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Buyer Guide For Treadmill

Treadmills are machines that if used regularly, take an excessive beating. That's why if you want a home treadmill that will last, you're going to need to shovel out a few extra bucks. For a good walking treadmill that can withstand regular use, you start somewhere in the range of Rs 30,000. On the other hand, you don't need to spend Rs 1 lac on a home treadmill that you will only use occasionally for walking. Unless you have an obsession for big, expensive toys. 

Motor and horsepower 

The motor matters as it gets the heaviest workout. The horsepower (HP) ratings can be confusing. The figure you want to look at is the 'continuous duty rating' and shop for 1.5 to 2.5 HP'continuous duty.' The 'peak duty' rating is less valuable. The 'treadmill duty' rating falls between continuous and peak. Look for the longest warranty on the motor - one year at least. DC (direct current) motors are quieter. 



Test it for stability and smooth ride 

Test treadmills wearing your workout shoes and clothes. A shaky or jerky ride is unacceptable. The hand rails should feel sturdy enough to support you and be in a good position to grip easily and not block your arm motion. The belt should be wide and long enough for your stride. 

Workout features 

Boredom kills treadmill workouts. Choose a model that has the most pre-set and programmable workouts to vary pace and incline. The incline and speed should be easily adjustable from the console. A pulse monitor is good so too a water bottle holder. Some models plug into a video or audio player or the internet (you need to shell out more for the features). 

If you are an occasional walker, then you can get by with a treadmill that is shorter in length, has an 18-inch wide belt, a medium size motor and an overall design that accommodates moderate use. 

Silence please 

The treadmill needs to work in your space. How noisy is it? If you plan to watch TV or listen to music, you need to be able to hear those over the treadmill itself. A model that looks small in the store can turn into an elephant in your bed room. Check its size when folded or stored and test how easy it is to move. 

Manual treadmills vs. motorised treadmills 

Due to the huge difference in cost, many people are tempted to buy a manual treadmill instead of a motorized treadmill. While a manual machine will only set you back by about Rs 6000-10,000, a motorized version may cost any where between Rs 25,000 - 2 lacs and above. But manual treadmills have many drawbacks vs. their motorized cousins. They are often difficult to get moving without using an extreme incline, and once moving you can't change the incline. The low price also often means less sturdy construction. 

Programming extras 

Before you buy a treadmill, think about the kinds of things you want. 
-Do you want running or walking programs included? 

-Do you want a heart rate monitor? 

-Do you need a treadmill that folds (often more expensive) or do you have enough space for a regular treadmill? 

-Can you maintain a treadmill? 

-What's the most important feature you want in a treadmill? 

-How many people will use the home treadmill? 

If more then one person is going to use the treadmill that means at least double the usage. Think about the abuse a treadmill must go through when it is used regularly. That is why cheap treadmill do not last, and that is why they are backed with short-term warranties.

General guidelines:

Two walkers: Spend at least Rs 65,000 

Two joggers: Spend at least Rs 1 lac 
Two runners: Spend at least Rs 1.5- 2 lacs 

Multiple profiles: You may also want to consider a model that stores user profiles for multiple users. You can call up your profile and any programs you have previously stored. 

Try before you buy 

You may not be able to find all your treadmill choices at local sporting goods stores, but it pays to do some research and try as many treadmills as possible. Make a list of treadmills you're interested in and call sporting goods stores to see if they're available locally. Spend at least 15 minutes on each treadmill. Make sure it's quiet and that it doesn't shake, even when running. While you're there, see where the drink holder is. Is there a place to put your music player? Can you add a book rack? 

Treadmill warranties 

Warranties are a statement about the quality of the machine. Purchase a treadmill with a minimum 5 year motor warranty, 2 year parts warranty and is covered for one year of service. 

Here's a treadmill checklist to follow 

Belt size - At least 48" long and 16" wide. Simply put a running surface long enough and wide enough for your stride. 

Speed - If you plan on running, get a treadmill that goes up to 10 MPH 

Incline - Get a treadmill with an incline that goes up to 20% 

Cushioning - The running bed should absorb shock and the belt shouldn't move around with every foot-strike 

Stability - The treadmill shouldn't shake when you run or walk on it and the frame should remain stable. The base is very important or the wrong jerks on machine can be a cause of cervical problem, knee injury or a lower back pain