We found the LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Folding Treadmill does a lot of things right. It offers incline settings up to a 15% gradient, remains shudder-free at high speeds, and offers a maximum pace of just over 12mph. Put in context, a 10K at this speed would take a little over 30 minutes, so it’s likely to be fast enough for most users.
Dimensions: 33in x 42in x 67in (83.8cm x 106.6cm x 170cm)
Weight: 211lbs / 96kg
Tread belt size: 20in x 56in
Max user weight: 350lbs / 159kg
Display: 7in TFT touchscreen
These credentials earned it a spot on our roundup of the best treadmills (opens in new tab). But, unfortunately, it missed out on the top spot due to the fact that its mid-range price tag wasn’t matched by the innovative features we saw on similarly priced machines, such as the Proform Pro 9000 (opens in new tab) and Echelon Stride (opens in new tab).
That’s not to say it isn’t a solid runner. Anyone wondering how to run faster (opens in new tab)while training at home will likely be able to up their speed and endurance with this machine, provided they’re following the right training plan. But, if you’re new to running and want a Peloton-esque machine that provides engaging and entertaining classes that guide you through lung-busting workouts, this isn’t the product for you.
Set-up and usability
Setting up the LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i can be summed up in one word: finicky.
The treadmill is supplied in a large box, which we found needed at least two people to maneuver into place. Its daunting dimensions may also prove tricky for anyone trying to fit it through small doorways or around tight corners on the way to its destination in your home.
The belt and base come as a complete unit, however the handlebars need to be screwed into position using four bolts. Next, we were directed to screw covers into place over the handlebars, then use a further handful of screws to attach two drinks holders.
The screen comes separately to the handlebars but, rather than being connected by a single robust cable like most smart treadmills we tried, we were tasked with a color-coded wire-matching exercise. Fiddly wires need to be connected before you can slide the screen into place, with a hollow section encasing your handywork. And, if you don’t push these fragile-feeling wires together tightly enough, features on the treadmill will not work - as we found with the heart rate monitor and speed buttons.
All this took us the best part of 45 minutes. This isn’t too time-intensive but, particularly when compared with the likes of the Echelon Stride, which can be pulled from the box and ready for running in under five minutes, the overcomplicated assembly of this machine feels like it could be avoided.
We did, however, like how easily you can fold the belt vertically to store the treadmill. Lift the belt up and it will automatically stay in place when raised past about 50 degrees. Wheels on the front of the machine mean you can tip it and move it relatively easily, making it simpler to put away when not in use.
Design and display
Ask someone to draw a treadmill and the results will probably look similar to the TR3000i: with its belt, upright handlebars and two handrails extending parallel to the ground giving it the classic running machine aesthetic.
While it’s not on the same scale as the colossal NordicTrack X22i, it’s still a big machine. And, while this has its drawbacks, in terms of finding a space for it, we found the running belt wide enough that we didn’t feel cramped, and there was never a risk of our feet catching the side rails.
The treadmill has a 7in touchscreen display on the handlebars – although the screen functionality feels surplus to requirements given the lack of features on offer. There are only four options: quick start, manual, programs and HR control. We felt you could easily select from these using a couple of buttons on the console.
Still, the touchscreen was responsive, though the display looks grainy compared with the larger, crystal-clear screens of competitors.
There are speed options maxing out at 12mph, incline settings up to 15% and preset interval running programs to choose from.
You can use quick change buttons to speed up the process of adjusting the incline and pace (with options for 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 on each) or use up and down buttons on the console and handles to fine-tune these figures by 0.1% or mph at a time. However, this approach is painfully slow and quickly becomes tedious. A fan within the console can help you keep cool, and there is a built-in heart rate monitor.
But, considering it’s a four-figure investment, we found ourselves underwhelmed by the features offered by the Lifespan TR3000i. There are no smart features or app connectivity, so you’re limited to the 17 preset programs, 'HR control' sessions or a 'quick start' mode.
