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Treadmill Buying Guide for Beginners: 5 Things you Need to Know

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Whether you’ve already purchased a treadmill or you’re trying to learn more about your current treadmill, this beginner’s buying guide can help. We’ll be discussing the most important features and what they’re used for so that you can buy the right treadmill or use yours more effectively during your workout.

Best Seller
JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill, 2021 New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP Motor, 20 Incline Levels,0.3km/h to 18km/h, 20 Programmes, Bluetooth & Speakers, 2-Year Parts&Labor,5-Year Motor Cover
Our Pick
CITYSPORTS Treadmill 440W Motor, Electric Walking Machine Bluetooth Built-in Speakers, Adjustable Speed, LCD Screen & Calorie Counter, Ultra Thin and Silent, Intended for Home/Office
Best Budget
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill
JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill, 2021 New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP Motor, 20 Incline Levels,0.3km/h to 18km/h, 20 Programmes, Bluetooth & Speakers, 2-Year Parts&Labor,5-Year Motor Cover
CITYSPORTS Treadmill 440W Motor, Electric Walking Machine Bluetooth Built-in Speakers, Adjustable Speed, LCD Screen & Calorie Counter, Ultra Thin and Silent, Intended for Home/Office
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill
Best Seller
JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill, 2021 New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP Motor, 20 Incline Levels,0.3km/h to 18km/h, 20 Programmes, Bluetooth & Speakers, 2-Year Parts&Labor,5-Year Motor Cover
JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill, 2021 New Generation Digital Control 4.5HP Motor, 20 Incline Levels,0.3km/h to 18km/h, 20 Programmes, Bluetooth & Speakers, 2-Year Parts&Labor,5-Year Motor Cover
Our Pick
CITYSPORTS Treadmill 440W Motor, Electric Walking Machine Bluetooth Built-in Speakers, Adjustable Speed, LCD Screen & Calorie Counter, Ultra Thin and Silent, Intended for Home/Office
CITYSPORTS Treadmill 440W Motor, Electric Walking Machine Bluetooth Built-in Speakers, Adjustable Speed, LCD Screen & Calorie Counter, Ultra Thin and Silent, Intended for Home/Office
Best Budget
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill

1. Incline Levels

Incline levels are important if you want to burn excess calories and boost your endurance. These levels will move the front of the treadmill up and down so that the difficulty increases. This will further work your:

  • Calves
  • Quadriceps

The amount of incline will vary from one model to the next. The typical, maximum grade, of a treadmill, will be 15 percent.

As a comparison, outside terrain is said to have a normal grade of 6 excluding hills and rough terrain.

If you’re a treadmill buyer, you need to plan for increasing your incline during your workout for peak performance slowly. A general rule of thumb is to increase the incline every 1 – 2 minutes until you have reached your maximum. However, when running at a fast pace, you may need to adjust these levels accordingly.

2. Treadmill Maximum Speeds

How fast do you expect to run on your treadmill, what is the ideal speed for treadmill in km/h? Many runners will not be able to reach the maximum speed that a treadmill can reach as beginners. Some machines can reach 16 km/h or 10 mph. If you’re wondering, you’ll be running a very fast six minute mile at this rate. If you’re a beginner, you’ll likely not reach this speed.

When searching for a treadmill, you’ll want a maximum speed of at least 10 – 12 km/h. The higher end may be excessive for your needs, but it depends on your goals. A 12 kph treadmill will be good enough for an ambitious beginner. 

If you’re a runner that wants to improve their speed and stamina, you’ll want a machine that can accommodate 12+ km/h.

When trying to build up endurance and burn calories, it’s a wise choice to increase your running speed throughout the duration of your session. Many runners will:

  • Start at 6 km/h
  • Increase the speed to 6.5 km/h
  • Increase the speed to 7 km/h
  • Lower the speed to 5 km/h
  • Increase the speed to 7.5 km/h

What this does is forces your body to adapt and change to a vigorous workout. The treadmill speeds for beginners may change, but altering speed levels throughout your workout is always a great idea. You’ll want to maintain a speed for 1 – 2 minutes before adjusting as necessary.

3. On-board Monitors

On-board monitors are very useful tools. Not only do these monitors allow you to keep track of the time you’ve run, but they can also track:

  • Calories burned
  • Distance
  • Time
  • Pulse (sometimes)

Advanced systems will also have pre-programmed workouts that will increase your speed and incline throughout the course of your session automatically.

Note: Inexpensive treadmills will often lack an onboard monitor.

While not a necessity, monitors can help make your workout a little more enjoyable.

4. Safety Features

There is only one safety feature that is seen on treadmills. This is a safety clip that will attach to the runner and plugs into the machine. What happens is that if you are being outpaced by the treadmill, you’ll pull the clip out of the machine and it will shut itself off.

This is a feature that will only be necessary on non-manual treadmills.

Note: Since electronic treadmills are rather inexpensive, non-manual treadmills are quickly becoming obsolete.

5. Manual vs Motorised Treadmills

Electric treadmills are computerized, so they have the following features and drawbacks:

  • Heavy in weight
  • Larger in size
  • Easier speed and incline adjustment
  • Easier belt movement

Manual treadmills, however, are the complete opposite.

  • Lighter in weight
  • Smaller in size
  • Less components to break
  • No on-board monitor to track your workout
  • Belt is harder to move

If possible, I would personally choose an electric treadmill. While heavier and often larger in size than a manual treadmill, they offer on-board monitors, proper treadmill speed adjustments and oftentimes, incline adjustments.

If you’re buying a treadmill, you’ll also want to consider the following features:

  • Storage: Many foldable treadmills, allowing for easy storage options.
  • Wheels: Transport is much easier when treadmills have wheels available.
  • Warranty: Electric treadmill motors can break. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their motors.

