Treadmill Buying Guide 

 

 

After reviewing the top treadmill makers and models, we have written this treadmill buying guide as a reference to help you select the best treadmill for your own home use.  Our treadmill buying guide includes the main considerations for selecting the right treadmill, and a treadmill review summary of several specific makers.

Individual Considerations

One of the main purposes of this treadmill guide is to help you realize that buying a treadmill is a very personal decision.  Because of your specific, individual fitness goals, workout preferences and budget constraints, the best treadmill for you may be very different from the ideal treadmill for someone else.  We hope that the following considerations in this treadmill review will help you evaluate your needs.

bulletWorkout features:
Consider if you will use the treadmill for walking or running, or both.  Do you want several pre-set workouts to boost your motivation and workout variability?  Do you need to know how many calories you are burning, or what your heart rate is?  How fast do you need the treadmill to go?  (Average walking pace is 3-6 mph, while average running pace is 6-10 mph.)  Do you want the treadmill to incline?
 
bulletMechanical components:
What is the frame made out of?  (Steel is a much stronger and durable material than wood or particle board with plastic.)  How long does the warranty last for the frame, motor, parts, electronics and labor?  (In general, longer warranties mean better construction and materials!)  How much horsepower do you need in the motor?  (The best treadmill will have at least a 1.5 horsepower continuous duty motor.)
 
bulletSafety & comfort:
Does the treadmill offer an automatic safety key system and an emergency shut-off switch?  What kind of shock absorption does the machine have?  Do you need a built-in fan or water-bottle holders?
 
bulletOverall value:
We realize that price is often a limiting factor; however, it is important to consider the value of different treadmills, and not just the straight dollar cost.  What added features can you get by spending just a little more money?  Consider the amount of money you’ll be saving in gym membership fees and transportation just by working out at home!

Manufacturer review: brand-by-brand summary  

BOWFLEX
Bowflex treadmills start at around $1500 and reach the $3000-range for top-of-the-line models.  Features: LCD console, Soft Drop Technology for folding, Strike Zone deck suspension.

Our Opinion:  Our treadmill buying guide rates Bowflex as a quality maker providing excellent machines.  Bowflex offers many workout and comfort features, but we feel that for the money there are better buys.

ENDURANCE The best features are the warranties and sturdy, welded frames; Endurance treadmills provide an average workout in the mid- to upper- price range.  Features: 6-point deck suspension, water-bottle holder, safety key stop.

Our Opinion:  Though Endurance home treadmills are satisfactory machines, we feel that they do not offer quite as many key features on the console.  They also tend to have smaller belts and motors for the money, relative to other manufacturers’ comparable models.

HORIZON
Well-built motors are the forte of Horizon machines in our treadmill buying guide.  Features: Gel Cell cushioning, digital controls, COMFORTzone belt, LCD screen, folding capability on some models.

Our Opinion:  While Horizon treadmills are well-built, they do not offer many of the more specialized features offered by other manufacturers; other brands offer a more complete workout and more variability for the same money.

LANDICE
Ranging from $3200 to $5700, Landice machines are the most costly in our treadmill buying guide.  Landice treadmills are built to last, and they can take a lot of use and abuse.  Features: lifetime warranty on frame, parts and motor.

Our Opinion:  Landice is the best treadmill for overall durability and frame strength.  If price is no object, then our treadmill buying guide rates the Landice treadmill as a great choice.  However, as we stated with the bowflex treadmill, we feel that for the price, there are brands that give you more features for less money.

PROFORM
Proform is one of the better-known home treadmill brands.  You can get an entry-level model for about $500, while the upper-range models top out at around $1500.   Features: built-in fan, CD player, carb counter, calorie counter, water-bottle holder.

Our Opinion:  Though Proform machines are highly affordable, one important point we would like to make is that their warranties are considerably shorter when compared to the rest of the industry, and that these machines may sacrifice on quality in order to be sold at the lowest prices.

LIFESPAN
Our treadmill buying guide top recommendation is for LifeSpan Treadmills.  Some of the features that make LifeSpan our favorite brand is that you get a bigger and stronger motor, and thicker belt, plus a lifetime warranty, extra stability, Swing Arm Suspension System for shock absorption, and folding capability -- all in one machine that costs less than many of the comparable models made by other companies.

Our Opinion:  We feel that the best treadmill value on the market is the LifeSpan Treadmill.  We wanted to understand how LifeSpan can provide so many features, and yet cost so much less.  We researched the Lifespan Fitness company and discovered that the reason they can give you more for your money is that they sell their products primarily online.  Buying online allows you to avoid paying an inflated price due to the mark-ups that retailers and distributors add along the route of sale with other brands.  LifeSpan also sells for less because they do not do heavy advertising like some other brands, so they can also pass those savings along to their customers.  To read more about Lifespan Treadmills, or specifically about our top recommended model, the LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill, you can follow this link to Amazon.com.  Amazon has the best prices and we found their customer reviews very helpful.

 

Additional Reading:

Smooth Treadmill Review - More information on the Smooth treadmills including features, prices, and how they compare to other brands.

Endurance Treamills - Review of endurance treadmill models including features, prices, warranty, and comparison to other treadmills.

Proform Treadmills - Comparison of the proform treadmill to other brands.  Warranty, price and features to consider.  See why we give this treadmill make low ratings compared to other brands.

Horizon Fitness Treadmill Review - Information about horizon treadmills including features to consider, prices, warranty, and comparison to other treadmills.  Read why other treadmills are better buys for the money.

Bowflex Treadmills - Information about bowflex treadmills including features, prices, and how they compare to other treadmills.  Learn about the top rated bowflex 7 series treadmill.

Treadmill Reviews - Additional information on treadmills including features to consider, warranty info, safety and comfort features, overall value.  Home treadmill ratings. 

Tread Mill Reviews - Tread mill report comparing the different manufactures of treadmills.  Help finding the features you need, and the best value for your fitness dollars.

 

More than the treadmill buying guide on our fitmoves home page