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Is the Sportcraft TX400 Treadmill a Bargain or Not?

written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 1/28/2010

The Sportcraft TX400 treadmill offers a decent feature set for a product that is on the lower end of the price range of the treadmill spectrum. So is it a piece of vital home fitness equipment you should invest in? Find out below.

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    Worth it or Not?

    Before launching into the nuts and bolts of this Sportcraft TX400 treadmill review, let’s talk about a few points. A treadmill needs to come equipped with a nice feature set to counter-balance the fact that you are running in the same spot, staring at the same walls for conceivably many, many times. A treadmill is obviously going to take a beating every time you run on it so you’ll want one that can take that without breaking down. Unfortunately, none of these manufacturers are sending me any of their products so my reviews are completely unbiased.

    I have been a runner for a long time and do prefer to do it outside, particularly on a trail, but sometimes that isn’t possible. When either time restraints or really foul weather come into play, I turn to a treadmill which has the audacity to tell me on its little digital readout how slow I’m going. Actually, that’s the feature most runners find most appealing to keep them consistent and informed about their pacing abilities and splits for something like a mile (a split is just jargon for consecutive increments of a given distance such as your running times for each of the four quarter miles that make up a mile). One last note before I get to the review. I’d like to quickly mention a fantastic product that you can use to still run outside in snowy or icy conditions. Read all about it in Yak Trax™ for Running on Winter’s Icy Streets and Trails.

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    PROS

    The low price (it retails for about $400) for a product with a few features that are traditionally only on more expensive models would seem to be its greatest asset. (Sportcraft’s are mass-produced outside of the U.S. for sale at the box stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart.) The motorized incline (up to 10 levels for the hill lovers) is nice compared to manually changing it and the 2.5 horse power motor offers a decent power base. You can run as fast as 12 miles an hour which is very good for a treadmill in this low end bracket.

    The digital readout displays time, distance, speed, incline, pulse, and the number of calories it calculates that you've burnt. A water bottle holder is nice but there’s no apparatus for holding a book or magazine. It folds up for storage, but it’s rather heavy to move for just one person. It does offer a relatively smooth cushioned track that will meet each of your strides. Many first time buyers of the TX400, with no other experience with treadmills, report that they are pleased with its performance so long as it doesn’t encounter any reported mishaps detailed below.

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    CONS

    Sportcraft Home Sportcraft’s history with treadmills in the last decade has been very sketchy. They recalled three separate models because of glitches that would make it suddenly accelerate on its own, which caused many injuries and treadmill headplants. The cheap price translates to a lack of lasting quality and stamina. A lot of people experience technical difficulties with this model, it breaks down and people need parts. The digital panel will go blank so that it’s inoperable, for instance. There are even forums you can find on the Web discussing quick fixes on frequently occurring glitches. The electric design is weak and faulty (this has been reported heavily by consumers and experts alike) and that isn’t something the average person can fix with a little tweaking. And their warranty (10 years for the frame, 1 year for the motor, 1 year for all parts, and 90 days for labor) doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

    Sportcraft.com doesn't even bother to showcase any of its fitness equipment on their website. They feature their more notable and well respected products such as table tennis and turbo hockey. You won't even see anything about the fitness products on their site unless you look under headings such as "Replacement Parts" and "Warranty". That says a lot in itself. I’d search our site here to find yourself a better option unless the price really appeals to you and you’re a bit of a gambler.