Reviews of the best treadmills you can buy in the low-, mid- and high-end range.
Low-End, Cheap Treadmills
If you're on a budget or want a machine for occasional or light use you should definitely have a look at buying a cheap machine. Even if you're a serious runner who likes running outside, a cheap and affordable model is fine for those times when you wish to run indoors.
The problem with cheap home treadmills is that some are good and deliver on their promise of being a worthwhile piece of exercise equipment, but some cheap models are downright bad.
One can think of the Sportcraft treadmill. This is a low cost machine that is mass sold through retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. It was first launched in 2001 and has 3 product recalls in that short space of time. This is what Treadmill Doctor has to say about this company's machines: 'We expect them to continue mass-marketing game tables and the like but we believe they should stay away from making treadmills.' The Sportcraft treadmill is bad.
However, the Weslo Treadmill is a good cheap model. You can buy the Weslo Cadence G-25 for as little as $200. It is a perfectly acceptable machine for walkers and joggers. It comes with a motor speed of 0 - 6 mph. The treadbelt is 43" with 3 incline positions; 5, 7 and 9%. It comes with a Step-by-Step Feedback Console that has a pretty decent display that helps you keep track of speed, time, distance, calories and fat calories burned.
Some trade reviews of Weslo treadmills give them a poor rating but they usually don't compare like with like. More typically they compare the Weslo with some mid-price machines costing about four to five times as much, which is a nonsensical thing to do.
The Weslo Cadence G-25 treadmill is perfect for those who walk or jog. And, at $200 it is more than reasonably priced.
This is the most competitive sector in the market as most runners are adequately served by using one of this price range. The price does vary quite significantly though; you can pay anything between $1,000 and $2,500. These machines have an array of features to entice the customer. You can buy one that has an amazing control panel, or you can buy one with a very basic control panel but has a very good motor and treadbelt.
If you're someone who needs motivation then you should take a look at HealthRider treadmills. Some models like the T600i come with 4 Window LED Biologic console complete with iFIT technology. iFit is an interactive system that works by sending digital cues from the iFIT web site, compact discs, and videos to vary resistance, speed, and incline functions according to workouts developed by iFIT personal trainers. It's great software for those who find the idea of running on a machine as about as exciting as watching paint dry. The T600i treadmill from HealthRider is about their best model.
If you're looking for pure quality in terms of design and manufacture take a look at a PaceMaster treadmill. Founded in the 60s by the renowned Bill Staub, PaceMaster treadmills have a reputation as being the best. The PaceMaster Gold Elite comes with a 3 hp continuous duty McMillan motor and a maximum speed of 12 mph. So well put together is this machine, it can handle a pay load of 400 lbs. The incline goes from 0 to 15% with 0.5% inclinations.
So confident is the company about the Gold Elite that is comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, with 12 years on the motor and a 5 year parts and 1 year labor warranty. It's unheard of for anyone else to have a warranty on the motor for this length of time.
The one that stands head and shoulders above others is the Landice treadmill. But what makes it so special? For starters it comes with an American made 3 hp continuous duty drive motor that constantly delivers 3 hp with fear of overheating. The fly wheel is the best in the industry and helps to prolong the life of the belt. The treadbelt used on a Landice treadmill is 4-ply; the vast majority of other brands use only 2-ply. 4-ply means the machine can stand up to intensive use from even the most demanding athletes. Landice also give a lifetime warranty with the treadmill, though be warned, there are so many loopholes you need a lawyer present when it's installed. Landice machine are the best but they're expensive and start at just over $3,000.