What Are The Main Parts of a Treadmill?
Before you even start looking for a sale on treadmills or think about buying a treadmill it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the parts of a treadmill so that you will understand what they do and how they relate to and affect the quality of a treadmill.
Treadmills today come with tons of different features. Some you may want and others you may be able to do without.
However once you strip away the bells and whistles most treadmills are surprisingly similar. The main parts of a treadmill don’t vary much between treadmills. The main variable is the quality of these components. This is what sets the good treadmills apart from the junk and this is why it is important to familiarize yourself with the parts of a treadmill.
Basic Parts Of A Treadmill
- Electric motor – This is the heart and soul of your treadmill and one of the treadmill parts you will want to pay close attention to. Treadmill manufactures often make misleading claims about motor horsepower. There are two ways motors can be rated one is by peak horsepower which is an indication of the top horsepower a motor can reach. However this can not be sustained so the motor’s actual horse power output will be less than advertised. CHP (continuous horse power) is a much more accurate way to determine a motors output because while peak output may be useful for sudden bursts of speed most users will work out at a prolonged continuous speed. Motors also vary in type by whether they are light duty, heavy-duty or commercial. These differences are determined by the motor components like brushes, magnets and windings and are harder to determine. However, when one manufacturer guarantees a motor for 1 year and another offers a 25 year warranty on the motor there are obviously some big differences between the two motors even if they have the same horsepower ratings.
- Flywheel And Rollers – The flywheel and rollers are important parts of a treadmill whose job is to make sure the belt moves smoothly without jerking and stays properly aligned with the deck and frame. The flywheel helps regulate the speed and consistency of the power the motor delivers to the belt. A good flywheel will also help protect and reduce stress on the motor. Think of it like the transmission and clutch in your car. Rollers help to support the belt and size does matter. Bigger and heavier duty rollers will help reduce the amount of stress on the belt and motor.
- Belt – The treadmill belt is where the rubber meets the road. The most important consideration here is size. Generally a belt 18” wide and 52” long is suitable for most people but if you plan on running on your treadmill a larger belt may be a good idea. However larger and wider belts do put more stress on a machine as do heavily padded or thick belts. Belts less than 18″ can be too small and be dangerous because you may trip on the side decking.
- Frame, deck and handrails – Most treadmills available today have steel frames although some high-end and commercial units do use aluminum. Steel frames are just fine and most are adequate. Generally treadmills don’t fail because the frame breaks. The quality of the deck is important to look at because it will help buffer the impact on the belt and act as a shock absorber. The deck is one of the more important parts of a treadmill because it provides the ability to add an incline to your workouts. Some cheap treadmills offer no incline, others manual adjustment and others allow you to adjust incline on the fly. An incline that goes to 10% will be adequate for most users. Pay attention to deck size in relation to belt size too. A smaller deck size may mean the belt width will be too narrow for running or jogging. Make sure the hand grips are sturdy and easy to reach when getting on and off the treadmill but not in the way when using it.
- Display console – The console is your command center and is there to provide information on speed, distance, calories burned and other important information. It should be easy to read and easy to navigate and control your treadmills functions. Consoles keep offering more and more functions and features like built-in audio and video and iFit and iPod integration so check if these are important to you.
We hope this basic overview of the various parts of a treadmill has been helpful and given you a better idea what to look for in a treadmill and made you a more informed treadmill buyer.