The ProForm ZT8 treadmill features an extra large 20″W x 60″L running area, 12 mph belt speed, and 12% incline gradient. But how does this compare to other treadmills in the ZT collection, such as the entry level ZT4 or top-of-the-line ZT10?
In this review, we’ll make some important comparisons between the best home treadmills in the ProForm ZT series, to help you find the best option for your budget and fitness goals.
We’ve also included a comprehensive guide to the ZT8 workout programs, design features, and console functions, as well as a link to our ProForm treadmill guide, where you can find in-depth reviews for all their latest models.
Design and safety features
The ProForm ZT8 is a cross between the mid-range ZT6 and top-of-the-line ZT10 treadmills, with a 2-ply commercial-grade treadmill belt and large 20″W x 60″L running surface. The 2-ply belt is an upgrade over the 1-ply design of the ZT4, as it improves the belt’s durability, meaning you can get more running miles in before it has to be replaced.
In terms of the running area, this is really the largest you can expect to find on most home treadmills, and is a substantial improvement over the 18″W x 50″L surface of the ZT4 treadmill. This added width means you don’t have to focus so much on foot placement, while the extra length makes the ZT8 a much better option for taller users. That’s because you have the space to support your natural running stride, even while sprinting.
ProForm have again opted for their ProShox™ Cushioning system, which is a common feature amongst their ZT series treadmills. This serves to reduce the impact of your foot striking the belt, which reduces the stress placed on your ankles and knee joints.
You also have the same medium-sized 1.9″ precision balanced rollers, which reduce tension on the tread belt and help create a quieter indoor running experience.
Another design upgrade over the earlier ZT series treadmill is the belt speed, which is now capped at 12 mph instead of 10 mph. The maximum incline gradient has also been increased, from 10% up to 12%. Although this is still short of the 15% offered by their Pro series treadmills, it’s enough for experienced runners to create a more challenging fitness routine.
The 2.75 CHP motor is an upgrade as well, with enough power to support the steeper incline and higher belt speed, even with the full 325 lb capacity. Unfortunately this hasn’t really changed since the 300 lb limit of the ZT4 treadmill. This is the only real downside of ProForm treadmills, in that they tend to have a lower weight limit than other companies, such as Sole Fitness.
These are fairly standard throughout the ZT treadmill series, with the ProForm ZT8 having the same safety features as the ZT4. This means a short set of handles and side plates for assisting with balance if needed, and a safety key fitted to the console.
Unfortunately there’s no passcode protected console, which fetures on some of ProForm’s most advanced treadmills.
ProForm ZT8 Treadmill – Features Summary
- 12% Incline
- 2.75 CHP motor
- 6″ Backlit display
- 24 Preset workout programs
- 12 mph maximum belt speed
- Transport wheels
- 20″W x 60″L Running surface
- 325 lb weight capacity
- iFit compatible
Display console design
The ProForm ZT8 console is a significant upgrade over the earlier ZT6, as it becomes the most affordable treadmill in the ZT collection to be iFit Compatible.
Although this still doesn’t mean you can download new workouts straight away (need to buy the iFit wireless module, sign up for a paid subscription, and connect to a Wi-Fi network), it’s still a useful feature to have access to.
The QuickSpeed, QuickIncline, and onboard workout category buttons are still available, but they’ve also been joined by Quick select controls for the Map, Train, Compete, Track, Set A Goal, and Lose Weight iFit workout categories.
Combine this with the larger 6” backlit console screen and you have an easy-to-use design that’s similar to the top-of-the-line ZT10 treadmill. This screen provides a range of useful workout feedbacks, include incline level, number of calories burned, time, distance, heart rate, speed, and a 1/4 mile track.
In terms of entertainment features, these really haven’t changed at all since the entry level ZT4 treadmill. You still have the same two 2″ integrated speakers for listening to your favorite workout music via an iPod®-compatible audio port. It’s a long way from the 10” web-enabled color touchscreen of the ProForm Pro 9000, but still impressive given the price range.
To keep you cool and hydrated during your workouts, the ProForm ZT8 has also been fitted with a multi-speed Coolaire™ workout fan and water bottle holder.
Heart rate monitoring
As with other ZT series treadmills, the ZT8 only includes EKG grip pulse heart rate monitors, with no option to use a wireless chest strap for telemetry heart rate monitoring.
If you want to accurately keep track of your heart rate throughout your workout, this probably won’t be practical. Holding onto the touch sensors takes time to get a reading, and impacts your performance as it takes most of the movement out of your upper body.
