How to Choose the Right Treadmill

Use this guide to run down the list of everything you need to know before buying a treadmill.

Customizable for those of all fitness levels, treadmills are the king of the home gym. Buying a treadmill for home use can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to run you ragged. This Pro Tips guide is here to help you take the first step toward finding the right treadmill for you.

MANUAL VS. MOTORIZED TREADMILLS

One of the first things you should consider when buying a treadmill is the power source. While most modern treadmills have a motor, some are manual.

MANUAL TREADMILLS

With manual treadmills, it’s up to you to power the belt. The treadmill begins moving through the action of your feet. Manual treadmills require more effort from runners than motorized treadmills.

Manual treadmills are more cost-effective and do not require electricity. However, there are certain drawbacks. They tend to have less features, are less sturdy, and you also have to manually change the incline. In general, manual treadmills tend to be better for walking rather than running.

MOTORIZED TREADMILLS

Motorized treadmills have motors powered electrically with continuous horsepower, or CHP. The CHP measures how much power the motor maintains throughout the workout. The higher the speed, the more frequent the use or the heavier the user, the higher CHP you will want in your machine.

Motorized treadmills include more features and are suitable for longer training sessions. With various settings for speed and incline, they allow for more varied workouts. However, motorized treadmills tend to be more expensive. The higher the CHP, the more expensive the cost.

RUNNING SURFACE

Also known as the belt or deck size, your treadmill’s running surface is a key component. There are a few different elements of the running surface you will want to look for.

  • Running Surface Length: Lengths of treadmill decks range from 45 inches to 60 inches. Treadmills with a short length work well for walkers. Those with long surfaces are better for running. However, users with long strides may also prefer a longer deck.
  • Running Surface Width: The width of treadmill decks ranges from 16 inches to 22 inches. Treadmill users with wider frames may prefer a wider deck. Meanwhile, those with smaller frames may opt for a narrow deck to be closer to the side handrails.
  • Belt Thickness: The thicker your belt, the more cushioning and comfort provided to legs and joints. Some belts come with a built-in cushion to help provide more shock absorption as your run.

Those with limited space should be mindful of length and width before purchase.

TECHNOLOGY AND FEATURES

Treadmills come with a variety of technologies and features. Some can help advance your fitness goals, while others simply provide a little more luxury.

  • App and Wireless Compatibility: Modern treadmills often have app and wireless compatibility. This allows you to track your performance with corresponding smart phone apps.
  • Built-Ins: If music helps you get into your groove, then you may want to consider a treadmill with built-in speakers. Some models feature television screens that allow you to catch up on your favorite shows as you catch up on your steps. Treadmills may also have built-in water bottle holders or cooling fans for added convenience.
  • Folding: Light on space? A folding treadmill may be best for your household. These treadmills have a deck that folds up for easier storing when not in use.
  • Preloaded Workouts: Some treadmill consoles have preset workouts with specific speeds and inclines. Preloaded workouts sometimes include displays with virtual sceneries.

When making a big purchase, you want to tread carefully. Features aren’t the only consideration when buying a treadmill; budget plays a role, too. Learn more about what is driving the price of your treadmill.