Lower end and luxury brands alike seem to come out with new treadmill models every other day. With prices that range from a few hundred dollars to well over several thousand, finding a machine that fits your exercise needs, as well as your budget, can seem daunting. With many models promising you the world while sporting an intense price tag, the models that are considered “entry-level” friendly can seem dull in comparison. But are they really? It’s difficult to pull your eye away from what seems like a good deal or a piece of flashy gym equipment, but what’s actually important to think about when making your purchase? What features matter and what’s merely filler? The three key—and most basic—elements of a solid machine are:
- Solid Frame
- Comfortable Track
- Heavy-Duty Motor
- Think About Your Space
First and foremost, be honest about your at-home gym space. Sure, you may have your eye on the treadmill model that boasts a track the size of a small road, but is it feasible to have it in your gym space? If you have an ample amount of space to spare, dream big! However, don’t let the size of the treadmill keep you from focusing on other highly important features.
If you don’t have a whole lot of room to dedicate to a large treadmill, don’t believe that a compact treadmill means that you’re suddenly decreasing in the quality of the product. In fact, many smaller models don’t necessarily mean “budget models”. More important factors are steel frames and foldability. Is the machine durable, will it last, and can you move it out of the way? Any machine that can do all three should be up for consideration.
Keep Your Stride and Comfort in Mind
Talk to any runner about why they chose to purchase the gear they own. One of the first thing they’ll probably tell you is, the gear provided comfort. Comfort is key to getting in a workout that not only allows you to challenge yourself but not compromise your body in the process. Doesn’t matter if you’re spending an hour on the treadmill at a light jog, or taking on a 40-minute intense interval training, find a machine that will give you the chance to find a comfortable stride and protect your joints as much as possible.
There are many middle budget machines that are built with track size and joint protection in mind. Take the Sole F80, for instance. With a track size of 22” x 60”, even the tallest of runners can stretch out their legs for longer, marathon-style training. With the patented ComfortFlex Deck, your joints aren’t sustaining nearly as much pressure that they would be by running on a pavement surface alone. Frills are nice, but always take into account your comfort over extra pre-programmed material.
A Motor That’s Ready for Tough Work
A smaller motor doesn’t automatically mean a lesser machine. In fact, motors around the run at about 2.0-2.5 continuous horsepower are perfectly fine for the casual runner. You just have to be honest with how much horsepower you truly need. If you’re using your treadmill for sprint training, or interval training, you’ll obviously need a machine with higher inclines and higher top speeds. Both these characteristics are usually found in machines with heavy-duty motors. If you’re looking for an elite machine, don’t settle for a motor under the 3.5 CHP range. You want a machine and motor that will last for years, one that can handle the intensity you throw at it.