In this complete guide, we’ll explore the distinguishing features of treadmills and discuss the problem areas of treadmills. It is imperative to pay attention to these features before buying!
Buying a treadmill: the main criteria for the right choice
In this guide, we will explore the distinguishing features of treadmills and discuss the problem areas of treadmills. These are the things you need to pay attention to before buying.
MAIN PARAMETERS FOR SELECTING THE TREADMILL
- Buying a treadmill: the main criteria for the right choice
- Maximum user weight
- Treadmill motor power
- Running belt
- Treadmill cushioning
- Changing the angle of inclination
Heart rate monitoring and exercise programs
- Folding the treadmill
Cost of standard treadmills
- Types of treadmills
- Terms used when choosing treadmills:
- Summing up
Before choosing a treadmill for the home, it is necessary to take into account the main factors from which we will be determined with the parameters of the simulator:
- who will be engaged
- how many hours will they study
- what do we want to achieve
- what level of motivation
When choosing a track, you need to make a certain landmark. You need to know that the home treadmill, as opposed to the professional grade, is designed for less use. The more expensive the simulator, the better the materials and the better the characteristics: more powerful engine, more comfortable treadmill, many parts of the simulator are designed for intense impact and load. Accordingly, the price depends on this.
In short, we do not recommend buying tracks for less than 30 thousand rubles. And then it all depends on your financial capabilities. Of course, the ideal is a track worth about 100 thousand from a trusted manufacturer. It will have excellent functionality, and good reliability and will keep you motivated!
Go! First, let’s look at the main characteristics that must be considered when choosing a treadmill.
Maximum user weight
First, you need to pay attention to the maximum weight of the user, as indicated by the manufacturer. The user’s weight limit must be known as it directly affects the frame, belt, and motor of the treadmill.
A reliable treadmill for regular home use is considered to be a treadmill designed for a maximum user weight of 120 kg. At the same time, all tracks are bought with a margin – add at least 20 kilograms to the weight of the heaviest user.
It is important to remember that some unscrupulous sellers exaggerate these parameters to make the simulators look more powerful and reliable than they really are.
It is important to pay attention to the total weight of the track itself, engine displacement, and customer feedback on its work.
Of course, if possible, it is useful to have insurance against the maximum allowable values, i.e. safety margin, since the weight of the simulator declared in the characteristics may not correspond to reality. Unscrupulous sellers can misuse this value, regardless of the consequences that could lead to injury and, as a result, harm to health.
Treadmill motor power
The second thing we look at when choosing a treadmill.
Engine power is measured in horsepower or watts. More power (from 3 hp) indicates a better and more durable engine, which means it will last longer than a lower power engine.
Vendors often focus on two measures of treadmill motor power – continuous operation and peak load. For example, 1.75 constant horsepower, and 3 peak horsepower.
When choosing a treadmill, it is better to focus on the indicator of continuous operation and the motors of a well-known manufacturer (not the manufacturer of the exercise machine).
Typically, in-home treadmills, the motor power range ranges from 1HP to 3.5HP. If the seller of a budget model indicates the engine power of 4-6 hp, then this, at least, should raise doubts, because such engines are installed on commercial simulators or on treadmills for professional use.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers overestimate the basic parameters and characteristics of simulators in order to increase their competitive advantage.
This begs the question: “How can I, an ordinary user, determine that I am not being deceived and that all the characteristics correspond to the declared ones?” Unfortunately, there is no such mechanism. It remains only to read real reviews and look at the expertise.
For some, often low-quality tracks, the motor power is calculated in watts. It is worth remembering that 750 watts = 1 horsepower. If you plan to train more than 3 times a week or your weight is more than 63 kg, it is recommended to look for a treadmill with an engine with a power of more than 1.5 hp. (1300 Watt)
The next important step in choosing a treadmill is the size of the treadmill and deck. When choosing a treadmill, be guided by the size and thickness of the belt. For users of different heights and different stride lengths, this is important.
For example, with a height of 170 cm, it is not recommended to buy a treadmill with a short belt, as the comfort of training is significantly reduced and it will not be possible to use the simulator for intensive running. You can barely manage to just walk.
