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Sunday, September 19th
When we look at SOLE Fitness, a famous phrase comes to mind: "how the mighty have fallen" . How did this treadmill retailer go from first to last place since our initial evaluation? Keep reading to find out!
6 models to choose from
At first glance, SOLE Fitness' treadmills are easy to love. You'll find several models to choose from, all priced affordably and with features comparable to many of the higher-end models you'll see elsewhere. Whether you want a folding or non-folding style, you're looking for a treadmill that offers decline settings as well as inclines, or just a basic machine for everyday workouts, you'll find something that fits the bill among SOLE's 6 different models.
No built-in tech for live workouts
On the technology side, SOLE Fitness doesn't offer any treadmills with built-in apps for livestreamed workouts. In order to follow a fitness class online, you'll need to use your own phone or tablet (some models have an integrated holder for your devices) and then either listen on your headphones or through the treadmill's Bluetooth speakers if available.
Big improvements in return policy
With respect to customer service, SOLE Fitness has really upped the ante since our last evaluation. They've dropped all restocking fees and shipping costs on returns, and now they go so far as to take care of the entire return process. You don't even have to hang on to all of the packaging: they will take care of securing your treadmill at the time of pickup, all at no extra charge. You'll get a full refund of everything you paid, and you won't have to wait until they receive the treadmill back at their facility: just notify SOLE via email as soon as it's picked up, and your refund will be processed within 48 hours. You're just not going to find that anywhere else. So, why did this company earn the absolute lowest ranking among treadmill stores?
Worst rating from the Better Business Bureau
Our hesitation with SOLE began with their "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. The BBB says this is due to the 60+ complaints registered against the company, with 2 that received no response from SOLE and 2 that ultimately went unresolved. And yet, there are several competitor retailers in our review who have complaints in the thousands - and who still manage to get an "A+" rating from the BBB.
Company doesn't deliver on promises
Unfortunately, our concerns grew when we considered the most recent customer reviews on several other third-party sites. Numerous people complained about the awful customer service they received (or didn't!) after purchase, even when their treadmills should have been covered under warranty. When you see multiple comments that describe the machines as "flimsy" and "defective" , and getting zero response after months of trying to reach SOLE Fitness' customer service team (to verify orders, to get warranty service, etc.), you start to see the wisdom behind the BBB's "F" rating.
Too many missing deliveries
Even the ratings posted on SOLE's own site have tanked noticeably over the last few months. We get that during a nationwide period of increased interest in home fitness combined with logistics issues for shippers everywhere, there are going to be some challenges. But, when customers are rating treadmills as low as possible and the only comment is "I never received this" , watch out.
Buy your treadmill somewhere else
And now you see why SOLE Fitness comes in absolutely last in our rankings. Sure, they make big promises about customer service and warranties - but there's every indication that they don't make good on them anymore. A treadmill is no bargain if it never arrives, stops working, or won't be repaired even under warranty. We strongly recommend that you look for your treadmill at a store with a better reputation (which is literally any other company in our review!).
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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