Top Treadmills Reviewed - A Comparison of Price And Performance
A treadmill can be an excellent exercise machine, providing a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to stay fit. But with over a dozen different manufacturers out there, each with a collection of different styles of equipment, it can be difficult to know which treadmill is best for you.
How much you can spend and what type of exercise you plan to do will help determine which price range and manufacturers are right for you. It is important to research the specific features you need based on whether you plan to walk, jog or do all out running training. But a good place to start is often to get an overview of the manufacturers out there and the cost of a treadmill. Below is an overview of ten of the most popular treadmill models and their general ratings in the industry.
A company called Icon Health and Fitness is perhaps the largest and most well known treadmill manufacturer in the world. They also make other types of exercise equipment. In the treadmill realm, they produce Reebok, NordicTrack, Weslo, Proform and Image brands. All five of these rank among the most popular and offer consumers a range or prices and options.
Of all the Icon brands, Weslo treadmills are the least expensive, and in fact are typically the lowest priced of any treadmill regardless of manufacturer. They are entry-level machines intended for use by beginners and walkers that do not engage in a more demanding workout. They lack the power of more expensive brands and are built with smaller running areas. And warranties are typically no longer than 90 days.
In the Weslo line, the Weslo 400 CS treadmill sells for under $400. It is consistently picked as one of the top budget treadmill models.
For those interested in a bit more advanced treadmill, the Weslo EX18 sells for $500 but can be hard to find. It is worth the search though as it is perhaps the best Weslo model and will provide a good machine for the beginner or walker on a budget.
Image is another brand of treadmill produced by Icon Fitness. This line is slightly more expensive than Weslo, but is still considered a budget machine, typically selling for under $1000. Many experts feel that Image treadmills offer the best value for the average person. The only drawback is the warranty, which is only 90 days on many Image models.
The Image 1200 treadmill has a 2.0 hp continuous duty motor that provides a maximum speed of 10 mph. The platform can adjust to inclines from 0-10%. It is a great choice for those runners on a bit of a budget and for those who want to spend $1000 or less. The Image 10.6QL was ranked among the top five treadmills by U.S. Consumer Reports. It has six programmable workouts and also allows you to determine your speed and incline based on a heart rate monitor. It is IFIT compatible, which means you can connect to the Internet to access online workouts. It costs around $1400 and is folding for convenient storage.
Proform treadmills by Icon provide shoppers with perhaps the most comprehensive options in exercise equipment. Budget models start at $400 and the overwhelming selection continues up the spectrum to several mid priced models that fall in the $1000 to $2000 range. The Proform 795SL treadmill sells for under $1000 and is often a top pick among consumers and fitness experts. The LX 660 sells for under $600 and has plenty of features for a budget treadmill. Like many of the budget treadmills, Proforms often have a less than stellar warranty, typically 90 days.
There are literally dozens of different NordicTrack treadmill models produced by Icon. They range in price from around $800 for a NordicTrack C1800 to $2000 for a 7500R model. Many fitness experts feel that consumers spend a bit more for the name brand when they purchase a Nordictrack treadmill. The machines often look very nice but may not always offer the best buy as some people have experienced problems with reliability. All models typically come with a heart rate monitor, but some of the less expensive models offer a 1.5 hp motor and a smaller platform, often around 50".
On the plus side, NordicTrack treadmills often offer good cushioning for those who don't want to replicate the uneven, jolting conditions of a true road workout. Their 3-2-1 warranty covers the motor for three years, the frame and other parts for two years and all labor charges for one year.
The NordicTrack Teton, which sells for just under $1500 and is a great choice for incline training and hiking. The Apex 5100i, which sells for around $1700 is also a popular choice.
Reebok treadmills also depend on name recognition to help attract buyers. Models often look nice and have plenty of features but have been known to be less durable than other brands. It is important to note that Reebok home treadmills are not made by the same company as the commercial models found in fitness clubs.
A plus side of the Reebok treadmills is the warranty. On most models the frame is covered for a lifetime, the belt and deck and all electrical and mechanical components for 2 years, and labor for 12 months. The motor typically has a 2-3 year guarantee. One of the most popular Reebok models is the ACD4, which sells for around $1700.
Another treadmill manufacturer that is making a name for itself recently is Smooth. This company's biggest marketing appeal is that they sell their treadmills direct to the consumer over the Internet on their company website. They claim this allows them to reduce prices, and in fact, many models run less than comparative treadmills offered by other manufacturers.
All Smooth treadmills have a 10-year warranty on the motor and 12-month labor warranty. Other parts such as the belt, deck and electronic components it typically covered from 2 to 5 years. This protection makes Smooth treadmills an appealing buy to those who have had problems with previous equipment or simply don't like to be stuck fixing things.
Smooth treadmills often rank at the top of their respective price band listings. Many experts choose them for their excellent features and reasonable price. The Smooth 5.0P has a 2.5 hp motor and 9 preset programs. It has been called the best treadmill on the market for overall value. At just under $2000, the Smooth 7.1HR is a popular model for those who require a bit more advanced model. Both units fold for storage.
Trimline is another popular brand of home treadmills. They are often compared to Smooth equipment and have a longer warranty but a higher price tag. In some instances, experts feel the expense is justified, while in other models it is not. Trimline offers six folding models and three non-folding. The Trimline 1610, which sells for around $1000 has been recommended as a good starter machine. And the Trimline 7200 remains a top seller despite the price increase that puts it over $2000.
Keys Fitness is a relative newcomer to the treadmill industry, getting its start in 1997. They have shown improvements in quality and features each year and are known to offer a competitive product in the low to mid priced treadmills. They offer a 10-year warranty on their motors, 2 years parts and electronics, and 1 year on service. They are often said to be comparable to Smooth in price and features. The Keys 1200 is a nice standard treadmill that sells for just over $1000. The 8800 HR model is more heavy duty with a bigger motor and platform and a higher price of over $2000.
Spirit is a treadmill company that has been around for over 20 years. They are usually known for leading the industry in new features. If something different or innovative comes out, chances are Spirit was the one to introduce it. Although their SL 188 is priced below $1000, and is a good buy at that price, the majority of their models are in the mid price range of $1500 up to $3000 plus. Spirit treadmills often have good warranties and solid quality.
Landice is often considered the top of the line in treadmills. The usually cost over $3000 and at this price, you get some great features, heavy duty motors, and a lifetime warranty on parts. If you have the money and are serious about your training, any of the Landice models, either in the L7 or L8 series, provide quality options.
Cybex is another manufacturer that produces high end treadmills. Formerly known as Trotter, the treadmills produced by this company have high quality and prices to match. Again, it is more a matter of which one fits your needs because at this price you'd better be getting a good machine. The Cybex 300T, which sells for $3000 and the Trotter Elite, which costs nearly $4500 are two options.
As these comparisons show, budget will be a starting point in selecting a home treadmill, as will the way in which you plan to use the machine. While for the most part you get what you pay for, fitness experts caution that name brand treadmills aren't necessarily better than less well-known equipment. Check the warranty, check the features, and most importantly, check with people who have owned the treadmills or do repairs on fitness equipment. With so much information available, making an informed decision is easy. It's actually sticking to your exercise routine that will be the tough part.
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