The ProForm Premier 900 treadmill is the entry level model in a collection that also includes the top-of-the-line Premier 1300, with a 20″W x 55″L running surface and advanced ProShox™ cushioning system.
So how does this compare to other similarly priced ProForm treadmills, like the Performance 600i or Power 995i, both of which are also fitted with iFit enabled consoles?
Each machine has its own unique combination of features. But which is the best treadmill for your own fitness goals and budget?
In this review we aim to answer this question by making some important comparisons between the workout variation, entertainment functions, and design features. We’ll also be taking a closer look at the assembly process, warranty coverage, and console design, to help you decide if the Premier 900 is the best treadmill for your own home gym.
Design and safety features
In some ways the ProForm Premier 900 can be considered the next step up from the Sport 7.5, with a slightly more powerful motor, faster maximum belt speed, and 7″ full color touch screen. But there’s one important comparison where the ProForm Sport 7.5 comes out on top, and that’s in having a longer tread belt. So what does this mean for your workouts?
Taking a closer look at the Premier 900, the 3.0 CHP Mach Z™ Commercial DC Motor has been constructed using the same high grade components as on their Pro series treadmills. It also features the same internal cooling system, which is designed to reduce vibration and wear on parts, which in turn creates a quieter indoor running experience.
However, the running area is shorter than we might expect from a treadmill at this price point. It looks like ProForm have upgraded the motor power, console, and number of workout programs in place of the 60″ belt length you can find on similarly priced treadmills, such as the Sport 7.5 and Performance 600i.
Admittedly this won’t be a problem for all runners, as the 55″ belt length will be suitable for users up to around 6ft in height. But any taller and you’ll struggle to relax into your full natural running stride without worrying about your foot placement. The extra 5-inches may not sound like much but it can certainly make an important difference to your workout.
One of the reasons we think ProForm held off on the full-length belt is because it makes the Premier 1300 look like more of an upgrade. The Premier series in general is a transition between the Sport series and Pro series, in terms of features and entertainment options. This means the next step up is ProForm’s Pro series, where every treadmill has a 20″W x 60″L running area, even their bestselling Pro 2000.
Moving away from the running area we have a ProShox™ Cushioning system built into the running deck for reducing the impact when your foot strikes the tread belt, thereby protecting your knee, hip, and ankle joints. You’ve also got an in-home efficiency booster built into the motor, to reduce the amount of electricity required.
The 12 mph maximum belt speed is a step up from treadmills like the ZT4 and machines in their Sport series (Sport 5.0, Sport 7.5). Although the incline is still capped at 12%, this combination of belt speed and incline gradient is enough to put together a challenging workout routine for all levels of personal fitness. Unfortunately there are no decline settings. These are only available on ProForm’s Pro series treadmills and their Boston Marathon collection.
Despite having a much more affordable price tag than the Pro 2000, the Premier 900 includes many of the same design features, and all of the same safety features. This includes a programmable 4-digit child-safety passcode, which locks the console until the correct sequence is entered (master sequence available in case you forget yours). This means younger children are unable to accidentally set the belt in motion or adjust the incline.
Another safety feature is the safety screen timeout, which automatically resets the console if no commands are received and the belt doesn’t move for a set amount of time. You’ve also got the more standard safety features, such as the hand rails, foot plates, and safety key slot built into the console.
ProForm Premier 900 Treadmill – Features Summary
- 3.0 CHP Mach Z™ Commercial Motor
- 20″W x 55″L Tread belt
- 0 – 12 MPH QuickSpeed® Control
- 0 – 12% Quick Incline™ Control
- 7″ full-color web enabled touchscreen
- 30 Workout apps
- 325 lb Weight capacity
Display console design
The Premier 900 console is a scaled down version of the Premier 1300, with a slightly smaller display (7″ instead of 10″) but many of the same top-of-the-line features.
The 7″ full-color web enabled touchscreen allows you to easily switch between checking your workout feedback and catching up with the latest world news, or checking your social media profiles. As with every ProForm treadmill that uses a touchscreen, the tablet itself is powered by Android™, which allows a limited amount of access to the internet. These means news sites and social media, but not movie streaming sites like Netflix.
If you would rather catch up with your favorite TV shows or watch a movie while you run, you can always use the integrated tablet holder (as long as you have a tablet). That way you can keep the built-in screen for workout program selection and viewing important feedback. This includes your speed, time, distance, heart rate, incline, and number of calories burned.
As well as the screen, another feature to be scaled down is the sound system, which is now Intermix Acoustics™ 2.0 instead of the 3.0 version. This means the console has two 2-inch speakers instead of two 3-inch speakers, but it still has the same MP3 and iPod® compatible music port. Unfortunately this doesn’t charge your device and there’s no USB charging port for your tablet, so if you do want to watch movies or listen to music it’s important to make sure you have enough battery life.
QuickSpeed® and QuickIncline® controls make it easier to switch between the different predefined settings, allowing you to fully focus on your workout. You also have a selection of controls for scanning through the programs in each of the onboard workout categories. This not only saves you time, but also gives you a clearer idea about what to expect from the workout, compared to treadmills like the 530 ZLT that use a single generic ‘workouts’ button.
One last console feature worth mentioning is the multi-speed CoolAire™ workout fan. This offers an extra level of comfort and climate control during your indoor running, and combines with the water bottle holders to help you maintain peak performance by keeping cool and hydrated.
Heart rate monitoring
Each of the treadmills in ProForm’s Premier series offers two forms of heart rate monitoring; EKG™ touch sensors built into the handles, and Bluetooth® wireless chest strap compatibility. While the handles are a convenient way to monitor your pulse for a short amount of time, the telemetry chest strap is a much more practical solution if you want to track your heart rate range for an entire workout.
