The best treadmills make you want to go for a run even when it’s cold outside, you’re tired or simply not in the mood to exercise. That’s the beauty of a home running machine – you don’t need childcare, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, and you can easily fit a workout around your schedule.
Running on a treadmill is an awesome cardiovascular exercise that strengthens the body’s circulatory system (the heart and blood vessels). It doesn’t require a commute, all fitness levels can do it and it could even help blast belly fat, according to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study.
Personal trainer Lucy Arnold, founder of activewear brand Lucy Locket Loves, told Live Science: “Treadmills are so popular these days especially in the winter months when the dreaded snow and ice hit, or for those days when you just can’t leave the house – childcare, pet care, short on time? Treadmill day it is!”
Plus, treadmills are great for getting strong, toned legs as they work the lower body, particularly the calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. Lucy says: “Depending on the type of treadmill you have, you can set an incline and work those muscles even harder.”
NordicTrack Commercial 2950
Our top-rated treadmill packs in all the features you need to improve your running performance.
The NordicTrack Commercial 2950 scores 4.8 out of five stars on NordicTrack. Positive reviews said the treadmill was “sturdy, smooth and chock full of features”. One reviewer praised the “ginormous” screen and said the list of online classes was “almost overwhelming”.
If you’re after a home running machine that delivers on design, functionality and performance, add the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 treadmill to your wish list right now. Just make sure you’ve got room for this beast of a machine as it has a 201” x 99” x 170” footprint.
This is a gym-quality treadmill that pulls out all the stops and offers a premium running experience. It comes with an awesome incline and decline range, quiet 4.25 HCP motor and shock absorbing cushioning system to protect joints and bones.
The 22” HD touchscreen is a standout feature – with crisp graphics, easy to use features and a wealth of online content via the iFit app (30 days free trial with your purchase), you will never get bored of all the workouts on offer. Choose from 40 pre-programmed workouts, daily live classes or work your way through over 16,000 on-demand ones to get the most out of this high-end treadmill. It stood out as a clear winner in our testing, although a machine of this quality doesn’t come cheap and will take up quite a bit of room in your home.
- Read our full NordicTrack Commercial 2950 review
The Peloton Tread model has a sleek, pared-back design and offers some seriously high-energy classes.
The Peloton Tread scores 4.2 out of five stars on Peloton. Positive reviews praise the choice of workouts, as well as off-treadmill classes, guided runs and the motivational Peloton instructors. Negative reviews wished for a steeper incline option to make workouts more challenging.
The Peloton Tread is a sleek and well-made treadmill that offers a satisfying running experience for all fitness abilities. It comes in Peloton’s signature black and red colors and has a striking minimalist design. We particularly liked the machine’s fuss-free touchscreen, which is easy to navigate.
Speed and incline dials are positioned on the handrails, so there is really very little to distract you from that shiny display. It doesn’t have any kind of base at the front of the tread, so you can run along its full length—useful if you have a particularly long stride.
The machine doesn’t have quite as many features as we’d like to see at this price point, as it’s lacking a decline option or in-built fan, both of which you can find in the slightly cheaper NordicTrack model above. You will also need a Peloton app subscription to access those famous virtual classes. All of that aside, it is a satisfyingly compact, stylish and quiet machine for runners of all ability.
- Read our full Peloton Tread review
ProForm 900 treadmill
An marginally more affordable option that’s brilliant for hill training.
Unfortunately there aren’t many reviews available for the ProForm 900, as the ProForm 9000 has succeeded it. One happy reviewer on the ProForm website said: “I live in a very remote part of Nevada and this treadmill saved my life. The Google Maps as well as just the simple fact that I can continue to be “active” during the snowy months.”
The ProForm 900 treadmill has a durable, foldable design with an adequate belt size and wealth of workouts to challenge you. Coming in at $1999 – plus $39 a month for an iFit subscription to access live and on-demand classes – it’s a decent running machine at a (relatively) affordable price.
The 3.0 CHP commercial DC motor comes with an internal cooling system to reduce vibration, wear and tear and noise levels, and that is one of the highlights of this treadmill. It’s fairly quiet even when running at full speed on an incline or decline. You can get up to 12mph, which is more than adequate for most runners.
The running area is slightly shorter than you might expect from a treadmill at this price point, but this won’t affect most runners up to 6ft. Any taller and you might find it difficult to get into your natural running stride without worrying about tripping.
- Read our full ProForm Premier 900 review
ProForm Pro 2000 Smart
Cheaper than all of the above, the ProForm 2000 Smart will suit most indoor runners.
The ProForm 2000 treadmill gets 4.3 out of five stars on Best Buy. Positive reviews said the treadmill is very intuitive with minimal noise when using the incline/decline. Negative reviews cite issues with carrying the treadmill into their home, as it is heavy and they had some difficulty assembling it.
The ProForm 2000 treadmill is cheaper than the Peloton Tread but has a lot of similar features. It’s easy to use, has a huge choice of workouts via the paid-for iFit app and delivers on design and performance.
We love that this treadmill has incline and decline options, it’s super quiet and you can fold it up and store it out of the way. While the 10” touchscreen could be bigger, the console is streamlined with most of the buttons hidden within the display.
It also comes with shock absorbing ReBoundPro cushioning to protect joints and the iFit’s live and on-demand classes make this running machine one of the best on the market, and well worth the money.
Sole Fitness F80
In-built cushioning makes this machine ideal for long distance runners.
The Sole Fitness F80 gets 3.8 out of five stars on Amazon, with 38 per cent giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise the sturdiness of the machine and extra weight capacity, as well as it being easy to assemble and use. Negative reviews commented that they wished the fan system on this treadmill was more extensive.
The Sole Fitness F80 is solid treadmill with commercial-grade components that is well made and sturdy enough for all types of running. It’s especially good for long distance running, interval and hill training thanks to its Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, which promises to minimize joint impact up to 40% (compared with road runs), as well as its 15% incline.
It has a 9” LCD display and a large 22” x 60” running surface and we love how quiet the treadmill is even at high speed. It has a springy and soft belt and is easy to fold away despite the extra length. Its higher than average weight capacity makes it a good choice for heavier individuals.
It doesn’t have a decline option and is slightly lacking in the high tech virtual classes we have come to expect from modern treadmills – it just has 10 pre-programmed workouts – but it comes with Bluetooth connectivity to use with the Sole Fitness app, which syncs with FitBit, Apple Health and other fitness apps.
NordicTrack T Series 6.5S
This starter treadmill is great for those who want to use their machine for walking.
The NordicTrack T 6.5S gets 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon, with 73 per cent giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise the treadmill for being well made and sturdy. One reviewer said: “It doesn’t shake when I run and is easily portable.” Negative reviews cited issues with the belt slowing down after regular use, and it being a noisy machine.
The NordicTrack T 6.5S is a starter treadmill ideal for power walking or jogging (because of its small 2.6 CHP motor, 55” track and automated incline up to 10%). It’s worth mentioning that this model has been discontinued and replaced by the T 6.5 Si, but you can still buy it on Amazon.
It comes with 20 pre-programmed workouts – more if you subscribe to the iFit app, which opens an array of live and on-demand virtual classes (you get 30 days free iFit membership with your purchase).
The treadmill comes with a small 5” LCD screen, shock absorbers and a high weight capacity of 300 pounds, making it a good choice for heavier people. It’s a little on the noisy side, and doesn’t come with a fan but as it’s only really good for light exercise like power walking or gentle jogging this may not be an issue. We like the intuitive one-touch controls and the EasyLift hydraulics that do the hard work to get the treadmill folded away.
Horizon Fitness T101
Our favorite budget option, this model is fairly quiet and comes with an in-built fan.
The Horizon Fitness T101 treadmill scores 3.2 out of five stars on Amazon, with 33 percent giving it 5 out of 5. Fans of the running machine praised it for being good value, quiet, sturdy and comfortable. One reviewer liked its no-frills design: “For walking or running, it just works. Nothing fancy; does the job great.” Negative reviews complained that the fan was “useless” and you can’t adjust its position and that the heart rate monitor was inaccurate.
The Horizon Fitness T101 is a budget-friendly entry-level treadmill ideal for anyone new to fitness who wants to build up strength and endurance slowly. It has a rather small 2.5 HP motor so is probably better suited to smaller users, walking and light jogging, but on the plus side it’s super quiet – just 56 decibels (dB) at 5mph, about the same as an electric toothbrush.
We love that despite its low price tag it has a 10% incline, which is more than enough to work up a sweat and it’s compact and it’s foldable, so you can store it away when you’re not using it. It comes with a decent Bluetooth speaker system, inbuilt workouts and lifetime warranty on the frame and motor (1 year on parts and labor). It has an 8” step up height which makes it easy to get on and off especially for people with joint issues.
Our main complaints are that the tread belt is not long enough for tall people, and it’s not recommended for heavier individuals, people who want to run long distances or do interval training. It also doesn’t have an inbuilt screen or access to live or on-demand classes. It comes with shock absorbers, but we found the deck wasn’t super thick.
This space-saving model is great for anyone who needs something compact for their living space.
The Echelon Stride scores 3.6 out of five stars on Best Buy, with only two reviewers giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews said the treadmill was very easy to set up, quiet and compact. However, negative reviews complain it’s overpriced and the deck is quite hard. One reviewer said: “This is just one step above walking on pavement. I’ve owned $1200 treadmills with great suspension and soft decks so it’s a bit frustrating it’s like this for the price.”
