Buying Guide for Treadmills
Why buy a treadmill?
Purchasing an at-home treadmill has many benefits for those looking to stay active. By having the machine right in your home, you remove the cost of a gym membership and reduce the amount of gas used to travel there. It also allows you to walk or run no matter what season it is. Snow, rain, or allergies can no longer stop you from completing your workout. If you tend to sacrifice your exercise plans in exchange for time-consuming tasks like chores, a treadmill can encourage you to step on for a quick session at any time of the day. Beyond the convenience benefits, treadmills allow you to add a cardio workout into your routine to increase your heart health and bolster your lower body strength.
What should you look for in a treadmill?
Treadmills are a big investment, so you’ll want to make sure the one you buy will work for you. Here are some things to consider before you make your choice:
- Size: Like most exercise equipment, treadmills take up a lot of space. Plenty of treadmills can fold to combat this issue, and others are made to be smaller. If space is a concern for you, a more compact model is a better option. Tread width and length are also important to the workout; a wider tread gives you more room for a comfortable run.
- Exercise Intensity: Different treadmills give varying levels of quality exercises. Most treadmills can move at many different speeds, usually ranging from 0 to 10 mph, and run at an incline for a tougher workout. Some can even decline to mimic the feeling of running downhill.
- Technology: Modern treadmills have tons of different features, and it’s hard to keep track of them all. iFit- and Zwift-compatible treadmills allow you to run alongside other people with real live trainers walking you through your exercise. Treadmills can also have heart rate monitors, workout profiles, speakers, and built-in fans.
- Comfort: Some less expensive treadmills are stiffer, which can be uncomfortable to run on for long periods of time, and can be harmful if you have weaker joints. So, you’ll want to make sure the treadmill you’re buying will be comfortable for you.
- Noise: Treadmills can get pretty loud, especially during intense workouts. If you’re trying to follow an online class or just watching Netflix while you run, you want to buy a quieter model. Look for wide models that will keep your steps at the center of the tread belt. This keeps your body at the center where the support is strongest, reducing the sound that reverberates from your steps. Also consider picking up a treadmill mat to reduce noise and movement.
What can you expect to spend on a treadmill?
Treadmills contain many moving parts and sometimes a few pieces of advanced technology, so you won’t always find a quality, inexpensively priced machine. It is best to view your next treadmill as a long-term investment that will help you save money on gym memberships.
With that being said, your average treadmill will run from $300 to $600. This type of treadmill will give you standard speed controls and a decent display for visual reference. Treadmills at this price are great for those that aren’t looking for too many bells and whistles. Added features such as a digital display, automatic incline adjustment, and customized workouts can cause a big price hike but often create a level of convenience that is worth considering. A higher price also allows for higher quality materials to help support your joints through better cushioning or give you room to do more with your workout. When searching for a high-end treadmill, they will cost around $2,000 due to the advanced technology.
Our Picks for the Best Treadmills
NordicTrack T Series Treadmill + 30-Day iFIT Membership
This reliable treadmill is meant to last through endless workouts with its self-cooling technology.
Pros: This treadmill has a 20- by 55-inch belt that can accelerate up to 10 mph and incline up to 10 degrees for a high-octane workout. Using its grip pulse monitors, you can measure your progress on its 5-inch backlit display and listen to music on the built-in speakers. The treadmill also connects to iFit using Bluetooth, so you can train with people all over the world.
Cons: Trainer-led programs, studio classes, and other customized workouts are available but require an iFit membership subscription. This product might also be difficult to install in your home as it doesn’t feature wheels and weighs 203 pounds. Buyers should be prepared with help to move this machine into the perfect spot in their home.
Bottom Line: This treadmill is ideal for those looking to go beyond a simple run. The varying speeds and incline combine with the digital display to create challenging workouts, and you can even track your progress.
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill, 2.25HP Superfit Under Desk Electric Treadmill, Installation-Free with Blue Tooth Speaker, Remote Control, APP Control and LED Display, Walking Jogging for Home Office
This folding treadmill may be a bit smaller than most, but it still provides a great workout.
Pros: This treadmill’s 16- by 40-inch track is a bit more compact than most, yet it still provides plenty of space to run or walk on. You can also flip down the display screen and handlebars when the treadmill is in walking mode or store it away when not in use. This makes it a good choice for an under-the-desk treadmill as well. Especially since it’s designed to be nice and quiet, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing your co-workers. The compatible smartphone app will save all your runs or walks to help you track your progress, and the layered belt is nonslip for your protection.
