ProForm 505 CST Treadmill
The 505 CST treadmill, by Proform, is a relatively inexpensive lightweight unit that can fold for storage or when you want it out of the way. Proform, having been around since the 1970s, makes home cardio equipment as its bread and butter line.
Proform sells elliptical machines, stationary bikes, rowing machines, and more. None are rated for commercial gym use, though you may spot one in an apartment complex gym or the like. Their products are durable, affordable, adjustable, and backed by a stellar customer service department that works hard to resolve any problems.
Interestingly, Proform holds at least 20 patents on its family of products. Some are for entire units that Proform designed. Others are for parts and systems–video screens, resistance mechanisms, treadmill decks (the part that forms the foundation for the running surface), and more. It means that Proform is constantly refining basic designs to make their machines more effective and user-friendly. That work ethic shows in the 505 CST. It may just be perfect for your home gym.
Some choice and variety in training programs
The treadmill is durable and does not break down easily
Controls are simple and intuitive, without an overwhelming number of options
Good shock absorption reduces fatigue and can increase the length of your workouts
Folding action is fast and easy, and machine is not too heavy to move with one person
Small non-flexing rollers create a lifelike ride with no jarring, little excess tension
The six-inch screen is lit from behind, to show distance/time/speed
Heart rate via grip sensor--not as accurate as chest strap integration
20 inch wide/55 inch long-running area will be cramped for those of us with long legs and stride
Handrails are stubs, not a full-frame; could limit mobility for taller users
Proform has won awards and been endorsed by Consumer Reports, one of the most trusted consumer product rating enterprises. Their products are used officially by both the Boston Marathon committee and Tour De France. Proform products and services don't disappoint, and we think you'll have a hard time finding many negative reviews of the company overall.
MODEL NUMBER: PFTL60910.1. Use the model number if you want to find the product on Amazon or another online retailer. That way you will know you are viewing the same treadmill you are reading about in our review. Amazon is notoriously confusing and we have had a hard time verifying products for review purposes before.
If you have an issue with the treadmill, including out of box failure or missing pieces, Proform advises that you call them directly instead of calling the store where you purchased the treadmill. There is both a phone number and a dedicated website for customer service.
Precautions include only using the treadmill indoors. It sounds like a no-brainer, but "outside" means in the garage, too. We suppose an air-conditioned and insulated garage would be okay, but the manual doesn't say for sure and it could be enough to void the warranty. Other precautions include keeping your hands and feet away from the run surface in motion, and not using aerosols or portable oxygen in the same room with the treadmill. This is most likely because the electrical components can spark and ignite an aerosol or oxygen tank. You should also always use a UL approved surge protector to plug the treadmill into the wall. The 505 will need 8 feet of clearance behind it, and 2 feet on each side. That's good information, considering you may not have that much space in your home gym area.
User weight capacity is 300 pounds. Proform warns upfront that the pulse sensor, located on the grip handles, is not completely accurate and should not replace medical advice. That warms your editor's hearts, safety nerds that we all are.
Your friend's job is to help you tip the unassembled treadmill over on its side, then flip it upright after you remove the shipping straps and install the feet and wheels. Once you have everything put together, the treadmill is quite easy to transport after folding.
Other assembly tasks include installing the uprights, handrails, and console assembly and frame. Assembly isn't exactly a breeze, but the written directions and illustrations provided by Proform seem straightforward and easy to follow. Wiring up the console is simple, with pin connectors and insulated wires.
You'll need an iFit module (sold separately) in order to use that feature. The iFit module is like a little flash drive that plugs into the console, which is a weird choice for any treadmill in 2019. Typically, similar programs run from inside the console and require a subscription. But once the module is plugged in, the 505 has access to the closest wireless network and you can use all the features of iFit.
The master power switch is on the floor near the front right of the unit, near the power cord. You can adjust the tension of the idler with bolts on the very back of the run platform, but we suggest not doing that if you aren't experienced working on exercise equipment. If there is a problem, Proform will usually be more than happy to assist. The platform is cushioned, and you can see the cushioning when you look at the side of the foundation. The cushioning contributes to the better than average shock absorption of the 505 CST.
When you use the console, you get 15 preprogrammed workouts. You can adjust the incline up to 10 percent and the speed up to 10 MPH, both from the console screen. If you choose to use the iFit module, the treadmill connects to your home wireless network for a greater range of workouts including the ability to program your own. iFit also lets you compete with other users around the world. Using iFit does cost extra money. An onboard stereo system makes it easy to play your music or listen to an audiobook while you work out. A key on a lanyard, hanging from the console, lets you use the treadmill in manual mode. This means no preprogrammed workouts, and you set your own resistance as desired.
The console gives you time, distance, workout distance, and the approximate number of calories burned during your session. You also read the incline level, speed, vertical feet you've climbed, and your heart rate (when you grip the handles).
The Final Word
We didn't give a ten because of the stubby handrails, short running surface, and limited speed and incline capabilities. Also, the fact that you technically need eight feet of rear clearance (this is from the manual) means the treadmill really isn't as compact as you'd think. Still, the Proform 505 CST treadmill is reliable and durable. It will deliver years of heart rate-increasing workouts, and it's hard to beat the convenience and value of having a machine like this in your home. Products like the 505 make it easier to integrate fitness into your daily life.