RW’s Treadmills Reviews

True 500 HRC0 £3608

Defining features 5 heart-rate control programmes; 4 further programmes/9 levels; 12mph; 51x137cm; 0-15°; 2.5HP; non-folding
Warranty 5 years motor, belt, deck and rollers; 1 year labour
Pros Extremely solid build; huge, smooth motor; wide deck; good cushioning and stability; heart-rate control is really useful; fast top speed; high elevation
Cons Not the longest belt; handrails are an optional extra
In short The professional’s choice. Beneath the useful features and easy-to-use control panel beats a heavy-duty, low-maintenance treadmill that will last for years. Testers found it smooth, stable and natural, and appreciated its high top speed.
Best if you’re a high-mileage runner, a runner who wants to do speedwork above six-minute miling, or you simply want one of the best home treadmills around.
Contact: 0161-678 9836; www.truefitness.com
(*Best big-budget buy*)

Tunturi T-Track £2999

Defining features Preset programmes based on personal goals (eg weight loss, fitness development); heart-rate control; 8-user memory; 10mph; 150x50cm; 0-10°; 2.0HP; folding; this version with ‘Gamma 300’ console
Warranty 3 years motor; 1 year parts and labour
Pros Sophisticated programmes; backlit screen; long running deck; good handrails
Cons Slow response to speed and gradient changes; small motor for price; small control buttons; required regular adjustment
In short Not a favourite, because of its lack of user-friendliness and its modest power. Testers felt it was a useful motivational treadmill because of its unique programme approach, but became easily frustrated with its slow response.
Best if you’re a more recreational runner who likes your work-out to be guided by the treadmill, and you’re happy to sacrifice some other qualities for that. Also, if you don’t need to go faster than six-minute miling.
Contact: 0115-981 0205; www.tunturi.com

Bodyguard Champlain £2895

Defining features 9 programmes, inc heart-rate control (various difficulty options per programme); heart-rate lock feature; programme memory; electronic stride control to stop belt slipping; 12mph; 51x142cm; 0-15°; 2.5HP; non-folding
Warranty 3 years parts and labour
Pros Excellent heart-rate control; good on-screen instructions; clear display; smooth and stable; fast top speed
Cons Small handrails; firm cushioning doesn’t appeal to all
In short A well-thought-out and solidly- constructed machine. It is stable, with a high top speed, and its crowning glory is its easy-to-use programmes. Heart-rate control is easy and the programmes cover a wide range of difficulty levels. You can also save your own manual session after you’ve finished it, so you can repeat it next time. Some testers found the platform good and responsive; others would have preferred it to be softer.
Best if you train by heart rate, and you want as good a treadmill you can get without spending over £3000. Especially good for faster or heavier runners.
Contact: 01332 295323; www.bodyguard-fitness.co.uk
(*Best below £3000*)

Life Fitness T5i £2895

Defining features 12 programmes (various difficulty options per programme); heart-rate control; quick-start walk/jog/run buttons; 4-user memory (weight/age); 12mph; 51x147cm; 0-15°; 2.7HP; non-folding
Warranty 5 years motor; 3 years parts; 1 year labour
Pros Plenty of programmes; long running deck; fast top speed; large, clear buttons; powerful motor
Cons Not the most intuitive machine to use, despite plenty of on-screen instructions; slow acceleration
In short This has no problems with top speed or build quality, and it’s easier to use than it initially appears, once you learn to program it. Would you choose it over the same-priced Bodyguard though? Maybe if you prefer the big control buttons and the slightly wider range of programmes. The rides have a similar firm quality.
Best if you’re looking for a lot of preset programmes; also if you have a particularly long stride.
Contact: 01353 666017; www.lifefitness.com

Trimline 7600 £2249

Defining features 12 programmes, inc 2 heart-rate controlled and 3 manually programmed; basic fitness test; 11mph; 51x145cm; 0-12°; 2.7HP; non-folding
Warranty 5 years motor; 2 years parts and labour
Pros Big, clear buttons; informative display; easy to use
Cons Less stable at high speeds; heavier runners found belt slipped
In short A perfectly competent machine which has a powerful motor, a good user interface and all the basic programmes, but lacks a little finesse at speed.
Best if you’re going to be doing long stretches of mid-paced running, or you simply want a bigger-then-average motor for less than £2500.
Contact: 0115-981 0205; www.hebbindinc.com

