Buying A Used Treadmill – Everything You Need To Know

July 15, 2023
  • Sydney Kaiser
    Product Reviewer, Content Writer, Certified Personal Trainer

*TreadmillReviewGuru helps consumers find the best home fitness products. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.

Everything You Need To Know about buying a used treadmill

Saving money is on most people’s radar when they shop. Whether online, at the grocery store, or at the car dealership, we all like to save when we can. But what about when it comes to fitness equipment? Is finding the best treadmill the most important thing, or are there other factors?

How about when you’re looking into picking up a used treadmill? Are all things created equal, or should you approach this purchase differently? Let’s take a look at what’s essential when buying a used treadmill.

Vital Points to Know When Buying A Used Treadmill

Let’s look at seven vital points you should keep in mind:

1. Only consider reputable brands.

2. Look into the machine’s history.

3. Check service records

4. Don’t buy old technology

5. Use it before you buy it

6. All senses on deck!

7. Look into any remaining warranties.

Only Consider Reputable Brands

The fitness industry boom has birthed countless brands over the past 10-15 years. So many, in fact, that when shopping for a treadmill, you’ll see names you don’t recognize. Are the bigger companies’ products better? Usually, that’s the case.

Look for the brands you recognize. If you’ve seen them, it’s because they’ve been well advertised and are in commercial fitness centers. Commercial gyms don’t carry problematic treadmills. It’s a safe bet that the brands in your gym are going to last. And since the industry is super competitive, they have the best warranties.

Brands like ProForm, LifeSpan, Nordictrack, or Life Fitness are built to last. That’s why you’ll see these machines in most gyms where they “take a licking but keep on ticking.”

Look Into The Treadmill’s History

A background check to see where your potential purchase has been is crucial. This might seem a bit overboard, but when dropping a significant chunk of change on anything electronic with moving parts, you need to know as much about it as possible.

You need to ask questions like: How old is the treadmill? How many owners have there been? How often was it used? Where was it stored–a gym, garage, basement? Is there a user manual or sales record so you can look into warranties? Knowing the history tells you what to expect for the machine’s future.

Check Service Records

Much like buying a used car, your treadmill should have service records you can inspect to get a feel for past issues or whether routine maintenance has been performed. Whether you’re buying from a used fitness equipment store or an ad on Facebook, knowing past problems can save you from costly repairs down the line. Remember, you have little to no recourse for problems when buying used from a third party.

Conversely, service records detailing routine maintenance can give you the warm fuzzies about a well-maintained machine and have you buying with confidence.

Don’t Buy Old Technology

Buying a used treadmill that’s over five years old probably isn’t the best idea. But again, similar to buying a used car, an older treadmill (not used a lot) may have a lot of life left.
But those are rare finds.

Some manufacturers mentioned above may be exceptions to buying newer, but for the most part, newer is better.

Use it Before You Buy

We highly recommend spending time on the treadmill before forking over your hard-earned money. Show up at the store or seller’s house with your running shoes on and put the treadmill through its paces.

Test the speed, incline, heart rate monitor, emergency kill switch, and other vital components or bells and whistles. You want to know what works and what doesn’t and factor that into your offer. Finding minor issues could get you a discount and save you money, especially if it doesn’t affect the machine’s overall performance.

All Senses on Deck

While evaluating a treadmill, you need to take it all in. Get it up to speed and listen to the motor. Listen for any straining or if there are any rattles. Feel whether or not it’s shaky or out of balance. And even use your nose! Yes, give the treadmill a good sniff to see if there are any odors either from the motor (a burning smell should send you out the door) or from the machine as a whole.

If it smells musty, it may have been kept in a damp basement which could cause issues with the electronics and impact the integrity of the rubber belt and other components. If it smells like ammonia, it was likely in the company of cats or other animals who like to mark their territory. Bad smells are a deal-breaker.

Use all those senses when giving the treadmill the once over.

Look Into any Remaining Warranties

Depending on the age of the treadmill you’re considering, there is an excellent chance some of the manufacturer’s warranties may still be viable. The frame, parts, and labor tend to have different warranties for most models. Some warranties cover up to 10 years down the road.

You can ask the seller for any information regarding warranties, or a simple google search can yield quite a bit of manufacturer warranty information for most models. Some used sports equipment stores offer a limited warranty to get the unit out the door.

The Bottom Line On Buying A Used Treadmill

The bottom line is that a used treadmill could be a good buy for you. Especially if you’re new to exercise and aren’t sure which machine you want. With diligence, you can find a high-quality machine that’ll do the trick. You can always upgrade to a new model in the future.

But, most of the time it’s better to buy new. Especially if you’re a seasoned runner who uses the machine daily. New treadmills have the latest technology and resources to keep your runs fresh and exciting. Many are now interactive, letting you workout with personal trainers in the comfort of your own home.

Let us know if you have any questions about buying a treadmill, new or used.