Big changes were made in the most recent refresh of our top ten chart of the best treadmills, with five new models added to the list.
These included the impressive NordicTrack T 9.5 S, the affordable Schwinn 810 and another model from Horizon Fitness with the 7.0. We also added the streamlined Sunny Health & Fitness Asuna 8730G and walker-friendly WalkingPad R1 Pro.
It’s hard to think of one fitness invention more important than the treadmill. Developed by the Ancient Romans as a way to lift heavy objects, the treadmill has been utilized in societies throughout history as both a means of working and of punishment.
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Since then – with full HD screens, Bluetooth speakers, internet connectivity and motorized incline – the look may have changed, but the fundamentals remain the same.
In today’s article we are going to run you through the very best treadmills on the market, spanning all price ranges. We have highlighted both cheap and high-end treadmills; manual and motorized treadmills; as well as treadmills for runners, walkers and seniors.
There’s plenty of information and advice, as well as a packed FAQ section offering answers to your burning questions. If you are in the market for a new treadmill, you’re in the right place!
Motor: 4.0 CHP
Speed: 0 to 12mph
Incline: 0% to 15% (Motorized)
Belt: 22” x 60”
Features: FeatherLight folding system, 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning, accessory Tray, aluminum side rails, 9.3” TFT display screen, audio jacks, USB charging port, Bluetooth speakers, cooling fan, multi-position tablet media shelf, built-in workout programs, 350lb weight capacity
So many treadmills can stake a claim as the best on the market, although when you consider the performance, features and overall price of the 7.8 AT from Horizon Fitness, it’s easy to see why we deem it a top pick.
This premium treadmill is loaded with a powerful 4.0 CHP motor and 500lb thrust incline motor, for a smooth, quiet and responsive performance, reaching top speeds of 12mph and an incline up to 15%. The large 22” x 60” belt gives runners ample room, while the 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning keeps you comfortable.
Up top you will find everything you need for entertainment and workout assistance. There’s a 9.3” TFT display screen surrounded by Bluetooth speakers and a USB charging port, while you can test yourself with multiple workout programs.
Motor: 4.0 HP
Speed: 0 to 12.5mph
Incline: 0% to 15% (Motorized)
Belt: 22” x 62”
Features: Ortho Flex Shock suspension system, Orthopedic belt, multiple LED screens, multiple preset workout programs, hand pulse heart rate monitors, heart rate belt, multi-speed fan, built-in speakers, safety key, lifetime frame and motor warranty, 400lb weight capacity
3G Cardio’s Elite Runner is a fine example of the quality and performance a premium home treadmill can offer. Of course, you have to invest a pretty penny for such performance, although it is worthwhile if you value running at home.
Performance is the name of the game here, with an excellent 4.0 HP motor offering a top speed of 12mph – perfect for the fastest runners. Comfort is also a priority, with a huge oversized 22” x 62” Orthopedic running belt with an Ortho Flex Shock suspension system.
At the top end you will find a functional (if a little basic) control panel, with LED screens, a multi-speed fan, built-in speakers, and multiple preset programs to challenge you, whatever your level.
Belt: 17” x 62.2”
Features: Curved deck, durable slat belt, easily-readable large LCD screen, preset workout programs (target, interval, heart rate), Bluetooth connectivity, lightweight design
Next on this list is a premium manual treadmill that is built for serious runners. It may lack some of the high-end features found on others, but for sheer performance, the AirRunner from Assault Fitness knocks it out of the park!
While an expensive model, this commercial gym-grade treadmill allows you to go as hard and fast as you like, with no max speed and a natural acceleration. It features a premium steel frame and a curved slat belt with a generous 62.2” length and durability up to 150,000 miles.
As we highlight in our complete review of the AirRunner, a simple but effective console offers a range of preset programs, while heart rate monitoring can be coordinated via Bluetooth. Perfect for serious athletes and high-intensity trainers.
Motor: 3.6 CHP
Speed: 0 to 12mph
Incline: 0% to 12% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 60”
Features: SpaceSaver design, FlexSelect cushioning, EasyLift Assist, 14” Smart HD touchscreen, integrated speakers, Bluetooth audio connectivity, iFit compatible (free one-year membership), heart rate monitor, 300lb weight capacity
It’s unsurprising that the T 9.5 S is so popular, boasting the quality that NordicTrack is known for along with a plethora of extras that make it feel well worth asking price.
