- Best Treadmill Overall
- Best Gym-Quality Treadmill
- Best Budget Treadmill
- Best Manual Treadmill
Shopping for a treadmill can be a slow process given the variety of machines available through different manufacturers with a range of features at different price points. Depending on what you want out of your machine and workout, you may be able to get by with an inexpensive manual treadmill. Conversely, you may require need a top of the line, machine equipped with the latest high tech features. Knowing the differences between the various available treadmills is really an asset when making such a big, and possibly expensive, decision. Fortunately, we’ve drafted a helpful treadmill buyer’s guide below which lays out all the essentials you need to know.
Best Treadmill Overall:
Like most people, you’re probably looking for a treadmill that will meet your needs without tearing a hole in your wallet. Unfortunately treadmills with those qualifications are few and far between, but there are a select few offering everything you want at a reasonable price. The best treadmills overall on this list meet this criteria because they’re relatively budget friendly for a middle class income. They also offer the features one would expect from a treadmill like cooling fans and audio speakers, as well as equipped with programming options to challenge even the most seasoned runner.
The Epic A42 has everything you could want from a treadmill plus a little bit more. Not only does it come with every standard feature that you would expect, it has a few extras like rear motion sensors that would make a gym model blush. This treadmill takes some liberties in design as well making it one of the most aesthetically pleasing treadmills available. Read Full Review
Precor makes the treadmill decision easy thanks to the TRM 445 with its 23 preset workouts and ability to memorize up to 4 users routines. Precor built it with the same parts and quality as with their commercial models making it one of the most durable home machines out there. The console is not only easy to use with impressive speed and elevation control buttons, but it’s also simply beautiful to look at. Read Full Review
The Sole F85 is an easy choice because of its bullet proof frame and runner-centric design which includes an up to 15 percent incline. It is a little short on preset programs but makes up for it with a helpful message board and a beautifully, easy-to-read screen. The F85 is also a great space saver with a deck that folds up when you’re not using it. Read Full Review
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It is hard to put a price on fitness, but Nordic Track beats out all of its competitors when it comes to this treadmill. Incline and decline are more than twice the range of competitors in both directions. To round out the amazing capabilities of this device, Nordic Track offers a 10 inch tablet console with web connectivity. Read Full Review
The True PS100 won’t win any awards for originality but sites like Treadmill Doctor will tell you it’s the best in its class. This treadmill offers gym-quality parts and robotic construction for a durable, perfectly made frame. The 7 inch console screen displays all you need without any extra distractions and it’s very easy to navigate. Read Full Review
Best Gym-Quality Treadmill:
Treadmills have a lot of working parts, any of which can break down at any time. If you are looking at stocking a gym or just really picky with deep pockets, you want to make sure you get a treadmill with parts that won’t break down. These best gym quality treadmills are built to accommodate all shapes and sizes of user while being packed full of every luxury imaginable.
There are plenty of treadmills made for gyms, but these treadmills made our list because of solid construction with durable materials, advanced console screens with multiple programming options, and a large deck space with impact cushioning protection.
The Precor TRM 885 is the elite of the elite with its 400 pound weight capacity, multiple ply belt, and flappable deck. It has 28 preset programs offering cardio and muscle building options on a beautifully oversized console screen. A magnetic automatic stopping clip and Ground Effect Impact Control System make sure you're safe and healthy during and after your workout. Read Full Review
Life Fitness has gone above and beyond with this impressive treadmill that blows others models away. The console can access the internet along with some pretty cool preset features. A large running space and upper levels of speed and incline complete this impressive offering by Life Fitness. Read Full Review
The Sole TT8 may not technically be considered a commercial treadmill, but it is better constructed than half of the commercial treadmills out there. It offers all of the extra features that you would expect from a treadmill of this quality along with a handful of safety features and multiple heart rate monitoring options. The console on this machine is also noteworthy because of its large size and ease of use; you can even control speed and incline from the hand rails. Read Full Review
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If you’re a serious runner or operate a gym for serious runners, this is the machine for you thanks to multiple marathon programs and HD street view videos. It manages a nice balance between the comfort you want with an indoor treadmill and the experience you get running outside. Read Full Review
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The Landice L9 is obviously meant for the gym with the choice of four different consoles to best match individual or facility needs. It is manufactured with quality materials like high grade aluminum and a belt twice as thick as Landice’s competitor’s belts. Though lacking in some areas like speed and programs, this gym quality treadmill is guaranteed to last a lifetime. Read Full Review
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Best Budget Treadmill:
As one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment ever invented, there are literally thousands of treadmills available at any given time. Each of these treadmills has their own distinguishing features, some which we expect and others that seem silly even on a gym quality treadmill. For the average home owner, a gym level model is unnecessary and priced way out of reach, even high end home models are usually outside of the average household’s budget.
