Best Treadmills For Home Use – Shape Junkie

Best Treadmills For Home Use

Best Treadmills For Home Use

If you want to get fit you need to be doing cardio. Weights will improve your anaerobic fitness and build muscle, but that’s only half the equation. There’s little point creating a lean, muscular body if your heart is about to give out!

When it comes to cardio, you simply cannot beat running. It is the most natural, effective and the fastest way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. When it comes to running, the treadmill workout is by far the most popular way to do it.

That’s why the treadmill is the most sold fitness machine on the planet, with more than $1 billion in sales in 2018. It’s hardly surprising, then, that there are a dizzying array of companies out there offering thousands of different models. Deciding which one is right for you is enough to make your head spin. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to home-use treadmills.

Consider this guide to be your roadmap to the ultimate treadmill for both your budget and your body. We review the top 10 treadmills across every price point. Then we provide you with the most comprehensive treadmill FAQ you are likely to find anywhere. Ok, let’s get up to speed on treadmills!

Product Name

Preview

Type and Our Rating

Buying Options

1. XTERRA Fitness TR150

XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

Best Cheap Treadmill

2. ncient Folding Electric Treadmill

Folding Electric Treadmill Incline Motorized Running Machine Smartphone APP Control for Home Gym Exercise (Functional Treadmill-Gray)

Best Mid-Range Treadmill

3. 3G Cardio Elite Runner

3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill

Best High-End Treadmill

4. Sole TT9

Sole TT9 Treadmill with 15 Incline Levels

Best Treadmill for Heavy People

5. Bowflex BXT116

Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill

Best Bowflex Treadmill

6. NordicTrack T 9.5 S

NordicTrack T 9.5 S Treadmill-  Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

Best NordicTrack Treadmill

7. SOLE F80

SOLE F80 Treadmill with Bluetooth Speakers

Best Sole Treadmill

8. Life Fitness F3

Life Fitness Folding Treadmill - F3 with Go Console

Best Life Fitness Treadmill

9. Precor TRM 425 Precision Series

Precor TRM 425 Precision Series Treadmill

Best Precor Treadmill

10. fitbill f.walk2

fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk Treadmill with Remote Controller and Workout App (Without Handrail)

Best Under Desk Treadmill

The Top 10 Treadmills Available Right Now

1. XTERRA Fitness TR150


XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

Best Cheap Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 63.4 in (L) x 28.75 in (W) x 51.4 in (H)
  • Running Surface: 16 x 50 inches
  • Max User Weight: 250 pounds
  • HP Motor: 2.25
  • Max Speed: 10 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / 12 Months Motor

PROS:

  • Fold Up
  • 12 Programs
  • XTRASOFT Cushioning
  • 3X Manual incline

CONS:

  • Not very fast
  • Narrow running belt
Features:
Large Console

The Exterra Fitness TR150 provides you with a 5-inch LCD console. It is user-friendly, easy to read and complete, providing you with running readouts of your time, speed, distance, calories, & pulse.

The console features pre-set speed keys that allow you to jump immediately to a pre-determined speed. This is very handy when doing HIIT style training.

XTRASOFT Cushioned Deck

The deck of the Exterra Fitness TR150 is fitted with Exterra’s patented EXTRASOFT cushioned underfoot technology. It provides you with multiple points of cushioning throughout the deck in order to deliver maximum impact absorption.

2.25 HP Motor

The Exterra Fitness TR150 provides you with a surprisingly powerful 2.25 HP motor, which is pretty impressive for this price range. It allows for a max speed of 10 miles per hour. While this will be limiting for fitter people who are after an intense interval workout, it will suit the requirements of most day to day users. The powerful motor helps to deliver a smooth, jerk-free, natural running belt motion.

Foldable

The Exterra Fitness TR150 folds up so that it can be stored vertically when not in use. The folded measurements are 28.5 x 28.75 x 61 inches.

3-Way Incline

This treadmill provides you with 3 levels of manual incline. This allows you to dramatically increase your training intensity and calorie burn.

What’s Not So Good

The 3-way incline on this machine is good. However, it is a manual and not an auto incline. This means that you will have to get off the treadmill in order to make the adjustment. The running belt is only 16 inches wide, which may be restrictive to people who are 6 feet or taller.

Summary:

The Exterra Fitness TR150 sits at the higher end of the budget treadmill category. It provides you with a number of features that you don’t normally find at this price range. This is a foldable treadmill that will fit into confined spaces. It is more solid than most budget foldable treadmills, looks great and is designed for longevity. The 2.25 CHP motor is impressive for a budget model, as is the cushion deck technology.

