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      July 7, 2020

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Comparing Treadmills With Other Exercise Equipment

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How To Get The Best Workout From Your Treadmill

Incorporating A Treadmill Into Your Workout

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Bowflex vs Precor

Best Treadmills

To help you find the Best Treadmills, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Bowflex and Precor.

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Treadmills are a great way to get an excellent workout at home when it best fits into your schedule. Regular use of a treadmill is also a great way to lose weight and get into good cardiovascular shape. Treadmills range from the most basic model with no frills, to those with high tech workout programs, TV's, and more.

Treadmills are generally easy to set up and are suitable for just about anyone to use. Changes in the designs have allowed treadmills to reduce the amount of space required, thus making them feasible for those with a limited area.

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Best Reviews

2020

Treadmill Reviews

3.5 stars
Bowflex

BOWFLEX

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Cost:

From $2,199 to $9,500

One of the first names that comes to mind when considering home fitness equipment is Bowflex. Originally made famous for their all-in-one strength training system, their product line has expanded over the years to include a variety of cardio equipment as well.

When it comes to treadmills, Bowflex offers just two models: the BXT116 and the upgraded BXT216.

Equipment overview:

  • Treadmill Style: Folding
  • Price: $1499 and $1799
  • Different Models: 2
  • Different Models: 2
  • Horsepower: 3.75 CHP and 4.0 CHP
  • Belt Width: 20x60, 22x60
  • Return Policy: 6 weeks
  • Guarantee: 15 years on Frame/Drive Motor, 5 years on Mechanical Parts/Electronics, 2 years on Labor
  • Shipping: $99

With the BXT116 retailing for $1499 and the BXT216 for an extra $300 at $1799, what are the main differences between the two treadmills?

First, let’s look at what they have in common:

  • Maximum incline of 15%
  • Maximum speed of 12 mph
  • 4 available user profiles
  • Integrated heart rate monitor with contact grips and included chest strap
  • Integrated speaker sound system
  • Real-time custom workout creation
  • Media shelf/tablet holder
  • USB charging port
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy SoftDrop stowable design
  • Automatic 3-speed fan
  • Warranty coverage of 15 years on the frame and drive motor, 5 years on mechanical parts and electronics, and 2 years labor

The console is essentially the same for both models, and all of the tech might make you feel like you’re working out in an airplane cockpit - in a good way. You’ll see all of your workout stats at a glance, from the total workout time to your heart rate and much more. We encourage you to check out the images on the Bowflex site for yourself.

So, with all of those great features, why would anyone spend the extra money to get the BX216? It depends on what you need. For example, the maximum user weight on the 116 is 375 pounds, while the 216 allows users up to 400 pounds. The 216 also has a wider run path: 22” compared to the 116’s 20”.

The 216 also adds controls for incline and speed into the handrails, gives you an extra 1.5” on the full color LCD screen (9” compared with 7.5”), and comes with a more cushioned running surface. You’ll also get an extra 0.25 in the horsepower, and a total of 11 pre-programmed workouts (as opposed to the 116’s 9). You’ll have to decide for yourself if any of those extras are worth the additional $300. At the time of our review, there was a free shipping offer on the upgraded model, compared with $99 for the lower-end version, bringing the price difference down to just $200.

We recommend that you take a look through the customer reviews on the Bowflex website. They’re very detailed and represent a wide variety of users, from athletes training to improve performance in races to beginning exercisers starting with walking. We appreciate Bowflex’s positive responses, even to negative comments, and their obvious commitment to constantly improving products and taking their customers’ concerns seriously. Reading the comments will help you determine if there are any known issues with the way you plan on using the treadmill - like syncing with apps like Strava or using the higher inclines at high speeds.

Bowflex’s return policy is 6 weeks from the date of delivery. You’ll have to get an RMA from their customer service department, and your refund will not include any shipping fees. That’s more generous than a lot of their competitors, who only give you 30 days and charge hefty restocking fees.

Overall, the two treadmill models offered by Bowflex are great: solidly built, good warranty and return periods, ample technology features, and backed by a responsive customer service team. But, when compared with the variety of treadmills offered by other retailers in our review, Bowflex’s limited selection comes up short and may not offer the types of features - or the budget range - that some shoppers are looking for.

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3 stars
Precor

PRECOR

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Cost:

From $1,999 to $8,755

With more than 30 years in the business, Precor manufactures fitness equipment for personal and commercial uses - from home gyms to health clubs and more. Their focus on constant innovation and attention to high-quality engineering can be seen in their treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, and strength equipment.

Precor offers 7 models of treadmills for use in home gyms. Starting on the lowest end, the TRM 211 Energy series has short handlebars and six preset workouts, with a maximum speed of 12 mph and an incline of up to 15%. On the other end of Precor’s spectrum, the TRM 835 Experience series features longer handlebars for greater stability and support; the Ground Effects Impact Control System, to absorb high-impact movements and to give the user more support; 25 preset workouts; a maximum speed of 16 mph, incline up to 15%, and decline options to -3% that mimic walking or running downhill.

Equipment overview:

  • Treadmill Style: Non-folding
  • Price Range: $1,999 to $8,755
  • Different Models: 7
  • Financing Available: No
  • Horsepower: 3.0 HP - 4.0 HP
  • Belt Width: 20x57, 22x56, 22x60 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: None
  • Guarantee: Lifetime Frame and Weldments, 5 years Parts and Wear items, 3 years Console, and 1-Year Labor
  • Shipping: $199 flat fee for delivery and installation

The Precor website doesn’t make it easy to compare differences between models. You can click “compare” to add any model to a list, and then click on the next “compare” button on the right-hand side of the page. But, the results page doesn’t lay out the models in a way that helps you compare side-by-side. For instance, when we compared the TRM 211 with the TRM 835, the sections describing the preset workouts weren’t in the same place in the table. You’ll have to scroll back and forth on the page to try and determine if the differences between the two are important to your fitness needs.

Compared with other treadmill retailers, Precor has a few drawbacks. First, even on the highest-end models, Precor’s consoles provide just the basics of time, heart rate, and exercise tracking - competitor models typically include compatibility with smartphones, even TV screens and other up-to-date technology with more expensive treadmills. Also, Precor does not offer free shipping: treadmills have a flat-rate delivery and installation fee of $199.

However, the biggest potential issue with buying any fitness equipment from Precor is the absence of a return policy: once you buy a Precor machine, it’s yours. Even if you get it home and realize it doesn’t fit in your home gym like you expected, you’re stuck with it. Other stores usually allow for returns - with restocking fees - exactly because they understand that not every shopper will have the chance to try out a Precor treadmill in advance.

Precor does have a good track record for equipment durability and overall workout quality. But, their lack of a return policy, low-tech consoles, and higher price tag on most of their treadmills may mean that you might find better options with another retailer.

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Continued from above

If you can't set aside a dedicated space for your treadmill, there are excellent foldable models available. Collapsing your treadmill and wheeling it out of the way is a piece of cake.

Several different brands of treadmills exist today and range greatly in cost and quality. Before you make the move to purchase a treadmill, consider the following:

  • Cost.  What is the price range for the treadmills offered, and how does this compare with similar models from other brands?
  • Belt Width.  What is width of the treadmill? A small treadmill will be difficult for many people to walk or run in comfort.
  • Motor Size.  Motor size impacts the strength and smoothness of a treadmill. A good treadmill needs a decent motor size.
  • Return Policy.  Does the company enable you to return your product for a full refund?
  • Guarantee.  Should a piece or part of the treadmill break, does the company offer any warranty for replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best treadmills available today. We hope this information helps you find the right treadmill to meet your needs!

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