The ProForm ZT4 treadmill is the entry level model in a collection that also features the mid-range ZT6, ZT8, and top-of-the-line ZT10.
But is it the top treadmill for your budget and fitness goals?
In our review, we’ll make some important comparisons between the ZT4 and other ProForm treadmills, including the LT series and Sport series models. We’ll also be taking a closer look at what you can expect from the design features, workout programs, assembly process, console functions, and warranty.
Design and safety features
As the entry level treadmill in their ZT collection, the ProForm ZT4 offers a 50″L x 18″W running surface, which is shorter and narrower than the ZT6 and ZT8. This size belt is usually fine for walking and jogging workouts, but taller users over 6ft in height should probably consider the ZT8. That’s because the ZT8 belt length measures 60″, giving you more space to build up to a full natural running stride.
The 1-ply belt of the ZT4 is also more likely to wear down quicker than the 2-ply belt of later models, which could be why the parts warranty is just 90 days (compared to 1 year on the ZT6, and 2 years on the ZT8). Although the frame warranty is also shorter (5 years compared to lifetime coverage for the ZT6 and ZT8), it uses a similar precision welded steel frame construction, so it’s not something we’re overly concerned about.
Looking beneath the tread belt you have ProForm’s ProShox™ Cushioning system, which is designed to reduce the impact of your foot fall and protect your knee and hip joints during high intensity workouts.
The belt speed and incline are the lowest that ProForm offer on a treadmill, with a top speed of 10 mph and maximum incline gradient of 10%. This is still enough to create a challenging workout, but falls well short of the 15 mph belt speed and 20% incline of their top-of-the-line Boston Marathon treadmills.
This is partly why the ProForm ZT4 is fitted with a less powerful motor, rated at 2.75 HP. It can still comfortably power the belt to its top speed at maximum incline under the full 300 lb capacity, and it’s what we would expect from an affordable treadmill at this price point.
When you reach their top-of-the-line treadmills, ProForm can compete with any fitness company in the industry in terms of safety features. This means passcode protected consoles and sensors for disabling the belt due to inactivity.
As an entry level model, these features are missing from the ZT4, but you still have a set of hand rails for assisting with balance, and the standard ‘safety key’ feature. If you haven’t used it before, the safety key attaches the console to an item of your clothing via a short lanyard. In the event of a fall, the clip detaches from the console and the belt quickly comes to a stop.
ProForm ZT4 Treadmill – Features Summary
- 50″L x 18″W running surface
- ProShox™ Cushioning
- 0-10% Incline gradient
- 0-10 mph belt speed
- 2.75 HP motor
- 16 Workout programs
- 300 lb weight capacity
Display console design
As one of ProForm’s entry level treadmills, the ZT4 doesn’t have the entertainment options you’ll find on their Boston Marathon or Pro series machines. This means you’re unable to watch movies, browse the internet, or run real-world routes with Google Maps like you can with their iFit enabled consoles.
As one of their earlier designs you have a display shelf, but it’s in a position where you’ll block the workout feedback if used to support a tablet. This is compared to the integrated secure tablet holder on the ProForm Sport series treadmills, which is attached to the top of the console, giving you clear visibility of the workout feedback and Round Watts display.
However, the ZT4 does feature a 4” CoolAire Workout Fan, two water bottle storage shelves, and a compact LCD screen for workout feedback, including incline, time, distance, speed, heart rate, number of calories burned, 1/4 mile track.
As for the entertainment options, you’re limited to an iPod and MP3 compatible audio system, with two 2-inch speakers for listening to your favorite motivational workout music. This is fairly standard for a treadmill at this price, but is a long way short of the ProForm’s Premier and Pro series treadmills, which feature a built-in color display and integrated tablet holder.
Quick Controls for adjusting the belt speed and incline gradient are a useful addition, but you only have a single button for scrolling through the 16 onboard workouts.
Heart rate monitoring
The ProForm ZT4 doesn’t support telemetry heart rate monitoring (chest strap), but it does include EKG touch sensors, which have been built into the handles.
But if tracking your heart rate is important to you, either for medical reasons or to support a specific fitness goal, we would recommend the ProForm Pro 2000.
Although there’s a difference in price, the bestselling Pro 2000 is one of ProForm’s most affordable treadmills to feature wireless chest strap heart rate monitoring. This is achieved via the Dual Band (Bluetooth Smart® + ANT Plus) Wireless Chest Strap (included), which significantly increases the accuracy of the pulse reading on the console, and allows greater freedom of motion in your running.
That’s because you don’t have to constantly hold the touch sensors, which are much better for occasionally checking your heart rate, but not really practical for getting a continuous reading.
Workout programs and user profiles
But as one of the entry level models in their ZT collection, how does this compare to the ZT6 and ZT8, and how will this impact the quality of your workouts?
This is the most basic workout program that’s available on virtually all motorized treadmills, and becomes active as soon as you insert the safety key into the console.
Unlike the Onboard workouts, this program follows no preset profile of speed and incline settings, and is controlled entirely by when you press the increase/decrease buttons, or choose from one of the Quick control levels.
- Onboard Workouts
Despite being one of ProForm’s most affordable treadmills, the ZT4 still includes a very respectable 16 Onboard workout programs, which can be selected via the console.
Unfortunately there’s no touch-screen menu system or Quick Select button for navigating the different program categories, which means you have to repeatedly press the Workouts button until you find a profile that suits your fitness goal.
Because of limitations in the size of the LCD screen, it’s also difficult to get a quick overview of what to expect from a program simply by scrolling through them. To see the profile, you have to press the Workouts button, look at the maximum speed and incline setting that’s now displayed for the current program, then after a few seconds wait until the profile scrolls across the matrix.
Obviously this isn’t ideal if you’re short on time, and as you get used to the machine you’ll start to remember which workout number corresponds to which style of fitness program. But considering there’s no decal on the console and no quick reference guide in the manual to tell you what to expect, it can be a frustrating learning curve to begin with.
As with other Onboard workouts from ProForm, each program follows a preset profile, made up of a number of segments. Each segment contains a combination of speed and incline settings, which you can manually override mid-workout if required.
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 ZT4 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 ZT4 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:
- Play audio books through the sound system
- Recalibrate the incline system
- Align the tread belt
- Troubleshoot basic issues
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 5 years
- Motor: 5 years
- Parts: 90 days
- Labor: 90 days