2. ncient Folding Electric Treadmill


Folding Electric Treadmill Incline Motorized Running Machine Smartphone APP Control for Home Gym Exercise (Functional Treadmill-Gray)

Best Mid-Range Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: in 59.1(L) x 45.7 in(W) x 26.0 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 15.7 x 47.2 inches
  • Max User Weight: 265 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.0
  • Max Speed: 9 MPH
  • Warranty: 10 Years Frame / 10 Years Motor

PROS:

  • 3.0 HP Motor
  • Large LCD Screen
  • Foldable
  • 4-Zone Damping System

CONS:

  • Max speed just 9 mph
  • No auto incline
  • Narrow running belt
Features:
Cushioning System

The ncient olding Electric Treadmill provides you with a four-zone damping system to provide a joint-friendly, smooth footstrike with every running step. The soft drop system will also help to ensure that the floor under your treadmill is not damaged.

Manual Incline

The Folding Electric Treadmill comes equipped with a manual incline to lift the running belt to a maximum angle of 5 degrees.

Easy Fold

This treadmill will fold up with the flip of a single lever. The design incorporates safety features to ensure that the folded treadmill will not accidentally come apart. The treadmill folds to the following dimensions: 55.1 x 25.6 x 20.9 inches.

Powerful Motor

The ncient olding Electric Treadmill is powered by a 3.0 HP motor to deliver plenty of power, along with a smooth, natural running experience. The maximum speed on this machine is 9 miles per hour.

Large LCD Display

This treadmill comes with a large, clear LCD display console. It provides you with displays of your Speed, Time, Distance, Calories, and Heart Rate. The heart rate monitor is wireless. There are also MP3 speakers built into the console.

What’s Not So Good

The Folding Electric Treadmill has a maximum speed of just 9 miles per hour. This is a little surprising considering that it has a 3HP motor, and will be too limiting for the fitter among us. The running belt width of 16.5 inches is also quite restrictive, especially if you are a taller person. There is also no auto incline feature on this treadmill.

Summary:

The ncient Folding Electric Treadmill from ncient is a foldable, reliable and steady mid-priced machine that provides you with a compact quality cardio workout.

3. 3G Cardio Elite Runner


3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill

Best High-End Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 84 in (L) x 33.5 in(W) x 58 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 62 inches
  • Max User Weight: 400 pounds
  • HP Motor: 4.0
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / Lifetime Motor

PROS:

  • One-Touch Incline
  • Soft Orthopedic Belt
  • Hi-Tech Console
  • Max Weight 400 pounds
  • Large Running Belt

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Display screens too small
  • Only 8 built-in programs
Features:
One-Touch Incline

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill provides you with an auto incline of up to 15 degrees. The incline function runs very smoothly. The adjustments go up in increments of one degree. This is a great feature which can dramatically boost your workout intensity.

Sizeable Running Belt

The running belt of the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill is 62 inches by 22 inches. This provides plenty of running space for even the tallest of people.

4.0 HP Motor

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill is powered by a 4.0 HP motor. This gives you a lot of power to allow you to get up to 12 miles per hour. Combined with the incline function, that provides you with an intensity potential that will meet the needs of even the fittest runner.

Solid Frame

The frame of the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill is made from fully metallic powder coated parts. This makes for an extremely rugged, sturdy machine that will withstand a lot of treatment. If you are planning on having numerous people using the treadmill every day, then this is the machine for you. It is the rugged frame construction that allows for a massive 400-pound max user weight.

Console

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill provides you with a high spec console that features 3 displays. The top display provides you with information about the percentage of incline, along with calories, calories per hour, time, speed, distance, pace and mets (a measure of how hard your body is working).

A second display lets you know what your working heart rate is, while the third one shows the adjusting incline and speed of the particular workout program you are using.

The console is large, attractive and user-friendly.

Pre-Set Workouts

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill comes with 8 pre-set workout programs. These are:

  • Fit Test
  • Fat burn
  • Aerobic
  • Manual
  • Course
  • Goal
  • Body index and custom

These programs will cover all of your training needs, but 8 is a little on the low side for a treadmill in this price bracket.

Large Rollers

The running belt on the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill is controlled by 3-inch rollers. This is larger than you would expect to find and provides a smoother, more natural running experience.

What’s Not So Good

This is an expensive treadmill. For the price, you would expect to get more entertainment features built into the console and larger display windows. The number of inbuilt workout programs is also a little on the low side.

