Buyers Guide

Congratulations! You’ve made a great decision to get in shape with a treadmill. We hope you find our Treadmill Buyers Guide useful in your treadmill buying decision.

Did you know that running on a treadmill is one of the most effective ways to burn calories?

According to a study by the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, the average number of calories burned during a 60-minute workout are as follows:

•    Treadmill – 785 calories
•    Rowing Machine – 770 calories
•    Stair Machine – 690 calories
•    Cross-country Ski Machine – 642 calories
•    Stationary Cycle – 575 calories

That’s pretty powerful evidence! So what’s next?

How do you plan to use your treadmill?

This is a critical step in the treadmill buying process. Not only will determining your treadmill use patterns help you choose the right machine, it could save you a lot of money!

For instance, if you’re planning on training for a marathon, you’ll need a heavy-duty treadmill with a higher horsepower motor. But if you only plan to walk once or twice per week, you won’t need a treadmill that’s quite as robust. The price difference between these two types of treadmills can be substantial!

3.0 CHP Treadmill Motor

When researching a new treadmill the following is a guideline for the amount of horsepower you’ll need:

•    Walking – 2.0 Continuous Duty Horsepower
•    Jogging – 2.5 Continuous Duty Horsepower
•    Running – 3.0 Continuous Duty Horsepower

Click here for more information on treadmill motors including continuous duty HP vs. peak HP.

What size treadmill will you need?

You would never buy a pair of pants that were too short or too small in the waist. But often times, uninformed treadmill buyers purchase machines that don’t match their particular body type. The result is an unpleasant or ineffective workout that often leads to the ultimate worse case scenario–quitting your exercise program all together!

To help determine the right treadmill for your size and weight, you’ll want to pay particular attention to belt size, deck thickness and weight rating.


Belt Size – A basic rule of thumb for belt size is this. If you’re under 6’ tall, a treadmill belt of 50” or less will suffice. If you’re over 6’ tall, try to find a longer belt…something around 55” or 60”. Finally, for those that are over 6’ 4” tall, you’ll definitely want to purchase a treadmill with a belt length of 60” or more.

Deck Thickness – Generally, the thicker the treadmill deck, the better. Many treadmills with lower weight ratings feature ½” decks. This is fine for users weighing 250-lbs or less. For heavier users however, you’ll want to find a treadmill with a full 1” thick running deck.

Weight Ratings – Treadmill weight ratings are fairly self-explanatory. However, you’ll want to give yourself at least 50-lbs of leeway from the stated weight rating. For example, if you weigh 250-lbs, you’ll want to find a treadmill with a stated weight rating of 300-lbs or more.

Click here for more information on selecting the right size treadmill for you.

How much space do you have to dedicate to your treadmill?

For many of us, space in our homes is at a premium. Luckily, many treadmills today fold up for easier storage.

Manufacturers such as Sole, NordicTrack and Proform all feature treadmill models that fold vertically so as not to take up valuable floor space when the treadmill is not in use.


Other models, such as the Horizon Evolve SG treadmill, fold horizontally. So when you’re done running, you simply fold it down and slide it under your bed.

Click here to learn more about what to look for in a folding treadmill.

What kind of warranty does the treadmill come with?

There are dozens of quality indicators when researching a treadmill. Perhaps none of them is more telling than the manufacturer’s warranty. After all, if a manufacturer is confident they’ve built a quality treadmill they shouldn’t be afraid to stand behind it right? We think so.

Commonly, manufacturer warranties cover four basic segments…motor, frame parts and labor.

A good treadmill should come with a lifetime warranty on both the motor and frame and a warranty of at least 1 year on parts and labor. Higher end models like the Sole F85 Treadmill include a 5-year warranty on parts and 2 years of in-home repair service.

Often times extended warranties are available from the manufacturer for a couple hundred dollars. I’m usually not a proponent of purchasing extended warranties on anything, but for a treadmill you’ll most likely own for 10+ years it’s a worthy investment.

What kind of electronics are included with the treadmill?

These days, hi tech electronics are becoming more and more important to everything we use—and treadmills are no exception. iPod players, fans, tv’s and more are all pretty standard fare in today’s treadmill marketplace.


As a general rule however, electronics should play the smallest part in your purchase decision. A solid motor and good warranty will serve you much better than an integrated juice maker on the treadmill console.

That said, electronics and upgrades can certainly add interest to your workout and make exercising more fun.

Click here to learn more about some of the latest features available on today’s advanced treadmills.