Know what to look for when shopping for a treadmill by using these tips.
Walk Away a Winner
Whether it is winter or summer, many people find the weather uninviting for outdoor exercise. Some don't have a buddy to jog with late at night, while others prefer to watch television at this time. Therefore, many opt for treadmills.
Convenience ranks high as a motivation for purchasing a treadmill. Their onboard systems often make it easier to keep track of the time and speed of running or jogging. Treadmills are also easier on the knees than running on cement sidewalks.
Shopping for a treadmill can stress and bewilder the consumer because of the many factors involved. Also, since buying a treadmill is a higher-than-average financial investment, you don't want to hasten your decision. Outlined and explained below are the features one should look for in a treadmill. Although information and brands can be viewed online, treadmills should be tested in person.
First, ask about the treadmill's horsepower (hp). The more horsepower it has, the better. If you are looking for a treadmill to run on frequently, a higher hp would be needed. Also, the more hp a treadmill has, the more durability it will exhibit. A treadmill with 1.5 continuous hp is the average for lower-grade models. A treadmill with 1.5 continuous hp (such as some of the Keys models) or above is satisfactory, while 2.5 (Diamondback Treadmills) or 3.0 (Landice) is even better. "Continuous hp" means that it can maintain that hp for 24 hours. "Peak hp" is the highest hp the motor has, but only for limited periods of time.
Another hp-related factor to consider when buying a treadmill is the weight capacity. Ask if the treadmill is designed for both walking and jogging or just walking. Higher weight demands greater hp.
Speed, Incline and Programs
Ask about speed and incline range. Most treadmills can go from 0 to 10 or 12 mph. The incline is measured in degrees, with most models being able to achieve a 12-degree incline. Also, look at the display board and see what variables it features. Speed, time and distance are usually displayed, while others include programs and calories burned.
Treadmill programs vary by model. Many treadmills have user-defined or manual programs, where you can input customized settings, such as speed and incline. Others have set programs, some simulating walking through terrain or flat land.
Not all treadmills fold, so make sure the treadmill folds if you are looking for one that saves space. Also, many treadmills come with extra safety features to help prevent accidents. For example, some come with a magnetic key to start the treadmill. The key is attached by a cord to the person running. If the person falls, the cord pulls the key off the dash and stops the treadmill. Some treadmills, especially the commercial grade, feature an emergency stop button.
Try It Out
Test the treadmill in the store. When first getting onto a treadmill, hold on to the front or side bars, placing your feet on each side of the platform and not on the belt. Wait until the treadmill starts and keeps its speed before walking or jogging. While running, feel if the deck has enough shock absorption and notice if the belt slips. Also, make sure the platform has a wide enough walking or running area for your needs.
"Before making any treadmill purchase, make sure to ask the manufacturer about mechanical operations and durability of the equipment. By testing a treadmill in the store, you can judge for yourself the smoothness of the mechanical operations and the amount of cushioning that meets your footstrike. Also, do not hesitate to call various clubs that have a high volume of purchases, for at least 10 years, of treadmill equipment. This informal survey on your part can give you valuable information," advises Neil Sol, Ph.D.
Delivery and assembly are often-forgotten costs to the consumer. Ask if the dealer assembles and delivers the treadmill or if there is an extra fee. Assembling treadmills is not difficult, but if you don't have a truck, delivering one is. Also, find out who is responsible for repairs--the dealer or the manufacturer.
Finally, one should ask about the warranty. Usually, a lifetime warranty is included on the frame. The motor, other components and labor are usually covered in a range of years.