The LifeSpan TR4000i is our choice for best value because we’d expect to pay much more for a treadmill with so many features. This is the most affordable treadmill we evaluated, but we’d never label it “cheap.” It stacks up well when compared with higher-priced models, and it is functional, versatile and well-built. While some avid runners may prefer a machine with more heft, this one is foldable, maneuverable and well-cushioned.
The TR4000i measures 74.5 x 32 x 56 inches at full length and folds to 42 x 32 x 66.5 inches (length, width and height). Weighing in at 226 pounds – 138 pounds less than the heaviest one, the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 – it’s the lightest treadmill we evaluated. Surprisingly, the TR4000i has a higher maximum weight limit of 350 pounds versus the NordicTrack’s limit of 300 pounds. However, one of our more athletic testers didn’t trust its stability when he exercised at a full run.
“If I had to bail quickly, it feels super weak,” he said.
The TR4000i has a 2.5-inch front roller and a 2-inch rear roller to support an upgraded 2.8 mm belt. Its running surface is 20 by 60 inches, and it has a 1-inch phenolic deck. Its motor is 3.25 continuous-duty horsepower, and the surface has 15 incline levels. Like nine of the 10 treadmills we evaluated, its max speed is 12 mph. Only the Matrix TF50 is faster, giving you an extra half mile per hour.
This treadmill’s suspension is provided by eight independent compression shocks. It folds with a hydraulic shock and has four mounted wheels for greater maneuverability and easier storage. Its nonslip plastic side rails help you stay balanced, and it has a patented auto-pause safety feature called the Intelli-Guard system. This system pauses the belt 20 seconds after you step off the deck. Other perks of the TR4000i include its Intelli-Step step counting feature and its Intelli-Key console operation system. Consumer reviews of this treadmill say it is quiet, solid and easy to use.
The LifeSpan TR4000i has aux in audio capability with speakers. It also has a cooling fan and a heart rate monitor, but you must buy a wireless chest strap separately. If you’re looking for more connectivity, you can purchase an optional Bluetooth receiver. This gives you access to the Active Trac app and lets you sync with your LifeSpan Club account. The console has a dual-purpose USB port that lets you charge a device and save exercise data to a drive. However, setting up this capability wasn’t intuitive, and we found the Bowflex BXT216’s interface more user-friendly.
The TR4000i has a 6-inch blue backlit LCD screen with readouts including time, calories, distance, steps, heart rate, speed, incline level, pace and elevation change. Its 21 built-in programs include two heart rate programs and 17 preset programs that emphasize weight management, healthy living and sports training. There are also two customizable program options.
Our testers’ experience with this treadmill confirmed advice we received from multiple manufacturers that consumers should choose exercise equipment based on their current fitness levels and exercise goals. Several serious athletes who ran on this treadmill in our lab felt like it was jerky and unstable. On the other hand, this machine was a favorite among more casual users. Similarly, while one runner called the TR4000i’s display “lackluster,” another tester said, “I don’t need a big, fancy screen. I just like to be able to start my workout.”
LifeSpan backs the TR4000i with a lifetime warranty on its frame and motor, five years on parts and two years on labor. When we reached out to the company with questions, we experienced outstanding customer service. Consumer support is available by phone, live chat and an online contact form.