Starting with the fundamentals, the T 9.5 S features a large 20” x 60” running belt, comfortable FlexSelect cushioning, and a strong 3.6 CHP DurX motor. This provides speeds of up to 12mph and 12% of incline to play with. Fancy some hill sprints? The T 9.5 S gives you that option.
However, that hill could well be in the Himalayas, as you can use this treadmill to train around the world with the iFit virtual training system, which is beautifully displayed on the 14” HD monitor. This system offers automatic speed and incline adjustments for full immersion – and sore legs!
Motor: 3.0 CHP
Speed: 0.5 to 12mph
Incline: 0% to 15% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 60”
Features: 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning, FeatherLight folding system, 7” LCD display, Bluetooth speakers, QuickDial controls, media shelf, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, preset workout programs, cooling fan, 325lb max capacity
For this chart we were torn between the T303 or the 7.0 – both from Horizon Fitness – although the 7.0 shone slightly brighter. It’s the lowest-priced model in Horizon’s higher-end Studio Series, and will appeal to enthusiastic cardio athletes who don’t want to creep over the $1,000 mark.
One of the most notable additions to the 7.0 are the QuickDial controls, which allow you to alter speed and incline in an instant, which is ideal for HIIT. Powering all this is a strong 3.0 CHP motor that provides a top speed of 12mph and a maximum 15% incline.
As you would expect from a Horizon Fitness treadmill, the 7.0 is equipped with some decent tech, including a 7” LCD screen, Bluetooth connectivity and USB charging capabilities. Great value!
Motor: 2.6 CHP
Speed: 0 to 10mph
Incline: 10% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 55”
Features: SoftTrak deck cushioning system, blue backlit LCD monitor, 16 workout programs, built-in speakers, media shelf, USB charging port, Bluetooth connectivity, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, water bottle holders, transportation wheels, 275lb weight capacity
The 810 from Schwinn is an affordable treadmill with features that help it stand out in its price range. It boasts everything you would want from a modern home treadmill, including built-in speakers, USB charging and Bluetooth connectivity.
These features allow you to hook up to the Explore The World app for a little virtual running to add some spice to your sessions. But underneath these welcome multimedia features you will find good power and convenience for the price.
The 810 has a 2.6 CHP motor offering a top speed of 10mph along with the ability to add up to 10% incline. Meanwhile, the SoftTrack deck cushioning ticks a big box when it comes to comfort. This all comes together for a treadmill that feels like a real steal at this price.
Motor: 2.5 HP
Speed: 0.6 to 8mph
Belt: 18” x 49”
Features: Shock-absorbing deck, streamlined controls, built-in speakers, media shelf, aux port, safety key, transportation wheels, 220lb weight capacity
If you are tight on space and want a low-profile treadmill that actually allows for running as well as walking, you should turn your attention to the Asuna 8730G from Sunny Health and Fitness.
This popular machine folds down to just 4.5” tall, meaning it can be shoved under a sofa or bed when you have finished your workout, letting you reclaim your floorspace.
However, even with this streamlined design, there aren’t as many compromises as traditional low-profile treadmills. For example, the 8730G features a 2.5 HP motor with a maximum speed of 8mph. This is enough for a considerable jog, while the shock-absorbing deck and stabilization handles keep things safe and comfortable as you run.
Motor: 2.5 CHP
Speed: 0 to 10mph
Incline: 0 to 10% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 55”
Features: Bluetooth connectivity, rapid-charge USB port, quick controls, 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning, tablet shelf, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, preset workout programs, cooling fan
The T101 from Horizon Fitness is one of our favorite treadmills under a grand, offering a performance and features similar to treadmills costing much more.
This stylish running machine features a robust build and a decent 2.5 CHP motor to offer a top speed of 10mph and a motorized incline of up to 10%. Whatever speed you run at, the 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning promises a comfortable experience, while the belt dimensions are decent for this price range.
As we focus on in the full review of the T101, it’s loaded with several features to help make running a pleasure. This includes Bluetooth speakers, a media shelf, a USB charging port and a built-in cooling fan.
Speed: 0 to 6.2mph
Belt: 17” x 47”
Features: Compact design, aluminum alloy frame, EVA cushioning, anti-slip running belt, telescopic handrail, LED monitor, remote control, 242lb weight capacity
Sure, we may all want a home treadmill, but for those of us living in studio apartments, condos and other small homes, a full-size running machine may not be a feasible solution. This is where the R1 Pro from WalkingPad really shines.
