Treadmills are one of the staples of any commercial or home gym, and they're a great investment for reaching your health and fitness goals. However, with so many different treadmills on the market; it's hard to know which one is right for you. With factors to consider such as horsepower, speed, and incline, choosing the right treadmill can be difficult. But don't worry. Our treadmill buying guide will help you along in your journey to finding the perfect piece of cardio equipment.
Ultimately, everyone will have a unique idea of what they want to use their treadmill for. If you are a gym owner, you may need to consider a more universal piece of equipment that can cater to a variety of people. But if you are buying a treadmill for your home gym, you'll have a more specific idea in mind.
For example, if you are new to cardio, if you are an older person, or have a health condition that makes exercising more difficult, you should consider investing in a lower-powered walking treadmill that allows you to walk at a slower pace.
On the other hand, if you are a more experienced runner, perhaps training for a half or even full marathon, then you will need to consider treadmills with a more powerful motor and more durable belt.
If you are a commercial gym owner, you will have more space than someone looking to kit out their home gym, however, you will still want to make the most out of the space that you have. Measuring your space before deciding which treadmill is right for you could be the difference between fitting six treadmills in your gym, to seven or eight.
If space is a concern for you when choosing a treadmill for your home gym then a folding treadmill is a great option. It will still take up room when vertically folded though, so keep that in mind. They're fantastic if you have a smaller workout area or if you just want to make the most of your space while it's not being used. Also, it's a lot easier to clean around and beneath a foldable treadmill.
However, this must be caveated by mentioning that non-folding treadmills are a lot more stable, have more powerful motors, and often offer better performance and quality.
Finding the right treadmill requires research into some of the more technical aspects of the machinery, including:
The power produced by the motor is often related to the treadmill's quality and has a direct influence on how your workout feels. Walkers and joggers should aim for at least 1.5 to 2 HP, but if you intend to use the treadmill frequently for running, a treadmill with a HP of 2.0 to 3.0 might be preferable. Also, if you are heavier in weight, you may require a stronger motor.
The speed of your treadmill is determined by the kind of performance you want to achieve. The most basic treadmills can reach a maximum speed of 12mph, however, there are models that can reach up to 15mph and even 20mph. If you're serious about running and pushing yourself, you'll need a treadmill that can cater to your fitness goals. A high-end model will allow for speeds of up to 22mph.
Treadmills aren’t small pieces of equipment and the size of the machine is one of the biggest things to consider when researching the perfect machine for you. Whilst the lightest home use treadmills might only take up around 120cm x 60cm of floor space when in use, better quality and commercial grade treadmills can be up to 210cm x 90cm. It’s also worth remembering that you need a clear space behind the running area to access the machine and for your own safety.
Whilst small, home-use treadmills can save you some space, there is a trade-off in other areas. The build quality is often quite light which reduces the life expectancy of these machines, the running area can be small and problematic for taller users, top speeds are often quite low, and the max user weight is also reduced.
A popular compromise is opting for a treadmill that folds away after use. This means that, while an area of the room will have to be able to accommodate the treadmill while it is in use, once the user is finished it can be folded up and stored away. Therefore, the area where the treadmill was in use can be utilised for other needs. Of course, this may mean constantly having to clear away space before unfolding the treadmill prior to use, which may become an annoyance for the user, potentially causing a lack of motivation.
Larger and better-quality treadmills will need more space and are a lot heavier to move around, but will be suitable for a much wider range of uses. The top speeds can be as high at 15mph/24kpm, the build quality means users up to 200kg/440lbs are often catered for, and the running area is designed for even the tallest runners. Commercial quality treadmills are suitable for all intended uses, from light duty walking right through to professional training. Some of the smallest treadmills on the market will only be suitable for light walking by relatively light users, so make sure you check the specification carefully.
A treadmill with an incline can add variety to your workouts. It can also raise the intensity of your exercise while reducing the impact on your joints. Choose a treadmill with a 10% or higher incline if this sounds like something you will need to achieve your goals.
For individuals who are 5'7" or shorter, we suggest a minimum belt length of 48" for walking and 50" for running. If you're taller than 5'7", you'll need a longer track to accommodate your stride: ideally, a minimum belt track of 50" for walking and 56" for running. A longer track is required if you are over 6'5": ideally, one that is 52" long for walking and 60" for running.