Once you find the right treadmill and settings, you’ll be able to quickly build your stamina, lose weight and increase your fitness levels.

Now you know the key features. Check out our latest reviews to check the price and features of leading treadmill models and treadmill guides.

FAQs

What Is The Best Time to Buy a Treadmill?

A treadmill is an excellent investment in your health and home gym. However, it can be a significant hit for your pockets. So if you are considering buying a treadmill, it’s best to ensure you get the best price. And there is no other perfect time than the beginning of the year (January).

As the year begins, the majority of people usually have New Year’s resolutions. For example, cutting some weight or exercising more frequently is a common resolution. For this reason, most stores and brands reduce their prices to lure resolution-conscious customers. 

Also, June is an ideal time to buy a treadmill and exercise equipment in general. For starters, most retailers want to clear their inventory in June and therefore you might expect lower prices. Not to forget, due to rising temperatures in June, some people prefer running and exercising outside. 

More importantly, watch out for various seasonal discounts on websites and physical stores. Of course, the most prevalent is Christmas. Still, you can get superb offers for treadmills on Amazon Prime Day and Amazon Black Friday for sites like Amazon.

What is a 5 grade on a Treadmill?

It’s reasonable enough, especially for treadmill beginners, to confuse a percent grade for incline angle in degrees. Well, percent grade is simply a measure of the height distance for every percentage of horizontal distance. So, in this case, a 5 grade means that for every 100 meters you cover, you will gain 5 meters in elevation. 

How Do I Know Which Treadmill to Buy?

Other than our highlighted buying guide, there are still other considerations to cross your mind before buying a treadmill. For instance, how much room you can offer the machine in your home and the ideal location to place it. 

Also, what do you want to achieve from exercising with the treadmill? This particularly can help you decide on the motor power. As you can imagine, if you intend for vigorous physical activity, you have to get a treadmill with a high-powered motor. 

And lastly, your budget will be a critical factor in deciding the type of treadmill you want to buy. 

What Speed Should a Beginner Run On a Treadmill?

Treadmills are an excellent start point for people interested in running. You can keep your speed steady rather than running outside where it’s impractical to pace yourself, and it may cause fatigue, sore muscles, or even injuries. 

It’s best to start by walking for at least 3 minutes at 3mph(5km/h) and slowly building up momentum. Then, increase your pace up to 4.5mph(7.5km/h) for beginners until you are out of breath. Running can be quite a challenge, but it’s the most effective way to burn excess calories on the treadmill. 

Bestseller No. 1
Reebok ZR8 Treadmill
826 Reviews
Reebok ZR8 Treadmill
  • Powered by a 2.0HP motor, the ZR8 has a maximum speed of 16kph (10mph), which makes it ideal for...
  • To ensure you are kept motivated and challenged, the treadmill console can deliver up to 24 varied...
  • The console will help you keep track of how you are progressing by providing detailed feedback on...
Bestseller No. 2
ProForm Power 995i Series Foldable Treadmill – Compatible with iFit
24 Reviews
ProForm Power 995i Series Foldable Treadmill – Compatible with iFit
  • Powerful 3.0 CHP (continuous horsepower) motor, Digital Quick Speed Control: 1-22 km/h. 0-12 Digital...
  • Large 51 x 152 cm Treadbelt, ProShox cushioning, vertical space-saving folding system secured by a...
  • 30 prerecorded programs on a Round-Watts LED display, Integrated Tablet Holder
SaleBestseller No. 3
BTM W501 Electric Treadmill Folding │USB & Speakers │12KM/H │Motorized Running Jogging Walking Machine for Home Use │Digital Control │99% Pre-assembled │15 Pre-Programs │2 Years Guarantee
185 Reviews
BTM W501 Electric Treadmill Folding │USB & Speakers │12KM/H │Motorized Running Jogging Walking Machine for Home Use │Digital Control │99% Pre-assembled │15 Pre-Programs │2 Years Guarantee
  • 【Powerful 1.5 HP Motor】A smooth and quiet 1.5HP treadmill motor supports speeds ranging from 0.8...
  • 【Functional & Large Console with Speakers】The BTM W501 electric treadmill is equipped with clear...
  • 【Convinient Quick Buttons & Secure Workout】Use the console and handrail controls to instantly...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Evolve B1 Motorized Electric treadmill 3 level manual inclination & Foldable running machine with 12 programs - Bluetooth, speaker, USB Port, AUX - Fitness App for smart phone
194 Reviews
Evolve B1 Motorized Electric treadmill 3 level manual inclination & Foldable running machine with 12 programs - Bluetooth, speaker, USB Port, AUX - Fitness App for smart phone
  • Free 3 eBooks, Contact the seller to receive it.
  • Connects iPhone, iPad & Android
  • Log training activity indoor & Outdoor via Fitness App
Bestseller No. 5
Mobvoi Home Treadmill, Built-in Bluetooth Speaker, Remote Control, Walking and Running Machine for Home Fitness Exercise Indoor Black
93 Reviews
Mobvoi Home Treadmill, Built-in Bluetooth Speaker, Remote Control, Walking and Running Machine for Home Fitness Exercise Indoor Black
  • Walking and Running Mode: Two exercise modes and adjustable speed of up to 12km/h to meet your...
  • Remote and Touch Control: You can turn on/off the machine or adjust the speed by using the remote...
  • Foldable Design for Easy Storage: Save space by storing the machine under the bed or sofa

Last update on 2021-07-14 / Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

I'm Jamie and I test out new models in sports retailers, or buy and sell them new or second hand so I can review a wide range of models and put together the best advise on which treadmill is right for you. So if you are looking for a cheap treadmill for walking, a gym quality treadmill to run sprints, or something in-between I can point you in the right direction.