When set up, it is a functional treadmill complete with handrails and a digital monitor. However, after use, you can fold it to just 38” x 28” x 6”, making it the smallest folded treadmill on the market.
While it works well, the R1 is limited to just 6.2mph, so it’s best suited for walkers. This is certainly the case when you consider the running belt is only 17” x 47”. Still, for people who don’t want a treadmill taking up half their living room, the R1 is a worthwhile option.
Motor: 2.25 CHP
Speed: 0 to 10mph
Incline: Two positions (Manual)
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: Backlit display screen, thumb heartrate monitor, iFit compatible, six preset programs, storage space, media shelf
The Weslo Cadence G 5.9i is one of our favorite treadmills in the entry level category, showing off a surprisingly powerful motor and good features that aren’t present on many budget machines.
It has its limitations, but the overall performance is great. There’s a strong 2.25 HP motor which delivers a top speed of up to 10mph. At 16” x 50”, the belt is a little compact, but no smaller than others in the budget range.
There’s no motorized incline option, although a two-position manual selector gives you some choice. It’s also compatible with the iFit system, which can be good if you enjoy that service. The full details are all waiting for you in the full review of the Cadence G 5.9i.
Considering treadmills can be bought for anywhere between around $150 and $10,000 (yeah, they go that expensive!), it can be a little overwhelming when trying to find the right one for you.
Don’t worry! At Fitness Verve, we have taken the guesswork out of buying a new treadmill. We have split the best treadmills on the market into convenient categories based on your budget and your aims.
Whether you are looking for something for under $500 or a machine specifically for walking, we have you covered.
Buying a treadmill can be surprisingly cost-effective – providing you know where to look. If you are on a strict budget, the sub-$300 range is your first stop.
These machines won’t offer you much more than the basics, but they can provide you with means for a decent workout at home. While there are exceptions, top speeds in the budget category tend to be around 6mph, while incline is rare and – if present – is almost certainly manual.
Belts also tend to be very compact – great for space saving, but not great for taking longer strides! Regardless of their limitations, if you want to start walking or jogging in the comfort of your own home, these machines are a worthwhile consideration.
Treadmills Under $500
Spending up to $500 on a treadmill may not seem like much more of an investment, but it is a big step up in terms of performance.
Motors tend to arrive in the region of 2.0 HP, with top speeds averaging 8 to 10mph – more than enough for a good running workout at home. The biggest limitation in this range is the belt size, which remains pretty compact.
These treadmills may not have the fancier aspects of their more expensive cousins, but you can still expect good cushioning, backlit display screens, heart rate monitors and – sometimes – built-in speakers.
Treadmills Under $1,000
This category proves that you don’t need to spend over a grand to end up with a treadmill with advanced features.
Both performance and convenience increase in this range. Motors come in at around 2.5 to 3.0 HP and deliver top speeds ranging from 10 to 12mph. The biggest improvement is that motorized incline becomes more common.
Generally, belts remain a little compact, yet some offer the industry standard 20” x 60” dimensions. You will also find improved consoles with better screens and controls, although you still won’t find any touchscreens or internet capabilities.
Treadmills Under $1,500
Things continue to improve as we pass the $1,000 mark, with treadmills offering an impressive performance and additional convenience.
With an average motor of 3.5 CHP, top speeds may not have increased much (the average is 12mph) but overall performance is better. Your ideal speed is reached quicker, with a quieter and smoother experience than you’d have in lower price ranges.
Secondary features also get better in this range, with the appearance of smart touchscreens – even if they are a little small. Things like built-in speakers, cooling fans and media shelves are all pretty much standard by this point.
Treadmills Under $2,000
Truth be told, spending up to $2,000 on a treadmill won’t give you much more in terms of performance when compared to those under $1,500. Aspects such as speeds and inclines tend to be roughly the same, as do belts and motors.
However, the latter two do increase a bit, with some belt sizes around 22” x 60”, while you will find motors anywhere between 3.5 and 4.0 CHP. However, the most significant difference you’ll find in this region is in the features department.
The extra $500 allows manufacturers to kit their treadmills with features that enhance convenience. This includes bigger display screens capable of playing HD video, along with quality speaker systems. You’ll also find stronger cooling fans, more storage space, sturdier builds and better cushioning.