Cons: The display area of this treadmill is extremely basic. There’s not much of a screen at all, just a very small LED display that tracks your time, speed, distance, and calories burned. All the treadmill’s controls are only accessible through the smartphone app or the remote control; none of the speed or incline buttons are on the display screen like most treadmills.
Bottom Line: With its compact size and fold-down handrails, this treadmill is an ideal choice for someone who doesn’t have a lot of space in their home or a separate workout room. Since you can fold down the treadmill and tuck it away in a closet or under the couch or bed, you’ll be able to get a home workout in without leaving a big bulky treadmill sitting in your living room or bedroom at all times.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill, Gray
With this more affordable treadmill, you can get a run in at home without paying a small fortune for it.
Pros: You don’t have to pay through the nose in order to have a treadmill you can run on in the comfort and privacy of your own home. This compact and lightweight treadmill is much more reasonably priced than the average model yet will still provide you with a good indoor cardio workout. Its slender size won’t take up more than its share of room in your home, and it doesn’t require plugging in to run, so you can place it anywhere you want without worrying about an outlet. It also doesn’t require any sort of smartphone app or subscription to use; you can just hop and on and walk, run, or job. And it folds up when not in use for easier storage.
Cons: The digital display on this treadmill is extremely small and will be hard to read for some. It also doesn’t offer much in the way of bonus features or speed/incline customization as many other treadmills, and there’s not really a good place to stash your phone or tablet.
Bottom Line: Home gym equipment is often a pricey investment, and treadmills are no exception. This lightweight model, however, is much more affordable than most while still providing you with a good workout, even if it’s a bit simpler and less advanced than many other models.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill + 30-Day iFit Membership
This treadmill is the peak of exercise equipment. With its built-in iFit-enabled HD screen, you won't need a gym membership again.
Pros: This treadmill has everything. The 10-inch HD touchscreen has built-in iFit capabilities, so you don’t need an external device to work out with a trainer. Just turn on your treadmill, and it’ll lead you through workouts in scenic locations around the world. The super-wide 22- by 60-inch belt allows for a more comfortable stride and extra elbow room, making for a better experience. Some of the extra features include tons of workout classes, better feet cushioning, and a space-saving design that folds into itself for great storage at any time.
Cons: This is the premium pick, so the treadmill comes with a high price tag that not everyone will be comfortable with. Similar to the previous NordicTrack treadmill option, customized workouts and programs only come with an iFit subscription.
Bottom Line: If you are prepared to make a serious investment to receive the full potential of this treadmill, then the NordicTrack 1750 is the way to go. It provides some serious durability due to its construction while also offering high-tech features. It will make your runs feel smooth and simple.
SereneLife Folding Treadmill - Foldable Home Fitness Equipment with LCD for Walking & Running - Cardio Exercise Machine - 12 Preset or Adjustable Programs - Bluetooth Connectivity
This smart treadmill can be synced with pretty much any of your electronic devices and offers customized workouts.
Pros: This smart, modern treadmill allows you to track your progress via the electronic device of your choice while giving you an intense workout. It has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can sync it with any laptop, tablet, or phone that also has a Bluetooth connection, allowing you to keep track of your progress on the device of your choosing. No subscription is required to access your workout records and progress. There are pre-programmed workouts with simple push-and-go controls that do the decision-making for you, or you can change the speed to give yourself a more personalized, custom workout. The bright LED screen displays workout information, so it’s easy to read while you’re running, and there’s a built-in safety key to stop the treadmill immediately in case of an emergency.
Cons: Keep in mind that even without a subscription required, you will need to download the compatible smartphone app in order to keep track of your workouts and progress. The belt is also a bit on the narrow side, so it may not be the best option for bigger and taller folks.
Bottom Line: If you want an ultra-modern treadmill that can keep track of your workouts and sync with a variety of different devices, this model is among your best options. It can connect to pretty much any electronic with a Bluetooth connection. Just be prepared to download the app in order to keep track.
At-home treadmills are an excellent alternative to expensive gym memberships or inaccessible outdoor running spaces. With options that span different budgets and features, there is a treadmill that can accommodate your needs. If you are willing to take the leap to own a personal treadmill, the results for both your body and wallet will be positive in the long run.