What to Look for When Buying a Treadmill

With the cold, wet, fall and winter days just around the corner, retreating indoors for a walk can sound pretty appealing. When the weather says, “walk indoors or don’t walk” it’s all about the treadmill.

The #1 question people ask when looking at treadmills is “What do I look for when buying a treadmill”? Before you decide to purchase any treadmill you need to ask the salesperson the following questions:

  • The treadmill motor is one of the most important elements because, first, it powers the treadmill, and second, it is the most costly treadmill item to fix. Most treadmills range from 1.5 HP to 3.5 HP. Remember, the more strenuously you plan to use the treadmill, the more power you’re going to need. So if you’re planning on using the treadmill consistently or for long periods of time, make sure you get a higher horsepower motor. You will need a Continuous Duty power (or CD HP for short). This is the power at which the treadmill can continually, and steadily operate for 24 hours without slowing down. The motor power of a treadmill is usually tied to the price of the treadmill (which is why the cheap $500 department store treadmills usually only come with a 1.5 HP motor). A knowledgeable salesperson will be able to explain the differences and advise you to the treadmill that best fits your needs.

  • Ask about the frame. Welded frames are better in that they provide more stability than bolted frames. A quality treadmill has a welded frame. Also look at the frame style. Is it an "I" or "C" or is it a "Box" style of construction.

  • What about the belt width and length? The average width of belts range is from 18" to 22", and the minimum length of the belt is usually around 51". However, if you are taller, plan on running, or have longer legs, we’d recommend at least a 58" belt. Having a good treadmill belt can also improve cushioning, protect your joints, and add length to your treadmill life.

  • Ask about the cushioning system. This is an important factor of the treadmill because cushioning is the ability for the treadmill to absorb the force of your step. Better cushioning means less impact on your joints and ligaments. Many quality treadmills have their own form of cushioning system to protect you.

  • Test the treadmill. You need to test each model to make sure it’s right for your needs. The salesperson will explain the functions for each model. Make sure you understand the use of the safety features, like the Safety/Stop Buttons, and Safety Pins. Depending on the price of the treadmill you can get lots of little goodies like heart rate monitors, built-in workout programs, workout fans, running track displays, etc. Don’t buy it unless you try it!

  • Ask about the warranty. You want to protect your investment and the manufacturer’s warranty is extremely important. A couple of things to look for are lifetime frame and deck warranty, and a 30 years motor warranty, along with different warranties for parts, electronics, and labor depending on the model and store.

  • Ask about Service. Who provides the service should you need it, and how fast is the response for service, what are the qualifications of the Service Department? This is very important because Treadmills involve motors, mechanical moving parts, and electronics in order to run and perform the tasks that make them operate. A store that doesn't provide service, is not where to shop.

  • Now you have the questions to ask, but where do you go to shop? Your best choice is an actual brick-and-mortar store (specialty retailer). You will get a knowledgeable salesperson that is qualified to answer your questions. As you test the different brands and models of treadmills on display, the salesperson will explain the elements and functions of the treadmill. They will help you with your buying decision.

Stop into The Bike Shack and check out all of our new treadmills and fitness equipment. All of our products are available for testing, and are backed by the strongest warranties in the industry. We deliver, set-up and service all of our fitness equipment.
When you're visiting Dubuque, check us out.  We are easy to find on US highway 20.  If repairs, clothing or accessories are what you need we can help! We have a mechanic available during most business hours.  We have the staff and parts to help get you back on the road.

Come in, look around, and Ride with.... THE BIKE SHACK!
The only place for all your cycling and fitness needs!