Pay attention not only to the length of the walking belt but also to the width. A wide running belt also affects your comfort. With a narrow treadmill, you can step on the edges of the treadmill while exercising.
Running belts come in a variety of structures and thicknesses. What does this mean and what does it affect?
Running belts are 2, 3, and 4-ply. Also, the cloth can have orthopedic properties (orthopedic cloth). The main difference is 1.2mm to 3mm thickness, which affects the life of the treadmill. Accordingly, the thicker the belt, the longer the life of the treadmill.
The base of the treadmill must be very strong to support not only your weight but also the movement on the treadmill. As a rule, the frames are steel and aluminum. Steel ones are stiffer, quieter, and have a springy effect. Aluminum is also strong, but not as springy.
Because running inherently puts a strain on the joints, many treadmills have adopted different cushioning systems to reduce shock. An important factor when choosing a treadmill for your home. Thanks to the cushioning system, the shock load on the joints during running on the treadmill can be reduced by an average of 40%. This means that the number of injuries will decrease and training will last longer and be more intense.
There are the following types of depreciation:
Springs. Avoid using springs for cushioning in a treadmill. The springs are compressed and with the same force transfer the force of the step back to the legs.
Elastomeric cushions. These orthopedic pillows are capable of absorbing some of the shock energy and are used on most commercial and professional treadmills. They have a multi-layer structure and easily restore their original shape after deformation. Elastomers are rubber bushings that cushion between the deck and the frame of the treadmill, which, when combined with the deck, smooth out shock loads for a more comfortable workout. Elastomers come in round and rectangular shapes. The defining indicator of efficiency is the thickness, which varies on average from 0.3 cm to 3 cm.
The most common cushioning systems are a shock-absorbing deck and round or flat elastomers.
The deck is a plate, consisting of a special wear-resistant material, on the surface with which the belt of the treadmill slides. At the time of training, the deck tends to bend, thus there is significant damping of shock effects. The thickness of the deck, depending on the class of the treadmill, ranges from 16 mm to 25 mm.
Changing the angle of inclination
Treadmills have the ability to change the angle of the treadmill, this happens in two ways:
- change of the angle of inclination using the display due to the built-in lift motor.
On good treadmills, the keypad incline works in parallel with the programs, increasing or decreasing the incline for the desired step in your workout. Recommended.
In mechanical treadmills, the incline angle is about 3-6 degrees. In a treadmill with an electric lift, the angle can reach 22 degrees, which is very noticeable at the time of training.
If your budget allows you to choose an electronic incline treadmill, then buy one.
Heart rate monitoring and exercise programs
There are three functional levels of the heart rate monitoring treadmill:
Base. Even the simplest mechanical treadmills are often equipped with handheld heart rate sensors. Mounting on the brackets is unreliable, but at the same time, they do a good job of reading the pulse and controlling the time required for recovery. For the data to be correct, your hands must be wet and on the sensor for about 30 seconds. For accurate information, you must stop completely. Better to choose a treadmill with a heart rate monitor.
Average. The treadmill comes with a chest strap or heart rate monitor that provides more detailed heart rate information. This allows you to quickly increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise to achieve the optimal heart rate. We recommend choosing just such treadmills, as the last resort, buy a heart rate monitor separately. Do not buy tracks that cannot be connected to a heart rate monitor, they are extremely ineffective!
Professional. Treadmills of this level use a heart rate watch, chest straps, or other compatible heart rate programs.
Electric treadmills are equipped with a package of standard programs, plus the simulator can contain cardio and custom programs, with the possibility of individual settings.
Classic training programs:
- The hills
- Burning fat
We want to focus on cardio programs. This is especially true in a situation where there are disturbances in the work of the cardiovascular system. The cardio program allows you to monitor your heart rate during training:
- informing you with a signal about exceeding the maximum allowable heart rate;
- the simulator automatically reduces the load without creating an overload in the work of the cardiac system, when the maximum allowable heart rate is exceeded;
The program works correctly when a heart rate monitor is used. The most effective training is with wireless heart rate monitors, which allow you to demonstrate the most accurate values without disturbing the comfortable training conditions.
