12 Tips for Buying a Second-Hand Treadmill: What To Look For

While a treadmill is excellent exercise equipment, purchasing a new one may be costly. If you know what you’re searching for, buying second-hand equipment can save you money.

These are 12 tips for buying a second-hand treadmill:

  1. Opt for a newer model.
  2. Ask as many questions as possible.
  3. Take a test run.
  4. Analyze the belt.
  5. Ask a technician to come along and check the motor.
  6. Get the appropriate horsepower.
  7. Examine the treadmill’s monitor extensively.
  8. Take time to read the description thoroughly.
  9. Consider the size, build and speed.
  10. Choose a reliable brand.
  11. Have a set budget.
  12. Check safety features.

This post will provide you with 12 recommendations for purchasing a used treadmill. I’ll also discuss things to check for while examining the unit before making a final choice.

1. Opt for a Newer Model

The older the model, the less likely it is to include cutting-edge treadmill technology, such as shock absorption. Additionally, you’ll have a lower chance of having your machine fixed in the future since you might be unable to locate the necessary pieces because they are out of production.

Having said that, never buy a treadmill that is more than five years old.

Additionally, regardless of its age, you shouldn’t purchase a treadmill from a gym. Regular wear and tear on gym equipment will almost certainly result in frequent failures soon.

Not sure how to choose the right treadmill for you? Click here to find a complete guide on how to select the right treadmill for you.

2. Ask As Many Questions As Possible

When it comes to used goods, you never know what you’re going to receive. Although there is a chance that the vendor can be dishonest, asking as many questions as possible can give you relief and assurance.

It is preferable to conduct inquiries through recordable media such as text, email, or seller chats.

Several critical concerns about the treadmill include the following:

  • The reason for its sale. It’s great if they provide you with an explanation involving how little the unit has been utilized.
  • The frequency of use. Rarely is a more satisfactory response than many times each week.
  • Previous owners.
  • The treadmill’s storage. If they describe often wet regions, like basements, you may want to seek another vendor.
  • Has it gotten wet? Even though it might work now, excessive moisture can degrade parts quickly that are not immediately noticable.
Image of a treadmill's control panel.

If you are purchasing a treadmill at a shop, the preceding information is still relevant. However, you should also consider asking if there is a warranty included. Numerous retailers provide warranties on pre-owned goods, but they are a small fraction of the security time on a brand new machine.

Always Remember To Ask About the Previous Repair

Another factor to consider is that repair work may have been done that you are unaware of.

While it is great if the seller maintained the treadmill and had essential repairs, it is less admirable if the treadmill required many fixes in less than six months, which indicates that the unit is prone to breakdown or components may fail in the future.

Often, an online merchant using eBay or Etsy will not have the whole record of repairs. Therefore, you cannot always be sure that you are handed all the necessary information.

This is one advantage locally purchasing a second-hand treadmill has over eCommerce.

A local fitness shop is more likely to have a detailed record of the treadmill’s maintenance throughout its ownership, which enables you to make a better-educated choice.

3. Take a Test Run

Image of people running on a treadmill

Bring your running shoes and use the machine for at least five minutes when you go in for an in-person examination. Accelerate to the maximum speed if you are warmed up and check for excessive vibration.

Additionally, it would be best if you run the treadmill at slower rates too. It should gently decrease in speed without jerking.

Other things to keep an eye out for throughout your test run include the following:

  • Grinding noises indicate a serious mechanical breakdown.
  • The motor’s acceleration should be smooth and consistent.
  • Knocking: If you hear repetitive banging or clicking, this may be a sign of a bad bearing.
  • Excessive vibration at high speeds.
  • Uneven elevation: There may be a sensor out of calibration, or if it grinds or jerks, there may be a mechanical problem.

If the seller is unwilling to allow you to test it out, you should be skeptical. In this case, exit and purchase one from another vendor.

Suggested: Is 30 minutes on a treadmill enough to see results?

Don’t Forget To Use the Incline Feature

Another feature that treadmills often have is the option to use an incline. If you’re considering a used treadmill, you’ll want to set the slope as high as possible and look for flaws.

Additionally, ensure that the device gently descends when returning to normal. If the treadmill jerks at any moment, it is a solid indication that this functionality is not working properly.

This may not be a problem if you never intend to walk or run uphill on the instrument.

However, adding an incline is an effective method for challenging your body. So I would strongly advise you to get a treadmill capable of doing so without a hassle.

Suggested: The best cheap treadmills with powered incline

4.Analyze the Belt

While you may examine the belt from the outside and assess if it seems worn and run down, you cannot tell how the belt appears on the inside.

The degree to which a belt gets worn is entirely dependent on how often the treadmill was used, as well as the user’s weight and running style. And the owner will likely not tell you precisely when the treadmill was running.

Suggested: How much does a treadmill belt replacement cost?

Therefore, if you’re buying second-hand and are worried about the belt’s quality, a test run is your best option. This way, you’ll be able to experience the belt under your feet. 

If you feel any friction or hear any noise from the belt, this may signify it is beginning to wear down.

Additionally, if the belt skips at all, this is another red flag.

5. Ask a Technician To Come Along and Check the Motor

Image of a treadmill motor

The ordinary individual is unqualified to assess the treadmill’s engine or other internal pieces. So you may find it beneficial to have an expert review the unit.

With a professional near, give the motor a test run at all speeds. They will be immediately aware if the engine has faults. Before making your final purchase, you should determine the cost of replacing or repairing the motor if any modifications are needed.

