Jan 10, 2017

What to Know before Buying a Treadmill

There are many reasons a treadmill can serve as an advantageous piece of fitness equipment. Whether faced with inclement weather conditions or limited access to trails, a treadmill provides a convenient option for working out.

With hundreds of different brands and styles to choose from, the task of purchasing a treadmill can feel daunting. By learning more about the various types of treadmills available as well as pinpointing what features would best complement your fitness style, the process can become much more enjoyable.

1. What Is a Treadmill?

treadmill is an indoor exercise machine consisting of a continuous, circulating belt that moves at varying speeds depending on how fast or slow a user wants to go. Used for both walking and running, treadmills can be found in homes, gyms, and sports clubs. Treadmills, invented in 1818, have been around for almost a century.

2. What to Look for When Buying a Treadmill

When purchasing a treadmill, it is important to consider a multitude of factors such as:

  • Durability
  • Brand reputation
  • Warranty – In general, it is recommended to look for a 10-year warranty on the motor
  • Features
  • Versatility
  • Quality

Before buying a treadmill, it is also essential to determine its primary use: walking, running, or both. Certain treadmills are better equipped to support walking vs running. It’s possible to find treadmills that handle either activity equally well.

One of the most crucial points to consider when researching a treadmill is the maximum and minimum speed it is capable of. Most treadmills also feature the ability to increase or decrease the incline. If you are looking to mimic hills, it is essential to find a machine with high incline capabilities.

3. Top Brands of Treadmills

NordicTrack is a leading, well-known fitness brand. The trusted company has been around for decades and offers a large variety of specialized, highly rated treadmills to choose from.

Sole Fitness is another popular treadmill manufacturer. Models feature LCD screens, Bluetooth capability, and wide running surfaces.

Woodway is an international fitness brand that specializes in treadmills. The brand’s treadmills boast unique tracks that are capable of lasting 10 times longer than many typical commercial belts. Custom inclines of up to 25% are available.

Cybex offers 5 premium treadmills, manufactured in the USA. Cybex may be on the pricier side compared to models from other companies but impressive features help offset the higher price. Features include powerful motors, top speeds of up to 15.6 mph on the fastest model, large running surface, a heart rate monitor, variable cushioning, high-tech workouts, and exceptional warranties.

Precor, another top-rated treadmill brand, produces a range of commercial-grade, high-quality treadmills. In operation since 1980, the company is credited for being the first to produce fitness equipment combined with electronics.

Nautilus is a popular, well-known brand in the world of fitness equipment. The company offers a nice selection of premium treadmills.

4. Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to contemplate when determining if a treadmill is the appropriate piece of fitness equipment for your home gym. Considering it is a significant purchase, it is necessary to make sure it is the proper fit for your life and specific fitness needs and goals.


  • Ability to walk or run regardless of weather conditions or lack of accessible trails
  • Straightforward and easy to use
  • Convenient
  • Effective
  • Can provide a lower impact workout vs running outdoors due to the more forgiving nature of a treadmill surface
  • Versatile – able to be used for walking, running, interval training, incline training and more
  • Adjustable and able to be customized
  • Users can watch television or read to make working out more enjoyable. This will also assist in maintaining motivation to exercise
  • Reduces the risk of falling compared to being outside and facing obstacles such as curbs or slippery streets
  • Many models offer high-tech capabilities, customized workout programs, and more to help prevent boredom
  • More likely to get a workout in – by owning a treadmill in your home, you increase the chances of completing a workout


  • Treadmills are incapable of recreating the natural elements experienced when walking or running outdoors. Factors such as wind resistance, pavement vs gravel, and outside temperature can add additional difficulty to an outdoor workout that may lead to great fitness strides
  • Bulky – even the most compact treadmill still takes up a considerable amount of space. If space is a concern, consider purchasing a model that folds up to decrease its footprint
  • In some cases, treadmills can create an unnatural gait leading to potential discomfort over time
  • No fresh air
  • Large initial cost considering some models can cost thousands
  • Maintenance may require a professional
  • Treadmills are unable to offer a downhill incline
  • Boredom – Nature offers scenery, new trails to explore, and different weather every day whereas being inside can become boring

5. Health Benefits of Using a Treadmill

Using a treadmill for walking, running, or jogging provides a large variety of important  health benefits:

  • -Cardiovascular: Exercising on a treadmill is a form of aerobic exercise and therefore leads to cardiovascular benefits. Aerobic exercise is important for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, improving circulation, and strengthening the heart.
  • -Improved bone health:Any form of weight-bearing exercise, walking and running included, can increase the density of your bones and thereby strengthen your skeleton. A strong skeleton is far less at risk of experiencing osteoporosis.
  • -Aids in weight loss: An obvious benefit of exercising on a treadmill is the possibility of losing weight.
  • -Mental boost: All exercise can have a dramatic, positive impact on your mood and mental state. Exercise prompts the release of powerful, mood-boosting chemicals known as endorphins.
  • -Positive impact on blood sugar: Running or walking on a treadmill assists the body in maintaining proper blood sugar levels. This aspect is especially important for any diabetes sufferers.
  • -Positive impact on self-esteem: Using a treadmill contributes to increased fitness and overall wellness and therefore has a desirable impact on your self-esteem.

All in all, treadmills can serve as a wonderful addition to a home gym. By following the simple tips provided above to narrow down your search, purchasing a treadmill no longer needs to feel overwhelming.

Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

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