In other words, if the simulator is not equipped with a wireless heart rate monitor, you will have to periodically hold onto the handrails on which the heart rate sensors are located, and they are often inconveniently located.
Folding the treadmill
It’s always great when the treadmill folds down. This way we save space in the house. Choose systems with shock absorbers, they make it easy to fold the machine. When unfolding the treadmill, the treadmill lowers slowly, eliminating a sudden drop, which means there is no injury.
Some machines do not have shock absorbers, which means you need to carefully lower the deck until it is fully unfolded. Hands can be pinched.
Security key. There is a magnet at one end of the key that attaches to the console, and at the other end, there is a clip for attaching to clothing. If you fall or stumble, the key will fall off the console and the machine will automatically stop. You won’t get hurt. Select a treadmill with a safety key only.
Handrails. Side rails are used to hedge against falling at the moment of stumbling or at the moment of speed change. Before starting a workout, make sure that the handrails do not interfere with your arms while you run.
Automatic slow start. No matter how fast or slow the user is running and their experience, the treadmill never starts immediately at the selected speed. All machines start slowly and gradually build up to the desired pace.
Now you know the basic parameters to check when choosing a treadmill. Let’s now deal with additional questions.
Where to place the treadmill?
It is not recommended to store fitness equipment in cold rooms, garages, and poorly insulated balconies. In winter, due to the large temperature difference, electronic equipment may become unusable: for example, condensation may appear inside the control panel. If you intend to store the equipment in a cold room, then it should be well packaged to minimize the risk of damage.
If possible, place the treadmill in a room with a TV or stereo system. Motivating melodies and watching your favorite TV shows, programs are great incentives for regular exercise at full capacity.
Make sure there is enough space for the treadmill
Treadmills can take up a surprising amount of space. Therefore, it is important to know in what place, in what area it will stand, and check everything again before buying. For safety reasons, you should check if there are any obstacles behind the treadmill.
Analysis of customer reviews
Learn more about the manufacturing company, its service in your city, and its history. How many years has the band been working on the Russian market and how does it solve the problems that arise.
Careful examination of documents
There is a list of important points that should be carefully studied in the documents, namely:
Money-back guarantees. When buying an exercise machine from an online store, you should look out for the possibility of returning the treadmill after you receive it, assemble it, and even try it out. Well-known companies with a good reputation give guarantees for a refund within 14 days, subject to return in original packaging and full payment of the shipping cost, which, by the way, can reach considerable sums.
At the same time, some companies may limit the period for returning goods to 7 days and complicate the situation by the fact that the equipment should not be used and the packaging should not be opened. That is, you cannot return the treadmill with such companies.
Warranty service, its cost. You must make sure that includes a warranty for service and replacement parts. Does it apply to home repairs, what work, and the replacement of what parts can be done free of charge? Otherwise, the possible repair will cost as much as a new treadmill.
Manufacturer’s and seller’s warranty. Oftentimes, the warranty must come from the equipment and exercise equipment manufacturer, not the retailer. Therefore, it is important to find out whose guarantee you are provided with. Additionally, it should be clarified – the guarantee is activated automatically, or for this, it is necessary to perform a series of actions, and if so, which ones. Warranty documents should also be checked for addresses and contact numbers that can be contacted if necessary.
Second-hand product warranty. The seller of a used exercise machine should find out everything about the warranty for the product because it also applies to such a product. Although in most cases no one even asks about it.
Typically, reliable treadmills have the following functionality:
- Running belt area: 130 cm x 45 cm;
- Speed - 18 km / h (often intermediate runners run at this speed only on a sprint short distance during interval training);
- Automatic tilt adjustment – up to 10 degrees;
- The minimum number of programs is 20;
- Noteworthy manufacturers of reliable treadmills: Spirit, Sole.
Types of treadmills, which one to choose.
The treadmill is a cardio trainer, which means the dependence of the load on the heart rate. This is a simulator for those who want to have a healthy body, tone muscles, train endurance, and lose weight.
The running belt of such simulators does not have any drive. It is driven by the muscular effort of the athlete. This principle of operation contributes to a realistic imitation of natural running.
Benefits of mechanical treadmills:
- do not require connection to the mains;
- the runner himself varies the speed of movement – slowing down or speeding up the run. You will always run at the optimal speed for
- yourself, without overloading the body;
Due to the absence of an engine and an on-board computer, they are lightweight, have excellent compactness, and a relatively low price;
Disadvantages of this type of treadmill:
- a limited number of displays of special characteristics;
- lack of work programs;
- not recommended for people with foot problems.
There are mechanical treadmills with magnetic loading and braking mechanisms. They are called magnetic treadmills. The design of such a mechanical treadmill is supplemented with magnets that facilitate the movement of the belt, which makes the belt rotate smoothly, unlike conventional mechanical treadmills, where jerks are felt during running, with which the belt moves.
The treadmill of electric treadmills is driven by an electric motor. The athlete only needs to select the required speed and start training. On such tracks, the speed of the web is set programmatically, the speed value depends on the power of the electric motor.
Trainers with an electric drive differ from mechanical ones by the smooth running of the belt, which makes running more comfortable. Another advantage is the presence of an on-board computer on the screen of which, in addition to displaying the pulse, training time, the number of calories burned, speed and distance traveled, you can create your own training programs or choose from a list of ready-made preset training programs: speed, aerobic, rehabilitation, fat burning, etc. This functionality makes classes effective and interesting.
All electrically powered treadmills are equipped with a dedicated safety key. During training, one end of the cord is attached to the safety key and the other to the athlete’s belt. If a person falls suddenly, the treadmill stops immediately. Such a system makes classes as safe as possible. Some models of simulators have touch sensors that replace the lace.
In economy class treadmills, the engine power reaches 1.1 kW, the maximum speed is fifteen kilometers per hour, manual control, and the track width is about forty centimeters.
The tracks of the amateur class are equipped with a DC collector electric motor, the power of which is 1.5 kW, and the maximum speed is sixteen kilometers per hour. The built-in computer is able to control the running program itself. It is possible to change the angle of inclination of the track surface.
Hi-End treadmills have an engine power of 1.5 kW, and the maximum speed that it develops is eighteen kilometers per hour. The width of the belt reaches 50 cm. Models of this class are able to control the runner’s pulse and adjust the load for it.
Professional simulators functionally do not differ from the Hi-End class. The only difference is that due to the complex technical solutions, they can be used around the clock in gyms.
The compact treadmill differs from the rest only in its size. They are much easier to find among mechanical models than among electrical ones. These are simulators, the running belt of which is 10-15 centimeters narrower than usual (35 centimeters versus 50), and the length is 80 – 90 centimeters. They are quite suitable for a medium-sized man or a slender girl.
There are also foldable treadmills. It can be easily hidden under the bed or thrown into the trunk, and, if necessary, expanded and used for its intended purpose.
Treadmills are also divided according to their purpose and can be for home and commercial use.
These treadmills are designed specifically for those who do not have time to go to the stadium or gym. These machines will help you get the perfect figure and improve your health while exercising right at home. This type of treadmill includes both mechanical and electrically driven units.
Professional tracks are great for everyone. These units allow people of any level of readiness to conduct effective classes. Professional treadmills are very functional and have a great design. They perfectly complement the interior of any home or gym.
Which treadmill should you choose?
First of all, you need to determine which treadmill to buy mechanical or electrical. We advise you to opt for electrical since mechanical are characterized by low functionality and final efficiency.
The main criteria for choosing treadmills:
- An important element of an electric treadmill is the motor. The maximum speed of rotation of the canvas depends on its power and the maximum allowable weight of the person involved. The best option would be an engine power of at least 2 hp.
- Pay attention to the maximum speed of the treadmill, the faster the better.
- The running belt is an annular belt that is worn on two shafts and rotates on them. The convenience of training depends on the size of the canvas. The optimal ratio in most cases is a treadmill with a running belt 40 cm wide and 120 130 cm long. The belt thickness of the treadmill must be at least 2 cm. It is desirable that it consists of several layers. The more of them, the more comfortable it is to run, and the longer the service life. If the blade is double-sided, then as it wears out, you can turn it over.
- The thickness of the walking platform (deck), along which the walking belt moves, must be at least two centimeters. The most popular treadmill models are equipped with a shock absorption system where the deck flexes slightly under the user’s weight while dampening the rebound force.
