Fuel 3.0 Folding Treadmill Review

Fuel fitness treadmills are usually aimed at the mid to high price range of the market with prices starting from around £600 to over £1200, so we were rather surprised and intrigued by the newest addition to the Fuel family – here is the new baby Fuel 3.0 and it’s had our review team cooing over it!

Assembly was child’s play! Remove the unit from the box, connect a few cables, secure the uprights to the frame base and it’s time to connect and screw on the console. Simple!

At a glance, its rather basic, plain black appearance did little to excite or inspire us. However, those first impressions are rather misleading and as soon as we climbed aboard the Fuel 3.0, it rapidly grew on us!

Coming in at around 400 quid has meant there were obviously going to be compromises. For starters, the maximum user weight is only 100kg so this machine is not suitable for anyone over 15 and a half stone. That said, when we put it to the ‘Shake Test’ it seemed remarkably sturdy and solid for such a compact, budget machine.

Where the Fuel 3.0 really won us over is at the point when we started to actually use it! The 1.5 Continuous horsepower motor is man enough to deliver speeds just shy of 10mph. Being as this machine isn’t aimed at serious runners, we are confident that’d be adequate for most users. As to whether you’d feel comfortable when running will depend more upon your height and the space you require when striding out. The running area is 410mm (16 inches) in width, which is typical for a sub-£500 machine. The 1200mm (47”) length is perhaps a couple of inches shorter than some rivals, but 4 foot should feel roomy enough (unless you’ve got long legs in which case you’d be better matched to a larger machine at a different price point.)

If you’ve put a tick next to the size and speed spec of this treadmill, then we’re confident you can go right ahead and put a big fat tick against the box labeled ‘cushioning system’! We had reservations of how good a budget, compact machine would feel like when running, but it turns out that this is a little beauty! There’s nothing ingenious about its design, there’s simply 3 elastomers spaced apart under each side of the deck, but it works a treat in absorbing shock and providing a good surface to workout on.

Fuel have kitted the 3.0 with a generously thick belt that would be a good selling point on a machine costing double this, so it’s a great surprise to see it on here. It not only adds to the comfort you experience underfoot but also helps to keep the noise levels down as it passes over the 1 ½ “ rollers.

Up to the console now and it really couldn’t be any clearer or user-friendly. In fact, it’s obviously been designed to be fun as well as functional! The 5 1\4” blue display screen is well laid out with Time, Incline and Distance data down the left side and Calories, Program and Pulse on the right. Across the bottom is the speed readout leaving a larger space in the middle of the screen for a Speedometer!! Yep, there is actually a gauge with a dial rather like the type you’d see in your car dashboard! It’s divided into 0.5km/h increments and as the pace increases the dial goes round to point at your current speed. It’s a simple yet very effective concept and an excellent idea on Fuel’s part.

The designer deserves another pat on the back for their innovative twist on the industry standard of ‘quick keys’. The one touch speed buttons are set out in a traffic light design with ‘walk’, ‘jog’ or ‘run’ being the order (the only difference is that ‘jog’ is highlighted in blue rather than amber!) These buttons give the user instant adjustment to three useful speeds. Press ‘walk’ and the speed goes to 3km/h. The ‘Jog’ button equates to 6km/h and ‘Run’ increases the pace to 9km/h.

The same idea is used to adjust the incline. The machine is capable of 10 levels of incline at maximum but the 3 quick keys allow you to jump to levels 3, 6 or 9 at a touch.

To allow for greater control, there are the usual up and down arrow buttons for incline and ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ ones to alter the speed. A great added feature are up and down thumb controls conveniently placed by the pulse grip sensors on the side handlebars. These allow you to control the pace and/or the gradient without interrupting your pulse readings. However, if you want to go hands-free and ensure much greater accuracy of feedback, we recommend you wear a wireless chest belt transmitter that is compatible with the inbuilt heart rate receiver.

