The treadmill is the most popular indoor exercise equipment due to the convenience and flexibility they provide. They provide all the health benefits of running, and they’re easily customizable, making them good for anyone at any fitness level. A compact treadmill for your home use is a great investment, but your responsibilities do not end at buying the best treadmill you can find. If you just bought a new treadmill or you have an older one that’s starting to decline in performance, you may be wondering, how long does a treadmill last?
A treadmill lasts, on average, 7 to 12 years, but many different factors can affect its lifespan.
Treadmills can be quite expensive, even more so if you want all those fancy features of today’s models. However, no matter how expensive or fancy your treadmill is, there will come a time when it wears out and stops performing as well as it used to do. Like any piece of equipment, your treadmill requires proper regular maintenance to help keep it running smoothly for as long as possible.
Below we will discuss the various factors that contribute to a treadmill’s expected life span and proper maintenance yours so you get the most out of your purchase.
How Long Do Treadmills Last?
Most retailers will say that the usual lifespan of treadmills is from 7 to 12 years, or 10 years on average. And with proper care and maintenance, most treadmills can last even longer than the average life span. There are three main factors that affect how long your treadmill will last, the quality of the machine, how often and how long you use it, and how well you maintain it.
The build quality and design can really determine not only the treadmill’s performance but also your experience when using it. A good treadmill should feel comfortable to walk and run on. Depending on your height or length of your stride, your treadmill should have the belt size you need made with quality materials. More compact treadmills, especially foldable ones, typically have less sturdy frames, which may need to be replaced sooner than permanently installed units.
The time you spend on your treadmill will also determine its lifespan. The impact of five to ten minute warm-ups on your treadmill will be much less than that of a full one-hour training. No matter how hard you may train, you want a treadmill that can withstand heavy use, especially if it’s going to be shared with multiple people in a household. But even if you use it everyday, you can reduce the effects of natural wear and tear on your treadmill if you how to take care of it properly.
What To Consider When Buying A Treadmill
Before you choose a treadmill, It’s essential to understand your body’s fitness level and any goals you’re trying to achieve. Look for a unit that offers all the necessary features for your purpose, including the speed range, belt size, incline levels, as well as extra features such as a heart rate monitor, interactive screen, and even Bluetooth capabilities.
You need to know the available speed range and what you need based on your intended purpose. If you’re only going to use the treadmill for walking during breaks or even while working, you can find a walkstation made for this purpose, with average speed range of 0.5 to 4 mph. They usually fit snugly under your desk or beneath furniture for storage. If you want to have more options to take a brisk walk, light jog, or an intense run, then you should look for a treadmill with a wider speed range. For advanced runners, you need at least 7.5 to 8 mph max speed limit.
Treadmill running at an incline requires more work from you, resulting in a faster heart rate even when moving at a lower speed. Most electric treadmills come with a customizable incline, although some need to be adjusted manually before starting your workout. High-end units come with automatic incline settings that allow you to change the incline level while running.
The treadmill belt rotates around the base as you run on the surface. Because of this, it can wear out over time and cause your running surface to feel harder and less comfortable than it should. Besides the cushion technology, it’s also important to consider the belt size of your treadmill, especially if you’re on the taller side. The belt size usually ranges from 14 to 22 inches in width and 40 to 60 inches in length.
Of course, home treadmills typically have a smaller belt than commercial-grade models. On average, a belt size of 16 inches by 50 inches should be a good size for most people. If you’re on the shorter side, a treadmill belt of 14 inches by 39 inches may be comfortable enough for walking, but for safety, you should try to stick to the higher end of the range.
The brand can also play a huge role in the overall quality and longevity of your treadmill. Some of the best high-end brands include NordicTrack, Bowflex, Proform, Peloton, and Sole Fitness. Most of these brands offer more customizable settings along with advanced features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities that allow you to track and record your workouts on a mobile app. For instance, all NordicTrack treadmills and Proform treadmills include an iFit membership trial, where you can access interactive training and live workouts on the touchscreen display.
