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Treadmill Ratings Central > Tips For Buying a Treadmill

Tips For Buying a Treadmill

Getting The Most Bang For Your Treadmill Buck

Define Your Goals

Home treadmills come at a variety of prices, ranging from under $400 up to over $4000, so you should spend some time deciding what you really want from your treadmill. If you are only planning to walk a few times per week, you certainly won't need a huge gym-like quality monster priced at $2.995. On the other hand, all the experts agree that, while they can be perfect for walkers, treadmills under $1000 generally lack the quality and stability needed to support anything more than light jogging.

Prepare Your Workout Space

Make sure you have adequate space for your new treadmill - some people get unpleasantly surprised when they realize how much bigger the thing looks once it's in their living room. Arrange your future workout area in a way you'll be comfortable with, so you can enjoy your exercise as much as possible.

Look In The Right Places

When you start looking for a treadmill, you'll realize that you can find them not only in specialty fitness stores, but in lots of department stores and shopping malls as well. While the models in the department stores may look more attractive and even have lower prices, a specialty dealer should be your first choice - they are going to be more knowledgeable about the subject, able to guide you in the right direction according to your fitness goals and eventually offer better deals and service.

Buying a Treadmill Online

As you've probably guessed, the last couple of years have seen a rise in exercise equipment sales over the internet, and treadmills are no exception. Online deals are getting better and more and more people choose to save up to hundreds of dollars by taking advantage of "factory direct" offers and similar internet only deals. The potential downsides of buying a treadmill online are the inability to test the desired model for yourself and the small print on some offers that might give you less than you bargained for, if you don't go through it carefully.

Manual Treadmills and Used Treadmills

Although a serious investment in your health, a treadmill doesn't have to cost you tons of money. Still, there are some basic price-related recommendations you should follow, and among them are the ones about non-motorized and used treadmills - avoid them if you can, for they can bring you more trouble than exercise.

Treadmill Motor

Treadmill motor is arguably the most important treadmill part, it does the majority of work during the exercise and is usually a good indicator of overall treadmill quality. Since there are no clear standards in rating the motor power, different manufacturers may use different measurements - you'll come across "Continuous Duty", "Peak Duty" and even "Treadmill Duty". Your best bet is to look for its Continuous Horsepower (CHP) as it will tell you how much the motor can pull over a sustained period of time.

Treadmill Running Surface

Besides the motor, treadmill deck and treadmill belt are the most important parts of the treadmill, since this is where your feet will actually spend your exercising time. Used materials differ depending on the manufacturer, but the most important things are easily measured - you'll want to know if the running area is big enough for your stride and if the shock absorption will adequately reduce impact to your knees, joints and back.

Treadmill Frame

Treadmill frames are what holds it all together and should be sturdy enough not to jump around while you're running. Stability is an important treadmill feature and you don't want a machine that will jiggle and shake under your weight. Another thing to pay attention to is the frame material - the more expensive aluminium won't rust and therefore usually requires less maintenance, while steel is heavier and provides a more solid feel.

Treadmill Speed and Incline

Depending on your training preferences, you'll use a variety of speed and incline settings during your workout. Most of todays treadmills can easily go up to 10mph speed and 10% incline so you won't have to worry about that, but have in mind that better quality treadmills will have less trouble keeping the higher pace than their cheaper counterparts.

Treadmill Control Panel

Treadmill control panels have been evolving through the years, offering more and more as the technology advances, but the general opinion is that many of the features are somewhat irrelevant and that you shouldn't pay for more than you will use. The most important part of the treadmill control panel is a good display screen, as you'll probably want easy access to your time, distance, pace and burned calories data.

Heart Rate Monitoring

The best way of controlling the effectiveness of your workout is by controlling your heart rate, since it's a good indicator of how hard your heart is working. Although many treadmills have some sort of heart rate monitoring, it's usually not as precise as it could be - if you can choose between the two, get a chest strap instead of a pulse monitor, but consider getting a separate heart rate monitor for best results.

Treadmill Gadgetry

Most of the treadmill gadgets are often referred to as "unnecessary glitz" and "more things to break down" by the experts, yet many users tend to be impressed by them. It's nice to see fans, interactive animations and a cd player on a treadmill, as long as you remember that you can save some money on such extra features without really losing on the quality of your workout.

Folding Treadmills

A good number of modern treadmills have folding capabilities, so you can easily put them away when you're not using them. It's obvious how you can benefit from a folding treadmill if you're tight on space, but look for the one whose stability isn't compromised, since some foldable treadmills tend to be shakier than others.

Treadmill Noise

While you can always listen to your favourite music during your exercise, your neighbours might not appreciate the buzzing of your treadmill. The majority of treadmills have decent noise levels of around 65dB - comparable to a louder conversation or a busy street - but if it becomes an issue, a treadmill mat will both dampen the noise and protect your floor.

Maximum User Weight

Although often overlooked, maximum user weight may be an important purchasing factor, so be sure to check if the treadmill can support the weight of the heaviest person that will exercise on it.

Treadmill Warranty

As the quality of the treadmills improves, treadmill warranties are improving as well, so you can expect a lifetime warranty on frame and at least a few years on parts from most better manufacturers. Pay attention to the small print, though, since your warranty might be shortened if you don't buy from a dealer closest to you. You also might want to consider an extended warranty for cheaper treadmills, if the basic warranty seems too short.

The Value Of Service

Treadmill is a complex piece of exercise equipment and some problems will eventually occur. When that happens, you'll be much better off if you chose a manufacturer with a good service and repair history, so be sure to investigate a little prior to making a purchase.

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