Buying a Treadmill for Walking

Treadmills have been among the most popular fitness machines on the market for several decades.  Visit any neighborhood gym, and you’ll likely see every treadmill in the place being used!

Let’s suppose you want to purchase your very own home treadmill for walking…How do you choose a good, quality treadmill machine that will meet your budget as well as your personal fitness needs?

Cost Consideration

Sure, there are treadmills on the market that cost only a few hundred dollars.  You’d be wise to avoid those machines, however!  The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” is great advice to follow when investing in a treadmill machine.  A cheap treadmill will, in all likelihood, become a maintenance nightmare, and it will also have a very short lifespan.  A more expensive treadmill will be comprised of higher quality materials that will last longer.

Of course, you still have to consider your budget.  If you are currently a bit short on funds, put off the treadmill purchase until you can afford to spend a little more money.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on a treadmill.  Nevertheless, you can expect to pay around $1,000 minimum for a durable, dependable walking treadmill.

Can the Treadmill Handle its Users?

Pay attention to the maximum user weight capacity when shopping for a walking treadmill.  If several people in your household will be using the treadmill, you will need a machine that can adequately handle the heaviest user.  Be aware, too, that multiple users will put more demands on the treadmill. 

A higher-end model will be heavier and sturdier and, thus, better able to withstand the extra pounding of multiple users and/or heavier users than an inexpensive unit.  It will also have a motor that is capable of handling the demands that are put upon it.  (A 2.5 HP continuous-duty motor is recommended for walkers.)  A treadmill that will be used for walking, however, does not need to be quite as heavy-duty as a treadmill that will be used for running. 

In addition to user weight, you need to consider the height of the tallest user.  A tall person is going to need a longer walking surface to accommodate the longer stride.  Walkers can generally get by with a shorter treadbelt than can runners, but the belt should be long enough to feel comfortable to the user.  A walker who stands 6 foot or taller really needs a belt that is a minimum of 52 inches long and 20 inches wide.

Features

Most treadmills, regardless of price, have standard features, such as pre-programmed workouts, adjustable speed and intensity levels, and display readouts that show time, speed, calories burned, and distance traveled.

Such features may be sufficient for your needs.  They’re certainly enough to ensure efficient exercise sessions.  However, you may opt for a treadmill with additional features, such as:

  • An MP3 docking station and speakers
  • Automatic incline
  • Automatic heart rate monitor and control
  • Automatic folding feature for easy storage
  • Rollers for easy moving

Although there are some inexpensive models that have some of the above features, keep in mind that such models are made with cheap parts to keep the costs down.  Again, you get what you pay for.  Such treadmills are apt to require considerable maintenance and won’t last long.

Warranties

Before investing your hard-earned money on a treadmill, check out its warranties.  Stay away from machines that come with only 90-day warranties on parts and labor!  That kind of warranty tells you right away that the machine is cheaply made, and even the manufacturer doesn’t have much faith in it!

Look for a treadmill that is backed by a minimum warranty of one-year on parts and labor.  Smooth Fitness offers a 3-year warranty on parts and a two-year warranty on labor on its lower-end treadmill, the Smooth 5.65 Treadmill.  This kind of warranty suggests that you are getting a quality machine for your money.

Think of buying a walking treadmill as not only a financial investment, but, also as an investment in your health and fitness.  Don’t settle for a cheap treadmill, simply because you can afford it!  If you need to, put off the purchase until you have enough saved up to buy a decent machine.  In the long run, you’ll be glad you did!

Written by Cyndi Waters

Fitness Researcher and Writer 

Smooth Fitness | Treadmills & Ellipticals

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