How to Buy A Treadmill - Avoid the Treadmill Myths

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Winter is on its way, it’s getting darker earlier, and it is time to buy a treadmill.  A treadmill is a large investment to make in your health (but definitely a worthwhile one.) However with everyone and his dog getting into the treadmill manufacturing business, it pays for you to be educated when buying a home treadmill.

Treadmill Horsepower

The power of the treadmill motor is measured in Horsepower. Horsepower  is measured by either Continuous Horsepower or Peak Horsepower.  Most sales people will try to sell you on Peak Horsepower as it sounds better! However it is the Continuous Horsepower that shows the true efficiency of the machine.

Continuous Horsepower is how the treadmill motor will operate continually without power surges and stops.

Peak Horsepower is the fastest or strongest the treadmill motor can work in short bursts of time.  A treadmill cannot sustain this power and it will soon start to overheat. So don’t be fooled by the Peak Horsepower advertising.

In Australia, a typical power outlet is 240 volts. Your power outlet is usually wired in parallel to several others and connected to some sort of circuit breaker or fuse, usually 20 amps.   A 20 amp wall outlet will at its best run a max of 2.4 HP continuously so purchasing a treadmill with a huge “treadmill motor rating” is not entirely truth in advertising. Generally, unless you have an electrician install a 415 volt outlet, most will only find a true 3 HP treadmill motor at a gym.

FACT: Do not be fooled by a peak duty motor rating – always ask for the continuous duty motor rating. Remember that the motor is the most expensive part of the treadmill to fix, so you want to get a good one!

It has all these extra features it must be the best?

Not necessarily. While workout features like extra workout programs, iPod docks and even internet connections are great, they really don’t tell you about the quality of the treadmill itself. If you buy a lemon, you’ll be using it for a clothes rack a year later – iPod dock or no iPod dock.

Some treadmill manufacturers (not all) offer you these extra features to try and hide the fact that the essential factors of a quality treadmill aren’t there:  That 90 day only warranty doesn’t matter – it gives you 30 extra workout programs! 

If the warranty does not support the product there is a reason for that.  Alarm bells should be ringing if they only offer you a 1 year warranty.

With regards to warranty make sure you have an onsite warranty, if for some reason something does go wrong with the treadmill the last thing you want to is pack it up and take it back to the manufacture.  Not only is this a costly process however it is also really inconvenient.

FACT: Lots of cool features, does not mean it’s a quality treadmill. Focus first on the core essentials of a quality treadmill (solid motor power, frame, warranty, other electrical components, good cushioning, etc.) – then enjoy the goodies.

To find the best treadmill, I just have to compare treadmill features.

Finding the best treadmill is only partially about comparing treadmill features. It’s also about considering your own workout needs. Many people don’t consider their own unique needs before choosing a treadmill. That’s a great way to learn – but it’s also expensive.

So you found a well-made treadmill for $999. But have you considered the fact that you’re 6 feet tall and that treadmill belt is only 138cm long?

So you came across a bargain for $1299: a 2.5 HP motor and lots of workout programs. But have you thought about the fact that your taller, heavier son will be running on it and the weight capacity is only 110kgs (which means the deck really can’t take much of a beating)?

When buying a treadmill, many people fall into the trap of only looking at treadmills and never looking at themselves or the needs of their families.

  •  Are you tall
  • Do you plan to run on your treadmill
  • Is it just you using the machine or a family of 5
  • Are you, or is someone in your household a little on the sturdy side
  • Do you have back problems or a weak back
  • Are you training for a marathon
  • Where do you plan to put the treadmill once you get it home
  • Are you going to use it once a week or 7 days a week

FACT: Finding the best treadmill involves comparing treadmill features and considering your own personal workout needs.


Buying a treadmill is not as hard as some people think. Be clear on what you want to use the machine. So chances are pretty good that if you do a little research you’ll find a high quality home treadmill that will last for years.

Follow these common buying rules and you’ll save yourself a load of grief (and a lot of money!)

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