Visit any gym and you'll see people using exercise treadmills. They are popular with everyone from old ladies taking a stroll through to runners training for a race.
When shopping for exercise treadmills, there are several features to look for:
- Speed: Exercise treadmill speeds typically go up to around 12 mph. Walkers usually move at around 3-6 mph, runners between 6 and 10 mph. What's crucial is the motor. For heavy use you need a minimum of 2 hp, with 3 hp or more the better option.
- Belts: It's important to look for models with cushioned belts (also called running beds) to absorb impact. This is crucial for runners, who will soon complain if they get knee or ankle injuries from running on uncushioned surfaces.
- Monitor: Monitors display speed, time, distance, etc. Many also have pre-set programmes such as intervals and hills. Paying customers will expect these on any machine.
- Incline Control: An adjustable incline level allows you to make your workouts harder. Most inclines go up to 15% and should be electric, allowing them to be changed on the fly with just a push of the button.
Buying used is a good option if you're on a budget, but look for the following:
- Has the machine had regular maintenance and service carried out on it?
- Is the speed range suitable for your intended use?
- Does the motor maintain a steady speed at all times?
- How noisy is the motor?
- Does it have an incline range of between 0 and 10%?
- Is the control panel easy to read and simple to use?
- Is there a warranty? How long is it and what does it cover?