What To Look For When You Shop For A Home Treadmill

Calendar and Appleby Maren Sederquist, MES, CSCS, PES, CPT

All the bells and whistles available on treadmills these days are nice, but the important thing is to have a treadmill that will last you a long time. Quality, rather than options, will make you happier in the long run.

A check list for you!

  • Basic programming for variable speed, time, & distance.
  • Easy of use.
  • An incline grade of 15 percent (10 percent may be ok for a beginning exerciser).
  • Speed up to 10-12 mph for a runner.
  • Minimum 2.0 "continuous duty" horsepower.
  • Stability of the deck.
  • Height and stability of front or side rails.
  • Width and length of the belt that is comfortable for the stride of all users. (Min. 17 x 49 inches, and 2-ply thick.)
  • Board thickness should be at least an inch.
  • Deck cushioning that is firm enough to handle the heaviest user, but flexible enough to handle the lightest user. ( "Flex decks" are usually the best.)
  • Quietness. You should be able to hear your stereo or TV over it!
  • Good suspension/shock absorption. (The frame shouldn't bounce if you run).
  • All moving parts should be covered up.
  • The monitor should be positioned for easy reading during use.
  • There should be an emergency stop button, cord or magnet.
  • The belt should run smoothly, and not stop or start too abruptly.
  • Aluminum frames have more impact absorption and are less likely to corrode than steel frames.
  • Warranty should be 3 yrs on the motor, 2 yrs on the drive train, and for the lifetime of the frame.
  • Know who will service your treadmill if needed while under warranty.
  • Options that are up to personal preference: preset programs, heart rate monitor, calories burned, upper body resistance levers, aesthetic styling.
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