With running gradually becoming the most popular type of sport in the United States and many other countries abroad, the race not only to get healthy but to also find the best way to go about and run becomes more intense as a result. There is suddenly much more way you can run, more steps to take, and guides to follow in order to get the best efficiency out of your ordinary running schedule.
But not a lot of people have the time to do all of those things. Your average 9 to 5 workers won’t be able to set out the time necessary to do each step perfectly. It is even truer for busier people – which takes up a large portion of the modern society – who cannot find a suitable slot of time for them to exercise the traditional way: Just step outdoor and run a course through the city blocks.
This is where, thankfully, treadmills come in. They’re the perfect substitute and the compact, all-in-one package for people of all background to partake in this wonderful little activity not only to amuse themselves on the free time available but to keep their health in tip-top shape.
But just like I’ve mentioned at the very beginning of the article, now that running has become one of the most popular forms of the sport globally, the process of how a person would begin their run has furcated considerably. Including the tools to begin running.
With the traditional way, you can start the run with a good pair of trainers, maybe a good playlist, and earphones. But for the more modern, artificial approach with a treadmill, you’re going to have chosen from probably tens of thousands of treadmills available right on the market out there and from a pool of manufacturers that are both well-known and … shady. For the unprepared mind, this can really be a headache.
Well, if you’re not aware, we’re here to help! (You look for this, anyway) And for this article, I have selected out four treadmills for you to consider. To make the process less complicated, the article is limited down to the treadmills made by ProForm, a reputable exercise equipment manufacturer, only.
ProForm is one of the oldest, experienced, as well as a well-known player in the exercise equipment industry. If you’re a regular gym-goer and have been to a couple of them, chances are, you’ve seen one of their treadmills somewhere – but of course, not everyone paid attention to the brand other than the fact that it works well or not.
Attesting to the company’s veteran status in the industry is its rich history of almost 3 decades designing and manufacturing treadmills that had garnered quite an impressive amount of positive reviews. It is with that excellence they have managed to put into the treadmills that had sustained them for such a long time, especially in such a competitive industry. Since they’re still alive and kicking at this moment in time and still releasing new products annually with an overall good response, we have quite of a good reason to consider them as a good company to dedicate an entire article to.
Now that we’ve gotten it out of the way, let’s get to it!
ProForm Performance 800i Treadmill
|Quality:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value of money:||(4.6 / 5)|
|Ease of use:||(4.4 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.5 / 5)|
Straight away we’ll start with something smack-dab right in the middle of the ‘Reasonably Affordable’ line of treadmills, and for that, we have the Performance 800i. Just around the corner of $600 – $700 depends on your dealer, we’re looking at a relatively tame, but still capable treadmill that would benefit greatly a basic user who is not looking for a lot in his or her running machine.
Now, first thing first, we have to talk about the general construction of the machine. And when it comes to that, ProForm has mastered the art of treadmill engineering a long time ago to ensure that each and every one of their treadmills came out most optimally designed. For a long time browsing through ProForm-made treadmills, there’s a general semblance between them that from the most budget of machines to the highest ending ones, the overall construction quality is still top-notch depends on how good a job the user had done to assemble the machine beforehand.
The Performance 800i, though at the cheaper side of thing, is no exception to this wonderful, unwritten company ethos. The design was beautifully done, and it actually looks like a much more expensive machine than it actually is.
Not only does the construction looks nice, but it is also solid and can bear maximum user weight up to 350 lbs – which is quite high for a treadmill along with the $600 range. And from the high weight that it can actually stand, it’s not much of a brain exercise to deduce that the framework itself can stand against time for a long, long time. In fact, it would be no surprise for it to last over a decade or more, as ProForm machines are also known for their longevity.
The Performance 800i is packed with a 3.0 continuous horsepower motor: Not bad of a drive train. There are models with worse drives than that, so the 800i has somewhat fulfilled what’s expected of it in this department. The motor would work itself to pull the expansive 20 inches wide and 60 inches long running belt to a maximum speed of 12 mph.
The running belt is oversized for the industry’s standard, and thus, it creates a very large running area that would make you instantly comfortable running along. You won’t have to worry about bumping over something or running off or over the belt, and it would save you a ton of frustration and annoyance missing the running rhythm just because you accidentally overstepped.
The deck is also quite something to talk about. Besides a system of trademarked shock absorbers (ProShox) that can alleviate a portion of the stress of your ankles to prevent a terrible sore, later on, the deck can also be inclined. The entire deck can rotate upward for up to 12% to provide an uphill challenge for you to burn the extra calories if you’re looking for a bigger challenge or once running on pancake flat ground becomes boring for you.
