ProForm ZT6 Treadmill: Is an Inexpensive Workout Worth the Money?

A row of Healthrider Treadmills

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If you’re looking at the ProForm ZT6 Treadmill, you’re either already working on your fitness, or you’re just getting started. Whether you’re a marathon runner or someone who’s just trying to live a little healthier, buying home exercise equipment is a big investment.

There are several things to consider before making a major purchase that will take up space in your home. How much space do you have for your treadmill? Most higher-end treadmills are about 77 inches long by 35 inches wide. If you buy a folding treadmill, that length will be half of 77 inches when you store it. An entry-level treadmill like the ProForm ZT6 has a smaller footprint, so it will take up less space in your home whether down or folded up. If you’re going to be running, as opposed to walking or jogging, you need to look at ergonomics. You need a deck length that will accommodate the increased stride of a runner. Maybe you want to be able to adjust your treadmill easily, whether by speed or incline. All of these are things to consider before you go treadmill shopping.

Which Treadmill Is Right For You?

Buying a treadmill is a big decision. They’re not cheap. Furthermore, if you’re in the market for home exercise equipment like the ProForm ZT6 treadmill, you’re either a serious athlete or someone who is getting ready to get serious about their fitness and health. Before you buy a treadmill, it’s important to be aware of the different types. It can be confusing because there are treadmills that cost a few hundred and treadmills that cost thousands. Which is the right one for you? The answer is that it depends on how you’re going to use it.

Entry-level treadmills

These are sometimes called discount treadmills or budget treadmills. You can get an entry-level treadmill for less than a grand. Entry-level treadmills are ideal for users who want to have a way to exercise in their home if they’re a casual user. You may be just getting started in fitness, or you may just need it occasionally. Maybe you usually go to the gym but want a treadmill at home for weekends. Entry-level treadmills have smaller motors and usually cannot handle very heavy weights. They’re great for walking or jogging. It isn’t the treadmill for marathon runners, for example.

Mid-range treadmills

Mid-range treadmills are for people who will use their treadmill several times a week. The quality is a bit better and they are also a bit more expensive. They have better shock absorption that will protect joints from the harsh impact caused by jogging or running. The motors are larger, and most can accommodate heavier people.

High-end treadmills

High-end treadmills are sometimes called commercial or luxury treadmills. They are a financial investment. If you’ve ever been to a gym and seen a treadmill, you’ve seen a high-end treadmill. Whether you’re a casual walker or a marathon runner, these beautiful beasts can accommodate all levels of activity. In addition to excellent cushioning, they have a longer track than the other models and allow for higher speeds.

The ProForm ZT6 Treadmill

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The ProForm ZT6 is considered by most reviewers to be a fairly solid entry-level treadmill. It’s a much better option than one of the bargain treadmills and offers many of the features of mid-range to high-end models.

ProForm ZT6 specifications

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The ProForm ZT6 treadmill has a powerful 2.5 CHP Mach Z™ Commercial motor. The deck is fairly roomy with a 20-inch by 55-inch tread belt. Even without folding it up, this treadmill’s footprint is only 68 inches by 73 inches by 36 inches.

Unlike many entry-level treadmills, the ProForm ZT6 has a higher weight capacity and can accommodate users up to 325 pounds. This treadmill has a top speed of up to 10 miles per hour.

ProForm ZT6 treadmill features

The motor on the ProForm ZT6 treadmill will stay cool through even tough workouts. The motor boasts a faster flywheel gear ratio and is powerful enough to create a high level of inertia, which will give a smooth and powerful feel to your workout. ProForm prides itself on the quietness of this model, making it a great choice for home use.

Another feature that makes the ProForm ZT6 a good option for home or office is that it has the ProForm SpaceSaver® Design. This feature makes it easy to fold the treadmill up after use, freeing up space so that you don’t have to sacrifice your living area to work on your fitness. There is also an EKG heart rate sensor on the ProForm ZT6 treadmill. To keep you cool during your workout, this treadmill has a two-speed fan.

Some entry-level treadmills lack a five-inch backlit display, so the fact that the ProForm ZT6 has one is a nice feature. To keep you entertained while you work out, there is a nice-sized deck for your device, and it has an aux port. You also have the option of 18 different workout apps.

The ProForm ZT6 treadmill comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame. Note that the lifetime warranty of the frame pertains to the original purchaser only. They guarantee the motor for 25 years, and there is a 1-year parts and labor warranty.

