The ProForm Endurance S9 treadmill is a combination of features from the earlier S7 and S7.5 models, including the 2.5 CHP Mach Z Motor, 18 onboard workout apps, and multi-window display. So with all 3 treadmills usually available for around the same price, how do you find the best treadmill for your personal fitness goals?
As a general guide, the S9 and S7 are better for overall fitness and weight loss, while the S7.5 offers a similar range of workouts but with more of a focus on ‘Calorie Burn’ programs.
But what about differences in design features, warranty coverage, and entertainment options? Do all 3 treadmills support wireless heart rate monitoring?
In this review we answer both of these questions by taking an in-depth look at the Endurance S9, from the incline gradient through to the power of the CoolAire™ workout fan.
We also make some important comparisons between all treadmills in the ProForm Endurance series, to help you find the best model for your own home gym.
Design and safety features
The ProForm S9 is generally considered to be one of the top treadmills in their Endurance series, but you might struggle if you look for any significant differences between this model and others in the collection. That’s because most design features are the same.
At the time of writing this review, the motor for every ProForm Endurance treadmill was listed as 2.5 CHP Mach Z, the running area measured at 20″W x 55″L, and the Quick Incline™ range capped at 10%. Even the difference in maximum belt speed was minimal, with a 12.4 mph (20 kmph) top speed for the Endurance S9, and 11.2 mph (18 kmph) top belt speed for all other Endurance series treadmills (M7, S7, S7.5, and M8i).
We found that the biggest difference between these treadmills isn’t in the physical design features, but rather in variation and number of workout programs available (more on this later in the review).
But it’s still worth taking a look at the cushioning system, which in this case is ProShox™. As an air-based impact absorption system, this runs throughout the treadmill deck, reducing the impact of your foot striking the tread belt and limiting the stress placed on your feet and joints. Unfortunately you can’t disable this cushioning to emulate an outdoor road surface like you can with the Boston Marathon 4.0, but it’s still a useful feature to have. That’s because it dramatically increases the comfort level of your workout and reduces the muscle recovery time compared to running on a firm surface, allowing you to exercise more frequently.
As we mentioned before, the incline is capped at 10% and the belt speed at 12.4 mph. Although you’ll struggle to find a ProForm treadmill with a higher belt speed (Boston Marathon treadmills being the exception, at 15 mph), the incline does improve once you start looking at their Performance series treadmills. You’ll want to look at the Performance 1850 or 1500 if you need the full 15% incline, or the Performance 1450 if a 12% gradient is sufficient for your workouts.
A few more notes about the motor are that it uses an internal cooling system to reduce vibration as well as wear on parts, creating a quieter indoor running environment. It’s also fitted with an in-home efficiency booster, which reduces the amount of electricity needed to power the tread belt.
In terms of the rollers (point of contact between the tread belt and the motor), these are the medium-sized 1.9″ precision-machined version. They’re slightly smaller than the 2.5″ rollers of ProForm’s Pro series treadmills, but still do a pretty good job of decreasing tension and wear on the tread belt.
Unfortunately the ProForm Endurance S9 is fairly standard in its safety features, offering the basic combination of hand rails and foot plates for balance support, and a safety key for stopping the tread belt in the event of a fall. There’s no sign of any safety screen timeout or 4-digit child-safety passcode like you get with treadmills in their Pro, Boston Marathon, and Premier series’.
ProForm Endurance S9 – Features Summary
- 2.5 CHP motor
- ProShox cushioning
- 10% Quick Incline™
- 12.4 mph Quick Speed™
- 20″W x 55″L Running surface
- 16 Workout apps
- Intermix Acoustics 2.0 sound system
- 275 lbs weight capacity
Display console design
Despite upgrades elsewhere on the treadmill (such as a higher belt speed), the ProForm Endurance S9 actually looks like a downgrade of the Endurance S7. That’s because you’re losing the 8-week weight-loss program, and the workout feedback is now split across multiple smaller screens.
The single larger backlit LCD screen of the S7 model has now been replaced with the same multi-window LED display that we saw on the Endurance S7.5. Although this still keeps you updated with the latest workout feedback, you can now only view 3 pieces of that feedback at any one time. This includes the workout duration, distance, speed, incline level, heart rate, and number of calories burned.
This completely changes with the Endurance M8i treadmill, which is an upgrade of the Endurance S9. With the M8i you go back to having a single LCD screen, which includes the My Trail 1/4 mile running track display, as well as an intensity level bar, which indicates the approximate intensity level of your exercise.
The only downside is that the M8i has no onboard workout programs outside of the Weight Loss Workout Center (calorie burn). But you do get an iFit compatible console, which isn’t a feature of the Endurance S9.
Quick controls make it easier to switch between the preset speed and incline settings, while the multi-speed CoolAire™ workout fan to keep you cool during longer workouts.
As for the entertainment options, ProForm include an iPod and MP3 compatible console port, which connects your device to a built-in Intermix Acoustics 2.0 sound system. This allows you to listen to your favorite motivational workout music via the two 2-inch speakers.
For what it’s worth we believe the M8i to be a better option than the Endurance S9, taking into account the benefits you get (larger single screen, intensity bar indicator, iFit compatible console) for what’s usually a very small difference in price.