Now, we have to talk about the second, unwritten ethos I’ve noticed in ProForm: Technology integration. The company has always been proud of its product’s seamless integration with technologies, and once again, the 800i is still, fortunately, an exception.
One of the first thing you would probably notice technologically-wise is the EKG heart-rate sensors that are built directly into the grips. Once you’ve wrapped your hands around it, the sensors would catch your pulses and begin to monitor your health. The information they provide would be valuable not only to rate the improvement of your stamina over time, but it would also be a great preventive measure for you to not tax your heart beyond what it’s able to give while trying to be physically fit.
The 800i is also compatible with iFit – a subscription-based fitness service that’s taken over the fitness world by introducing the power of the 21st Century in such a simple task as exercise and revolutionize it in the process.
The service allows you to access a library of almost unlimited training guidance, get customized fitness advice, charting a route through Google Maps for immersion, as well as logging records and training data with friends and family through the Internet. With the rapid advancement and the way that the Internet is being a much more integral part of our lives, you can say that iFit is defined the ‘Modern’ part of a modern treadmill.
The subscription for iFit is $99 a year, or $8.25 monthly, which isn’t really a lot once you look at it – around the same price as a really expensive latte. So although a subscription isn’t necessary for you to use the machine, the app would really bring out the fullest potentials of the machine – not only this one but also all others that are compatible to it.
However, as I’ve mentioned, the subscription is totally optional and ProForm has given you a free alternative instead that comes right with the treadmill when you bought it. The 800i’s computer is loaded with 32 professionally-designed workout apps that would automatically adjust the settings of your treadmill to give you the desired workout experience you’re looking for. For the price tag, 32 workout apps are a lot – another thing to love about this treadmill.
All of the information collected by the sensors, as well as the settings, and basic information such as time, distance,… would be displayed on the 6” backlit display in the central console. Right beneath, you can find the quick action buttons that allow you to change the speed and the inclination of the deck in seconds and upon pressing with no extra complex steps.
- Nicely designed and structurally durable.
- Powerful motor.
- Spacious running belt.
- Contains all of the necessary techs to run the treadmill on a basic level.
- Compatible with iFit.
- Various workout apps for you to choose from.
- The inclination control is a bit shallow.
The things that the Performance 800i offers far exceed its market value and that is something quite rare to find nowadays. Even though it doesn’t have all of the nicer things that higher-end treadmills have, the treadmill is still equipped with all of the most important things to make it an attractive machine for basic customers to think of getting.
Proform 525 CT Treadmill
|Quality:||(3.8 / 5)|
|Value of money:||(3.9 / 5)|
|Ease of use:||(3.7 / 5)|
|Average:||(3.8 / 5)|
This is quite an … interesting machine, since it’s literally an antique, dating back to the 2008s, the 525 CT is interesting in the same way an archaeologist stares at fossils. You can go ahead and skip this one if you want, but for those who are interested in seeing the company’s history and how they’ve begun all the way back in the past, it may give you a perspective reading this.
The look is appalling, to be completely honest, but for the time, it’s sort of alright. During that portion of world history, designers have yet to move to the sleeker and more modern trend such as today (Mind you, that’s even before the introduction of the original iPhone), so the blocky, vintage look is to be expected. But beside the aesthetic, there’s no doubt on the rigidity of the framework when it is cleared for a maximum user weight of 300 lbs. In short, if you build it right, it won’t fail you.
The motor is a 1.75 continuous horsepower dinosaur. Okay, when compared to today’s standard it sits somewhere along with the cheap, but hey, it was among one of the best at the time so you really just have to sit back and enjoy a piece of history.
The belt is short, there’s no doubt about that. In all honesty, it’s downright to being dwarfish only 19 inches wide and 50 inches long, but you can’t really argue against the time. But even for the historical setting that it’s in, the 525 CT still features a shock-absorbent system (An earlier version of ProShox, which is ProTech), and can incline 10% upward. So if you’re free to the thought of transforming your house into a fitness museum … somehow, it’ll still work.
Even so far back in time, the company’s technological fondness still shows in the presence of the ever-familiar EKG heart-rate sensor grips that had been around all the way until today. Of course, there isn’t going to be iFit since smartphones are still yet to be a thing. But the display is still a nice backlit that’s going to display the most necessary information and not much else.
Besides that, a row of buttons would take up the task of giving you control of the machine, such as changing the deck’s inclination or switching up the motor’s speed. Either way, the basic design has yet to change over time, and you can still find a hint of likeness between the modern and antique models such as this one right here.
- An antique – if you like collecting strange things.
- … an antique. You won’t find much use for it in this day and age, but it’s a nice piece of history.