The Echelon Stride is a compact and foldable treadmill, which is ideal for people short on space. It measures 69.3” x 31” x 10.25” when folded and can even fit under a bed (if you have 11 inches of height to spare).
As with all Echelon products, to access the virtual classes you need to subscribe to the Echelon Fit app ($26.45pm for two years). These are Peloton-style workouts that have motivating and engaging instructors and tons of variety to challenge you.
The Echelon Stride doesn’t come with an in-built touchscreen but it has a touch console with key metrics including speed, distance, steps and heart rate. It also has pulse monitors. The running deck is slightly shorter than average, but if you’re under 6ft it’s adequate enough. The treadmill also lacks a bit of oomph thanks to the small 1.75 HP motor, but this makes it a quiet machine – also useful for those living in apartment blocks.
Featuring Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney Plus integration, this is a good option for those who like to be entertained while they run.
The Bowflex 22 scores 3.5 stars out of five on Amazon, with 45% giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise it for its large rollers, quiet operation and sturdy construction. Negative reviews complained that streaming apps like Netflix and Disney Plus were locked behind a JRNY app pay wall. Other reviews said the touchscreen was too high and not adjustable.
The Bowflex 22 treadmill is a sturdy beast of a machine with a price tag to match. You have to sign up to 12 months of Bowflex’s JRNY app to access content, which is quite a lot to as for upfront, but it’s worth it to make the most of this high-end, gym-style running machine.
It comes with a bright 22” HD touchscreen, which is perfect for the instructor-led classes, doing scenic runs and even watching Netflix or Disney Plus (subscription needed). There are no live classes, but enough on-demand workouts to keep you busy.
Despite being huge, the entire treadmill folds with Bowflex’s ‘soft drop system’. This is a really solid, high performing running machine that will last for years – if you’ve got the space for it.
Easy to fold up and store, this smaller machine is very compact but probably best-suited to people under 6ft.
The Lifespan TR3000i gets lots of five star reviews on Lifespan with fans praising it for its excellent cushioning, perfect size and easy assembly. Negative reviews cited issues with it being very heavy, and that the display doesn’t show pace. One reviewer said: “The console is pretty simple and doesn’t have an overabundance of features.”
The Lifespan TR3000i is a budget-friendly, space saving machine with a quiet 2.75 CHP motor. It has EZfold technology, which makes it, you guessed it, easy to fold up and store away. It comes with a good range of pre-programmed workouts and a 15% incline.
A total of eight shock absorbers help cushion bones and joints from the impact of running, and you can measure your heart rate through the pulse grip and wireless chest strap (not included). Handlebar controls make it easy to change speed and incline mid-run and you can enjoy your playlists by connecting your iPod, MP3 or other smart devices.
It doesn’t have a touchscreen but the LCD display provides all the key metrics from distance, steps, calories, speed, incline and heart rate. It also has an ‘intelli guard’ safety feature which automatically pauses the running belt if you step off the treadmill. The handrails are short and the deck itself is quite small which makes it a better choice for people under 6ft.
How to choose the best treadmill for you
Buying a running machine is a big expense so will need to make sure you choose something that has everything you are looking for.
“Before buying, take a free taster session at your local gym to try out the treadmills to see if you enjoy running on one, as they are very different to road running.” Personal trainer Lucy Arnold told Live Science. “Treadmills are a great investment for home workouts, especially if you have limited time, can’t get outside or don’t like running in the dark.”
So what features should you look for in a treadmill? “Depends on what you want to achieve and how often you’ll use it,” says Lucy. “If it’s going to be your main exercise as you can’t get outside much, then a treadmill with all the bells and whistles may benefit you – screen, inbuilt classes, inclines, speed options, motorized belt… but with this comes expense. If it’s for the odd occasion, consider buying a foldaway, non-motorized treadmill. They’re cheaper and take up less space.”
What should you do first if you want to buy the best treadmill? Lucy says: “Do your research: decide what features you want and set a budget. Also, measure your space to make sure you can fit one in.”
Another consideration is noise. The bigger the motor, the louder the treadmill but if you’re a serious runner you’ll want a decent size motor for it to power the belt. Also, check the weight capacity. Larger individuals will require a treadmill with a higher max weight.
Running belt size is another consideration. Look for at least 48’ by 18” for running, and if you are over 182cms (6ft) then you will need at least a 52-inch belt for walking, and a 54” one for running.
Maddy is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK’s bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Women’s Health. Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them). Maddy is currently completing a diploma in Level 3 personal training and can’t wait to help other busy mums like her feel energized and confident in how they look and feel.
Source: Read Full Article