ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill Review

As one of the leading companies producing home fitness equipment, Proform has a solid reputation founded on manufacturing feature-rich treadmills that represent good value for money. Generally speaking, you’ll be hard pushed to find a Proform treadmill that doesn’t boast the highest specs available at a given price point. The current Proform catalogue contains a whole selection of home treadmills, from entry-level through to top-spec and there are models for pretty much all types of runners, ranging from casual to hardcore. We took a look at the Proform Carbon TL which is a mid-point model to see what you get for your cash and how it compares to other similarly priced competitors. Here’s what we found…

Like virtually all home treadmills (though there are a few notable exceptions), the Carbon TL needs to be assembled before you can go for a run. Assembly is definitely a 2-person job but there’s nothing complex or tricky to do here and the build is easy enough taking around 45minutes. Like other Proform treadmills, the instruction manual is clear and easy to follow with nice diagrams making the process simple enough for more or less anyone to follow.

Once assembled the Carbon TL is a classic-looking treadmill with a classic overall shape, but with some tweaks to the lines and the colour. The result, despite the relatively small tweaks, is a tidy-looking machine with a slimline appearance that’s got a modern feel to it. While this is a full-sized treadmill it doesn’t look like it when you’re standing in the same room which is probably due to the black and dark grey colours used here. Despite the slim look, the Carbon TL is definitely a full-sized running machine, and giving it the tried and tested, old school, shake test, quickly tells its own story. At 80kg (176lbs) in weight and with thick gauge steel uprights, this is a very solid treadmill. One that with a footprint of 190cm x 90cm (75” x 35”) is a heavy-set machine, but one that’s not overbearing at the same time.

In terms of running area, the Carbon TL is well endowed. With a 51cm x 140cm (20” x 55”) running belt (that’s actual running space, not just deck size) there’s plenty of room here to move around which, once you’re on the final stretch of a workout, means a lot. Having the space to move around freely helps a lot in those moments and brings a sense of safety, allowing you to either zone out, or focus on completing your run, without worrying about where your feet are landing. It’s this sort of thing that can often make the difference between OK and really good when it comes to being comfortable, and being comfortable on a treadmill goes a long way to ensuring that it doesn’t become a large, inconvenient, clothes horse.

Speaking of comfort, the Carbon TL is fitted with Proform’s Proshox cushioning system, that does its job really well when it comes to protecting your joints. This particular cushioning system has been around for a long time on Proform models and there’s very good reason for that. Compared with a lot of other treadmills at this price point, the cushioning feels luxurious and it helps to keep the noise down too (not that any treadmill is a particularly quiet bit of kit of course).

Another element helping to keep the noise down is the motor. Proform has opted to fit an uncompromising 2.6 horsepower, continuous duty, motor here. Continuous duty means that it’s capable of sustaining this power output for prolonged periods without overheating or overloading. A consequence of that is that the motor doesn’t really have to try very hard to keep the running belt moving smoothly and combined with the large 1.9″ front and rear rollers that are fitted to this model, this translates into a quiet, relaxed machine and a relaxed and comfortbale running experience. Even when turned up to its top speed of 16kph (10mph), which is enough for most runners (especially when combined with the 10% incline), it’s really not very loud at all compared with a lot of other treadmills in this category.

The control panel on the Carbon TL features a 5” high contrast LCD display with large blue characters displaying all the usual workout data such as incline, time, calories, calories per hour, distance, speed, pulse, pace etc. You can choose preset displays of the data or you can select the scan mode that rotates through the different data sets. It’s possible to advance the scan to the next set of data manually if you need to and another nice touch here is that it’s possible to customise the scan mode so that it’ll sequentially show you all the data you want to see, in the order you want to see it. The system works well and as the characters are always nice and large due to the fact that the screen isn’t trying to relay too much information at once, it’s easy to see even in the middle of a sprint.

We’ve covered all the important elements of this machine except one – the training experience. And this is really fundamentally what the Carbon TL is all about. Proform has made sure that the basics specs of this machine are more than up to scratch and we certainly can’t fault anything done here. Indeed the specs for the motor, deck, cushioning et al are all impressive for a machine at this price point and Proform has made certain that all the fundamentals have been taken care of properly. There are also 20 preset programs that are onboard and built into the console itself meaning you can use all of them without an internet connection or subscription of any kind. So, if all you’re ever going to do with this treadmill is step aboard, select a programme, hit the start button and go for a run, then you’re going to be running on a very good treadmill and you’ll get a rock solid workout. But, really, the main purpose of all these fundamentals is to provide a platform for the iFit training experience.