The maximum weight requirements for a treadmill are particularly important if you are a heavier individual, and they can also provide an indication of the durability of the machine. When selecting a treadmill you should weigh less than the stated maximum weight requirement, which is particularly significant for runners.
Belt durability is often overlooked when making a treadmill purchasing decision, but it’s a vital aspect of making sure your treadmill is right for you. Thickness plays a large part in running belt durability and, as such, you’ll often find suppliers boast about two and four-ply belts. If there is no mention of belt thickness in the specifications, then there’s a chance the supplier is omitting this information because it’s only one-ply. One-ply belts are much thinner and a lot less durable, so the life-expectancy is considerably shortened. If you’re making the decision to purchase a treadmill then you’ll want it to last well into the future, therefore you should avoid treadmills with poor quality, one-ply belts. All the larger commercial grade treadmills from the likes of Life Fitness, Technogym, Precor, Matrix, and Star Trac will feature hard-wearing, commercial standard, two-ply belts as a minimum.
Belt thickness is not the only thing that determines durability, another feature is lubrication. For optimum performance and durability, treadmills should be lubricated. This can be down to the owner, but many treadmill belts are infused with lubricants such as silicon, making them ‘maintenance-free’.
The final variable that determines a belt’s durability is the roller diameter. The belt is propelled by metal rollers and rollers with a larger diameter put less stress on the belt than their smaller counterparts. Some of the cheapest treadmills on the market will feature rollers as small as 5cm in diameter; these put a lot of strain on what tends to be a poor-quality belt and should be avoided. Some of the best quality treadmills in the market will have rollers with a 15cm diameter and premium quality bearings, which are designed to last for thousands of miles of usage.
Depending on your budget and how tech-focused you intend your workouts on being, you will also need to take into consideration all of the different features and applications that modern treadmills come with, including:
Exercising in a specific heart rate zone is shown to enhance fitness. Zoned exercises help you stay focused on your home workouts, from weight reduction goals to increasing endurance. The majority of treadmills will have grip sensors (such as the PRECOR Refurbished TRM 885 Treadmill) that give you a simple heart rate reading that will be shown on the machine. Heart rate control is also available, whereby holding the sensors or wearing a wireless chest strap, the intensity of your workout can be regulated depending on your heart rate. This allows you to keep your session inside a pre-set range of intensity.
Look for well-labelled, easy-to-use controls: up/down buttons, quick one-touch speed and incline buttons, as well as big, legible displays that show a variety of functions (time, speed, heart rate, and incline) at once. Treadmills such as the CYBEX Refurbished 770T Treadmill w/ E3 Touch Console are also available, that are built with touch screen controls that make navigating your settings incredibly easy.
These are pre-programmed into the treadmill and provide you with a predetermined incline/intensity workout, with the machine automatically adjusting the intensity of your workout based on changes in speed or incline. Manual adjustments can always be made to guarantee that you are training safely. Treadmills such as the SPIRIT FITNESS CT900ENT Commercial Treadmill allow for a more immersive workout, allowing the user to explore multiple preset workouts,
There are a variety of different types of exercises that you can do on your own equipment. Competing against yourself to see who can cover the most distance or finish the job quicker is a fantastic method to keep you motivated to exercise. Look for a treadmill with an abundance of programs or one that may be linked to a training software with an infinite number of possibilities!
Buying a treadmill for your commercial or home gym does not need to be an expensive endeavour. A great alternative to buying brand new gym equipment is to invest in new or refurbished machines which means that you get good quality equipment, for a fraction of the price. You will however need to consider a couple of things when buying used or refurbished equipment:
You need to pay special attention to the condition of the motor, especially if it is an older model treadmill. A great way to check the condition is to give it a test run and see if it operates smoothly.
Knowing how the treadmill was previously used will give you a great idea of how much longer the treadmill will last. Discovering the amount of use the treadmill has had is very important.
Buying used or refurbished gym equipment from private sellers can be risky at times. However, buying commercial gym equipment from companies like ourselves here at UK Gym Equipment provides you with a guarantee that you are buying quality equipment. We offer a warranty on all of our products and will even offer you money for your old and unwanted gym equipment because customer satisfaction is our primary belief.