Best Treadmill Reviews: What Should I Look For?

By Kealia Reynolds

Treadmills are extremely hard-working machines that need to withstand heavy use. We talked to two fitness experts about how you can choose the best treadmill.

Factors to consider when buying a treadmill

According to Clint Arms, fitness expert at U.S. Fitness & Recreation, there are four main factors to keep in mind when it comes to what matters most when buying a treadmill:

  1. Workload
  2. Shock absorbency
  3. System features
  4. Where you buy the treadmill

1. Workload

The treadmill you choose should be able to handle the workload of use.

“A treadmill has to drag a person around for 30–60 minutes at a time, and if someone’s going to run on the treadmill, then they’re essentially jumping up and down on the machine while it’s trying to drag you across the wooden deck,” says Arms.

Timothy Littrell, general manager at Fitness Concepts, recommends that consumers focus on getting a treadmill with quality components that will withstand the constant impact of running.

Most fitness equipment stores will have experts to help you determine the right workload ratio based on how you plan to use the treadmill.

2. Shock absorbency

Arms suggests finding the right shock absorbency to prevent injury to the feet, knees, hips, and lower back. With recent advances in technology that reduce both vertical shock absorption and horizontal shear force, you can get a treadmill that’s safe for you.

Consult an expert at your local fitness studio or gym equipment store to ensure you get a treadmill that provides the right shock absorbency for your activity.

3. System features

In addition to finding a treadmill with the right workload and shock absorbency, make sure the treadmill has console features that provide the right programming capability to deliver great results and offer extra motivation during a workout.

According to Arms, “A good console experience is not just a ‘bell and whistle’ experience.”

A good console experience gets users to see and experience their results quicker. Whether you’re trying get in better shape, get toned, lose weight, or push performance, a smart console will make sure you train in a way that gets you those results—almost like having a personal trainer with you every step of the way.”

Some of the newer treadmill models will even connect to your home Wi-Fi network and sync your results to a variety of activity trackers, like the FitBit and Apple Watch.

Littrell says a specific treadmill feature to look for is interactive heart rate capabilities. This type of function allows you to select the specific heart rate you wish to maintain and make adjustments to the treadmill, automatically syncing to the correct speed or incline necessary for your workout.

4. Where you buy your treadmill

One of the most important factors to consider, Arms emphasizes, is where you buy your treadmill.

…Delivery and assembly of a treadmill is no small feat, so if delivery is available, please take advantage. These are heavy machines that require some skills to get the running belts tensioned and tracked properly as well as calibrating the electronics.

And because these are machines with moving parts there will be some wear and tear along the way, so we suggest buying from a company that has a service department in case your machine needs some tender loving care over the years.

He recommends trying out the treadmill several times in the store or gym, doing at least a 30-minute workout to see how your body responds to the machine.

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