The Merit Fitness 725T Plus Treadmill features a number of upgrades to the earlier 715T Plus design, including a greater choice of workout programs, and a power incline instead of manual.
This review makes some important comparisons between these two treadmill models, as well as the customer reviews and workout programs to help you decide on the best choice of treadmill for under $500.
Before buying any new treadmill, there are 3 main things that need to be top of your list in terms of features to compare – the motor power, running area size, and speed settings.
While other features like a cushioning system are certainly important, you need to be sure that the power of the motor is strong enough to maintain a challenging belt speed, at the same time as having enough space to build up to your full running stride.
In this respect the Merit Fitness 725T Plus is extremely well balanced, with a 2.50 CHP motor, 10 mph max. belt speed, and 18″ x 50″ workout area.
This means that there’s enough power to maintain the 10mph top speed, even under the weight of the full 250 lb capacity at the 10% incline.
You also have the benefits of Merit’s AEROSoft Plus cushioning system, which helps to reduce the impact on your knee and ankle joints while you run.
Is the Merit Fitness 725T Plus good value for money?
If you’re thinking about buying a new treadmill, one of the most important factors in determining which model you buy will usually be the price.
Before we take a closer look at the design features of the Merit Fitness 725T Plus, we first wanted to see how difficult it was to find competing treadmills at a similar price point, which also offer the same features or better.
Although we had no difficulty in finding a lower priced manual treadmill, it was virtually impossible to find one that was motorized and offered close to the same level of features.
In fact, it’s really not until you start looking at treadmills that cost around $200 more than the 725T Plus that you start finding some of the same features.
The ProForm 6.0 RT was the closest we could find, which also offers the 10mph max. belt speed, 8 preset workout programs, and 10% power incline.
The motor power was exactly the same, but there were differences in the weight capacity and size of the running area (50 lb higher weight capacity and an additional 5 inches on the length of the running area), which may appeal to taller users.
But for a difference in price of over $200 at the time of writing this review, we would probably be looking for a few more improvements to make us choose the ProForm model over the design from Merit Fitness.
Merit Fitness 725T Plus – Features Summary
- Home treadmill with top-quality 2.50-horsepower drive motor
- Intuitive console controls with adjustable speed from 0 to 10 miles per hour
- 2-window LED display tracks your time, speed, distance, calories, and more
- Spacious 18-by-50-inch workout area with AEROSoft cushioning system
- Folding frame for easy storage
Display console design
One of the key features to look for on any treadmill that offers a power incline is a set of quick-select buttons for controlling the angle of the running deck.
This is also the first treadmill in the Merit Fitness range that offers a dot matrix display, which replaces one of the LED screens we saw on the 715T Plus.
In terms of the workout feedback, the LED screens are used to display your speed, time, heart rate, distance, incline, and calories burned, while the dot matrix display shows the profile of your current workout program.
Merit Fitness 715T Plus Treadmill Display Console
The console for the Merit Fitness 725T Plus also features a couple of important safety features, including extended hand rails, an emergency stop button, and the safety key.
If you haven’t used a safety key before, it’s essentially a length of cord with a clip at each end. One clip attaches to your clothing, while the other clips onto the display console.
Merit Fitness 725T Plus Treadmill Display Console
This means that if you were to lose your footing during your workout, the clip would detach from the console and the treadbelt would quickly stop moving.
If you enjoy being able to track your heart rate during your workouts, you also now have a set of heart rate hand sensors to hold onto instead of the thumb pulse monitor offered by the 715T Plus.
Preset workout programs
With workout variation found to be such an important part of sticking to a fitness routine, it’s always best to take a look at the number of preset and custom workouts that are available.
As well as the manual, interval, rolling hills, and weight loss workouts that came with the 715T Plus, you also now have 3 new programs to choose from – Hill Walk, Cardio Challenge, and Endurance Challenge.
Each program uses a time-based goal, with 3 of the workouts automatically varying the incline, and the other 3 varying the belt speed.
Each fitness goal is also assigned one of these workouts each. For example, if you have a fitness goal of improving muscle tone and boosting your cardiovascular system, the ‘Cardio Challenge’ program would vary the speed, while the ‘Endurance Challenge’ program varies the incline.
All programs also feature a 4 minute warm-up and cool-down period to help reduce the risk of injury.
