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Saturday, August 20th
We all know that Peloton has become the hottest name in the home workout business, mostly because of their world-famous livestream fitness classes. Originally formatted for indoor cycling, Peloton expanded their offerings to include treadmills. Are they worth the hype? Read on and decide for yourself.
Tread or Tread+
Peloton only offers two treadmills: the Tread+ and the Tread (first available in May 2021 ). What's the difference between the two? In a word, size. The Tread+ has a bigger space footprint, 72.5" long and 36.5" wide, compared with the Tread's 68" x33" dimensions. That also translates into more running space: 67" vs. 59" . That size difference applies to the HD touchscreen too, with a grand 32" display on the Tread+ and a more diminutive 23.8" screen on the Tread. Both machines are capable of speeds up to 12.5 mph, but the Tread+ raises the incline ante from the Tread's 12.5% all the way up to 15%.
Biggest differences: belt type and price
Two other big differences between the models are the belt style and the price. The Tread utilizes a traditional running belt, while the Tread+ has a shock-absorbing slat belt. And, as you would expect, all of those differences add up to a higher price tag: Tread's price at release comes in at $2,495, while the Tread+ is just under twice that much at $4,295. We're glad that Peloton added in a more affordable treadmill, making their platform accessible to a broader customer base.
Peloton treadmills have specific user requirements
It was interesting to see that Peloton has height, weight and user age requirements (and yes, they word it as "requirements' and not "recommendations" ). They specify a height range of 4'11'' to 6'4" , a weight range of 105-300 pounds, and a minimum age of 16 to use their treadmills. Because Peloton Tread and Tread+ have inclines, you'll also need to make sure you've got a ceiling height of at least 20" greater than each user's height (sorry, tall people).
Novel feature on the Tread+ belt
Another feature we discovered that is only available on the Tread+ (and that we never saw with another treadmill from any other manufacturer) is what Peloton calls "free mode" . You can eliminate the power drive on the belt and push it around on your own, activating a very different set of muscles from your typical walk/jog/run on the tread.
Free trial of Peloton's Digital Membership
Curious about Peloton workouts? You might be able to try them for free. When we visited the site most recently, we got a pop-up offering a 30-day trial for new users of the Peloton app. If you have access to other fitness equipment (at a gym or your friend's house, maybe?), you could easily try several types of workout sessions and see if the live coaching and on-demand classes are what you have in mind.
Two membership options for classes/training
If you choose a Peloton membership, pricing depends on whether you also have a Peloton treadmill or bike. You can use the Digital Membership - the one that comes with your free trial - but it's not compatible with Peloton equipment. In other words, if you want the Peloton workout experience without the hefty cost of the machine, you can get many of their features through the app and use them somewhere else. This plan was priced at $12.99/month at the time of this review. On the other hand, the All-Access Membership, for $39/month, gives you and everyone else in your household individual access to all classes, performance metrics, leaderboards, and workout recommendations. Unlike many treadmills with livestream class functionality, Peloton's machines don't come with any complimentary membership (other than the free trial of the Digital plan).
Hassle-free, 30-day return policy
Peloton comes with a pretty impressive satisfaction policy. You can try your treadmill for 30 days, and it comes with professional set-up. If you give it a month and don't like it, Peloton reps will pick up the machine and refund your order, no questions asked. That's a huge advantage over many of their rivals, who charge hefty return shipping fees - or who won't let you return their treadmills for any reason.
Lackluster warranty protection
However, this company's warranty coverage is much less competitive. You'll get a 12-month limited warranty on the treadmill's touchscreen and most parts, and a 3-year warranty on the frame, motor and belt. Treadmills can take a beating over the years, so it's disappointing that Peloton does offer longer coverage on such an expensive piece of equipment.
Too many customer complaints
So, why does Peloton get a middle-of-the-road 3-star rating? Customer feedback. We found nearly 2000 complaints registered against the company in the last 12 months alone - enough that the BBB flagged Peloton with an alert. Many of the problems revolve around delivery delays: shoppers purchase a Peloton machine and start making monthly payments (when bought through financing), including their $39/month All-Access Membership, but their 6- to 8-week delivery window comes and goes with no sign of delivery.
Poor service on warranty issues
And, on the warranty side, we found more than a few complaints describing difficulties in reaching Peloton's customer service team for issues with malfunctioning equipment - and a lukewarm response when they finally got a hold of someone. Picture this: you get a treadmill delivered in January that doesn't work, right out of the box...and the earliest window Peloton gives you to pick it up for warranty replacement is mid-May. And no refund until they get it back.
Doesn't live up to expectations
Peloton treadmills have some interesting features, and their livestream workout capabilities have set the standard for the entire fitness industry. But, can you get a treadmill for less money, with similar features and the ability to get a comparable workout? Absolutely. In our opinion, Peloton's Tread and Tread+ fail to live up to the hype, especially when you look at their very limited warranty coverage and spendy monthly membership fees. Shop Peloton if you must, but know that there are other options out there that provide more bang for your buck.
With so many people dropping their gym memberships and turning to home fitness, it's no surprise that these popular cardio machines have seen a dramatic rise in popularity. You may have even tried to shop for one, only to find that they're out of stock - indefinitely!
Fortunately, there are several online retailers that have managed to keep up with demand on all types of treadmills, from budget models with the most basic features to the high-tech equipment with all the bells and whistles. If you're buying a treadmill for the first time, you might feel a little lost as to what to look for.
Your first consideration might be your budget, so keep in mind that you can get decent, entry-level treadmills for under $750. If money is no object, decide which features matter the most to you. For example, do you want the biggest variety of workouts? In that case, look for treadmills that have a wide range of incline settings: most machines with an incline will give you up to 15%, but some go as high as 40%.
One of today's most sought-after features in the home fitness world is the ability to access live workouts. This is a fantastic substitute for expensive boutique gym classes or even your average fitness center workout: take classes with top trainers from around the world, compete with other people on a live leaderboard, or access pre-recorded workouts (not just for the treadmill, but also for strength, yoga, and much more). Not every treadmill has that capability built in: you might have to prop up your tablet or smartphone on the machine's console and use a third-party app to get it done.
As you decide which type of treadmill you want and where to buy it, here are several additional factors to keep in mind:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online retailers of treadmills available today. We hope this information helps you find the right fitness equipment for your home - at the best price!
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