08 / Apr / 2022Akfit's Treadmill Buyer's GuideThis informational buyer’s guide is outlined with everything you should consider before you go treadmill shopping, how to make your final decision, and even considerations to keep in mind after you purchase. Estimated read time: 17.5 minutesAre you looking to purchase a treadmill for your home gym but aren’t quite sure where to start? This treadmill buyer’s guide is outlined to provide you with all of the key information you need to know before you purchase your brand new treadmill.The treadmill is one of the most common types of cardio equipment on the market, and the majority of commercial gyms feature them. These machines have been steadily increasing in popularity every year, especially since 2020 as people have begun to spend more time in their homes. In fact, treadmills are considered an essential piece of equipment for any home gym!These popular machines allow you to walk, jog, or run at different speeds and potentially an incline on a mobile belt (usually powered by a motor), all while conveniently enjoying your workout indoors. As a Canadian specialty fitness store located in Sudbury, Ontario, Akfit has been providing gym equipment, and commercial fitness services since 1989. A wide variety of Treadmills are included in our large inventory of fitness products. However, there are a lot of treadmills to choose from, so which one is right for you? This informational buyer’s guide is outlined with everything you should consider before you go treadmill shopping, how to make your final decision, and even considerations to keep in mind after you purchase. In this guide:1) 5 Factor to Consider Before Treadmill Shopping1.1) Consider Your Workout Space1.2) Your Intentions with Your Treadmill1.3) Consider Your Budget1.4) Think About What Features Matter Most to You1.5) Consider Any Accessories You May Require 2) 7 Considerations While Treadmill Shopping2.1) Understand Your Treadmill Motor2.2) Know Your Treadmill2.3) Check Out Treadmill Reviews2.4) See Your New Treadmill Upfront2.5) Understand the Warranties and Service Requests2.6) Financing Your Purchase2.7) Akfit’s Refund Policy 3) What to Keep in Mind Post Treadmill Purchase 3.1) Delivery and Installation3.2) Maintaining Your Treadmill 4) Reach Out to Akfit5 Factors to Consider Before Treadmill ShoppingBefore you decide to go treadmill shopping, there are a few key details you need to know and consider before you start browsing. 1. Consider Your Workout SpaceThe very first thing you should do before investing in your treadmill is to determine where you are going to use your treadmill. Measure Your Workout SpaceTreadmills are big and heavy machines, the average size of a treadmill is approximately 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. You’ll want to measure your workout area to make sure you can incorporate a treadmill into your space. Folding treadmills are a common choice for those who have a lack of space for their treadmill. While you will still require the floor space to utilize your treadmill, but a treadmill that folds vertically will help create more free space in your home gym area to engage in other activities while your treadmill is not in use. Consider the Floor in Your Workout AreaIf your desired home gym space has a hardwood or concrete floor, you’ll want to invest in a treadmill mat or rubber gym flooring for your equipment. Given that running on a treadmill is considered a high-impact workout, your floor will need to absorb some of the shock value from your treadmill.A floor that lacks any give or spring can actually become damaging to your workout equipment and your treadmill depending on the type of floor in your workout space. If your home gym is on a higher floor of your home, you may want to invest in the appropriate mat for your machine to create less noise. For more information on home gym flooring, check out our article about Gym Flooring Options. 2. Your Intentions With Your TreadmillSo you’ve determined where you want to place your treadmill, you’ve done the appropriate measurements, you found somewhere to store your treadmill, and you’ve determined your floor can handle your machine. But before you go treadmill shopping you need to consider what you intend on using your treadmill for. Are You a Runner or Walker?If you are intending to walk on your treadmill rather than using it to run, there may be a few more options available to you when you are looking to purchase your treadmill. An ideal treadmill for runners will feature a belt length of 60 inches and a width of 18-22 inches. If you are a runner who is shorter than 6 feet tall, you may be able to get away with a belt that has a length of 55 inches. Any treadmill that has a belt with a width that is less than 22 inches doesn’t provide a lot of room for error for those looking to run on their machine, especially those with larger strides. In contrast, if you’re intending to use your