Purchasing any exercise machine is a cost investment, and treadmills are no different. Since some of the best machines can set you back several hundred dollars it's important to consider all the aspects and make an informed choice.

Read on for the complete treadmill buying guide and to learn about the most important features to consider when making a purchase decision.

Your Budget

The first and probably the most important consideration is to decide how much you want to spend. Treadmill models range in price from as little as $ 299 to over $ 2000. But, it's also important to realize that when it comes to exercise machines for the home you get what you pay for. The cheaper models will not offer as many features or the quality of craftsmanship as the more expensive models.

But, you have to stick to a budget, and so determine what that is and then only look for models that fall within that range, otherwise you will tease yourself with those that are out of reach.

Consider the Size

The next important consideration is to measure the space in your home where you plan to keep the treadmill. For those that live in an apartment this is a most important concern.

Treadmills are offered in a wide range of sizes, both width and length, so make sure that you only shop models that can fit comfortably in your home where you want to keep it on a permanent basis.

Keep in mind that you can purchase more portable models that fold for easier storage, like the LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill, this might be a better fit for your home than buying a larger model that has to remain stationary at all times.

Consider Your Body Size

For those who are tall, over 6 feet it's best to get a robust machine that's belt will accommodate longer leg strides.

Also, consider the maximum weight limit as specified by each model to make sure the machine can accommodate your weight.

For those who weigh more than 220 pounds it's best to invest in a machine that comes with a stronger belt and a larger motor.

Motor

The most recommended motor for any machine you purchase is a 2.5 HP continuous duty motor. This type of motor deliveries power relative to its operating speed, because of this, a larger motor is less likely to overheat.

Another important consideration for the motor is to make sure the model comes with at least a 10 year warranty on the motor itself, this indicates its quality and the faith that the manufacturer has in it.

Incline Options

One of the greatest benefits of treadmills is their ability to simulate outdoor running and walking without the need to ever step outside.

Adjustable incline features is an important consideration because they can vary workouts, and they enable users to increase the difficulty levels of their workouts as their fitness levels grow, which, make the machine a much better investment as it can be used for years without the need of a replacement as you get more fit.

Also, a wide variety of degrees in incline settings allows more than one person in the family to use the machine as qualified for their fitness level.

The optimal incline max range to look for is at least 10 °. This range will enable you to have a wide range of programming options.

Speed ​​Options

There is a wide variety of speed options available on various models, with some higher end models offering as much as 15mph, although this is very fast and most average users can be satisfied with a maximum of 10 to 12 mph.

A more important spec to look at is the option to vary the speed with a variety of load conditions, which, can be adjusted by the slope. This provides a lot of variety to workouts and the added benefit of interval training.

The Belt

The belt is one of the most important features of the treadmill, and should be made of polyurethane and nylon-polyester weave.

Also consider its width and length, as these are important to sustain stride and speed increases. The least measures to consider are 20 “wide and at least 60” long.

Treadmills that have too short or too narrow belts will feel too restrictive for running and jogging.

You may be thinking that you only intend to walk, but, remember with regular exercise you are building endurance and your fitness levels will increase and at some point you just might find yourself running!

Frame

A sturdy frame will be made from steel or alloy. This is important to provide a sturdy workout base, and those made with steel are much more resilient and also cheaper than cheaper made models.

Display Console

Consoles are important because this is the main control station where you can view stats and tracking, set speds, inclines and much more.

Today's treadmills offer such a wide range of features on the digital console that it's important to check them and decide which you want, need and will use. Keep in mind, that these features make a difference in the price.

Make sure the treadmill offers a display that is easy to read, access and control before and during the workout.

Preprogrammed Workout Features

One of the best features of treadmills is the ability to pre-program fitness goals and the machine will load a specific workout for those goals, such as, target heart rate.

Also, some treadmill models will determine your optimal heart-rate by inputting your weight and age, it then adjusts to the proper incline so that you get a workout that reaches your target heart zone automatically.

Some of the more expensive machines offer nature imagery that provide a visually stunning display in-line with your workout, for example, beautiful hill scenery when you are running in an incline. They also offer different scenes so that you will not get bored with the same visuals.

More expensive models, like the NordicTrack Commercial 2450 have built in “real life places” and scenery that you follow on the console as you walk or run to eliminate boredom and make working out really fun.

Some even offer an attached HDTV so that you can watch your favorite shows, the morning news or anything you want while working out.

Tracking Features

Tracking features are plentiful, and range from model to model. Some important ones to consider are speed, distance, heart rate, calories and carbs burned.

Cushioning System For Runners

Those who intend to run on their treadmill should look into one that offers a cushioning system to reduce impact on joints and knees.

Best Treadmill Brands

Luckily, there is a lot of choice on the market in treadmill models and brands. So, you have much more of a chance of getting the right machine for the right price. Here is a list of the best and more reputable brands of treadmills:

ProForm

LifeSpan

Smooth Fitness

Horizon Fitness

NordicTrack

Bowflex

Schwinn

Sole

Nautilus

HealthRide

5 Top Rated Treadmills On Amazon

1. Horizon Fitness T101-04

2. LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Folding Treadmill

3. LifeSpan Fitness TR 1200i Folding Treadmill

4. Proform 505CST

5. Schwinn 860

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to shop for treadmills is to look at customer reviews, such as, the many that are available on Amazon.

This is a great way to ensure that you are getting a reliable machine, and many reviewers on Amazon write very detailed and comprehensive reviews.