Walking Treadmill Reviews for 2016

by Jack on February 2, 2016

What do you need to look out for when buying a walking treadmill in 2016? Pretty much the same things you needed to look out for in 2015…

Here we want to give you our top picks for 2016 and also our opinion on a couple of the most common mistakes made when buying. The mistakes are in the following three areas:

  • Buying the cheapest
  • Motor
  • Weight Capacity
  • Warranty

The four mistakes bullet pointed above are closely related. Not always, but usually, if one of these mistakes is made the other mistakes are also present.

Mistake #1: Buying the cheapest

Treadmills specifically made for walking are a lot less expensive compared to prices of running models. This is because they are much more simple machines.

They do not require large powerful motors, their tread belts are shorter in length and also usually not as wide. Also, since the exercise isn’t as intense, the frame and deck do not need built as heavy-duty (strong and durable) compared what would be required for runners.

These downgrades in core functional areas allow manufactures to produce less expensive models. Makes sense?

How much should you expect to pay?

Is it wise to go with the absolute cheapest option possible? Of course everything depends on an each individual’s budget and how much they can afford to spend.

We have actually found models costing less than $100. The Welsco CardioStride 3.0 and the ProGear 190 are two of these. They are “super simple” models we personally would never buy but surprising they have received pretty good ratings from customers who have. If it works for you then it works for you. Please read their product description clearly after clicking either of the links above!

What’s the cheapest model we would  buy?

Take into consideration the person giving this recommendation is 6-1 tall and weighs over 200 lbs. And the following are a couple examples of the lowest he would go when choosing a treadmill for walking.

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill review
Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
Proform 505 CST Treadmill review
Proform 505 CST Treadmill
  • The model pictured on the left is the Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill model. Remember when we mentioned above that we weighed over 200 lbs? This model has a weight capacity of 220 lbs so we would fall just under the maximum weight. In other words if you weigh over 220 pounds this would not be a good choice for you. Read a full review of this model.
  • The model pictured on the right is the Proform CST 505 with a user weight capacity of 300 lbs this is a bit more heavy duty. We do want to say this about the picture. In it is a guy who appears to be running. Don’t let the picture fool you this is not a heavy-duty model for runners. The motor is 2.5 horsepower which is plenty enough for walking or jogging. However, we would advise against turning the motor up to top speed. The RPM’s (revolutions per minute) will run too high and burn it out.

What if you are under 200 lbs?

We prefaced the two recommendation above by saying these would be for people over 200 lbs. But what if you are a lighter person under 200 lbs? Is there anything less expensive worth recommending? For lighter people wanting to pay the least amount of money possible but still bring home a decent quality model for walking, we would still recommend the Sunny Health & Fitness model mentioned above.

There’s one other model you could also look at which is a bit lower in price, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill.

What do you consider affordable???

It’s hard for us to know the amount of money any one particular person wants to spend. What amount of money comes to mind when you think about buying a treadmill? There is a very high correlation between price and quality when it comes to treadmills.

As we mentioned earlier there are some models on the market that cost under $100 but there are also models that cost over $5000. The difference in quality is enormous here!

The phrase, “walking treadmill” is sort of a misnomer because any treadmill can be used for walking. But companies do specifically market some of their models as “walkers”. A more appropriate classification for the models they choose to market this way would be basic, simple, cheap or budget.  

Not every one can afford this but let’s be real, using a $1000 or $2000 model for walking (that could also be used for running) will provide a much more comfortable workout compared to a $500 treadmill. Of course you don’t have to spend this much and that is why we gave a few cheaper recommendation above.

However, if you are able to spend a bit more, we think the increased quality is worth the money spent. Also, maybe you have a kid or someone else in the house that might want to exercise? Maybe they would like to do a little higher tempo exercise, like running or jogging?

A step up in quality

Not to get too crazy into high priced models but for more than one reason paying a bit more compared to the less expensive models recommended above in our opinion makes sense for people who can afford it. This will provide you with a better more powerful and durable motor, a larger tread belt and a better warranty.

In our opinion, these are good reasons to spend a bit extra. On top of that, maybe you have someone in the house who would like to use the treadmill for more than walking?

There are two very popular models in the $1000 price range in 2016 we think are worth mentioning. Pictured below, on the left, is the LifeSpan TR1200i and on the right is the Xterra Fitness TR 6.6.

lifespan tr 1200i
LifeSpan TR1200i Treadmill
Walking treadmills under 1000 Xterra Fitness TR 6.6

These two models, the LifeSpan TR1200i and the Xterra Fitness TR 6.6 we would classify as entry-level running models and they definitely provide an increased level of comfort when using the for walking compared to the models mentioned at the top of the page.

While there are some decent low-cost models, once under a certain price range, many of these models, the manufacturers go way too far in the downgrades of the core features. This becomes a major quality issue.

Simply put, under a certain price range, under $500 and even $1000 there are more models to avoid buying than what we think offer acceptable quality to buy for your home.

Mistake #2: Motor

The motor is one of the very most important parts of a treadmill. There are different styles of motors:

  • Continuous Duty Horsepower (CHP)
  • Treadmill duty
  • Peak Duty

Know matter what. You need to make sure the model you buy has a Continuous Duty Horsepower (CHP) motor. These are the most durable and efficient motors.

Mistake #3: Weight Capacity

It’s very important you pay attention to the weight capacity. Especially if you are a person over 200 lbs. Many, or better put, the majority of less expensive models are not built to handle larger people. If you are a person who weighs more (I am) make sure you find the weigh capacity of the model before buying.

Mistake #4: Warranty

One of the best ways to understand the quality of a model is by looking at the warranty. The major thing you want to look for is the warranty on the motor and frame.

When you see a model offering a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame this shows the company is standing behind the quality of their product.

If the treadmill you are about to buy offers no warrant on the motor and frame then you might want to rethink before buying.

However, these words become sort of a contradiction when applied to buying a very inexpensive model. When you are buying a cheap model, like $500 and under don’t expect the motor and frame to have lifetime guarantees.

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