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Important Things To Consider When Buying A Treadmill

So you’ve made the decision to invest in a treadmill. That’s great news! Once you get your very own personal treadmill at home to use, it will be that much easier to stick with your running workout plans. No matter what your fitness level happens to be, treadmills are great for helping you burn fat and calories, get in better cardiovascular shape, and helping to improve your mood and energy levels.

Plus, there are so many terrific workouts you can do on treadmills. Don’t think that you can only jog. From interval sprints to incline walking to even doing some walking lunges on a treadmill, there are plenty of perfect opportunities to make use of this exercise machine.

This said, before you go out and buy the first treadmill you come across, there are some important things that you need to definitely consider. With so many different treadmills on the market, you want to ensure that you are choosing one that will fit the bill perfectly.

Let’s go over what these considerations are so that you can make an informed and wise decision.

Price

Obviously the first thing you are likely going to consider and the one that’s very obvious is price. How much are you willing to spend? Everyone will have their own budge range and your range is probably impacted by how serious of an exerciser you are (are you using the treadmill daily or just on occasion), as well as your own personal income.

Treadmills can range from $500 all the way up to $3000, so there is something for every budget range. Do note though that generally speaking, you do get what you pay for. So a $3000 treadmill is going to have a lot more bells and whistles than a $500 one. For instance, a $500 treadmill may not even be motorized, so you basically have to propel it yourself. This is going to give you a much different experience than one that comes with the motor.

Not everyone needs all the fancy additions though, so you don’t need to pay extra money for features that you won’t even use. For instance, some of the top of the line treadmills may come with a built in TV screen, however if you are someone who is exercising at home and has a TV in your room (or you prefer not to watch TV at all), then why pay extra for this?

As you shop, always watch for sales and rebates as those can make a big difference. In addition to that, keep in mind that different treadmill manufacturers will come with different warranty policies. Check into those when choosing between treadmills also. If one policy covers you for 5 years and the other is only a year, the difference you pay in price could well pay off if you have to service your treadmill a couple times in those five years.

While most well built treadmills are made to last, if you are heavy user, meaning you are running on it for 30-60 minutes most days per week, it’s not unlikely that you won’t run into a small issue from time to time.

Space

Next, you’ll want to consider space considerations. Where will you store the treadmill and how much room do you have? Actually measure out the area before you purchase the treadmill to be sure. The last thing you want to do is get that treadmill home and find out you are just too cramped in the space you have available.

Remember that you’ll need more room than just the treadmill. If you place it directly against a wall, you are going to feel very cramped in with your stride and this can impact your running performance.

Preferably you want to have at least two feed around all areas of the treadmill.

Also consider whether a folding treadmill is for you. These are excellent options for small spaces because you can pull them out and use them right in your living room if needed.

They’re also great if you happen to have a small home gym and need the area for strength training activities. Just fold the treadmill out while using it and then fold it back up and use that same space for doing your bicep curls and shoulder presses.

Stability

When shopping for a treadmill, you must make sure that you stand on it and give it a try. Nothing is going to be more important than actually going for that trial run (or walk if you prefer). Every treadmill is built slightly differently from an ergonomic point of view and you want to make sure that it feels good and natural.

For instance, you might find that the arm railings on one treadmill are not at a level that’s comfortable for you while on another treadmill, they feel perfectly.

Likewise, some treadmills have a wider belt than others, so for those individuals who are larger, the increased belt size will really add to the comfort that you feel while using the machine.

The type of belt and deck system will also impact how you feel while you run as this can really change the level of cushioning you get.

There are so many factors that go into how you feel while you run on a treadmill that’s it’s just too hard to know if it’ll work simply by reading the specs on some sales ad. You really need to just get in there and try it.

Horse Power

The next thing to think about is the motor and the level of horsepower the treadmill has. The more horsepower (HP), the longer you’ll be able to go on the treadmill without it starting to fail out.

If, for instance, you are a family of 4 runners, you are going to need something with a lot more HP than someone who is just a lone runner who likes to jog on occasion.

The more use that treadmill is going to get, the more HP you will need. Take the time to really consider what type of runners/walkers you are as well as anyone else in the household is.

Don’t just think about now either, think about what you hope to become. Then also think about how realistic it is that you will become that. Know that the two can be different. Many people dream of one day running a marathon, but only a few actually implement the steps to do so, so if you know your life is busy and there is very little chance that you doing a marathon event will actually happen, you probably don’t need to buy a treadmill around it.

As you go up in horsepower, the price is definitely going to increase, so it’s something that you do want to define from the start. If you know it’s going to be a heavily used treadmill, you should be able to justify spending more money on it.

Speed And Incline

Finally, the last thing that you’ll want to take into account is the speed and incline abilities the treadmill possesses. This is important to consider because it will give you a good indication as to what type of workout you will be able to perform on the machine.

For instance, if the speed only goes up to 7 mph and you plan on doing some running interval training, you are probably going to outgrow the treadmill at one point or another.

Likewise, if you are a fan of uphill walking but the treadmill only goes up to about an incline of 6, you aren’t going to get that maximum level of incline walking that helps you really push things that extra mile.

Therefore, you want to make sure that you think about what you hope to progress to and then use that information to determine which treadmill speed and incline you’ll be considering.

Just like with testing out the stability of the treadmill, if you can, put it to a high speed and a high incline. You want to make sure that it feels smooth at these levels so that you aren’t going to be stuck with something that isn’t comfortable to use.

On top of all this, make sure that you do read some customer reviews of any treadmill you are considering. Check out what others are saying about this machine. Is it going to be appropriate for your skill and exercise intensity level? Does it break down often?  What is the sound level like? Is it known for being noisy? These are more things that you’ll want to try and get second hand experience with whenever possible.

So there you have the main points to know when shopping for a treadmill. Do not buy a treadmill on a whim. You want to do your research and invest in a quality piece that you will be happy to use for years to come.

Photo credit: Maksym Bondarchuk/Shutterstock; Jacob Lund/Shutterstock; peampath2812/Shutterstock