Buying a treadmill for the first time may seem daunting, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Purchasing your new treadmill may seem like a simple task at first glance until you look at one that interests you, then the questions set in. What does this function do? Do I need these functions? What size of treadmill do I need? How many horsepower and how fast?
This article for beginners and should provide you with enough knowledge to purchase your first treadmill with confidence. Here is what to look for when buying a treadmill.
What Are Your Goals?
The most important question to ask yourself before spending money is, what are my goals and needs for a treadmill? There’s no need to spend thousands on a high-end treadmill if your intended use is walking. And if you’re training for a marathon, a low end, budget treadmill just won’t cut it.
There are running machines available for all kinds of users and budgets. Let’s go through the price range you should expect to pay for your intended use.
BEGINNER: £300 – £500
A beginner treadmill is mostly for walking, jogging, and some light running. Most cheaper models will come with roughly 2.5 hp (horsepower) motors, which are enough to provide you with a good workout.
If you want a treadmill for walking, many of the lower end models still come with an incline, which we recommend as it’ll let you increase the intensity of your walks.
Today, a budget treadmill will still provide adequate functionality and features you need to track your progress.
Three treadmills we recommend for walking, jogging, and light running are:
INTERMEDIATE Level Treadmills: £500 – £1500
Now we move into the mid-range machines that will make you break a sweat. If your intended use is regular running, then a treadmill with no less than 3.0 hp will suffice.
You can also expect more features in comparison to the lower-end machines, such as app integration and better connectivity for your devices, etc.
3 of the best treadmills for intermediates (in our opinion) are:
- JLL T350 Folding Treadmill, 2020 New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP
- Branx Fitness Elite Runner Pro – 6.5HP Motor 0-22 Level Auto Incline – ‘Dual Shock 10-Point Absorption System
- JLL S300 Digital Folding Treadmill New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP Motor, 20 Incline Levels, 0.3km/h – 16km/h, 15 Professional Programs, USB & Speakers, 2-Year Parts & Labour, 5-Year Motor Cover
Advanced Treadmills – £1500 and Above
Are you looking to train at a high level and have a spare couple of grand lying around?
If your intention is for high-intensity workouts frequently, you’re probably going to need a high-performing machine that won’t breakdown with regular use.
Running machines in this price bracket will come with powerful motors and larger running decks than their cheaper counterparts.
More expensive models come with higher speed limits, which means you can set your goals further and achieve a higher level of fitness over time.
A good idea if you’re shopping for a treadmill in this price range is to look around for second-hand listings. You may even be able to pick up a used commercial treadmill in spotless condition for a lower price.
The best treadmill for you depends solely on your needs and intended use. Don’t be afraid to go without some features if you don’t need them, as this will help you to save some money, and please, don’t go out and spend thousands on a high-end machine if you only intend to have a casual walk now and then.
One of the things that often stop people from buying a treadmill is the fact that they are bulky and often difficult to shift around. Hopefully, you will already have space picked out for your new machine, but if not, it would be a good idea to find space and take a few measurements to be on the safe side.
Fortunately, most modern running machines are foldable and come with portability wheels that allow you to move them with ease. Most treadmills are moveable by one person, but we recommend 2.0 people to avoid the risk of injury.
Models of a treadmill can be kept under a desk or bed if you are short of space. These are just a running deck without the rails and controlled via remote control. Some models incorporate both, meaning you can fold the rails and console to leave only the running deck when desired.
Some features that will make your life easier are transport wheels, a hydraulic strut system.
One of the main features of any treadmill is the motor, and any limitations placed on the machine will come from there. So, if you want to push yourself hard for long periods, you’ll need to be choosy when it comes to the amount of hp the treadmill has.
The motor not only sets how fast your running machine can go. More advanced treadmills are quieter and produce lower decibels. A game-changer if you have young children in the home.
- 2.5hp Motor: Perfect for walking/power walking and jogging
- 3.0 hp Motor: Will handle walking, jogging with ease, and (usually) provide the option of light running for short periods.
- 3.5 hp + Motor: If your desired use is frequent running, it’s best not to go any lower than 3.5 horsepower.
The running deck on a treadmill is the hard surface you run on (not to be confused with the belt). If you are average in height, most treadmill decks will be suitable, but if you’re tall, you may need a large deck to run on comfortably.
If you suffer from painful joints, a treadmill with a cushioned deck may be the preferred option. These offer the runner more protection when running and provide a level of shock absorption.
The average deck size is about 20″ x 55″, which is suitable for most. Some treadmills aimed at taller users come with a deck size of up to 22″ x 60″.
The overall size of the machine
Keep in mind that the bigger the deck on the treadmill, the bigger the footprint of the treadmill. I mean the overall size of the machine. If you’re tight on space, you may have to settle for a smaller deck. A small sized deck will be about 18″ x 51″ and many manufacturers provided these.
Maximum User Weight
The max user weight determines how much weight the running machine can carry. If you weigh more than the max user weight the manufacturer states, it will not be long before things go wrong with the treadmill. So always make sure to check the max user weight before buying.
Typically, better quality machines will come with higher max weight capacity and is also a way to gauge the quality of the frame. The more weight a treadmill can carry, the more sturdy it is.
What Treadmill Speed Do I Need?
For most people, walking speed is generally 2 – 4 mph.
4 to 5 mph gets you up to a very fast walking pace or jog.
Above 5.0 mph is jogging and running. Budget treadmills typically max out about 12 mph, although some may go faster.
To hit speeds of 20mph plus, you will need to spend a bit of money and purchase a higher-end model.
Add Incline To Your Budget Treadmill
You are still able to good workouts on a lower end treadmill. Adding incline at lower speeds allows you to achieve high-intensity workouts.
INCLINE AND DECLINE
Using an incline will give you a more natural running experience and keep your workouts challenging. Most treadmills come with an incline capability but not always, so always check before purchasing if this is important to you.
The decline feature is rarer on treadmills and more common in mid to high-end machines. As the name suggests, decline mode acts as if you are running downhill. This feature helps you target different muscle groups than you could while running on a level surface.
CONSOLE AND FEATURES
Over the last few years, technology has come a long way, and even the most basic of treadmills will come with a means of viewing your information. The console is at the front of the treadmill. Here you will find workout information, such as speed, distance, time, and pulse, etc. Many newer models have heart/pulse monitors on the handlebars to keep track of your workouts.
Most treadmills will also include Bluetooth connectivity, bottle holder, and phone/tablet holders.