Are you in lockdown, self-isolation or otherwise limited to your home for the time being? As the novel coronavirus spreads across the globe, more and more runners are looking for ways to stay fit at home. One option is to get a treadmill, if you have the space, so you can at least get your running fix. However, when it comes to treadmills, there are a lot of options. In this article, we’ll look at the at the key things you need to look out for in our treadmill buying guide.
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What to look for when buying a treadmill
Ultimately, the one things that will really limit your choice when buying a treadmill is the price. We don’t all have thousands of pounds to spend on a treadmill. I mean, we spend enough on running as it is, with trainers for all terrains, races and physio. However, as with many things, cost does equal quality. You will get a better machine if you spend more. The more you spend, the quieter it will be, the longer it will last and the easier it will be to use. Weigh up how much you are going to use it and come up with a rough figure of what you are willing to spend.
You definitely need to be looking at the speed your new treadmill can offer. You’re only going to get frustrated if it tops out too soon. Think about what you want to get out of your workout. Are you looking for long, slow runs, or do you want to do speedwork. You are going to have to compromise a bit. The higher the speed, the higher the price in most cases. Look for a maximum speed of at least 10 mph.
Better-quality treadmills will offer higher continuous horsepower (chp). You want at least 1.5 chp for a basic treadmill, but somewhere in the region of 2.5-3.0 chp will be much better if you are going to be using it a lot. The amount of horsepower you need will also be dependent on your weight. Some treadmills also offer a peak horsepower for bursts of speed.
This refers to the actual width and length of the running belt. This will depend on your height, as longer legs will need a longer belt. Ideally, you want a minimum of 48 inches long and 18 inches wide for running, but that is pretty narrow. The average is more like 55 inches long and 20 inches wide. Taller runners might want to go up to 60 inches long and 22 inches wide.
Size and space-saving
You need to make sure you can actually fit your treadmill in your home/garage/outhouse! So look at the actual size of the treadmill when it’s in use and how much room you need around you to use it. You can get treadmills that fold up to save space when they are stored. Consider the weight of the treadmill if you have to move it in and out of position. The best treadmills can be very heavy and are best left set up if possible.
Features and specifications
You will need to compare the specs of any treadmill you are considering buying. Take a look at whether it offers an incline. It’s best to have a slight incline when running on a treadmill to better replicate running outdoors. See what kind of control panel it offers and whether it has functions like Pause (not all of them do). Being able to stop-start a workout can be handy if you’re trying to run indoors and manage children! You should also note the maximum weight suggestion. Some treadmills will have different programmes to follow, have heart-rate monitoring or other smart features. As expected, more features = more cost.
Treadmill buying guide
There are hundreds of treadmills on the market right now. If you’re not sure where to start, we have put together a few options here, along with their key features. We’ve tried to cover all budgets and requirements in our treadmill buying guide 2020.
V-Fit Fit-Start Motorised Folding Treadmill
BEST FOR: Those looking for a very basic treadmill on a budget, and don’t plan on doing speedwork
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon.co.uk
HORSEPOWER: 1.25 chp
MAXIMUM SPEED: 8 km/hr
BELT SIZE: 100 cm x 40 cm (40″ x 15.5″ approx)
SIZE AND WEIGHT: 130 cm (L) x 68 cm (W) x 110 cm (H), 32 kg
FEATURES: 3-position manual, pin-adjustable, 7% rear-frame decline; auto-stop system; 4 pre-set speed programmes; screen shows time, distance, calories and speed; maximum user weight 100 kgs; folds to save space
JLL S400 Folding Treadmill
BEST FOR: High-end performance for a mid-range price; good for quality workouts at home and longer runs
WHERE TO BUY: Amazon.co.uk
HORSEPOWER: 2.5 chp (4.5 peak hp)
MAXIMUM SPEED: 16 km/hr
BELT SIZE: 135 cm x 45 cm (53″ x 18″ approx)
SIZE AND WEIGHT: 170 cm (L) x 70 cm (W) x 134 cm (H), 57 kg
FEATURES: 16-point cushion deck to soften impact on joints; 20-level auto-incline; high-powered speakers with Bluetooth and USB connections; folds to save space with a soft drop system; built-in heart-rate sensor; 15 workout programmes; large, clear LCD screen; comes with 2-year warranty on parts and labour, 5-year warranty on motor and lifetime warranty on frame
BEST FOR: Getting gym-level performance in the home
WHERE TO BUY: NordicTrack
HORSEPOWER: 2.5 chp
MAXIMUM SPEED: 20 km/hr
BELT SIZE: 140 cm x 51 cm (55″ x 20″ approx)
SIZE AND WEIGHT: 185 cm (L) x 85 cm (W) x 150 cm (H), 93kg
FEATURES: Includes iFit membership worth £129, giving live personal-training options and workouts to follow on-screen – trainers can digitally adjust speed and incline for you; free ground-floor UK delivery; up to 10% incline; maximum user weight of 125 kg; dual 2-inch speakers; folds to save space with EasyLift Assist; comes with 2-year warranty on parts and labour, 10-year warranty on motor and lifetime warranty on frame
NordicTrack T 8.5 S
BEST FOR: A real investment for regular, high-performance use
WHERE TO BUY: NordicTrack
HORSEPOWER: 3.5 chp
MAXIMUM SPEED: 22 km/hr
BELT SIZE: 152 cm x 51 cm (60″ x 20″ approx)
SIZE AND WEIGHT: 202 cm (L) x 91 cm (W) x 152 cm (H), 97kg
FEATURES: Includes iFit Family membership worth £349, giving live personal-training options and workouts to follow on-screen – trainers can digitally adjust speed and incline for you; free ground-floor UK delivery; FlexSelect Cushioning to protect your joints; up to 12% incline; maximum user weight of 135 kg; two 2-inch Bluetooth digitally amplified speakers; folds to save space with EasyLift Assist; comes with 2-year warranty on parts and labour, 10-year warranty on motor and lifetime warranty on frame