Ultimately, $2,000 isn’t a small amount, but buying a treadmill in this range will give you an excellent machine.
Motor? Who needs a motor?! Not every treadmill requires external power – some rely solely on the user to power the belt.
There are several reasons why you may want a manual treadmill. For example, they tend to be cheaper to buy and are obviously cheaper to run. There is also evidence that a manual machine allows you to burn around 30% more calories when compared to the same time spent on a motorized treadmill.
These machines do have their limitations. Belts tend to be smaller, there are no advanced consoles and the overall feel can be a bit basic. Despite this, they still prove that old-school works, even in this motorized digital age!
Treadmills for Running
The bottom line is that runners need a treadmill that will keep up with them – which is exactly what the machines in this category do.
Here, it’s all about providing a high top speed with a strong motor that reaches that speed quickly and quietly. While secondary features play a part, comfort is reliant mainly on the belt being big enough to cater for long strides, with ample cushioning under that belt.
To withstand daily beatings, these machines have to be built to last. Having this feature set tends to be why treadmills made for running are among the most expensive.
Treadmills for Seniors
While some seniors enjoy jogging and running, many will be using their treadmill primarily for walking, which is reflected in our chart on the best treadmills for seniors.
Seniors need to stay safe and feel secure on their machine. This is why high top speeds and incline options take a back seat, with cushioning and stability becoming more important. This means longer safety rails and smaller speed increments are required.
As for secondary features, these also play less of a role, but more intuitive consoles and simple controls are always welcome.
Treadmills for Walking
There are many reasons to buy a walking treadmill. You may be returning from injury or illness, just starting a fitness regime, are a senior, or are walking while you work or watch TV.
With this in mind, top speeds don’t matter here – strong performance does. In this range of treadmills ideal for walkers, you will find both budget manual models as well as high-end motorized machines. You’ll also see under-desk treadmills and those with large safety rails for added stability.
Providing you don’t need any fancy additional features, it’s easy to find a good walking treadmill on a tight budget.
Going into a store and buying the first treadmill you see isn’t the smartest move. While treadmill buying doesn’t need as much thought as buying a house or a car, some consideration in needed.
As you will already have seen on this page, the treadmill market is incredibly varied. Budget, high-end, motorized, manual, basic, flashy… What’s right for you?
Here are some things to keep in mind before you make the commitment. Taking some time to figure things out now will result in a machine you will actually use for daily exercise, instead of as an expensive clothes horse!
Only you will know what you intend to use your treadmill for. Are you just starting fitness walking for the very first time? Do you want to train for an upcoming event? Do you want a machine that allows you to do high-intensity sprinting?
A treadmill designed for walkers is very different to one designed for runners. Try training for a marathon on an under-desk treadmill and you’ll understand what we mean.
This is why it is important to define your exact goals. If walking is your end goal, then a cheaper treadmill with a low top speed and smaller speed increments will be just what you need.
If you plan to eventually start running, buy a treadmill with a powerful motor and higher top speed (up to 12mph). This way, you won’t have to buy a new treadmill when your fitness improves.
If you are a casual user, you can comfortably buy in the cheaper price ranges. However, if you are planning to use the treadmill daily, or will be training for a long-distance event, the more money you spend, the better your experience will be.
When you know what your intended use is, it’s much easier to determine what core features you need on your treadmill.
Many people buying a treadmill will be looking for something that fits into their living space. The good news is that the majority of treadmills have space-saving designs. This means the deck folds up vertically, allowing you to stow it away and reclaim floor space after use.
Some folding treadmills will have features to make this easier, such as hydraulic assistance to help lift the deck and/or a soft-drop feature, so the deck will fall into place easier when unfolding.
Aside from folding features, most treadmills will follow a similar design, with a central console at the front with support handles. Some handles will be short, while others will run the length of the belt – you’ll mainly find these on walking machines and treadmills for seniors.
If – like many people – you are buying a treadmill to get fit at home with a little regular jogging, a top speed of between 5 to 8mph will be ample.
If all you want to do is walk, then a max speed of 3 to 5mph will do, while runners will require at least 10 to 12mph to feel unrestricted.
The top speed is determined by the motor the treadmill has, which – in turn – is determined by the price range in which you shop. The motor is the heart of the treadmill, and is measured in HP (horsepower) or CHP (continuous horsepower). As you may have guessed, the higher the HP, the better the machine.
