Treadmill Buying Guide: How to Select the Best Treadmill for Your Home Gym

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Is buying a treadmill something you’ve considered to make your cardio workouts more convenient and consistent? If so, you’re not alone! Treadmills have secured their place among the most popular home gym equipment for good reason.

With a quality treadmill available anytime at home, you can get in your daily walks, runs, and cardio sessions regardless of the weather, daylight, or schedule restrictions. Treadmills provide flexibility, entertainment options, and vital impact absorption that open up a world of training possibilities.

However, the sheer variety of treadmill models and features makes buying the right one a challenge. In this comprehensive treadmill buying guide, we’ll cover:

  • Key benefits of owning a home treadmill
  • Must-have features and buying considerations
  • Leading treadmill brand and model recommendations
  • Frequently asked treadmill questions

Let’s get started!

Why Invest in a Home Treadmill?

First, let’s look at some of the main advantages of owning your own treadmill rather than relying solely on the gym, outdoor runs, or walking.

Convenience – The #1 reason people buy a home treadmill is the convenience of working out anytime without leaving your house. No driving, parking, or waiting for equipment. Just walk downstairs and hop on!

Flexibility – Only have 30 minutes between meetings? Getting a daytime run in with kids at home? A treadmill lets you workout according to your dynamic schedule needs.

Consistency – Between weather, limited daylight in winter, and schedule conflicts, it can be tough to exercise consistently outdoors. A treadmill lets you train year-round.

Low impact – Quality treadmills utilize shock absorption in their belts and decks that easy impact on your joints compared to concrete and asphalt. This makes it easier to go the distance pain-free.

Space saving – Modern treadmills fold up vertically, minimizing the footprint in your home when not in use.

Entertainment built-in – From internet browsing to streaming classes, treadmills keep you occupied and engaged during long runs.

Progress tracking – Tracking distance, pace, calories burned, and heart rate keeps you motivated and training productively.

Customization – Adjust the incline, speed, and programs to match your current fitness level and goals. Most models provide plenty of variability.

Owning a home treadmill solves many of the obstacles that can hinder consistent cardio training outdoors or at the gym. After considering the benefits, let’s explore the key features and buying considerations as you shop.

Most Important Treadmill Features and Buying Considerations

With a wide range of treadmill models and pricing available, it’s essential to know the key features and specs that impact performance, comfort, and convenience. Focus on factors like:

Sturdy motor – The motor drives the tread belt and should be powerful enough to accommodate walking, jogging, running, and intervals without straining. Look for at least 2.5 HP (Horsepower) for home use and higher for frequent runners.

Cushioned deck – Quality treadmills absorb impact on joints by using dedicated cushioning systems in the deck below the belt. Check that the model has adequate shock absorption built-in.

Running belt size – Standard tread belts range from 16-22 inches wide. Shoot for at least 20 inches wide to give yourself sufficient workout space. Length varies too.

Speed/Incline range – Make sure the model offers the speed range and incline variability (up to at least 10-15% incline) to meet your training needs.

Weight capacity – Double check the weight rating suits multiple users if needed. Most support 200-400 lbs capacity but heavy duty models go higher.

Touchscreen display -Larger touchscreens boost immersion and let you take advantage of integrated training programs, streaming classes, web browsing, and more.

Integrated programs – Preset workout programs provide training variety. Look for at least 8-10 integrated programs for intervals, heart rate training, etc.

Class streaming – Many treadmills come with membership trials or integrate with apps like iFit or Peloton to stream unlimited classes on the display.

Wireless connectivity – Features like Bluetooth allow you to sync wearables, headphones, fitness apps, and more. Very useful for tracking and entertainment.

Speakers – Integrated stereo speakers let you listen to music, classes, or shows without using headphones. Or connect headphones wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Heart rate monitoring – Most treadmills have integrated grip heart rate sensors. For hands-free monitoring, seek out Bluetooth connectivity to use a chest strap or wrist monitor.

Cooling fan -An integrated fan keeps air moving to prevent overheating, making longer workouts doable.

Noise level – Look for a 2.5+ HP motor advertised as “whisper quiet” for pleasant operation. Higher inclines increase noise on any treadmill.

Foldability – Folding treadmills with lift assistance allow you to stand them upright for convenient storage without taking up excessive floor space.

Warranty – More years of comprehensive parts and labor coverage provide peace of mind – look for minimum 10 years on motor and frame.

This covers the key performance, design, convenience, and safety factors to evaluate. Thinking through your needs in these areas will help narrow down the abundant treadmill options.

Top Treadmill Brands and Models

With so many treadmills on the market, it helps to start your search with some best-selling models from leading fitness companies. Here are top options to consider across a range of budgets and features:

Sole F85 – Foldable with Easy Assist, 10 workout programs, Bluetooth sound system, and 15 levels of incline. Highly rated for walking and running.

NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – Includes a -3% decline to 15% incline range powered by a 3.8 HP motor. Ideal for intense training minus joint pain.

Horizon 7.8 AT – Provides adjustable cushioning, integrated speakers, a cooling fan, and heart rate monitoring. A solid mid-range choice.

Bowflex Treadmill 22 – Highlights a 22” HD touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, heart rate armband, and soft impact cushioning system.