- Changing the angle of inclination. This functionality allows you to increase the load and simulate running uphill.
- Treadmills have a basic set of functions: heart rate, running speed, distance traveled and calories burned.
- It is worth paying attention to the built-in training programs (weight loss, endurance training, etc.) for different manufacturers and models, it differs. These programs are designed by professionals and are optimal for achieving a specific result. Creating your own programs is a function for professionals who know what they are doing.
- The panel should have a security key that attaches to the belt. In the event of a fall, the key will be pulled out and the track will stop.
- The heart rate sensor monitors your heart rate. Helps to withstand the load that is optimal for you.
- A built-in fan helps prevent overheating while running.
- The water bottle holder allows you to keep your buzz away without stopping your workout so you can stay hydrated while you work out.
- The treadmill must be guaranteed.
- Built-in speakers with an audio player for those who like to run to the music.
- Some treadmill models have additional functionality. For example:
- A vibration massager helps to warm up the muscles before running, and then relieve fatigue;
soft rollers for pumping the press;
etc. A treadmill is an interconnected system of motor, belt, metal frame, and electronics. Therefore, when choosing it, it is necessary to pay attention to all the elements in general.
Despite a large number of positive aspects of using a treadmill, it has a number of contraindications:
- Diseases of the knee and ankle joints, as well as ligament weakness.
- Fever and headache.
- Acute diseases or chronic in an exacerbation stage.
- Bronchial asthma, accompanied by frequent attacks.
- Running is strictly contraindicated in case of heart disease, hypertension of the III degree, angina pectoris, mitral stenosis.
Even if you do not have special health problems, you should definitely consult your doctor.
Terms used when choosing treadmills:
Most likely you still have questions. Therefore, we will decipher all the terms, they will help you when choosing a treadmill and communicating with consultants.
The running belt is a moving element of the exercise machine, reminiscent of a conveyor belt made of durable rubber-fabric material.
The computer control system is located on the front of the treadmill. Includes display, navigation, selection of training programs, switching modes, etc.
The digital display on the front of the treadmill shows basic information and metrics.
Heart rate monitor
There are two main types of heart rate monitors: wrist sensor devices in the form of a bracelet and devices with a chest strap. Most machines come with built-in handheld heart rate monitors that measure heart rate on the wrist – you can navigate the data, but these measurements are not entirely accurate.
Wearable heart rate monitors, such as chest straps or touchscreen watches, are often more accurate than handheld meters. They are also more convenient.
Recently, another type has become popular – a heart rate monitor with a sensor on the earlobe or on a finger – not the most accurate and rather inconvenient device for measuring heart rate, it can slide or fall during training.
Heart rate control is used for a variety of purposes, from losing weight to developing professional athletic skills and getting fit.
The heart rate range is determined prior to start a workout based on your individual goals. As you move, the chest strap, bracelet, or watch will track your heart rate, providing feedback so you can maintain the amount of exercise you need to stay in your target heart rate zone.
Many simulators have the function of automatic adjustment of the training mode – with the help of chest straps and sensors, depending on the parameters set by the user and the incoming information about the runner’s heart rate, they independently change the level of difficulty, “adjusting” to the desired range. If you are interested in this type of training, you should carefully study the description of the simulator.
Walking Belt Tilt
Changing the angle of inclination of the walking belt affects the level of load. Simulates hills, climbs, and trail running.
A mechanical treadmill is the simplest type of simulator, in which the load is set by the weight of the athlete and the friction force, the treadmill is driven by the legs (this type of treadmill is not recommended for purchase).
A treadmill powered by an electric motor changes the angle of the deck and moves the treadmill while running or walking.
Programs and modes
Front-panel treadmill programs and modes to help you select the optimal load on your electric treadmill.
Will I have to assemble the treadmill myself?
Treadmills do not require much assembly, but another pair of hands will still come in handy – in order to properly position the machine, it is heavy enough to handle the job on its own. All the necessary recommendations are in the manual, but if you wish, you can pay for the purchase together with the installation service, which has now become available in all stores.
How noisy are the treadmills?
