Treadmill is popular as home exercise equipment. If you plan to buy a treadmill, I have compiled a list of items to help you getting one which suits you the best. Read these buying tips to find out what exactly you need to look for when you shop for one.
1) Consider the Motor
Check the “Continuos Duty Output” of the treadmill. A good treadmill should deliver a minimum of 1.5 horsepower at all times. If you use your treadmill regularly or if you are heavier (more than 180 pounds), invest in a treadmill with at least 2 horsepower or higher. Machine with high horsepower provides seamless walking or running experience even if you are running at lower speed. Do not forget that the motor still needs to handle your weight when you are running at incline level. A shaky or jerky ride is not what you want.
2) Think about the Running Belt
If you are taller, you may need longer walking deck (belt) because of your bigger stride while you walk or run normally. The common range of belt length is between 48 to 60 inches.
Also, if you have hard time running in a straight line, you may want to consider one with wider belt. The belt width is between 17 and 21 inches.
Some treadmills manufacturers offer “orthopedic belts” for extra cushion. These belts often produce more heat on the bearings in the rollers and lead to a shorter treadmill life. If you have a pair of good running shoes, you should have sufficient cushion and support for your steps with greater efficiency and spare your treadmill rollers of the excess heat from thicker orthopedic belts. However, you may this special type of cushion belt if your health conditions (bad knees or ankles) require that.
3) Look at the Treadmill Frame
Normally, welded frames take more shock and therefore last longer. High alloy steel is heavy, sturdy and last longer. However, newer materials (like aircraft aluminium) used in treadmill manufacturing allows for rigidity and endurance too with lower frame weight.
4) Listen to the Noise
It is normal to have noise from treadmill because of the running motor. Test the motor by turning the treadmill to fast speed and pay attention to the noise level. Loud humming sound may indicate the treadmill is inefficient. If it is too loud, you may have issue in watching television or listening to your iPod.
Normally, DC motor is quieter because it uses few internal parts. Fewer parts also means less cost on parts repair. However, DC motor starts slowly compared to AC motor. Normally, home treamill is powered by DC motor whereas AC motor is more common in gyms.
5) Measure The Machine
The machine may look small in the fitness store, but may look like a giant in your living room. Check its size. If it cannot be folded, find out how easy you can move it to the corner if needed.
6) Ask about Maintenance.
Some treadmill deck (the supporting surface under the treadmill belt) required waxing o lubrication as part of its maintenance schedule. Most newer belt and deck systems on high end treadmills require minimum maintenance work.
7) Go for the Screen Best Suit You
Nowadays, treadmill is equipped with colorful display or console. You can watch DVD or TV. However, if you do not need to do so, go for those with LED lighted screen because it tends to last longer than LCD screen. As for the screen size, whether it is 13 or 17 inches width does not matter, as long as you can see the workout statistic is good enough. Regardless of the screen type, make sure the emergency stop button is highly visible.
8) Check Out the Summary of Your Exercise
Make sure the treadmill has the basic summary of your workout. These information include heart rates, calories burned, workout intensity, distance traveled and others.
9) Make Sure you Get the Warranty
Go for those with lifetime frame. For electrical and mechanical moving parts, you should get 5 years warrant. The labor for changing any faulty part should be given for at least 1 year. Only good manufacturers dare to give long period of warranty. Before you buy, ask how much the cost of those commonly spoiled spare parts.
Rule of thumb, the longer the warranty, the higher the quality and also the price.
10) Ask about After Sales Service
Manufacturer may have fantastic long period of warranty, but if they provide inferior after sales service, do not buy their treadmills. Check with your friends who have purchased the machine. Some service is provided by the store itself instead of directly from manufacturer. Try getting the machine from specialty fitness stores. Make sure they deliver, set up and test out the machine before hand over it to you. Some companies actually call to remind you on the service check dates or other maintenance service.
11) Know the Difference between Home and Fitness Club Treadmill
Generally, manufacturers separate treadmills into two categories: “home” or “residential,” and “club” or “commercial.” Home treadmills are smaller in size compared with club treadmill. Club treadmills have to take the load of round-the-clock use. It is common for each unit to withstand more than 50,000 foot strikes every day (assuming 1,000 foot strikes for 1 mile). They need better parts and superior support from manufacturer in the event of breakdown and therefore carry high price tags.
12) Focus in What You Want.
Some treadmills have more more bells and whistles like fans, drink holders, fancy digital readout or even access to Internet. Do not be overly impressed by the fancy programming. Even if a treadmill provides many more cool features and you just need few of them, it does not make sense for you to pay high price for it. Why pay extra for something you do not need? Focus in what you want and decide based on your priority.
A typical lifespan of treadmill is between 7 to 12 years, just like your fridge or television. With proper care, some good treadmills far exceed the average years. So, before you buy a treadmill, do consider the cost because the higher the quality of the machine (and the longer it lasts), the more expensive it is. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will know what questions to ask to the sales person before you buy your treadmill. Shop around, read the reviews and look at your treadmill as a long term investment. Good luck.
You may want to check out some of the popular home treadmills from Amazon.
Category: Fitness Gadget/Equipment
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