A higher HP will offer greater top speeds, and will allow you to reach them quicker, smoother and quieter. For example, two machines may offer a top speed of 12mph. However, one with a 3.75 CHP motor is going to be a much smoother ride than one with a 2.5 CHP motor.
Many treadmills offer the option to add incline to the surface. This gradient works both your muscles and cardiovascular system is different ways. Adding a little incline is also said to mimic outdoor running more effectively.
In the budget price ranges, incline options are quite limited. In fact, many don’t offer incline at all, while others offer a two or three position manual incline.
As you being to move up the ranges, you will see motorized incline of around 10% right up to 15% on higher-end models.
As you push to around $1,500, you will also start to see treadmills offering decline of up to -3%, to mimic a slight downhill gradient.
The running belt is the next core feature worth paying attention to. After all, this is the only part of the treadmill you come into contact with while working out. When it comes to belts, the bigger the better.
Walkers can get away with smaller dimensions as a walking stride is not as long as a running stride. Dimensions of around 18” (wide) by 50” (long) is ample for most walkers. If you are running or are a taller user, then these dimensions will not suffice.
The industry standard is 20” x 60”, which delivers close to the dimensions you may find on a commercial gym machine. This is relatively comfortable for most users, doing most activities.
Of course, the belt size you end up with will largely be determined by your budget. You are not going to find a spacious 20” x 60” belt on a sub-$500 machine, so keep your expectations in line with your price range.
Every treadmill will have some sort of cushioning, although – as with other core features – the level and quality you receive will depend on the amount you spend.
Cushioning – or shock absorption – is important as it helps protect your joints from the stress placed on them as you run. Walking treadmills don’t need as much cushioning, but if you plan to run, you’ll need it.
You’ll find cushioning comes in many forms. Cheaper machines will offer an all-round shock absorption, which will do nicely for more runners. Others offer a variable system, where cushioning at the front of the belt will be softer than the ‘push off zone’ at the rear of the belt.
Some treadmills will offer the option to turn cushioning off. This is beneficial if you are a road runner training for an event, as the lack of cushioning will feel more like running on concrete.
We class a treadmill’s core performance as paramount. However, there’s no denying that the secondary features make at-home running more of a pleasure.
A secondary feature is what you will find up top on the main console, if the treadmill has one. For example, this is where you’ll find the display screen and controls, which is the minimum a good motorized treadmill should have.
Controls for the machine should mainly comprise speed and incline controls, as well as an emergency stop button. These controls will differ from treadmill to treadmill. Most will offer simple +/- controls, while some will give quick controls allowing you to jump from, say, 3mph to 7mph instantly.
Display screens get better the more you spend. In the budget region, you’ll find small and simple screens, offering a readout of time, distance and speed. As you go up in price, screens will get bigger and more detailed, eventually offering full color and video.
In the premium ranges, you will find 14” full color HD touchscreens with internet apps, allowing you browse Netflix, Facebook and other entertainment as you walk, jog or run.
Good screens often come with good speaker systems. Depending on the price range these may be quite basic – allowing you to plug in your smartphone via an aux plug – or good quality, with Bluetooth connectivity.
Things like cooling fans also get better the more you spend. Affordable treadmills don’t always offer them, but high-end machines will give you stronger fans with multiple speeds.
Finally, all treadmills should come with a safety tether. However unglamorous it may be, this is an essential inclusion on any treadmill. Should you faint, fall or slip, this little key will pop out of the machine, instantly stopping it and preventing any damage caused by the belt.
As the world becomes more convenient, it’s all too easy to spend your entire day sitting – at mealtimes, in the car, at work and on the sofa.
In recent years, people have taken a stand against sitting! One popular way of incorporating more movement into daily life is by using an under-desk treadmill.
These simple walking machines resemble a traditional treadmill, albeit with no supportive handrails – just the deck and tread belt, and a small control console. This slimline design allows you to slide the treadmill under a desk and walk while you work.
The benefits of using such a device are pretty obvious, allowing you to up your daily step count in a place where you would usually be sitting down.
On that note, you will need to ensure that the desk under which you place the treadmill is suitable. There’s no point walking while you work if you have to hunch over to send emails and answer the phone!
You can either buy a specific standing desk to go along with your treadmill, or you can prop up your current desk and/or desk equipment (phone, screen, keyboard and so on) if feasible.