Summary:

The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill is an impressive cardio workout machine that provides you with a powerful motor, plenty of exercise grunt, auto incline and a lot of features that impress. It’s great for those after a serious workout but if you’re more into slow, steady workouts while watching a TV show or Nextflix this may not be the model for you.

4. Sole TT9


Sole TT9 Treadmill with 15 Incline Levels

Best Treadmill for Heavy People

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 86 in (L) x 17 in(W) x 36 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
  • Max User Weight: 450 pounds
  • HP Motor: 4.0
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / Lifetime Motor

PROS:

  • Light Commercial
  • 4.0 CHP Motor
  • Power Incline
  • 10 Preset Workouts
  • Max User Weight 450 pounds

CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Does Not Fold
  • Expensive
Features:
10 Workout Programs

The Sole TT9 provides you with 10 inbuilt workout programs. Eight of these are pre-set with two that can be user created. You can quickly access the programs via the touch screen. The eight preset programs are:

  • Manual mode
  • Cardio
  • Fat Burn
  • Hill
  • Interval
  • Strength
  • Heart rate control 1
  • Heart rate control 2
Large Touchscreen

The Sole TT9 features a 10-inch touchscreen on the console. Bluetooth accessibility allows you to connect Web apps to allow you to transfer your training diagnostics to the Sole Fitness app. The console is clear and user-friendly.

Powerful Motor

The 4.0 HP motor that powers this treadmill allows for a max speed of 12 miles per hour. The motor operates quietly and delivers a smooth, natural operation.

Sturdy Frame

The frame on the Sole TT9 is extremely rugged, which is why it can handle a user weight of up to 450 pounds. This ensures that you will be getting a wobble-free workout, even at top speed. The sturdiness of the frame is attested to by the lifetime frame warranty that comes with this product.

Power Incline & Decline

The Sole TT9 provides you with a 15-level power incline and 6-level power decline. This is an impressive feature with controls on the handlebars to smoothly alter the incline. Auto inclines are also built into the preset workout programs.

Cushion Flex

Sole has incorporated their patented Cushion Flex technology into the running bed of this treadmill to ensure minimum impact and a smooth run. It does a great job of absorbing shock. By the way, it also does an effective job of absorbing noise to make it easy on those who share the house with you.

Large Running Surface

At 22 x 60 inches, the running deck on this treadmill provides plenty of room for the larger person to get a free arm swing when walking or running.

What’s Not So Good

The Sole TT9 is an extremely heavy treadmill at 397 pounds. If you are a person who moves frequently, this may not be the best model for you. It is also an expensive model and has a large footprint, with a length of 84 inches. That is about 20 inches longer than most other home-use treadmills.

Summary:

The Sole TT9 is the ideal treadmill for the heavy person who needs a reliable, high functioning treadmill. Cushion Flex ensures extremely low impact running and the power incline and decline is a standout feature. However, it is pretty pricey!

5. Bowflex BXT116


Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill

Best Bowflex Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: in 84.5 (L) x 38.5 in(W) x 54.7 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
  • Max User Weight: 375 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.75
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / 10 Years Motor

PROS:

  • 20-inch x 60-inch running belt
  • 12 mph Top Speed
  • Power Incline
  • 9 Workout Programs
  • Media Shelf
  • 375-pound max user weight

CONS:

  • Large Footprint
  • Not ideal for very large people
Features:
Console

The console on the Bowflex BXT116 provides you with a 7.5-inch full-color console. It comes with backlighting for ease of viewing. You also get Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to download your training info to the Bowflex Results app. You also have access to an infinite array of online programs.

The display features a unique Burn Rate Console which lets you know your caloric burn rate per minute.

Powerful Motor

The Bowflex BXT116 is powered by some hefty motors. The BXT116 gives you a 3.75 HP motor, while the BXT216 has a 4.0 CHP motor. The max speed on the BXT216 is 12 miles per hour.

Power Incline

The motorized incline on this treadmill provides auto incline up to 15 degrees.

3-Ply Running Belt

You would expect a treadmill in this price bracket to provide you either a one- or two-ply running belt, so to find one with three-ply is noteworthy. That extra layer of thickness goes a long toward reducing impact, while also making the running belt more durable, low maintenance and noise reducing.

Large Belt Rollers

The belt rollers on the Bowflex Results range are 2.75 inches in diameter. Again, this is more than you would expect at this price point, ensuring that the belt runs smoothly and that wear and tear are minimized.

Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring

The Bowflex Results series of treadmills are fitted with wireless heart rate monitoring. It even ships with a wireless heart rate strap. This provides you with a very accurate way to measure your training pulse.

