If you are in the market for a treadmill you are probably overwhelmed with all the choices and the various options. Buying a Treadmill can be confusing and frustrating. There are approximately 40 major treadmill manufacturers. Each has anywhere from 5 -30 models. And each model has numerous features.
Besides the myriad of treadmill options, you need to figure out what the heck all these names are for the features. Treadmill manufacturers tend to hype up their mundane features with fancy names. They attempt to imply some unique design that makes their treadmill special.
An example is Horizon treadmills. They use the following terms for features found in most other treadmills: Rapid Response Drive System; Comfort Zone Cushioning System; Safe Zone Lift System; Smart Board Console.
In addition to comparing the various models you have to interpret this marketing lingo. (See our Treadmill Buyers Guide for explanations of various features.)
There is one feature that cuts through the hype and really reflects the quality of the machine. It is the warranty. It can’t be masked with fancy trademark name. A warranty is what it is. A whimpy warranty suggests a machine that is cheaply built and not design for sustained use. An extensive warranty generally reflects a machine that is durable and constructed for the “long run.”.
Companies compete to have the best warranties, because that is an important feature for selling treadmills. But they have to weigh the extent of the warranty against the potential cost of repairs. It is not profitable to have an extensive warranty on a machine that is likely to breakdown. A company would lose money if they must constantly repair the treadmill.
Here is a good example of two different warranties and what they imply. The Weslo Cadence 255DR Treadmill has a 90 day parts and service warranty. In comparison the Smooth 5.45 treadmill has a lifetime motor, lifetime frame, 3 year parts, and 1 year service warranty. You don’t need to be a mathematician to figure out which treadmill is better. It should be noted that the Smooth 5.45 only cost a few hundred dollars more, and all the other Smooth models have a lifetime parts warranty.
When you get a treadmill with a 90 day warranty, the company is more or less saying, “We didn’t build this machine to last and after 90 days good luck. ”
Of course, there are other considerations like: will you use the treadmill for walking or running; do you want heart rate control; and do you want folding or non-folding. But overall the warranty should be the single most important factor in your purchasing decision. The coverage reflects both the quality of the components and the durability of the treadmill. I always recommend you purchase a treadmill that has at least a 1 year service, 2 year parts and 5 year motor warranty.