Treadmill Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Treadmill

July 13, 2016

Choosing the best treadmill can seem overwhelming. There are dozens of good treadmill brands and hundreds of treadmill options. You can spend hours and hours researching only to be left as confused as when you began. For those of you just starting the research process, this treadmill buying guide will get you thinking about the questions you should be asking before buying a treadmill for your home. If you are looking for a LifeSpan treadmill, check out our LifeSpan treadmill comparison guide.

treadmill buying guide

What to Consider Before Buying a Treadmill:

How much do you plan on spending?

Setting a budget is a great starting point but understand that in order to choose the best treadmill for your home, you might need to be flexible with the price. In the treadmill industry, you truly get what you pay for. In such a crowded market as this one, no manufacturer or re-seller has the luxury of over-pricing their treadmills if they want to stay competitive. If you want to buy a treadmill for less than $1000, you will likely have to settle on an entry-level treadmill with a less-than-average durability and features. Entry-level treadmills are sufficient for one or two users who plan on walking or jogging a few times per week. If your budget is between $1000 and $1500, you can find a more high-quality home treadmill built to handle heavy use.

How heavy is the heaviest treadmill user?

As a general rule of thumb, when choosing a treadmill, it’s a good idea to select a treadmill with a maximum user weight of 50 pounds greater than the heaviest user. This will help you get the most out of your investment.

Are you planning on primarily running, jogging, or walking on the treadmill?

A person who wants to train for a marathon is going to need a different treadmill than a dedicated walker. If you are planning on running or sprinting on your treadmill, look for a treadmill with a maximum speed of 12 mph or greater and at least a 60-inch long treadmill belt. If you want to run intervals on a treadmill, look for a treadmill with an AC motor. AC motors tend to react to speed changes much quicker than DC motors. If you simply plan on walking, you can settle for a good walking treadmill with a lower max speed and a shorter treadmill belt.

How much space do you have for a treadmill?

Do you have a dedicated area for the treadmill (home gym) or is it going to be taking up space in your living room or bedroom? If you have a large area then you may not require a space-saving treadmill or folding treadmill. If you have limited space, you may want to consider buying a folding treadmill. When considering brands, look at the overall width and length of the treadmill and do some measuring to make sure you can accommodate it.

Do you want to track your treadmill workout data?

Most brand manufacturers now offer some type of app or software integration for treadmills using either wifi or Bluetooth. Some companies offer use of their software for free while others charge subscription fees (up to $100 per year.) Before you buy a treadmill, make sure you do your research and read the fine print, especially if this feature is important to you.

What is the manufacturer’s warranty?

Over the years, manufacturer’s warranties have gotten better and better on paper. They promise lifetime frame and motor warranties, strong parts warranties (3-7 years) and solid labor warranties (1-2 years.) While the number of years for coverage is surely important, it is even more important that the manufacturer honor the warranty. There are often hidden terms and conditions that are stated in the owner’s manuals only. This works in the manufacturer’s favor in that the customer can only read them after they have made the purchase. Look for the treadmill’s owner’s manual online before purchasing to make sure the warranty looks sufficient.

What is the seller’s return policy?

No one buys a treadmill with the intent of returning it, but knowing the return policy ahead of time could be helpful in choosing where to buy your treadmill. Because treadmills are heavy and costly to ship, it is standard for manufacturers to ask the customer to pay return shipping, a restocking fee, or a combination of the two. Once the return fees are added up, it is possible for the return to cost half of the treadmill’s purchase price. We recommend you read the return policy and calculate stated fees up front before purchasing.


Hopefully you found this treadmill buying guide helpful and feel like you have a solid foundation in choosing the best treadmill for your home. If you have any questions or would like to seek further advice, don’t hesitate to reach out via our live chat feature or send us an email.

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