As we have highlighted throughout this article, finding the best treadmill is a personal endeavor. An elderly person who is just starting a daily walking routine is going to have a different definition of ‘best treadmill’ to a frequent marathon runner or a CrossFit athlete.
Our advice is to determine your goals first, then your exact budget. If you know what you need and how much you can spend, you will be well on your way to finding the right treadmill for you.
Of course, by taking a look at our top ten chart you will have a good idea as to what the best treadmills for home use are. Then dive into the individual categories we have prepared to find your ideal fit.
In short – yes, they do. However, just buying a treadmill isn’t enough – you actually have to use it regularly to see the benefit.
Research shows that burning 3,500 calories equates to 1lb of fat loss. Treadmills are a great way to burn calories and, providing your diet is in check, will contribute to weight loss.
Of course, the calories you will burn during a 30-minute treadmill session will depend on what activity you are doing (walking, jogging or running) and how much you weigh (the heavier you are, the more calories you will burn).
Walking at a consistent pace on a treadmill for 30 minutes will equate to around 120 calories burned for a 125lb person.
Jogging at around 5mph for 30 minutes, a 125lb person will burn around double that (240 calories). If the same person is going all out and running at 10mph for 30 minutes, they can expect to burn around 500 calories. Do this every day and you’ll have burned your 3,500 calories in a week.
As you may have guessed, if your diet puts you in a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn), then no amount of treadmill running will help you lose weight. So, don’t follow your treadmill session with a pizza and soda!
A full guide to fat burning and diet goes beyond the scope of this guide, although it’s a topic worth reading up on if you are serious about weight loss.
While there are countless treadmill designs and variables, most treadmills can be split into two categories – those with a motor and those without. Those without are called manual treadmills, because they require you to manually power the belt by moving your feet.
So, which one is better? It’s difficult to say as it depends on your preferences and what features you value the most.
With manual treadmills there are actually many benefits. To start with, these machines tend to be much cheaper to buy. We say ‘tend to’ as you can buy some manual treadmills costing upwards of $3,000! However, the majority of them are generally cheaper.
On a similar note, manual treadmills cost nothing to run – no external power means no big electricity bill at the end of the month, which is a huge plus.
Manual treadmills are also among some of the most compact machines around. So, if you have an issue with space, a manual machine with a small footprint may be exactly what you need.
Another advantage is that, as you are powering the belt, you have to put in more effort. It is believed that up to 30% more calories are burned per session on a manual treadmill compared to the same session on a motorized machine.
Of course, there are some drawbacks of using a manual treadmill, which highlight the strengths of a motorized model.
With the exception of premium models, manual treadmills are not good for running. This is largely down to the fact that the belts tend to be much shorter. So, if you are looking to jog or run comfortably, a motorized machine may be a better option.
It’s no secret that manual models also have less features – limited storage space, small display screens and less shine. If you are looking for something with solid workout feedback, a motorized option is better for you.
Finally, a manual treadmill tends to be harder on your joints. A manual treadmill requires more effort to get going, which can be tougher on your joints and muscles. People with pre-existing joint or muscle problems are probably best going with a motorized model.
In short, incline mimics hill climbing, which will add more of a challenge to a treadmill session. So yes – adding incline does make for a good workout!
Running on a flat surface is a great way to start running and build your fitness levels. Adding incline will boost the amount of effort you have to exert, which will help you burn more calories. It will also work your muscles differently and allow you to stress your cardiovascular system, without having to increase the speed.
The good news is that most modern treadmills come with some sort of incline control, unless you are shopping in the very cheapest price ranges. However, even affordable treadmills will often have a manual incline selection (where you adjust rear posts on the running deck).
As you hit the $1,000 mark, many treadmills will start to offer motorized incline as standard. The majority of them will range anywhere from 10% all the way up to 15%.
On higher-end models you will occasionally find decline as an option. This is usually around -3% and mimics a slight downhill gradient, which is yet another means to beat boredom and challenge your body in new ways.
This is an age-old debate – or, at least it has been since treadmills were first invented!
Running outdoors is the classic form of running for exercise. After all, marathons existed long before treadmills.
The biggest benefit of outdoor running is that it’s natural. Enjoy the wind in your face, a breath of fresh air and time spent in nature. Outdoor running is also a completely free activity – no need to buy anything other than a good pair of running shoes.
However, treadmill running has its own set of benefits that are hard to ignore.
