Treadmills have consistently been one of the most popular types of cardio equipment for home use. They can provide a safe haven from inclement weather, and also serve as a training tool for more serious fitness enthusiasts. There is a wide variety of treadmills to choose from that ranges tremendously in price, size, and features. A treadmill can be a good long-term investment, but you must do your homework! There are many things to consider before you buy; here is some food for thought on the topic:
Price of a treadmill tends to reflect the quality and durability of the product. More expensive models usually have stronger motors, sturdier frames, and higher quality treadbelts. Treadmills valued at around $1,000 are good for walking or lighter use, but won’t withstand the abuse from running over a long period of time. Treadmills in the $1,500 to $2,500 range should be better equipped to handle running and more regular use, while treadmills valued above $2,500 should be the most durable. In addition, amenities such as built-in speakers, heart rate monitors, and TV screens can increase the price.
The length of the treadmill belt varies on different models. If you are over 6’2” and want to run on your treadmill, you will need a model that has a longer treadbelt. A good treadmill for walking will have a belt in the 52-55” range, though models can have up to a 60” long deck to accommodate longer strides. Weight of the users is also important; if any of the users weigh over 225 pounds, it would be wise to consider a slightly more expensive model with a larger motor and sturdier frame. A better quality product that can handle the extra load will last longer.
Since the motor runs the treadmill, make sure that you are getting one that will last. Technical specifications will list two values relating to motors: continuous duty, and peak duty. As its name suggests, continuous duty is the rating for steady motor use. Peak duty is the motor’s maximum potential power, but that power cannot be sustained for a long time. So, look for treadmills with a continuous duty motor rating of at least 1.75 horsepower, though if you plan to run, a treadmill with a 2.5-3 horsepower continuous duty motor will be best in order to withstand the heavy use. Treadmills come with warranties that cover the frame, motor, parts, and labor. However, since the motor is usually the most expensive part of a treadmill to fix, make sure that the motor warranty lasts for at least 3 years.
Another important consideration when purchasing a treadmill for home use is the amount of space that is available. Some models are foldable. These treadmills have a hinge on the front, allowing the user to fold them up and store them against a wall or in a closet when not in use. Though there are some exceptions, folding treadmill models are generally less durable and are best for walking. If you have the space, consider a non-folding model if you plan to primarily run on your treadmill.