What to look for in home-cardio equipment
The number one mistake people make when buying a treadmill is choosing a machine based on brand name or price. No matter how much money you saved in that blowout sale, or how well-respected the manufacturer is, it won’t be a worthwhile purchase if you don’t enjoy using it.
Accept that finding the right treadmill is going to take time and set yourself a price range so you don’t waste time looking at machines you can’t afford. On the same note you shouldn’t ignore lower priced equipment - a bargain treadmill might end up having the features and feel you’re looking for.
What are your goals?
People buy treadmills with some sort of goal in mind, be it adding a little more physical activity to their routine, beginning a weight-loss or fitness program or training for a marathon. Figure out what you want from the treadmill and you’ll be better equipped to find one with the right features.
Do you plan to use the treadmill for walking, jogging or running? Each movement requires a machine with slightly different capabilities. Runners may require a treadmill that goes up to 10 or more miles per hour, while those who plan to limit themselves to a brisk pace may opt for lower speeds.
Do you focus intently on the workout or pass the time with music, television or a magazine? A machine that can accommodate your routine is important.
Before making a purchase, try out the treadmill in the same way you’d be using it at home. And make sure to wear your runners.
- Space/size - Measure out length and width where you plan to place the treadmill, leaving enough room that you’ll be able to get on and off the equipment easily. If it’s a folding treadmill you’ll still want to measure size, but also find out how heavy it is and whether it has wheels. If you can’t fold it and move it yourself it may not be the right choice.
- Belt length - Tall people and runners generally need longer belts. Try the machine while walking, jogging and running to see if it accommodates each. A 55” belt length is generally adequate for most runners, but it’s important to determine your own needs.
- Belt width - Most treadbelts range from 16 to 22 inches wide. Runners tend to do better with wider belts, but it’s all about what works for you.
- Belt quality - Belts come in 1-, 2- or 4-ply. Most home users will be perfectly happy with a long-lasting and durable 2-ply treadbelt.
- Deck - Most treadmill decks are single sided. A double sided deck will last twice as long since you can flip it over when one side is worn out.
- Motor -1.5 to 3hp motors are the norm for home treadmills. A 2hp continuous duty motor is good for most people but frequent users should consider opting for more power. Judge treadmills by their continuous horse power rating (CHP).
- Frame - High alloy steel makes for sturdy and long-lasting treadmill frames. Next in line is heavy aluminum.
- Warranty - The right warranty can save you from unnecessary costs down the road and make the job of choosing a cardio machine easier.