What’s Not So Good

The Bowflex Results series of treadmills have a large footprint that may make it difficult to fit into confined spaces. It also may be a bit restrictive in terms of arm swing for people who are over 300 pounds.

Summary:

The Bowflex BXT116 Series of treadmills are very impressive. They pack plenty of power and lots of features that are not standard at this price point. This is a highly functional, durable and attractive series of treadmills brought to you by one of the most well-established players in the industry.

6. NordicTrack T 9.5 S


NordicTrack T 9.5 S Treadmill-  Includes 1-Year iFit Membership

Best NordicTrack Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: in 78.3 (L) x 35.75 in(W) x 56 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.75
  • Max Speed: 8 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / Lifetime Motor

PROS:

  • 50 workout programs
  • Large running belt
  • 12-degree incline
  • Max Speed 12 mph
  • Max User Capacity 300 pounds
  • Powerful Motor

CONS:

  • Hard to assemble
Features:
Powerful Motor

NordicTrack has a solid reputation for quality components and this comes to the fore when we take a look at the motor of the NordicTrack T Series. You get a 3.0+ CHP SMART Response Motor. This is an excellent motor that will give you great performance without any jitteriness or staggering.

2-Ply Tread belt

Most treadmills in the price range will provide you with a 1-ply tread belt but the NordicTrack gives you a 2-ply. That means that it delivers twice the strength of the opposition. You also get a lot more cushioning to reduce impact.

High Spec Belt Rollers

The running belt rollers on this treadmill series are 1.9-inch precision and balanced non-flex rollers. These rollers are used in commercial-grade treadmills. They are also non-balanced rollers to decrease the friction and ensure a longer belt life.

Quality Console

The console on this treadmill series provides you with a high definition 10-inch touchscreen. You also get a smart-phone compatible sound system. The console is also iFit ready, along with a self-adjusting fan and a water bottle holder.

What’s Not So Good

The NordicTrack T 9.5 S is quite difficult to put together. Even though the promotional material advertises that you get a 12-month iFit membership with your purchase, it appears that this is not actually the case.

Summary:

The NordicTrack T Series of treadmills are an entry-level line. They provide you with some impressive specs, including a very impressive motor, quality rollers, and an impressive console.

7. SOLE F80


SOLE F80 Treadmill with Bluetooth Speakers

Best Sole Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 86 in (L) x 17 in(W) x 38 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
  • Max User Weight: 375 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.5
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame / Lifetime Motor

PROS:

  • 3.5 CHP Motor
  • 22 x 60-inch running belt
  • CushionFlex
  • Reversible Deck
  • 9-inch LCD Display

CONS:

  • Short Siderails
Features:
Foldable

The Sole F80 folds for convenient storage. By simply flipping a switch, it automatically folds.

Motor

You get a 3.5 CHP motor with this treadmill. That gives it excellent long-distance capabilities for endurance trainers. The top speed is an impressive 12 mph.

Display

The console on the Sole F80 provides you with a 9-inch LCD display. All of your training data is tracked. In addition, you get a stable tablet holder. You also get heart rate monitoring by way of hand sensors. The console has built-in a capability for wireless heart rate monitoring. However, your purchase does not come with a wireless heart rate strap.

Bluetooth Compatibility

The Sole F80 Treadmill is Bluetooth compatible so that you can transfer your training data to your favorite training app. The console also features Bluetooth audio speakers and a USB charging port.

What’s Not So Good

The side rails on the Sole F80 Treadmill are lower than convenient. That means that you may have to stoop down while running if you need support when running.

Summary:

The Sole F80 provides you with a quality workout from a compact, folding treadmill, which is quite a rare thing. It’s got a powerful motor, an impressive top speed and a 350-pound max user weight, which speaks volumes about the stability of the machine.

8. Life Fitness F3


Life Fitness Folding Treadmill - F3 with Go Console

Best Life Fitness Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 78.5 in (L) x 34.5 in(W) x 58.5 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 20 x 55 inches
  • Max User Weight: 350 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.0
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame / 10 years motor

PROS:

  • FlexDeck Shock Absorbers
  • Customized console
  • Compact
  • Track Connect

CONS:

  • Large footprint
  • Short running track
Features:
Flex Deck Shock Absorber System

The F3 Folding treadmill from Life Fitness is equipped with their unique Flex Deck shock absorber system, which will reduce stress on the joints by as much as 30 percent. The custom-engineered Lifesprings deliver a consistently smooth-running experience.

Customized Console

You can keep your training experience fresh by choosing between the Go’ or ‘Track’ console. If you prefer you can even use the Life Fitness LF Connect website to create an unlimited number of workouts to keep you motivated.

