Did you know that over 65% of people that exercise do so in their home? To keep pace, treadmill manufacturers are producing better and smarter machines. Top-rated treadmill can cost a steep $4,000 and up. Fortunately, if you’re willing to make some tradeoffs, you can find some great top-end features on less expensive models.
Keep in mind:
• Size. Most treadmills have a similar footprint, on average 77 inches long by 35 inches wide. A folding treadmill will be half its length when stored. You’ll need adequate empty space around the treadmill for access and safety.
• Ergonomics. If you’re a runner, you will need a deck length that accommodates your stride. Consider how comfortable you are on the machine while walking or running. Choose a model that appeals to you ergonomically and aesthetically.
• High-tech features. Docks for iPods, USB ports, and wireless Internet connectivity are standard features on many treadmills.
• Adjustability. Most treadmills have top speeds between 10 and 12 mph; some will go faster. They typically incline between a 10 to 15 percent grade, but some offer an increased gradient.
Before Buying a Treadmill
It’s essential to try out a treadmill in person. Here’s our try-before-you-buy checklist:
• Does the cushioning and shock absorption of the running deck feel comfortable?
• When you walk or run, do your feet hit the motor housing?
• Can you easily straddle the deck when standing on the side rails?
• Is the display monitor easy to read?
• Are the controls easy to reach and operate?
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, here are some other things to consider before making the purchase.
Treadmills are heavy, so ask about delivery. Check whether assembly, tricky even for experienced DIYers, is included or available at an additional cost.
When it comes to the warranty, look for three to seven years of coverage on parts, and at least one year on labor. Most treadmills have a lifetime warranty on the frame, and you should get that for the motor as well.