However, certain types of wear are more difficult to detect. 

You’ll want to keep in mind that even an expert’s diagnosis has limits. They are unlikely to be permitted to open the treadmill for a thorough examination by the seller.

Suggested: How much does a treadmill motor replacement cost?

6. Get the Appropriate Horsepower

When shopping for a used treadmill, horsepower is a critical factor to consider. This is the metric unit for the treadmill motor’s power. When the value is higher, the machine is more powerful.

You’ll want a unit capable of sustaining your training.

However, just having the specifics is insufficient. Simply because a seller states that a treadmill can sustain specific exercises does not guarantee that it will support workouts.

This is why it is critical to do a test run.

If you like to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), the motor has to accelerate and slow down quickly many times during a workout. Make sure it does that quickly enough to your liking and without problems.

HIIT Is a great way to burn more calories in a short period of time. A good interval timer is going to make HIIT workouts much more enjoyable. Check out the GymNext Flex timer. It’s super easy to set up and control contrary to most other interval timers making the set up for any workout a breeze.

7. Examine the Treadmill’s Monitor Extensively

Because you want to use the treadmill on a daily basis, you must be able to navigate the display and different settings with ease. The screen is essential since it offers information on what the treadmill can do.

You should be able to monitor your sessions and get information about your progress through clearly visible numbers. Some treadmills have a carb counter; check to see whether this feature works as well.

The display must be easily readable and provide time, speed, slope, and other relevant data. Additionally, this region should be free of wear so you can always read its messages.

Some treadmills give error codes, and you will need this in the long run.

Additionally, you should check to see whether the model comes with pre-programmed exercises, which is always a plus.

8. Take Time To Thoroughly Read the Listing

If you’re considering purchasing or bidding on a treadmill through eBay or Amazon, you should read the description carefully.

It might even be beneficial to read it many times to clear up any doubts.

Some individuals make the error of hastily buying or bidding on treadmills, which may result in the following:

  • Purchasing a defective item.
  • Getting a completely incorrect item. Vendors have been seen selling just photographs of a commodity rather than the real thing.
  • Paying much more than anticipated for shipping, handling, and tax costs.

You should thoroughly read and comprehend the advertisement, as well as be familiar with any pertinent facts about the:

  • Payment method
  • Delivery time
  • Additional expenses
  • Restrictions
  • Policy on returns

Research the Seller Too

You must know who you are working with to ensure that you are purchasing from a trustworthy individual. When purchasing on a major eCommerce site, be sure to check the comments left by previous customers. 

You should consider if others are content interacting with this individual.

Additionally, several sites provide merchants with rating systems. You can familiarize yourself with these criteria to conduct an accurate evaluation of a vendor.

9. Consider the Size, Build, and Speed

Before purchasing a treadmill, take into consideration the following features:

  • Maximum load capacity.
  • Stability. The frame should never shake.
  • Ergonomics. If you’re a runner, you’ll want a deck that fits your stride.
  • The mass of the treadmill. When installing a treadmill in your house, you’ll need sufficient room around it.
  • Belt size. The belt should be at least 48 x 18 in. (1.21 x .457 m). If you are taller than 6 feet, you should use a 52 – 54 in. (1.32 – 1.37 m) belt.
  • External connections. Examine smartphone docking stations, USB ports, and Wi-Fi capabilities.
  • Speed. The majority of treadmills have a maximum speed of between 10 and 12 miles per hour (16 and 19 kilometers per hour), although some may go higher.
  • Cushioning. The running bed should be shock-absorbing.

10. Choose a Reliable Brand

Image of a woman running on treadmill.

Consider purchasing a used treadmill from a respected manufacturer such as Life Fitness, Proform, AFG, or NordicTrack. But you have the freedom to pick any brand that has the backing of its consumers. If you have a bit of money to spend, check out Landice treadmills.

The more popular the brand, the more opportunities there are to learn about the treadmill.

Top companies offer forums dedicated to their goods, where you may directly contact customer service professionals with any questions about their model.

11. Have a Set Budget

It’s beneficial to have a well-defined budget in mind, which can significantly simplify the decision process by focusing on particular machines and models that suit your budget and your requirements.

The simplest method to determine the equipment’s value is to first verify the retail price on an online retailer such as Amazon or by visiting the manufacturer’s website directly. Additionally, you can browse classified advertisements to determine the selling price in your region.

This will provide you with an accurate estimate of the used treadmill’s worth. You may then set your budget.

Never be hesitant to bargain with a seller to get the equipment at a reasonable price that you are content with.

Your Budget Should Match Your Fitness Goals

Knowing your objectives will go a long way toward assisting you in deciding on the right product. Determining how you want to use the treadmill matters when choosing how much you are willing to pay.

If you are a regular runner, you should consider the extra cost of features such as the cushion system, frame stiffness, and motor size.

However, if you want to walk at the same speed and incline constantly, you can definitely look at lower prices.

12. Check Safety Features

Another essential consideration when purchasing a used treadmill is ensuring that the equipment is safe to use. This may include examining the emergency off switch and cables for fraying or other indications of damage.

In addition, many treadmills have a safety line. You should check it for wear since you don’t want it to pop while you’re using it. You can read more about that in this post.

Any rubber or plastic components should be free of cracks and indications of severe wear and tear.

Look for Any Recalls Online

It would be best to ask for the treadmill’s model number and any alternative names when you inquire about it. Use this information to search for any problems with the product, as well as any recalls.

You should give it your best effort by also examining forums and Youtube videos for any notices.

Favorite Cardio Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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