Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Treadmills To Consider:
- Why Treadmills Simply Make Sense
- What To Look For In A Treadmill?
- Advanced Features
- Final Thoughts
Top 10 Best Treadmills To Consider:
Why Treadmills Simply Make Sense
Treadmills Keep Your Joints Healthy
This topic tends to be a very controversial one for a lot of people. Some will say that it’s just empty talk while others are standing behind the fact that running on concrete is simply bad for your joints. This applies even when you have good running shoes with advanced soles and what not.
As you run on concrete the sheer force of impact on your joints is tremendous. Your angles, knees and sometimes even your hips. With treadmills you don’t have this issue. Almost every treadmill out there is going to be much softer than your average piece of pavement. Even the cheap ones with no dedicated cushioning system are a better solution than running on concrete.
Joint flexibility and health is especially important if you have arthritis or a similar condition. If that is the case, using a treadmill can be a very healthy way of increasing joint flexibility, maintaining your cardio fitness, all without suffering the risks of injury.
Precisely Tracking Your Progress
One of the lesser known benefits of using a treadmill is being able to track your progress with a great deal of precision. Some will say that you can achieve that by using a fitness tracker, but chances are that you won’t get the same level of precision. On the other hand, an average treadmill, even the cheaper ones, come with plenty of ways to track your progress. You usually have the built in features that take care of that but also support for iFit and similar apps.
Ease Of Storage
In the olden days treadmills were quite cumbersome. Not only that but you would rarely see them outside of gyms. As they became cheaper and more accessible to a larger user base, manufacturers have started working on ways that would make them easy to store away after you are done with your workout. Modern treadmills are almost all using a folding design.
Even the bulkiest, heaviest models out there feature this. Once you fold the treadmills, you can store it in your closet or just put it somewhere in a corner of your room. We are talking about this because many people refuse to consider treadmills simply because they claim they take way too much space. That is no longer the case.
What To Look For In A Treadmill?
Shopping for a treadmill can be quite confusing especially if you are not familiar with this type of equipment. The manual treadmills are simple, but everything else requires deeper research if you want to get the best bang for your buck. Learning which features to look for and which to avoid can make the whole shopping experience so much easier. Before we get to that, let’s talk budgets
Defining A Budget
Electric motors are probably one of the best inventions we have come up with as a species. They are used just about everywhere and more or less drive our civilization. However, electric motors have their limits. Pushing a motor to its very limit for a prolonged period of time will inflict wear that might ultimately lead to failure. In other words, 12 mph on a 2 hp motor is not the same as 12 mph on a 3.5 hp motor. Former is going to have to work very hard to get to that speed and maintain it, while the latter is going to power through with very little effort.
This doesn’t mean that less powerful motors are useless. On the contrary, they are great if you use them within the intended parameters. Treadmills that pack a 2 hp or weaker motors aren’t meant to be used for a long period of time. These treadmills are meant for beginners and those who are looking for a casual workout. More powerful motors are designed for serious runners with very strict cardio regimens who demand reliability and consistency on a daily basis. When you are out there shopping for a treadmill, this little piece of info is definitely something you will want to keep in mind.
Incline is considered by some to be an extra feature that isn’t necessarily that important, while others are pretty adamant that every treadmill should have incline. We are definitely more aligned with the latter group. Running on a flat surface is a good way to get into running, built your fitness levels and get a good workout. However, adding incline into the equation makes such a huge difference. Most modern treadmills come with some sort of incline control. Cheaper ones will most likely rely on manual incline selection which implies adjusting rear posts on the running deck. In all honesty, if that’s all you can get get, go for it. It might be a nuisance to adjust those stands every time you want to get on the treadmill, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
Once you reach the $1000 price range almost every treadmill will come with motorized incline control. For the most part, you will see levels of incline that range anywhere from 10% all the way up to 15%. Motorized incline control also plays into programmed routines and they are a must if you plan to go for a treadmill close to or slightly under $2000. Some incorporate variable incline which simulates running on uneven terrain. At the end of the day, any kind of incline is better than none.
Running Deck Design
Running decks are important simply because that is the portion of the treadmill you will be in contact the most. There are several factors that you need to pay attention to. First there is the size of the belt. Belt size is one of those things that impacts how you experience the treadmill and how much freedom of movement you have. Then we have the cushioning and lastly the belt material.
The size of the belt is very important. Smaller belts can be uncomfortable for use, require you to focus more on staying within the bounds of the running deck than other more important things and so on. While most affordable treadmills feature smaller belts, you will find some pretty expensive models that also pack compact belts. There is a good reason for this as well. Belt size is going to depend on what that specific treadmill was designed to do. Compact treadmills can’t really flaunt a large running belt simply because that goes against their very purpose. In other words, if you are hunting for a compact model be ready to deal with smaller belt sizes.
Every frame out there is made of some sort of tubing. The specific type and profile of tubing will depend on the brand and the model. What you are looking for is a frame that is rugged, robust and inspires confidence. If you see a treadmill with thin tubing all over the place, do yourself a favor and walk away. It’s just not worth it.
There are some exceptions though, all of which have to do with the design of the control module. If the module itself is small and low in mass, the vertical portion of the frame doesn’t need to be too robust. However, if the module is massive and tubing is weak, you are looking at a bad design.
Importance Of A Good Frame
The main reason why a frame should be near the top of your list of priorities is stability under stress. Even though the running deck is low to the ground and often times a massive block of material, you running on top of it still exerts a certain amount of force on the frame. If that frame isn’t able to handle that force, you will get a wobble. That is the last thing you want. A sturdy, rock solid frame will prevent any wobbles from happening.
Once you get past the main set of components we have just discussed, you are left with advanced features that can be found past the $500 price range. These are often times aimed at increasing your comfort and providing entertainment during workout. To be more specific, we are talking about built in speakers, built in TVs and similar stuff. Best way to go about figuring these things out is to weigh out the pros and cons. Can you find entertainment elsewhere or do you absolutely need to have that available in the treadmill itself?
Depending on how you answer this question, you can possibly save quite a bit of money. Our take on this is that entertainment features aren’t really all that important. If you look at more advanced treadmills, you will notice that barely any of them have these features at all. Those who are bored with running and really need some form of entertainment in order to finish their workout can always find what they need elsewhere. Put the treadmill in front of your TV or computer and just play your favorite show. Same goes for music. Your surround system is absolutely going to offer better sound quality than anything you can find being put into treadmills. At the end of the day, it is all up to you.
Now that we have covered the most important aspects of treadmills, lets touch upon some unconventional models which you may find interesting. Walking desks are pretty interesting machines. In essence, it is just a running deck without the control module which you can push under a standing desk. The benefits of using such a device are pretty obvious. If you are spending way too much time behind your computer for work, investing into a walking desk can prove to be a great solution.
There are dedicated walking desk treadmills out there but they are not the only ones suitable for this use. Most of the lightweight treadmills can serve this purpose as well. That is, as long as you can remove the control module and the vertical portion of the frame. In some cases getting one of these treadmills may even prove to be much cheaper than getting a treadmill that has been specifically designed to be used with walking desks.
Last but not least we have hybrids. These are treadmills which incorporate another type of fitness machine as well. Our general recommendation is to stay away from them. The main reason why is the fact that they don’t offer good performance overall. There are exceptions of course, but those are very rare. It is understandable to want to get as many fitness machines in your home as you can. However, there is a point where a gym membership might prove to be a much better option. The better route is just to squeeze something like an additional exercise bike in your home. Ultimately it is up to you to weigh the pros and the cons of such devices and figure out what is the best course of action to take.