When it comes to foldable treadmills there are those that are cheap and cheerful and those that have a premium feel and price tag. The Life Fitness F1 Smart Folding Treadmill fits in to the latter category and although the price is not to be sniffed at, it comes with one of the best warranties we have seen and is manufactured by the ever impressive Life Fitness. We decided to give it the full FB treatment and having spent 30 days with it we bring you our Life Fitness F1 Smart Treadmill review.
First Impressions of the Life Fitness F1 Treadmill
The F1 is brought to us by Life Fitness who not only manufacture and distribute high end fitness equipment for home use but also for commercial setups. The F1 sits firmly in their home fitness range but would not look hugely out of place in a commercial gym. Of course, the key benefit of using the F1 in a home situation is that it has a folding mechanism – something that is often the source of flaws in cheaper home treadmills.
While it is true that there are some decent budget friendly foldable alternatives, they either have a feeling of lacking in durability or have a lack of features. The F1 suffers from neither of these issues and as soon as you step on to it you can tell the difference between it and its cheaper rivals.
The running deck of the F1 is 51cm wide by 140cm long and although this is not the longest of tracks it will suffice for most people. Anyone over 6’1″ or runners with longer than average legs might want to invest in a treadmill with a longer running track, but for everyone else the F1 should be more than suitable.
The F1 has killer looks and a good set of technical specifications to match. There is no escaping the impressive centre console but it is about more than just looks and the ergonomic design lends itself to an intuitive feeling of easy control even when running at speed – this is partly due to its lower than average quick touch buttons and high central display. The 4″x6″ LCD display takes centre stage and is easy to see even in brightly lit spaces and displays all of the data you would expect to see such as speed, pace, incline setting, time, distance, calories, heart rate and more.
The dimensions of the F1 Smart Folding Treadmill are 196cm(l) x 86cm(w) x 150cm(h) when in use and when folded are 89cm(l) x 86cm(w) x 190.5cm(h). It also features transport wheels so it can easily be moved from one place to another for storage.
We really liked the design and overall look and feel of the F1 upon first viewing and our opinion did not really change on this during the 30 days of testing. Moving the treadmill around the room was quick and easy and the childproof safety lever is a nice touch to reduce the likelihood of accidents. We also loved the vertical folding nature of the F1 as it really does create a perfectly vertical folding treadmill.
Life Fitness F1 Smart Treadmill In Use
Most of us have used treadmills at a commercial gym and anyone that has and has subsequently tested a home treadmill will usually agree that there is a significant difference between commercial and home equipment. The main difference usually lies in the solid feel of the running track. This difference is often exacerbated when you compare a commercial gym treadmill to a home folding treadmill.
The F1 is one of the exceptions to the rule and actually provides a really solid feel – however, this is not at the expense of shock absorption and the FlexDeck shock absorbing technology that the F1 features goes easy on your joints. In fact, Life Fitness claim that there is a 30% increase in shock absorption compared to outdoor running and so anyone that suffers from joint pain when running or who wants to elongate their running careers will benefit from this with the F1. Life Fitness are so confident in the F1 that they offer one of the best warranties we have seen on a home treadmill – more on that later!
The F1 packs a 2.5HP Continuous Duty motor called MagnaDrive. It sounds cool and it performs well, although it is not quite so powerful as the F3, it has plenty of punch and provides speeds of up to 16km/h. With a motorised incline that ranges from 0-12%, there is plenty of room for a thorough test for all but the most hardened of runners.
There are 7 programmes included with the F1 as well as the opportunity to add more. These programmes can be pre-set and also sync up with the wireless chest strap heart rate monitor with a target heart rate enabled programme included. In addition to the wireless chest strap there are also built in pulse rate monitors found on the handles. Talking of extra stability, there are handles to the front and side of you – with the side handles having a variety of grip positions so no matter how you like to run/walk there should be a comfortable option for you.
There is iPod and iPhone connectivity via USB and these can be controlled via the quick select buttons on the main unit of the machine which makes listening to your own music quick and easy. They have also included not one but two drinks holders for those longer runs as well as a reading rack and accessory tray.
We really enjoyed using the F1 treadmill and as far as home treadmills go this (and the higher spec’d F3) is about as good as it gets. It may not be cheap but you get what you pay for and you can even grab a free gift (we’d opt for free installation) when using our link below – you will not pay more for using our link but it will help us to keep reviewing these products.
F1 Best Price and Warranty
We do our best to scour the internet to bring you the best price on the Life Fitness F1 treadmill and we believe we have as well as a free gift. Better than that though is the warranty that comes with the F1 treadmill. The warranty covers home use and includes a lifetime warranty on the frame and springs. The motor has an impressive 10 year warranty and there is a 3 year warranty on all other parts and labour.
F1 Smart Treadmill Verdict
The Life Fitness F1 Smart Folding Treadmill is an excellent home treadmill that should stand the test of time. It is comfortable to run on and features an adequate running track for most users that has an excellent level of shock absorption. There is plenty of connectivity and the pre-set programmes and heart sync features will give most levels of runners a real challenge. It may not be the cheapest treadmill on the market but it is one of the best folding options available with one of the best warranties.