The Most Important Treadmill Features
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The Most Important Treadmill Features

Treadmill shopping can be a bit daunting when you have not done it before. A treadmill is a big investment.

The options seem endless and each treadmill, no matter the price, brand or features, is advertised like it is the next best thing after sliced bread.

I have created this page with you in mind. I hope that, after you have read this page, you'll know a lot better which treadmill features are important to you.

Motor / Horsepower

A main feature of a treadmill is its motor. The capacity of the motor (horsepower = HP) and its quality pretty much determine how expensive your treadmill is going to be.

When looking at horsepower, be aware of the differences between the HP during continuous duty and the HP during peak duty.
The HP during continuous duty is the HP that the motor can maintain throughout your complete workout.

The HP during peak duty is the HP that can be reached by the motor, but cannot be maintained.

So, obviously you will want to make sure that the HP during continuous duty is high enough. No point in the motor being able to reach a certain level if it can only keep at that level for a short while.

Some guidelines :

  • Only walking on your treadmill ? Then 1.5 to 1.8 HP (continuous duty) should do the trick.

  • Running on your treadmill ? Then go for at least 2.0 HP (continuous duty).

  • Belt

    The size of the belt determines the space you have to run on.
    So make sure it is wide enough and long enough for you.
    Normally 16 inches wide and 45 inches long are fine for a person of average width and height.
    Bit wider or longer than average ? Take belt sizing into account when shopping for a treadmill !

    Speed / Incline / Programs

    Unless you are an elite runner a standard speed range of 0 to 10 miles per hour should be sufficient for you.
    The incline range normally causes no problems either. But if you wish to run vertically instead of horizontally, keep an eye on the incline range of the treadmill you wish to acquire... :)

    Think about how you want to use your treadmill.
    Are you a standard runner, normally doing a workout at one certain pace ?
    Or do you want a wide variety of different speeds and inclines during your workout ?

    If you belong to the majority of runners your need for fancy built-in programs is limited.
    On the other hand, if you do wish all the variety you can get in one run, then you'd better look into programmability of your treadmill, pre-defined programs and ease of use of the control panel.

    TIP :
    The more advanced a treadmill control panel, the more expensive the treadmill.
    So be critical about what it is you want and what you really need. Save yourself the valuable dollars if you can !

    Price / Warranty

    Treadmills come with a hefty pricetag. So know what it is you can and want to pay for your treadmill and stick to that.

    Guidelines :
  • Expect to be spending about $ 1,500 (US Dollars) for your treadmill.

  • Anything over $ 2,000 can get you a top quality treadmill.

  • For anything below $ 1,000 you are doing concessions on durability. So if that is all you can or are willing to spend then keep in mind to be putting aside a few dollars a week for your next treadmill.

  • And always take into consideration the warranty on your treadmill. Is it twelve months or ten years ? The warranty is how long the manufacturer trusts his own products ! So make sure you take that into account when treadmill shopping !

    Other Considerations

  • Buying a second hand treadmill
  • Second hand treadmills seem to be a good deal, especially if your decision is going to be more or less budget driven. However, keep in mind that you don't know how often the treadmill has been used. So you don't know the condition of the treadmill. When buying second hand always go fro brands which give a long warranty. Although warranty is normally not passed on to second hand buyers, that's as close as you'll get to certainty about your purchase.

  • Usage of the treadmill
  • Will you be the only person using the treadmill for half an hour a day ? Or will more people use it ? When the plan is that the whole family will use your treadmill, then look into getting a more reliable, more expensive treadmill.

  • To fold or not to fold
  • When you do not have much space for a big chunky treadmill, consider getting a foldable treadmill. Keep in mind though that you are limiting the options available to you.

    For the best running information, subscribe to the Best Running Tips Newsletter or to my site blog !

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