Walking or running on a treadmill is a good way to stay in shape. However, if you don’t want to spend money on a gym membership to use one piece of equipment, you can buy one to use at home. When shopping for a treadmill, you’ll find several types on the market, including the Sole F80 Treadmill.
Tips for Buying a Treadmill
Before shopping for a home treadmill, there are several factors to consider when choosing one. You should consider your budget, the type of features you’ll need or want, and where it will be put in your home. Use the following seven tips to select the best treadmill for your fitness needs.
Your budget is always an important consideration for anything you buy, including a treadmill. Treadmills are available in several types and price points from manual treadmills that cost less than $ to those made for use in a gym that can cost as much as $$$.
You will need to consider the treadmill sizes when selecting one. It will need to fit the space where you plan to put it. It will also need to have a platform, or deck, long and wide enough walk or run on for your stride and anyone else who may use it. The minimum size of a deck should be 48” long and 16” wide.
If your house or apartment is small, then some space can be saved by purchasing a folding treadmill. When it isn’t in use, it can be folded vertically to allow you to move around it easily. Many models also have transport wheels, so you can put it in a corner whenever it’s not in use.
Folding the treadmill after you’ve finished exercising will also prevent it from becoming an expensive clothes hanger.
If you decide to buy a powered treadmill, then the size of the motor is important. It dictates what type of activity can be done on the treadmill. You will need more horsepower for running than walking and if your weight is about average.
For walking on a treadmill, you’ll want a motor that is at least 1.5 CHP, which is continuous horsepower. You will also need to consider the RPMs, or how fast the motor runs when buying one. A walking treadmill, those that go no more than five miles per hour, should run less than 5,000 RPM.
A running treadmill will need more CHP, so you can buy one that is 2.5 CHP for jogging or at least 3.0 CHP for sprinting. These motors should run less than 4,000 RPM. Any motor that has an RPM of 5,000 can overheat while you’re using it.
The deck of the treadmill should be cushioned to absorb the shock of walking or running on your ankle, knee, and hip joints, as well as your lower back. It should also be more than an inch thick to prevent it from bouncing as you run or walk.
Treadmills have varying technology, so you will want to consider what type of features you want to have on it. Some models have screens that display basic information, such as heart rate, time, speed, the distance you’ve run, and the number of calories you’ve burned.
More advanced models allow you to subscribe to services that provide workout programs created by personal trainers, you can virtually visit running trails from around the world, and exercise with a friend via a monitor. Also, most treadmills come with preset workout routines that automatically adjust the speed and incline of the treadmill.
Another choice is how much that deck will incline. An entry-level treadmill may have an incline of 10%, but you can buy others that have steeper inclines. Changing it can help you burn more calories, increase your stamina, and build your leg muscles. However, less expensive treadmills may not incline, or the incline may need to be adjusted manually.
Check the Warranty
Before plunking down your money on a treadmill, ask about the warranty. A good one indicates that you’re buying a quality piece of equipment. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on the frames and motor, while others may provide warranties that only last for a few years. The better the warranty, the better the quality should be.
What is the Sole F80 Treadmill and How does it Work?
Sole treadmills are a popular brand sold in the United States. The company is based in Salt Lake City, UT, but their treadmills are made in Taiwan. The company also sells other fitness equipment like ellipticals, rowers, and exercise bikes.
The model F80 is a powered folding treadmill that is suitable for runners and sprinters. The motor runs quietly but provides 3.5 CHP and gets a top speed of 12 miles per hour. Since it is a powerful motor, it is suitable for heavier users. It can withstand user weights of up to 375 pounds.
The frame is made of steel that is welded together, instead of using nuts and bolts. It makes the structure sturdier, so it is more durable than most frames. The belts used on the deck are two-ply, and four layers are made rubber, PVC, and nylon, so they don’t stretch and will hold up to years of running.
The company also uses flywheels with the motors to provide a better running experience. They are made from steel and coated with zinc to prevent the treadmill from vibrating while you’re exercising. Also, they help the machine run cooler because it doesn’t draw as many amps.
The flywheels on the model F80 are heavier than those used by their competition. The heavier flywheels provide a fluid motion when running or walk that is comparable to treadmills at gyms, which are much more expensive than this model.
The monitor on this treadmill is a nine-inch LCD screen that makes reading the data easier than the smaller screens on some equipment. It displays the speed, time, and distance you’ve run, along with your heart rate, pace, and the calories you’ve burned.
The controls for the speed, incline of the platform, and the choice of preset workouts are easier to see as well. The deck has 15 levels of incline, which allows you to build and strengthen the muscles in your legs, improve your cardiovascular health, and burn more calories.
You can choose from 10 preset exercise programs, including two specifically for improving heart function and two that are customizable. The console is Bluetooth compatible, so you can transfer the data from the treadmill to a mobile device like a smartphone or the Sole Fitness app to track the progress of your fitness goals.
The console also has built-in speakers and to allow you to connect an iPod or another MP3 player to them to listen to music or TED talks while you’re walking or running. To stay cool while working out, the treadmill also has onboard fans.
