Proform Power 525i Treadmill Review

With a breadth and depth of experience that few other manufacturers can match, Proform have an excellent track record for producing quality home-use treadmills to suit a wide range of budgets and needs. What all the models in the current range have in common is a high specification for the money being asked and a build quality that should see the machine lasting the distance. But just what is your money buying you, and can you really get a high-quality treadmill at a distinctly budget price point? We took a close up look at the Proform Power 525i treadmill to try to get a definitive answer to these questions.

Assembling the 525i is most definitely a two person job but not a complicated or particularly difficult one. The instruction manual is clear with well-written instructions (no Chinglish here we’re pleased to say) and clear well laid out diagrams. It doesn’t require a professional installation and as all the moving parts are pre-assembled it’s really just a case of one person holding things in place while the second person screws it all together. There aren’t too many assembly steps either so assembly was completed within the hour, so far so good. Just a quick note here to say that it’s worth making sure your recycling bins have some space as this treadmill comes very well packed indeed!

The advantage of all that packaging was that our test model arrived in pristine condition, which is no mean feat for a box of this size and weight that contains both heavy lumps of metal and delicate pieces of plastic. The 525i, like many other models in general, doesn’t have any leg levelers so an essential part of the set-up is to ensure that the machine is on a flat floor, else you’re running the risk of hearing knocks and squeaks when working out. Thankfully, once placed correctly, our test model was rock-solid on the floor with no movement at all of the base unit. The crossbar that runs between the two metal uprights also provides added rigidity so overall the 525i feels very solid indeed.

With a footprint of 183cm x 83cm (72″x 32.6″) when unfolded and a weight of 82kg (181lbs), the 525i is certainly not a lightweight bit of space saving kit. While it’s not the biggest treadmill in the world, it is, clearly, big enough to get a proper run on. The  140cm x 46cm (55.1’’ x18.1’’) running area provides plenty of room for moving around on during a run and most users of 6ft 3″ or less will find that they’ve got more than enough space here. The deck itself is well cushioned without being overly soft. Proform have stuck to their tried and tested ProShox™ cushioning system here and that’s no bad thing. It’s very well balanced between providing a cushioned landing and a firm surface from which to launch so the chances of developing shin splints or other injuries should realistically be little to none as a result of the cushioning set up on this treadmill. Of course, one of the most important aspects of a treadmill is how it feels when you run on it and the set up here is one that’s going to suit the vast majority of runners. Jogging at low to medium speeds is comfortable with the launch feeling natural (no unwanted, excessive springiness here) and the landing soft, while running at higher speeds provides the same launch but with a landing that does enough to absorb the shock without being overly soft. It feels good and while some seasoned road runners prefer a harder landing to be closer to road running, for the average runner the 525i will deliver an enjoyable and comfortable run.

The fundamental technical specs on the 525i make for pretty good reading. It features 1.6″ (4cm) diameter flex resistant rollers at both the front and rear and a substantial 2.5 horsepower motor. The combination of large rollers and large motor means that even at higher speeds the noise level is kept respectably low. Did we just say 2.5 horsepower motor? Let’s be clear here – that is respectable for any treadmill but when you look at the price of the 525i it’s really very impressive indeed. There are many, many significantly more expensive machines that have smaller motors (sometimes a lot smaller) than this and for the money being asked it’s a surprise that Proform have opted to use a motor this big this in this model. It shows that they’re serious about gaining an advantage over their rivals and will no doubt have certain other manufacturers looking at the 525i wondering how on earth they’re doing it.

In terms of incline, the 525i uses a secondary motor to lift the running deck from a flat position up to a respectable 10% incline at the touch of a button with quick access keys on the console to let you reach a preset incline level with a single button press. The top speed available is 11mph (18kph) which is plenty for all but pro runners, and this combined with the 10% available incline means that this is a treadmill that can push most runners hard, regardless of fitness levels.

The 525i uses a high contrast LCD display to deliver your training data so the vast majority of your training data is displayed simultaneously making for easy tracking of your workout. The display can be adjusted for contrast and the units of measurement can be changed from MPH to KM. The screen is easy to read and the data is clearly and logically laid out, as are the control buttons. The preset workouts, of which there are 20, are divided into separate categories such as Incline, Calorie, Intensity, Speed and so on. While this can feel a little counter-intuitive at first, it really doesn’t take long to get your head around the way things work and selecting and starting a preset workout is very quick and simple. The screen tells you where you are in your workout so it’s easy to see how far you’ve got to go and as you’d expect from a seasoned manufacturer it all works seamlessly and without any bugs or unexpected hiccups. For a manual workout, it’s as simple as pressing start and then adjusting your speed and incline using the buttons on the console. There aren’t any speed/incline adjustment keys located on the handlebars here which is a bit of a pity, but then again, it’s not the be-all end-all of treadmills to have these and considering what you’re getting in other areas such as that large motor and spacious running area, it’s something we’re not going to criticise too much.

