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How To Buy A Treadmill: What To Look For Before Buying It

There’s no denying that a treadmill is an investment. So if you’re wondering how to buy a treadmill, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re using it to replace walks and runs in the open air, or you just want it to add to your current routine, there are many features that can make or break a treadmill. The key points to look for when testing a treadmill depend on how you plan to use the machine.

When you think about treadmills, first think about how you plan to use them, says Amina Daniels, trainer and founder and CEO of Live Cycle Delight, an inclusive gym that does indoor cycling, yoga, TRX, mat pilates, barre and virtual Offers courses. “Think about the features and information you need now and in the future, and make a list of the features that are most important to you.”


Will you usually do a steady run? Go? Do you do interval training or take a treadmill-based group fitness class? Which additional features are most important to you? “Are you looking for multiple pre-programmed workouts, a connection to the internet, and maybe even streaming workouts? Would you like to connect to Bluetooth? Do you like to track your workout and are you looking for a heart rate monitor and calorie tracker? “Says Daniels. All of these determine the best performance, speed, and other features that suit your needs.

Once you’ve figured out what’s important to you, give IRL a try, says Dan Giordano, PT, DPT, CSCS, and CMO for bespoke treatments. This is absolutely the best way to make sure the machine is the right size for you and your needs. If you can only shop online, “read all the details in the description” suggests Giordano. “Watch videos of people walking on the treadmill. Watch how the treadmill absorbs the shock and whether the belt bounces off. Watch to see if the treadmill itself sways back and forth to make sure it’s stable enough, ”he says. Reading user reviews and calling the manufacturer to ask questions is also helpful, says Ava Fagin, CSCS

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you actually want to use the treadmill that you are buying, says. Chris Howell, CSCS, Founder of SPX Gym Design. If it’s too loud, unstable, or doesn’t have the tracking capabilities you want, you probably won’t be motivated to use it that often. And then you kick yourself for buying such an expensive dust collector.

In SELF’s product reviews, where we rigorously test and rate all types of wellness products to help you decide what is worth buying, we wanted to know exactly what our experts recommend for a quality treadmill. Based on the contributions of Daniels, Giordano, Fagin, and Howell, when testing treadmills, we look for ratings for the following. This manual provides helpful information about purchasing a treadmill.

Evaluation criteria and test criteria for treadmills

user friendliness

Your treadmill should have features that you can use easily and safely. When evaluating a treadmill for ease of use, consider the following features:

  • Easy to use speed buttons: “You should be able to change your speed and incline like this instantly and easily,” says Fagin. “Not just for safety reasons, but in case you keep training intervals.” Prominent buttons that are easy to press while running make it much easier to switch between intervals. The transitions between speeds should also feel smooth.

  • Well positioned screen or shelf for phone or tablet: If the treadmill has a built-in monitor, make sure it is at a comfortable eye level, says Giordano. You shouldn’t have to strain your neck up or down to watch the screen as you run. Unless you’re buying a treadmill with a built-in screen, consider putting your phone or tablet somewhere where you can exercise or just watch a TV show, says Fagin. And you want to make sure the shelf is stable so that your phone or tablet doesn’t fly off in the middle of your run.

  • Clear and easy to change settings: Whether the treadmill has a high-tech touchscreen or a simpler dashboard that shows speed, incline, heart rate, and other stats, you want to make sure the settings are easy to find and change. “I find that some treadmills are very confusing when it comes to changing screen settings. So make sure you can see all of the things you want to see while you’re running – pace, mileage, calories, HR zone, etc., ”says Fagin.


Depending on where you plan to place the treadmill, you may need to make sure that it is relatively quiet. Howell notes that while a foldable treadmill seems very practical in theory, the noise it makes can deter you from using it regularly – especially if you buy it to use in a small apartment where your neighbors are are nearby.


If you suspect your treadmill is consuming a ton, you should consider performance, says Daniels. “The more the treadmill is used, the more horsepower you will need.” The more powerful the engine, the higher the top speed, says Giordano. He suggests looking for a 3 horsepower treadmill if you plan to use it for sprinting.


Any treadmill you run on should feel solid and stable – as Daniels puts it, it should “feel substantial enough to last over time”. Howell suggests increasing the speed to 7 or 8 mph and shaking the sides to see if they are jiggling. “Typically, this is a breaking point for treadmill manufacturers where the quality of the motor is called into question,” Howell says. He suggests that you put your phone on the tablet as well to see how much it jiggles at high speeds, and then do the same with a water bottle in the water bottle holder.


Every treadmill is built a little differently from an ergonomic point of view, says Daniels. One that seems built right for you may not work for another person. “For example, you might find that the arm rails on one treadmill are not at a comfortable level for you, while on another treadmill they feel perfect.”


When evaluating the treadmill belt, consider the following elements:

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