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Treadmill Console Display

The console on a low-cost treadmill should display, at a minimum, standard information about your workout, such as time elapsed, distance, speed, and calories burned. Many cheap treadmills also feature built-in heart-rate monitors in the handgrips, which are useful for staying within a target zone.

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However, the calorie and heart-rate readouts on budget machines are notoriously inaccurate, particularly because you can't key in your gender, age, and weight. More expensive machines come with wireless chest straps to monitor heart rate. If you're keen to measure how many calories you've burned on a budget treadmill, you can download the iTreadmill app to an iPhone or iPod Touch for $1.99.

Treadmill Workout Programs.

Preprogrammed workouts can add to the intensity of your exercise and keep you motivated by automatically changing the speed and incline. The ProForm Performance 400 is compatible with iFit Live, which offers an almost unlimited number of customized treadmill workouts at an additional cost. IFit Live wirelessly downloads workouts to the treadmill's console and saves your results to a profile on iFit.com. In addition to the iFit option, ProForm offers built-in workouts based on performance, distance, time, and weight loss. The Horizon T101 has nine interval training, weight loss, and manual programs that allow you to set targets for time, distance, or calories. The Merit 725T Plus comes with seven. The Gold's Gym GG480 offers four treadmill workouts designed by a personal trainer and four weight-loss workouts. The Weslo Cadence G-40 also serves up four workouts designed by a certified personal trainer.

Folding Treadmill Reviews/Treadmill Storage.

Keep in mind that treadmills are big, about the size of a small couch, and take up a lot of room in the house. This accounts for the popularity of folding treadmills that can be shoved under a bed or in a closet when they're not being used. If hauling out a folding treadmill is too much of a chore, however, the tendency will be to let it stay where it is. All of the treadmills on our list fold up to some extent, but not enough to put them under a bed or in a closet. The bigger and heavier the treadmill, the less truly foldable it is. ProFormís Space Saver feature lets the Performance 400 fold into an upright position when you need to clear space. The Weslo Cadence G-40, with its small footprint, folds up easily, according to reviews on the Walmart website, and can be stored vertically. The Gold's Gym GG480 also folds up and can be stored upright. The Horizon T101 has a hydraulic lift system so you don't have to lift the deck. The Stamina InMotion II manual treadmill weighs only 56 pounds, has wheels, and doesn't need to be plugged in, making it the most portable treadmill we researched.

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Extra Features.

While experts say the most essential components of a treadmill are the motor, belt, and warranty, many cheap treadmills come with a variety of bells and whistles that add appeal but are not necessary. Some inexpensive treadmills, including the Horizon T101, and ProForm Performance 400, come with a fan to cool you off as you're working out, although the fans are not adjustable, so the blast of air may not hit you where you need it most. The Gold's Gym GG480 comes with a set of one-pound hand weights to add an upper-body workout.

An increasing number of treadmills now play music directly or connect to an MP3 player. All our picks have a port or iPod dock with speakers, so the music can keep you moving without headphones or earbuds. Don't expect great quality from these speakers, though.

by Elizabeth Sheer (Google+ Profile)

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