There is an article today in the Top/Recent Marathon News section entitled "Home Treadmills enjoying a run of popularity." The article implies that you need to spend $1500 or more for a good treadmill. Here is my take.
Almost all treadmills under $2000 are said to be manufactured by Icon Sports. That company builds treadmills under the Proform, Reebok, HealthRider, Weider, Image, etc. names. The treadmills are marketed over the internet and in stores such as Sears and Sports Authority, using different model numbers for the different channels.
I purchased my Proform over the net (www.proform.com) in late 2000 for $800, plus $125 for a 3-year in-home warranty, plus state tax. Shipping from Roadway was included. The belt is adequate at 19"x55". Speeds go to 10 MPH and inclines to 10%. A heart rate chest strap (included) sends my BPM to the console (the strap is a $95 extra on some models). Cushioning is excellent because I have the treadmill on top of my basement's concrete slab, a builder's grade pad, a builder's grade carpet, a remnant-sized piece of 5-pound padding (the best available from a rug store), a Berber remnant, and a rubber treadmill pad. That is 5 layers of padding and carpet!
Anyway, I find my low-priced home treadmill to be noisier but just as satisfactory as the much more expensive units at my office's gym. The warranty insures that it will stay satisfactory for at least 3 years.
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