Guidelines for purchasing a treadmill
1. Measure the space in your home. Some treadmills can be as much as 7′ in length and 3 feet wide. Also, the average height off the ground for a treadmill is over 6″, plus you need to account for additional height when you are running or jogging.
2. Determine how complicated you want your treadmill’s console to be. Most treadmills come with programmable consoles. Most modern treadmills have integrated, touch screens. Most come with a basic package of interval type programs. Some come with heart rate programs. If you want simple, search for a basic model. If you want advanced, search for integrated screens. There are plenty of both on the market.
3. What type of running or walking experience do you want? Some treadmills are aluminum frame, others are steel frame. Aluminum frames tend to be more flexible or have more cushion. Steel frames tend to be more rigid and thus simulate running/walking outdoors. Some treadmills have shock absorbing systems, others have flex decks. If you are going to run or walk exclusively indoors, you might want to consider a flexible deck surface, which provides you with the ultimate cushioning. If you are going to mix indoor and outdoor running/walking, find something in between so one is not an extreme of the other.
4. Test drive a treadmill. Treadmills are like couches. You should try one out before buying one. Try one at your local gym or physical therapy clinic. Visit a retail store and ask if you can walk or run on one for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. If you are buying a used model, research the company you are buying from. Ask about warranty, what is done to the machine, any parts that are to be replaced. Ask for a photo of the actual unit or a video of the machine working.