treadmill for walking, then a machine with a short belt (50 inches long and 20 inches wide), can potentially work for you. The treadmill motor is also an important part of the machine to consider. Simply put, the more use and strain that is put on your treadmill, the stronger your treadmill motor will need to be. Walkers will most likely be able to save more money on their treadmill, while runners (especially tall runners), should expect to have to open up their wallet a little bit more. 3. Determine Your BudgetAs previously mentioned, if you intend to use your treadmill for running and if you also intend on using it regularly, you should expect to have to pay more for a treadmill that can withstand a more vigorous workout. What Affects the Cost of a Treadmill?Generally speaking, you can find a used second-hand treadmill for under $100, or you can spend up to $7,000 on a brand new heavy-duty treadmill. Ultimately, treadmill price is determined by a variety of factors including:Materials and constructionThe motor in the treadmillFeatures the machine offersBrand new vs usedDon’t forget that what you might spend overall, might not just be limited to the treadmill alone. There are a few other factors that can increase the overall price in your investment such as:Accessories for your treadmillFlooring for your treadmillVirtual training software membershipsMaintenance plansDelivery, shipping, and assembly feesPotential console customization How Much Should You Spend on a Treadmill?While a $100 treadmill may be enticing, an extremely budget-friendly and second-hand machine from a disreputable brand could present safety issues, a lack of features, and extreme wear and tear that will need constant maintenance. Ultimately you should expect your treadmill to be priced accordingly: Budget: Below $1,000Medium-quality: $1,000 - $2,000High-quality: $2,000+If your plan to purchase a budget treadmill, we urge you to proceed with caution before purchasing. These treadmills tend to offer smaller treadmill belts, a lack of features, a shorter warranty, and should mostly be used for walking. Further, treadmills within this budget are not made to withstand frequent use over a long period of time. If you’re lucky, you may find a bargain for a little above $1,000 during a sale. This might be ideal if you're using your treadmill for jogging only. Medium-quality treadmills are fairly popular treadmills and sometimes you can find a higher quality treadmill within this price range if there is a sale. These medium quality treadmills usually have more features such as touch screen consoles, heart-rate monitors, and enhanced workout options. These machines are great for joggers or serious walkers. Finally, high-quality treadmills are mostly built for runners, but can still range slightly in belt size and features. The majority of these machines will have a larger library of workout programs, unique features, a variety of speed & incline levels, and can offer commercial warranties. Most of all, they are built to last.If you are a runner who is looking to get longevity out of your treadmill, or if you enjoy the high-end electronic features or virtual training software, you should expect to spend over $2,000.For more in-depth cost information, take a look at the article How Much Does a Treadmill Cost? 4. Which Features Matter Most to You?Before you decide to start searching for your treadmill that aligns with your budget, your goals, your needs, and what fits within your home gym environment, you also need to consider the features that matter to you most. The majority of treadmills built for the home offer a variety of different workout programs, some are compatible with virtual training software, and offer a wide range of incline levels. It’s important to identify the features that will provide you comfort and help you reach your fitness goals. Some of the most common features that treadmill shoppers look for include: FoldabilityThis goes hand-in-hand with determining the space of your workout area. However, if you have determined that you have limited space in your home gym, and intend on storing your treadmill away in a corner or against a wall, a folding treadmill is probably a good option for you. Many foldable treadmills also feature wheels so you can easily transport your machine. At Akfit, we house a large inventory of folding options. If foldability is the necessity for you, check out our top 5 folding treadmills. Virtual Training SoftwareFound on many high-end cardio machines, virtual training software is usually included with the use of a video console. These consoles are compatible with a range of workout programs, membership apps that feature unique programs and classes, and in some equipment, consoles can stream third-party apps.However, virtual fitness training software is not just confined to software found on fitness consoles. Many fitness and progress tracking apps are compatible with personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. In this case, you may want to consider a treadmill that features a tablet or personal device holder/tray. Luckily, there are many different forms of virtual training software that are compatible with treadmills we sell at Akfit. Some examples of virtual training software on Akfit treadmills can include: iFit: iFit is compatible with our Matrix and NordicTrack cardio machines, but can also be accessed through the use of a personal device.iFit provides the user with a library of over 1,000 of online exercise programs and workouts with the purchase of a monthly or yearly membership.These programs can range from google maps virtual training, workout sessions with an online personal trainer, or training programs to help you prepare for an event or competition.iFit also provides it’s members with nutrition advice, sleep habit advice, leaderboards for your workout, and will even automatically adjust the incline and speed on your treadmill if it’s compatible. Zwift: The Zwift fitness app is another common choice among those who seek virtual training software with their cardio machines. Just like iFit, users can access Zwift’s workouts and features for a monthly subscription. Zwift’s premiere attraction is their online workout sessions that bring video games to life. While running on your treadmill, you can race others from around the world in interactive races bringing the international running community together.It is recommended that if you want to take advantage of these workout sessions, that you should purchase a treadmill belt with a length of at least 60 inches and a width of 22 inches. Among Zwift’s interactive racing programs, users can also access over 1,000 structured workout sessions which include a library of training plans, some of which can also include online group sessions. Bluetooth ConnectivityIf you aren’t interested in purchasing a membership to an online virtual training program, you may feel more comfortable streaming whatever motivates you from your personal device. Some treadmills that we offer at Akfit feature bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth connectivity can allow you to connect to your personal device to track your workout data with whichever app may be compatible with your treadmill. Many treadmills also feature bluetooth compatible speakers, so while you are placing your personal device into its holder, you can enhance your audio experience with the use of the speakers on your treadmill. Third-Party StreamingAdditionally, some treadmills we sell at Akfit also offer third-party streaming. For example, our Matrix treadmills offer the ability to stream select third party apps depending on the console of your choice. Available with the XER, XIR, and XUR consoles, users have the ability to stream third-party content or access a library of apps (apps vary per console) that allow you to work out whichever is most comfortable to you.Whether you want to access a training video or program on YouTube, or just simply turn on a movie or music, you will have the ability to do so with the following consoles. Treadmill Consoles The console is one of the most polarizing features of a treadmill. The console is used to either track your workout data or provide you with a variety of workout programs and entertainment options. Workout data that your console can track may include:SpeedInclineHeart rateDistanceElevationCaloriesTimeAnd moreThe console equipped with your treadmill will vary depending on the treadmill you choose to invest in. Consoles come in different sizes and all track different types of workout data. Some consoles are HD touchscreens and others can be small backlit LCD consoles. Other Electronic FeaturesBluetooth connectivity, speakers, and consoles that track your workout data aren’t the only possible electronic features that you may find on your treadmill. Some of these other features could include:A fan to help keep you cool during your workout.Mp3 audio jacks for your headphones can also be found among select treadmills if bluetooth connectivity isn’t an option or for you. Additional buttons on the handlebars for you to adjust the speed and incline levels more easily. Incline levelsFinally, while some treadmills don’t offer incline levels, the majority of them do. This is why purchasing a used cheap treadmill may not be a good idea if you ever decide to regularly make good use of this feature. In fact, walking on a treadmill on an incline could provide some of these benefits:A workout easier on your joints.Calorie burn equivalent to running (depending on your incline and average running speed).Inclines can support better muscle definition.While most treadmills often support incline levels up to 15%, there are a few treadmills, such as incline trainer treadmills, that can offer incline levels up to 40%. 