Treadmill Rating Sources
ConsumerReports.org tests nearly three dozen treadmills, including both folding and non-folding models. Testers use a rotating drum to simulate a half year of running on each unit, then inspect them for wear and tear. Editors rate each treadmill's ease of use, ergonomics and more. Recommended treadmills and best buy treadmills are named.
TreadmillDoctor.com is a fitness equipment services company with divisions for parts, extended service plans, on-site service, and consulting. This is one of the most prolific treadmill review sites on the Internet, and an explanation of their testing and rating criteria is available on the FAQ page. That's good, because the individual reviews are sparse: just numerical ratings on a variety of criteria plus a line or two on what makes a treadmill great -- or not so great. There's also good information about the manufacturer and the quality of its products and customer service. Punches aren't pulled, and many lower-priced treadmills -- including ones it names as top picks in their price categories -- get highly negative reviews.
Owned by an Internet treadmill retailer, Treadmill.com, Pulse is a "community site for runners," with tips and occasional product reviews. With that in mind, the reviews here appear to be balanced and appropriately critical. Michael Jackness's write ups do rely a little too much on an analysis of features, but there is also ample evidence that he has tested out most if not all of the treadmills covered. No treadmills are specifically recommended, but there's enough variation in ratings to help readers zero in on top choices.
Amazon.com is a great source for user reviews of treadmills. While some models only get a handful of reports, others get feedback from hundreds of users. Many write-ups are detailed, and reflect usage over a long period of time. Comments regarding durability and customer service can be particularly helpful in identifying top choices.
This site rates and reviews more than 100 different treadmills, and the reviews are detailed and thorough. The overall assessments are based on the author's research, including interviewing treadmill manufacturers and dealers, as well as customer comments. Best Buy rated treadmills are also personally tested. Individual write-ups are critical and steer buyers away from underperforming models. Site author Fred Waters is a former executive of Smooth Fitness.
Runner's World tests a variety of treadmills, giving each a thorough review including "the good" and "gripes." Reviews are short, however, and the treadmills are not ranked against each other. Some, but not all of the write ups are augmented by brief videos. This page also includes informational articles on treadmill accessories, running shoes for treadmills and buying guides. Links deeper into the site lead to more treadmill-related information as well as some additional treadmill reviews.
Dick's Sporting Goods offers more than 25 treadmill models. Most treadmills receive just a few user reviews, if any, though others get dozens; a couple get more than 100 reviews. Reviewers can also say if they would recommend the treadmill to others.
Sears.com carries a variety of popular treadmill brands including NordicTrack, ProForm and LifeFitness. Again, most garner just a handful of comments from owners, although others draw enough feedback to be meaningful.
Walmart.com sells treadmills of all types, though budget models costing less than $500 get the lions' share of reviews -- hundreds in some cases. Comments tend to be brief, but owners can leave a bottom line assessment on whether or not they would recommend a specific treadmill to a friend.
TreadmillReviews.net is a prolific reviewer of treadmills in all price ranges, with the site's four top picks appearing on this page. We would rate this site higher except that there's no information on how -- or if -- site "running guru" Amanda Brooks or anyone else personally tested any of the reviewed treadmills. That said, the advice here seems sound and based on good knowledge of treadmills in general, and there's sufficient variability in ratings to lend the recommendations here some credibility.
Most reviewers don't look at manual treadmills but this round-up at Livestrong.com gives some basic information regarding the available options. Though it's older, most of the manual treadmills covered here remain available. There's no sign, however, that any of these treadmills have been tested by the author.