Finding the treadmill that's right for you and your wallet

How to Buy a Treadmill

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Frugal Fitness

Picking a Treadmill

How to Buy a Treadmill

I'm looking to buy a treadmill. It's been a long time since I've used one, so I don't have any idea what's available or what's affordable. Can anyone help me to buy the best treadmill for the money?

Look for Moving Sales

We have purchased used treadmills twice from people we knew who were moving. Although fitness equipment stores have told us that treadmills must be mechanically heavy-duty to work and wear well, our first lasted several years and we are still using the second. They cost very little compared to new. This might be a way for the new buyer to buy cheaply while making sure he/she will actually use it also, since so often they end up as "coatracks."

Several Ways to Get a Good Used Treadmill

I recommend a few ways to secure a good used treadmill.

  • Look for a store called Play It Again Sports, which sells good used equipment. There are others as well.
  • Go to a local fitness center and inquire if they are replacing any treadmills, or if they have an older model tucked away that is not out on the floor.
  • Ask friends and neighbors if they or someone they know has a treadmill living a sad existence as a clothes hanger.
  • Join FreeCycle. Many people just want items gone and are willing to give it away with no strings.
  • I hope this helps.

    Be Aware of Weight Limits

    Research them online, in magazines devoted to fitness, and in Consumer Reports. Check out Craigslist and ask if the treadmill is set up where you can try it out. You may need to wait a couple of months for them to become available. Wait a couple months for the people who bought them at the first of the year to realize they aren't going to use them.

    Also, if you're heavy (over 200 pounds), be sure the treadmill you get is designed to work with your weight. The first treadmill my hubby bought wasn't strong enough to work well for him (220#) even though he wanted it for fitness and didn't need to lose weight.
    Nancy in Santee

    Problem with Horizon Treadmills

    Don't buy Horizon. After a few months of use, it started generating a magnetic field, which knocked out Wi-Fi while using the treadmill. The warranty repairman suggested replacing the control panel; Horizon customer service said that the next one would, sooner or later, generate interference.

    Thrilled With My Purchase!

    This past fall, I finally purchased a treadmill. I did a lot of online research. First, I looked for reviews of the best treadmills. You will usually find a nice variety to choose from, not just expensive ones. Next I had to decide my price range; they really do vary a lot. Then I had to decide what I absolutely wanted it to do. I'm not a runner (nor do I ever expect I will be), so that helped keep me out of some of the high priced ones and made it easier to find a less expensive one. I made sure to read not just professional reviewer's reviews, but I also read reviews from people who had actually purchased and used the item. My final decision came when Costco had a good Pro Form, with mixed but mostly good reviews, on sale for $599, including delivery. I had to have someone help me put it together, but it really wasn't that hard. I'm thrilled with my purchase and loving that I can work out at home any time, which is important to me since I work nights. Keep in mind you will need some kind of mat on the floor under the treadmill and you will want to purchase that before your treadmill arrives. Because I live on the second floor, I made sure to purchase the 2" thick foam blocks that look like puzzle pieces. Good luck and have fun!

    Visit Estate and Moving Sales

    Check Consumer Reports for exercise equipment features and ratings. Then go to estate and moving sales. Exercise equipment is sold very reasonably and often with little previous use. They are heavy, bulky items. Therefore, when moving, many people don't want to pay the costs involved of taking them along, especially if they were not a priority in their lives.
    Ruth in MN

    Consider a Gym Membership

    A good resource is a well-equipped gym like LA Fitness. Most offer a 10-day free trial. Go there and talk to staff and patrons. Try out all the various machines to determine what you can do, want to do, and are likely to do at home. You may even find that a gym membership is money better spent than buying a single piece of equipment. Not only will they have commercial-grade machines, but also they keep them maintained and you'll have a much wider variety than anything you can do at home.

    Try Thrift Shops

    Some people don't use a treadmill for very long. I often see them in thrift shops. I gave mine away; I believe a stair climber is preferable to a treadmill. Try the thrift shops first.

    Talk to a Sales Person

    Go to a store and talk with a sales person. I used Sears. I told the guy that I was new at this and not sure how long I would be using it. I wanted to try it but didn't want to get into the expense. So, instead of paying full price for a new one, I was able to purchase a "trade in" for only a few hundred dollars. It's an electric treadmill that still works fine. This way, I was able to get it for a lot less than a new one. If I don't use it, I didn't lose all that much money. Considering I've had it for over 10 years I was very fortunate.
    Lilly P.

    Be Patient and Keep a Watchful Eye

    A few years ago, I wanted a treadmill or an exercise bike, but I could not afford a new one. One night, when I was walking my dogs, I saw an exercise bike put out to the curb for bulk trash collection in front of my neighbor's house. It was an older model, but absolutely clean and worked fine. It was dark out and pretty late, so I got help and we quietly carried it across the street to my house. I wasn't too particular, so I was happy with my acquisition. Once in a while, you can luck out if you walk around your neighborhood. Late March and April are particularly good, because people who made resolutions to start exercising are giving up on those big plans and are unloading their exercise equipment. Alternatively, join Freecycle. You can check each week for a desired item or post items that you want. I see requests filled all the time on the great website.

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