Energy Saver Button

The Life Fitness F3 features an energy saver button which lowers energy consumption by 90 percent when the treadmill is plugged in but not in use. The machine also wakes up quickly from sleep mode so you can get right into your workout. A child safety latch also ensures that the kids won’t get into trouble with this machine.

Compact & Foldable

Space will never be an issue with the F3. The auto fold feature allows you to store the treadmill with the deck upright at the push of a button. Then, when you’re ready to train, the soft drop system gently lowers the deck down to the floor.

What’s Not So Good

The F3 running track is only 55 inches long, which will be constricting for people over 6 feet tall. Also, when it’s not folded, this treadmill has quite a large footprint.

Summary

The F3 Folding Treadmill requires a decent-sized footprint but folds up compactly. This is a solidly performing treadmill but the running belt is a little short.

9. Precor TRM 425 Precision Series


Precor TRM 425 Precision Series Treadmill

Best Precor Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 79 in (L) x 34 in(W) x 59.5 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 22 x 56 inches
  • Max User Weight: 350 pounds
  • HP Motor: 3.0
  • Max Speed: 12 MPH
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame / 10 years parts

PROS:

  • Incline / Decline
  • Reversible Deck
  • Wireless Heart Rate Strap

CONS:

  • Only 9 preset programs
  • Frame not overly solid
  • Expensive
Features:
3.0 HP CP Motor

The Precor TRM 425 provides you with a 3.0 continuous horsepower motor to deliver a steady, durable workout that allows for a max speed of 12 miles per hour.

Incline / Decline

The Precor TRM 425 provides you with the capability to adjust the angle of the running bed between -2 degrees and 15 degrees. This allows you to instantly adjust the intensity of your workout.

Reversible Deck

The running deck on this treadmill can be flipped over so that you are virtually doubling its life span. At 22 inches the running deck is also wider than normal.

What’s Not So Good

The Precor TRM 425 is an expensive treadmill. In this price range, you might expect more than nine built-in workout programs. The frame is nor overly solid and there is no built-in fan.

Summary:

The Precor TRM 425 is a high performing treadmill that will provide a consistent, smooth workout. However, it seems to be quite stingy in terms of features and it is not as solid as we would like.

10. fitbill f.walk2


fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk Treadmill with Remote Controller and Workout App (Without Handrail)

Best Under Desk Treadmill

Key Specs:

  • Dimensions: 62.5 in (L) x 27.5 in(W) x 6.2 in(H)
  • Running Surface: 18 x 47 inches
  • Max User Weight: 220 pounds
  • HP Motor: 1.0
  • Max Speed: 3.7 MPH
  • Warranty: 10 Years Frame / 2 Years Motor

PROS:

  • Solid Frame
  • Lightweight
  • Wheels
  • Heavy Duty Rubber Belt

CONS:

  • No Incline
  • Limited Speed
Features:
Solid Deck

The deck on the fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk treadmill has a solid steel frame surrounding it. It has a max user rating of 220 pounds, which is quite standard for an under-desk treadmill that lacks side rails.

Portable

The fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk treadmill is lightweight at 64 pounds. With the addition of transportation wheels, it is quite easy for most people to be able to move it. You can store the treadmill either vertically or horizontally.

Heavy-Duty Belt

The rubber belt on the fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk treadmill is 1.4mm thick. It provides a good level of traction and features several shock-absorbing features.

What’s Not So Good

There is no pulse monitoring function on this treadmill. The motor is just 1 HP, providing a max speed of 3.75 mph. Keep in mind, however, that under desk treadmills are designed for walking rather than running. There is also no incline feature on this treadmill.

Summary:

The fitbill f.Walk Smart Under Desk treadmill is a quality, no-frills under desk treadmill. It has high functionality and good shock absorption. However, such extras as incline ability and heart rate monitoring are absent on this one.

Treadmill Basics and Buying Guide

There are four key benefits of running on a treadmill:

  • Time Efficiency
  • Less Joint Impact
  • Less Environmental Stress
  • Data Collection

The treadmill can give you a reliable workout whenever you want it. It will allow you to do more work in less time and get faster results. With the hectic lifestyle that most people live, this is a huge benefit. Few types of cardio will allow you to burn as many calories as the treadmill, especially when you incorporate interval training workouts.

Modern treadmills are incredibly joint-friendly. It provides you with a shock-absorbing training surface right in your own home. Running on a treadmill also prevents you from excess sun exposure and environmental toxins. While running outside is important, a treadmill can provide you with an alternative so that you can balance out your exposure to environmental stress. A treadmill also negates the problems of weather and time of day.

