By Simon Gould
Treadmills can last many years. There are ways to make sure you get a long lasting treadmill by picking the right one and maintaining it. The thing is treadmills are expensive and you want yours to last as long as possible. We’re talking years and many miles, so here I go through how to pick the best for you and maintain it.
So how long will a treadmill last?
Generally, you’re looking at 7 to 12 years with about 10 being the average. This is what the manufacturers say. Of course, if you take care of yours it may well last longer. Regular maintenance should make it last longer and work better. If you don’t regularly lubricate the belt then other parts of the treadmill will struggle like the motor.
Treadmills are like cars where the occasional part may go wrong and need to be replaced or the motor may need work. These things are to be expected and are not a sign that the treadmill is on its last legs. This is what the treadmill is for so if you have a failed motor 4 years after buying the treadmill, the lifetime parts warranty will cover the cost of the motor but you’ll have to pay the labor.
Some treadmills can last a lot longer
I’ve worked around treadmills for years and I’ve spoken to people who’ve had the same treadmill for 15 and 20+ years. Sometimes you get lucky, or if you don’t use it a lot, it will tend to last longer. Buying a reliable and durable treadmill is what most of us try to do. There are brands out there that do seem to last longer.
Bowflex* is a treadmill brand that has a reputation for long-lasting machines. They start from just over a thousand dollars and are very big and heavy. But you get what you pay for. They’re not big on entertainment or other features but their users swear by their durability and lifespan. I’ve never owned one but I’ve always heard good things.
Picking the right treadmill
One of the ways you can ensure your treadmill lasts is to buy the right one in the first place. There are two ways you can make sure the one you choose will last. The first is the warranty. The warranty is a guide in the confidence the manufacturer has in it’s own product. They don’t want to make multiple repairs if their treadmill won’t last the warranty.
The warranties you need to look for are the parts, motor and most importantly labor. Labor is very important because this is the costliest of the work done to repair a machine. The labor you want is 2 years or more, this represents a good treadmill that’s designed to last. For electronics, you want 5 years or more and for parts and motor we would look for a lifetime.
The second way you can pick the right treadmill to buy is the cost itself. You’re going to have to pay a bit more for a treadmill that will last. It’s a fact that cheap machines are cheap for a reason and they usually have very short warranties. We would pay around $1,500 and upwards to ensure you’re getting a good product for the home.
You can go as high as $5,000 and a lot higher and you’ll get a great treadmill. But you don’t need to go so high and not many people can afford to spend that amount anyway. Another thing we would recommend is home assembly. This way you get it put in the right room and assembled by a professional who’s done these many times before.
Having the treadmill assembled will cost you $100 – $200. The reason why I recommend it is, it often takes two people to lift and take it in the right room especially treadmills with good warranties as they’re heavy. Plus if you try to assemble it yourself it will take time and you may not fit some of the parts correctly. Always pay for it.
Maintain your treadmill
This is something you could pay for or you can do it yourself. You could pay for an annual service if you can afford it. However, the most important part of the maintenance will need to be done more often than once per year. This is lubricating the belt and is something you can do, there are videos on youtube as to how to do it. See this easy treadmill maintenance schedule.
I have created a page on how to lubricate your treadmill. Remember not to use any old household lubrication. You need special silicone-based lube and this “treadmill lube”, as it’s called, is cheaply available everywhere. Always check with the manufacturer of the machine to see if they make a lube you can buy for their machines. This way you know it will work.
The alternative to buying your own treadmill is running outside or using a gym or health club. The cost of a gym can equal that of a treadmill after a few years but you have the facilities of the gym you can enjoy. Owning your own treadmill you have to consider where to put it and if there is going to be undue noise to family or neighbors.
Moving treadmills if you move home can be a major task, moving an assembled machine, one that could weigh 300 lbs, is not something I would envy. You would certainly need two people to do that and even more with stairs. We think home treadmills represent a good investment even if many people will use theirs just because the weather is bad and you can’t run outside.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*