Workout programs and user profiles
At the time of writing this review, the Premier 900 is the most affordable ProForm treadmill to combine a full-color web-enabled touchscreen with and iFit enabled console.
Despite the fact that there are models with a larger screen, considering the amount of workouts on offer and level of entertainment options, the ProForm Premier 900 remains one of the best treadmills you can buy. Especially when it’s on sale for under $1000, and being iFit enabled saves you around $100 by not having to buy the iFit module separately.
So what can you expect from the onboard workouts, and how does the workout epxerience delivered by the Premier 900 differ from that of the Premier 1300 treadmill?
Workout program categories
This is the default workout program that activates when you insert the safety key and set the tread belt in motion. Although we refer to it as a program, you follow no preset profile of speed and incline settings. Instead you’re free to adjust the intensity of the workout based entirely on your own personal preference.
The basic principle of tracking your progress around a virtual 1/4 mile running track has been on ProForm treadmills for a while now, even with their most affordable models (such as the now discontinued ProForm Performance 300).
But because it can encourage and motivate you to walk, jog, or run longer distances, ProForm continue to include it as a feature on their modern top-of-the-line machines. The main difference being that aesthetic appeal of the screen has improved greatly since watching a flashing dot move around a backlit matrix display.
- Onboard Workouts
The ProForm Premier 900 features 30 onboard workouts, split across 4 categories; Incline, Speed, Intensity, and Calorie. Each of these programs is split into a number of segments, with each segment used to store a combination of incline and speed settings.
The profile that each program follows has been designed by a certified personal trainer, and will automatically adjust the running deck and tread belt to match the settings stored in each segment.
The combination of touch screen and 4 console buttons makes selecting a workout considerably easier than on many of their earlier models. This includes the Endurance S7.5, where you had to repeatedly press a single button to scroll through the 15 bonus performance workouts.
During the workout you’re still able to change the intensity of the workout by raising or lowering the belt speed and incline level. But whichever changes you make only apply to the current segment, after which the program reverts back to its preset profile.
- Set-A-Goal Workouts
If you prefer a fitness routine where you set and achieve goals, this is a collection of workouts you’ll find useful.
The Premier 900 allow you to set goals for the time, distance, and number of calories burned, but also the pace of your run. This pace goal isn’t something that’s always included with their set-a-goal workouts, and it’s something we last noticed when reviewing their Boston Marathon treadmill series.
As with the Manual program, these goal-based workouts follow no preset profile. You simply set your target and continue until you achieve your goal.
- Pulse Workout
ProForm don’t often include heart rate controlled programs on their entry level treadmills, which means the Premier 900 is one of the most affordable models to offer this feature.
The Pulse workout works in a similar way to the Set-A-Goal programs, where you set a target heart rate before you begin. The treadmill then automtically adjusts the speed and incline to keep you at your target level.
- iFit® Workouts
Although the ProForm Premier 900 is classed as iFit Enabled, you still need to sign up for a paid subscription to the service if you want full access to their downloadable workouts. If this was an iFit compatible treadmill you would need to purchase the wireless iFit module. On balance there’s not much of a cost advantage either way, as although the module is an additional expense up front, it does give you 1 free year of membership.
Once this is setup, the Map, Train, Video, and Lose Weight buttons on the touch screen allow you to download a new program straight to the console. You can even customize real-world running routes with Google Maps™, upload your workout performance to an online profile, and race against other iFit users from around the world.
Your online iFit® profile stores a historical record of your workout performance to monitor improvements in your fitness level. This can be accessed from a range of devices, including your computer, tablet, smart phone, and of course, the ProForm Premier 900 console. When you’re not on the treadmill you can still upload exercise performance using one of the iFit® personal fitness trackers.
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 Premier 900 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 Premier 900 is fitted with transport wheels, which make it easier to move between rooms if needed.
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
- Align the tread belt
- Troubleshoot basic issues
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: Lifetime
- Parts: 2 years
- Labor: 1 year
Overall Review Rating
4 / 5
So is the Premier 900 the best choice for your indoor running, or does the upgraded Premier 1300 represent better value for money?
Something we mentioned in our Premier 1300 review was how difficult it can be to find on sale. At time of writing there’s a $1500 difference between the two treadmills, simply because the 900 is on sale but the 1300 is still at list price (on the official ProForm website).
The difference in workouts is negligible (4 more onboard programs on the Premier 1300) considering you have an iFit enabled console to fall back to if you need more variation. The 12% incline and 12 mph belt speed you get on both models, and both have an adjustable tablet holder for enhancing your entertainment options.
The big difference for us is belt length. If the 55-inch length of the Premier 900 running area is enough to support your full natural running stride, and you’re on a budget, then it would have to be our first choice. But even if you don’t upgrade to the Premier 1300, the Pro 2000 treadmill is another attractive option if you can extend your budget slightly, and acts as a middle ground between the two Premier series treadmills.
If you do need the 60-inch running area length and are willing to sacrifice the color touchscreen, we recommend the ProForm Pro 2000 over the Premier 1300. That’s because you get an improved incline range (-3% to +15% compared to +12%), same belt speed, weight capacity, and warranty.
Finally, if you want the full 60-inch belt length with a 10” full color touchscreen and iFit enabled console, the Premier 1300 is an excellent choice for taller users with the budget for more advanced features. But we would recommend waiting for a sale to avoid paying the full $2,499 list price. Ideally something closer to $1,499.
Product dimensions: 35.74"W x 68.11"H x 73.3"L Weight capacity: 325 lbs