TreadClimber Buying Guide
Stuck on deciding between a treadmill and elliptical? Elliptical and Stairmaster?
The TreadClimber is the solution for the consumer who demands a little of everything with one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment on the market. Marketed as the 3 in 1 workout, the TreadClimber provides the forward walking motion of the treadmill, stepping effect of the Stairmaster and buttery smooth operation of the elliptical. It is, essentially, 3 in 1 workouts.
TreadClimbers provide a low impact workout and studies have actually proven that TreadClimbers burn twice the amount of calories when compared to exercising for the same time period on a standard treadmill. Thus, you could say that TreadClimbers are the future of the fitness market though they are still a relatively new, and undiscovered product. Sold? Before you decide on a TreadClimber make sure that you pay attention to our Buying Guide:
TreadClimber Buying Guide: The Market
Because TreadClimbers are still a pretty new invention, the only two manufactures that currently produce the trainer are Bowflex and Nautilus, both of which operate under the same company. Therefore, the competition is relatively nonexistent, but the good news is that Bowflex and Nautilus are both very good at what they do.
TreadClimber Buying Guide: Most Important Specs
If you are shopping for a treadmill you know that size of motor and deck size are vital. Ellipticals, meanwhile, are graded on how smooth they ride and the effectiveness of the flywheel (if present). The TreadClimber is a whole new animal and even though it provides both the experience of the treadmill and elliptical it does not necessary place the same precedence on specs.
TreadClimbers do have self-powered motors, however since you walk instead of jog/run (like most people do on a treadmill) the size of the motor is really not an issue. The few models on the market for 2011 do feature slight differences in speed, but the max 4.5mph speed on the Bowflex TC5500 is really not that different when compared to the Bowflex TC1000 with a max speed of 3.8mph.
Consequently, the performance of the trainer as well as durability of the frame holds the most importance. What you want to experience when you first test drive TreadClimbers is the operation of the machine as well as how well it “fits” to your natural stride. Do you feel comfortable while exercising? Is the TreadClimber noisy or quiet? How shaky is the frame?
It’s very important to feel like you are exercising on stable frame when it comes to any piece of exercise equipment and the TreadClimber is no exception. Always pay special attention to the max user weight. If you can test drive the TreadClimber before you purchase it’s a great chance to test out the durability of the frame.
Of course, space is always at a premium in the 21st century and unfortunately exercise equipment is traditionally bulky. The good news is that TreadClimbers are more compact compared to treadmills and most even provide transport wheels if you are going to move the trainer around a lot.
TreadClimber Buying Guide: Secondary Specs
The one knock on TreadClimbers is that they are not quite as sophisticated as treadmills. Yet. What we mean is many of the electronic advances now common on treadmills (iPod dock, built-in speakers, touch-screen display) are not evident on TreadClimbers.
While all of the TreadClimbers for 2011 provide handy LED readouts, we would like to see TreadClimbers eventually at least add an iPod dock since music is practically synonymous with exercise these days.
While electronics are not quite up to speed with treadmills and ellipticals, some of the higher priced models do provide outstanding workout features such as the wireless chest strap heart rate monitor of the Bowflex TC5500. The heart rate monitor allows you to remain in your target zone for the most productive workout possible.
All TreadClimbers are equipped with varied levels of resistance and workout functions. The levels of resistance are practically the same from the lower priced models and higher priced models. The workout functions, however, do really depend on price so you’re getting much more bang for the buck with the high-end products.
Lastly, some models also allow the user to switch over to Stairmaster Mode or Treadmill Mode. It’s a pretty unique feature if you’re looking to target a certain group of muscles.
Want to learn more about specific models? Check out our detailed TreadClimber reviews and compare them side-by-side.