Treadmill Buying Guide
When we talk about a gym, treadmill plays the most vital role among all the machines you should have in your arena. Well, a treadmill becomes an important part of your workout routine especially when you are focusing on cardio workouts. Buying one might be a heavy toll on your pocket but simple knowledge might help you out with saving at least some bucks.
Spending a part of your income in buying a treadmill is definitely going to render your pocket light. So why not be the best judge and take away the equipment home with confidence.
Treadmill types: There are two different types of treadmills.
1. Manual treadmills: Tend to be inexpensive, but require more effort on the part of the user. You have to move to get them started and can’t make changes to the incline.
Benefits of manual treadmill:
Manual treadmills are lightweight.
Lower risk of fall/ injury.
Easy to store.
Do not require an electric outlet.
Foldable so they can fit in a closet or under a bed.
Have wheels on the front, allowing you to roll the treadmill from room to room.
Manual Treadmill with stepper & Twister
Manual Treadmill without stepper & Twister
2. Motorized treadmills: Tend to have a number of features, including adjusting speeds, pulse sensor and inclines during the workout.
There are also 2 types of motorised treadmills: A direct current (DC) motor and an alternating current (AC) motor. The difference is that most home treadmills run on DC motors since they are quieter, require less power, and provide a smoother application of power to the running belt. AC motors are more suited in a commercial environment, and are more durable on a heavy duty basis.
DC Motorized Treadmill (Foldable with wheels)
AC Motorized Treadmill
Benefits of motorized treadmill:
Easier to maintain a steady pace.
Speed and Incline levels can easily be changed from Treadmill console.
Built-in heart rate monitor, calorie tracker, fan and some has music players.
Cushioning is provided to support your knees and prevent you from injuries.
Frame, Non-folding/folding and Size:
Look for a treadmill with a steel frame. Steel is generally the better option because they are more shock absorbent, tend to be lighter and are quieter. Other than material, it is important to look at whether the treadmill is stable or not. Generally the heavier the treadmill, the more stable it is.
As for size, it’s important to measure up how it will fit in your home. If you are really tight on space, a folding treadmill will generally be more mobile than a non-folding treadmill. For a non-folding treadmill, although they are larger, take up more space and are heavier, they are generally commercial treadmills built to last on a heavy duty basis and will be more stable to be used by users.
Why a treadmill?
Treadmill is extremely effective for cardiovascular fitness along with other cardio workouts such as walking, jogging, running etc. It serves best when you’re aiming to burn calories. However, if you are a competitive runner, a treadmill complements your outdoor workouts. It is most suited for those who reside in an urban environment where traffic or air quality may not be supportive or even for those living in extreme cold or hot climates.
Who will be using the treadmill?
Decide who will be using it. This is important because a single user that weighs 50 kg will need a much different treadmill than a family of 4 that has 2 people over 90 kg.
For every regular use above 2 people, we recommend you to buy a really good quality treadmill (regular use is defined as 3 or more uses a week). Plus, a 45 kg old lady who wants to use it 10 minutes a day and 3 days per week is going to need a much different treadmill than a competitive athlete.
Where to place the treadmill?
If you have a tiny space to place it in, you won’t be able to buy a large commercial unit, even if you can afford it. You want to make sure you see the treadmill every day. Remember, out of sight is out of mind. Space may necessitate a treadmill that can fold up. You may even need to limit the weight of a unit if it will rest upstairs. Think through all these factors before you purchase.
Why one should buy a treadmill?
Treadmill for weight loss:
Many use treadmills to burn off their extra calories for performing weight loss workouts. Using the treadmill will help you accelerate the weight loss phenomenon.
Treadmill for runners:
Practice makes a man perfect! The runners who run 5km or longer marathons need to improve their stamina and strength and a treadmill is perfect for practicing longer.
Feature to look for:
Motor & Horsepower
You should choose a treadmill with a motor that is appropriate for how you plan to use it. Larger motors and higher horsepower are a must if you plan on running long distances, since a smaller motor will burn out sooner.
If you’re a serious runner, consider a treadmill with 1.5 to 2 continuous horsepower.
If you just plan on doing some light jogging or walking, 1 horsepower is enough for you.
AC motors (Range from 3.0CHP- 6.0CHP) are mostly used in commercial treadmills and require much more power. The AC motor will also require a dedicated power line.
For a home treadmill, look for a DC motor with a minimum 1 year warranty for a quieter workout. Watch TV or listen to music while working out can help you do longer and better workout.
The more belt surface area you have, the harder the power system has to work to keep it all go. Stay away from overly thick belts.
Oversize and thick belts are now the rage but most people only need 18” of width and 52” of length because this size is perfect for all height people.
Belts that are too thick hold in heat which increases electrical consumption and wears out key components faster. The added weight of the belt also puts more stress on the roller bearings. Additionally, the added heat wears out the belt quicker. Find a belt size on which you are comfortable. However, a thicker belt will give you more cushioning effect.
The deck is where your feet will spend all of their time over the life of the treadmill, so it’s important to find one that fits your size and stride and feels comfortable to you. Taller runners and those with longer strides should consider a longer deck of 50 to 60 inches. If you just want to walk on your treadmill look for a minimum belt surface length of 48 inches. These lengths will provide a more comfortable stride for walking or running. If you feel like you’re about to fall off the treadmill to either side when you run or just need a little more breathing room and support, consider a wider belt of around 20 to 22 inches.
4. Display panels:
These should have clear instructions and be easy to read and use, so the information you want isn't awkward to access while walking or running.
A well-cushioned deck will absorb the force of your step, protecting your joints and ligaments from damage which is important for runners and people who use the treadmill a lot.
6. Pulse sensors:
To allow you to monitor your heart rate while exercising, pulse sensors should be in a position where you can reach them easily and they don't impede your movement while you're working out. Having the sensors on a front handlebar is the easiest position for most people.
7. Safety key :
We'd strongly recommend you buy a machine with this feature. If you attach the safety key clip to your clothes and you slip suddenly or need to stop in a hurry, pulling the key out stops the treadmill instantly. Take the key away when you finish so that small children can't accidentally start the machine.
The incline function adds intensity to your workout by adding in what's basically a hill, helping to add a bit of interest to your walk or run. Look for a motorised or power incline lets you vary the incline easily while exercising.
With a manual incline, you'll have to stop your workout and get off the treadmill to adjust it, but machines with manual incline are a lot cheaper. For challenging hill work, look for an incline level of at least 12%. Some machines have hill programs, which use incline levels to mimic a series of hills and valleys of varying lengths and gradients. These can be a great way to reach your peak performance level, and it's more fun than running at the same level all the time.
For sake of precaution, always warm up before attempting inclines by walking or jogging on a flat belt for five to 10 minutes.
Cool down at an easy pace after an incline workout, and stretch your calves and ankles to ward off soreness and injury.
All treadmills make noise but a reasonably quiet machine generally means less friction and wear on the treadmill. On the flip side, a dead silent treadmill does not necessarily mean that it is perfect.
Some manufacturers use steel surrounded motor areas and others have used foam to absorb noise, so make sure you know the construction before you judge a treadmill by its noise but generally, the noise a treadmill generates is a good indicator of the machine’s quality. Plus, when you don’t wake up the neighbourhood with your morning workouts, it makes for friendlier neighbours.