5. Consider Any Accessories You RequireIn conjunction with your workout environment and what you intend to use your treadmill for, there are accessories you may want to pair with your treadmill before you attempt to identify the treadmill that is right for you. Treadmill Mats As previously mentioned, if your floor isn’t ideal for your workout space, then you should seriously consider investing in a treadmill mat.Treadmill mats can help improve the durability of your floor and your treadmill. These mats will also minimize any voice generated from vibration by the treadmill and will cause less dust build up around the frame of your treadmill. Check out our selection of equipment mats here. Strength Training EquipmentWhile strength training equipment may not be the first thing that comes to mind for many when they are treadmill shopping, many fitness apps that are compatible with treadmills incorporate strength training activities. Some treadmills even feature dumbbell holders. If you are someone who is actively planning in pairing strength training exercises with their cardio workouts, looking into our selection of dumbbells and kettlebells may not be a bad idea. With dumbbells and kettlebells in the mix, you will also want to consider How to Store your Free Weights in order to keep your workout space organized. 7 Considerations While Treadmill ShoppingNow that we have covered several factors to consider before you go treadmill shopping, now it is time to take a look at our library of treadmills and decide which one is right for you. As we dive into Akfit’s treadmill selection, keep in mind that much of the information in this section can be applied to other fitness retailer’s treadmill selection as well. 1. Understand Your Treadmill MotorThe treadmill motor is the central part found in an electric treadmill and it does the majority of the mechanical work. It is responsible for the rotation of the belt while taking on the wear and tear of high-impact contact from users. If the motor is weak or worn down, the belt won’t move.The motor is most commonly found inside the front end of the treadmill near the edge of the belt and directly underneath the console. The most important element to understand about your treadmill motor as a retail customer is the horsepower (HP). A general rule of thumb to follow when it comes to horsepower is as follows: Walking: 2.0 HP or higherJogging: 2.5 HP or higherRunning: 3.0 HP or higherHowever, not all horsepower is measured the same! Treadmill motors are either measured in continuous horsepower or peak-duty horsepower. It is important that if you are following this rule, you invest in a treadmill where the motor is measured in continuous horsepower. If you are the owner of a commercial facility, you should also be aware of the two different types of motors that are found in treadmills. These motors are: Direct Current Driven Motors: Referred to as DC motors, they are most commonly found in treadmills built for home use. These motors convert direct electrical energy into mechanical energy.DC motors tend to start slower than alternative current Motors (also known as AC motors) but provide a consistent response to speed and incline adjustments. They are also built with fewer internal parts than AC motors, which could save you some coin if your motor is in need of replacement.DC motors also tend to run quieter compared to AC motors Alternative Current Motors: AC motors are electrical motors that produce mechanical energy by using alternative current combined with magnetism.These types of motors are more commonly found in commercial treadmills and will generally start your walking belt up at a quicker speed compared to DC motors. While they start off stronger, a treadmill with an AC motor is still safe for you to plug directly into an outlet at home. For even more detailed information, check out our article about Treadmill Motors: Everything You Need to Know. 2. Know Your TreadmillAfter you have considered what you intend to use your treadmill for, it’s time to now understand the size, features, benefits, and capacity that your treadmill offers. Key considerations you will want to look for should include: Treadmill size and weightMax user weightBelt lengthTreadmill motor (see section above)Console and other featuresTreadmill belt durabilityWorkout programsTrack cushioningSpeed and incline levelsExtra features that you have determined you want (ie: bluetooth, speakers, audio jacks, etc)Much of these features mentioned above, are determined by the brand or manufacturer. With this, it is extremely important to do some brand research prior to making a final purchase decision.At Akfit we sell a variety of treadmills from reputable brands such as:AssaultHorizonMatrixNordicTrackSoleSpiritVisionSpirit and Matrix are examples of two very popular treadmill brands, both offered at Akfit. If you are choosing between these two brands, you may find helpful information in the article Spirit vs. Matrix: A Comparison of Treadmill Brands. 