A treadmill is an investment…an investment in a piece of fitness equipment, and an investment in your health. As with any investment, it’s a good idea to do your research before spending any money. To get the most for your money, you need to be an informed shopper. What should you know about choosing the best treadmill for you?

What are your fitness goals?

The fitness goals that you wish to achieve should be a big determining factor in choosing a treadmill to buy. For instance, if you are planning to train to run in a marathon, you’re going to need a unit that can withstand a lot of hard, heavy pounding. After all, a lot more impact is created by running than by walking. If you try to train on a treadmill that is really adequate only for walking, the machine will most likely feel wobbly and unstable. All that pounding could also lead to numerous maintenance issues or a short treadmill life.

What is the maximum user weight?

Find out the maximum user weight capacity on any treadmills that interest you. If you or any other users in your household exceed the maximum user weight capacity on those units, move on to another treadmill. To be fully satisfied and to get your money’s worth out of your investment, you really need a treadmill that is heavy enough and sturdy enough to provide comfortable, smooth workouts.

Keep in mind, too, that lighter treadmills are generally not very sturdy and don’t absorb shock too well. They tend to shake and make a lot of noise when in use. A heavier treadmill typically is quieter and smoother and more capable of handling larger users without any problems. Heavier treadmills usually cushion against impact better, as well.

How much can you afford to spend on a treadmill?

Even if you’re on a limited budget, you can get a fairly decent treadmill. However, you need to shop around to find the best bargains available. If money is really tight, and you can only afford to spend a few hundred dollars, you’d be better off holding onto your money and saving up a bit more.

Treadmills that are really cheap are also going to be cheap quality. Basically, you’d be throwing away your money on a machine in that category. For a little more money, though, you can find nicer, more dependable treadmills. (Icon Fitness makes some nice budget treadmills that have great features. Check out some of Icon’s Precor models for a decent, affordable unit.)

Pay attention to warranties!

A treadmill that has only a 90-day warranty on parts and labor is probably not a very good treadmill. Try to choose an affordable treadmill that comes with at least a one-year warranty on parts and labor. The better the warranty, the better the treadmill is likely going to be.

What features are most important to you?

Low-end treadmill models today often have some great features. The problem with all those features on a cheap machine is that the features probably were added at the cost of better quality. The more features you have on an inexpensive machine, the more parts you have that could potentially break down.

If cost is a big factor in your treadmill choice, opt for better quality over lots of extra features. Among the most important features to consider include:

  • Adjustable speed and resistance
  • Preprogrammed workouts to provide variety and promote motivation to exercise regularly
  • Horsepower rating of the motor – (Runners should look for a unit with a 2.0 hp rating or higher.)
  • Belt size – (Individuals of tall stature and runners would do better with a belt length of at least 55 to 60 inches.)
  • Deck quality – (The quality of the deck will affect the user’s comfort during workouts. The deck influences how smoothly the unit runs, as well as shock absorption.)
  • As with most products, when choosing a treadmill, you get what you pay for! Generally speaking, the more the treadmill costs, the higher the quality will be.

    Author's Bio: 

    Fred Waters worked in the fitness equipment industry for a number of years and currently is the author of http://www.treadmill-ratings-reviews.com. Get reviews on over 100 treadmill models and brands.