What to look for when buying a treadmill
You’ve made your mind up…it’s time to invest in a treadmill. Buying a Treadmill can be confusing. But where do you start?
I’ve written this article on how to buy a treadmill because being a treadmill service technician I meet people every day who have brought a secondhand treadmill. Shortly afterward they are faced with a repair bill that’s almost as much as a new treadmill. This article is written from the perspective of helping you get the most out of your investment, and arm you with the right information when buying a treadmill.
1: Treadmill weight rating
2: New, secondhand or rebuilt treadmill
3: Treadmill Motor size
4: Maintenance (yes that’s right)
5: Running or walking
6: Running surface
Treadmill weight rating.
You need to know what you weigh. All fitness equipment and treadmills are designed for different weight limits so you need to look for a treadmill that is designed to suit your size. Some manufacturers have optimistic weight ratings on their equipment so be careful. Don’t buy a treadmill if you’re on its weight limit, get a machine with a higher weight limit.
New, secondhand or rebuilt treadmill.
New is always the best way to go if you can afford it. Your treadmill will be covered by a warranty and all the components are new. Take time to ask as many questions as you can think of before you buy it. Check out the new treadmills I recommend on my treadmills for sale page. Consider what you’ve read in this article because its points are relevant whether the treadmill you are looking at is new or used.
Make sure the company you buy from has proper parts and service support. During the buying process get a price and availability on a replacement running belt and deck. These items usually last between 1 and 5 years, depending on maintenance, usage, being correctly weight rated, etc. If they’re organized, the salesperson will produce a price and availability without fuss.
If you buy a new treadmill, check the running belt and deck are lubricated properly before you start using it.
Most new treadmills need some assembly from new, make sure when you bolt up the uprights for the monitor you don’t damage the wiring loom which is a common mistake. You can have your new treadmill assembled by a professional which is a good idea as most new warranties don’t cover incorrect assembly.
Secondhand treadmills are a bad idea if you don’t know what to look for. Some treadmill repairs can cost as much as a brand new treadmill. That $300 treadmill may not be a good deal. If you choose to buy secondhand, when you go and check it out, run on the treadmill for 10 to 20 minutes. If it cuts out when you’re on it, the running belt and deck are probably worn, so don’t buy it. There’s so much to look out for that I’ve written another article – How to Buy a Secondhand Treadmill. If you can’t afford a new treadmill, but would rather not risk the purchase of a second-hand treadmill, buy a refurbished treadmill for sale.
Rebuilt treadmills should have had the running belts and decks replaced, reducing stress on the electronics however the electronics may not be new. Rebuilt treadmills have had a full service, they normally come with a limited warranty and can be delivered. Normally half to three-quarters the price of a comparable new treadmill, professionally rebuilt treadmills represent good value.
Treadmill motor size.
When buying a treadmill, You need to buy a treadmill with a good-sized motor, a 1 to 2 hp motor just isn’t big enough if you weigh 90kgs. I recommend a 3 to 6 hp motor just because it doesn’t have to work as hard as a 1 to 2 hp motor to do the same thing. If you try a treadmill that doesn’t accelerate smoothly with you on it, and/or it surges, the motor is probably too small. You should consider buying a treadmill with a bigger motor
There are two ways of rating motor horsepower, one is continuous horsepower and the other is peak horsepower. A motor’s continuous horsepower rating is what it can run comfortably for a prolonged period. The peak horsepower rating is measured at the top limit of its output.
A motor with a peak 6 hp may be rated at 4 hp continuous. A motor that’s rated at 1 to 2 hp peak is a bit underpowered. A treadmill with a motor rated at 2.5 hp upwards continuous would be a wiser purchase.
Like cars, treadmills have lots of components that can fail. A treadmill has mechanical, electrical and electronic components. If the mechanical components aren’t serviced regularly, they put a lot of stress on the electronic and electrical components.
The next thing you know your treadmill doesn’t work. Take servicing your treadmill seriously or you could end up buying a new one well before you should have to. Consider buying a treadmill with a history of being serviced. Ask the seller if there’s anything you need to do to look after it. If they say nothing, move on to the next treadmill for sale. Check out my article – How to fix your Treadmill -faq or Treadmills-Common Faults for helpful advice.
Will you be Running or Walking?
If you intend to run on your treadmill, it will stress your machine more than walking on it. If you intend to run on it, you’ll need a treadmill with a good-sized surface. Is your partner going to use it and will they be running on it? Do they weigh more than you? Make sure when buying a treadmill, it’s suitable for everyone who is likely to use it.
Treadmill Running Surface.
A running belt surface on a treadmill of 500mm wide and 1400mm long would be considered a large running surface for a domestic treadmill. If you want to do a lot of running and you’re a heavy person, get yourself something this size. Ensure when you’re buying a treadmill it has at least a 3 hp motor. When treadmills started to evolve and their running/walking surface area grew, they were not initially matched with an increase in motor size.
Small treadmills are available with 320mm wide by 550mm long walking surfaces. These may be ok for walking on. A walking surface this small would have a very small motor and suit someone 50-70kgs who wanted to use it solely for walking.
Always check the motor size suits the running or walking surface area of the treadmill.
What size treadmill footprint.
You need to think about how much room you have. Most domestic treadmills fold up when not in use so they take up less space. You need a suitable area to use your treadmill safely. Having your treadmill in the garage may be a bad idea because a lot of dust, dirt, leaves, debris, etc can build up in a garage, all of which the treadmill can suck up with its cooling fan. Exposure to moisture in the air can corrode the electronics. These conditions are likely to cause a fault occurring in your treadmill which can be serious. Consider that a clean dry inside area is the best place to put a treadmill. When buying a treadmill make sure you have a good place for it. The treadmill will last much longer.
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