The first is convenience. If you’re not sure where you want to run, or how long you want to go for, you can just jump on the treadmill and go. When you are finished, you just step off and continue your day – you don’t have to walk back home!
Treadmill running also allows you to avoid adverse weather conditions. If it’s pouring with rain, hailing, snowing or extremely hot, there is no need to brave the elements – just stay indoors and run in comfort.
The same goes for if you live in a high-crime area or in the middle of a concrete jungle. In less than optimal running conditions, staying in the safety of your own home is more appealing. Especially if you can enjoy some entertainment while you do it.
Elsewhere, if you are suffering from joint pain, arthritis or other injuries, running on a treadmill can be less painful. Too much running on hard concrete is simply bad for your joints. As you run on concrete, the sheer force of impact on your ankles, knees and hips is tremendous.
With treadmills, you don’t have this issue. Almost every treadmill around has some form of cushioning – much more than the average sidewalk anyway. This is therefore a healthy way of increasing joint flexibility and maintaining your cardio fitness, all without suffering the risks of injury.
A final benefit to using a treadmill is that it is able to precisely track your progress. Sure, you can use a smartwatch when running outdoors, but a treadmill will accurately be able to determine the exact speed you are running, the distance and the time.
In general, treadmills are very safe to use, as thousands of runners around the world prove every single day. However, incidents can occur on treadmills that can cause serious injury. So, how do you avoid these?
Ultimately, you must adopt a few precautions while using the machine.
As many of the injuries caused by treadmills occur when the user trips, slips or falls, this is the first area we should address.
Before you start your workout, clip the safety key to yourself. In the occurrence of a fall, this key will pull out of the treadmill, stopping the machine instantly to avoid any damage caused by the running belt.
When starting the treadmill, keep your feet off the belt (stand with your legs apart and feet either side of the tread). This will allow you to step onto a slowly moving belt, instead of being jerked forward as the belt starts.
Begin walking, then increase the speed to one you are comfortable with. If you are suddenly going too fast, instantly reduce the speed.
Keep your head forward and don’t be tempted to look down at your feet while you run – this is one reason many people become dizzy. Looking forward will also help you retain good running posture.
Don’t rely too much on the handrails. Using them throughout a walking workout is fine, but as you begin jogging or running, using handrails will interrupt your flow and will cause posture problems in the long run.
When you are in your flow, don’t get distracted. While we recommend treadmills with entertainment consoles, remember that your prime goal is to exercise safely. If watching a movie or listening to music, try to set everything up before you begin, so you aren’t fiddling with apps, playlists and volume settings as you run.
It goes without saying that you should avoid using a smartphone for messaging while using a treadmill. Aside from the fact that it will distract you, if you happen to drop the phone it will almost certainly get damaged as it hits the moving belt.
Finally, keep children and animals away from the treadmill. In the wrong hands (or paws!), treadmills can be very dangerous machines.
Using one as a competent adult is very safe, although an unsupervised child can seriously injure themselves or worse. Be smart and keep your treadmill locked away when not in use.
Just like a car, a bike or… well, pretty much anything mechanical, a treadmill does need a little TLC now and again. This is one of the reasons a gym membership is appealing – you don’t have to worry about this kind of thing!
However, maintaining a treadmill isn’t something you will have to do that often. It’s not going to take up a big portion of your life, so don’t let it put you off buying one.
One of the simplest things you can do to keep your treadmill in top condition is to give it a wipe down after each session, or at least once a week. Brush the belt and give the sides and console a wipe down with a slightly damp cloth.
While some treadmills have self-lubricating functions, many will need you to lubricate them manually. You will also need to ensure the belt is both correctly aligned and at the correct tension.
Doing these tasks will depend on which treadmill you have purchased and will rely on you consulting the owner’s guide or manufacturer’s website to determine the exact process and timings.
As this in-depth article has highlighted several times, treadmills are one of the greatest ways to achieve good fitness in the comfort of your home, garage or office.
You can walk yourself lean as you answer calls, engage in HIIT without other people watching, or train for a marathon while watching the latest Netflix release!
The models we have listed in our top ten chart represent our top picks from various price ranges, and are easily some of the best treadmills you can find at the moment.
However, this is just a guide. You will find loads of quality treadmills in the individual categories, as well as by doing your own browsing.
Whatever you end up with, good luck with your new treadmill. Don’t forget to buy a new pair of running shoes to enjoy it with!