Tips for Buying The Perfect Commercial Treadmill For Your Fitness Facility

Commercial treadmills operate much differently than a home treadmill. As an example, commercial treadmills can be expected to be used continuously for longer than five hours a day. With this added demand, the motors, frame, deck and belt need to be able to accommodate. Also, features that you typically might find in a residential treadmill may not be available on commercial treadmills, one feature would be folding treadmills. While folding treadmills may create more space in a home, due to the heavy weight of a commercial treadmill and the lack of need to always create more space. Many manufacturers do not create the folding feature for commercial treadmills.

Things to Understand Before You Shop

Commercial treadmills vary in shape, size and features. There are two major categories of commercial treadmills: light commercial and full commercial.

Light commercial treadmills can be used in smaller apartments, condos, small corporate offices, physiotherapy clinics, fire stations, boutique gyms, etc. Light commercial treadmill warranty is typically limited to about 6 hours of use per day. Certain light commercial treadmills can be plugged into regular electrical outlets, although, a dedicated circuit is always recommended.

Full commercial treadmills are typically used in larger condos, commercial fitness clubs, performance clubs, colleges and universities. Most commercial treadmills require a 20amp dedicated circuit.

How Will the Commercial Treadmill Be Used?

In a commercial setting, you may have many different types of users that will be using a treadmill. However, understanding the majority of your users will give you more clarity on the treadmill you require for your facility.

Some great questions to ask yourself are:

  • Will it be primarily used just to warm up?
  • Are users primarily walking, jogging or running?
  • Do they need direction and programs?
  • Will they be using it to train for a fitness event?
  • Are the users just trying to stay active? Quick workout?
  • Are the users training for peak performance?
  • How many people will be using the treadmill?
  • How many hours will the treadmill be used daily?

What to Look For In A Commercial Treadmill:

Commercial Treadmill Motor

Treadmill motor

Commercial treadmill motors start at around 3.0 HP and go as high as 5.0HP for premium treadmills. The application that you are using this treadmill for will ultimately decide how much HP you need. For instance, a 3.0HP will be fine for a light commercial setting like a small corporate office with 10 employees or a physio clinic which has people do main walking and a maximum times a slight jog. It is important to pay attention to the noise that a motor makes as well especially at running speeds.

Commercial Treadmill – Deck & Belt

 

Most commercial treadmills offer a cushioning system to lower the impact from walking, jogging and running. This becomes important, especially for users that are over 200lbs. They will feel a lot more impact if an inexpensive cushioning system is used.

Commercial Treadmill Technology

Treadmill console apps

Technology is significantly impacting everything and treadmills are no exception. Commercial treadmills now have the option to watch Netflix, connect to social media accounts, browse the web and access to a wider variety of workout programs. Adding optionable technology can increase the costs significantly so make sure you evaluate your options before making a decision. On the flip side, having no technology on a commercial treadmill can be a benefit – for instance – a wellness/relaxation center where users may want to disconnect from the world for a moment.

Commercial Treadmill Reviews

I would not recommend basing your purchasing decision entirely of treadmill reviews. Most treadmill review sites work as affiliates and they generally write more favorably to the brands that pay out the most. However, I would recommend checking treadmill reviews over a few different sites and see what the overall feedback is like. This may give you deeper insight to a benefit or disadvantage of a particular model.

Commercial Treadmill Programs

Commercial Treadmill Fitness Programs

Most commercial treadmills have a wide variety of different programs and and workouts that can be done. The standard programs include:

  • Heart Rate Workouts
  • Goal workouts based on time, calories, or distance
  • Fitness Test

Commercial Treadmill Maintenance

Commercial treadmills do require more maintenance than a home treadmill. Preventative maintenance will help prolong the life of your treadmill and ensure your members are operating safely.  Treadmills should be maintained on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and semi-annually schedule. Below is an example of a schedule:

Weekly

  • Vacuum underneath equipment
  • Clean all surfaces

Monthly

  • Verify stop clip is in place and functional
  • Visually inspect deck and running belt
  • Perform functional test to make sure all features are working
  • Inspect visible welds, frame and wire connections
  • Check walk belt tension and alignment
  • Inspect Power Cord

Quarterly

  • Clean the deck
  • Check tension and tracking of running belt, adjust if necessary
  • Remove hood and vacuum compartment
  • Perform software diagnostics
  • Functionally test wireless and hand-held heart rate

Semi-Annually

  • Check drive belt for wear
  • Clean rollers and other moving parts
  • Check to make sure treadmill sits level on the floor

Preventative maintenance can take a great deal of time if you a number of commercial treadmills in your facility. There are many companies out there that you can contract to maintain your equipment. If you are limited on time and have more important things to focus on this may be something that you want to delegate.

Consult the manufacturer for the recommended maintenance schedules. Certain makes and model requires less maintenance then others. For instance, Matrix treadmill come with a self-lubricating deck that does not require lubricating until you hit about 25,000 miles. When considering treadmills, take into account the costs associated with maintenance as well.

Commercial Treadmill Warranty

Warranties vary among the top commercial treadmill brands. Below is a quick snapshot of the three major brands: Matrix Fitness, Life Fitness, and Precor. Matrix treadmills come with a standard three labour warranty which is about 2 years longer than the industry standard of 1 year. It is important to note that extended warranties can be purchased from other manufacturers.

A quick snapshot of Matrix Treadmill – Warranty

Commercial Treadmills Warranty - Matrix  - 3 years labour, 3 years parts, 7 years frame

 

A quick snapshot of Life Fitness Treadmill – Warranty

Commercial Treadmills Warranty - Life Fitness - 1 year labour, 2 year parts

 

A quick snapshot of Precor Commercial Treadmill – Warranty

Commercial Treadmills Warranty -Precor - 7 years frame, 5 years motor, 1 year labour

Commercial treadmills make up a huge part of new fitness clubs budget and you should ensure that you make a well-thought-out decision. Building a new club, sometimes come with an urgency to purchase fitness equipment in a “hurry”. Especially, when commercial treadmills may have lead times from 2-8 weeks to order. Thinking about the treadmill that you want, well in advance, certainly helps avoid this situation. Follow these tips and you are on your way to saving yourself time, money and making a purchase that you can be happy about.

 

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