More budget-friendly brands such as Sunny Health & Fitness, Xterra, Horizon, Schwinn, and GoPlus offer a wide range of options from the most basic foldable treadmills to feature-packed models. While the brand name and price aren’t a sure indicator of the treadmill’s lifespan, getting a unit from a reputable company will give you greater confidence in its quality.
Beside the brand’s history, it’s also important to consider the warranty coverage. Before you buy a treadmill or if you have an older unit, make sure you familiarize yourself with its warranty so you can benefit from free replacement parts or even a refund in case you encounter defective parts or are simply not satisfied with the product. Treadmills for home use typically come with a warranty period that lasts anywhere from one to five years. After this period, it’s normal to find some decline in the treadmill’s performance in the following years.
How to Maintain Your Treadmill
Even the best high-end treadmills will wear out over time. After you’ve picked the right treadmill for your home, you will need to perform some maintenance to keep it running well and make it last as long as possible. Your responsibilities include cleaning and lubricating your treadmill.
Cleaning Your Treadmill
Like any electric equipment, you need to keep you treadmill clean to help it last for as long as possible. From storage, regular use, to storage again, you must know how to properly maintain your treadmill. Firstly, you must make sure you have adequate space to place your treadmill for use and keep the area clean and free from any obstruction. If you have limited floor space, a foldable treadmill will be highly beneficial.
Remember to wipe down any sweat on your treadmill right after each use and definitely before putting it in storage. Once you get running, sweat can get on any surface, from the console, handrails, running deck, and even the frame. Make sure to wipe them with a clean, dry or damp cloth as soon as you can. Waiting to do so even for just an hour or two can cause stains or discolorations on different surfaces.
You should also check the belt and incline motor under the treadmill as dust, dirt, and hair can slip into these areas unnoticed. Use a vacuum to clean under your treadmill once evry one to three weeks. Wipe the belt with a damp cloth after each use and check whether you need to adjust it.
Lubricating Your Treadmill
You also need to lubricate your treadmill to keep it running smoothly. This is an important routine maintenance as the running belt is constantly in contact with you as you run on the deck. Lubrication protects both the running surface and the motor that keeps it running from wear and tear. Depending on your use, you should lubricate your treadmill about once every three months or after 130 miles.
The actual process differs per brand and model, so you should refer to the specific directions on the owner’s manual, but usually, all you need is a silicon-based lubricant. There should be a spray or oil you can use for a quick touch-up if you use your treadmill regularly. In any case, it’s always best to just follow your manual to keep your treadmill in excellent condition for a long time.
When to Replace Your Treadmill
Treadmills can get worn-out within years of regular use and this can be a safety hazard if you’re not careful. But this doesn’t mean you need to replace the whole thing right away. In most cases, you just need replacement parts and your treadmill can once again work as good as new.
Regular use will naturally wear out your treadmill belt. To check if the belt is worn out, run it at a slow speed. You should be able to walk smoothly without any sticking points on the running deck. Most belts should last you five to ten years but if you notice too much friction, it may be time to replace your belt.
The treadmill motor may also give out when overused. While a treadmill is not the most quiet exercise machine, most of the sound should come from the running belt and the impact of your shoes hitting the surface. If you notice any irregular sound coming from the motor, you should definitely get it checked or replaced if you have an older unit.
The treadmill frame can lose its sturdiness and stability after years of use. Once it starts getting too shaky, you might want to look into replacement parts if there are any; otherwise, it may be time to get a new treadmill to prevent potential accidents.
Electronic parts, sensors, and digital controls can also become problematic towards the end of your treadmill’s life. You can get them fixed if possible, but if the unit has been used for around seven years or longer, then it might be retire it and get a new one instead of spending money on repairs over and over.
Treadmills are a great solution to keep you moving and get a good cardio workout from the comfort of your home. After you’ve chose the best treadmill for your needs, it is your task to clean and maintain your treadmill regularly to keep it running smoothly and safely for a long time. The life of your treadmill will depend mostly on how often you use it and how well you maintain it, although a lot of other factors can also contribute to its performance and longevity. Most home treadmills can last around seven to ten years, but proper usage and maintenance can increase this period to 12 years and beyond. While the brand and price shouldn’t be the most important considerations, it’s generally better to go with a well-known brand to get more assurance on the performance and quality.