Treadmills are popular because they’re easy to use and give you the ability to burn a significant number of calories, all from the comfort of your own home! You’re able to enjoy working out while watching television, listening to music, or even reading a book (for those that prefer walking at slower speeds). Before purchasing a piece of exercise equipment the size and cost of a treadmill, we recommend researching and becoming familiar with relative terms such as “best treadmill”. While many will advertise their product as the “best”, you must consider what the “best treadmill” is for you personally.
There are many factors to consider when looking at treadmills, but the most important are:
What does it cost?
Where will I put it?
Will this help meet my particular fitness and/or health goals?
Many people will have a budget to consider. Typically, treadmills can range anywhere from around two hundred dollars for a small, portable treadmill to over two thousand dollars for a personal-use treadmill with all the newest technology on board. Potentially more important than price though, is size; both your size in height and weight, as well as the size of the space available for you to store and use the treadmill.
Size is important because treadmills vary drastically in size from the smallest to the largest. The smallest we’ve seen is a manual treadmill measuring just 13 inches wide and 42 inches long, to the largest being a motorized treadmill at a whopping 82 inches long, 32 inches wide and 56 inches tall. Do you need a portable treadmill or folding treadmill allowing you to store it when not in use? Or will you have a dedicated space to leave your treadmill standing? Another reason size is so important when choosing a treadmill is that your height and weight are factors you must consider for functionality. A taller person will need a longer deck to compensate for a longer natural stride. A heavier person will need a high horse power motor to enable the belt to move correctly at a consistent speed.
After price and size are considered you really should take into account why you want one. What are your goals? Are you hoping to lose weight, get stronger, or gain more stamina and endurance? Will you need a running treadmill or is walking more your speed? These questions are important because there are many different variables in treadmill design and composition.
There are numerous features available on treadmills today such as digital displays, on screen programming and controls, interactive apps, wireless connectivity, USB ports and docking stations. Some even feature health monitoring such as heart rate and calorie burn, although remember there are many fitness trackers that can help you with that as well. While there are many features and accessories for modern treadmills, there are still only three basic types; manual, motorized, and hybrid.
The manual treadmill has a belt that is moved along by the user. It is quieter and lighter weight due to the lack of the motor, usually fold-able, and often less expensive. You can still get a good workout on a manual treadmill; however, the duration of your workout will likely be shorter because it requires more energy to move the belt with your own strength versus a motor version.
The motorized treadmill has the greatest potential for variety. It can be designed for running or walking, often has adjustable incline levels, and can be smaller or larger depending on the functions and features it includes. A motorized treadmill requires electricity, more space, and is heavier because of the motor.
The hybrid treadmill can feature a motor for the belt but requires hand controls for incline; it can also be a term for an elliptical/treadmill combination or a stair climber/treadmill combination.
If you have more questions about treadmills or cardio equipment in general, check out our learning center for all our exercise equipment buying guides.