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How to Shop for a Treadmill


Wondering how to shop for a treadmill?

I got a lot of questions after my tips for buying a treadmill podcast episode, so I wanted to provide some extra context and additional information.

Pssst- haven’t heard that episode or read the accompanying post? Go do that!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You can go a few different routes when shopping for a treadmill. Let’s explore each:

1. Buy directly from the manufacturer (ie, Peloton)

This is a great option for having delivery and assembly from contractors who put together the same manufacturer’s equipment together all day long.

They’re good at what they do and can answer operational questions because they’ve probably been in peoples homes.

Buying direct is also great for extended warranty options.

We wanted a good warranty when we bought ours in 2016. Our family has 3 regular users and they offered “bumper-to-bumper” for five years instead of one as well as annual preventative maintenance.

Side note about warranties: expect to spend anywhere from 60-80% of the machine cost. Like, when you’re looking at the price just double what the website says.

Warranties are definitely an expensive route, but we wanted zero headaches after we made the investment and you probably do, too!

We used our warranty 4 times in 5 years, mostly on electronics on the console.

The more tech your machine has, the higher the risk of something going wrong.

The one time a major component needed repair was right at the end of our 5 years- the belt and the motor!

I was secretly happy, because now that I’m out of warranty I essentially have a refurbished machine.

2. Purchase through a traditional third-party (i.e. Amazon, Dick’s)

You’re typically on your own to assemble the treadmill in this option so make sure you are really wrapping your mind around that.

Treadmills are anywhere from 200-500 pounds and they come in humongous boxes.

It’s going to be a team lift scenario- there’s no way you’ll get it from the curb where the UPS man left it to your fitness room or garage if you’re rolling solo.

One of the perks of going this route is price- you can often use coupons or take advantage of store sales (example: Sears often sells NordicTrack treadmills during big box store style sales).

You’ll also be able to get warranty coverage from both the manufacturer and the retail entity.

This may be a more cost efficient way to get around that “double the number” thing from above- the manufacturer often covers frame only but the retail store covers the other components and hardware for an extended time at a lower cost.

3. Buy from a fitness equipment store that carries refurbished treadmills.

Most fitness equipment stores are local or regional.

In this option, the frame is typically used but the motor, belt, etc. (all the “innards”) are brand new.

This is a great option for someone who appreciates a one stop shop with timely delivery and assembly.

You’ll also be able to try multiple brands and save a nice chunk of change.

Warranties are typically short term in this option, but most local and regional fitness shops have repair people who work for the store so you can just call them and pay for the repair as needed.

Real talk: make sure you’re buying a residential piece!

These types of stores carry both residential and commercial pieces, like what you’d see at Globo Gym or even a hotel.

Everything from the motor to the plug for the outlet and amount of power it will use is different with a piece that belongs in your home.

4. Get a pre-owned treadmill from Facebook marketplace or Craigslist (side note: does anyone use Craigslist anymore?)

This is like gambling.

You could get a fantastic deal if someone got a little too excited about their New Years resolution and then thought better if it.

You could also get burned.

Even existing owners don’t know what’s about to happen with their machines next week. I don’t know that I’d be comfortable selling mine, even though it’s essentially refurbished!)

Warranties don’t transfer past the original owner for most popular brands.

So, it’s just tricky.

What did you do?

Peloton was not selling treadmills as part of their equipment offering in 2016 so I’ve been waiting for mine to break for years so I can look seriously into theirs.

I guess it’s a good problem to have, but our NordicTrack treadmill won’t die.

I estimate it has over 10,000 miles on it between the 3 users too!

Timex already took the “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” tagline, but I seriously think it applies to our unit.

Here are the brands that we looked into: Lifefitness (refurbished), Sole, NordicTrack.

We went with NordicTrack because of the tech.

How did it go?

We got the “Commercial 1750” and it features all of the at the time fancy tech stuff (web browser, google maps compatible so you could draw out the race course you were training on or do their preloaded workouts- I did a 5K in every state right now & it’s a “street view” so you see the road/trees/trail/coast on the screen).

We knew ahead of time that we were getting that tech stuff in lieu of good customer service…but boy, the service was really bad.

After we bought the treadmill, it was nearly impossible to speak with a live person. Wait times were always over a half hour.

I tried to back door it and just speak with the salespeople first but they could not help me with delivery and set up timelines.

I always think that is a reflection of the company – how fast you can speak with a live person in their customer service department.

They gave us a 3 to 4 week window and it took more like 8 to get the machine to us. They ended up refunding the delivery and set up ($250) but that was only after I got pretty nasty with them.

The third-party vendor who delivers/services/etc Icon equipment (Icon is the parent company to NordicTrack) did not have it together.

Those are also the folks who service the warranty as well!

….but here’s where it turned to our favor- they’d be so overwhelmed by the problems they would just order entire consoles instead of fixing a button.

Seriously- we got three over the course of the warranty!

If you’re going the manufacturer route, check out the local company that serves the contract: it will be based on your zip code.

I mention this as a heads up, but overall our experience has been great. You can’t argue with 10,000 miles on the same treadmill!

Most of those miles are mine and as a triplet Mom there’s no way I’d have achieved them otherwise.

Refusing to spend $4000 would have cost me my fitness over these last few years.

Let’s connect!

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Don’t forget to read that article about features to look for when purchasing a treadmill:

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