The Carbon TL is iFit compatible and the first 30 days membership are included free of charge. iFit is one of the most advanced interactive training systems available on the market when talking about domestic machines and is rivalled only by Peleton. To use iFit with the Carbon TL, you’ll need a tablet which will sit on the tablet holder on the console (smart phones work but the screens tend to be on the small side), WiFi connection and an iFit subscription. Subscribing to iFit gives you access to more than twelve thousand video-based workouts led by elite level personal trainers providing motivation and guidance. You can choose between going on runs with a personal trainer through exotic locations all over the world (these HD videos look great) or you can take part in on-demand fitness classes that are also run by the personal trainers. Many of the classes available to choose from go further than just running and involve stepping off the machine to perform various exercises including strength training workouts, circuit workouts, Yoga classes, and even meditation classes. Impressively iFit also automatically adjusts the difficulty of the class or run to match your current fitness levels based on your previous workouts. While this AI function can be turned off or overriden, we found that with it switched on, after a few runs against the same profile, it learns fast. And, it really does work, matching the difficulty of the run/class to your fitness levels, and then starts to work on pushing you that little bit harder each time, without pushing too hard or too little. There’s clearly some hard science going on here and it appears to be very solid work. What’s more this AI auto-adjustment works across all the videos, not specific ones so by switching from one class to another and one run to another it’s always in tune with where you’re at fitness wise. It’s impressive stuff and makes the whole workout experience wildly different (and better) than the standard onboard workouts. There are lots of other iFit functions too and you can also race against other iFit members times on particular courses, get access to nutritional and sleep information and so on.

The wireless heart rate receiver is a Bluetooth model and will work with any Bluetooth Smart heart rate transmitter. Our unit worked perfectly in this regard and we’ll once again repeat that this setup is way, way more reliable and accurate than hand pulse sensors, plus you don’t need to hold onto a bar while running, which is awkward, to say the least. So while a chest belt isn’t included in the package, it’s well worth adding one to your shopping cart.

Like all Proform machines, the Carbon TL features a good number of nice little touches. It’s got two water bottle holders, key holder and a tablet holder that’s positioned at the top of the console which makes for nice easy viewing during your run. It also comes with Proform’s Lifetime frame, 5 years motor, and 2 years parts and labour warranty.

Best Price

Currently available for £759.05 from Sweatband.com

To get the ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill for only £759.05, enter voucher code PF5 on the Sweatband.com basket page!

Review Summary - In Brief

The Carbon TL is a very solid treadmill from Proform. It's well built, looks good, has a large motor that makes light work of anything you throw at it, and has a really comfortable running deck that feels good to run on. It's not noisy either, as far as treadmills go and it ticks a lot of boxes - price, features, build quality, effectiveness, and ease of use. And, the fact that it features a full set of onboard workouts that are accessible without the need for a subscription or Wifi connection is bound to appeal to some runners, though the iFit experience is pretty awesome and you get to try it before committing to a subscription. Overall, we're impressed with this machine, it's a great package at a very reasonable price. If you like the look of this model it's also worth checking out the Proform 545i which has all the same features as the Carbon TL but with a slightly higher spec and comes with a full 1-year iFit membership included in the price.

ProForm Carbon TL Specifications

  • 2.6 CHP motor
  • 0–16kph (0–10mph) speed range with Quick Speed® controls
  • 0-10% incline range with Quick Incline® controls
  • Running Area: 51cm (20”) x 140cm (55”)
  • 1.9” precision machined and balanced non-flex rollers
  • Cushioning System: ProShox™ cushioning
  • 5” high contrast LCD display
  • Feedback: incline level, vertical gain, vertical loss, elapsed time, calories burned, calories per hour, distance, speed, a track representing 400m (1/4 mile), pace, heart rate, distance
  • Programmes: Incline, time, calories, distance, speed, pulse, pace; scan mode
  • iFit® Coach Enabled: Yes  – use the iFit Smart Cardio app on compatible tablets and smartphones (30-days Family membership included)
  • iFit workouts: Thousands of on-demand video workouts streamed via iFit (subscription required).
  • Heart rate measurement via Bluetooth® Smart wireless receiver (chest belt optional)
  • Extras: Compatible music port for iPod®/mp3 player and dual 2” speakers, dual water bottle holder, integrated tablet shelf
  • SpaceSaver® folding design with pull pin latch
  • Max. User Weight: 135kg (298lbs)
  • Product Weight: 80kg (176lbs)
  • Dimensions in use (L x W x H): 190cm (75”) x 90cm (35”) x 146cm (57.5”)
  • Dimensions folded (L x W x H): 103cm (40.5”) x 90cm (35”) x 164cm (64.5”)
  • Mains powered
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty; 5 years for the motor, and 2 years for parts and labour (must register within 28 days of purchase to get 2nd year of coverage)

ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill - Console / Display Unit

ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill - User Reviews

The Pros

  • AI powered auto-difficulty settings with iFit
  • Large comfortable deck
  • Good cushioning system
  • Challenging 10% incline
  • Onboard workouts that don't need a subscription or WiFi connection
  • Feature rich console with user profiles

The Cons

  • Top speed may not be quite enough for experienced runners that compete
ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill Reviewer Ratings

Power - 8
Appearance - 8.5
Running Area - 9
Comfort - 9
Reliability - 9
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 9
Warranty - 8.5
Value for Money - 8
Best Price

Currently available for £759.05 from Sweatband.com

To get the ProForm Carbon TL Treadmill for only £759.05, enter voucher code PF5 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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