It’s no great surprise that at this price, there are no heart rate controlled programs. The same economic reason should explain why there are no user-defined functions either. The absence of which poses no great issues other than that the calorie consumption figures should not be taken too seriously (as your weight etc has not been factored in).

To gain access to the selection of 12 pre-set programmes, you simply press the ‘mode’ button and pick a number between P1 and P12. Unfortunately, only the number of the program appears on the screen (e.g ‘P3’) which doesn’t give much of a clue as to what it does! We feel that the selection process would have been made a lot clearer if there was a printed menu displaying the course profiles around the console surround. As it is you’d have to consult the manual to look up what program does what. All of the programs are fixed to run for 30 minutes. The first 9 preset programs are only for speed; the last 3 combine automatic speed AND incline changes for more advanced users.

One of the most important considerations for the space-conscious prospective buyer has to be ‘size’. As we’ve already established, this machine is about as compact as a running/jogging machine could possibly be without being unfit for purpose. So the next thing to look out for is how neatly and easily it folds. The deck rises up without a struggle thanks to a hydraulically assisted mechanism.

Another nice aspect of the design and engineering is how neatly the deck folds into itself, leaving a very small footprint. Plus there are four transport wheels on the base which are engaged when the treadmill is folded. This means that not only will it tuck up nice and small, it’ll be easy to maneuver to its storage spot when necessary. When it’s time to come out and play, there is a conveniently positioned yellow latch on the underside of the deck that can be pulled to release the deck so it can safely lower to the ground under the control of the hydraulic arm.

So what do we think of this new treadmill overall? Fuel has done something rather clever. They’ve taken a load of their experience and expertise in making mid-priced, good quality machines and used the same principles on a budget model. They’re clearly aware that space is often an issue in the home so they’ve created a compact machine that’s convenient to fold and move. Addressing the economic climate, they’ve wanted to produce a treadmill that’s affordable to all. To come in on budget has meant that this model couldn’t have all the ‘bells and whistles’ of their more expensive machines so they’ve wisely incorporated only the most functional and useable features.

 

Best Price

The Fuel 3.0 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

In short, we think Fuel have created a recipe for success – not just in securing their place as a serious contender in the sub-£500 marketplace, but also in giving the consumer exactly what is missing AND what is needed. It really is a no-brainer! - If space and budget is an issue – The Fuel 3.0 is the solution.

Fuel 3.0 Specifications

  • 1.5hp continuous duty motor
  • 1-16km/h (0.6-10mph) speed range
  • 0-10% power incline
  • 119.4cm (47″) x 40.6cm (16″) running deck with 15mm thick elastomer cushion
  •  Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 152cm (60″) x 72.5cm (28.5″) x 126cm (49.6″)
  •  Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 83.5cm (32.9″) x 72.5cm (28.5″) x 142.5cm (56.1″)
  • Console with blue backlit LCD screen providing feedback on speed, incline, programs, time, distance, calories and heart rate
  • 12 pre-set workout programmes (9 speed and 3 speed/incline)
  •  Heart rate measurement via hand pulse sensors or a wireless receiver (chest belt has to be bought separately)
  • 100kg (220lbs) maximum user weight
  • 60kg (132lbs) product weight
  • Conveniencies: transporting wheels, water bottle plastic holders, folding design
  • Lifetime warranty for the frame and motor, two years for parts and labour

Fuel 3.0 Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Fuel 3.0 Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Ideal if space is an issue
  • Incredible value for money
  • User-friendly console and features
  • Surprisingly good to run on!

The Cons

  • Not suitable for users over 15 and a half stone
  • Compact design is restrictive for taller users
  • Program selection involves guesswork or the manual!
Fuel 3.0 Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 9
Appearance - 7.5
Running Area - 8.5
Comfort - 9
Reliability - 9.5
Noise - 9.5
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 9
Value for Money - 10
Best Price

The Fuel 3.0 is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Treadmill Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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