When on the lookout for the ideal treadmill do your research and also obtain several quotes from different shops and add anything that stands out to your shortlist. Most people buy the majority of their consumer goods online and consequently prices are lower than in retail establishments. Have a search for any treadmill you like online and see if you can find it cheaper.
If you dont know what you are looking for have a look at treadmill review sites or even just go to Amazon and browse freely through their sporting goods section. At least you can check out what customers think of each treadmill they buy. Plus keep an eye out for flash or end of line sales, whether it be in your local sports stores or online.
Choose a budget and stick to it. If its under $500 the main treadmills for sale at this price range are from Weslo, Sunny Health & Fitness, Merit, Schwinn and Proform. Proform have also a lot of more expensive products but their range is so big they accommodate all price ranges. Check out reviews of these models, the Proform 590t, Schwinn 830, the Sunny SF-T4400 and read a review of the Weslo G5.9, a treadmillReviewers.net - best buy under $500.
If you have up to a $1000 budget read reviews of the Sole S77, Horizon T101, Proform Power 795 & Pro 1000 models. Look at the Nordic Track T 6.5S & the Nordic Track C 990. I have to warn you, Nordic Track & Proform are definitely the class leaders in this area but you wont have very much change left out of $1000, in fact you may only have 5 cents.
If your budget is over $1000 there are lots of high end models like the Precor 9.27, or the 9.33 & 9.35, all from Precor. The 9.35 costs over $4000. The Sole F80 is a good all-rounder with plenty of technology and hard wearing components and it retails for just under $1500. But apart from price and review stars what else is there to look out for when picking a treadmill?
Well heres a few things you should stay away from
Dont even entertain them as they are not worth the money. These are tougher than normal treadmill belts and they have ribbed rubber on them to prevent you from slipping. They are not recommended as a good pair of running shoes offers just as much padding and most likely even more comfort. They also hold in warmth which reduces the life of the belt & the motor life. Not only that, but the increased weight of orthopaedic belts puts increased pressure on the rollers. Rollers help the belt turn smoothly and they are a lot more expensive to replace than a belt.
Choose the Correct Motor
If you want to do sprint work and general up-tempo work on your treadmill you need to look at motors with a 3.0CHP rating and over. Some models go up to 4.0. You need a stronger motor to turn the belt faster, most cheap models have at max a 2.0CHP motor. This probably also means that the treadmill cannot go over 10mph, or maybe not even reach that speed. If it can it will certainly burn out, probably in less than a year if you plan on running fast on it habitually.
Pushing at high speeds pts a lot of strain on a motor unless it was built with power and speed in mind in the first place. Think of a high powered sports car set up for high revvs compared to a normal car. Both may reach 120mph, but the standard car risks blowing its engine if it drives at this speed for too long. It is just too much pressure for it to take.
If space is an issue, or if you live in an apartment you might not want to lug a large treadmill up a few flights of stairs, even if you have a lift. It might not fit in boxed for a start. If space is tight you need to read the dimensions of the machine when fully assembled. You want to make sure your machine folds if your living quarters are small. Some machines are smaller than others when fully assembled, some have short running decks for example. These could be the better option.
Some cheap models are famed for being rickety which leads them to rattle and squeak profusely when in use. Have a look at the reviews of any particular model you are interested in to see if this crops up. Some motors are very noisy on low-end models, whereas a brand like FreeMotion have their patented whisper drive system which cuts out a lot of the noise from the motor. If you have thin walls and are surrounded by hard to please neighbors this might be a safer bet, especially if you plan on training late into the evening or first thing in the morning before the commute.
Short-Term Financial Gains
Although choosing something that is cheap can be good for the short term, naturally so for the long haul youll wish you invested on a slightly better quality treadmill. Treadmill parts arent cheap and if the belt or the motor goes in a cheap model, it will cost just as much almost as you paid for it to get it fixed. Most treadmills under $400 only have 90 day warranties. And for good reason too, the parts are not of the hard wearing variety.
You can also order the parts if yours breaks down, but can you replace them yourself? Would it not be better to have paid a little more just to get at least a 12 month warranty & labor? There is of course a neat workaround. If you invest in something in the low end of the price scale like a Weslo or Sunny treadmill you can purchase an extended warranty of up to 3 years. You will not only have peace of mind but you will also save yourself a lot of heartache if yours breaks down.
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