Reebok ACD1-Pro £1999

Defining features 6 programmes, plus I-Fit, which can control the treadmill via video, CD or computer; range of ‘instant speed’ buttons; 10mph; 48x127cm; 0-10°; 2.75HP; heart-rate display; folding
Warranty 3 years motor; 1 year parts and labour
Pros Clear, bright display; adaptable programmes; motivational option via I-Fit; no intrusive motor housing
Cons Limited guidance on console; noisy; only 10mph
In short Another machine that’s high on motivational features, such as a fat-calorie-burning display and – more importantly – the option of linking up to special work-out videos and CDs that control the treadmill. A very stable (but creaky) base, and fair cushioning are in its favour, but it wasn’t the most intuitive machine to use.
Best if you want to connect the machine to a multimedia work-out programme.
Contact: 020 7816 5353; www.reebokfitness.com

Vision 8200HRC £1799

Defining features 6 programmes, inc simple heart-rate control; 10mph; 42x137cm; 0-10°; 2.0HP; folding
Warranty 5 years motor; 2 years parts/electrics; 1 year labour
Pros Very stable and quiet; simple, well-designed controls; good handrails
Cons Narrow belt; belt ends close to console, which is disconcerting at first; most programmes use low speeds
In short Excellent stability and solid feel, especially for the price. Straightforward programmes are easy to set up (you set either speed or elevation; the machine automatically alters the other element). The purchase price seems to go mostly into the build quality and the smooth motor, as the running area is fairly small, but most testers quickly got used to this.
Best if you want a machine that’s built for durability, you probably won’t use the programmes, and you are happy on a narrower belt.
Contact: 01782 749100; www.visionfitness.co.uk
(*Best below £2000*)

Kettler Marathon £1725

Defining features 20 programmes, inc heart-rate control and user programmes; 11mph; 51x130cm; 0-15°; 2.5HP; non-folding
Warranty 2 years motor, 1 year parts and labour
Pros Stable; good acceleration; excellent controls; fairly quiet
Cons Gradient could respond faster; not the longest belt; requires frequent lubrication
In short Performs like a more expensive machine, with a solid base, a strong motor, heart-rate control and plenty of programme options. Testers liked its straightforward display and controls.
Best if you want a treadmill that can take you up to 5:30 miling, without remortgaging your home.
Contact: 01527 591901; www.kettler.net

Trimline 2650 £1449

Defining features 4 programmes, plus 2 user programmes; 10mph; 45x124cm; 0-10°; 2.0HP; folding
Warranty 5 years motor; 2 years parts; 1 year labour
Pros Clear readout with user-friendly controls; good acceleration and elevation speed; good side handles
Cons Relatively narrow belt; moderate suspension; slight wobble
In short An easy-to-use treadmill with a good enough motor for a regular runner, but without the heavy-duty feel of the more expensive models.
Best if you want a simple, reliable treadmill, you don’t need many preset programmes, and you can live with a slightly narrow belt and lightweight feel.
Contact: 0115-981 0205; www.hebbindinc.com
(*Best below £1500*)

JK-Exer 938B £1099

Defining features 5 programmes; 10mph; 43x133cm; 0-12°; 1.7HP; folding
Warranty 12 months parts and labour
Pros Uncomplicated; clear display; surprisingly stable
Cons Inflexible programmes; sluggish acceleration and elevation
In short No fancy graphics here – an LCD display simply shows speed, distance, time, calories and the programme you’re in. The lack of sophistication can be frustrating, as can the fact that the timer only counts backwards, for example, but it’s a perfectly runnable machine with a good, stable feel.
Best if you want a treadmill for steady running and don’t have complex interval sessions as a high priority; also if you don’t need to go above six-minute miling.
Contact: 0115-981 6500; www.cvfitness.com

Proform 570 £800

Defining features No programmes; sliding speed control; 10mph; 40x127cm; 0-10°; 2.0HP; folding
Warranty 12 months parts and labour
Pros Simple; nice speed control slider
Cons Short, narrow belt; no elevation display; top speed wavers (from 9.5-9.75mph)
In short This was surprisingly okay, as far as it went. It was stable enough (albeit with wobbly handrails) and its acceleration was fine, though it wouldn’t quite reach its stated top speed. Not surprisingly, it was easy to use (though changing from kilometres to miles involves dismantling the console!). Our main reservation is long-term durability – although we have heard positive reports.
Best if you want to trot out a few miles in occasional emergencies.
Contact: 0113-387 7122; www.proform.com

Back to main introduction