What is your budget? Set a budget. This will tell you how much treadmill you can purchase.
Where is it going to go? Measure the area where it will be placed for use. When not in use, do you need a folding version or will a flat deck fit? Do not find out it doesn’t fit, when you bring it home.
How often will you use it and what for? Will it be used few minutes for general exercise, or hours training for a marathon? The amount and type of use may depend on if a basic or higher end commercial model is best for you.
What features do you want? Incline? iPod doc? Built in fan? Some treadmills have programs where you can run simulated actual routes. Example: the Boston Marathon, complete with heartbreak hill.
How much maintenance are you willing to do yourself and/or pay for? Deck lube, belt maintenance, etc.
Other points worth considering:
Direct Current (DC) motors are quieter- if close to living spaces, noise may be a factor.
Buy the warranty. Ask anyone in treadmill sales, warranties do not generate income, they typically generate a loss. It is worth it.
The motor should be a minimum 1.5 horsepower. Typical range is 1.5-2.5hp. Look for a “continuous-duty” motor rating. This rates the horse power literally, for continuous duty over a 24 hour period. Be wary of other descriptions like “treadmill-duty”.
Try it out wearing the clothes and shoes you would wear while on a treadmill. Make sure the length fits your stride, handles are sturdy and far enough away not to interfere with your arms, and you can reach the display easily. Make sure motion is smooth, never jerky.
Write out a checklist with budget at the top followed by needs, then wants. Take the list with you shopping. You may have to cross off some wants to meet the needs, but in the end, you’ll have the best treadmill for you.
*this article can also be seen where originally published in Health Your Way Online Magazine: