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Treadmill Parts Glossary

Shopping for a new treadmill should allow you to focus solely on what YOU need. Unfortunately, the treadmill industry (like any industry) has its fair share of slang or other terms that may not be common knowledge to the average shopper. Here are a few of the terms you can expect to find on and what exactly they mean…

Accessory Tray – an accessory tray can mean a variety of things but is generally used to describe a tray where you can place certain personal objects like keys, wallet, magazines, water bottle(s), etc, etc.

Alternating Current (AC) Motor – typically only found on commercial treadmills, the AC motor is more powerful than DC motors but traditionally louder and usually require a single power source solely for the treadmill.

Belt (Treadmill Belt) – the belt is not only what drives the speed but also the surface in which a runner walks or runs. Belts can differ in size and strength but a 2″ ply with a black polyurethane top layer is common.

Continuous Duty Horsepower – often referred to as simply CHP, the continuous duty horsepower motor is common in today’s treadmills. It’s much quieter and the actual number signifies the amount of power a motor can generate under normal usage. The industry standard CHP at the moment is 3.0 CHP.

Cooling Fans – these fans are designed exclusively for cooling down your body. Since you are prone to sweat during an intense workout, the cooling fans are considered a standard but nice luxury.

Deck – (see belt). Often, the treadmill manufacture will list the running surface as the “deck size”. The size of the deck can differ substantially but a 20″ x 55″ is a common spec number.

Direct Current (DC) Motor – treadmills designed more for the home are usually equipped (but not always) with a DC motor. The motor operates via a constant power source. If you are wondering what motor is better, the answer is both will work with a decent warranty.

Drive Train – the mechanical system that transmits power or torque from one place to another. Specifically, the drive train on a treadmill is composed of the running belt, drive belt, rollers and motor.

Heart Rate Monitor – the built-in program is designed to monitor your heart-rate and consequently cater a workout program specific to how your body is reacting to the routine.

Horsepower (hp) – a unit for measuring the rate of electric work. In order to put things into perspective, one horse power is equal to approximately 746 watts.

iFit – a revolutionary new simulation program that essentially creates the illusion that you are running somewhere that you are not. Thanks to a partnership with Google, some treadmills allow you (with the proper equipment) to enter in any address, street, location and go workout in that setting.

Incline – often displayed as a percentage (or in other cases “levels”) that a treadmill will point vertically in order to create the experience of running up a hill. The higher the percentage the steeper the “hill”.

iPod Dock – not always limited specifically to an iPod but rather a treadmill that will support mp3 devices. Usually these treadmills are also equipped with built-in speakers to the walker/jogger can also hear the music being played without headphones. iPod docks are becoming increasingly popular as the industry moves more and more to digital music.

LCD – the acronym for “liquid crystal display”. The digital display incorporates liquid crystal cells that change reflectivity in an applied electric field. It is sometimes used as the display on a treadmill.

LED – the acronym for “light-emitting diode”. LED is another type of display system sometimes found on treadmills.

diode such that light emitted at a p-n junction is proportional to the bias current; color depends on the material used

Pulse Grips – a modern feature that allows users to wrap their hands around the grip and in turn get a readout of his or her BPM. You will generally see this feature equipped on treadmills with Heart Rate Monitoring.

Safety Key/Clip – one of the better treadmill features in past years, the safety key is a device that is designed to stop a treadmill if the user stumbles or falls. Since the key is inserted into the treadmill, the removal of the attachment (however slight) should completely halt the machine. Treadmills without this standard but often unappreciated feature are considered “unsafe”.

Sound System – simply the speaker system installed into the treadmill to play external music. Treadmills with built-in speakers also usually support iPods or other types of mp3 players.

Torque – the twisting force that drives the rollers on a treadmill and subsequently pulls the belt. The amount of horsepower is critical to the amount of torque.

Tracking – this little adjustment allows users to keep the belt centered on the treadmill. Manufactures may or may not install crowned rollers to help correct the belt but if not, several other adjustment screws or bolts can further adjust the belt.

Treadmill – an exercise machine that allows the user to walk or run in place inside the comfort of their home. Treadmills differ largely in features and price but serve the common desire of exercise and fitness inside.

Quick Controls – although they can vary from maker to maker, quick controls usually consist of one-touch buttons that will increase/decrease speed, incline and/or resistance. They are considered ideal for workouts on the fly when you need to make several speed and/or incline adjustments.

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