The treadmill also allows for precise data collection, as well as the monitoring of achievements and goals. The feedback that you get from your treadmill is tremendously beneficial in allowing you to get the most out of your workouts.

The Different Types of Treadmills

Manual Treadmills

Manual treadmills are the simplest type as they do not feature a motor. Instead, they rely on your own forward momentum to drive the belt. They are very basic and provide few features. These devices are usually intended for walking as opposed to running as well as a variety of HIIT workouts. Even still, they produce an unnatural, stuttered movement that many find disconcerting.

In the absence of any type of monitor, many manuals treadmills are able to be folded up for ease of storage. 

Motorized Treadmills

Motorized treadmills are sturdier and more powerful than manual treadmills. They need to be plugged into a wall socket and feature a motor of varying horsepower to power the running belt. They are not designed to be stored away after use. Instead, they will take up permanent floor space in your home.

Motorized treadmills run the gamut from budget models with few features to those that cost many thousands of dollars include all the bells and whistles. Features that are common to mid-level models and higher are:

  • Adjustable incline
  • Screens which can play video
  • Training data collection and display
  • Speeds up to 12 miles per hour
  • Built-in workout programs
  • Variable resistance levels

Motorized treadmills will usually provide you with a cushioned running surface. They are made from solid materials that are able to take a daily beating.

Folding Treadmills

Folding treadmills are motorized units that allow you to fold up the running bed so that it can be stored in an upright position. The overall strength and quality of folding treadmills have improved dramatically over recent years. However, they are still not as durable as non-folding versions.

Look for a folding treadmill that is easy to fold up and down, has wheels for transport and still delivers a solid, stable running performance.

Under-desk Treadmills

An under-desk treadmill is simply a regular treadmill that has had the arm rails removed. This allows the treadmill to be slid under the desk so that the person can exercise while working. It is not designed for running and will usually only allow for a top speed of a couple of miles per hour.

There are quite a variety of types of under-desk treadmills. The major differences between models involve:

  • Shape
  • Size
  • Speed
  • Time Limit

Commercial Treadmills

Commercial treadmills are built to be used by dozens of people every day in gyms and personal training studios. They will generally provide more programs, more resistance levels and will be far more durable than home use models. You can expect a commercial treadmill to last for ten years or more.

Commercial treadmills are naturally much more expensive than home use models. However, many gyms lease their treadmills. This allows them to upgrade as needed. The returned treadmills are then sold off to home users at a considerable discount.

What’s the Best Type of Treadmill Workout?

The best type of treadmill workout is the one that will deliver the best results in the shortest amount of time – and with the minimum amount of impact on the joints. Traditionally treadmill exercisers have engaged in long, slow sessions of low intensity. However, a whole group of studies have been produced over recent years that have shown that higher intensity, shorter workouts burn more calories over the long term, making it a more effective method of fat loss. They also produce better cardiovascular benefits.

One of the most effective forms of high-intensity interval training is the BITE method. BITE stands for ‘Balanced Interval Training Experience.’ BITE training delivers a middle ground between sprinting and distance training. BITE is built around four key elements as follows:

  • Interval Training: This involves mathematically calculated bursts of running with variations in intensity.
  • Speed: The balanced speed concept uses the right speed to boost the other elements in a safe and effective way.
  • Incline: A scale is used to increase the intensity of the workout by adding hill work.
  • Recovery: This involves strategic rest periods between bursts of interval training.

The BITE method of training offers a balanced approach to treadmill training that reduces wear and tear and aches and pains while maximizing fat burn.

Treadmill FAQ:

How much should I spend on a Treadmill?

As with most things, you will end up with the quality of treadmill that you pay for. However, your first consideration should be what you intend to be using your treadmill for and how frequently you’ll be using it.

If you are a regular runner, you will be more likely to use it frequently and so will want to spend more to ensure durability. Beginning runners will probably want to look for a cheaper model. You also need to consider the features that are important to you and those that are not – why pay extra for a feature that you’re not going to use?

The first thing you should do when buying a treadmill is to go into a store and try one out. This will allow you to assess the most important factor – how stable and sturdy it is to run on. Even if you are going to buy online, you should go into a store to give it a test-run first.

A cheap treadmill doesn’t necessarily mean that it is cheaply made. If you don’t need a treadmill that goes over 10 miles per hour, don’t go for a machine that goes up to 12 or 15 mph, because you will be needlessly paying more.

