For those of us that go to the gym on a weekly basis, the treadmill tends to be one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment. Treadmills are great for walking, jogging, or running and burning calories. If you all you do is use the treadmill at your gym, you might consider purchasing a home treadmill. Many are priced between $1500 and $3000 with the more expensive models featuring LCD screens and other innovative control panels that make your workout fun. A treadmill workout is something you can do in your home while watching tv, listening to music, or just reflecting on a hard days work. You probably won't be able to afford the "gym" quality treadmills, but you can get a top rated residential treadmill that will hold up with proper maintenance. The top brands are Landice, NordicTrack, Precor, Proform, Bowflex, True, Vision Fitness, Horizon Fitness, Smooth Fitness, LifeSpan, and SportsArt.
What features should you consider? Folding vs nonfolding? The sturdier treadmills are those that are nonfolding. If space is something that is an issue, then consider a folding treadmill like the Bowflex 7-Series which sell for around $1500. The nonfolding treadmills like the Landice L7 or NordicTrack S3000 are fairly expensive at $3000+ but provide a solid constructed machine with quality controls. If you do workout on a treadmill at your gym and like the model, check with the staff to see if the manufacturer makes an "at home" model to compliment their commercial treadmill. Most treadmills do just fine if all you want to do if walk. For avid runners, you will want to research your treadmill before buying since they vary widely on durability and reliability. We found several reviews online for treadmills on sites like Treadmillreview.net and Consumersearch.com. Our favorite source is always Consumer Reports who does an excellent job in their most recent test of treadmills surveying 18 models. In terms of which stores carry them, you can find treadmills at Sears or Sports Authority as well as online at the manufacturers websites like Nordictrack.com or Soletreadmills.com. Some sites offer treadmill comparisons and we prefer reading the treadmill ratings listed on About.com in their fitness and exercise category. Some models have LCD tv's as part of the console and others provide chest-strap heart rate monitors. Ideally you want a treadmill with multiple exercise routines and all levels of fitness (walking to running). Easy to use controls will make the experience easier so try a few in the store before you buy one. Added features like drink holders or magazine racks are nice, but certainly not necessary. Repairing a treadmill can be a hassle as you can imagine. It's not like you are going to just lift the treadmill into your car and drive it to your local repair facility. Buy a treadmill with a good durability record and get an extended warranty if you plan on doing quite a bit of running on it. Most companies offer in home repairs which should alleviate any reliability fears you may have. We have tried to list the most popular and top selling treadmills in several categories down below.
Best Nonfolding Treadmill:
The Landice L7 Series Pro Sports Trainer at $3000 is a top rated nonfolding treadmill that receives excellent marks in all areas. The treadmill is $500 cheaper than the NordicTrack S3000 but lacks a heart rate monitor which is important to most runners. You may wonder why the Precor or ProForm treadmills aren't listed here. We found countless reviews and ratings that were negative for both those brands and their repair history is 'so so' at best. Consumer Reports rates the Landice as the the best with the NordicTrack and SportsArt models just a few points behind. The True PS300 ($2400) is considered a solid treadmill and a great value buy. You can find Landice treadmills online at Treadmillscentral.com.
If you are looking for a treadmill that you'll use for mostly walking, the Vision Fitness T9200 Simple ($1300) is a good choice. The price alone is almost $2000 cheaper than more expensive nonfolding treadmills. Reviews were positive for walkers and even light runners say this treadmill holds up to the test. With a large LED display, heart rate LED display, numeric keypad, bottle holder, reading rack, and easy to use controls, this Vision Fitness treadmill is well worth the money spent. The T9200 Simple gives you contact hand pulse grips, a belt area of 54" x 20", and speeds from .5 to 10 MPH. The warranty is not too shabby with lifetime on the frame and motor, and 5 years on electronics and parts and 1 year on labor. It can handle up to 325 lbs of user weight. Check it out online at Visionfitness.com.
Top Rated Folding Treadmill:
Sometimes owning a big, bulky treadmill just isn't conducive to your living situation. Say you live in a small apartment or don't have a bonus room for your treadmill. The solution is to buy a folding treadmill which will fold down and often fit under your bed or into a closet. The Bowflex 7-Series ($1389) is a top rated folding treadmill with all the features you would find on a non-folding unit. Amazon.com carries this treadmill and reviews are overwhelming in favor of it. The walking/running surface is large, the grip and telemetric heart rate monitors give you an accurate readout of your workout levels, and the quick-speed keys provide simple to use controls. Consumers say the 7-Series is "nice and sturdy" and a "great machine". Other possibilities in this category include the Smooth Fitness and the Sole folding treadmills which are gaining in popularity.