Generally, the more you spend on a treadmill, the sturdier the construction, the more powerful the motor, and the longer the warranty. You can pay $3,000 or more for a nonfolding treadmill that we rated excellent, or half that for a folding model. But even a much smaller investment can buy a decent machine that provides a good workout.
When you’re paying that kind of money for a treadmill, it’s reasonable to expect a machine that works properly. The disappointing news from our latest tests is that manufacturing quality is still spotty. Some models developed problems during our tests that affected their performance. One treadmill didn’t run at all when we got it. Even when repairs are covered under warranty, it’s a hassle.
Where to buy
You'll find budget and midpriced treadmills in Sears, The Sports Authority, Wal-Mart, and other discount and sporting-goods chains. Moderately priced brands such as Horizon Fitness, Schwinn, Trimline, and Vision Fitness, as well as pricier brands such as Landice, Life Fitness, Nautilus, Precor, and True, are sold in specialty sporting-goods stores. Every model is a little different, so you should try it out in the store. (The main disadvantage of buying a treadmill online is that you can’t try before you buy.) Before leaving for the store, consult this treadmill guide.
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