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Best Inexpensive Electric Treadmills For Women and Men

Updated on March 6, 2014

Probably the first choice you will have to make when shopping for a new running machine is to choose between buying a new motorized treadmill or to opt for what is often called a manual treadmill which is powered by your own legs. The choice will depend on the amount of money you have budgeted for your new running machine and what you intend to use it for. The manual walking machine price is a cheaper than the price of a motorized running machine as you have the additional cost of a motor and additional electronics to factor in but they also have numerous other benefits which leads most experts to recommend paying a little more and getting an electric motor-driven treadmill for the best fitness results.

What To Look For When Buying An Electric Treadmill

Obviously the main thing which sets a one of these machines apart from manual versions is the motor itself and in many ways this is the single most important part of this type of fitness exercise machine.

The motor is the guts of the machine, the driving force behind the belt which determines the maximum top speed, whether heavier users can actually use the machine comfortably and the smooth and continuous good health of the machine. This is why manufacturers typically offer a separate warrantee for this particular component part.

Not all treadmill motors are created equally however, and it is wise to be sure you are informed of the differences and some of the somewhat misleading labeling practices some manufacturers and retail stores use when listing the specifications.

When looking at the motor rating you want to consider two things in particular to gauge whether your choice has the features you are looking for - the horsepower and the warrantee.

Typically, the higher the HP, the better the motorized treadmill but this is a very rough guide. Horsepower determines how the product can be used, for example, for a walking treadmill you can get away with a rating of 2 hp or less but for running or jogging, you probably want to consider 2.5hp or higher to guarantee its going to feel strong and secure. If you weigh a little more you might want to look at higher still so you are not putting too much strain on the motor which will eventually lead to a breakdown.

Motors are often quoted in terms of peak horsepower but this is NOT the number you want to look at. The important value is the continuous duty horsepower rating as this refers to the sustained amount of work the a motor can do as opposed to the peak horsepower rating which is the maximum amount it is able to achieve. If the specifications say it has a peak hp rating of 2.5hp it might mean it actually has a continuous duty rating of perhaps half that, so you always want to look at the continuous hp number.

Editor's Choice

Schwinn 840 Treadmill
Schwinn 840 Treadmill

*discounted* This features a 2.5 horsepower continuous duty motor backed by a 10 year warrantee giving a 10mph maximum speed, 10% incline and a maximum user weight of 300lbs. The cushioned running deck reduces impact to your joints and both grip and telemetric heart rate monitoring provides feedback throughout your work out. The Schwinn 840 has 16 built in workouts and has a fully folding frame to save space when not in use. More information provided on site.


More Motorized Treadmill Benefits

Something else which is very important with any running machine is the operating features and the extras which help focus a workout and keep thing interesting.

Motorized electric treadmills have belt speeds controlled by the motor itself. This speed is increased or decreased either by the user pushing a button or automatically through some of the preprogrammed fitness programs in the electronic treadmill console. This allows for precise control of the belt speed allowing you to tailor your exercise program accordingly, get feedback on how your fitness is improving and in addition, they force you to work past barriers rather than just slowing up as you tend to do on a manual running machine.

Those inbuilt fitness programs help negate one of the major things which stop people from working out - boredom. If all your mill does is move at a constant pace as you walk on the spot then you are going to find things getting very dull, very quickly. Powered treadmills, on the contrary, can simulate hills and valleys by automatically controlling incline through the console, vary speeds on the fly and generally make things more interesting meaning you will get much more enjoyment out of it. Some of those programs are designed by expert trainers specifically for certain things like fat loss or stamina building so your targets are easier to reach.

On a manual treadmill you get none of that, typically the console might monitor a few things like distance travelled, a rough estimate of calories burned and heart rate but little else. For adjusting speed you have to physically slow down or speed up to make the belt move faster or slower and for incline, in the majority of cases you need to actually get off the belt and manually adjust that too. These are some of the major drawbacks which make motorized treadmills much more appealing and trainer recommended.

Motor Powered Treadmill Accessories

One of the most important accessories for any home exercise machine but in particular treadmills with motors is to actually get some specially designed floor coverage to protect flooring from damage. You can buy thick treadmill mats to protect floors and help prolong the life of the machine by protecting it from damaging vibration caused by the motor itself which rattles upon into the mechanism and can shorten the life of components and weaken the frame.

You might also want to look at a treadmill book holder if your choice doesn't come with one or it is inadequate for your needs as some of the built on ones feel like a real afterthought. These keep things interesting and make working out less of a chore when you can read and pass the time more quickly.

Sore feet after all the pounding? How about some therapeutic heatable slippers to sooth away those aches and pains.


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