3. Check Out Treadmill ReviewsIf a specific treadmill has caught your attention, it may not be a bad idea to check out reviews based on that specific product. Reading user reviews will provide you with a sense of customer satisfaction.Further, many fitness blogs, including Akfit’s learning centre, offer in-depth reviews on specific treadmill products and brands to help you narrow down treadmill investment decisions. 4. See Your New Treadmill UpfrontSometimes reading a review may not satisfy you on your journey to understanding a specific treadmill before purchasing, and maybe you’ll want to see the product up close to gain a better look. In many situations, you may even have an opportunity to give your potential new treadmill a test run so you can enjoy an up close experience with your potential new machine. This will give you a more personal understanding of the equipment.You can visit us at our showroom in-person to check out our treadmill inventory. Our fitness experts will help walk you through unique benefits of each treadmill we sell. 5. Financing Your Gym EquipmentIf the overall cost of your purchase feels a little too high for a one-time purchase, you can look to our alternative financing options for help. At Akfit, we are partnered with two different financial providers that will make that one-time upfront payment a little less intimidating. These two financial providers are: Paybright: Paybright is a Canadian financial institution that has partnerships with companies that specialize in a variety of different industries such as fitness equipment, sporting goods, electronics, home and hardware, furniture, and more. Through the use of Paybright, you can choose between an equal monthly payment plan that can range from 3-60 months, or you choose a “four bi-weekly payment plan” for purchases under $1000 Fairstone: Similar to Paybright, Fairstone is another reputable Canadian financial institution that has partnerships with companies that specialize in a variety of industries. Customers can finance their purchase through the use of a Fairstone loan, this option is only available in-store. However, before visiting our showroom, customers are required to apply for a fairstone loan. Once approved for a loan, our fitness professionals will provide the four loan repayment options that are available while making a purchase through Akfit. Each repayment option involves different timelines required to payback the loan, interest rates, and upfront payments. Check out our article for more in-depth information on our alternative financing options. 6. Understand the Warranties and Services OfferedIf you are purchasing an older second-hand treadmill, the chances of the product still being covered under the manufacturer’s warranties are more slim in comparison to purchasing a brand new treadmill.Given that a treadmill is typically a significant investment, you want to ensure that there is a warranty included to protect your purchase over time. All of the treadmills we sell at Akfit have manufacturer’s warranties. These warranties may include coverage on:FramePartsConsoleLabor MotorOther electronicsThe length of time for these warranty coverages all vary depending on the treadmill you decide to purchase. The warranty agreement is ultimately dependent on the manufacturer. When your equipment breaks down, most fitness retailers or manufacturers offer service on their equipment. At akfit, you can submit a service request to repair or replace parts of your equipment. When our qualified and insured service technicians provide service on your gym equipment, we follow the manufacturer’s warranties. This is because Akfit is recognized as the official fitness service centre for northern Ontario.If you contact your manufacturer, they will most likely direct you our way if you live within the region. Further, at Akfit a request that is not covered under the manufacturer's warranty will require a charge of $95 an hour. To learn more about service requests click here. 7. Refund PolicyFinally, before you make a purchase online with any retailer, whether through Akfit or another company, it is always a good idea to check out the refund policy. Any returns or exchanges through Akfit must be accompanied by the original receipt or qualifying proof of purchase. Products that are not assembled by our installation technicians and are found to be not working on arrival will be repaired under the manufacturer's warranty. A unit will be replaced only if the same defective component has been unsuccessfully replaced or repaired by a service technician after 3 attempts within the first 30 days.For more information check out Akfit’s refund policy. After Treadmill Shopping: Post-Purchase ConsiderationsOnce you have decided to purchase your ideal treadmill, the job isn’t quite done yet. You still need to know about delivery services, how to install it, how to properly maintain your equipment, and what to do if any problems