Electronic treadmills could just as easily be called treadmills with an attitude: they don't go as fast as you do; you go as fast as they do.
An electronic treadmill is equipped with a motor to drive the treadbelt and another to raise and lower the deck at an angle.
Most powered treadmills will attain speeds of up to 10 or 12 MPH and will raise to an angle of 10-12%. Commercial grade treadmills,those used in fitness clubs, training facilities, and weight loss salons, like Star Trac and Smooth Fitness models, will go even faster and steeper.
What gives powered treadmills their attitude, though, is electronic workout programming.
Most machines have several preset workout programs that automatically adjust speed and angle to mimic a run over differing terrain or a specific technique like interval training or power walking.
Some include programs that are designed for optimum calorie loss in weight loss programs, and others have heart rate monitors that keep your workout in an optimum zone for fitness conditioning and cardiovascular health.
In other words, you do what the machine wants you to do, and for many people, that's a good thing.
Powered treadmills vary in capabilities and features, of course. Those who just want an exercise machine for light training, walking, or power walking can get by with less expensive models with smaller running surfaces and a more limited amount of programming.
Depending on your size, plan on spending around $1000, give or take a couple hundred.
Heavy individuals and those interested in running and sports training will want a treadmill allowing a longer stride, more power, a stronger deck with greater cushioning and stability, and more variations in the electronic programs and workouts available.
They can plan on spending well over a thousand and on up to several thousand dollars.
Steve Ecclestone is webmaster at Best Treadmill Guide