For many, finding a good treadmill can be a time consuming and challenging task. There are many options out there. You can purchase new from a specialty store, box store or online store. Or you can look at the “used market”.
In the last 10 years I have purchased countless numbers of used treadmills, being armed with good information is key to getting a good buy. I am going to give you a list of things to consider when getting a used treadmill.
1. Who made the treadmill: There are many different manufacturers of treadmills and each of them is going to have a different philosophy when making them. When looking for a used treadmill I try to look mostly just at treadmills that were made for specialty or high end use, usually these machines cost over $1800 when they were new. Since these machines were made to go over 10k miles, they should still have a lot of life in them even if they were used regularly and if they need service they are usually pretty easy to work on. Economy treadmills (box store treadmills) on the other hand are not designed for the long haul, they are designed for affordability. They historically brake easily under strain and are in many cases surprisingly hard to fix. If the treadmill is over 5 years old I don’t recommend box store treadmills at all. If it was made after 2008 then the quality control of most companies have improved to the point were I would feel much more comfortable with there durability (still not nearly as comfortable as the high end companies).
Quick list of high quality manufacturers in the last 10 years: Bodyguard, Landice, Lifefititness, Pacemaster, Precor and True.
2. How old is the treadmill: It is good to find out if how old the machine is for a couple of reasons. Newer machines usually have less use on them and parts are usually much easier to get. Surprisingly, with the higher quality machines, they really are not any more durable now then they were 10 years ago.. so as long as the machine is in great shape then age wouldn’t be a big detractor for me in terms of durability. However there can be differences in terms of features or noise (generally the older treadmills were a little noisier, has nothing to do with durability). If you go with one of the lower quality manufacturers I would try to find a treadmill made in 2008 or later, there quality has greatly improved as of late.
3. How much was the treadmill used: This is an important thing to consider. Some of the high quality treadmills actually have a built in odometer that can show how many miles were logged if you go into the diagnostics (I have seen home use Precor treadmills with close to 20k miles… amazing). Treadmills have a couple of wear components that are guaranteed to eventually need replacement, the more it was used the more likely those parts are slightly worn already.
4. Where was the treadmill located when it was being used: This can be important. I have seen treadmills that are over 10 years old and have been used almost daily that show very little signs of wear because the owners did a great job keeping it clean. I have also seen treadmills that were only used occasionally but stored in a dirty environment like a garage. These treadmills end up with dirt in the motor area and imbedded into the fibers between the belt and the deck of the treadmill. Nothing destroys a treadmill faster than a dirty environment.
5. Who used the Treadmills: Was the owner a 120lb jogger or a 320lb. walker. The heavier the user the greater the strain on the treadmill.
After considering those things you will eventually find yourself a used treadmill, before purchasing the treadmill make sure to check a couple of things before you make the purchase.
1. Make sure all the buttons on the display are functioning correctly.
2. Speed the treadmill all the way up and back down, listen for any odd noises coming from the drive system. The motor should have some “air noise” and should make some noise but you shouldn’t hear knocking noise squealing. Also listen for any noise coming from the rollers. Sometimes you can hear odd noises because of some moving part coming in contact with cosmetic piece like a roller end cap or front motor cover.. this is not a big deal and can easily be fixed by simple adjustments.
3. Give the treadmill a test run, adjust the speed and incline and look for any “odd noises” again, a treadmill does have a lot of moving parts so should have some noise.
4. Check the condition of the deck and running belt. This is A BIG DEAL and the 1st thing I check on any treadmill. TURN OFF THE TREADMILL and reach under the belt and feel the top of the running deck, look to feel any grooves or scratches on the surface. What you are wanting is a nice smooth surface. Next stand on the running belt and manually walk the running belt with your feet. (stand on the belt, hold onto the handrails and push with your feet). If the belt moves easily then the belt and deck are in good shape and your motor and electronics won’t be under any excessive strain. If it is difficult to move the belt by pushing it with your feet, the belt and deck are either worn or need of lubrication.. chances are they are already worn.
5. Last ask to see under the motor cover. Usually it’s just a couple of screws holding it down. When the cover is taken off you will see if the machine has properly been maintained. What you are hoping to find is a clean motor compartment, what you commonly find is a very dirty motor compartment.
If you go by the information provided you should be able to find a good used treadmill and not get a raw deal. After you get your treadmill make sure to keep it lubricated and clean.
The picture provided is one of me and a used treadmill we sold earlier this week. Feel free to contact us about purchasing used treadmills that are in great condition. We even provide a warranty with everything we sell.