Tuesday, 5. April 2011
Looking for the best treadmill? Unfortunately there are so many brands on the market now, it's hard to know which one is right for you. And with so many new workout features, it can be confusing to find one that fits your personal fitness goals.
So what do you look for? This treadmill buying guide will give you 4 quick tips to help you choose a treadmill that fits your style. Use these tips when buying and you'll feel more comfortable about choosing the right fit for you.
Treadmill Buying Guide Tip #1 - What's Your Budget?
The first thing to keep in mind is your budget. By setting a budget you'll be able to narrow the field a bit and not waste time salivating over that 00 commercial treadmill when your budget is 00.
When deciding on a budget, it's also important to know that there are ways you can get a high quality treadmill for less. Buying online for example, can save you a significant amount of money. And many online sellers will offer free shipping to your home, which can also save you a few hundred dollars.
However keep in mind that in general with treadmills you do get what you pay for. Most treadmills under 00 are just not built for heavy use. So if you can spend a bit more to get a quality machine that will hold up over the long run, do it. It will probably end up costing you less than a cheaper treadmill over time.
Treadmill Buying Guide Tip #2 - What Features Do You Need?
Once you know your budget ask yourself what essential features do you need in a treadmill.
For example, treadmill belt sizes come in a range of lengths from 48" to 60". Most average height users will be fine with a 53-55" belt. However if you're taller or plan on running, you may want to go with a longer 58" - 60" belt. That way you can pick up your pace without feeling like you're falling off the treadmill.
Another feature to consider is cushioning. A good cushioning system protects your hips, knees, ankles and back.
Don't skimp on cushioning - I know of one woman who damaged her hips running on a cheaply cushioned treadmill after just 3 months. You don't need the pain or hassle.
Most treadmills have their own form of cushioning system - but some are better than others. In general, the more you plan to use your treadmill and the more aggressive you plan to be with it (walking vs jogging vs running), the higher grade of cushioning you'll need.
Console options and layout is another thing to consider. If your treadmill will be placed in a medium to darkly lit area, you'll need a treadmill with a backlit window. This makes it easier to read and track your workout statistics.
Finally, when considering the features that you absolutely need, also consider the needs of others who will be using the treadmill. Are they taller - will they need a longer belt? Are they running and need higher end cushioning? etc.
Treadmill Buying Guide Tip #3 - How Much and How often Do You Plan on Using Your Treadmill?
If you're planning on using your treadmill frequently for running or jogging you'll need a higher grade of treadmill with a strong motor output and high quality construction. This is also the case if there is more than one person who will be using treadmill as this means more wear and tear on the machine.
If you're only planning on treadmill walking for a few of the colder months during the year, then you don't need as much in terms of construction and may be able to save a bit with a starter model.
Some things to consider here are motor power, warranty and user weight capacity.
The motor is the heart of your treadmill. If you're going to be using your treadmill frequently, you'll want to look for a higher powered (over 2.5 HP), well-built motor.
A high powered motor doesn't have to work as hard as a low powered motor - and it can also keep up with the demands of a large treadmill belt. Another way to assess motor quality is to look at the manufacturer's warranty on the motor. Anything over 20 years is good - and a lifetime motor warranty is excellent
Warranty length is a great indicator of construction quality. Usually different components of the treadmill are covered for varying lengths of time (for example 30 years on the frame, 20 years on the motor, 2 years on electronics, 1 year on other parts and 6 months on labor).
The longer your warranty is, the better chance that the construction quality is good. Manufacturers are pretty good at estimating their repair costs. And if they give a long warranty, it's because they figure they won't have to fix that part for most treadmills during the warranty period.
User weight capacity is another indicator of construction quality. For example, most economy treadmills offer a 250 lb user weight capacity. Higher end, more stable treadmills will usually offer a 350 - 400 lb user weight capacity.
Treadmill Buying Guide Tip #4 - The Icing On the Cake - What Would You Like To Have?
So you know how much you can spend, which features you absolutely need and what kind of construction quality to look for. Now comes the fun part - which features would you really like to have?
Treadmill technology has improved over the years and there are some incredible workout tools included in this year's models.
You can find treadmills with built-in TVs, iPod docks with built-in speakers, tracking tools to measure your fitness improvement, heart rate monitors to stay in your target fat-burning zone, and personal-trainer designed workouts to help you lose weight or tone up.
When looking at different models, note which features you would like to have in your treadmill. These kinds of things can turn a boring old treadmill into your own personal entertainment center - and can improve the chances that you'll use it more often.
So there you have it. By asking these 4 questions you can put the whole package together: your budget, your treadmill needs, quality of construction and the fun stuff that you'd like to have.
While there are many treadmill buying guides that will tell you that you need 'X' HP motor power and a Y-length belt and Z number of workout programs, the bottom line is that you are the best judge of which treadmill fits your needs.
So do your research and go for it - with a treadmill you can get excited about.