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When you go past that $1000 price range and start looking into upper mid range models, you will find just how complex and impressive treadmills can actually be.
Today we are going to show you our top 8 list for this price range and discuss what makes these models some of the best treadmills you can get. Later on we will get talk about what to look for in a good treadmill.
For a higher end treadmill, Sole Fitness F80 really checks all the right boxes. What we like the most about this model is the fact that they didn’t go overboard trying to make it more appealing. Instead, Sole Fitness stuck to tried and tested method of covering the basics and building a solid foundation.
Speaking of solid things, the frame on this treadmill is impressive. We have thick tubing all around, with main frame work merging almost seamlessly with the sub frame. With that said, the absolute best part about the F80 is the motor that drives it. We are looking at a 3.5 hp motor that offers speeds of up to 12 mph. As you can imagine, it achieves and maintains these speeds almost effortlessly.
One byproduct of having such a powerful motor is low noise. This is one of those treadmills you don’t really hear working during use. On top of that, we have a whole bunch of additional features that can be accessed using the control panel. Overall, Sole Fitness F80 has it all. It is functional, comes with great core components and offers plenty of aids when it comes to experiencing a challenging daily workout.
Compared to other treadmills in this price range, 3G Cardio Pro Runner can be quite deceiving. On the outside, it doesn’t really look like much. You got pretty bland colors, an antiquated display setup and overall design that just looks average.
However, once you scratch under the surface the real potential of this treadmill becomes apparent. Much like other 3G models we have looked over, this one is streamlined for performance.They went to great lengths in order to make the Pro Runner an efficient fitness machine. It packs a 3 hp continuous duty motor, comes with flexible incline control and features some of the best cushioning out there. On top of that, the whole thing sits in a robust frame that removes any movement from the equation.
Looking at the control module, it is hard to ignore just how simple it is. However, simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All of the controls are clearly labeled and very intuitive to use. That display, or should we say a cluster of displays, makes perfect sense when you actually start using the treadmill. There’s nothing flashy about the Pro Runner, but it’s one of the best fitness machines you can have.
Attractive, functional and reliable. Those are just some of the words we can use to describe the ProForm ZT10. Even though looks are about the last thing you want to worry about when choosing a good treadmill, we just can’t ignore how stylish this model is. Looking at the core components reveals a very sturdy frame that does a great job at removing any movement during your workout.
The motor of choice is a 3 hp Mach Z series unit that has proven to be one of their better power plants. It will get you up to 12 mph with almostno effort and keep you there reliably. As expected, the motor is very quiet so noise fatigue is not an issue. In terms of incline, we have up to 15% at our disposal that can be accessed and controlled using quick incline controls on the control module.
Speaking of which, ZT10 is pretty intuitive to use. There is a fairly large display that shows all the relevant stats but also allows for easy navigation. The suite of features offered includes all the usual stuff and few things you don’t see too often. ProForm ZT10 is definitely a solid choice.
There are generally not many treadmills in the upper mid range that are packed with entertainment features. FreeMotion 890 is one of those few. Despite the fact hat most people dislike these types of treadmills and for a good reason, FreeMotion 890 is one of those that is actually pretty decent.
As a matter of fact, its TV screen and fancy full color main display are just a distraction. The really impressive stuff is under the hood. This treadmills packs a 4.25 hp motor. It’s easily one of the most powerful motors in this particular segment of the market. Sure, it only gets you up to 12 mph much like any othermotor in the upper mid range, but it reaches and maintains that speed with so little wear or stress.
As you would expect there is also motorized incline control that reaches 15% ofmaximum incline. One cool thing about FreeMotion 890 is the fact that it can withstand up to 400 lb. which is about 100 lb. more than most other models. At the end of the day what appears to be a gimmicky treadmills turns out to be one of the most capable machines out there.
Nautilus takes the cake when it comes to building a value package, even in this price range. Even though that isn’t necessarily something you expect to hear about a higher end model, Nautilus T618 is truly a bang for the buck champion. For the most part you’re getting all the components that define an upper mid range treadmill at a price that is too good to ignore. Lets start with a couple of examples.
T618 comes with a 3.5 hp motor that pushes a 60″ by 20″ running belt. The whole thing sits in a simple yet robust frame designed to offer absolute stability. Nautilus has used their Rebound cushioning technology which has proven to be quite effective so far. What we really like is how compact the treadmill is despite its large appearance.
Once you’re done with your workout, this thing folds up very nicely. Then we have the features. While T618 may not have the latest bells and whistles, it does come with a USB port, built in speakers and so much more. Overall, Nautilus T618 is a really well rounded treadmill that is priced extremely well compared to its competition. That’s as good as it gets.
To say that Endurance TF3i is intriguing would be an understatement. Compared to other models on our list, it almost looks out of place. That is until you realize what this treadmill is built to do. For starters it is one of the most minimalist models on the market. It’s light, slim and pretty spartan in nature.
That alone is enough for some users to make their decision. Lets be honest here, in the sea of cumbersome, bulky models, seeing something like this comes as a breath of fresh air. What makes Endurance TF3i so awesome is its performance. You are looking at a package that features a very powerful motor, rock solid frame and sub frame, as well as all of the relevant options. This whole thing is designed around mobility, space saving and performance.
From that point of view, TF3i ticks all the right boxes. When you actually put it to use, you quickly find out that it is one of the most intuitive treadmills out there. If you are a performance oriented person who does not necessarily care about the latest bells and whistles, this model might be exactly what you have been looking for all along.