ProForm Pro 2000 – Foldable design with -3% decline to 15% incline range and 14” touch display. Great for intervals and strength training.

LifeSpan TR1200i – Folds up, includes 21 exercise programs, Bluetooth audio, and integrated controls for quick speed/incline adjustments.

3G Cardio Elite Runner – Commercial-grade model with a roomy 22” x 62” belt, integrated 0-15% incline control, and top speeds of 12 mph.

Peloton Tread – Provides an immersive 24” touchscreen for Peloton classes, shock-absorbing slat belt design, and 0-12.5 mph speeds.

NordicTrack X32i – Features a 32” HD touchscreen, -6% decline to 40% incline, and interactive personal training powered by iFit.

Precor TRM 835 – A premium commercial-grade model with 15” touchscreen, Precor application integration, and speed up to 16 mph.

This sampling of popular treadmill models across budget ranges demonstrates the variety and innovation among top brands like Sole, NordicTrack, Horizon, Bowflex, ProForm, LifeSpan, 3G Cardio, Peloton, and Precor.

Next, let’s recap even more factors to dial in on the best treadmill purchase for your home.

Key Considerations When Buying a Treadmill

To select the ideal treadmill for your specific needs and preferences, delve deeper into questions like:

What are your treadmill usage goals? Carefully consider how you plan to use the treadmill. Is it mostly for walking, jogging, running, sprint intervals, strength training? Match the deck size, top speed, motor, and overall sturdiness to your dominant activities.

What are the room dimensions? Measure the dedicated workout space in your home carefully. Make sure to allow clearance space of at least 2 feet on the sides and behind the treadmill. Account for folded and in-use dimensions.

What’s your total budget? Prices range considerably from around $400 on the very low end to $4,000+ for luxury models. Determine must-have features and set a budget ceiling to narrow options. Expect to spend $1,200+ for better quality.

Who will use the treadmill? Consider the weight capacities and horsepower needed if the treadmill will have multiple regular users. Plan accordingly.

What cushioning system does it use? Look for a quality shock absorption system in the deck to reduce joint impact. Cushioning should adapt based on your weight and gait.

How many workout programs are integrated? The more the better! Programs provide training variety. Look for at least 8-10 presets covering cardio, intervals, calorie goals, etc.

Can you fold the deck up vertically? Foldability makes storage and positioning easier. Seek hydraulic or electric lift assistance to make folding seamless.

How’s the warranty coverage? Good treadmill warranties span 7-10 years for the motor, 2-5 years for parts, and at least 1 year for labor. Longer coverage brings more peace of mind.

Asking the right questions helps you identify the ideal blend of performance, features, quality, and price. Do your homework reading treadmill reviews and ratings for the models on your short list before purchase.

Treadmill FAQs

For deeper insight into selecting, using, and maintaining a treadmill, check out answers to these frequently asked questions:

How much assembly do treadmills require out of the box?

Expect 1-3 hours of assembly using the included tools and hardware. Follow all directions closely for optimal safety. Complex models take more time. Consider expert assembly for an added fee if uncertain.

What kind of routine maintenance do treadmills need?

Plan to periodically lubricate the belt/deck, clean the belt, check components like arms/brackets for wear, inspect belt alignment, adjust belt tension, and test for any rattling sounds. Consult the owner’s manual for the timeline recommended by the manufacturer.

Are treadmills very loud when running on them?

Quality treadmills are designed for relatively quiet operation. However, incline and speed increases will increase noise to some degree. Using a treadmill mat can further reduce noise. Compare noise ratings if concerned.

What treadmills are best for mostly walking?

Focus on a wider belt, quality shock absorption, top speeds of around 10 mph, and at least a 2.5 HP motor for walking-focused treadmills. An incline range around 10-15% gives you some variability to increase intensity.

How much space should you have behind and around the treadmill?

Plan for at least 2 feet of clearance space on the sides and behind the treadmill. Measure your workout room carefully to account for both the folded and in-use dimensions of any model you’re considering.

Is it difficult to fold up a treadmill after each use?

Quality folding treadmills are designed for hassle-free storage between workouts. Hydraulic or electric lift assistance enables you to easily fold and unfold the deck with minimal effort. It becomes seamless with practice.

Can you use a tablet with the treadmill?

Yes! Many treadmills include an integrated tablet holder above the console where you can securely place a tablet. This allows you to view classes, videos, browse websites, and more while working out.

How often does the walking belt need replaced?

With proper lubrication and maintenance, expect a quality belt to last 4-6 years before needing replacement. Running at higher mileages will require more frequent belt changes. The owner’s manual provides specs.

Ready to Start Your Treadmill Search

In summary, owning a home treadmill provides unrivaled convenience, consistency, and flexibility to your cardio and strength training routines. Whether your goal is to walk, run, or train more efficiently, a treadmill creates possibilities.

Hopefully this treadmill buying guide gave you a helpful overview of the pros, must-have features, buying considerations, top brand recommendations, and FAQs to make smart purchasing decisions.

Do your due diligence by measuring your space, defining your budget, identifying priorities like decline function or streaming classes, comparing noise ratings, testing models in store if possible, and reading buyer reviews.

Soon you’ll be the owner of a premium home treadmill that takes your training to the next level! No more weather excuses – just excellent tools for cardio, endurance, and full-body strength accessible 24/7 in your own space.

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