Treadmill Buying Guide

What Kind of Treadmill is Right for You? The kind of treadmill you purchase should depend upon what you will typically use it for. Some use a treadmill for walking, some for running and walking, and then there are serious 10K and marathon runners who train daily. Like any other merchandise or product, low end and high quality treadmills are determined by factors such as the amount and type of features and specs, warranties and technology. Are you a walker? A runner? Both? The first factor to consider when purchasing a treadmill should be your primary usage or reason for it.

Obviously, budget is the other biggest determinant in a treadmill purchase. Most treadmills range from $600 to $2500, but as this article will show you, there are some decent treadmills that fall below that range, but also some great models for more serious runners. If you're looking for a quality, durable treadmill, the following models can help serve as a shopping guide.

Budget Treadmills

All of the following have folding decks:

  • Horizon Fitness T101 – This model features a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame, features a 2-ply belt, a sturdy build, 300lb. weight limit and even a built-in fan. This is a gem among budget treadmills.
  • Merit Fitness 725T Plus – This treadmill starts at $400 and features a smooth, automatic incline and general value for the price. It should be emphasized that this particular brand and model is best for walking.
  • ProForm Performance 400 – The highlight feature of this budget treadmill is that it is compatible with Nike +iPos and iFit Live workout apps, and also 15 programmed workouts and additional online options for an additional cost. It has a lifetime guarantee on the fram and 25 years on the motor and a 300 lb. weight limit.
  • Gold's Gym GG480 – While this treadmill can handle multiple users and users who use it for running, it is best suited for walking. However, for a treadmill starting at $377, even those who use it for running will find that it isn't overly shaky or noisy for such a low-priced treadmill, and still a great bargain.

High End Treadmills

  • Nordic Track – Obviously Nordic Track is one of the highest quality exercise equipment brands you can buy. A couple of favorites from Nordic Track are:
    • Nordic Track Incline Trainer X11i – The sale price is around $2500, which is pretty great for the state-of-the-art technology it features, like iFit Live where you can race Facebook friends, Touchscreen internet and Google Street View which replicates actual routes around the world. Also rated by users to be very easy to assemble.
    • Nordic Track Commercial 2950 – This model is one of Nordic Track's cream of the crop. It features touchscreen Android browser, hi-def TV, incline/decline, iFit and a lot more. For just over $2000 on sale, this is a great deal.
  • Precor 9.23 Home Treadmill – This model is non-folding, but offer commercial quality in a home model, with 3.0 horsepower motor and a speed of up to 12 mph. Other features include multi-suspension and the ability to adjust to a runner's changing stride to provide a low-impact, cushioned running surface. The most recent price on Amazon was $1800.
  • LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill – This model is medium duty, which means its great for those who typically run and walk on the treadmill at their gym and want to use one at home. It reaches a speed of 11 mph and a 15 percent grade incline. It has a lifetime warranty for the frame and motor, three years for parts and one year for labor. Other unique features include an automatic membership to the online LifeSpan Fitness Club and progress which can be logged to a USB device.
  • Sole F58 Folding Treadmill – Despite the fact that this model folds up, it doesn't sacrifice quality for convenience like most folding treadmills. This model is used in many commercial site gyms, such as hotels and apartment complexes. It features an excellent shock absorption system.

Of course there are plenty of other treadmills that are of great quality on the higher end. However, be sure to review any budget treadmill before purchasing, and consider things like warranty and stability/size of a treadmill. You may find a treadmill for $350, but if it falls apart after six months, it's not money well spent.