With its solid construction and effective features, the Landice L7 Pro Sports Trainer (Est. $3,500) gets top scores from expert reviewers and is our best-reviewed treadmill. If that price is too high, the Precor 9.23 is a particularly good value for serious runners. The Landice's running belt is one inch longer than the Precor's, and it sports a motor with 4 continuous-horsepower (chp) versus the Precor's 3 chp. These stable, durable machines can maintain their maximum speed of 12 mph at a steep incline, without fear of the belt lurching or slipping. The Landice L7 draws praise for its great programmability, but the Precor's lower price and responsive controls make it a favorite as well.
The Sole F80 (Est. $1,500) also draws kudos from experts and users. However, like the Sole F85 , it's somewhat slow to change speed and incline. The Sole F63 has won several awards and attracts plenty of kudos too, but all three models suffer from intermittent quality-control problems -- particularly with the electronics. The Vision Fitness T10 , formerly the T9200 Simple, better matches our best-reviewed model's toughness (and comes with an impressive five-year parts warranty, plus one year of labor coverage and a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor), but it has almost no features, not even preprogrammed workouts.
The Landice L7 packs preset workouts and many other extras onto a console that's almost too complex, reviewers say -- but you can always tone that down by purchasing a different console option on the same treadmill body. The Landice L7 Pro Trainer (Est. $3,500) is mechanically identical to all the other Landice L7 treadmills, but has the simplest of the four available consoles.
Another close contender, the ProForm Power 995 is dependable and has lots of features, but its 3-chp motor struggles to maintain even speed when operated at steep inclines. In addition, while the Landice L7 stands out for its bumper-to-bumper warranty, owners say warranty service for the Power 995 is terrible. If you sell your Landice treadmill, you can also transfer the warranty to the new owner -- a perk that's practically unheard of in the fitness equipment industry.
The LifeSpan TR4000i (Est. $1,700) delivers a gym-quality workout at speeds up to 12 mph, and the scant user feedback we found indicates customer service is prompt and responsive; we'll be watching this model closely for future reports. The Life Fitness F1 Smart (Est. $2,250) offers slow but smooth transitions between speed and incline settings, excellent cushioning and an energy-saver feature. However, its meager 2.5-chp motor keeps it out of the running for a top spot here, and of the very few user reviews it's accumulated, a significant proportion raise concerns about quality control. The customer service experience is up in the air as well, with a warning from one Amazon.com user that "service [is] unreliable." The True PS300 has a long, stable running belt, but its 3-horsepower motor isn't identified as "continuous duty" and owners suggest that customer service may be lacking there, too.
The Epic A42T Platinum (Est.$2,000) receives a "best new treadmill" award from TreadmillDoctor.com, and users offer unreserved praise for its sturdy, stable feel underfoot and smooth speed transitions all the way up to 12 mph. They also love its rare ability to decline. However, they struggle to get its touch-screen tablet console working properly and consistently. The tablet controls the entire treadmill, so if it doesn't work, you're out of luck.
Users also say Epic's customer service is poor. (Epic, ProForm, NordicTrack, Weslo and a few other brands all fall under the umbrella of Icon Health and Fitness, and all draw, at best, mixed reviews for customer service.)
That said, the Epic A42T is mechanically sound enough that if the manufacturer can just get the tablet and customer service issues under control, you may see this treadmill climb the rankings in the years to come. In the meantime, the Landice L7 Pro Sports Trainer remains at the top of the heap, delivering everything you could possibly want in a serious running treadmill: smooth power, lots of preprogrammed workouts, great durability and even a transferable warranty.
Of the treadmill desks we evaluated, both the notoriously picky TreadmillDoctor.com and about a hundred happy Amazon.com users pick the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 (Est. $1,500) as the best value. The TR1200 designation refers to the treadmill base, which has a high torque, 2.25 continuous-horsepower motor with a maximum speed of 4 mph. The TR1200-DT5 is rated for up to six hours of use per day and can support a user weighing as much as 350 pounds.
If you are comfortable investing $1,000 more, the LifeSpan TR5000-DT5 (Est. $2,500) has a souped-up 3 continuous-horsepower, high-torque motor. It's rated for up to 10 hours of use per day and is reinforced to support up to 400-pound user. Both treadmills have a manual-adjust desktop that can be set anywhere from 36 to 52 inches high -- appropriate for users anywhere from 4 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet, 8 inches tall.
You'll need a friend's help (or have to do some interesting acrobatics) to adjust the desktop height. For another $500, you can upgrade to the TR1200-DT7 (Est. $2,000) or TR5000-DT7 (Est. $3,000) , which feature the same treadmill bases, but desktop height can be adjusted electronically.
Both treadmill desks have 20-by-56-inch walking belts, providing plenty of room for even tall users to walk slowly. (Most treadmill desk users say they're most comfortable -- and productive -- while walking 1 to 2 mph.) And in both cases, users are thrilled by the enormous, stable workspace that doesn't rattle as you walk. They also say the treadmill itself is so quiet, the person at the other end of a phone call won't even hear it.
As much as owners like the mechanical aspect of the LifeSpan treadmill desks, some of the other features still have bugs that need to be worked out. Not many users are fans of the Bluetooth-enabled desktop app (compatible with both PC and Apple computers) that's meant to sync your workout data between treadmill and computer. Several others are upset you cannot upload multiple data sets per user, per day, to the LifeSpan web portal; and still others complain the treadmill "forgets" its speed settings when paused.
This may simply be a case of implementing too many advanced features at once. The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 and TR5000-DT5 are covered by the same warranty: lifetime on the frame, three years on the motor, two for parts and one for service. Given the good mechanical record for these LifeSpan treadmills (and reports of satisfactory customer service), we're eager to see how they refine their treadmill desk offerings in the years to come.