Heart rate monitoring
As with other Endurance series treadmills, the ProForm S9 supports touch and telemetry heart rate monitoring. Touch is via the dual-grip EKG™ touch sensors built into the handles, while telemetry is possible through wearing wireless heart rate monitor, such as the Polar T34.
Having the option to monitor your heart rate wirelessly, without having to maintain contact with the handles at the console is a huge advantage over treadmills that only include touch sensors.
Not only is the measurement more likely to be accurate due to the constant contact with your skin, but it also allows you complete freedom of movement, which encourages higher intensity exercise and a faster rate of calorie burn.
Workout programs and user profiles
With most modern ProForm treadmill collections, it’s fairly easy to identify which machine offers the highest number of workout apps based purely on the model number.
But this is slightly more difficult to do with the Endurance series, with different combinations of weight-loss programs, workout apps, and iFit compatible consoles.
The Endurance S7.5 was very much a weight-loss treadmill, with a heavy focus on calorie burning workouts and being able to participate in their 8-week weight-loss program. With the Endurance S9 we see a return to the 18 onboard workout apps split across 4 categories; Calorie, Intensity, Speed, and Incline.
This is virtually identical to the workouts that are programmed into the Endurance M7, except now your feedback is split across 3 LCD screens instead of one.
So without the weight-loss program, is it the Endurance S9 or M7 that represents better value for money?
Workout program categories
This is the standard workout program that’s supplied with every ProForm treadmill, and can be activated via the ‘Manual’ button on the console after inserting the safety key.
Unlike the onboard workout apps and iFit programs, this follows no preset profile of speed and incline settings, giving you complete control over how challenging you want your workout to be.
The only downside is that you can’t create your own custom program to use again in the future. It just means that you have to write down or memorize when the incline/speed changes and to what degree if you want to repeat a workout in the future. Custom workouts isn’t a feature we find on many treadmills, but if it’s something you’re interested in we can recommend the F80 or F85 treadmills from Sole Fitness.
- Onboard Workouts
The Endurance S9 features 18 onboard workout apps designed by a certified personal trainer, with programs suitable for all levels of physical fitness.
Split into 4 categories; Calorie, Intensity, Speed, and Incline, these workouts are made up of segments, each of which stores the incline setting and belt speed for a specific stage of the program.
As the workout progresses, the running deck and tread belt automatically adjust to match these settings, leaving you free to focus entirely on your run. If you want to adjust the intensity of the current segment, you can manually override these settings using the controls on the console.
- iFit Workouts
Unfortunately the console for the ProForm Endurance S9 isn’t iFit compatible or iFit enabled. This means that you only have access to the manual program and the 18 onboard workout apps.
iFit is an online service that allows you to download personalized workout programs straight to the console, including a wide range of real-world running routes through Google Maps.
When you complete a workout, you can also upload your stats to an iFit account, where you can analyze your performance and monitor improvements in your fitness level over time.
iFit have also recently entered the personal fitness tracker space with their own line of wearable tech. This means that you can upload workout data from activities performed away from the treadmill.
The top-of-the-line Endurance M8i is the only treadmill we’ve found in the Endurance series to offer iFit compatibility, but you still need to purchase the iFit module and subscription if you want to use it.
Ease of assembly and maintenance
ProForm continue to be one of the best fitness companies in the industry for designing cardio equipment that’s quick to assemble, with clear setup instructions that are easy to follow. Although it’s probably not something you want to base your buying decision around, knowing what to expect from the assembly process can help you get started with your new fitness routine as soon as possible.
Fortunately, the ProForm Endurance S9 user manual includes clear step-by-step written instructions, accompanied by exploded diagrams with parts references to show how each part fits together. ProForm even include most of the tools you need, including a hex key that can adjust the walking belt.
It’s important to bear in mind that ProForm recommends two people for this assembly. That’s because having most of the treadmill pre-assembled cuts down on the setup time, but does mean you’re moving heavier parts around, such as the running deck.
If this isn’t possible, an alternative to self-assembly is the ProForm professional assembly service.
Professional assembly services
Many modern fitness companies now offer an in-home assembly service, which is often a more convenient option than assembling the equipment yourself.
ProForm only guarantee curbside delivery, but as part of the initial purchase they do offer an in-home assembly service, depending on your location. As an alternative, Amazon have also started offering their own home assembly service for treadmills.
With Amazon, your options very much depend on your location, but it’s an excellent way to find highly rated local companies that can setup the treadmill for an affordable price. Moving the treadmill to a new room isn’t included, so you’ll need to have the boxes in the location you plan on using the machine. If Amazon don’t have service providers in your area, you can sign up to be emailed when they become available.
Transport and maintenance
As with most of their treadmills, the ProForm Endurance S9 is fitted with transport wheels, which make it easier to move between rooms if needed. You can also benefit from the folding SpaceSaver® design, which is fitted with a powerful shock (EasyLift Assist) for reducing the effort needed to raise the deck to its vertical storage position, creating a compact footprint.
For maintenance, the user manual is packed with useful information to keep the treadmill running smoothly. This includes how to update the console firmware, calibrate the incline system, and troubleshoot basic issues.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: 5 years
- Parts: 2 years
- Labor: 2 years