The preset programs vary the speed or gradient (never both) of the treadmill in a series of interval-style sessions and 'HR control' workouts adjust these variables to hit certain heart rate zones (opens in new tab).
This is fine for anyone with a running plan to stick to, such as those covering a predetermined distance at a set pace in preparation for a race, or anyone wanting to complete an active recovery session. However, if you’re new to running and in search of exercise inspiration, the vibrant follow-along sessions offered by the Echelon Stride and NordicTrack X22i are more likely to get you enthused to lace up your trainers. Whereas, we found we quickly became bored with the offerings of the TR3000i.
The LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i doesn’t perform badly, but does little to stand out from the crowd. At 67in long and 42in wide, it’s not as compact as the foldable Echelon Stride. The larger base and running belt mean it provides a roomy run, with the treadmill feeling comfortable and secure at both high speeds and incline settings. There was no noticeable wobbling or juddering of the belt, which moved smoothly throughout each run because of the 2.75 continuous horsepower (chp) motor, and the treadmill was on the quieter side, too.
The touchscreen controls are simple enough that you can get straight into your workout with a quick start session, and if you know the pacing and duration of your run then this treadmill will enable you to complete it. Unfortunately, we found this machine rarely ventures beyond the basics in terms of its features and performance.
For the price, the lack of smart features or app connectivity was disappointing. Where the Echelon, NordicTrack, Peloton and Proform machines can provide libraries of on- and off-treadmill workouts to boost your overall fitness, the Lifespan leaves you with one option: run.
When you’re forking out this much money, running functionality alone isn’t enough to compete with rival treadmills. Where other smart machines kept us entertained and engaged with new and exciting ways to workout, we quickly exhausted the preset workout options on the TR3000i.
It could make a good addition to an already comprehensive home gym set-up, where you plan to use it as an accessory to a wider exercise program, or for intervals as part of HIIT or CrossFit workouts. However, unlike the Peloton and co, it won’t provide a rounded home fitness routine on its own.
Value for money
The LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Treadmill is a solid running machine with a smooth-moving belt and stable base. But, with its lack of smart features, like app connectivity, we don’t think it warrants its significant price tag.
At $1,599 (£1,499), it is cheaper than the Peloton, Proform, Echelon and NordicTrack models, and you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription to access its selection of preset programs. However, its counterparts’ offering of interactive workouts – delivered on large, clear touchscreens – have the power to motivate and educate users. It’s for this reason that we think paying a slightly higher price is worthwhile.
The LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Folding Treadmill impressed on test with its sturdy base, spacious running platform and judder-free belt, powered by a 2.75chp motor. It has a minimalistic design, wheels on the front of the machine make it easy to move, and it folds vertically so it doesn’t take up half the space of competitors like the NordicTrack X22i.
Yet, it’s let down by its lack of innovation. While it performed admirably as a running machine, its paltry offering of preset programs (17 interval sessions of varying speeds and gradients) couldn’t compare with other models that offer apps overflowing with exciting workouts. Both the Proform 9000 and Echelon Stride, for example, give users thousands of on- and off-treadmill workouts to choose from – each one led by knowledgeable, motivating instructors.
If you want a one-stop shop for all things at-home fitness, and are happy to invest in the best, we think the NordicTrack X22i (opens in new tab) (shown above) is the treadmill for you. Its 22in touchscreen provides an almost-cinematic experience, and the array of workouts offered via the iFit app (including running sessions on the treadmill and strength or yoga classes off it) is staggering. The belt provides suspension to protect your joints, and the machine has an unparalleled -6% to 40% gradient range for mimicking challenging hikes.
If balancing quality with affordability and size are your priorities, check out the Echelon Stride (opens in new tab). This compact machine folds flat in seconds so it can be stored under a bed or behind the sofa, and it also connects to your phone or tablet to provide access to the Echelon Fit app – all for less than $1,600 (£1,600).