Outside of ProForm the Schwinn 870 is a similarly priced treadmill that supports heart rate monitoring via a chest strap. For a ProForm treadmill your best option will probably be the bestselling Pro 2000, which also includes a Dual Band (Bluetooth Smart® + ANT Plus) Wireless Chest Strap.
Workout programs and user profiles
The ProForm ZT8 is the most affordable treadmill in the ZT collection to feature iFit compatibility, but with the same console layout and iFit functions as their top-of-the-line ZT10.
Unfortunately you’re getting slightly fewer Onboard workout programs (32 workout apps on the ZT10 vs. 24 workout apps on the ZT8), but the larger screen and added menu system makes it much easier to make your selection compared to the ZT4 and ZT6 treadmills.
So what benefits can you expect from the iFit compatibility? Is it a feature you would actually use, or would the price of an iFit module and yearly subscription prove too costly?
Workout program categories
If you simply want to step foot on the tread belt and start running, this is a great program to start with. It doesn’t follow any preset profile of speed and incline settings, meaning the intensity won’t suddenly change without you wanting it to.
The onboard workouts are designed for a variety of fitness levels, and the 12 mph belt speed is excellent for sprinting, but it’s not always what you’re looking for when walking or jogging. That’s another situation where you may want to consider the Manual program over the goal programs or iFit workouts.
- Onboard Workout Programs
The ProForm ZT8 includes 24 onboard workouts (6 more than the ZT6), each of which has been designed by a certified personal trainer to help you achieve your personal fitness goals.
These 24 programs have been split into 4 workout categories; Speed, Incline, Intensity, and Calorie, each of which follows a preset profile of segments. Each segment contains belt speed and incline settings, and the active segment is highlighted to indicate your progress.
One of the most significant upgrades for us compared to the ProForm ZT6 is the larger display screen, which means you no longer have to wait for a scrolling display to get a summary of a workout program profile.
Each time you press one of the workout category buttons, the display shows the duration, name, and speed profile of the program selected. Once you begin a workout, you can override the preset speed and incline setting for the current segment using the increase/decrease buttons on the console, or selecting on of the Quick controls.
- Set-A-Goal Workouts
As well as being upgraded to a larger screen and adding the workout category buttons, the ZT8 is the first treadmill in the ZT collection to also feature their goal-based programs.
Although these don’t follow a preset profile of speed and incline settings like the Onboard workouts do, you can still set a target for the duration, distance, or number of calories burned. Unfortunately you can’t set a goal for your pace, which is only available on a select few ProForm treadmills (415 LT, 700 LT, etc.).
- iFit Workouts
The ProForm ZT8 treadmill is classed as ‘iFit Compatible’, meaning you have access to all the benefits of iFit only after you purchase the iFit module and subscription.
Once you purchase the module and have your account setup, you can download professionally developed workout programs straight to to the console, provided you have a Wi-Fi connection.
This includes access to Google Maps routes, which follow real-world running locations, and even races where you can compete against other iFit users around the world.
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 ZT8 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 ZT8 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:
- Send/receive workout data
- Recalibrate 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 ProForm ZT8 worth buying, or is there a more affordable alternative with the same specification?
In upgrading from the ZT6 to the ZT8, ProForm have improved practically every feature. You have a steeper incline (+2%), faster maximum belt speed (+2 mph), more workout programs (+6), and a longer running area (+5 inches). Even the warranty is upgraded, with lifetime coverage now available on the motor.
But at the time of writing this review, ProForm aren’t listing any ZT series treadmill on their official website, which could be an indication they’re now discontinued. Although it’s still possible to find the ZT8 on Amazon (sold by the official ProForm vendor) and other shopping sites, not being available on the ProForm website means it’s less likely to be included in any sale events.
Considering it’s usually available for around $799, ProForm have a number of treadmills currently advertised on their site that feature their most modern design and entertainment features for the same price. This includes the Sport 7.5, Performance 600i, and Power 795, all of which have a similar specification (Power 795 has a slightly shorter belt).
Before buying the ProForm ZT8, we would certainly recommend taking a look at all three of these models, and even the Premier 900 if you have an extra $100 to add to your budget. That’s because this is the most affordable ProForm treadmill to feature their 7-inch full color web-enabled touchscreen display.
Product dimensions: 33.75"W x 72.25"L x 57"H Product weight: 210 lbs Weight capacity: 325 lbs lbs