Five Best Treadmills for Home Use 2018
|3.6 CHP||0 - 12 mph||-3 - 15%||$2,299||See Best Price|
|3.5 CHP||0.5 - 12 mph||0 - 15%||$2,699||See Best Price|
|4.0 CHP AC Drive||0.5 - 12 mph||0.5 - 15%||$5,499||See Best Price|
|4.25 CHP||0 - 12 mph||-3 - 15%||$3,599||See Best Price|
|3.5 CHP||0 - 12 mph||-3 - 15%||$1,999||See Best Price|
A Guide to Treadmill Parts and Warranties
When you head out to shop for a new treadmill, there are many factors to take into consideration. It’s easy to just be swayed by whatever machine happens to have the most bells and whistles, however this can unfortunately leave you missing the big picture.
By understanding the parts that make up the treadmill and how you can best determine what you need, you will be that much more prepared to make a smart shopping decision as you read various treadmill reviews.
So let’s go over what you need to know in this review.
The first thing you’ll want to look at is the deck size. You may be inclined to think that all decks come in a standard size, but that isn’t the case. Some are much smaller than others, so for those who are larger individuals, you’ll want to find a bigger deck. It’s simply more comfortable, especially if you have a longer stride length.
Even those who are just average size may find they prefer bigger decks as the smaller sizes could feel a little trapped as they run. You want to feel free to move, like you would outside, not like your stride and movement patterns are being shortened.
This said, you also need to take into account the space you plan to use in the treadmill in. If it’s too large, you may not be able to fit in in your home workout space so that then becomes its own problem.
This should provide sufficient room for just about everyone, whether you are walking or running. So if you are taller, know that this is probably the deck size you’ll want to use.
If you’re shorter and prefer something a bit less space consuming for your small apartment, then go with a deck that’s around 20 inches in width and 55 inches wide. This can also be more applicable to anyone who’s just walking and not running. Your stride length is longer when you run, so that’s why having that extra 5 inches of belt room is a nice feature.
If you’re over 6 feet and plan to do a lot of running, then you may want to look into one of the few treadmill models that comes with an extra long and wide deck at 22 by 63 inches. The Landice L8 treadmill has that, so this may be your perfect match. Do keep in mind too that if you are stuck in a small space but still want a belt that’s longer, you can also look into a folding treadmill. This way it can be put up when not in use, giving you more living space as needed.
The best treadmill machines out there are the ones that come with incline training options. You want to be able to elevate that deck so that it mimics that of walking up hill and gives you a greater challenge.
When you can do this, you’ll be hitting the glutes, hamstrings, and calves to a much larger extend, really strengthening these muscles. This will also allow you to burn more calories and get your heart rate up higher, which then leads you to superior cardiovascular fitness progress.
Some people even find that uphill walking (or even jogging) is easier on their joints than walking or running on flat ground. This is because the body is in a different angle when you are doing this exercise and the foot makes contact with the belt much sooner.
You may not be able to remember ever seeing a treadmill that didn’t incline, but do keep in mind that the inclinability features do vary and this can lead to considerable differences in machine quality.
On the lowest priced treadmills, you can only incline to a very small amount. Usually there are three settings to these, so you really only have three different progressions. On some of the best treadmills, you’ll have up to 20 levels of incline and it’s done on a power system so you can simply just press a button and you’ll be inclining to whatever you’ve set it to.
Additional to this, on the really great treadmills, the incline is worked into the preset programs so you can get a program that already incorporates this feature into your session.
If you look at the higher end treadmills, you’ll find they have the incline controls right on the handlebars, which makes this maximally comfortable for you. There’s no worrying about reaching forward as the control button is right there with you at all times.
If you cross over into Max Trainers, such as the Bowflex Bax Trainer, then you begin seeing even greater inclinability to the tune of 40%. This much greater than most treadmills by comparison, which come in at around 15-20% incline.
If you are really looking to push your training to the max and achieve maximal results, this will be the machine to do it.
Lastly note that a few of the very best treadmill machines will also allow you to go downhill, such as the ProForm Pro 2000, so if you are, for instance, trying to mimic real life running as best as possible, you may want to consider these machines.
Heart Rate Monitoring
In order to get the absolute best workout in from your time, you’ll want to also have the ability to monitor your heart rate. This gives you direct feedback on how hard your body is working and very likely, how many calories you are burning as well.
Some of the better treadmill models will be more accurate with regards to heart rate monitoring than others, so if this is a major feature you are looking for, don’t forget to take this into account.
By allowing yourself to really determine exactly where you are with your heart rate, you can better monitor progress and ensure that your program is set up in such a way that it lets you advice.
