The quick answer is how long do you want it to last? There are many ways to ensure your treadmill can go the distance. The trick is how much love and care do you want to put into it.
A treadmill can be your best friend. It’s always there and ready to go either when the weather is bad, it’s dark outside, or you can’t find someone to watch the kids while you workout. It’s also a place to zone out and safely listen to some music or catch up on some episodes of your favorite show when you want to put in some miles.
The treadmill is a versatile exercise machine and it comes in many flavors. Price is typically a determination of quality and the old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here.
The treadmill’s components are a determination of quality. From the diameter of the rollers to the size of the motor to the construction of the deck and the type of electronics, all these pieces will determine how well crafted a machine is, its price point, and its longevity.
You’ll need to determine how best to match cost and quality but typically the larger the rollers, the more powerful the motor and the overall deck construction will be factors in top craftsmanship.
A large roller diameter is preferred as the larger size provides more surface area for the treadmill belt to cover. As a result, the belt does not have to be over-tightened which can lead to more friction and stress on the motor and electronics. Landice rollers range between 2.5 inches and 3.5 inches depending on the model, whereas most competitors use a 1.5 inch roller. Also, having a larger roller means you can have larger bearings. The first thing that fails in a roller is the bearing. The larger the bearing, the longer the life.
A strong and solid motor is important especially if you are going to be putting in the long miles. Horsepower (hp) is a measure of motor power, and runners will want a "continuous duty" rating for their home treadmill. Continuous duty means that the treadmill will run at its listed hp rating with a significant workload over extended periods of time without over heating. Be wary of manufacturers who list "peak-performance" hp ratings. The only thing peak performance indicates is a motor's maximum power, not its sustained output. Landice motors are 4 hp continuous-duty whereas many competitors are 1.5 hp to 3 hp. And Landice designs its home treadmills to health club standards meaning they are built to take a beating for 10-hours a day, 3,000 hours/year, and an average lifespan of 30 years.
How important is the construction of the deck? Often overlooked by consumers because it is covered by the treadmill belt, the deck, or bed is an important factor in quality. Better-quality decks are usually made of thin layers of laminated wood, coated with lubricants to minimize friction between the belt and deck, which in turn reduces strain on the motor. The smoother the deck coating, the less friction between the belt and deck.
Deck construction, more than the belt, influences how smooth or hard your treadmill feels to run on and how well it absorbs shock. You want a surface that gives a bit but doesn't bounce.
Better decks are reversible, meaning they can be turned over--thereby further adding life to the deck. Some decks require owner maintenance without which they may succumb in a year. Proper care, however, can extend a deck's life for the lifetime of the treadmill.
Landice uses a 1-inch thick deck, a no-maintenance lubrication system with a reversible deck system capable of handling up to 6,000 hours.
Even with all these components, proper care is still one of the most important areas to focus on once you have a treadmill. Even the top-of-line treadmill won’t last long if neglected and just used as an expensive clothes hangar. Dust and dirt are the primary enemies of treadmills. It can clog up the rollers, cause friction on the belt and even harm the electronics. Try and keep the treadmill clean and once a week, take a dry cloth and wipe up any dust between the belt and deck. Also keep the floor around your treadmill clean and free of dust. A rubberized treadmill mat will certainly help keep any debris from getting sucked into the machine.