7 Tips for Treadmill Shopping


It’s been about 20 years since I bought my treadmill. I did a lot of research at the time, even though I was not yet running — not even close. I wanted to be able to walk more during the heat of a TX Summer (and not be eaten up by mosquitoes!).

If you’re shopping for a new treadmill like me this holiday season, here are a few tips on what to look for:

A motor with a CHP of 3
CHP stands for continuous-duty horsepower. The least that you can probably get away with (as a runner) is 2.5 CHP.

Belt Size
Look for around 55″ in length and 22″ in width, although I’ve always found I really don’t need a belt that long, being quite short. If you’re taller, you might want to see if you can find a longer belt around 60″.

Belt Thickness
Look for two or four ply for more durability and a quieter run.

Roller Diameter
Larger rollers put less stress on the motor and help extend belt life: look for about 2.5″.

What accessories do you have to have?
I personally didn’t need a lot of accessories, but many treadmills these days come with bluetooth, a holder for your tablet, sometimes a USB connection so you can charge your tablet/phone while running, and fans.

Many also come with some sort of app and built in screen. They’re often free for maybe a year, and then there’s a monthly fee. I use the Peloton App on my tablet, which quite frankly is way cheaper than paying for it on a Peloton bike or tread. Nordictrack has an app it comes with free at first, too, and then eventually it becomes a monthly charge.

Just figure out what are deal breakers for you!

Higher end treadmills often don’t include the shipping, so make sure you know how much extra that will be. In addition to shipping being extra — which I suppose is understandable because these things are heavy! — you generally either have to assemble it yourself or pay extra to have someone assemble it for you.

Delivery also doesn’t mean that they will actually bring the treadmill into your home, where ever you want it to live (or at all, really). Usually it means that they’ll get it as close to your homse as possible, and it’s up to you to get everything inside. Did I mention how heavy treadmills are?

In fact, I remember all those years ago that’s exactly what they wanted to do, just leave the treadmill on the driveway, basically. Somehow I managed to sweet talk them into bringing it into the house. Maybe it’s my diminutive stature. There’s occasionally perks to that.

A lifetime warranty of the frame and motor is great, but they should at least offer a 10 year warranty on these parts. Look for 5 years on electronics (that’s what had to be replaced on my treadmill — multiple times, but obviously mine is way out of warranty) and 2 years for parts and labor.

You may also like:

Final Thoughts
I know some runners would rather poke needles in their eyes than run on a treadmill, but there are plenty of runners that embrace the occasional treadmill run. It doesn’t make you any less a runner, no matter what people might want you to believe sometimes.

When I bought my first treadmill, I truly had no idea how important it would become for me. There have been multiple times in the last 6 months when I’ve missed having a functioning treadmill I could run on for more than one mile. Now that Winter is truly coming, having a treadmill will allow me to continue to get in my runs while staying safe — some days. I wish I lived in a place where it was always safe to run outside year round, but I don’t.

I still try to get the majority of runs in outside. I don’t judge you if you get all your runs in outside, nor do I judge you if you prefer to get all of your runs done on the treadmill. I hope that if you’re ever in the market for a treadmill, these tips will be handy for you.

What is the exercise equipment you absolutely must have?
Any other tips for the treadmill hunters out there?
What sort of weather prevents you from getting outside to run?


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


33 thoughts on “7 Tips for Treadmill Shopping

  1. These are great tips for treadmill buyers, Judy!
    I’m the poke-needles-in-the-eyes-type, but I understand that a treadmill can come in handy when you can’t leave the house, be it because of horrible weather, looking after small children or when it’s late at night.

    Exercise tools that I use daily are my mat, resistance bands and weights. I’m very simple that way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips! My first treadmill lasted for 22 years. Interestingly, my new treadmill (the same brand as the original) was the same price as my original. So odd, but it meets all the criteria you listed above. I didn’t want to spend a lot because like you, I mostly run outside. Free Shipping from Amazon for the win!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tips.

    I have an old one that I haven’t used in over 20 years. So how do I get rid of it? Lol

    Anyway, what I like about running is that you do not need any equipment. Before the pandemic there were many free gyms for the occasional treadmill run and hotels if you travel.

    Luckily I don’t run more than 4 days a week. So if it is raining I just run another day.

    I won’t run on ice but the roads get salted and so does UAlbany. I train for long races all winter. You do what you gotta do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are really great tips for treadmill shopping! We always take out the extended warranties with any fitness equipment that we purchase. It’s such an expensive purchase so it’s nice to have the extended warranty “just in case”!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We only bought ours like 4 years ago and I already forgot home much work it was to pick one out! We had ours delivered and put together for us. And we use iFit (we pay an annual fee but there is a discount each year around this time). I could live without it but my husband really likes following the workouts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t realize there were different lengths of belts, Being a tall gal, I have very long legs (and a long stride). I’ve never stubbed my toes on the ‘mill, but it is a valid fear (or apprehension?) I always have when I’m running on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great tips for the treadmill.
    I made the decision not to run anymore on a treadmill but in the future who knows?
    I bought 2 of them: the first lasted 10 years but I returned immediately the second because it didn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t have a treadmill because I do live in a place that I can run outside year round. I would never say a person who runs on a treadmill is not a real runner. Quite the opposite. I find treadmills extremely boring so it takes a tremendous amount of badassery to have the discipline to do that everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🤣 about calling treadmill runners bada$$. I do run in some pretty gnarly weather conditions but it’s nice to know there’s an alternative & I find the peloton app helps a ton (pun intended).


  9. I haven’t replaced my treadmill after it broke down during the first lockdown last year! I vowed never to buy one again BUT admittedly there have been days when it’s so hot out or too dark, when I’ve longed to have a treadmill again! They’re not my favourite but sooooo useful to have.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thorough post, Judy. The summer is the real problem here when the high is 100 and with high humidity the low is still unbearable. In the winter you can always bundle up as long as there’s not ice but in the summer there isn’t any way to make 100 degrees with humidity any more tolerable.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Super helpful if I ever move somewhere with more space. Proof that it’s not an easy decision, nor should be for something that would last at least a decade.
    I’m not sure whether it’s the treadmill (or really just a weather proof exercise option) or the weights that I miss most about not going to the gym.

    Liked by 1 person

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