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What to Expect From a Cheap Treadmill
So you decide it is time to get back into shape, and rather than spending money for a health club membership you figure itís less expensive and more convenient to have fitness equipment at home. In addition, those treadmills you spotted at your local Samís or Wal-Mart were rather cheap. Many of the models were under 0.
The question is, are cheap treadmills a good value? Consider what a treadmill is used for, and the abuse it must withstand.
Treadmills are designed for walking or running. The deck is the walking/running surface, and the motor drives the belt over the deck. Treadmills must be built to handle the continuous impact of your stride. The deck must absorb that constant impact. If you used a treadmill consistently, you could impact it hundreds of thousands of times during the lifetime of the machine. Moreover, if you are running on a treadmill the impact can be up to 2.5 times your body weight.
The motor must be powerful enough to handle your weight as you strive forward. It has to work even harder when you use the incline. The rollers have to handle constant rotation, and must be finely engineered to withstand the strain. All these parts must work together through the electronics, making sure each piece works in sync.
In other words, a treadmill should be a fine-tuned machine with quality component and engineering. Once you start to compromise, you inevitably are going to have problems.
Cheap Treadmills Are About Compromise
This is my own personally opinion based on years of working in the treadmill industry, I believe decent walking treadmills start at ,000. If you want to get a treadmill for jogging, you should pay a minimum of ,500. For constant running, you should pay in the ,000+ range. So what does that say about cheap treadmills for less than 0?
You start getting into the realm of machines where they compromise on the quality of the components and the engineering. They also provide inadequate features like underpowered motors, and treadbelts that have small widths and short lengths. Some belts are only 16Ē wide.
One noticeable feature of cheap treadmills is the limited warranty. Generally, they are 90-days for parts and labor. After 90-days you pick up the tab for any problems. And treadmills are not cheap to repair. In comparison, most treadmills in the ,000+ range have at least a 1-year parts and labor warranty. The Sole F80 treadmill that sells for ,500, has a lifetime motor/deck, 5-year parts and 2-year labor warranty. What does that say about the reliability of the F80 in comparison to a 90-day warranty?
When you buy a cheap treadmill be aware of what you are getting. Understand these treadmills are not built to last and that you may have to replace it sooner then you think.
About the Author: Fred Waters worked in the treadmill industry for a number of years and is author of the Treadmill Ratings and Reviews site. Check out the latest reviews on over 90 of the most popular treadmills, and get important buying tips from his Treadmill Buyer's Guide.