We always tell our readers and customers that the best way to get the most out of your treadmill is to treat it right. Baby your machine like your sweet pup by keeping it in a temperature-controlled environment and maintaining regular maintenance. But in the case of the Performance 500, there really is not much you can do. Simply put, this is a pitiful excuse for an $800 dollar treadmill. Proform has not produced a quality, sturdy treadmill and hasn’t given the Performance 500 a good warranty to fall back on. If Proform does not want to stand behind the Performance 500 for more than a year, then why should you?
Over time, we have not been overly impressed with any of the Performance series treadmills. The Performance 500 is the in-between model that puts it at an even bigger disadvantage. Between the build, the warranty, and the price, you would be much better off buying a different treadmill maybe even from a different brand entirely. The Performance 500 only has its programming going for it and even that area is lacking severely.
Let’s start out by cutting through the marketing crap to get to what the Performance 500 really offers. You see things like iPod Compatible Audio, SpaceSaver Design, and ProShox Cushioning. Like nearly every other treadmill in this price range, Proform is merely telling you that the Performance 500 also comes with Bluetooth speakers, it folds, and it has cushion under the deck. Big whoop; so does every other treadmill that is between $500 and $1,000 dollars. Don’t be fooled by the CoolAire fan or the Grip Pulse EKG Heart Rate monitors either. These two are also standard features as most treadmills in this price range come with fans and grip heart monitors on the handles. Unlike other treadmills in this price range, though, the Performance 500 only has 10 incline levels and 10 speed levels. Proform may dress them up with words like "QuickSpeed" and "Quick Touch" but at the end of the day, other machines have upwards of 12 or 15 speed and incline levels and the Performance 500 is left with a measly 10.
As for the actual build of the Performance 500, well, there is not much to write home about. For starters, most treadmills have about a 320-350 pound weight capacity in the $700 to $1,000 dollar range. The Performance 500 only has a 300-pound capacity. You may think that this only affects you if you are over 300 lbs, but really the weight capacity and unit weight are often indicative of the treadmill frame’s strength. If the company who makes the machine says that it is only 300 lbs strong, then you should wonder how long it will hold up if you weigh 150 lbs. We are also sorely disappointed to see how small the Performance 500’s belt is. Other treadmills that cost the same (if not a little less) have belts that are 20 x 60 inches while this treadmill’s belt is only 20 x 55. And to top it all off, Proform has backed the Performance 500 with a measly one-year parts and labor warranty. For the same price, you can have a treadmill with up to three or five warrantied years, much stronger builds, and more reliable companies.
But the Performance 500 is not all bad…well kind of. There is this unique inclusion of the eight-week Jillian Michaels's workouts. While we have noted that other treadmills do not have this particular set of workout programs, we still find ourselves very weary of the value that it adds to the Performance 500. Proform does not indicate whether or not the eight-week workout program is free or if the first week is free and there is a subscription or if you have to buy a video set. We do not really see how you can be able to have Jillian Michaels “coach” you through the workouts on the pitiful “multi-window LED” screens- another marketing term used to make more out of small screens that have the quality of an old Gameboy. So, the Performance 500’s one positive, an additional eight-week celebrity workout program, is even questionable in itself since the workouts cannot be viewed on a quality screen. This then bids the question, is the Performance 500 even worth $800 dollars?
|Speed Range||0 - 10|
|Incline/Decline Range||0 - 10|
|Weight Capacity||300 Lbs|
|Belt Size||20 x 55|
|Weight of Unit||N/A|
|Warranty||Lifetime Frame Warranty, 25-Year Motor Warranty, and 1-Year Parts & Labor Warranty.|
|Heart Rate Sensor and Type||EKG Grip Monitors|
|Number of Programs||15, 8 Week Jillian Michaels Program|
In the past, we have discussed how the Proform Performance 500 is the in-between model in the Performance line. Ultimately, we have warned against the Performance series treadmills altogether because of their poor reputation. We have recommended looking into Proform’s Power 995i for a little more money because it has proven to be far superior to the Performance 500.
To put it simply, we do not recommend any of the Proform Performance series treadmills. These days, it is even hard to find a Performance 500 online and there is a good reason- no one wants to buy a junk treadmill. Save yourself the heartache and use your $800 dollars to buy a treadmill with a little more quality and value.