Tips for buying a treadmill

This is my treadmill.  The Pacemaster Premiere EXT.  As you can see, it’s not in use right now.  Doesn’t see much action in the Spring to Fall months.  The original box we got it in covers the running surface so our cats don’t sleep on it.



It weighs a gazillion pounds.  Ok, it’s really just over 200, but it seems like a gazillion.  I call it UGGH, because that’s the sound my spouse made when getting it down to our unfinished basement!

We took our time before buying a treadmill.  It’s a big investment, but since we don’t have gym memberships and we both loathe running in the snow, it was our personal preference to buy.  The more we researched brands, the more info we’d have to consider.  Here are some of the things we thought about prior to our purchase.

  1. Our budget.  How much did we want to spend?
  2. How often and for how long would we be using it?
  3. How much did we weigh?
  4. Did we care about other unnecessary components?  I.e. television or fan
  5. Did we want a full unit or a fold up unit?
  6. Did we care about programs?  What about incline?

Then we started reading reviews.  I like reviews.  I’ll go to several sites to read them.  If one reads enough of them, they generally can get a good overall opinion of a particular piece of merchandise.  However, I also recognize that sometimes I need to read between the lines.  For example, if a person likes a treadmill but gave it a bad rating because they didn’t like where the ‘stop’ button was, well then, I would have to consider the importance of the reviewers preference over my own needs.  Generally speaking, when I read a review I’m looking for a few things like the following:

  1. Has the reviewer had any mechanical issues?
  2. If a reviewer has had mechanical issues, did the company handle them satisfactorily?
  3. Is there information from the reviewer indicating how they treat their treadmill in terms of maintenance or how long they’ve owned the treadmill?
  4. How often does the reviewer use it and what kind of weekly mileage do they put on it?
  5. Is this reviewer biased against most brands of treadmills and only prefers one kind to the rest?  (Some reviewers, review more than one treadmill)
  6. Overall, were they happy with their purchase?

After we researched what people had to say about treadmills and compared the market place based on our own wants and needs, we narrowed down our search to a handful of brands we were interested in.  Then we started to research a bit more about the mechanics of the machine.  My spouse did more of this research as he’s the technical guy!

  1. The frame-Steel or Aluminum?
  2. What kind of rollers?
  3. Belt type? Size of belt?
  4. Running surface size?
  5. What were the power requirements?
  6. Motor type & horsepower?
  7. What is the warranty?

We went to a fitness store to try out some units.  We went back and forth on a few.  Then we left because we didn’t like the sales person.  We then went to another fitness store, and talked to another sales person who was extremely knowledgeable.  We asked a lot of questions, and he had been in the business a long time, so he definitely knew what he was talking about from a mechanical perspective.  We tried some more treadmills, comparing the ride for each and listened to the noise level of each one.  Then we bought one!  I have to admit, I was nervous.  I think I mentioned, It’s a BIG purchase!

There are other things you might consider before making your purchase.  Everyone has different needs.  I think the most important lesson I did take from this experience, is that one really must be realistic with their treadmill choice.  Many cheaper treadmills can’t endure the impact that some serious runners would put on it.  Therefore, if you are a serious runner, and don’t want to spend more than  $1,000, you’d probably be better off using a commercial gym treadmill, going outside or perhaps considering a second hand unit.   You really get what you pay for in many cases.

We like our treadmill very much.  When we got it, it was at a sale price too-bonus!  Recently, I went on some sites to do some research and I was reading there was some trouble with the Pacemaster brand this past year.  This was after we bought our purchase.  I cross my fingers, our UGGH keeps us going strong through the winter months and far off into the future.  So far so good since we’ve brought it home.

Do you have a treadmill?  What kind do you have and do you think it was worth the price?


7 thoughts on “Tips for buying a treadmill

  1. I love the name of your treadmill. I think you could call it UGGH for a few reasons. Love how you have to cover it up so your cats don’t lay on it. We would have to do the same if we had one. I enjoy running outside and living in Victoria, BC I can do that pretty much year around. If not I go to the gym. I prefer to run outside though in the morning, usually when it is darker outside so I don’t have to see the road in front of me and how far the distance is. I hope the snow stays away for some time so you can continue to run outside.

    • Ah yes, my cats. We negotiated. They can have my sofa, but they have to lay off the treadmill. They agreed. 😉

      No doubt about it. I definitely enjoy the outdoors much more than my treadmill. While it’s a great substitute, nothing beats getting outside and being inspired by nature. I love my park runs.

  2. Just got a treadmill. I mostly used the reviews at TreadmillDoctor. I am not really a treadmill runner; I much prefer going outside. However, I needed it for speed work. My weekday workouts are in the morning between 4 & 5 am and speedwork on my dark country roads is just not safe. So I went with a NordicTrack Commercial unit with instant speed/incline buttons (necessary for speed work) and the option of downloading routes via google maps to the machine. I like it a lot for those purposes but I’ll be taking my longer runs outside, even in the snowy winter months. I did buy one on closeout and used a treadmill doctor discount to lower the cost. I wanted a good unit that would last for the family but I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on it since the majority of my miles are outdoors. It was good compromise for me. There are so many options, you really have to know what you want.

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