Important features to consider when purchasing a Treadmill:

By admin

Posted on July 12, 2011

Motor:

  • The motor essentially defines the treadmill. A treadmill is only as good as the motor in it, the bigger and heavier the motor .the longer it will last.
  • Treadmills usually have up to 2 motors, one that drives the belt around and another that raises and lowers the running bed to create an incline also known as the lift motor.
  • Motors allow you to set the speed at which you run i.e. workout.
  • Treadmill Duty versus Continuous Duty:

Continuous duty is the amount of continuous motor power that is being delivered continuously during heavy usage over long periods of time.

Treadmill duty is the power output at which the motor is rated. These motors are designed specifically for treadmill usage.

Horsepower:

  • Horsepower is the measured power of a treadmill motor; manufacturers usually use two measurements for horsepower, namely continuous and peak.
  • Continuous horsepower is the power a treadmill can generate continuously without dropping off.
  • Peak horsepower is the maximum power a treadmill can generate.
  • Peak horsepower is generally significantly higher than a motor’s continuous horsepower; continuous horsepower better helps you determine which treadmill will best fit your needs.
  • Generally, the larger the motor the more power it can generate at a continuous rate.
  • When purchasing a treadmill you should look for one that has at least a 1.5 hp continuous duty motor for runners and a 1.0 hp motor for joggers and walkers.

Incline:

  • Incline raises the treadmill’s running bed at an angle for increased resistance. The steeper the angle the more the resistance.
  • Treadmill incline mimics walking or running up slopes, you can adjust the angle of the slope. By making the angle steeper you can make your workout more challenging, burn more calories and further increase muscle tone.
  • Manual incline means that you have to change the incline yourself; this is usually offered in 4 different placements, 3% incline, 5% incline, 7% incline and 9% incline. Treadmills with manual incline are generally less expensive than those with powered incline.
  • Powered incline offers automatic adjustment so you can change the incline while you’re walking/running thus adding variety and challenge to your workout. Most treadmills offer a powered incline ranging from 0%-10%. Powered incline is definitely more convenient and easier to use.

Belts/Decks:

  • Thicker decks offer more cushioning and comfort to your legs and joints.
  • Look for treadmills with deck cushioning systems designed to provide superior comfort and impact absorption during your workout.
  • Belt lengths vary depending on whether the treadmill is designed for walkers/joggers or runners.
  • Belt widths generally range from 16 inches to 22 inches, whereas lengths vary from approx. 45 inches to 60 inches.
  • People who take long strides during walking or jogging should get belts in the 18-22 inch width range and 50-60 inch length range.
  • People with average strides should get belts between 16-18 inches in width and 45-50 inches in length for walking/jogging.
  • Some people prefer small more compact treadmills that force you to run quickly on the other hand some people prefer longer and wider treadmills for both the comfort and space needed for their long strides.
  • Treadmills are designed to cushion your step which is very important if you have any sort of knee, ankle, hip or other joint ailment. Do not settle for .bouncy. or uncomfortable treadmills even if they come cheap.
  • Speed:
  • Most treadmills have speeds ranging from 0 to 10 mph.
  • Most people walk at speeds between 3-6 while runners prefer speeds between 7 and 10.

Electronics:

  • Display Panels: These are either LCDs or LEDs (brighter and hence provide better readability).
  • Most treadmills have onboard computer systems which feature simple odometers and speedometers to programmed and programmable workouts and storage capabilities.
  • Computer systems provide feedback like speed, distance run, heart rate, pace, calories burned, laps completed, time elapsed, incline and more.
  • Knowing your progress and reading your milestones during a workout offers motivation to increase intensity and even add more challenges to your workout.
  • Heart rate monitors are a valuable addition to any treadmill if not already included. You can program your target HR and the treadmill will adjust its speed and/or incline according to your current HRM readouts so that you can stay within your desired heart rate zone, thereby optimizing your workout efficiency for weight loss and complete body toning.
  • The more advanced the computer system onboard the more expensive the treadmill.
  • Newer high-end treadmills even come with LCD TVs to keep you occupied while you workout.
  • Computer systems also allow you to store previous workout data to monitor your day-by-day progress.

Emergency Shut-Down:

  • Many treadmills come with an emergency switch that stops the machine should you fall off of it or get too tired to continue.
  • Some come with a cord which you can attach to your body or clothing. If you happen to fall and the cord is pulled off the machine, it stops instantaneously.
  • Some also can only be turned on with special keys or an electronic code, allowing you to control who uses it.

Folding Capabilities:

  • For people with space concerns or for less frequent users, you can get foldable treadmills which you can fold up and hide under your bed or in a corner when not in use.