Over the past decade the price of fitness equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals has taken a seemingly divergent and in some cases somewhat contradictory course. If a consumer wanted a quality machine in the past, it was not unusual for them to have to pay upwards of $2000. Today, the quality of products at the high end of the market has skyrocketed while the quality of the low end has taken on an equally stratospheric course towards better quality. While you may have the means to spend $7000 on fitness equipment, the average consumer may feel the prices are a bit more reasonable in the lower ranges. Unfortunately the sub-$1000 price point still has some serious duds and the sub-$500 price point is full of substandard machines along with very few reasonable deals. In order to be sure that you get a good machine it is important to do your homework.
One brand that fits in this lower category is Proform Fitness, a subsidiary of industry giant Icon Health & Fitness. Icon is, without a doubt, the largest company in the market and because of this can produce a better product at a lower price. Of course this does not mean that any piece of equipment from this or any other Icon brand is a good deal; in fact that is one of the biggest dangers with the brand. Almost every Treadmill looks alike to the average consumer from the outside; unfortunately the insides do not always match up.
If a consumer walked into Sears, one of the largest Icon retailers, and looked at the lineup of Proform treadmills and ellipticals there it would be hard to see the difference between any of them except for price. Again price is not the best decider either because several that are at similar price points may be somewhat different. Some features that add money to the cost do not add value to the machine and may actually be detrimental to its lifespan.
It is important to remember that the salesperson is, most likely at a large store like Sears or Sports Authority, not very familiar with the machines and does not really care which machine is best for you. They have a line of customers to wait upon and you are just in their way to get to the end of the day. You can rest assured that most of the salespeople at stores like Sam’s Club and Costco probably have little ability with the equipment and some don’t even know how to start up the machine. So to know what you want, and what will be a good value, it would be wise to look up some reviews before traveling to the store and putting down your hard earned cash.
One of the best examples of what we are stating here is a recent sale at Sears. Upon walking in the store, the proud Crosswalk 405e was sitting on the floor with its’ normal price tag of $499. A few spaces down sat the Proform XP615 with a big sale tag on, also for $499. The 405e has about as much in common with the XP615 as an elephant has in common with the International Space Station. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but you would have to be about as bright as a burned out light bulb to buy the 405e over the XP615. The problem is that the average consumer looking at both models would have a hard time telling them apart in terms of quality.
Treadmills and Ellipticals are high ticket items. Make sure you do your research and are informed when you are shopping and you will certainly end up with a better piece of equipment at a better price.