As said, if you like to collect strange things, be my guest to find a backyard sale to get this piece. Even for the time, it is not among one of the best treadmills, but rather, sitting at a $600 – $700 price range, but if it helps, well … it’s an antique!
ProForm 305 CST Folding Treadmill With Power Incline And Cushioning
|Quality:||(4.4 / 5)|
|Value of money:||(4.6 / 5)|
|Ease of use:||(4.2 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.4 / 5)|
Returning to our usual programming, we’re still keeping on the down low of things with the ProForm 305 CST. This is certainly among one of the best treadmills for those who are looking for only the bare minimums of what a treadmill should entail: And that is to run.
For construction, once again, ProForm has quite outdone itself. The concrete framework still proves to have been meticulously designed and calculated, with maximum user weight ranging upward to the 300 lbs+, it’s clear that the construction can take on much more and have more quality than the price seems to show.
The motor is 2.0 continuous horsepower strong, which is immensely underpowered for the price it’s asking for. However, if you factor in the small running space: A belt 18 inches wide and 50 inches long, the loss of efficiency getting from 0 to the maximum 10 mph isn’t that much. Still, for the $550 you would spend on it, it’s still quite a disappointment.
ProShox is still in place, fortunately for your ankles. It’s going to help tremendously avoiding the after-workout sores running an endurance. The deck can also be inclined to 10%, just enough to get your blood pumping.
You can find all of the necessities in place, including what has now become a fixture in ProForm machine: The EKG sensor grips. And for the 305 CST, iFit is also compatible for you to access the library of workout apps that it offers along with many of its utilities. As always, coming along with the package this time is 16 free pre-set workout programs for you to choose if you’re not contented with subscribing to iFit.
Information and all of the important things that you ought to know would be displayed on the large backlit LCD display in the middle of the center console. Just in case you don’t want to spend your time on the boring monotony of the backlit screen, the 305 CST also has a tablet holder you can use to conveniently hook up your tablet to bring the entire power of the Internet right to your machine.
- As always, it is a nice design worthy of the ProForm name.
- All of the critical techs are available.
- Compatible with iFit.
- The engine is underpowered.
- Limited running space.
- Shallow inclination angle.
At first glance, it may not look like the best treadmill to be a presence on the list. However, all of the cons don’t really affect that much in the general experience with the treadmill. Instead, if you’re just a normal user with only a need for a machine that can run, and on a budget at that, the 305 CST is more than enough.
ProForm 8.0 ZT Treadmill
|Quality:||(4.0 / 5)|
|Value of money:||(4.2 / 5)|
|Ease of use:||(3.8 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.0 / 5)|
This is the royal of budget treadmills, in fact, the 8.0 ZT is probably the least expensive treadmill under ProForm’s name. It is a perfect starter or entry-level treadmill, and with the immense cost reduction comes with the reduction of features – so don’t expect to read long on this one since what to say about it is quite short.
The structure is, as always, a solid, uniform shape. Although the color and the overall aesthetic feel just screams a budget treadmill, what matter is that it will be able to stand some weight putting on top of it. But not too much, however, notice how I’ve stressed out specifically the ‘some’ – with a capacity of only 250 lbs, it has a very low weight tolerant, but it’s to be expected for the price it’s at.
The motor is capable enough of 2.25 continuous horsepower and can pull the 18 inches wide, 55 inches long belt at top speed in excess of 10 mph. Focusing on the belt, it is short even for the industry’s standard of cheap treadmills, but once again, it is the cost, really, is the limiting factor here.
There’s the built-in heart rate sensor, as well as, surprisingly, an iFit card reader. Which shows how they haven’t really forgotten their commitment to technical support in their treadmills. But the highlight of the 8.0 ZT is the Quick Workout App that allows you to input time, distance, and range to get your own personalized training regime in an instant, which is really helpful if none of the 12 pre-set workout programs don’t fit your particular needs and you just want to add a personal touch to your training.
- Nothing to complain about in term of structure.
- A capable enough motor.
- The plentiful workout programmes.
- The belt is small, way too small for someone of larger size to be comfortable in.
- A low weight tolerance.
This is the definition of an entry level treadmill. It’s cheap, it’s stripped down from top to bottom with next to nothing but the bare necessities to keep it running, but the thing is that it still works so maybe you can work with it if you do intend on getting it.
With the growing sport comes the growing needs to be more suitably armed to take it on, treadmills have grown in number and functionality more than ever. But sometimes you just need to take things simply and just enjoy the sheer fun of exercising and being healthy.
We hope that this article helps you with your decision-making process and that it has provided you with the knowledge you’re looking for coming here!