Buying a treadmill is like buying a new washing machine…there are far too many choices, each store or factory has a different story to sell, and commission driven salespeople will lie about their product (or the other guy) to get the sale. If you are lost in the treadmill morass, don’t fret because it really isn’t as daunting as you think.
We wrote the internet’s first buyer’s guide for treadmills nearly 20 years ago so we know you can go much more in-depth when you consider which treadmill to purchase but when you boil it down, it really comes down to (and don’t tell my 10th Grade English teacher I’m making up words again):
First- Answer 3 simple questions
1. Budgetize- What is your budget?
2. Peopleize- Who will be using it?
3. Utilize- How will it be used?
Budgetize- If you have a Toyota budget, you don’t go shopping in the Rolls Royce dealership. Same is true with the treadmill world. You can spend $20,000 on a treadmill but why shop there when you only have $900?
Peopleize- Who and how many people using it will make a difference on what you need. The fewer and smaller the people, the lower the quality needed. The more and bigger people, the more machine you need.
Utilize- If you use it just for walking, a cheaper machine will get the job done. Runners need to buy more of a machine.
Once you have answered these 3 questions and, if you have the ability to try out the machine locally, that’s perfect but we don’t live in a perfect world. Many times, you have to buy sight unseen. In our local town of Memphis, there used to be 6 retail specialty fitness storefronts…now there are 0. You can still find a few machines at the big box stores, but they have drastically closed stores and reduced square footage devoted to fitness over the past 10 years since the financial crisis and since more and more retail has moved to the internet.
We used to say rely on user reviews, but that world has become ugly too. Salespeople from different companies will post fake reviews and make up service nightmares. We had that happen to us last week by a competitor on Amazon. If we weren’t vigilant, that post will still be on Amazon so don’t always believe what you read on user reviews.
We’ve been doing reviews for 21 years so pick someone to trust based on their track record to believe. If a source was getting paid or lying about a machine or company, they will be found out, but it might be over the long pull.
So, let’s take an example from a person who I helped this week pick a machine. You can always email us a treadmill question at firstname.lastname@example.org or an elliptical question at email@example.com and we will do our best to help you out.
A lady was going to be the sole user of a treadmill for walking only and wanted to spend no more than $1,000. I told her in that range to stay away from the fancy displays because the factories put the cheapest materials they can to keep the price down. She ended up picking a Proform Power 995i from Walmart for $900. Simple to use machine with a big motor and plenty of variety for your workout. If she will keep it clean and lube the belt at least once a year, she will have the perfect machine long term for her regular workouts.