Proform 515 TX Treadmill Review
Treadmill Doctor Note:
A good looking machine but some serious corners had to be cut to get it to $599.
Overall Rating: 5.02
If you are just going to use it lightly, this one can handle that kind of use. If you do any more than simple walking, get a better treadmill.
The Proform 515 TX is not a great treadmill. At $599, you shouldn't be expecting anything better than mediocre. If you plan on running, you're going to have to spend more money. Still, this was the 3rd runner up for our Best Buy award in the $400-699 price range.
The walking area is pretty good. It's a bit smaller than your standard 20" x 60", but it should get the job done. Bigger users may feel cramped, if they are used to larger belts, but most people won't find this to be a problem.
The motor in this machine is really weak. This isn't shocking to us, though. Most of the sub-$1,000 treadmills have motors that are only capable of producing a similar amount of power. Since you can only use this model for walking, because running will tear it up quickly, this isn't a major concern.
The cushioning system isn't great. It will be much kinder to your joints and back than running on concrete would, but compared to most of the treadmills on today's market, it's not going to provide much relief. With such a low cost, you can't expect much better.
The projected reliability of this machine is very poor. You can find some models with an even shorter life expectancy, but it's not easy. The quality of parts isn't very good, either. To keep costs low, manufacturers have to use cheap parts that don't we don't expect to hold up well over time.
The noise level isn't great. Considering the price, however, this model did a pretty good job. You won't find many treadmills selling for less than $1,000 that make less noise during operation than this one does.
The warranty on the Proform 515 TX is okay. Parts and labor are covered for 1 year, the drive motor is covered for 25 years, and the frame is covered for life. Extending the parts coverage would have made this a good warranty, but it would be risky for Proform, considering corners were cut with the parts that were used.
These products are produced by Icon Health and Fitness. They are the largest retail fitness company. This is one of the original Icon brands and can be found in most mass merchants. They typically range between $500 and $1,500 and have short warranties for the most part, although we have seen a shift in regard to that on mainly motors in some units. The higher end units have much longer warranties. The gee-whiz factor is high on these machines because they are packed with features, but some of these features can be glitch prone. Except for the higher priced units with a selling price of $1000 or more, we wouldn't recommend these for serious runners, but the quality of the machine is so much better than those produced just a few years ago. Most people who are walkers or occasional joggers will be satisfied with the new Proforms.
Quality / Philosophy
Proform is produced by Icon, a company with thousands of employees and large resources. Put simply, their machines have the best design in the business. Icon has a long, storied history that provides an example of how the big keep getting bigger. Icon used to be the mass-market darling because of their cheap prices, but they had the quality to match. These days they put quality into the machines and pack them with features. On the low end, expect low quality, but that is more of a function of price rather than engineering. Proform is still saddled with many problematic models from their past, but the quality has rapidly improved, especially with their machines in the $900 and up range.
Icon is the largest fitness equipment producer in the world with over $1 billion in sales. If the fitness industry were a solar system, Icon is so powerful that they would be the Sun. In terms of stability they are the best, but overall their customer service isn't up to the standards of any of the lower volume producers. They have promised an improvement on this and have new management in the service department, so we hope this helps. Although you get a value price for the product, you also get value service, so keep this in mind when buying their machines. Due to the sheer number of units they produce, we pick up support in many cases where this factory leaves off.
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