Quality treadmills run quietly. It is important to understand where the simulator will be located. For example, if you live in an apartment building, be sure to buy a treadmill mat.
If the structure of the house is concrete, especially monolithic, then it is excellent, the track will work very quietly. But if the house is old, with wooden structures at the base, then there is something to think about. Although the treadmill itself is almost silent, your running, especially if you run fast and train in the middle of the night, can be heard by neighbors – and they certainly will not thank you for it. Rubber treadmill mats are often used to soften and reduce noise vibration while protecting wooden floors.
Can I listen to music while exercising on the treadmill?
Most quality treadmills have this option. Many treadmills have built-in headphones, speakers, and an MP3 jack.
How much space does the treadmill take up?
According to the instructions, it is recommended to leave a clearance of 10 cm on the sides of the treadmill. Full information about the area occupied by the simulators can be found in the description. In addition, make sure there are no obstacles behind the treadmill.
What if the treadmill breaks down?
Repairing faulty electrical equipment is a more complicated process, and it is not recommended to carry it out on your own. Most treadmills come with a home repair and service warranty, so it’s best to contact your warranty provider for assistance if needed.
How easy and comfortable is it to move the treadmill?
It all depends on the brand and the characteristics of the treadmill itself. Many types of good treadmills have wheels, so it is convenient to move them indoors like a wheelbarrow. Although it is recommended to place the machine in the same place to stay motivated for regular exercise.
Do treadmills have heart rate monitors?
This option is mandatory in quality treadmills. Many models include wrist heart rate monitors and heart rate chest straps as optional accessories.
How can the treadmill be used?
It completely depends on the tasks you set. We talk about it on the forum. Check out our workouts and exercises.
How to care for your treadmill, what should you do regularly?
Treadmills require regular lubrication and tension on the treadmill. Such work takes about 10 minutes to be performed every 6-8 weeks. Systematic lubrication prolongs the life of the treadmill and prevents malfunctions. The tension of the running belt determines the smoothness of the movement, which should resemble running on the street.
Pay attention to the area under the treadmill – it should be clean and empty. You should regularly vacuum and dust under the treadmill. Any dirt, or dust under the base of the treadmill will collect by friction and eventually can cause many malfunctions.
What is a lubricant for?
The silicone grease prevents frictional wear between the running belt and the deck (s). A similar procedure must be carried out every 6-8 weeks. According to statistics, in 80% of treadmill breakdowns, the cause is insufficient lubrication on the elements. We have created a separate topic on the forum about the process of lubricating treadmill parts, there are answers to all questions.
What is the best treadmill for beginners?
If you have never done jogging before, and want to improve your physical shape, pay attention to a treadmill in the range of 50 – 80 thousand rubles. This offer perfectly combines price and excellent quality. On these treadmills, you can start with a brisk walk and gradually prepare for a 10 km run if desired. Even though you are a beginner, it will still be more enjoyable to use an electronic treadmill with an automatic incline and a decent top speed. You can make sure that a good treadmill itself stimulates and encourages you to improve your fitness.
Which treadmill is right for preparing for a marathon?
Treadmills are perfect for use in preparation for long-distance races. They allow you to customize your workout and protect your knees from the effects of trail running. If you plan to train 3-4 times a week, we recommend a reliable treadmill from 100 thousand rubles. They are good treadmills for serious purposes, they will accompany you for years and at the same time keep you motivated with their impeccable performance, as well as a huge deck for long legs and fast strides.
Of course, you need to understand that the higher the cost, the better the characteristics of the treadmill, and the wider the functionality and technical capabilities. You shouldn’t buy a mechanical treadmill or even an electric one at the lowest price, because we will still have high requirements.
If you choose the cheapest one. treadmill, it is easy to buy low quality, short lifespan. In this case, it is better to abandon the purchase altogether. And if you still need a track, then you need to choose a simulator that suits your needs and understand that the price for good equipment cannot be small.
If you come across a simulator at a low price with a large package of functionality, then such simulators should be treated with caution. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with this model in more detail, and it is best to practically test it, but always in comparison with any analog.
Remember – the joy of buying at a low price lasts significantly less than the disappointment of low quality. Treadmill features and options are designed to improve workout comfort and durability, but they also add value.