So far you’ve read about the factors you should consider when buying a new treadmill and how the 3 price categories distinguish one from another. Now it’s time you find out what gives value to a treadmill: the most important components and how these affect your workout experience.
The motor is the most important component of a treadmill. Remember this golden rule: a treadmill is only as good as its motor!
If you are in a situation where you have to choose between a treadmill with a TV screen incorporated in the console and one with a superior motor, you should opt for the latter.
The motor is the main part of a treadmill because this component moves the belt and sets the training pace. A motor’s power is measured in horsepower.
Treadmill manufacturers use two measurement systems for the motor power: Continuous Power and Peak Power. Continuous Power reflects how powerful a treadmill is when it operates continuously without any interruptions. Peak Power is the maximum power level a treadmill can reach in a short period of time.
Our recommendation is to buy a treadmill that has a motor with at least 2.25 CHP (Continuous Duty Horsepower).
Today, the incline system is adjusted via a second motor. This 2nd motor should be able to support at least 10% incline. Quality treadmills should be able to sustain 12-15% incline without problems.
The belt is also a very important component of a treadmill. As a general rule, the thicker the belt is, the better results you get.
You should look for treadmills that have advanced cushioning systems, like Life Fitness offers. The more cushion included, the less impact you feel on your joints. Some machines now come with adjustable belts so you can vary it from mimicking a street feel all the way to super cushioning with minimal impact on your knees and joints.
If you are tall person you should look for longer belts and you should also test drive the treadmill before you buy it to make sure you have enough room (and that you don’t buy a bouncy machine).
Electronic Console & Features
These days almost all treadmills have an electronic interface from where you control the machine. You can change speed, incline or start a built-in workout with a single touch. You should look for the treadmills that allow you to adjust these settings as a simple operation. Old models forced you to navigate between several screens just to change speed. You should avoid these types of products as they are obsolete.
Almost all manufacturers offer some built-in workouts. These workouts will automatically change the speed and incline of the machine and that is why they are very helpful in your workout routine. On the cheapest treadmills you should have at least 10 built in workouts. On advanced models you should find more preset exercises (25-30) and also some extra features like goal programs and tracking.
If you plan to buy a treadmill in the mid range class or higher you should get various fitness & training tools.
Pay attention to the display. Make sure it’s built with the most recent technology so that you can clearly see all information listed. Some displays are not visible from certain positions. The most efficient way to confirm your treadmill display is built correctly is to see the treadmill live before you purchase it.
Some treadmills come with entertainment features like TV in the console, internet connectivity, MP3 dock and Speaker System. These features are usually incorporated with mid range models, but don’t expect to get a touch screen on all models. You should check that the console is visible from different positions. Some consoles are actually adjustable these days.
One of the biggest mistakes made during a training session on a treadmill is to not keep correct posture. This happens when you are watching TV or reading a magazine during training. So be sure that the TV screen doesn’t affect your posture and that it has an adjustable position.
Also make sure you check the Sound System while the treadmill is working. You want to be sure that the sound quality is good. Otherwise drop the sound system and buy an iPod.
In most cases, the warranty is the first sign of the treadmill’s quality. In general, manufacturers don’t offer a long warranty for the products that break often. If they give a 10 year warranty for a treadmill it means that they don’t expect any problems with that machine for many years.
Now, when you buy a new treadmill you should look at what warranty is included for motor, frame, parts and in-house labor.
You will notice that almost all manufacturers offer long-period warranties for the frame. Don’t get excited since it’s very hard to break some metal bars. Most likely this is only a marketing thing.
Also, it’s very possible to see a long-period warranty for the motor. This is a good thing because, as we stated above, the motor is the main component of a treadmill (from our information manufacturers buy the motors from other companies and they replace each broken piece).
Also look for the parts and in-house labor warranty. The longer the period is, the more quality you get.
Many brands also offer an extended warranty. If you go for an economy model or if you are insecure about the treadmill’s quality, you should choose this additional coverage.
Read More in Part 4 of this article : Details To Consider When Buying A Treadmill