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Home > Health > Home Fitness Guide > All About Treadmills > Treadmill Buying Guide

Treadmill Buying Guide

There are many issue to consider when choosing a treadmill. Some of the more technical aspects will be discussed in this buying guide.

The size and strength of the motor on a treadmill is very important. In general, the larger and heavier the motor is, the longer the treadmill will last. Usually they have two motors - one for the belt and another to power the incline (if it does incline). The power of the motor is measure in horsepower. The continuous horsepower of a treadmill measures how powerfully a treadmill can run without dropping off. The continuous horsepower of the motor is the one you want to consider when deciding which treadmill to buy.

If you are planning to use your treadmill just for walking, 1.0 to 1.5 continuous hp (horsepower) should be sufficient. But if you want to run on it, look for one with 1.5 to 2.0 continuous hp.

Cushioning system
Most good treadmills have a cushioning system to make walking or running easier on people who have bad knees, ankles or backs. If you have problems with your joints, the the cushioning or shock absorption system of a treadmill should be something you take seriously. But keep in mind, the treadmill should not feel too soft or spongy when using it either.

Incline abilities
Incline capabilities on a treadmill can make your workout more intense by increasing the amount of resistance. Basically, it makes it seem as though you are walking uphill. Most better treadmills have a power incline, which you can adjust by pushing a button. If an incline is important to you, check and see how much the ones you are considering incline. Many go from 0 to 10%, but some incline as much as 15%. On some however, you have to change the incline manually with a crank. These may only incline at certain set percents such as 3, 5, 7 and 9%, but will cost less. I've heard that the manual ones that use a hydraulic piston tend to break a lot, so be wary of those.

In general, if the treadmill will be used for running or by taller people, you should get one with a longer belt. Longer ones tend to run around 50-60 inches, and short ones about 45-50 inches. The width of the belt tends to run between 16 and 22 inches, depending upon the treadmill.

The speed most treadmills go up to is 10 mph. This enough for most people. Most people tend to walk at about 3-6 mph and run about 6-10 mph.

Display panel
The display panels are usually either LCD or LED. Information displayed on many treadmills include: time, distance, speed, incline, calories burned, pace, and heart rate. You will have to decide which of these feature are important to you. In general, treadmills that give more feedback information tend to be more expensive. If you can't spend a lot of money you may not want to pay for all these features. On the other hand, for some people this kind of information can be very motivating to continue exercising. Some even have different workout programs and ways to store workout information for different users. Again, you will have to decide if these added features are worth the extra money for you or not.

Last but not least - don't forget to consider the warranty that comes with the treadmill. When you buy something more expensive like this, you want to take this seriously. Components that you should check to see if they are covered include: motor, deck, frame, belts, rollers, electronics and labor. Good companies will offer a lifetime warranty on the frame and possibly the deck. Motor warranties can go from 10 to as much as 30 years. For parts like belts, rollers, electronics - treadmills with warranties for 3 - 5 years can be found. Labor should be at least one year, but try to get one with more if you can it.

See also:

Choosing a Treadmill, Compare Treadmills and All About Treadmills.

Legal stuff: The above article is for general information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care.

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