Reviewers say every aspect of the LifeSpan TR4000i -- from its well-lit, easy-to-use controls to its smooth, efficient ride -- is well thought out. The only exception is its online workout log/USB thumb-drive interface, which could use a little more development.
A solid, gym-quality workout. Experts and owners agree: The LifeSpan TR4000i treadmill's 20-by-60-inch running deck and 3.25 continuous horsepower motor deliver a quiet, solid and smooth experience. "The treadmill has an excellent feel and is very joint friendly," says one runner who logs 35 to 40 miles each week. He adds that it's very quiet, so quiet he can run on it in the second-floor den in the early mornings without disturbing his family. "The deck felt very solid and smooth, no bounce," writes another Amazon.com reviewer.
Testers with Runner's World say about the same things: "We like the solid and secure feel of the TR4000i. The sturdy deck delivers a steady ride, and it boasts a surprisingly big running surface…for such a space-saving machine." They credit the deck's eight variable-density elastomer shocks for providing just the right amount of give as your feet hit, then a firm push-off for the next step. The TR4000i has 15 levels of incline adjustment and a max speed of 12 mph, although it takes a few seconds to get up to speed.
Operating at high inclines is a weak point for some treadmills. They tend to pick up too much speed due to gravity, but one reviewer says the TR4000i feels as solid at a fast walk with 15 percent incline as it does when walking flat. In a comparative expert test, the unit earns excellent marks for accommodating exercisers of different sizes.
Easy, intuitive controls. Reviewers are somewhat divided over the LifeSpan TR4000i's premiere feature: a USB port that allows you to store your workout metrics on a thumb drive for uploading to a workout log website. Experts praise the novel idea, but most consumer feedback at Amazon.com suggests it isn't well implemented. "To me, most of [the website] seemed like empty verbiage about workout effects that seem very questionable," says one user.
The TR4000i's other highlights are better received. Testers with Runner's World say they particularly appreciate how easy it is to hit the large speed and incline buttons while running. Others say both the wireless and handgrip heart-rate monitors work very well, and the user-defined programs are simple to set up. As far as assembly goes, however, one owner says it took three strong movers to get the treadmill down a flight of stairs.
High-quality components. In an unusual turn of events, one Amazon.com user found that his treadmill shocked him when he ran on it. LifeSpan customer service inquired about the grounding in his house and sent out a tech to investigate, but couldn't figure out a solution. Eventually, the user realized that he got shocked only when wearing a particular type of running shoes and on that specific machine.
Aside from that, owner reports about the TR4000i's durability are positive. "The control panel and electronics seem to be solid," says one, who recommends this machine to those who run 30 to 80 miles weekly. Mechanical components seem to be high quality, and the unit receives a "very good" rating for its construction from a leading consumer research organization.
You have good odds. The LifeSpan TR4000i is backed by a solid warranty with lifetime coverage on the frame and motor, five years on parts and one year for labor. The limited user feedback we found about the company's customer service is promising. A frequent runner posting to Amazon.com says LifeSpan was very responsive and helpful when he had issues uploading his workout metrics to the workout log website. Another reports good customer service until the third tech visit to his house, after which he didn't hear anything.
Review Credibility: Excellent The LifeSpan TR4000i is one of 49 treadmills tested in ConsumerReports.org's latest round of treadmill ratings. Each machine is evaluated in several categories, including ease of use and ergonomics, and assigned a comparative ranking. Full details are available to subscribers.
Review: Treadmills, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of October 2012
2. Runner's World
Review Credibility: Very Good Fourteen staffers test nine new treadmills at Runner's World. Each gets a brief paragraph of analysis but aren't compared to each other. Testers say they like this treadmill's solid feel and steady ride.
Review: Rise of the Machines, Lisa Jhung and Sean Downey, Jan. 12, 2010
Review Credibility: Good The editors of TreadmillDoctor.com give the Lifespan TR4000i good scores for walking area, value and warranty, noting that it's based on "a proven platform." They like the idea of USB updates, but think the idea won't be any good if it goes unused.
Review: Lifespan TR4000i Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Good About 10 reviewers weigh in here, giving the LifeSpan TR4000i an average score of 4.1 stars out of 5. We wish there were more comments to draw from, but this is enough to start sketching a general idea of user opinion.
Review: LifeSpan Fitness TR4000i Folding Treadmill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012