Treadmills & Running Machines Buying Guide


Why should I buy a treadmill?


The treadmill is a fantastic fitness tool that's becoming a fixture in an increasing number of homes. Treadmill running is continuing to gain popularity for numerous reasons:

• Running on a treadmill & walking on a steep incline both burn calories faster than most other types of exercise machines
• It’s an easy and intuitive piece of exercise equipment to use
• Kinder to joints than running on the pavement or roads
• Your training program won’t be disrupted by unreliable outdoor weather

So let's take an in-depth look at these running machines and see what you need to consider when looking to buy a treadmill.


I’m short of space, do you sell folding treadmills?


Yes, and this is a very common concern when shopping for treadmills, but there’s no reason to worry. The great majority of treadmills are actually folding treadmills, with a folding system that allows you to bring the running deck up towards the console. This means that once you’ve finished your session on the machine you can simply step off it and fold it away, reclaiming that all-important floor space. It also makes it easier to clean around the treadmill. Your treadmill’s user manual will show you how to fold your exact model, but a general guide is to unplug it and take out the safety key, then lift from under the deck, gently bringing the rear of the deck up to a more vertical position. A safety latch will engage and keep the deck in place until you lower it down for you next session. Once in the folded position it will also enable you to move the machine if you need, although we do advise designating a dedicated space for your running machine and leaving it there.

One exception are flat folding treadmills. These are designed for vertical storage against a wall or under a bed or sofa. The uprights and console fold down into the deck, making it completely flat with an even smaller footprint.


So how do I choose the right treadmill for me?


Start off by asking yourself a few questions. What will I use my treadmill for? And how often? What’s my budget? How much space do I have at home? Your answers will help narrow down your search.

If you want to walk or jog gently a couple of times a week then a model with a small or medium sized deck (see the deck size section below) and a lower top speed along with incline levels will suit.

If you plan to run regularly or want to train for events then you’ll need a larger machine with a standard or oversized deck, high max speed and generally a strong build.

Prices start around the £400 mark and go through the £700-£2000 range for full feature models, right up to £10k for the very top-of-the-range commercial treadmills.

Know where you plan to put the treadmill and how much space there is. Treadmills are heavy pieces of kit so we don't recommend you plan on moving them regularly. However, as mentioned above, most treadmills are folding treadmills with a deck that folds up towards the console to save floor space, and there are some that fold completely flat, making storing it much more practical and meaning you can move them more easily.


What Running Deck Size Do I Need?


It may seem like stating the patently obvious, but when choosing a treadmill, it’s important to pay great attention to the running deck size of the treadmill. They fall into the following categories:

• Extra Small – any treadmill with a deck width of under 40cm or a length of less than 120cm falls into this category. As a rule of thumb, treadmills with deck sizes this small are only suitable for indoor walking and jogging on them may not be safe. It should be noted that quite a number of treadmills being sold in the UK market (not by us!) with extra small deck sizes do not actually meet the European safety requirements and should be avoided at all costs.

• Small – deck width of 40cm (15.75”) and a length of 120cm (47”). This treadmill deck size is suitable for fast walking or jogging by users of any height. Shorter users (up to 155cm / 5ft 1in) should be able to run relatively comfortably.

• Medium – Typically 45cm wide and between 125cm and 130cm in length.

• Standard – The most popular running deck size for runners typically measuring 50cm in width and 140cm in length. This size of running belt is suitable for pretty much runners of any height to be able to go right up to sprinting speeds comfortably.

• Oversized  - Some running decks have a length of up to 160cm and there are now extra wide models also available that are as much as 56cm in width. The additional size on a running belt is a nice luxury for those with the space and budget for a treadmill with an oversized deck, as it enables all users to run as fast as they like without having to worry about their position on the running deck.


What else should I be looking for?


• Motor - the motor speeds the running belt and powers the incline. Most treadmills will have a continuous horsepower (CHP) output of between 2 and 4 CHP which should cover most home needs. If you're planning to use the treadmill to run more than walk or jog you'll probably want more power rather than less.

• Speed Range – a 10mph (16kph) top speed will be fine for most walkers and joggers. Runners will want a higher speed, and higher spec machines can boast belt speeds of over 14mph (22.5kph).

• Incline – usually measured in % or levels, running or walking on an incline will burn calories faster, engage muscles more deeply and compensate for the lack of wind resistance compared to running outdoors.

• Workout Programs & Apps – these offer variety to help motivate and challenge you. Interval training, fat burning, time or distance targets, and heart rate control are some treadmill workout modes. New machines are often compatible with programs and apps such as iFit that pair with your tablet to give you a world of interactive training, more user profiles and personalised feedback, features such as running with Google Maps and much much more. Some manufacturers have their own apps and there are third party apps and programs that will work with compatible treadmills too.

• Cushioning – cushioning under the deck supports your strides and softens impacts, making treadmill running gentler on joints than road running.

• Heart Rate Monitoring – keep track of your heart rate with hand grips or wireless receiver and a chest belt. Working out in specific heart rate zones helps you optimise your training for better calorie burn, improved aerobic fitness and metabolism and many more health benefits. Some treadmills will offer heart rate control programs where the machine alters the speed and/or incline to keep you exercising in the selected heart rate range. Newer treadmills might now boast Bluetooth heart rate technology which uses a more reliable Bluetooth connection to send your data from the chest strap to the treadmill.

• Extra Features – audio jacks and music speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreen displays, built-in web browsers, fans and other such features are just some of the ‘bells and whistles’ that you can find on treadmills. Whilst they are nice to have, they are by no means essential. Do keep in mind that some manufacturers will not include too many extras and concentrate on build quality instead.


Why should I buy from


We’ve been selling treadmills for well over 10 years and are one of the top-3 largest distributors of treadmills in the UK market. During this time, we’ve gained an immense level of expertise in running machines. We’re actively involved with the product development cycles of numerous brands and have visited, provided feedback and liaised closely with the factories that manufacture treadmills for several brands that we stock. The scale of our operations brings a number of benefits for those that purchase treadmills from us:

• Pricing – our buying power means we buy at lower prices than most retailers and we pass these savings on to our customers.

• Delivery Experience – typically, running machines are heavy, bulky items. We’ve refined our delivery processes to ensure that all of our bulky treadmills are delivered by a trained 2-man delivery company. If the boxed weight of the machine is over 85kg and the delivery is to a non-ground floor locations, we are still able to deliver the treadmill by using a specialist network of fitness equipment installers in mainland UK. For a small additional fee, we also offer as assembly service for all of the treadmills in our range. You’ll find product-specific delivery info on each product’s page.

• After-sales – Whilst most retailers only stay involved until the delivery of the machine and leave customers at the mercy of the supplier brand if anything goes wrong, has a dedicated & trained warranty after sales team in place. In the event of the treadmill developing a fault, we are happy to be the first point of contact and hold the supplier brand to account to ensure that our customers are looked after properly.


What do I do next?


Scroll up this page and you can start browsing our range of top-quality home treadmills. The filters will help you concentrate on machines that fit your criteria – deck size, price, brand. And if you need any further help you can pick up the phone and one of our specialist advisors will be more than happy to answer any questions.

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