On top of this, if you get one of the best treadmill machines, then you’ll also have the ability to export the data collected by the machine and transfer it to your FitBit or any of the other fitness apps that you may be utilizing to keep track of your workout performance.
When we look at the top of the line treadmills, we also see that they have wireless heart rate receivers, which allows them to ensure they are as accurate as possible.
Typically you’ll wear a chest strap with this and the information will be transferred from the chest strap to the receiver.
Alternatively, the other option for measuring heart rate is to do so through sensors that are placed on the handle bars. This is the more common option and what is typically seen in those who are utilizing commercial gym machines. It is less convenient however as you then have to hold onto those strips in order for your heart rate to be calculated. Sometimes they don’t produce the most accurate of results either.
Treadmill Display Screens and Workout Programs
Another component of the treadmill that you’ll want to be looking at is the treadmill display screen as well as the workout programs included with that treadmill.
As treadmills are the most commonly utilized pieces of fitness equipment in today’s market, many people are buying them, but not everyone is making use of them. These features aim to stop that.
Some of the more expensive models have display screens that actually allow you to stream real live exercise classes or a running experience, allowing you to run through various courses around the world. So now you can have a whole new change of scenery each time you go out for a run.
The better treadmill models do tend to have a larger display area, which can be beneficial when exercising with intensity. If you are running, it becomes harder to read tiny information on the screen, so the larger the numbers are, the better your user experience will typically be.
Most screens are between the 7-10 inch width range, however some of the bigger ones measure up to 22 inches wide. The best treadmill options have backlights as well for easy reading, so you’ll want to look for that feature also.
Finally, some treadmills also come with a built in media shelf where you can place books, magazines, or your iPad or iPhone as well for added convenience. While it’s not a necessary feature at all, it is a nice bonus.
Additionally some treadmills let you add new workout programs, usually through web downloads. Some let you train with virtual reality or mixed reality for simulated outdoor exercise around the world. Your view of real landscapes will adjust to your speed. The best-known virtual video workout platforms in our treadmill reviews are iFit (see NordicTrack and ProForm), Passport Video (Horizon Fitness), and RunFit (compatible with Nautilus treadmills).
With durability in mind, we recommend choosing a treadmill with a workout belt that’s two-ply or thicker. Low-priced home treadmills tend to have single-ply workout belts. These might be just one millimeter thick. One disadvantage is that these belts wear out quickly. Sometimes they snap or rip. More common is belt stretching, which leads to your needing to recalibrate the machine. A second disadvantage of a thin belt is more potential for noise; when a belt is heavier, it has less opportunity to make a "flappity-flap" sound as it moves. And a third disadvantage is the need for regular maintenance. You might need to wax the belt often to help keep it running smoothly. The best treadmill belt is maintenance-free except for occasional dusting.
Other durability-related components to consider are the rollers, which help move the tread belt. Better treadmills have more rollers and larger, heavier rollers. On budget treadmills the rollers might be smaller than 2" in diameter. On better home treadmills they're about 2.5" in diameter or larger.
Another component to consider for durability is the belt motor. Treadmill motors are usually under lifetime warranty, yet a 2.0 CHP motor with lifetime warranty still isn't as durable as one with a 4.0 CHP motor. Our standard is 3.0 CHP for jogging and 4.0 CHP for more than casual running. The larger the user, and the more frequent or intense the training, the more important the motor becomes.
Treadmill warranties can be great hints about durability. They shouldn't be your only reference, but basically a warranty shows how much confidence the factory's insurance company shows in the product.
The most important part of a treadmill warranty is the "parts" section. A good treadmill brand will include electronics coverage in the parts warranty. Electronics coverage is valuable, as a console could cost hundreds of dollars to replace. Here are some general guidelines:
- Very cheap treadmills have parts warranties valid for one year or less.
- Many entry-level treadmills for home gyms are protected for one or two years.
- For treadmills priced around $1000 or more, parts warranties of three years or longer are common.
Most treadmill warranties provide lifetime coverage for the motor and frame. The deck or running surface might also have a lifetime guarantee. The best treadmill warranty comes for Landice. Landice is the only brand to include lifetime coverage for the parts as well as the frame.
The last section of a treadmill warranty is for labor. Very cheap treadmills are sold with six months or less of free repairs. As prices increase, the labor warranties become more generous but rarely exceed three years. Some manufacturers, such as Sole Fitness, provide labor in-home. Others will require you to ship a broken machine for repairs… so choosing a durable treadmill from a reputable manufacturer can really help you avoid hassles.
Final Word on Finding the Best Treadmill for You
Knowing the parts of a treadmill can help you make a wise buy. Remember though that a treadmill is more than the sum of its parts. To get an idea of how well the components work together, and how they might stand up over time, be sure to check reputable sources for treadmill reviews before you make your choice.