You should also avoid being caught up with the fancy console or extra programs that a treadmill offers. Ask yourself how often you will actually use those pricey extra features.

If you and other members of your family will be using the treadmill every day, you should consider a commercial level treadmill.

What price ranges do treadmills typically fall into and what do you get?

Here are the price brackets and the features you can expect with each one.

Under $500

Treadmills that are priced under $500 are considered budget treadmills and will have cheaper construction, lower-end motors, and lackluster cushioning. They are not intended for homes with more than one user. These are your entry-level treadmills.

Under $1,000

Between $500 and $1,000, you will get better construction and materials, some features and multiple workout programs. This should be your starting point for treadmills if you have the budget.

Under $1,500

Between $1000 and $1,500, you can expect even better-quality construction, good warranties and lots of features. These treadmills are suitable for everyday use by more than one user.

Under $2,000

For between $1500 and $2000 you get very good construction and even longer warranties, along with many premium features including touch screen entertainment systems. You are going to get a quality long-lasting treadmill in this price range

Over $2,000

If you are willing to pay more than $2000, you can expect to be getting a top of the line commercial quality treadmill that can be used by multiple people on a daily basis, has top-notch construction, a long-term warranty and almost all the premium features you could ever want.

What programs/features should my treadmill have?

The programs and features that you need will be largely dependent upon your specific training goals, the regularity of use and the type of workout you intend doing. Here is a list of the key considerations:

  • Running/walking programs
  • Ability to sync to a heart rate monitor
  • App or streaming capability for workouts and tracking
  • Incline/Decline
  • Integrated touchscreen TV/Radio with speakers
  • Included workouts with a personal trainer (via streaming/WiFi on higher-end models)
  • What type of warranty does it come with?
  • How easy will it be to set up and does that cost extra?
  • Emergency stop button
  • Wider belt
  • Better Cushioning

In terms of training programs, more isn’t necessarily better. In fact, surveys reveal that people who exercise on treadmills that offer more than 20 different programs only ever end up using, on average, four of them. The most used, and useful, training programs to look out for are those that offer a Quick Start workout, along with a couple of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs and a long-distance undulating hill program.

Are there any treadmills for people over 400lbs?

Yes, you can find treadmills with a user capacity in excess of 400 pounds, but they are few and far between. Most treadmills top out at 300 pounds. The manufacturer who offers the biggest range in the 400 pound or over category is Sole Fitness.

The Sole F85 allows for a maximum user weight of 400 pounds.
The Sole TT9 allows for a maximum user weight of 450 pounds.

When buying a treadmill for a person who weighs over 300 pounds you should also look at the following features:

Wide Running Deck

A large person will need a wider running deck. You do not want to feel restricted or be forced to restrict your natural walking or running gait. You also must make sure that the running belt is long enough to accommodate your gait. We recommend going for a 60- inch plus running belt.

Heavy-Duty Frame

Even if the treadmill is rated for 400 pounds or above, you should still give it a test-run (or walk). It needs to feel solid, durable and reliable. If it doesn’t, give it a miss regardless of the max user rating.

Warranty

You will want to make sure that you are protected by a hefty warranty. Look for a machine that offers you a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor, up to seven years on parts and 12 months on labor.

Where am I going to put my treadmill and do I have enough space?

Your primary consideration in terms of treadmill placement is where is it going to be most likely to be used. After all, you do not want your investment in your health and fitness to become an expensive clothes horse!

If you are planning on engaging in long, slow cardio workouts, then your lounge may be the best place for your treadmill. If you, and the people who share your home, are comfortable with you exercising in front of them, then you will be able to watch TV while you are working out. You will want to ensure that your treadmill is quiet enough not to distract others.

If you are planning on doing high-intensity interval training then you will want to set up your treadmill in an area where you will be alone, whether it is your bedroom, the basement or dedicated gym space. This type of workout will make more noise than a long, slow type workout. If you do it in a common area you will drive your housemates crazy.

At the end of the day, your treadmill location will be dictated by the space available. If you have limited space, your best bet will be to invest in a foldable motorized treadmill that is designed to be folded vertically for storage when not in use. These can be placed under a bed or in a cupboard. There are many quality modes across a range of price points.

What kind of treadmill motor do I need?

The motor is the powerhouse of your treadmill. You can have all the bells and whistles but if the motor is not up to par, you are going to be disappointed. A sub-par motor will overheat and cause all sorts of repair issues. The power output of a treadmill motor is measured in horsepower (HP). They come in three different rating systems as follows:

  • Peak Duty – these are the weakest type, with ‘peak’ referring to the max HP that the treadmill will achieve.
  • Treadmill Duty – this is a medium-strength motor.
  • Continuous Duty – this is the highest strength motor with the HP referring to the average that is maintained throughout a typical session.