Ease of assembly
Whenever we review a new piece of fitness equipment, we always try to cover every aspect of its design, but also include any factors that may have an influence on your buying decision.
One such factor is how easy it is to assemble, which includes the assembly instructions, level of maintenance required, and level of customer service available if you do need assistance.
After starting to read through the user manual, it didn’t take long to see that Merit Fitness has actually merged the assembly instructions for the 725T Plus with those for the 715T Plus.
This has probably been done because the process for setting up the two machines is so similar, but this actually makes it slightly more difficult to follow.
Although we’ve seen this done before with other collections, this is the first time we’ve seen the steps for two different machines merged into one.
Instead of having the two sets of steps separate for each machine, both use the same instructions for steps 1,2, and 4, but a different process for step 3.
To see what we mean, feel free to have a read through our own copy of the user manual.
In all honesty because the steps are still fairly simple this probably won’t have a big impact on the assembly time, as you can just throw away the pages for step 3 that relate to the 715T Plus model.
Once you get past the instructions, the remaining pages in the manual are much the same, alternating between references to the two different models.
Of course we would have liked to only receive a manual with information relating to the treadmill we actually bought, but the information itself is still there, and assembly is still possible in less than 45 minutes.
Merit Fitness 725T Plus vs. 715T Plus
Before buying any new treadmill, it’s always useful to find out about other similarly priced designs, especially if there are other machines available in the same collection.
Merit Fitness currently produces 3 models of treadmill – the 735T, 725T Plus, and the 715T Plus.
As expected, the features improve as you move up the number scale, but the biggest improvement is seen when you compare the 725T Plus with the 715T Plus.
Although the motor and weight limit stay the same, there have been improvements made to just about every aspect of the treadmill’s design.
The running area is 3 inches longer, you now have a power incline instead of the 3-position manual option, you get 4 more years on motor warranty, and the dimensions are actually slightly smaller when folded.
You also see some minor upgrades in the display console functions. This includes 3 additional workout programs, quick-select button functions for the speed and incline, and a more conventional hand grip heart rate monitor in place of the thumb pulse monitor you get with the 715T Plus.
Although it can be worthwhile to compare both of these models with the 735T, it’s usually much more difficult to find anyone that has that particular model in stock.
There also isn’t the same big improvement in design features as we’ve seen when comparing the 725T Plus with the 715T Plus, with only a minor increase in motor power and running area. In fact, you would actually be getting fewer workout programs for your money if you chose the 735T over the 725T Plus.
Although the average user review rating is certainly impressive, the distribution of ratings is slightly less convincing than some of the other treadmills we’ve reviewed.
To find out some of the reasons behind these ratings, we decided to read through each one and put together two lists based on the positive and negative points that seemed to be mentioned most often.
It’s important to clarify that these are very short extracts from many of these reviews, with some that were extremely well written and comprehensive in their analysis.
If you would like to read the full versions, you can currently find over 100 reviews and more than 20 answered questions on Amazon.
- AEROSoft Cushioning System reduces the impact on your knees when running
- Foldable running deck saves space when the treadmill is not in use
- Power incline settings much easier to use than manual adjustment
- Affordably priced
- Sturdy frame
- Simple to use – display console doesn’t require any complicated programming of workouts
- Useful collection of preset workout programs
- Quick select buttons make quick adjustments much simpler
- Excellent customer service
- Running area is ideal for walking and jogging workouts (someone closer to 6 feet tall may need an extra 8 inches in the length of the running area to build up to a full sprint)
- Locking mechanism for the fold-up running deck is slightly more difficult to use than similar designs
- Running area is slightly too short for anyone much taller than 5 feet 8 inches
- Doesn’t fold completely flat
- Some reviewers had difficulty aligning the holes for assembly
- E1 error appears to be mentioned fairly frequently among the lower rated reviews. This seems to be related to an issue with the circuit board, which is only covered by the 90 days parts and labor warranty.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: 5 years
- Parts and labor: 90 days
About Merit Fitness
Each key component for Merit’s treadmills comes from one of their own facilities, giving them complete control over how their products are designed and built.
If Merit doesn’t make the part, it thoroughly audits who does, ensuring that all the parts work together. Merit Fitness is a division of Johnson Health Tech, one of the largest fitness equipment manufacturers in the world.
Johnson Health Tech is also the parent company behind Horizon Fitness, Vision Fitness and the LiveStrong brand.