We live in an age where the pressure on individuals to get best results from both their time and their money has never been higher. In a time where those with a job are likely expected to work far more hours than in the recent past, a time where the nutritional quality of the food we eat has never been lower, and the problem of obesity has never been higher. No wonder so many of us are looking for time effective and financially viable ways to improve our Fitness and Health. Many of us also live in homes significantly smaller than was the norm a decade or so ago, so efficiency of space is important to us too. Through these changing times, the Folding Treadmill has remained the most popular item in the exercise equipment market. Fortunately as our needs have developed, so too has technology. The quality and range of options available amongst top rated treadmills and home treadmills has certainly kept pace.
The only downside is that choice is so wide now, that buying the right unit, (whether that is a Manual treadmill, a genuine running treadmill, or any of the wide range of Folding treadmills for home), can be an exhausting task. And thats where our Treadmill Reviews come in.
Long before they were used as Exercise equipment, Treadmills were actually created as a way for animals, or people to drive grinding mills, to turn grain into flour, even worse, they became a means of punishment for Prisoners sentenced to hard labor.
While some of the more cynical among us still see even the top rated treadmills as little more than a torture track, the more enlightened see a modern, time, space and money saving tool for good health and wellbeing.
No matter if you prefer running, or walking, the best home treadmill now comes with a wide variety of features to help motivate you, entertain you, protect your joints, vary your work outs, minimize noise, and all without ever having to battle the elements outside, or shell out heavy Gym membership fees.
Those who enjoy a home treadmill, can thank William Staub, who, in the late 1960’s, was the first to adapt the general concept and produce units for private use from his New Jersey factory.
The 2 main types of treadmills:
Generally speaking, the strongest treadmills are usually powered by an onboard, electric motor, which rotates the treadmill deck, forcing the user to keep up. These come in Folding models to provide greater flexibility in your home, and Non Folding models, which many believe, provide the greatest strength and stability for serious runners.
As an alternative there is the motorless treadmill, also known as the manual treadmill. With these, the user moves the deck with their feet by walking or running. The unit makes little sound. These are probably best suited for walking or at most jogging.
In either case, the Home Treadmill consists essentially of a solid horizontal deck, over which moves a broad belt, much like a conveyor belt. This is activated either by an electric motor, or a flywheel.
At the front of the Treadmill, a vertical frame provides a means of balance, and or a set of control systems housing computerised workouts, data displays , elevation controls, audio systems, even TV’s or work stations in some cases.
It’s natural that your personal experience of a particular brand, or even a particular model that you have come across in a Gym, or owned by a friend, will help shape your decision when buying a treadmill for your home.
However, there are at least a dozen leading manufactures featured among the best treadmill brands. Each has a wide range of machines, designed to meet your needs, from the simple, low priced unit, to the exclusive, long lasting, highly programmable computerised machine. If you have not experienced all of them, our reviews and the opinions of current owners might be valuable to you, before you invest your cash into a machine that you will likely use for years to come.
Along with our Folding Treadmill reviews , and the Best Manual Treadmills, we also have attempted to find the best running treadmills, all to assist you in finding your best home treadmill.
Treadmill Specifications to Consider
- The Motor – As with other motors, a treadmill motor is defined by its horsepower. There are two measures of horsepower for a treadmill. The most important is continuous HP or (CHP), which indicates the available power during continuous steady use. A less reliable measure is Peak Horse Power (PHP) which is only reliable when measuring short bursts…
The principle factors here are the height and weight of the user. Heavier users should definitely look for a stronger motor. As a guide, a minimum of 1.5 CHP is required for walking, between 2-2,5 CHP for jogging, and 3CPH for running.
It’s worth investing in the larger motor for a number of reasons. They tend to run more smoothly, and cooler. They also deliver power much more evenly to the running belt, and over time require less maintenance.
Also look for a DC (direct Current) motor for home use as they generally use less power and are quieter to operate than AC models.
- Running or Walking –
The amount you spend on a new treadmill will depend on the planned usage. Many start out intending to use their treadmills for walking, only to find that as fitness and enjoyment increase, walking turns to jogging, and then to running.
In general, a good jogging speed is around 6 mph, a gentle run around 8 mph, a fast run is about 10mph and very fast is around 12 to 14 mph……so if you really do only ever want to walk, a machine with a top speed of around 9 mph (14kph) will meet your needs, but if you are likely to run a machine capable of a full 14mph (22kph) is your best bet. You will also need a strong frame and a longer deck.
- Belts – The dimensions of the belt again depend on the size of the user and the type of use.
For walking, a narrow (40 cm) belt is fine while jogging and running generally require 45cm or up.
- Length of the deck – As a guide, for running, users standing under 5’5” (165cm) tall should look for a deck of 47” or 120cm. If you are 5’5” to 6ft (165-182cm) a deck of 51” (130cm) is recommended, whilst those between 6’1” and 6’’7” (185-200cm) should look for the longer 58” (147cm) deck.
Where more than one person will be using the treadmill, buy for the largest user.
- Comfort –
Always look for treadmills with suspension systems, (especially for running). To reduce joint and muscle damage when running or walking, shock absorption is critical. It also makes for a more comfortable workout, removing one more reason to stop exercising
- The Frame – A steel frame is recommended for strength, and stability. For home use, a folding treadmill with an easy to access and use folding mechanism, will provide the most mobile option.
- Inclines – Be sure to find an automatic incline function if you are intending to run, or do intensive walking sessions. This will allow the use of automated incline adjusting workouts.
- Programs – It is best to choose a treadmill with a larger number of in-built workouts. This means the treadmill will vary the speed, and incline without you having to adjust controls, (which is difficult to do when running). This reduces boredom, and also makes your workouts more impactful. It is accepted that your body adjusts to unchanged workouts, and they become less effective in reaching your goals.
- Other Features – Look for a treadmill with bottle holders, MP3 players, and hand pulse sensors ( so you can track heart rate), or you might find visual input more effective in avoiding boredom.
- Warranty – You should be able to find at least a 3 year warranty on motor and frame, with 12 months on belts. Generally a longer warranty is a good indication of a higher quality machine.Hopefully this outline will give you an understanding of what is involved in buying a treadmill for your home or office. Use it in conjunction with our treadmill reviews to find the best folding treadmill with a minimum of confusion