Whatever the reasoning may be, a treadmill can be a beneficial piece of equipment for your needs. Whether you are doing incline walking, running intervals, or training for a 5k, a treadmill may be a great purchase. Treadmills have been a staple in the commercial gym space, and I'm sure you know at least one person who bought a treadmill for their home as a New Year's Resolution (don't worry, no judgment if that was you last year).
Because this article is about commercial treadmills, let's first consider the difference between a commercial treadmill and a residential treadmill.
The biggest differences are going to be in three categories - price, size, and durability.
Commercial treadmills are exactly what they sound like. They are designed for commercial use at a local gym like Gold's Gym or Planet Fitness. Because of this, most commercial treadmills are constructed with a certain amount of wear and tear expected in mind - meaning very durable materials. They are also normally larger than a residential treadmill. With commercial gyms, space is not as big of a limiter as say, your garage, and larger machines can typically handle more use as well. However, with a larger, more durable commercial treadmill comes increased prices.
Who Should Buy a Commercial Treadmill?
While this article won't dive much deeper into commercial treadmills versus residential, just know that the differences aren't massive. Typically, for homes we recommend residential and for gyms we recommend commercial, but there are some exceptions we will look at.
Commercial gyms need commercial treadmills.
Due to the high volume of use, it is strongly encouraged. So if you are building a commercial gym or looking to replace an old treadmill at your gym this is the way to go.
Now for a home gym. Do you need a commercial treadmill? Probably not. However, it can be a good option if a couple of things are true. First, do you have the space? Second, how much use do you plan on getting out of your treadmill? Treadmills, regardless of residential or commercial, are pretty durable. However, if you plan on using it quite often and for long periods of time, it wouldn't be a bad idea to consider a commercial treadmill.
The last reason is something you may have not considered. Is there a gym liquidation sale near you? Sometimes, gyms go out of business and sell their inventory. If this is the case, you may be able to get a good deal on a commercial treadmill near you. Just be sure it doesn't have significant wear and tear.
What to Look for in a Commercial Treadmill?
Now that you have decided a commercial treadmill is right for you - the question now becomes which one? Well, let's consider a few things to help you figure that out.
Type of Treadmill
Treadmills generally work in one of two ways.
First, there is a motor powering the belt (what you run on) and you adjust the speed of the belt until you find the nice happy medium between how fast you want to run and how fast the belt is moving. This is how probably 90% of treadmills work. However, another variation has become increasingly popular. This treadmill is powered solely by the force you exert on the tread - essentially you are the motor. The manual treadmill is typically curved, allowing for a more natural stride while running as manual treadmills were designed to more closely mimic running outdoors.
Typically, one unique function of the manual commercial treadmill is the ability to increase resistance by adjusting a dial thus making the tread harder to move. This can be great for engaging more muscles while walking or even trying to mimic sled pushes.
While both treadmills, the traditional and the manual, seek to mirror true running, they both fail to some extent. The traditional doesn't account enough for the pull you have to exert on the ground, while the manual requires more pull than running on the road.
Which one is best?
Well, this comes down to personal preference. The manual treadmill is generally more bare bones as far as technology goes and a little bit more difficult to get the hang of. However, I do think it better allows for and encourages a more natural running form.
The traditional treadmill is great for those new to treadmills or those who plan on using the incline function. You may consider getting some of each if you are looking at buying for a commercial gym.
Type of Monitor
By now, I'm sure you have heard of Peleton. What they have essentially done is allowed cardio machines to become at-home studio classes. You may be wondering what this has to do with which commercial treadmill you buy.
Well here's the deal.
If you are buying treadmills for your commercial gym, your members may be expecting more than the old-school interface on their treadmill monitor - you know the one with miles per hour, heart rate, and incline. And if you are buying a treadmill for your home gym, you may want a treadmill with an interactive, iPad-like monitor.
When comparing monitors, there are a couple of different types. Before purchasing consider whether you would like the option to take a class in your own home, watch television on your monitor, or just simply know how fast you are going. The technology can be great, but it can also be expensive so just be sure you consider what's best for you.
Running Surface Size
This is normally a big plus when it comes to commercial treadmills. Commercial treadmills tend to have a larger surface size. Now surface size is totally a personal preference, but in my experience, it can be nice to be on the wider side. As we run, we tend to slightly move from side to side so having that extra room on each side makes your early morning treadmill run a little less terrifying.
Consider going to a fitness equipment store and testing out which width you like best before buying.
Where to Buy a Commercial Treadmill?
There are a few places to start. Google is a great place to start to figure out what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. If you have the ability to pick up a treadmill using a truck or trailer, Facebook Marketplace has a lot of great options as well.
Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment, so you may be able to find one at a yard sale or thrift shop - just be sure to check out the condition before buying.
Also, be sure to check out our commercial treadmill selection at Freedom Fitness Equipment. We have lots of options - both new and used at great prices. We'd love to help you find the perfect treadmill for your needs!
There you have it. Whether you are buying fifty commercial treadmills or one, you now have a starting point and guide in your decision-making process.
Feel free to leave us a comment below or reach out with any questions, we'd love to hear from you!