arise. Delivery and Installation ServicesTreadmills are heavy and complex pieces of equipment. With this, it is likely that you will have your new equipment professionally delivered and installed, or at least it is recommended.At Akift, we offer delivery and installation services through submitting a delivery form. This form will ask you a variety of questions such as:Your nameContact informationDelivery destination and directionsDesired delivery date, and backup dateDelivery methodType of residencePrimary and secondary delivery pointsDelivery entranceFlights of stairsDimensions of smallest doorway and hallwayCan the delivery truck fit in your drivewayAny additional restrictions or barriers All of these factors can impact the cost of your product delivery. Other factors that can impact the cost may include:Distance traveledProduct weightDimensional weightNumber of packagesHandling feesInstallation Our service technicians will also offer to install your equipment for you as well. For a cost breakdown, you can expect to spend the following amounts depending on the equipment being installed: Bronze Installation: Racks, bikes, rowers - $125Silver Installation: Treadmills, ellipticals, stiders/steppers - $225Gold Installation: Ascent trainers, basic functional trainers, plate loaded strength - $325Platinum Installation: Smith/functional trainers, large home gyms - $399 Maintaining Your TreadmillSo, you have your brand new treadmill installed in your home or commercial gym setup. All the work must be over now, right? Nope! Performing preventative maintenance to your treadmill is essential to increase the longevity to your treadmill’s lifespan. In fact, most treadmills break down due to lack of maintenance and neglect. It is important to come up with a preventative maintenance plan for your treadmill, especially if you run a commercial gym.One of the most important takes to keep up with is lubricating your treadmill belt. This should be performed once every month or every 150 miles to prevent damage to the belt and the motor. Check out our guide for a step-by-step process on how to properly and safely lubricate your treadmill belt. At Akfit, we sell a variety of maintenance products that can be used for taking care of your treadmill. We also sell preventative maintenance plans that are performed by our fully trained and insured service technicians. If you are considering our preventative maintenance plans, you can be ensured that our plans are designed to:Reduce the number of “Out of Order” signs on your equipmentProvide members with optimum experienceMaximize the life expectancy of your equipmentImprove the performance of your equipmentReduce the cost of emergency repairsIncrease equipment safetyProvide complete maintenance records to assist you if a liability issue arisesProvide a database to identify the performance and reliability of your equipment for consideration in future purchasesFor more information on maintenance and servicing your equipment, check out our article on Akfit’s servicing options here.At Akfit, we also sell a variety of cleaning and maintenance tools for your fitness products to increase the longevity of your equipment. What to Do If Problems Arise in your TreadmillEven if you choose the perfect treadmill, it is not uncommon for certain problems to arise with repetitive use of the machine.Somecommon problems you can encounter with your treadmill can include: Slipping walking beltBurning smellFriction between the belt and deckElectrical issuesInconsistent speedsWhen problems arise in your treadmill, make sure to always refer to your owner’s manual on how to address the problem. For more information on fixing treadmill problems, check out our other informative guides: 7 Steps on How to Lubricate Your Treadmill.Treadmill Motors: Everything You Need to Know. Reach Out to AkfitWe hope that our in-depth treadmill buyer’s guide has helped you consider some key factors before, during, and after purchasing your new treadmill. However, if you still aren’t quite sure which treadmill to choose, or if even a treadmill is the right equipment for you compared to other cardio machines, we are here to help. First, check out the following articles to begin your search: Top 5 Selling Treadmills at AkfitTop 5 Folding Treadmills at AkfitTop 5 Selling Cardio Equipment at AkfitSince 1989, Akfit has operated as a Canadian specialty fitness store located in Sudbury, Ontario. Being a specialty fitness store means we specialize in all things fitness related. From selling quality fitness equipment, to offering commercial gym services, our fitness professionals can answer any fitness related questions you may have. We highly encourage you to reach out to us with any of your fitness related concerns. You can visit us in-store, or if you prefer to distance yourself socially, you can book a virtual meeting. Whatever your fitness goals may be, we at Akfit are here to help you achieve them!