by Staff Writer
One of the most reliable, time-tested pieces of home gym equipment on the market today is the treadmill. What started out as a fairly basic machine has evolved into something a little more complex, however, with all kinds of fancy options available to average consumers. Here is some basic information to help you wade through all those bells and whistles, so you'll know what kind of treadmill will work best in your home gym. You must consider two primary issues when looking at treadmills. Will you use it more for walking or for running? How much space do you have for a home gym? With those issues in mind, we'll discuss manual, motorized and folding treadmills. Look below to learn more about the types of treadmills.
Manual treadmills: Non-motorized treadmills do have their advantages. For one, they are much lighter and easier to transport than motorized treadmills. Manual treadmills are also easier to fold up and store out of the way. It is a little more difficult to get the belt moving on a manual treadmill, of course, because your feet and legs are the motor. Many do not have an adjustable incline either. However, if you want something inexpensive for light use, a manual treadmill would work fine for you. Otherwise, get a motorized treadmill.
Motorized treadmills: Horsepower, specifically continuous horsepower, is the most important aspect of any motorized treadmill. A continuous horsepower rating of 1.5 to 2.5 is probably sufficient for most people's home workouts. However, if you plan to do a lot of running, you may want to go with a little bit more. Always choose a DC electric motor; it will run quieter than an AC motor. This is especially important if you like to watch TV while using your home fitness treadmill.
Folding treadmills: If you want to save space but still workout on something motorized, get a folding treadmill. After each workout, you can fold the platform up so the whole machine stands vertical, occupying less space. Make sure you get something stable--early folding treadmills were a little wobbly. Today's models have improved, though, and many models are about as stable as non-folding treadmills. You'll also want to know if the treadmill utilizes hydraulic cylinders to make folding easier. If not, folding the treadmill each day might become the biggest part of your workout. Finally, think about whether or not you will be moving the treadmill around much after you fold it up. Supposing you plan on pushing it into the corner or storing it in a closet, something with a good set of sturdy wheels (preferably wheels that don't make contact with the floor until the treadmill is folded) would be a must.