals. If you are tight on space, you may want to consider a smaller sized treadmill deck, and folding capabilities. It is also important to look at features such as motor capacity, weight capacity, incline/decline settings, deck cushioning, and workout programs.
How much does a good treadmill typically cost?
Treadmill prices can range anywhere from $500 - $2000+. Typically, the most popular and highest rated treadmills are in the $1500+ price point. That being said, you can always get great deals during sales, so make sure you check our website for best pricing.
What are the best treadmill brands?
Some of the most popular and highly rated treadmill brands in the market are NordicTrack, Sole, ProForm, and Horizon. You can check out our review pages for each individual brand to get more information.