One thing that should always be considered before you buy a treadmill is how high the ceiling is in the room you want it to be used. Many people keep their treadmills in the basement, and usually this is the area of a house with the lowest deck clearance. A little measurement before you make a purchase can make a big difference, depending on the machine you want.
If you think of an incline trainer or a treadmill that is decreasing, the belt will sit higher than a normal treadmill to allow the belt, when decreased, to slope downwards. For instance, if you get a NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer, the belt height is about 12′′ tall. Be aware that when some machines are not in use, they are higher than others. Now, when trying to use the full incline tilt trainer (up to 40 percent for some machines), add to your 0 percent measurement as much as 18′′. The X11i becomes a 2-and-a-half-foot tall belt!
As a general rule, I would plan on a belt sitting about 6′′ off the ground without incline for a normal treadmill. There are, of course, a number of markings and models that have a belt much closer to the ground, but if you can’t find the belt height samples online of the treadmill you are interested in and don’t have a precise measurement, 6″ is normally a pretty safe bet. The slope is probably up to 10-15 percent for these regular treadmills. This should be approximately 6′′ when the belt is the highest. For a regular treadmill, therefore, plan the maximum height around a foot high.
The next step is to know the height of the highest individual who is using the treadmill. Always add an inch to your height to account for your running shoes.
If you are unsure of the height clearance, it is always a good idea to ask a representative from the company from which you plan to buy. For some reason, the higher belt height is usually not shown in the machine specifications, but the other measures, like the footprint of the belt, are. But it is very easy to email or talk to an online representative about the requirements for height, and know sure before you place an order that your low basements treadmill fits into the space it is allocated. If you buy a treadmill or buy a used treadmill locally, make careful measurements of the ceiling height before you look and bring a tape measurements to measure the height of the belt.
When these height measures have been obtained (the belt at full incline and the height of the tallest user with an extra inch for the shoes), combine them and remove the height from your ceiling! Now add 6′′-12′′ extra space to make it impossible for your head to reach the ceiling and you’re done. For instance, I’m 6′1′′ tall. I have 8′′ basement ceilings. I would add 2′ 6′′ to 6′′ 2′′ if I wanted to install NordicTrack X11i in my basement (my height plus shoes). We’re at 8′′ 8′′ now. So if I planned to use full incline on it, this tilt trainer won’t fit into my basement. But if I wanted to get an ordinary bandwidth, then I’d add 12′′ to 6’2′′, and I’d be 7′ 2′′. Subtract it from the height of my ceiling and I have a generous 10′′ clearance.
I hope this was useful to some of you who struggle to decide whether or not the new treadmill fits into the space you have allotted!