Are Folding Treadmills Any Good?

There was a time when a folding treadmill came a poor second to the stationary option. The biggest problem was the stability of the machine and the durability of the frame. Now design has advanced to such a stage that home treadmills are practically always offered as fold able and with long warranties to boot. No one would seriously consider buying a non folding option unless they had substantial space to house the machine. If you are looking to buy a fold up running machine here are a few handy pointers to make sure you don’t buy a dud :

Extensive Warranty

The high quality build models come with warranties that give confidence. The longer the warranty on frames, deck and rollers the more stable and well built the treadmill. As an example check out the Sole F80 which is one of the best folding machines for running. This comes with a life time, yes, lifetime warranty on deck, frame and motors and then has a five year warranty on rollers and electronics. Even cheaper models such as the Merit Fitness 715T come with a lifetime frame warranty. If you are interested in a fold up make sure the warranty walks the walk, avoid machines with one to five year warranties, in today’s market that is not good enough.

Easy To Fold?

The whole point of a fold-up is that it is easy to store, ergo, it should be easy to get into a position to store. Now these machines are big, so you seriously need to consider how easy it will be to man-handle. Generally these machines will either have a deck that folds up or the console area will fold down. Models that have a console that folds down can usually be stored under a bed. Models with a deck that folds up will have to be stored against a wall.

Most deck folding treadmills will be either hydraulically assisted or require brute force. Hydraulically assisted means shock rams will take most of the pressure off lifting and offer easy deck lowering. Remember, the longer the running deck, the heavier and harder to manoeuvre. Opt for hydraulics where budget allows or go for a console lowering model if you don’t want to much hard work.

Transport Wheels?

Following on from the above points on folding, does this machine that you are buying for it’s ability to be stored have relocation casters/wheels? You’ll be surprised that quite a few do not and that is not very useful once you have the machine unpacked. If you are going for a long decked running machine as opposed to a walking machine make sure you have transport wheels on your favoured model.

Weight Capacity

Machines with larger user weight capacities are built stronger and have heavier duty framing and parts meaning they will be more durable and last longer. If in doubt go for a machine with the heaviest capacity. Bear in mind as you are running you will be dropping extra force onto the machine so if you are a well built gent of 250 pounds your probably going to need a machine that will take a user weight of 300lbs.

Cost

Many of the cheap folding treadmills for sale may not be particularly useful for runners. Short deck models (under 50ins) are generally for walking exercises or persons of shorter than average stature (less than 5’11”). Folding manual’s are really only suitable for walking exercises and these are readily available for under $200. A folding motorised model for walking can usually be found for as cheap as $300 with very reasonable specs and warranties. If you are after a fold up running machine, expect to pay at least $1000.

Should You Buy A Treadmill Mat?

If you are considering or have just bought a treadmill you may be in the market for a mat. It could be that a salesman is pushing you to buy all sorts of extras or it could be that you are looking for the best extras to prolong the life of your expensive running machine. In either case it is worth considering a rubber mat for your treadmill. The natural questions that will go through your head will be do you really need one, which size to get if you are going to buy and how much to spend?

Do I Need A Mat?

You don’t really need a floor mat to make good use of your treadmill but using a mat can bring some neat long term benefits. The main purpose of a mat will be to protect carpets and flooring from damage. Running machines can be heavy beasts and the slightest vibration through the feet of the machine can damage flooring and tear carpets. A mat will help you avoid annoying damage. It is also worth considering that a mat will protect your flooring from the oil that may come off treadmill rollers and dusty dirt that electric motors attract.

A secondary purpose of a rubber mat is to prolong the life of your treadmill. A heavy duty mat will reduce vibration through the machine and help, long term, in keeping all the fittings tight and prevent the machine from slowly shaking itself to bits. More importantly a mat will reduce the amount of dust that can get into the motor from a carpeted floor extending the motors life and prevent rollers getting clogged with dusty grime and so reduce wear.

Finally it is worth considering that a mat will reduce noise levels for the user and other members of the household. Most modern electric treadmills are well cushioned and reasonably quiet but if your flooring is timber or tile even the quietest of machines can run louder than expected. A noise reduction mat will eliminate this noise.

Which Size Should You Get?

Most treadmill floor mats are 6.5 ft by 3ft and are suitable for a large number of models but some of the higher end home machines can be as long as 7ft so watch out you may need an extra long mat!

You can usually get a choice of a mat roll or click-together tiles. Both options are usually available in a choice of up to three thicknesses. The standard thickness for a mat tends to be 1/4 inch which is great for hard floors particularly if your treadmill use is likely to be intermittent. If you are planning to use your machine on a carpet be aware that a 1/4 inch mat may become dimpled and damaged from the weight of the machine and may ultimately tear.

If you intend to be a heavy user or you are going to be operating the treadmill on a carpeted area it is often wiser to go for a thicker mat or opt for a tile set up with spare tiles available, these tend to be the best mats for carpet. A 3/8 inch mat is often ideal in these circumstances and will last the course as well as protecting your flooring and offering greater sound dampening qualities.

How Much Should You Spend?

Cheap treadmill mats are widely available. A basic size mat up to 7ft long, whether a single roll of numerous tiles, is likely to cost from $35 -$50. A 3/8 inch mat is likely to be about $10 more expensive than the thinner 1/4 inch but you can still pick them up for less than $50. Numerous suppliers have mats for sale so prices are usually competitive and differ infrequently. If you need to check the latest price you can check a whole range of mat sizes and prices at Amazon here :

Buying a treadmill mat is a wise choice offering protection to your flooring and extending the life of your machine. Be sure to make the right size choice and not pay over the odds for your treadmill mat and your purchase will give you cost effective benefits.