Sifting through all of the treadmills out there can be torture so we’ve narrowed it down to the five best treadmills you can get on a budget. They’re the best because of the amount of preset programs they come with, folding designs for saving space, cushioning for joint support, and the size/ease of use of the console for easy, in-stride menu navigation.
When it comes to budget treadmills you won’t find one quite like this because it pretty much has everything. It runs at speeds you would expect from a more expensive model, has an equal or higher incline than most, and is preset with more workouts that most luxury models. On top of all of that, it’s packed with extra features more like a gym machine than a budget home model. Read Full Review
The Merit Fitness 725t-Plus is the perfect example of a budget friendly treadmill, offering everything you need and a little bit of what you want at a price to fit most budgets. Speed is easy to control the up to 10 MPH and up to a 10 percent incline with the push of a button. The screen itself beats out many of this treadmill’s competitors because of dual windows allowing you to keep track of two tasks at once. Read Full Review
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The Sole F60 offers high quality features like speakers and fans at budget pricing. The belt is surprisingly versatile with high speeds, multiple incline levels, and joint protecting cushioning. The high tech console comes with 10 built in programs to keep your workouts fresh and challenging. Read Full Review
ProForm is dedicated to quality no matter what the price point. They offer uncharacteristic features for budget machines like iFit technology and a top speed of 12 MPH. The 600C offers a solid design with a large 20 by 60 belt, but also saves space with its folding belt that minimizes the footprint. Read Full Review
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NordicTrack offers this machine at a price much lower than what you’d expect from a seemingly gym caliber machine. It has everything you need like high speeds and a fair incline as well as the extras you want like heart rate monitor and iFit compatibility. The real X-factor for this machine is the decades of industry experience NordicTrack has over their competitors. Read Full Review
Best Manual Treadmill:
Treadmills are a staple in every gym in the world and they’re first thing you think about when indoor cardio gets brought up. Being as popular as they are, there’s hundreds of treadmill manufacturers and thousands of options on the market and not all of them are equal. Treadmills vary in quality to function, and those with all of the bells and whistles can cost an eye popping amount of money. On the other end of the spectrum are manual treadmills which are basic in almost every way but typically offered at budget friendly prices.
The treadmills on this list were chosen as the best because they’re inexpensive without being poor quality, space saving due to small footprints and folding designs, and offer features you wouldn’t expect with the simplest of treadmills like heart rate monitors, safety strips, and magnetic resistance.
The Cory Everson manual folding treadmill is somewhat of an anomaly in the fitness industry because of its low price and offerings going above and beyond other treadmills in its class. It makes the basic console more appealing by making it larger and expanding its capability to include heart rate. The only area this treadmill lacks in is the inability to increase resistance which is easily remedied by multiple incline settings. Read Full Review
You can’t beat the quality for the price this treadmill is offered at. There may be a few things which Stamina could have done better but at this price you can’t complain. Even at a discount this treadmill offers a smooth belt and adjustable base. Read Full Review
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The Avari manual treadmill is as about as budget friendly as you get. It offers multiple levels of resistance and inclines which is still pretty rare in a manual treadmill. It’s also perfect for storage with a fold and lock design to be stored quickly and safely. Read Full Review
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It is easy to put the 09510P Easy Up on the list because of all of its impressive features, like a dual water bottle holder. It may not have magnetic resistance but it has a large flywheel to keep your belt going and offer your personal perfect speed for walking or jogging. Unlike other folding treadmills which use a flip lock system for folding, this treadmill uses a pull pin for maximum peace of mind. Read Full Review
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Sunny Health and Fitness is not going to wow you with a whole bunch of gadgets and add-ons. Their goal with this machine was to make a safe machine perfect for aging and special needs individuals who want to stay fit. The fact its basic allows this treadmill to be an inexpensive option perfect for fixed budgets. Read Full Review
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Treadmill Buyer's Guide
Deciding which treadmill is right for you shouldn’t be taken lightly given the range of choices on the market. With so much competition among manufacturers, you may find the price point or added perks of a certain machine are what sets it apart from other available options. Your primary considerations should include assessing the amount of space a machine uses or safely it’s constructed. Also take a look at the type of console a machine has; whether it’s simple readout to an WiFi-enabled tablet, you want something which compliments your particular workout style. Of course your experience wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t get few extra features to seal the deal such as cooling fans, utility trays, and audio speakers.
Track size counts for both length and width, but length is a bigger defining factor. If you’re a tall person or have a particularly long stride length, ensure sure your track is long enough because otherwise you could end up stepping right off the back of your treadmill resulting in serious injury.
Always check a machines weight capacity to make sure a particular machine can support your weight. With most machines the average person really doesn’t have much to worry about considering even the flimsiest of treadmills can support over 250 pounds.
Figure out where your treadmill will go and then take measurements to make sure it will fit the space. Decks can be more than a foot further out than the track, so ensure you have clearance. Some treadmills come with the option of a folding deck which we’ll discuss in detail below.
Modern treadmills aren’t like the old-school options where every time your foot hit the track it was jarring experience. Today’s options come with varying degrees of cushioning under the belt which protect your joints and your treadmill. If your budget permits, look to treadmills which feature adjustable cushioning to compliment different exercise programs.
Not all treadmills offer an incline, but you should definitely look for one that does. Inclines works by raising the deck, adding to the overall resistance of your treadmill workout; this feature adds years worth of usability to any machine. While high-end models have programs which automatically adjust the incline, you can find cheaper treadmills offering at least two manual incline levels.
A folding treadmill deck is great for saving space in smaller rooms and commonly found lower to mid-level models. With premium home models and gym-grade treadmills you’re less likely to see this option.
Motors can vary a lot depending on the size and of the treadmill and the speed requirements. Most treadmill motors range between .5 and 3 horsepower with the former being a basic motorized model and the latter found on higher end models. More horsepower means a faster treadmill as well as less wear and tear on the motor when it’s operating at high speeds.
You need a track motor for your treadmill to work, but an incline motor is the one that puts in the real work. Treadmills which provide automatic incline offer a wide range of workout options but this also places a lot of stress on a motor since it’s the combines weight of the deck and user. While are many benefits to owning a treadmill with an incline motor but it also increases the cost of ownership.
Even if you own a manual treadmill it will come with a simple console which provides the most basic features including the time, distance ran, and calories burned. These consoles are usually battery operated with only a few buttons to control functions.
More advanced consoles can do everything a simple console does and much more. These LED consoles provide all the key exercise metrics you need as well as pre-programmed workouts. LED consoles will almost always include a USB port for plugging in your smartphone, MP3 player, or other personal electronic device.
Tablets offer all the functions of a simple/LED console along with so much more. Besides setting workouts and monitoring your progress, high-end tablet displays offer laptop functionality allowing online access, watch movies or TV series, or tune into your favorite streaming radio station. Make sure you're comfortable with this technology or you may be overwhelmed by all the options.
Almost every motorized treadmill has a magnetic or Velcro safety clip that will automatically kill the motor if it becomes detached from the treadmill. Some mid to higher level models also pause the second you step off the treadmill which is great for a bathroom break but even greater for a safe restart of your workout. This is an essential feature so avoid options which don’t include this feature.
Who hasn’t tripped once or twice on a treadmill? The hand bars are there for exactly that reason, providing a place to catch a hold of if you trip; they’re also a great place to lean when you start getting tired. Taller individuals will want to measure the hand bars to make sure they extend far enough out for grabbing onto.
Any treadmill worth its weight will have a utility tray on it. Tray designs vary from one treadmill to the other but at the very least it should have a water bottle holder and space for placing things like your keys, smartphone, or MP3 player.
Audio speakers typically come standard with mid-level to higher end machines; they allow you to listen to music, online radio, podcasts without the need for headphones. Fans obviously keep you cool so you can work out longer but they can be a hit or miss performance-wise depending on the manufacturer.
There's a lot of moving parts on a treadmill and so look for a comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty to cover them for as long as possible. The best warranties out there have a lifetime on the frame and at least five years on the console. A treadmill is a big investment which you want to protect so beware any options which have weak or non-existent warranties.