Buying a Treadmill on a Budget!

by Fred Waters

picture of a treadmillA treadmill is an excellent machine for getting back into shape and for losing weight. Their attraction is that they accommodate two of the most popular forms of exercising, walking and running.

And that is why treadmills have continued to be the most popular fitness equipment in the industry.

However, purchasing a treadmill can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of models priced from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Some are built like toys, while others are residential commercial grade.

This article is for people who want to have the convenience of exercising on a treadmill in their home without have to break the bank. The benefits of having your own treadmill are…

• You can exercise when you want.

• You can avoid costly health club membership fees.

• You do not have the inconvenience of traveling to a health club.

• Weather or time changes do not dictate when you can walk or run.

How Much Should You Spend on a Treadmill?

I often get asked by potential treadmill buyers what they should spend on a treadmill. My answer is, that depends? It depends on a number of factors like…

• What are you going to use the treadmill for, running, jogging or walking?

• How many people will be using the treadmill?

• What is the weight of the user(s)?

• What is the height of the user(s)?

• What special features would you like included?

Depending on how you answer these questions, will depend on how much you should reasonably pay for a treadmill. And it may be that how you answer these questions may require buying more than a budget model.

As someone who has worked in the fitness equipment industry for a number of years, one of the major reasons for customer dissatisfaction in their treadmill purchase is due to the fact they bought a model that does not fit their profile or their fitness goals. So individuals who buy a treadmill on a budget may be getting a machine that is inadequate for their needs.

Avoid the Cheapest Treadmills

My first recommendation is that no matter what your fitness goals and your profile, you avoid cheap treadmills. What do I qualify as a cheap treadmill? A machine that cost less than approximately $500.

There is a reason many treadmills under $500 come with a 90 day parts and labor warranty. That is because the manufacturer is not confident that the machine is going to hold up very long. Realize that a treadmill must withstand significant abuse. It is subjected to constant impact.

In fact, if you run on a treadmill, you may impact the deck at two and half times your weight. You also will find cheap treadmills are less stable.

A treadmill is also a precision machine. The electronics, motor, belt, rollers and incline mechanisms must work seamlessly together for what could potentially be thousands of hours. Finally you want a treadmill that will do a reasonable job of absorbing shock. That is one of the major benefits. With the right kind of shock absorption system you can reduce the stress and strain on not only your ankles and knees, but also your lower back.

The good news is that treadmills have improved in quality, while the prices have declined. For example, what you would have paid for a decent running treadmill 10 years ago will cost you hundreds of dollars less today.

So here are some guidelines for purchasing a treadmill.

Treadmill for $500 – $1,000 Budget

This category of treadmills is best suited for walking, although many $800+ treadmills are also adequate for jogging (6 mph or less). You will find that most treadmills in this price range come with a lifetime motor, 1-year labor and 1-3 year parts warranty. This kind of coverage suggests that they are reasonably durable.

If you are going to have multiple users, who will utilize the treadmill daily, you may want to upgrade. Also, you should consider upgrading if the users are over 250 lbs.

You will find many sub $1,000 treadmills have manufacturer suggested weight limits of 300 lbs. or more. I feel they typically overrate their treadmills.

A 300 lbs. user, even when just walking, significantly impacts the surface.

Treadmill for $1,000 – $1,500 Budget

Treadmills in this price range are better suited to handle joggers and runners, heavier individuals, and multiple users. Runners are going to want to spend closer to the $1,500 limit.

In the upper end of this range the treadmills typically come with a lifetime motor, 5-year parts and 2-year labor warranty. Suggesting the machines are generally durable.

Treadmill for $1,500+ Budget

As you start to exceed $1,500, you are starting to get into a category that can handle heavy duty runners. You also will find enhanced features like…

• LCD Android browsers that can connect to the Internet.

• Programs that allow you to create customized workout programs.

• Upgrades that allow your treadmill to communicate your exercise data to an online account, allowing you track your progress.

Some of you that read this article may be disappointed with my recommended budget ranges. You may have been hoping to buy a treadmill for jogging or multiple users for under $500. And, it could be that you end up buying a treadmill in that price range and it lasts for years.

However, if you do not match your fitness goals and profile with the right machine, you are more inclined to have service issues. And more importantly, you end up with a treadmill that provides a less than satisfactory workout.

(This guest post is written by Fred Waters. For treadmill reviews and “Best Buy” recommendations you can go to, which is authored by Fred Waters. He has worked in the fitness equipment industry for the last 17 years, and has assisted thousands of individuals in buying the right treadmill for their body and their budget.)

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

About Health on a Budget

We provide resources to eat and live healthy on a budget.

Comments are closed.