Treadmill Buying Guide

Features to Covet: Emergency shutoff – Usually magnets or buttons you yank on or push to cut power instantly if you get into trouble. Hand rails – at least one...read more.
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An Adventure Network® + Total Fitness Network Buying Guide

Features to Covet:

  • Emergency shutoff - Usually magnets or buttons you yank on or push to cut power instantly if you get into trouble.
  • Hand rails - at least one for balance and safety, or at least a slightly extended front rail.
  • Minimum two-ply rubber belt for durability.
  • Belt rollers at least 2 inches diameter and preferably 2.5 inches or more for smoothness and stability.
  • Some cushioning in the deck -- how much is personal preference -- for less impact and more comfort.
  • Surface size at least approximately 17" x 52", depending on your height, leg length and stride length, and whether you intend to walk or run (runners need more length).
  • Computerized controls and visual feedback on the panel for easier use and motivation.
  • DC motors (they eat less power) and a minimum 1.5 horsepower continuous duty motor. Some treadmill manufacturers in the past have played games with HP ratings, labeling lower-grade motors as "peak power" or "treadmill duty." Don’t fall for it. Also, getting a motor bigger than 2.5 won't do you much good; bigger isn't always better.
  • Safety lock or switch so kids can't start the machine.
  • Speeds — At least 4-5 mph if you or family members are only going to walk. Up to 8-10 mph if anyone is going to run, or ever plans to. Increments of 0.1 mph.
  • Start speed of no more than 0.5 mph for safety. Gradual starts are divinely safe, compared to a jerk and go.
  • Inclines — Up to 10-15 percent to add variety and intensity.
  • Warranties — At least one year manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labor. Most companies these days offer various levels on frames, motors, parts and labor that vary from 1-5 years, with some even offering 10 years or limited lifetime. Check on the limits, though.

To read the complete buyer's guide on Adventure Network, click here.

(c) Adventure Network: All rights reserved -- used on SNEWS by permission of Adventure Network.

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