Buying a treadmill for your home gym or office is a great way to get a run in no matter what the weather is like outside. With so many options to choose from, it’s important to do some thorough research before settling on a particular treadmill model. Though it might seem a little daunting at first, the following tips will help you narrow down your choices to those treadmills that fit into your budget and meet both your space requirements and exercise needs.
Treadmill models are available at a very wide range of price points, from budget home models priced well below $1,000 to commercial-quality, high-tech units that can easily exceed $3,000 or even $4,000. The first step in finding your perfect treadmill, then, is to determine your budget. Once you know that you have a limit of $1,200 to spend, for example, you can quickly get to the business of learning about and comparing units firmly in this price range and avoid wasting your time reading about models that you can’t afford.
According to Consumer Reports and other sources, the majority of home treadmill sales are in the under-$1,000 price range. There are many good options in this range that will provide all the basic treadmill functions you need for a good workout day after day. However, Consumer Reports also notes that consumers who spend more than $1,000 on a treadmill report greater satisfaction with their purchases. This is likely a result of the better quality hardware and construction found in this higher price range, as well as the additional features and technologies found in these models. Thus, you’re likely to better satisfied with a machine in the $1,000-$1,500 price range versus the $500-$1,000 range.
Basic Features to Consider
There are several important treadmill features to think about when buying a treadmill, no matter the price range. First, determine whether you need a folding deck or a fixed deck. While a fixed-deck treadmill will permanently occupy as much space as a loveseat, a folding model features a hinged running deck that lifts up out of the way when not in use. A folding-deck treadmill is quite convenient if you plan to place it in your office or a small home or apartment. However, note that the hinge represents an additional wearable part that will eventually need replacement with heavy use. Also, many treadmill owners find that a fixed deck model tends to feel sturdier underfoot, more like the ground outside.
Next, it is important to consider the control panel. While control panel technologies will vary greatly depending on your price range, any given treadmill should be evaluated for usability. A poorly implemented control panel that is complicated or otherwise difficult to use will prove to be a continuing source of annoyance for you. Look for a control panel with large, well-labeled buttons that are easy to manipulate even when you’re in the middle of a run and a little fatigued.
Finally, always pay close attention to the warranty. Virtually all quality treadmills available on the market sell with two or three years of coverage on wearable moving parts and a one-year warranty on labor. Higher price ranges come with better warranties.
Note that many other features and options may be available to you depending on your price range, from pre-programmed workout routines and variable incline running decks to Internet-enabled displays and integrated sound systems. The value of such features will depend on your individual preferences.
No matter your price range, it is essential that you get a look at some treadmill models in your price range before selecting one. While most treadmill manufacturers sell their models online, you will be more confident in your purchase if you have the opportunity to size it up in person. Most full-service sporting goods retailers stock a good selection of machines in the low to middle price ranges. Dedicated fitness equipment dealers, where you can find the best range of machines, are located in virtually all mid- to large-sized cities.