Buying a treadmill isn’t easy because you can easily get bogged down in all the hype, gadgets, bells, whistles and technology.
However, none of the extras matter anything if the fundamentals don’t deliver.
What are the 4 most important treadmill parts?
The 4 most important parts are:
- The frame
- The rollers
- The tread belt
- The tread deck
The frame is critically important because it dictates the strength, stability, performance (in part) and durability (in part) of the treadmill.
If you buy a treadmill online, it’s not easy to assess its quality. This is why it’s a good idea to visit a physical store and try out different models to find out which ones provide a sturdy and stable workout and which ones don’t.
Generally, the frame is made of welded steel. This still doesn’t guarantee it’s a good machine. Check what other users have to say and if the consistent feedback is “strong”, “sturdy”, “smooth”, and “durable” it’s more likely than not a solid machine.
The rollers dictate the smoothness of the tread belt. Small, weak rollers will affect performance and result in a more rickety workout experience. Larger rollers (2 to 3 inches) provide a much more solid tread belt movement in conjunction with your foot strike.
The Tread Belt
The belt doesn’t seem like that important of a component, but it is. Weak, think and poorly made belts will skew, move and shred far before they should. It’s more of a hassle issue than anything else.
A well-made belt is one that is 2-ply using durable material that is neither too hard or too soft.
Again the problem is assessing the tread belt looking at online photographs. It’s not so easy to do. Therefore, go to a physical store and feel the different belts to get an idea about the different types. Then read what other users have to say. If a particular model’s belt needs to be replaced early after purchase, skip that model.
In addition to the tread belt, the deck (the platform under the belt on which you run/walk) is another item you’ll likely have to replace at some time during the lifetime of your treadmill. This is typical.
Most treadmill decks are constructed using medium density fibreboard. This is typical. However, some brands improve the deck’s strength with the coatings they apply.
If you find a treadmill merchant offering a lifetime warranty on its deck, that’s a good sign (most don’t).
The second best indicator of a decent treadmill deck is that it’s reversible. This means you’ll get fair more use out of it than if it’s not reversible (again, the lifetime deck warranty is the best).
What about the motor? Isn’t it important?
Yes, the motor is important, but seldom are there complaints about the strength or performance of the motor. Most complaints are targeted toward sturdiness, stability and durability all of which are dictated by the 4 above-mentioned parts.