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Treadmill Questions and Answers

When browsing treadmill sale sites and reading reviews, you’ll likely have questions. Look here for answers. Below are FitRated.com’s responses to frequently asked questions about treadmills. Together they serve as a useful treadmill buying guide. Feel free to contact us if your treadmill questions aren’t answered here.

Treadmill FAQ… Answered!

1) What does “CHP” mean in descriptions of treadmill motors?

CHP stands for continuous horse power. This descriptor replaces simple horsepower or HP, which was commonly seen in our treadmill reviews years ago. Today most manufacturers advertise CHP instead of HP.

What’s the difference between CHP and HP? Continuous horsepower is a better description of a motor’s capability because it describes how much power the motor can produce continuously instead of just at its peak. A treadmill motor that has 3.0 CHP, for example, is more capable than one with 3.0 HP.

2) How much power should my home treadmill have?

Motor power adds to a treadmill’s price. Obviously you don’t want to spend more than is necessary — but you also don’t want to push the motor to its limits; the treadmill won’t perform at its best and could wear out before its time.

Consider your workout plans and body weight when comparing treadmill motors. Runners need more power than walkers do. Heavier people need more power compared with people who weigh less.

Here are guidelines for trainees weighing up to 200 pounds. If you weigh more, then add at least another 0.5 CHP to these home treadmill motor suggestions.

  • Walking: 2.0 CHP
  • Jogging: 2.5 CHP
  • Running: 3.0 CHP

Commercial treadmills have stronger motors in order to handle use by multiple users per day.

3) What are the dimensions of an average treadmill running surface?

The most common dimensions for home treadmill exercise surfaces are 20″ x 55″ and 20″ x 60″. Treadmills in fitness clubs usually have 20″ x 60″ workout surfaces. Here are details:

Width: Most treadmill tracks are 20″ wide. Some are 22″ wide. Some very cheap treadmills have narrow 18″ tracks.

Length: Most treadmill tracks are 55″ or 60″ long. Very cheap treadmills sometimes have much shorter tracks. Some treadmill brands feature extra-long 62″ tracks.

Generally a treadmill with a 55″ workout surface is considered a walker’s treadmill. A treadmill with a 60″ track is considered a runner’s treadmill. However, if you aren’t so tall then a 55″ track could provide enough room for your running stride. Make sure that the treadmill has enough motor power too.

4) Are folding treadmills sturdy? How are they different from non-folding treadmills?

Folding treadmills are designed for homes with limited workout space. They have decks that can be folded upward when exercise is through. Usually the folding process is very simple; it takes less than a minute and requires little physical strength.

Once upon a time, choosing a folding treadmill required making some compromises in terms of stability, motor power, track size and special features. However, most folding treadmills today are just as sturdy and feature-rich as non-folding treadmills.

5) Is a $2,999 treadmill much better than a $499 treadmill?

Yes, higher priced treadmills are significantly better than low budget treadmills. More expensive treadmills generally feature hardier components, quieter operation and more reliable electronics. They are also generally backed by better warranties. In the long run a more expensive treadmill will likely pay off; you won’t need to pay for repairs or buying a whole new machine every year or two. (See answer #7 below for some math.)

Of course, some manufacturers price their treadmills high even when the quality isn’t impressive — and some lower budget treadmills can offer good value. (Just $500 is extremely cheap though! We recommend moving up to at least $799 if possible.) Our unbiased treadmill reviews help shoppers make informed choices within all price categories.

6) For treadmill data screens, what is the difference between LCD and LED?

LCD stands for “liquid crystal display” and LED is short for “light-emitting diode.” The newer tech is the LED screen. It provides more clarity and is high contrast at any angle. With a liquid crystal display, on the other hand, the readout can be difficult to see depending on the viewer’s angle.

The LED is a better choice when longevity is important. This type of treadmill display technology holds up better under the cardio machine’s vibrations. It also costs less to repair. If an LCD burns out, then the entire console needs to be replaced. But if an LED display has trouble, you can replace it part-by-part instead of getting a whole new data monitor.

7) What should I know about treadmill warranties? What is a good treadmill warranty?

Treadmill warranties have up to six sections: frame, motor, deck, parts, electronics and labor.

In almost all cases — even for very cheap treadmills — the frame and deck have lifetime guarantees. It’s also common at all price levels to have a motor under lifetime warranty. A 25-year motor warranty might sound impressive but it’s usually a sign that something else is amiss. Cheaper track designs, for example, put more stress on the motor — and cheaper tracks have problems such as noisy operation and more likeliness to rip.

The parts warranties for most home treadmills range from 90 days to six years. Most common are parts warranties for one, two, three or five years. We strongly caution against purchasing treadmills with mere 90-day parts warranties. Here’s some math to consider: Imagine that a $499 treadmill has a 90-day warranty. If the machine breaks down right after the warranty is expired, then the customer paid about $5.50 per day for treadmill workouts. Compare this with a $999 treadmill that has a one-year parts warranty. If this machine goes bust right after the warranty expires, then the cost was about $2.75/day.

Some treadmill ads don’t mention electronics warranties. Before you buy, know the deal! Replacing a treadmill console can be expensive.

Typical labor warranties for home treadmills are for one or two years. The best labor warranties provide in-home repairs. This perk is offered by Sole Fitness and a few other brands. If in-home repair isn’t provided, then “free labor” could actually be expensive. Customers are expected to pay for shipping the broken machine.

More Treadmill Questions

If your treadmill question isn’t answered above, feel free to contact us for help.