A treadmill is one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment. If you're purchasing a treadmill, you have many options to choose from. Nordictrack, Reebok and Horizon offer treadmills for at-home and commercial use. Before you buy, compare these three companies for treadmill options such as size, programs, speed, incline and maximum-weight amounts so you get the treadmill that fits your needs.
Calculate the amount you can afford to spend on a treadmill. Compare the prices of the Nordictrack, Reebok and Horizon treadmills knowing that a higher cost usually correlates to a higher-quality piece of equipment.
Learn which motors power the treadmills. According to the American Council on Exercise, treadmills with a 2.0 continuous-duty horsepower motor can easily accommodate those who weigh more than 180 pounds. Ask the companies about the treadmill belt and deck to learn of the deck's shock-absorption and the belt's thickness and loudness. Look for a higher shock-absorption if you have ankle, knee, hip or back discomfort. A quieter treadmill is nice for apartment or condo-living. Compare the maximum weight allowances on the treadmills for your safety.
Determine the incline and/or decline adjustments that you require and which companies offer these options. If you want to mimic hills to train indoors when you can't run outdoors, select a treadmill that has an incline option of up to 10 percent. Look for treadmills with greater inclines of up to 15 percent if you are an advanced exerciser. Some treadmills have declines to mimic downhill walking, so choose this option if walking down a slope is important to you.
Measure the amount of space you have available for a treadmill and look up the space requirements for the NordicTrack, Reebok and Horizon machines. Consider whether you want to store the treadmill in an upright position, as some machines fold up for closet storage.
Look at the different displays on the treadmills to determine which features you want, such as calories burned, heart rate, speed, distance, incline and internet access. A basic panel typically displays speed, distance and incline and will suffice if you are exercising for health benefits. It also costs less than the treadmill that has internet access or a heart rate monitor, which is more appropriate for someone who is training for a race and needs to track the heart rate response.
Distinguish your treadmill options according to the programmable features. Some treadmills offer pre-set programs, such as interval training, hills or speed variable workouts, which are convenient if you want to watch television and not think about adjusting the speed or intervals. You can do without the pre-set options if you don't mind manually adjusting the treadmill.
Compare the warranties on the three treadmill companies and look for an extended warranty. Check to see if the warranties cover parts and labor and if they cover the deck, belt, display and motor. Determine the length of the warranties compared with the frequency you'll use the machine. For example, if you use your treadmill on a daily basis, look for a longer warranty.
The American Council on Exercise recommends going to the store and trying the different types of treadmills so you learn the feel, size and program options of the machine before you make your purchase.