The ProForm Performance 600 is a good option in the less-than-$1,000 price range if you're more interested in walking than running. It draws expert praise for its ergonomics, plentiful features and relatively strong warranty, but it isn't designed to withstand heavy use.
Good for the price. The Performance 600 gets excellent scores for its ergonomics from a leading consumer research magazine, but only average scores for power from TreadmillDoctor.com. The 20-by-55-inch walking area is a respectable size for a treadmill in this price range, but long-legged users may feel cramped. The 2.5 continuous horsepower motor is also a step up, allowing a maximum speed of 12 mph and up to a 12 percent incline. "This motor will handle walkers and light joggers without straining," says Fred Waters of Treadmill-Ratings-Reviews.com.
Feature-rich. Like most treadmills manufactured by Icon Health & Fitness, ProForm's parent company, the Performance 600 comes loaded with features including iFit, in-console speakers and a workout fan. It's also compatible with Nike+. "You absolutely get more for the value," writes one owner on ProForm.com.
Waters singles out iFit Live's ability to simulate real-world terrain using Google Maps as one of this treadmill's more interesting features. iFit Live also lets you download personalized workout programs to supplement the Performance 600's impressive selection of 16 preprogrammed workouts.
The Performance 600 isn't compatible with wireless heart-rate monitors, but does have handgrip heart-rate sensors. Like most such monitors, however, they draw criticism from consumers. "They do not give a reading anywhere close to accurate," reports one.
Comments about assembly range from "no trouble" to three hours. While the consensus is that you can set up this treadmill by yourself, some complain that there are too many parts to deal with even though they come neatly packaged and labeled.
It's a good value. Durability usually isn't a strong suit for treadmills in this price range, and the ProForm Performance 600 is no different. It gets only mediocre scores for its build quality and durability in one professional comparative test. Waters warns that the 600 isn't a heavy-duty running machine, and recommends it for moderate use by walkers or joggers. Although owners agree that the 600 represents a great value, they don't say much about its long-term performance.
Good warranty coverage. The few user reviews we found come straight from the manufacturer's website, so we take the lack of commentary about customer service with a grain of salt. However, the Performance 600 has a good warranty for a treadmill in this price range: lifetime protection on the frame and motor, two years for parts and one for labor. "Not bad for a budget treadmill," Waters says.
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors test nearly 50 treadmills, including the ProForm Performance 600. Machines are evaluated in several categories, including ergonomics, safety, construction and ease of use. Full details are available to subscribers.
Review: Treadmills, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of October 2012
2. Treadmill-Ratings- Reviews.com
Review Credibility: Very Good Waters, a former executive with Smooth Fitness, selects the ProForm Performance 600 as the Best Value Buy for 2012. He says it's best suited for use by walkers and moderate joggers.
Review: 2012 "Best Buy" Treadmills, Fred Waters, Oct. 30, 2012
3. Treadmill-Ratings- Reviews.com
Review Credibility: Very Good Waters expands on his initial rating of the ProForm Performance 600, offering commentary and pointing out limitations of its major features.
Review: ProForm Performance 600 Treadmill Review, Fred Waters, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Good The editors of TreadmillDoctor.com review nearly every treadmill in production, assigning ratings in eight categories along with an overall score. They describe the Performance 600 as "not a bad choice but not a great choice either," saying it falls short in some critical areas.
Review: ProForm Performance 600 Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, As of October 2012
Review Credibility: Fair More than 15 owners post feedback on the ProForm Performance 600 on the manufacturer's website. Overall, they give the treadmill 4.8 stars out of 5. We're wary of such unbridled enthusiasm on a manufacturer's site -- the lowest score given is 4 stars -- but there is some constructive criticism included with the praise.
Review: ProForm Performance 600, Contributors to ProForm.com, As of October 2012