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Life Fitness Activate Series Review

Quick Summary

The Life Fitness Activate Series treadmills represent the entry-level units of the series which fitness fans would normally see in commercial gyms. To that extent, the Activate series brings commercial fitness center quality to the home. Priced at $4,999, it’s clear from the start the user expects durability. Built with an integrated reading rack, smartphone tray, and accessory tray, the unit also comes with an attachable television add-on in addition to the standard LED console. This unit could be for you if you want a well-built treadmill which looks, and feels like a commercial gym’s and, you’re willing to pay for it.

Manufactured with a spacious running deck and offered by a manufacturer with a reputation for support, it does offer the possibility of an attachable television add-on for increased entertainment. That said, the Activate series doesn’t offer an extensive array of integrated workout apps, but it would match-up well for users who want to bring their own to the game.

Rating: 80/100

 

Specifications

Model Activate
Rating

Our custom rating considers all of the treadmill's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

%
List Price

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.

$4,999
Best Price

Since prices change daily, this link goes to our preferred retailer for the current best price. Note: MSRP stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.

$4,999
Speed

Treadmill Speed is measured in Miles Per Hour (mph). Average running speed is 5-9 mph.

0.5-12 mph
Incline

Treadmill Incline measures the angle of the deck, and how steep it is relative to the floor (0% is flat, and 15% is like a steep hill).

0-15%
Motor

The Treadmill Motor is what turns the belt as you run. We recommend at least 2 HP (Horsepower) motors, 2.5+ HP for jogging, and 3.0+ HP for running.

3HP
Deck

Treadmill Deck dimensions are measured in inches: Width x Length. The wider and longer the deck, the safer it is (55-60 inches long recommended for running).

60" x 20"
Belt

The Treadmill Belt is the surface you run on. The thicker the belt, the less impact on your joints. At least 2-ply (1 inch) recommended.

Seigling E8 multi-ply polyester belt
Folding?

Some treadmills are designed to conserve space by folding up. This is a convenient option, but some features might be reduced.

Programs

Treadmill Programs allow you to complete a workout with changing speeds and inclines, without changing anything manually.

Max. Weight

Treadmill Max User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that it can safely support, which can represent durability.

400lbs
Heart Rate

Heart Rate programs allow you to track how many times your heart is beating per minute (bpm), and some control the workout for you.

Polar® Telemetry and Lifepulse™ with DSP (Digital Signal Processing).
Dimensions

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this treadmill will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

81" x 32" x 57"
Display

Treadmill Display refers to the screen you'll look at to monitor workouts. LED and LCD displays are similar to TV screens.

LED console
Cooling Fans

Treadmill Cooling Fans are designed to help keep you cool during an intense workout.

Accessory Tray

Some treadmills include an accessory tray for holding items such as water bottles, wallets, keys, or MP3 players like iPods.

Speakers

Treadmills that include a sound system allow you to listen to your MP3 player/iPod through built-in speakers (no headphones).

Quick Controls

Quick Controls allow you to select speed, incline and even workout programs with the touch of a button (usually on the handles).

Warranty

The warranty is a very important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs by the manufacturer.

Frame 7 years; Motor 7 years; Parts & Electronics 2 years; Labor 1 year

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Durability: At 325 pounds, the treadmill supports up to 400 pounds in user weight.
  • Motor: Customer reviews agree the 3.0 HP motor makes for a smooth, quiet experience up to speeds of 12mph.
  • Entertainment: Attachable television add-on unlocks a number of possibilities for user enjoyment.
  • Smooth Use: With a FlexDeck Shock Absorption System and Siegling E8 multi-ply polyester belt, users can run fast with comfort.
  • Good Spacing: A running deck of 60″ x 20″ makes for plenty of room to stride out.
  • Good incline: With an incline potential of 15%, the treadmill affords increased intensity.
  • Heart rate monitoring: With contact sensors in the handlebars as well as chest strap compatibility, users can keep track of their cardio work.

Cons:

  • No integrated workout package: Users bring their own workout apps.
  • No cooling fan: Most other home models afford this and given the price, it would be expected.
  • Size: Definitely a large model for the home.
  • Assembly: A unit this large would present challenges when self-assembling.
  • Shorter warranty: Most competitors offer lifetime guarantees on the frame, and longer terms on parts and labor.

Introduction

Part of the Life Fitness family of exercise machines, which includes units by Hammer Strength and Cybex, the Activate series brings a gym-feel to the home gym. And with a price tag of $4,999, the treadmills certainly come with high expectations relative to their peers. Built with integrated reading racks, smartphone trays, and a tray for other accessories, the Activate series also has an attachable television add-on in addition to the standard LED console. While other units come with interactive screens, its true to the Activate’s racks could be utilized as tablet-holders and third-party workout apps could be brought into the equation.

Structurally, what matters to most users, is the 3-HP, AC motor with MagnaDrive™ motor controller driving the DX3™ and FlexDeck Shock Absorption System and Seigling E8 multi-ply polyester belt. The unit operates on 2.75-inch precision-crowned steel rollers, front and back. The running deck is industry standard 60 inches long by 20 inches wide, with 18-inch handrails, and an 8-inch step up height. For runners with a need for speed, the range spreads from 0.5 to 12 mph, with an incline potential of 15%. Speed and incline of course help determine the intensity of the workout for users of any level. Build solid, these numbers represent a heavy-duty machine designed to accommodate multiple users daily.

An attractive Arctic Silver in coloring, the Activate treadmills provide contact sensors on the handlebars for heart rate monitoring, as well as telemetry, and they are chest strap-compatible, although the strap must be purchased separately. Size-wise, the treadmill is a whopping 81 inches long by 32 inches wide and stands 57 inches high, a big unit relative to other home models. And it makes sense that the 325-pound machine can support a maximum user weight of 400 pounds, significantly more than its peers. With a 7-year frame warranty, the product also comes with 1-year guarantees on mechanical and labor. This makes for a real positive if the users are larger in terms of bodyweight, or if they intend to give the treadmill some hard running. However, if the homeowner is looking for a compact unit, this will not be seen in such a positive light.

Designed with the commercial fitness club in mind, the sheer size of the machine does promises a high level of durability. Unlike other models though, the Activate treadmills don’t provide an integrated workout app, and it’s clearly it’s expected that the attached television unit would be the medium by which entertainment would be provided. The unit does offer heart rate monitoring by way of Polar® Telemetry, although an optional chest strap is required, and Lifepulse™ with DSP (Digital Signal Processing). That said, any tracking of the data would have to be done with a separate program. Considering the price of the model relative to other treadmills marketed for the home, it is a little surprising that an integrated app is not part of the package. Also missing from this machine is a headphone jack. And as with any machine this size, electrical hook-up is a consideration. The machine requires a dedicated 120 volt/20 amp circuit.

Warranty & Guarantee

The Commercial Series treadmill warranty includes:

– Frame: 7 years

– Motor: 7 years 

– Parts & Electronics: 2 years 

– Labor: 1 year

Conclusion

The Life Fitness Activate series is a reliable, high-quality treadmill that will more than satisfy users. That said, the $4,999 price tag certainly puts it up at the top of the chart in terms of home units. What’s missing is the integrated workout package. There’s no question the machine itself is solid and does a sport a high weight capacity, but frankly the warranty seems a bit short for the price in question. It’s an ideal machine for a family full of users at various skill levels who have their own entertainment devices and simply want that big gym feel.

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Rating: 80/100

 
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