I wasn’t going to respond to this thread, but I used my treadmill this morning and thought I’d report in as a female runner. I put a lot of miles on my treadmill. The only clothes I hang on it are sweat-saturated sport bras.
I’m currently on a Nordictrack E4400, which was probably $1200 or so. Before that I had an incredibly cheap Keys (maybe $600). The Keys, for being as cheap as it was, was a great treadmill. Maybe it was a discontinued model, or something, and the price was low for that reason. I don’t know. I used it for maybe 3 years. It was decently sturdy, nothing like the cheesy Proforms I see at Sears and Dick’s. We replaced the Keys because its deck was too small for my husband to use (he’s 6’, around 200 pounds). The Nordictrack has a long deck, particularly given its relatively low cost.
Still, I probably won’t buy another Nordictrack. I’ve had to have it serviced twice in the first three years. A mylar sheet that covers the deck got damaged. The second time they replaced the whole deck (under warranty). In both cases, my husband had been running on it right before the mylar went bad. He doesn’t run on it anymore. We’ll see what happens over the next couple of years. If it keeps needing service, I’ll ditch it when I hit the five-year mark.
I’ve used all sorts of commercial treadmills, including a Life Fitness recently. It was nice, of course, but honestly at my size it doesn’t make a significant difference. Which is what motivated me to post. If it’s just your wife running (and she’s not huge) you can get by with quite a bit less treadmill than the guys above are recommending. Especially given that you don’t know yet if she’s going to be dedicated.
If you’re going to be on it, too, I’ll agree with the previous posters that it’s best to spend more.