Proform ZT6 pros

  • Accommodates higher weights than other entry-level treadmills
  • Replacement belts and tread readily available
  • Extra-wide belt
  • You can use one hand to unlock it with the other hand supporting the weight as you lower the belt
  • The display is easy to read
  • Quick speed buttons make it easy to go from walk to jog to run and back to walking
  • It will stand up to hard running

ProForm ZT6 cons

  • It’s not easy to find and is currently out of stock on the ProForm website and on Amazon
  • It takes two people to set it up
  • Per the user manual, the ProForm ZT6 has to be unplugged after each use to avoid electrical problems
  • Assembly takes one to two hours
  • Customer service may be unreliable

How Do Other Treadmills Compare to the ProForm ZT6 Treadmill?

The ProForm ZT6 treadmill has great reviews and features. However, there are also competitor treadmills on the market that may be more readily available than the ProForm ZT6 since it’s harder to find. We’ve reviewed three other treadmills below.

How we reviewed: the ProForm ZT6 treadmill vs. the competition

For reviewing the ProForm ZT6 and competitor treadmills, we focused on several characteristics. Our primary considerations were belt surface area, motor horsepower, usability and comfort, warranty, and best fit for a home environment.

Additionally, we wanted to compare the value of these entry-level treadmills to see if they are quality machines for the price.

NordicTrack T 6.5 S

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The NordicTrack T 6.5 S has a belt surface area of 25 inches by 55 inches. The motor is a 2.6 horsepower motor. It comes with one free month of an iFit Coach membership if you’d like to enjoy unlimited workout programs. At the touch of a single button, the incline can be adjusted up to 10 percent to target specific muscle groups and add intensity to your workout. You can choose between a firm deck or a FlexSelect cushioned deck. The weight limit on this machine is 300 pounds.

Reviewers say that the machine folds up easily and is comfortable to use. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S fold-down assembly has a pump, which means it doesn’t come crashing down as some bargain treadmills do. Most reviewers enjoy the drink holders, which isn’t a feature on all entry-level treadmills.

It comes with a 25-year on the warranty on the motor, which is one of the best in this industry. Parts and labor have a one-year warranty, and the frame has a lifetime warranty.

Weslo Cadence G 5.9

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The Weslo Cadence is one of the lowest priced treadmills on the market, but you get what you pay for. It has a 2.5 continuous horsepower Impulse™ motor. Features include six personal trainer workouts and a two-position manual incline. You have to get off of the treadmill and manually change the incline, a huge negative. The weight limit on this machine is a strict 275 pounds. At 16 inches by 50 inches, the deck is smaller than many entry-level treadmills. Five inches makes a big difference if you’re running or jogging.

This treadmill folds up very easily and is lightweight. The wheels on the front make it easy to move around as needed and can be moved by one person with ease. It’s a very lightweight machine, which is a bonus.

The warranty is weak on this machine. Weslo offers a 1-year motor warranty and 90-day parts and labor warranty. We can’t recommend the Weslo Cadence unless it’s the best you can afford. There are too many good competitors on the market.

ProForm 705 CST

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If you have your heart set on a Proform ZT6 but are having trouble finding one, the ProForm 705 CST is a good alternative. It has a slightly longer tread belt at 20 inches by 60 inches. The 2.75 CHP Mach Z™ Commercial Motor is also better than that on the ProForm ZT6. Furthermore, this machine will run at speeds up to 12 miles per hour. Like the ZT6, the 705 CST has a weight capacity of 325 pounds.

Users enjoy the iFit Coach option, which offers an extensive collection of various global workouts and classes. There are 22 onboard workouts and an EKG grip pulse heart rate sensor. You can connect your devices via Bluetooth technology. The ProForm 705 CST offers automatic incline adjustability, with a range up to 12 percent. Users enjoy the dual two-inch speakers and aux port. The dual-speed fan is also a plus.

ProForm offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor on the 705 CST, and a two-year parts warranty. It also comes with a one-year labor warranty.

Which Treadmill Should You Take Home?

Buying exercise equipment is one of the most expensive purchases consumers can make. It’s important to do thorough research and carefully read reviews before buying.

So which treadmill is the right one for you? The answer is that it depends on your needs and the options you want. With the treadmills we reviewed, some of the features vary widely. If you can find a ProForm ZT6 treadmill, it is definitely the best option for many people. It has the highest ratings and is the best value for the money. If you can’t find a new or used ProForm ZT6, the ProForm 705 CST is probably the best alternative.

Featured image by Nenad Stojkovic via Flickr

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