As we approach the very end of our list, we run into a couple of interesting models. One of them is Schwinn 870. In our opinion this treadmill defines the entry stage of this particular price range. Schwinn has managed to combine all the right features along with some creature comforts to make a rock solid performer.
This treadmill is definitely aimed at those who aren’t too hard core about running and like their fitness equipment to be multifunctional. Schwinn 870 packs a 3 hp motor that delivers speeds of up to 12 mph, 15% of incline and a 60″ by 20″ running deck. Over at the control module, you’ll find plenty of cool and handy features. To start things off, we have 26 programs and 4 user profiles.
Even though we are definitely not that big on treadmills that have built in speakers, the ones on this particular model are fairly decent. Interestingly enough Schwinn 870 manages to stack up against much more expensive models and come out the other end in one piece. Again, if you’re looking for a solid mid range machine with a few creature comforts thrown into the mix, this treadmill is worth checking out.
Last but not least we have ProForm Pro 2000. ProForm’s Pro series of treadmills have proven to be quite capable especially when you go into the flagship models. However, even the entry models are pretty decent. In the context of our list, Pro 2000 barely made the cut but it is here for a reason. It comes with a 3.5 hp Mach Z motor, the same one they pack into their more expensive treadmills.
On top of that, it brings a few surprises in the incline department. Aside from 15% incline you also have 3% of decline to work with. That is definitely not something you see that often. Something else you don’t see every day is a 60″ by 22″ running deck. Again, it is larger than most of the treadmills in this price range have to offer. The control module fits the price in both complexity and features.
Much like many other treadmills out there, Pro 2000 not only supports but also depends on the iFit suite for any serious progress tracking. At the end of the day, ProForm Pro 2000 is innovative and unique in its own way. That makes it quite alright in our book.
If you have spent any time researching treadmills, you have probably noticed that once you go past the $500 price range not much changes but the price. Most treadmills have similar features even though the price difference can be quite severe.
That isn’t quite the case. There are several good reasons why expensive treadmills are expensive and why they are a worthy investment. you are basically investing into reliability for the most part.
An average treadmill at its very core is dependent on its motor and the way its running deck works. This mechanical nature makes it fairly prone to failure unless everything was designed and put together right.
When you lay down the big buck, you are essentially getting the best core components available. Just on that note it is more than worth saving up for a treadmill like the ones on our list.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the next segment we are going to take a closer look at each aspect of these treadmills and how it adds to your fitness performance.
As we have mentioned just now, performance of any treadmill is going to depend on its motor and its running deck. Overall recommendation is to stick with treadmills that have a 1 hp motor at the very least.
Anything over that is a huge bonus. Models such as the ones on our list above average anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hp. One thing that often confuses people is why do 1.5 hp and 3 hp motors have the same 12 mph speed limit? In other words, what is the point of having a powerful motor if there is no difference in its peak performance?
Here’s the thing. The max continuous power of the motor has nothing to do with top speed said motor is capable of delivering. Reaching 12 mph is about as good as most runners can do. Instead, higher powered motors bring other benefits. For one, it gets you up to speed faster.
Spooling up a 1.2 hp motor takes much longer than spooling up a 3 hp one. That is simply a fact. Then we have durability. A more powerful motor will endure less stress and wear running at say 10 mph than a low powered motor.
Former is pushing that speed at maybe 50% of its potential while the latter is always hitting that maximum. Working at 50% also means lower noise levels.
Running decks are your main point of contact with the treadmills and essentially what these machines are all about. If the running deck isn’t good enough, everything else becomes irrelevant.
So what makes a good running deck? The first thing we look for is the size of the deck. Models on our list offer pretty large running decks. We are talking 60″ by 20″ belts on average. That means that you have plenty of room to run without worrying about stepping out of bounds or anything similar.
Belt cushioning is also important. If you are on the treadmill frequently, a good cushioning setup is a must. Spending this kind of money on a treadmill gets you some of the most advanced cushioning systems available.
Not every brand does this the same way and they all have their proprietary solutions. What matters the most is that almost all of them work. The importance of cushioning can’t be emphasized enough. Maintaining healthy joints and knees depends on this feature alone.
Last but not least we have all the other features. By this we mostly mean the hardware and software solutions meant to make your workout more comfortable.
One thing you won’t find too often even in this price range are huge displays. Once you step into the $2000 territory, most treadmills become performance oriented. Even so, things such as built in speakers, built in cooling fans and similar things aren’t that uncommon.
Figuring out what kind of features you really need can help you immensely when making a choice. Our advice is always going to be to stick to basics. All of the entertainment features are great, but aren’t even close to necessary.
If you think about it, what kind of entertainment can you really put into a treadmill? Focus on fitness related features and you will be fine. If you really need something to keep you distracted during long runs, there are much better solutions out there that have nothing to do with treadmills. With that said, the decision is ultimately yours.
Trying to reduce the entire segment of the market into a shortlist was much harder than we had thought it would be. Even so, we have managed to come up with what we think is the best choice out there.
Sole Fitness F80 isn’t without its quirks but it represents what every upper mid range treadmill should be like. Our first and second place were almost tied, which definitely didn’t make things any easier.
At the end of the day, you should figure out which treadmill offers the best combo of features and performance that matches your needs and tastes.