Best treadmills for joggers in 2016

by Jack on February 7, 2016

What are the best home treadmill choices for joggers in 2016? We usually write long reviews but we will try to keep this one short. If you are currently looking at different models we want to list and explain the five key areas you need to look at when deciding what treadmill to buy:

  • Motor
  • Frame
  • Tread belt
  • Cushion System
  • Warranty

Ignore all the extra crap like pre-set or custom workout programs. While these can be helpful in your exercise, these and other extras or accessories attached to different models are not what makes a treadmill run. Truthfully, you may be a bit more sophisticated than I, but when I turn on a treadmill to exercise, I set my own speed, set my own incline and increase or decrease these as I go.

Recommendations for joggers – 2016

Most important features to look at when buying

As mentioned at the top of the page, there are five core features of a jogging treadmill that must examine if your goal is to get the most value for your buck.

There are many different models to choose from. Using the information provided below will help narrow the choices down to the best quality options. After this then you can look into the different accessories offered by each model.

Feature #1: Motor

What type of motor do you need to jog? When reading the description of different models you may come across three different types of motors:

  • Treadmill Duty
  • Peak Duty
  • The one you need is Continuous Duty Horsepower (CHP).

The CHP motor is the most durable and efficient. This type will save you from the many quality problems experienced with the other two. Furthermore, this type also delivers the smoothest performance turning the tread belt.

What size motor do you need? When we speak of size we are referring to the amount of horsepower. The more the better! However, for those of you buying on a budget, increased size (or horsepower) almost always means increased price.

Compared to a treadmill for running, one for jogging doesn’t require as powerful of a motor. For a person under 200 lbs a 2.5 horsepower (2.5 CHP) will be sufficient. If you are a larger person much over 200 lbs you may want to go with a minimum of a 3.0 CHP.

Feature #2: Frame

What’s the best type of frame? Treadmill frames are either made from steel or aluminum.  Steel is the strongest of these two materials but for all intents and purposes the strength of aluminum will not be an issue. Both are very durable materials.

However, we would rather own a steel frame model for two reasons:

  • Compared to aluminum, steel fits together tighter. This helps reduced the overall noise produced by the unit when in use.
  • Because aluminum is a much more malleable or bendable material it tends to “give” a bit when your foot strikes down on it. This creates a sort of dead feeling with less bounce.

Running or jogging on a steel frame more efficiently transfers the energy back to your foot, providing a bit of a bounce in your step. Steel provides an jogging experience more similar to nature (outside) compared to an aluminum frame .

Another thing to keep in mind the best frames are in 1-piece. When multiple connection points exist, these make for areas of potential weakness. So if possible always choose a treadmill with a “welded” steel frame over a “bolted” frame.

Feature #3: Tread Belt

There are two properties to consider when judging the quality of a tread belt:

  • Dimensions
  • Materials it is made from

What about dimensions? The length of a person’s stride increases as they move from walking to jogging to running.  Looking at the dimensions of tread belts on different models you will notice they very in length from 60+ inches to under 40 inches.

Buying a treadmill only for walkingtread belt length isn’t much of a concern. On the other hand, runners need to be very aware of the belt length. For a runner we recommend a length between 55 – 60 inches.

The stride length of a jogger falls somewhere between a walker’s and runner’s. A person who only plans to exercise by jogging doesn’t need the same length as a runner but doesn’t hurt to have a little extra room. Maybe, you will turn into a runner?

For a jogger we recommend a tread belt of over 40 inches in length.

What’s it made from? Nylon-polyester is the most common material used in the construction of tread belts. A belt consisting of a single layer is called a 1-ply.

A belt consisting of a layer of polyurethane on top of nylon-polyester is a 2-ply belt. As you can probably guess the 2-ply is stronger and more durable than the 1-ply.

If possible we would always recommend buying a model that includes a 2-ply belt.

Feature #4: Cushion System

Every company has their own patented cushion system with each claiming theirs is the best. We have used many different treadmill brand both at home and in the gym. From our personal experience the companies listed below produce very good shock absorbing systems:

  • NordicTrack
  • LifeSpan
  • ProForm
  • PreCor
  • Sole
  • Yowza

This isn’t to say only the cushion systems made by the companies above are acceptable. These are just the brands we have the most experience in using.

Feature #5: Warranty

A warranty should be provided when spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a product. This ultimately provides a feeling security after the purchase.

Many people do look at the warranty before buying but don’t realize the warranty provides very useful insight into judging the quality of the product before buying.

When trying to decide the quality of the home treadmill you are looking at, it’s smart to look closely at the warranty. If there is no warranty you there’s a good chance the machine is crap.

The majority of treadmills will have a 4-part warranty covering:

  • Motor
  • Frame
  • Parts
  • Labor

On a decent warranty parts and labor are usually guaranteed for between 2-5 years. The most important thing to look at is what it says about the motor and frame.

The best warranties will provide lifetime guarantees on both the motor and frame. Some provide 15-years, others 10-years. Then there are companies that provide provide less, for example you will also find some offering only 3 or 5-year guarantees on their motors and frame.

Using the warranty to judge quality

Maybe you see where this is going? If not, let me ask you a question, if you owned a company and produces what you knew was a low-quality product, would you be willing to offer a lifetime or even a 10-year warranty on it? Without going into any detailed financial and accounting explanation, the simple answer is NO!

If you knew your product was low-quality, what you would do is provide the lowest warranty as possible. So remember, when trying to judge the quality of a treadmill, while it’s helpful to read reviews, descriptions and understand the specifications it’s also very helpful to understand what the warranty tells you.

If I were looking at two models identically priced but one offered a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame and the other only provided 10-years. I could just about 100% guarantee with confidence the model that provides a lifetime warranty is the higher quality treadmill.

Jogging treadmills and price – 2016

While describing the 5 core features that must be paid attention to in order to purchase the highest quality jogging treadmill for your home in 2016 the one thing we didn’t is price. How much should you pay?

Since people of different economic backgrounds and situations will be reading this review the question of how much should you pay is difficult to answer. Some people are on a budget, while others can afford to spend much more.

Even though it is possible to buy a decent home treadmill for jogging on a budget, if a person can afford to spend more we would recommend this. The list of treadmills above, has the best models in different price ranges.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: