Buying a Treadmill in Norway in 2023

From time to time, I get asked which treadmill to buy. I don't typically run much inside, but in 2022, we bought a treadmill to be able to run when our daughter was asleep and it was only one of us at home. Being a nerd, I used some time to learn about the different treadmill technologies.

Of course, everyone's needs and wallets are different. This text is for someone who wants to buy a treadmill to have at home for a long time, doesn't care about how big it is, don't like doing much maintenance and doesn't mind spending too much money on it.

Motor Technology

There are two different types of motors used in treadmills. AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). I'll try to explain the difference between the two technologies:

  • Power Supply:

    • AC Motors: Use alternating current, which changes direction during its flow.
    • DC Motors: Use direct current, which flows consistently in one direction.
  • Power and Efficiency:

    • AC Motors: Generally more powerful and can provide more torque at high speeds.
    • DC Motors: Typically quieter and smoother in operation. Sufficient for lighter, intermittent use and are typically found in residential treadmills.
  • Durability and Longevity:

    • AC Motors:
      • Tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan, particularly in high-use environments.
      • Capable of handling longer workout sessions and multiple users without overheating.
    • DC Motors:
      • May not have the same level of durability for extended or intense use.
      • Apt for less frequent and less intensive use, such as in a home environment.
  • Size and Weight:

    • AC Motors:
      • Often larger and heavier than DC motors.
      • Might need more robust frames and platforms to accommodate the weight and size.
    • DC Motors:
      • Generally more compact and lighter, contributing to the overall smaller footprint of home-use treadmills.
  • Cost:

    • AC Motors:
      • Tend to be more expensive due to their durability and power.
    • DC Motors:
      • Usually less expensive, making treadmills with DC motors more budget-friendly.
  • Noise Level:

    • AC Motors:
      • Can be noisier than their DC counterparts.
    • DC Motors:
      • Known for quieter operation.
  • Starting Torque:

    • AC Motors:
      • Might have a lower starting torque compared to DC motors.
    • DC Motors:
      • Can offer higher starting torque, providing a smooth start at low speeds.

Band vs. Slat Belt Technology

When navigating through treadmill options, particularly for enduring home use, the choice of belt technology — either band or slat — becomes crucial. Let’s dissect the differences and implications of each:

  • Traditional Band Belts:

    • Material and Construction:
      • Constructed from synthetic, multi-layered material.
      • Incorporates a PVC top layer, a nylon and polyester middle, and a friction-reducing bottom layer.
    • Durability and Maintenance:
      • Susceptible to wear and compression, necessitating eventual replacement.
      • Can stretch, demanding regular tension adjustments and lubrication.
    • Running Experience:
      • Generally offers a softer and consistent surface.
      • However, it may inaccurately represent speed, especially if it’s not adequately lubricated and stops momentarily on foot impact.
    • Cost:
      • Tends to be more wallet-friendly initially.
      • Remember to factor in ongoing maintenance and potential replacement costs.
    • Noise Level:
      • Typically operates quietly.
  • Slat Belt Technology:

    • Material and Construction:
      • Composed of individual, rigid slats, commonly made from rubber.
      • Slats glide over a series of bearings and rollers.
    • Durability and Maintenance:
      • Notably durable, often outlasting traditional belts by several years.
      • Requires less maintenance in terms of tension and lubrication.
    • Running Experience:
      • Features a firmer, joint-friendly surface.
      • Tends to more accurately reflect speed since the slats don’t momentarily stop upon foot landing, ensuring a smooth, uninterrupted roll.
    • Cost:
      • Initially pricier.
      • May prove economical over the long term due to durability and lower maintenance.
    • Noise Level:
      • Can be slightly noisier due to slats moving over bearings.

Weighing the Options: Band or Slat?

Your ultimate choice may balance between your budget, maintenance preferences, and the kind of running experience you seek:

  • Opt for a Band Belt if:

    • Initial cost is a crucial factor.
    • A softer run appeals to you.
    • You’re okay with regular maintenance.
  • Lean Toward a Slat Belt if:

    • You favor durability and minimal maintenance in the long run.
    • You seek an outdoor-like, accurate running experience.
    • A higher upfront investment is manageable.


  • Go to a place to test different treadmills. You really need to try the different styles to see what you prefer.
  • If you can afford it, go for an AC motor treadmill with a slat board.

We ended up with the Sportsmaster Alpha Runner Plus BT. We are very happy with the following:

  • How it feels to run on.
  • Noise (it is not too noisy, and our downstairs neighbor doesn't complain).

We are not happy with:

  • The control interface is pretty much useless. A good example is how pace is shown. 4:30 pace is written as 4.5. 4:45 pace is written as 4.75. I'm not making this up. It is crazy to me how this got through QC for an 80k treadmill. If you are okay with just using km/h, it is no problem though.
  • Doesn't broadcast speed to ANT+ or Bluetooth as a footpod, so connecting it to a watch and getting the correct distance transmitted is a challenge. (It does support treadmill BLE mode, so it works with a tablet or PC using Zwift).