ProForm was once considered a substandard budget brand, but now it has earned much better treadmill reviews. The range of prices and features includes something for everyone: The Performance Series is best for walkers, the PRO and Power Series are great for most runners, and the Boston Marathon Series is ideal for those who run hours at a time.
ProForm is the largest selling brand of Icon Fitness, which is the world's largest fitness equipment company (Icon also builds NordicTrack Treadmills). Years ago ProForm primarily dominated the budget category, but now they are also a major player in the mid-range ($1,000-$2,000) market.
There are two reasons why ProForm treadmills are so popular. First, you get more for less. Second, they has the most innovative technology in the industry. Icon Fitness devotes considerable resources to cutting edge motivational technology.
Value Proposition — Being part of the largest fitness equipment company in the world, ProForm has the advantage of economy of scale. They manufacturer large inventories of machines, which drives the unit price down. Consequently, most of their treadmills out spec the competition. In general, their treadmills have larger motors, longer decks, more features and the most innovative technology in the industry. In addition, they come with generous warranties.
For example, in the budget category you have the Performance 600 C treadmill, that usually sells for $799 with shipping, which is not a lot of money for a cardio machine. It has a 2.75 HP motor, an extra long 20"x 60" running surface, decent sound system with MP3 input, 24 workout programs, a lifetime motor and 2-year parts and 1-labor warranty, and it is iFit Live compatible. Compare that to other $799 treadmills in the market, and typically you end up with a very basic machine.
Another indication of their value proposition is a recent "Best Buy" rating for the Performance 600 C from a prominent consumer magazine, whose name I cannot mention. They gave the Performance 600 an "excellent" rating for exercise range and ergonomics.
ProForm Treadmills Innovations
Innovation — Some of the state-of-the-art features found on ProForm and NordicTrack treadmills are what really distinguishes them from the competition. They have an entire department devoted to R&D. When I go to visit the company this area is completely off limits to visitors — they take R&D very seriously.
iFit LiveiFit Live — iFit Live allows your treadmill to communicate with the Internet through Wi-Fi. There are several features designed to motivate you to achieve your fitness goals and to take the boredom out of walking or running in place.
First, you can get customized workout routines. You go to iFit.com and define your exercise goals. An 8-week program is downloaded on your machine, which allows you to workout with Jillian Michaels, who provide audio coaching. In addition, your results are downloaded in real time to your iFit.com account, allowing you to track your progress. Studies show that individuals who track their progress are more likely to achieve their fitness goals.
iFit Live Google MapsHowever, what makes iFit rock is the interaction with Google Maps. You can define trails or roadways that you want to walk or run on Google Maps, and iFit Live will simulate the terrain with the incline feature. There is also a library of pre designated routes through national parks and famous cityscapes. Furthermore, you can place your laptop on the treadmill and see either a street, map or satellite view of the route you are running. (The ProForm Performance 1450 includes a built-in Internet browser display).
Furthermore, ProForm sponsors group races where you compete against others with iFit Live. You are able to see your position in relation to the leader and the pack. One of their last races had over 2,000 participants. (Note: There is an additional cost for the subscription.)
Other Unique Features...
10" Full Color Touch Screen Display with Android Internet Browser — Found on the ProForm Power 1495 treadmill and the Pro 2500, the display allows you to access your email, catch up on the latest news, view your favorite web sites, listen to music online, what YouTube videos — all while you burn away those unwanted calories.
Superior Sound Systems with MP3 Input — I have an elliptical trainer with speakers and the sound is so poor I can't listen to it. Icon Fitness equips their cardio machines with some of the best sound systems found in the industry.
Decks that Both Incline and Decline — Several of the ProForm treadmills have the ability to both incline and decline the deck. This allows you to simulate going up and down hills, in addition to being able to target more lower body muscles.
Built-in Fans — The fans on most ProForm treadmills actually offer relief. They are designed to point at your core, which is the most important part of your body to cool off. They have a couple of models where the intensity of the breeze is based on the level of your exertion.
Generous Warranties — You will find that the warranties on the ProForm treadmills are some of the most extensive in their price range.
Our Review - ProForm Treadmills
ProForm treadmills are all about value, and getting the most for you money. Because they succeed so well at this proposition they sell massive amounts of treadmills per year.
If the ProForm treadmills did not have features like iFit Live, full color displays, and the ability to incline and decline they would still be a good value because of the upgraded components. However, when you factor in the innovative features you get an excellent value on a number of their models.