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Whereas ProForm ‘T series’ treadmills had a strong focus on calorie burning workouts, the ZT collection offers a much more complete workout experience, providing a full range of workout categories (Speed, Incline, Intensity, Calorie).
But the ZT8 and ZT10 are the only treadmills in the collection with iFit compatibility, so can the ZT6 really compete?
In our review, we’ll take a closer look at what continues to be one of ProForm’s most affordable treadmills. This includes the design features, workout programs, and console functions. We’ll also be making important comparisons between the ZT6 and other ProForm treadmills, including the Performance 400i model, which is virtually identical except for the fact it has an iFit enabled console.
Design and safety features
The ProForm ZT6 offers a larger running surface than the ZT4, measuring 20″W x 55″L. This is a much better option for taller users, as it gives you the option to build up to your full running stride without worrying so much about foot placement.
To help cushion the impact of your foot striking the belt, ProForm have also built their ProShox™ Cushioning system into the running deck, which helps to minimize the stress placed on your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. This is the same system that was used on the ZT4, but due to minor improvements in frame construction, can now support 325 lbs (up from 300 lbs on the ZT4).
You can also benefit from the medium-sized 1.9″ balanced rollers, which is what the tread belt flows around and forms part of the running deck construction. Although this falls short of the 2.5″ rollers you can find on their top-of-the-line treadmills, it’s still enough to decrease tension and wear on the belt, reducing friction and encouraging a smoother running experience.
Unfortunately the incline and belt speed don’t get upgraded until the ZT8 model (12 mph speed, 12% incline), so you still have the same 10 mph belt speed and maximum 10% incline gradient that was available on the ZT4.
This is one of the reasons the 2.5 CHP Mach Z™ commercial DC motor has a similar power rating, but with a faster flywheel gear ratio and in-home efficiency booster to reduce electricity consumption. The motor has also been fitted with an internal cooling system to reduce wear on components and provide a quieter indoor running experience.
The ProForm ZT6 has all the safety features you could hope for from a treadmill at this price point. Unfortunately there’s no password protected console, but you still have the set of shortened handles and side plates for assisting with your balance, and a safety key built into the console.
If you haven’t used a safety key before, it’s essentially two clips connected by a short lanyard. One clip attaches to an item of your clothing and the other clip to the console. In the event of a fall, the clip detaches from the console and the tread belt quickly comes to a stop.
A surge suppressor is also recommended as a mediator between the treadmill power cord and your grounded power outlet to help protect against sudden power surges, but this is a standard recommendation for all home treadmills.
ProForm ZT6 Treadmill – Features Summary
- 0-10 MPH QuickSpeed® Control
- 20″W x 55″L running surface
- 18 Workout apps
- 2.5 CHP Mach Z™ commercial motor
- 10% Incline
- 325 lb weight capacity
Display console design
The console for the ProForm ZT6 offers a slight upgrade the design we saw on the ZT4, as you can now navigate the workout programs by category. This allows you to select one of the Calorie, Intensity, Speed, or Incline programs directly, rather than having to press a generic ‘workouts’ button up to 16 times before finding the workout you want.
But ProForm’s ZT treadmill series is classed as entry level, which means that whether you buy the ZT4, ZT6, or ZT8, you’re still not going to have access to a large touchscreen display with built-in web browser. This is a feature that’s only really available on treadmills in their Pro, Boston Marathon, Premier, and Performance collections.
In terms of entertainment options, you have an iPod® compatible music port with two 2-inch speakers for listening to your favorite workout music. This is the same sound system that’s available on all of ProForm’s ZT series treadmills.
QuickSpeed® and QuickIncline® buttons are included for switching between the preset speed and incline levels, with an LCD display screen that highlights your distance, speed, heart rate, time, and number of calories burned.
Unfortunately due to being one of ProForm’s entry level treadmills, there’s no iFit support. This changes with the upgraded ZT8 and ZT10 models, but even then you’re only getting a treadmill that’s iFit compatible. There is no iFit enabled treadmill in the ZT series.
Many of ProForm’s modern treadmills have iFit enabled as standard, even those considered entry level. If you want to experience all the fitness benefits of iFit but don’t have the budget for a Pro series treadmill, we recommend the ProForm Performance 400i (general fitness) or ProForm Sport 7.5 (HIIT workouts).
Heart rate monitoring
EKG™ hand-grip sensors for heart rate monitoring are built into the handles for convenience. Unfortunately the ProForm ZT6 isn’t compatible with telemetry chest straps, which tend to provide a more consistent and reliable heart rate signal.
Telemetry heart rate monitoring is quite an advanced feature, and not something you’re likely to find on an entry level treadmill. The ProForm Pro 2000 is available at a slightly higher price point to the ZT6, but includes a Dual Band (Bluetooth Smart® + ANT Plus) Wireless Chest Strap for a more accurate pulse reading that doesn’t require constant contact with the EKG™ sensors.
Workout programs and user profiles
But without the console screen being upgraded, how much of an improvement is this to your workout experience, and does the ZT8 treadmill with its larger screen and more advanced iFit options represent better value for money?
Workout program categories
- ManualWhether your budget is $300 or $3000, treadmills that use a motor for power will almost always have a Manual program. This is the default workout that begins as soon as you insert the safety key in the console, but unlike the Onboard workout programs this follows no preset profile.Any adjustments to the speed or incline are entirely controlled by you, but whichever combination of settings you follow can’t be stored as a custom workout to be repeated at a later date. You would have to memorize the settings and times, then recreate it as closely as possible. This isn’t always practical and can take a lot of concentration out of your workout, which is why the Onboard workouts can often be a better option.
Onboard WorkoutsAs the mid-range treadmill in their ZT collection, the ProForm ZT6 includes 18 onboard workout apps, each of which is assigned to one of 4 workout categories; Calorie, Intensity, Speed, and Incline.In upgrading from the ZT4 ProForm have reverted back to an improved console layout where you have a button for each category, but with no touch-screen menu system you could still have to press your chosen category button multiple times to find your desired workout.
Unfortunately there’s still no sign of a quick reference guide to the different program profiles in the user manual, and when you first buy the treadmill it’s a slow process waiting for each profile to scroll across the screen so you know what to expect from the speed and incline.
Each onboard workout follows a preset profile made up of multiple segments, each of which stores the incline and speed settings for that stage of the program. To highlight your progress, the current segment is always highlighted, and each profile has been created by a certified personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals.
At any point during an onboard workout you can manually adjust the speed or incline using the Quick controls on the console, which will override the settings stored in the current segment. This is an excellent way to increase the intensity of a workout without having to return to the start of a new program.
- iFit WorkoutsUnfortunately the ZT6 treadmill still doesn’t feature any iFit compatibility, which doesn’t become a feature on ProForm’s ZT treadmill collection until the top-of-the-line ZT8.With the upgraded console design, larger screen, and iFit compatibility, we would certainly recommend reading our review of the ProForm ZT8 to decide which treadmill would be the best option for your personal fitness goals.
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 ZT6 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, performed by a trained technician, 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 ZT6 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 console
- Recalibrate the incline system
- Align the tread belt
- Troubleshoot basic issues
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: 25 years
- Parts: 1 year
- Labor: 1 year
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