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Under $300 Treadmills - Features and Specifications
There are several important features which good treadmill, even under $300, must have. Some of them are:
- Folding or not: In order to decrease required footprint when stored, these treadmills are practically all folding treadmills. To help with folding and unfolding, simple hydraulic or pneumatic pistons are used. Even further, to help with the storage, all these treadmills come with transport wheels, which help the user more around the treadmill, as required. However, it is always recommended to place the unit on permanent location (if possible, of course) and use it whenever one has spare time, even for 'just' walking.
- Size: When unfolded and ready to use, maximum length depends on the running deck length. Treadmills optimized for walking can have shorter running/walking decks, while jogging/running decks should be longer. Typical maximum length of these treadmills is less than 60 inches (~152 cm), making them suitable even for smaller home gyms, homes or apartments. When folded, these treadmills are much shorter.
- Running Deck Size: Typical walking deck length is usually in the range of 40-45 inches, while typical running deck is 45-50 inches long. If you are runner with long strides and 45-50 inches is not long enough, you will need more expensive treadmill.
- Maximum User Weight: running treadmills in this price range have maximum allowed user weight between 220 and 250 pounds, while walking treadmills go up to 300 pounds. Walking treadmills require smaller and cheaper motors or they are manual treadmills, allowing the manufacturers to make stronger frames for the same amount of money. Again, if you are lighter person, treadmills in this range can handle your weight. However, if you weigh 200 or more pounds and need good running treadmill for a regular use, stronger and more durable treadmills are recommended.
- Electric Motor: Good running treadmills for 200 pounds runners require, IMHO, at least 1.5 CHP (Continous HP) motors. 2 - 2.5 Peak HP motors are good for light jogging and for periodic HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Heavier athletes who exercise on a daily basis require 2.0 - 2.5 CHP or even stronger motors.
Walking treadmills can be even manual treadmills, with one or two flywheels ensuring smooth exercise. However, even walking treadmills benefit from 500-600W electric motors, with the user limit of 300 pounds. For 400 pounds walking treadmill user limit, at least 1000W electric motors are required, but such treadmills cost more.
- Speed Range: Due to weaker motors, these treadmills are not suitable for faster running. Typical maximum speed of running treadmill under $300 is around 9-10 mph, walking motorized treadmill ~6 mph (making slow jugging possible), while walking manual treadmills' maximum speed is limited by the user, not treadmill.
- Incline: When incline is increased on running treadmill, workout gets harder. When incline is increases on manual treadmill, workout is easier. In both cases, these treadmills usually come with 2-3 possible incline settings, but the incline change is manual - it must be changed by the user. Motorized incline change is reserved for more expensive vacuums :)
- Workout Programs: different workout programs help the user to stress the body in different way every time, avoiding the boredom and not letting the body get accustomed to the same exercise over and over. These vacuums usually come with 3-9 workout programs. Also, they can be used in manual mode.
- User Profiles: when the treadmill is used by several trainees, having different user profiles stored on onboard computer is of great help. But, affordable treadmills in this price range mostly have only one user profile - users have to manually write down or memorize parameters of their previous exercises if they wish to compare them at all.
- Console: when compared with consoles found on more expensive treadmills, consoles of cheap treadmills often lack USB charging ports, cooling fans, built-in speakers, etc. Also, their displays are often smaller, showing limited amount of workout data at any given moment.
- Maintenance: There is no maintenance free treadmill, regardless of its initial price. Actual maintenance tasks can differ from the model to model, making it highly recommended to thoroughly read the manual, before the assembly and the first use. Typical maintenance tasks include lubricating the treadmill belt, tensioning and positioning the belt, checking the motor and rollers, keeping the unit clean and moist free etc. Again, check the manual of your exact treadmill model.
- Warranty is often rather limited, and typically it is 90 days for motor and parts and one year for frame. Sturdier and stronger treadmills, with better warranty conditions, cost more.
Long Story Short - Treadmills under $300 are basic, very affordable home treadmills that allow the user to have walking/jogging/running workout at home. Such treadmills are rather limited in terms of maximum user weight, maximum speed and such, but if they fit your needs, the warranty period is the only reason why should you go for more expensive treadmills.