What Makes the Sole F80 Treadmill Unique?
Although many treadmills fold to fit in smaller spaces when not in use, the Sole F80 Treadmill makes it easier to get the machine ready for a workout by helping to unfold it. Instead of needing to guide it down yourself, you just release the deck, and the Easy Assist design automatically guides the platform to the floor.
Quiet Cushioned Deck
Also, the deck is made to be quiet as it runs, which reduces the overall noise of the machine when you’re using it. It flexes to prevent straining your joints and muscles, so you recover from workouts faster. The cushioned deck reduces the impact on your feet, ankles, knees, and legs by about 40%.
Integrated Message Board
Many Sole treadmills feature a message board the scrolls information across the display screen. It helps lead you through workouts, provides information about setting up your profile, and includes a how-to guide for operating the machine. The message board also provides data about your workout after it’s done.
One way to tell that you’re buying a good quality treadmill is to examine the warranty. Sole offers a lifetime warranty on the steel frame, a lifetime warranty on the motor and the deck. The moveable parts on the treadmill and the electronic devices have a five-year warranty, while there is a two-year warranty on labor.
Pricing for the Sole F80
This Sole model is made for runners and has a more powerful motor than most treadmills, so it reflects in the price. It is listed on the Sole website at $$$, but they sometimes offer holiday sale prices as low as $$.
Other websites price this treadmill at around $$, but if you shop around on the internet, you may be able to find it for less. For instance, Dick’s Sporting Goods sells this machine for $$. Most retailers offer free shipping for treadmills.
Public Perception of the Sole F80
Sole is a respected brand in the fitness industry because they make good quality machines. The F80 treadmill is no exception. Most owners are happy with their purchase after using it for several months. The F80 was first released in 2016, but Sole updated it and released a new version in 2018.
There were some user complaints about the treadmill breaking down after it was put together professionally, but when a company sells thousands of pieces of equipment each year, some minor issues may arise. They provide a good warranty, which will repair or replace the treadmill if you have problems with it.
Fitness experts who have reviewed the treadmill gave their approval as well. The main complaints about the F80 were being no way to move it because of its weight and not having side rails. Overall, this treadmill is considered a good investment for exercising indoors.
How it Compares
- 7. 5 inch color backlit LCD screen
- Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to Bowflex JRNY the personalized coaching technology and other popular fitness apps
- 20" x 60" running surface
- 9 intuitive “push and go” workout programs
- One-touch adjustments for speeds up to 12MPH and motorized incline up to 15%
- 4.25 CHP Mach Z Commercial Plus Motor, ProShox Cushioning, 2.5" Balanced Rollers, 300 Lb. Weight Capacity
- 10" Full-Color Touchscreen, iFit Enabled, 38 Workout Apps, iPod Compatible Audio
- 15% Incline, -3% Decline, 22" x 60" Tread Belt, 0-12 MPH Quick Speed Control, Integrated Cross Fit Tray, Integrated Tablet Holder
- EKG Heart Rate Monitor with Wireless Chest Strap, Dual CoolAire Workout Fans, Space Saver Design with Easy Lift Assist
- The PRO 9000 is protected with a Lifetime Frame & Motor Warranty, 5-Year Parts Warranty, and 2-Year Labor Warranty
Based on the features and the pricing, the two most comparable treadmills to the F80 are the Bowflex BXT216 and the ProForm Pro-9000. They both are priced under $$$ on sites like Amazon, as is the F80. The main difference between the Sole and Bowflex treadmills is the motor size.
The Sole motor is a 3.5 CHP, while the Bowflex is 4.0 CHP. Both allow for running or sprinting on the treadmill and are designed to withstand heavier weights. The Bowflex can hold users who weigh up to 400 lbs., while the Sole holds users up to 375 lbs.
Otherwise, the deck, the 15% incline, monitor size and top speed are the same between these two machines. However, the Bowflex doesn’t offer a warranty like the Sole’s. It only has a 15-year warranty on the frame and motor, compared to a lifetime warranty on the Sole F80.
The ProForm Pro-9000 also has a larger motor, which is 4.25 CHP. However, it is only designed for users who weight up to 300 lbs. While the incline is the same at 15%, the ProForm features a decline rate of -3%, which most treadmills do not have.
The ProForm warranty is the same as Sole’s, with a lifetime warranty on both the frame and motor. However, ProForm not offers information about a warranty on the deck, while Sole provides a lifetime warranty.
What We Think
If you are a runner or sprinter and need a treadmill for indoor workouts, then the updated Sole F80 may be the right choice for you. It has a large motor that is suitable for sprinters and that allows heavier people to use it for improving their physical condition.
The lifetime warranty on the frame, deck, and motor means it is a quality machine that is backed up by the manufacturer of these components should fail. It provides preset workouts to challenge users and data can be downloaded to mobile devices to track your progress.
The treadmill is designed to be comfortable for runners to use because of the cushioned deck, the rubber surface on the belt, and Easy Assist, that helps lower the deck to the ground. We think the Sole F80 Treadmill is a sound investment if you take your health seriously and want to use it to get in and stay in good physical condition.