In addition to the 20 on-board workouts, the 525i is also iFit compatible. Subscribe to the iFit website (subscription sold separately) and you can download more workouts, track your fitness improvements, plot your own running routes anywhere around the world using Google maps and access a whole range of other features such as dietary advice and personal trainer developed 8 week fitness programmes. There’s also a Bluetooth connection available so you can connect a smart device and access your iFit account while running so you can actually see your progress on the map. iFit does a whole lot more than this and if you want to know the details it’s worth visiting the iFit website  for all the details.

While the 525i does feature hand-pulse sensors so you can measure your heart rate, it also has a built-in wireless heart rate receiver that will work with any Bluetooth Smart heart rate transmitter. Our test model worked perfectly without any issues at all and as far as we could tell, didn’t miss a beat. The console unit also comes with built-in speakers, audio input port so you can plug in a music player, two integrated water bottle holders, key holder and a tablet holder that’s positioned at the top of the console so you get a clear view of the screen in a natural position as you run.

The manufacturer warranty is provided in the form of lifetime cover on the frame, 5 years on-site cover on the motor and 2 years on-site cover for parts and labour.

In its own right and putting the price aside for a moment, the Proform Power 525i really is quite an impressive treadmill. It’s got a good sized, comfortable, well-cushioned running deck. It has a powerful, quiet, high-quality motor. It’s very sturdy indeed and well manufactured with no sign of squeaks and creaks or wobbles. It features more than enough onboard workouts to keep most people from getting bored with their training regime and if that’s not enough then buying an iFit subscription is sure to provide more training options than you’re ever likely to use. Pro or Semi-pro runners aside, there’s not really much else we’d look for in a treadmill other than reliability. On the subject of reliability, like all our test models the 525i has been hit hard over a number of weeks by various members of the team and has been subjected to various tests designed to make it work hard. At the time of writing it’s continued to perform flawlessly and is still as sound without creaks, squeaks, or wobbles, as it was when first assembled which is a solid indicator that this machine has been manufactured properly.

But then, consider the price of the 525i and at this price point there’s really nothing to not like here. This is a treadmill that delivers superb value for money and with all the above taken into account, it’s one that easy to recommend.

 

Best Price

Currently available for £524.00 from Sweatband.com

To get the Proform Power 525i Treadmill for only £524, enter voucher code 525I on the Sweatband.com basket page!

Review Summary - In Brief

It's nice to be surprised sometimes and the Proform Power 525i treadmill certainly does that. It's not a surprise that it's well built, or that it's packed with loads of training options. It's not a surprise that it's comfortable to run on and is quiet (for a treadmill) even at higher speeds. It's not even a surprise that it's got things like water bottle holder, stereo speakers, a tablet holder and expandable training options. No, the surprise here is the price. Quite simply this is a monster amount of treadmill for the money being asked and if it's not already on your shortlist, it really should be. If this sounds good but you're looking for a slightly wider running deck then we'd recommend taking a look at the Proform 545i which is the bigger brother to the 525i and shares many of its features but comes with a full sized standard deck for a little bit more money.

Proform Power 525i Specifications

  • 2.5 CHP
  • 0-18kph (0-11mph) top speed with Quick Speed™ controls
  • 0-10% incline with Quick Incline™ controls
  • 140cm (55.1”) x 46cm (18.1”) running area
  • 1.6” precision machined and balanced non-flex rollers
  • ProShox™ cushioning technology
  • 5” multi-colour display with km/mi switch
  • Feedback: Laps, matrix, incline, time, calories, distance, intensity, speed, pulse, number of vertical metres, a track that represents 400m (1/4 mile)
  • 31 programmes (manual, 20 pre-set)
  • Heart Rate Measurement: EKG™ pulse grips + Bluetooth® Smart wireless receiver  with chest belt optional
  • Space Saver folding design with Easy Lift Assist
  • Conveniences: built-in sound with dual 2 – inch speakers, audio port for iPod or MP3 player, CoolAire™ workout fans, fitness tray and integrated tablet holder, transport wheels
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 183cm (72″) x 83cm (32.6″) x 160cm (63″)
  • Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 94cm (37″) x 83cm (32.6″) x 168cm (66″)
  • Max. user weight: 125kg (275.6lbs)
  • Product weight: 82kg (180.7lbs)
  • Power Supply: Mains
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, 5 years motor, 2 years parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase to get 2nd year of coverage)

Proform Power 525i Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

Proform Power 525i Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Large, powerful motor
  • Spacious running area
  • Well cushioned deck
  • Easy to operate
  • Lots of programmes with expansion possible via iFit

The Cons

  • No controls on the handlebars
Proform Power 525i Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

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

Currently available for £524.00 from Sweatband.com

To get the Proform Power 525i Treadmill for only £524, enter voucher code 525I on the Sweatband.com basket page!

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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