Fitness Trends

What You Should Know Before Buying A Used Treadmill

 |  Brett Labistour

In 2013, over 25 million Americans were exercising in their own home gyms.

The average American works 8.8 hours a day. On top of work and your other responsibilities, making it the gym doesn’t always make it to the top of the priority list.

And if you’re a runner, weather and seasons can also impact your ability to go for a run. But having a treadmill in your home ensures that you always have somewhere to get your daily fix.

If you’re considering buying a treadmill to make your exercise routine more convenient, you may have been shocked by the prices of buying new. Buying a used treadmill, on the other hand, is a cost-effective option for getting your daily run in.

But there are things you need to consider when buying used. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to buy a used treadmill.


There are four kinds of treadmills you can choose from.

A motorized treadmill uses a motor to power the moving belt. They often come with programming features, which we’ll talk more about later. This is one of the most common types of used treadmill you’ll find for sale by owners.

An incline treadmill also uses a motor but it also has the ability to transition to different inclines. This is a good option for runners and/or hikers looking for an intense workout. The incline is usually a built-in programming feature.

A manual treadmill uses your steps to move the belt. These are less expensive than motorized treadmills and you’ll have to exert a lot more energy to get them moving. Because they don’t have a motor, they don’t require as much maintenance.

You can also find treadmill/elliptical combos if you want the added bonus of moveable arms for a different kind of walk or run. Someone who only uses their machine for running may find the arms a hassle.


Horsepower (hp) tells you how powerful your motor is. This will have an impact on how your treadmill feels. Typically, the higher the horsepower, the better quality the machine is.

If you’ll mostly be walking, look for a treadmill with at least 1.5 hp. If you use your treadmill for running, look for a motor with 2.5-3.0 hp.



There are a few other specifications you want to consider when shopping around for a used treadmill.

  • Programming. Options may include a program for running and walking, a heart rate monitor, or something that plays your music
  • Belt. A belt larger than 48 inches long and 16 inches wide is best for running.
  • Running Deck. This should have sufficient cushioning to absorb shock and reduce damage on joints whether you’re walking or running.
  • Speed. Look for something that goes faster than 10 mph
  • Frame. A sturdy frame won’t shake when you run
  • What’s Your Budget?

A high-quality treadmill bought brand new can be anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. You can find them for under $1,000, but it probably won’t last very long and the quality won’t be very high.

Used treadmills go for a lot less than that. If you’re a savvy used treadmill shopper, you can probably find a lightly-used high-quality treadmill for less than what you’d pay for a second-rate model brand new.

You can also look for refurbished treadmills.


You can find used treadmills from previous owners using the classified, online forums like Kijiji as well as at yard sales.

Fitness clubs (gyms) may sell their old models. There are also online retailers for used fitness equipment.

You may even find a store that’s selling its floor model. These are likely lightly used, and you can probably get a high-end treadmill for a decent price.

When buying used, look for the good names in treadmills. Reputable brands include Pace Master, Precor, or Nautilus.


How much free space do you have for the treadmill? If space is limited, you may want to consider looking for a folding treadmill instead of a full size.

Keep in mind that if you’re using the treadmill for more than walking, you’ll require a longer belt for a longer stride. A folding treadmill may not offer that kind of space.


To know if the treadmill is right for you, and to check the shape it’s in, you need to use it. Bring your running shoes with you and get on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes.

If the machine is loud, that’s a good indication that the motor is heavily used and not in good condition. Replacing a motor is going to cost you a hefty amount of money.

The treadmill shouldn’t shake while you’re walking or even running. If the belt is frayed in any parts, pass on that treadmill.


Consider the following when weighing the benefits of age:

Is the person selling the treadmill the only person that’s ever owned it?

  • Are they selling it to upgrade or because they’ve never used it?
  • Was it kept in an area free of dust?
  • How often was the treadmill used?
  • How many people used it and how did they use it?
  • Do they have a service record that shows what problems the treadmill has had and how they were fixed?

Although a treadmill that is less than 5 years old has a higher likelihood of being under warranty, a 6-year-old treadmill that was never used might be better than a heavily-used younger treadmill. You have to find the balance between all of the above when considering your purchase.


If the treadmill isn’t very old, there’s a good chance it’s still under warranty.

However, you have to find out if that warranty is transferable. If it’s a transferable warranty, ask the seller if they still have the documents needed to access that warranty.


Buying a used treadmill can save you a lot of money and still get you exactly what you’re looking for.

That’s not the only kind of fitness equipment you can buy used and refurbished. Check out our blog for more info on buying high-end used and refurbished exercise equipment to stock your home gym full of goodies.

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