Top 10 Treadmill Buyer's Tips Online

We surveyed our 25 staff, some of whom have been working for us for over 8 years and have served literally thousands of treadmill customers, and asked them; 

“what are the top ten things customers ask for when buying a treadmill”?
 
We’ve tallied up the answers, and here they are – the top 10 treadmill buying tips for 2013 (as chosen by you, the Australian treadmill-buying public!);
 
10. Assembly: Do I need a degree in electrical engineering to put the treadmill together? In short, look for an “easy assemble” treadmill, where they literally tilt up out of the box, you clip a couple of bolts into place, and they work.
 
9.    Who will use it? It’s not just you, of course. You need to consider who might also use the treadmill – your kids, their friends, your mates, your uncle who visits once a month? It’s all very well buying the basic model if you only want to walk on it, but maybe it’s worth spending the extra $200 to get one that suits your footy-playing flatmate.
 
8.    Gimmicks: Sure, some of them are a bit “out there” (like the York gait-cam which shows you moving footage of your feet as you run), but at the end of the day, what do these treadmill gimmicks mean to you? Read through all the specs (and avoid websites that don’t give you many specs!), and consider how much weight you personally give to that 10-unit deck-cushioning system, or the rear child alert.
 
7.    Heart-Rate Control: My favourite (but apparently Joe Public’s #7 pick) is HRC – the ability of the treadmill to alter its speed and incline to keep your heart-rate in a pre-determined range. I love it because, let’s face it, we exercise mainly to keep our heart fit and healthy. To have the machine constantly monitor my heart-rate, and keep it in a range for me, means I can give all my focus to Oprah (no, not really!).
 
6.    Resale: “If I don’t end up using it, what do I do with it?”. We get this all the time, so the simple answer is “sell it in the classifieds” (While it’s easy for us to ship you a pre-packaged treadmill, it’s very hard to freight an assembled treadmill, so I’m discounting your ability to offload it on eBay to that guy at the other end of Australia!).
As long as you buy a treadmill with an Australian-based warranty and a house-hold brand name (like York Fitness or BodyWorx), this will ensure you have a market for it.
 
5.    Warranty: Firstly, find a long-life treadmill warranty (at least 5 years on the motor, since it’s the item which does all the hard work and is most likely to break first). Secondly, ensure the warranty is from someone who will actually be there in 5 years! I have to laugh at the auction site treadmill sellers who offer massive warranties, but what use will it be to you when they close up shop in 6 months?
 
4.    Delivery: These things are heavy (around 100kg)! Few people can throw a treadmill into the back of their hatch-back. Make sure it’s going to be delivered by a good credible freight company like Toll IPEC or TNT. And while some retailers offer to “deliver and install”, make no mistake, you’re paying for it in the price of the treadmill.
 
3.    Horse-Power: “Horse power” refers to the power of the motor in the treadmill. There’s probably a little too much emphasis on this in our industry, IMHO, but certainly you need to be sure to get enough grunt to match the biggest user.
 
2.    Price: Yes, of course, price is king. But remember, “you get what you pay for”. See our related article What’s in the Price of a Treadmill.
 
…and the number one attribute customers look for in a treadmill?
 
1.    Brand: There’s an amazing amount of trust placed in a brand. This is especially so on the internet, where many consumers are concerned about not buying from a real person, but surprisingly, this #1 attribute was voted by the customers who come into our bricks-and-mortar shops.

So stick to a big-brand like York, Healthstream, or BodyWorx. A bit like “Sony” or “Canon” – it’s the people behind the brand who stand behind your warranty, not just the retailer.
 
Oh, and beware suspicious sites - counterfiet products abound out there!
 

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