Don’t Tread On Me

Whether it be winter or summer, many people find the weather uninviting for exercising outdoors. Others don’t have a buddy to jog with late at night, or want to watch television at the same time. Many turn their attention to treadmills.

Some of the benefits of buying a treadmill include the convenience. It is often easier to keep track of the time and speed of running or jogging. The treadmills are also better on the knees than running on cement sidewalks.

Shopping for a treadmill can stress and bewilder the consumer because there are many factors to be considered. And since buying one is a higher-than-average financial investment, you don’t want to hasten your decision. I have outlined the many features one should look for in a treadmill and have explained them, and I would suggest using these tips when buying a treadmill. I would also suggest looking for a treadmill at a store. Although information and brands can be viewed online, I would not suggest buying a treadmill without trying it out first.

First, ask what horsepower the treadmill has. The more the horsepower (hp), the better. If you are looking for a treadmill to use for less than an hour a day, you don’t need that high of a hp. However, if you are looking for a treadmill to run on frequently, a higher hp would be needed. A treadmill with a 1.5 continuous hp is the average for lower-grade models, a treadmill with 1.75 hp (such as some of the Keys models) or above is satisfactory, while 2.5 (Diamondback Treadmills) or 3.0 (Landice) is even better. The more hp a treadmill has, the more durability it will have. Continuous hp means that it can maintain that hp for 24 hours, as opposed to peak hp, which is the highest hp the motor has, but not for extended periods of time.

Another factor to consider when buying a treadmill relating to hp is the weight capacity. Ask if the treadmill is designed for walking and jogging, or just walking. Higher weight demands more hp. Test out the treadmill in the store. When first getting onto a treadmill, hold onto the front or side bars and place your feet on each side of the treadmill, but not on the belt. Wait until the treadmill starts and keeps its speed, and then begin walking or jogging. While running, feel if the deck has enough shock absorption and notice if the belt slips. See if the treadmill has wide enough walking or running space, length and width-wise.

Ask about speed and incline range. Most treadmills can go either from 0-10 or 0-12 mph. The incline is measured in degrees, usually going up to 12-degree incline. Also, look at the display dash and see what variables are featured. The speed, time and distance are usually displayed, with some having programs and calories burned displayed. The programs on treadmills vary by model. Many treadmills have user-defined or manual programs, where you can program your own settings, such as speed and incline. Others add set programs, some simulating walking through terrain or flat land. For safety, the minimum speed should be around .6 so as to not cause any falls. Also, the handrails on the side or front for balance are a personal preference.

Not all treadmills fold, and make sure the treadmill folds if you are looking to save space. Also, many treadmills come with an extra safety device or cord to help prevent accidents. Ask about other safety features. Many treadmills come with a magnetic key to start the treadmill. The key is attached to the person running with a cord. If the person falls, the cords pulls the key off of the dash and stops the treadmill, so that the treadmill does not do further harm to the person. Other treadmills, especially the commercial grade, feature an emergency stop button.

Delivery and assembly is a much-forgotten cost to the consumer. Ask if the dealer assembles and delivers the treadmill, or if it is an extra fee. Assembling treadmills is not difficult, but if you don’t have a truck, delivering one is. Also, find out who is responsible for repairs: the dealer or the manufacturer.

Finally, one should ask about the warranty. Usually, a lifetime warranty is included on the frame. The motor, other components, and labor are usually covered in a range of years.

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