Treadmill Console Buyers Guide: What to look for

July 04, 2023 5 min read

Treadmill Console Buyers Guide: What to look for

 Console - Key decisions

 Console size and display: The console should be large enough to read the workout data easily, and the display should be backlit so you can see it in low-light conditions. Some consoles also have touchscreen displays, which can be more interactive and allow you to access more features.

  1. LED Consoles -- The classic, basic workhorse. On LEDs, you push buttons to control the device and read data written in LED lights. Good for people who want to just hammer out miles or meters and who don't need a lot of frills. 

  2. LED/LCD Hybrids -- These units have some push-buttons and LED info positioned around an embedded video screen. Good for people who want their viewing experience on the console but who may not need the full-on touchscreen experience. 

  3. Tablet-style Touchscreen LCDs -- Basically a high-end iPad mounted on cardio equipment. These displays have the most flexibility and premium features like streaming workouts; 

Number of workout programs: The console should have a variety of workout programs to choose from, so you can keep your workouts interesting and challenging. Some consoles also have custom workout programs that you can create yourself.

Heart rate monitoring: If you want to track your heart rate during your workouts, the console should have heart rate monitoring capabilities. This can be done through contact heart rate sensors on the handlebars, or through wireless heart rate chest straps.

Entertainment features: If you want to be able to watch TV or listen to music while you work out, the console should have entertainment features. This could include a built-in TV, a media player, or a USB port for connecting your own devices. The video shows the latest Life Fitness SE4 HD Console with will be launched with their range Integrity to start with, read more in this article " explaining the new SE4HD screen from Life Fitness "

 Today's treadmill users generally come equipped with a smartwatch and headphones -- both usually  wireless. To meet the needs of those many devices (and various brands of device ), a console needs to offer differing connectivity, including:

  • ANT+ lets wireless devices “talk” and relay data to each other. Started with the popular Garmin series of watches/devices, and has expanded over time.
  • Apple® GymKit works seamlessly with Apple Watches to share data between watch and device. The watch tracks calories and handles heart rate monitoring while the treadmill records metrics like pace and distance.
  • Bluetooth® (or BLE) works on anything from heart rate straps to headphones.
  • NFC is a short-range sensor technology most known for it's use in "tap to pay" credit cards. On a treadmill, it makes syncing with your iPhone or Android super easy.
  • Wifi  is a helpful way to transmit larger amounts of data to your cardio equipment. Useful for tracking treadmill use, maintenance needs, and offering premium content like streaming.workouts.

Ease of use: The console should be easy to use and navigate. The buttons and controls should be large and clearly labeled, and the menu system should be user-friendly. 

 A console control board ought to have a clear visual hierarchy, where:

  • Most-used buttons are the largest. Generally  that means "go", "stop" and "cool down" need to be unmissable and located toward the center. 

  • The second most-used items on the control board are speed and incline. These also should be large and centrally located. One-touch options for preset speeds are also nice. 

  • Entertainment features like device connectivity or TV controls should be on the periphery. 

  • Additional workout programs need to be available -- and recognizable. Time-tested training protocols like intervals or hills remain in high demand. 

  • The console display ought to be big enough where you can clearly understand messages on its LED or LCD display. 


    Digital / Fitness Apps


    • Zwift: Zwift is a virtual training app that allows you to ride or run on a treadmill while exploring 3D worlds. It can be used with a variety of treadmills, including those that are not specifically designed for Zwift. Zwift offers a free plan and a premium plan that offers additional features, such as live racing and training plans.



    • Kinomap: Kinomap is an interactive training app that allows you to watch real-world videos or 3D maps while you run or bike on a treadmill. It can be used with a variety of treadmills, including those that are not specifically designed for Kinomap. Kinomap offers a free plan and a premium plan that offers additional features, such as live tracking and custom workouts.  The excellent Sole treadmills such as the popular Sole F80 Treadmill interface well with Kinomaps, to consider there fuller range explore our Sole treadmills and differentiating models feature.
    • Strava:  Strava is a social fitness app that allows you to upload your workouts, compete with friends , and explore  new routes. It can be used with treadmills, as well as other fitness equipment. Strava offers a free plan and a premium plan that offers additional features, such as live tracking and detailed analytics.

    Here is a table comparing the three apps:

    Feature Strava Zwift Kinomap
    Price Free plan, premium plan Free plan, premium plan Free plan, premium plan
    Compatible devices Treadmills, other fitness equipment Treadmills, exercise bikes, indoor rowing machines Treadmills, exercise bikes, indoor rowing machines
    Features Tracking workouts, exploring routes, competing with friends, live tracking, detailed analytics Virtual training, live racing, training plans Interactive training, real-world videos, 3D maps, custom workouts
    Community Large and active community Large and active community Smaller community


    Ultimately, the best treadmill app for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a social app with a large community, Strava is a good option. If you are looking for a virtual training app with 3D worlds, Zwift is a good option. If you are looking for an interactive training app with real-world videos, Kinomap is a good option.


    Durability: Commercial treadmill consoles are built to withstand heavy use and abuse from multiple users. They are made with stronger materials and components, and they are designed to last for many years. Home treadmill consoles, on the other hand, are not as durable and may not last as long if they are used heavily.

    Features: Commercial treadmill consoles typically have more features than home models. They may have a larger display, more workout programs, and more entertainment options. Home treadmill consoles may have fewer features, but they may still be sufficient for the needs of most home users.

    Concluding thoughts  for choosing a treadmill console:

    If you are new to treadmill workouts, you may want to choose a console with a variety of pre-programmed workouts. This can help you get started and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. If you are more experienced, you may want a console with more customization options. This could include the ability to create your own workouts, or to adjust the settings of pre-programmed workouts.If you plan to use your treadmill for interval training or other high-intensity workouts, you will need a console that can handle the speed and incline changes.If you want to be able to track your progress over time, you will need a console with a memory function. This will allow you to save your workout data so you can see how you are improving.

    No matter what your fitness goals are, there is a treadmill console out there that is perfect for you. By considering the factors above, you can find the console that will help you reach your fitness goals and enjoy your workouts.

    Feel free to explore our treadmill selection from leading brands such as Life Fitness, Woodway, NOHrD, Hammer Strength, Spirit & more, if in doubt contact us and we would be delighted to help.







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