Proform Performance 400 S Treadmill Review
Treadmill Doctor Note:
Although Sam's Club makes this an excellent value, it is not an excellent machine. For walkers only and not for serious use.
Overall Rating: 5.09
Icon Health and Fitness is the mastermind behind the Proform series of TMs, and you will see many of these models priced in the $500- $1,500 range that vary in quality as the price increases. Warranties that are weaker in the lower price segments are strengthened as you climb the price ladder. To attract eyeballs the company has packed the machines with features presented in attractively designed TMs.
The lower end of Proform is best avoided as the prices only reflect the lower quality of the components and the machines will be riding piggy back on Icon's engineering reputation. What you are seeing is the company cutting corners in every way to hammer value down to this price point leaving nothing for a serious treadmill enthusiast.
Votes in favor of the treadmill
2.25 HP motor is OK for brisk walking
This is a small frame motor designed for walking, but if jogging, speed running, and endurance training are your goals then you are best served by a stronger motor. If you prolong the workout, the noise factor will be just the right decibel to mobilize irate neighbors at your doorstep.
Tread belt size is good but...
The 20" x 55" tread belt is an excellent surface for the casual walker but not geared for running or intense weight loss programs and calorie burning exercises, as it is not adequately powered by the motor.
Cushioning is barely adequate
The DualShox cushioning rates below average but then the user can't expect anything startling at a price point below $1,000.
Value for money commensurate with the $700 price point
At the $700 price point users aren't paying extra for component quality and features, but if expectations are higher the users ought to be prepared for spending more money.
Votes against the TM
At 2.25 HP the small frame motor is woefully underpowered
Power output is not sufficient to support a tread belt size of 20" x 55" for running exercises. Attempting 10 mph speeds on this treadmill is risky and an open invitation to drive burn out and an early warranty claim.
Warranty coverage delivers the sucker punch
Lifetime for frame, 25 years for motor and maximum 1 year for parts and labor represents the warranty package. The company doesn't expect much from its product, neither should you. Serious exercisers need no better incentive to keep away.
treadmill weight / user weight ratio problematic for heavier users
Company's claim of 300 pounds maximum user weight capacity should be taken with a pinch of salt. Heavier users will only succeed in wearing out drive components inviting early warranty claims.
Reliability is a concern
We have serious reservations about the reliability and quality of aftersales service including promptness of spare parts. This is an area in which Proform has a long way to go. This only underscores the fact that the lower down you are in the price points the worse it gets.
The final analysis
The Proform Performance 400S could be considered adequate value for money at the $700 price point but only if you are comfortable with walking. Professional runners will need more supportive features available only at higher price points. For the average user who can't stretch his budget beyond $700 and for whom warranty is a distant concern this would be a good option.Good value for the price but not a good machine if you want to be a serious exerciser.
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 they have excellent warranties on the high end. We have seen a shift in regard to that on mainly motors in some units. The gee-whiz factor is high on these machines because they are packed with features but those have tended to be glitch prone. Except for the higher priced units with a selling price of $1000 or more, we wouldn't recommend these for runners, but the quality of the machine is so much better than the ones produced just a few years ago, most people who are walkers or occasional users 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 used to have quality to match. These days they put quality into the machines and pack them with features. Icon also has the worst customer service in the business but we rate the machines by the individual machine quality, not the quality of their service. Proform is still saddled with many 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 promised an improvement in service but the results were more of the same. Although you get a value price for the product, you also get value service so keep this in mind when buying their machines- apparently they price their machines so low in comparison to other companies that they don't have money left for service. 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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