The HP is not the only consideration. Cheaper treadmills will have motors that are made from less durable parts. For the most reliable treadmill motors, you should look to be paying above $1000.

The type of workout you will be doing will determine the amount of horsepower you require. Here is a guideline:

  • If you will be walking you can get away with a 2.0 HP continuous motor.
  • If you will be jogging, look for a 2.5 HP continuous motor.
  • If you will be running, go for a 3.0 HP continuous motor.

Your bodyweight will also affect the strength of the motor required. If you weight more than 200 pounds, you will want a minimum of a 2.5 HP motor, even if you will only be walking on the machine. Joggers at this weight will want a 3.0 HP with runners requiring a 3.5 HP motor.

A final consideration regarding the motor is to do with the noise level. Motors that run off direct current (DC) will be quieter than those that use alternating current (AC). This may be an important factor if you decide to place the treadmill in a communal living space.

Is Treadmill cushioning an important buying consideration?

Yes, the cushioning of your treadmill is extremely important. It will dictate the level of shock absorption and impact on your joints. When you compare it to running on the road, a treadmill can save you between 15 and 40 percent joint impact.

Cheaper treadmills will use spring cushioning. This produces a springy result, which actually magnifies the jarring impact of every landing step. We do not recommend buying a treadmill that uses spring cushioning.

More expensive treadmills will provide you with adjustable cushioning, allowing you to adjust according to the type of workout you will be doing. They also provide you with a firmer base when you push off and more cushioning when your foot lands.

Look for a running belt which is between ¾ and 1 inch thick that runs over a wooden base. The running deck is fitted on elastomer rubber grommets that sit on top of the steel frame. The best treadmill cushioning will come with what are known as variable durometer elastomer grommets.

What belt size do you need?

The size of the belt is very important. If it is too restrictive you will find that your natural running gait is restricted. People who are more than six feet in height will need a belt that is 60 inches long. People who are under six feet, a 55-inch running belt length will suffice. If you are under six feet and are planning to walk only on the treadmill, you will be able to get away with a 50-inch treadmill running bed.

In terms of the width of the treadmill, you need to ensure that it is sufficient to allow for natural arm movement without banging into the side rails. The width usually increases with the length. As a general rule, however, you should look for a running belt that is at least 20 inches wide.

How fast does my treadmill need to go?

People who are avid runners will want a treadmill that will go up to at least 10 miles per hour. Those who will be doing some version of a HIIT program, such as Tabata training will want to be able to go as high as 12-15 miles per hour for short 20-30 second sprints, depending on their fitness level.

What other things should I consider when buying a treadmill?

  • Your treadmill should also be stable if you are on the heavier side, which many budget treadmills fall short on.
  • Make sure that the control panel is within easy reach and intuitive – nothing is worse than trying to change your workout program while running and accidentally stopping the treadmill.
  • Check the maximum weight rating, especially on budget treadmills as you do not want to go over the limit.
  • Decide ahead of time if you will use auto incline. This intensifies the workout and ups the calorie burn. Most inclines offer between 5 and 20 percent incline. The most expensive models will provide up to 40 percent incline.
  • Look for a heart rate monitor that provides you with an accurate reading. Hand rail-based monitors are notoriously unreliable. Ideally, you should go with a treadmill that comes with the technology to pair with a chest-worn wireless pulse monitoring strap. The top of the line computers will even provide you with a chest strap.
  • Nice to have but by means necessary are entertainment extras such as a tablet monitor, reading rack, USB port, speakers and MP3 port.
  • For extra comfort check whether your computer includes a water bottle holder that is easily reachable, a built-in fan, and on/off underfoot cushioning control.
  • Look for a treadmill with built-in safety features. Here what to look for – a quick stop safety key, hidden power switches, auto shut off pressure sensors, tight belt tension.
  • A final important consideration is the warranty of the treadmill. You can generally expect to be offered a lifetime warranty on the frame if you are paying over a thousand dollars for your machine. In terms of parts and electronics, do not buy a treadmill that offers less than a 12-month warranty.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we have gone in-depth to provide you with a complete breakdown of everything you need to know in order to make a confident home treadmill buying decision. We’ve identified the top treadmills at every single price point as well as the best of the best from the top manufacturers in the market. We’ve also given you the inside knowledge that you need to make sure that you’re getting the right machine for your body and your goals. So, are you ready to get your cardio on?

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