The Sole F80 faces a lot of competition in one of the most crowded price ranges, but most reviewers say it offers sturdy, proven performance at a good price. They like its long, spacious belt, stable construction and powerful motor, although it does adjust speed relatively slowly.
It suits runners. Owners and experts alike say the Sole F80 provides powerful, reliable performance for runners at a relative bargain price. "This is the least expensive model we feel comfortable recommending for runners who train," write the editors of TreadmillDoctor.com. The already impressive 3-continuous-horsepower (chp) motor and 20-by-60-inch running belt have been upgraded to 3.5 chp and 22 by 60 inches -- plenty of room for tall, long-legged runners.
Some owners say the F80's relatively slow speed changes can make interval training a challenge, but others are willing to adapt. "As long as it's consistent I can deal with it," writes a Sears.com reviewer.
Intuitive console design. Fred Waters of Treadmill-Ratings-Reviews.com praises the F80 for its intuitive and "visually appealing" console layout; all readout information displays simultaneously. Quickset keys and handrail-mounted controls make it easy to change speed and incline quickly.
The two customizable programs are a big hit with users; the F80 also offers six preset programs and two heart rate control programs. When it comes to assembly, most report that the F80 comes together with little fuss in an hour or less. It folds easily but is extremely heavy.
Although the F80 has built-in speakers, most say they're barely adequate. Almost everyone also agrees that the built-in cooling fans do little to nothing.
Sole has a good track record. User-reviewers and several experts -- including Fred Waters and the editors of TreadmillDoctor.com -- say the Sole F80 offers "quality components at a moderate price." We found just a few complaints about wiring issues that seem best resolved by dealing directly with the manufacturer.
Meanwhile, several heavier (250-pound-plus) users at Sears.com praise the F80 for its sturdiness and stability. "This treadmill is like a rock. I weigh around 250, and it doesn't move, shake, rattle or squeak," exclaims one satisfied owner.
Backed by a solid warranty. Most users call Sole's customer service friendly and effective. As one Amazon.com contributor writes (regarding an older model), "[They offer] excellent customer service! I had an issue with my treadmill, and the customer service team was very prompt on responding and helping me out." Fred Waters of Treadmill-Ratings-Reviews.com agrees, writing, "It appears Sole does an excellent job standing behind their products." He adds that the only customer service complaints he's received aren't related to Sole at all, but instead to a retailer that provides its own service. Some users recommend buying directly from Sole to avoid this problem.
The Sole F80 receives a Best Buy designation from Treadmill Doctor; this prolific reviewer has often ranked the F80 near the top in its category. Editors rate the treadmill in eight categories including power, reliability and noise level, and offer brief review comments as well.
Review: Sole F80 Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, As of November 2013
2. Treadmill-Ratings- Reviews.com
Fred Waters, a former executive with Smooth Fitness, names the Sole F80 a Best Buy for several years running. He describes it as "a solid performer with an impressive service record."
Review: Sole F80 Treadmill Rating & Review, Fred Waters, As of November 2013
Review Credibility: Good In TreadmillDoctor.com's 2012 rankings, the Sole F80 places third in its price range. Last year it was designated a Best Buy. Editors rate the treadmill in eight categories including power, reliability and noise level, but provide only brief ratings details.
Review: Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill (New 2013 Model), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013
About 16 Sears.com users review the latest version of the Sole F80, giving it a 4-star rating. We found a few complaints about durability and service -- which appear to be complaints about Sears' service department, not Sole's -- but otherwise users say the treadmill is stable and performs well.
Review: Sole F80 Treadmill- 2013 Model, Contributors to Sears.com, As of November 2013