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Treadmills are among the most popular types of cardio fitness equipment for both gym and home use. Models such as the SOLE F80, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9, and the Lifespan TR 1200i are some of the best fitness equipment you can buy, period. And the benefits of running on the safe, cushioned track of a great treadmill are huge compared to running outdoors on hard concrete.
All that said, finding the right treadmill can be a challenge. There are a lot of great options and a lot of features to consider. To make the process easier, we’ve put together this guide highlighting the best treadmills on the market today. Our aim is to help you find the treadmill that fits your goals, budget, and lifestyle. Additionally, you’ll find links to our full treadmill reviews to help you get a more in-depth understanding of each model.
Treadmills for the Home?
The best part of a treadmill at home is you’re at home! You can put your favorite TV show on and before you know it, you’ve knocked out 30 minutes or an hour of solid cardio work. Plus you don’t have to worry about driving to the gym after work or after you drop the kids off at school. No need to stress about whether a treadmill is going to available for you to use when you get to the gym. It’s all right there waiting for you at home. There’s no need to get motivated to get out of the house. Read on and we’ll help you find the best treadmill for the home that fits your needs.
Best Treadmills by Price
The treadmill market includes brands and models that satisfy almost every feature and price level. So lucky for you, when shopping for a treadmill for the home, you’re guaranteed to find the ideal model to fit your needs. To help you zero in on the best treadmill for you, we’ve broken down our top choices for the best treadmills by price below:
PRICE RANGE: Under $200
PRICE RANGE: $200-$600
PRICE RANGE: $600-$1,000
PRICE RANGE: Over $1,000-$2,000
PRICE RANGE: Over $2,000
Our Top Treadmill Picks:
To go a step further, here are the cream of the crop treadmills. Click the links to read our full reviews.
#1. Overall Features & Quality: LifeSpan TR 1200i Treadmill
The LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill is a great overall treadmill with a ton of excellent features. Starting with the design, it has a 2.5 CHP motor that will allow running speeds up to 11 mph. The 20”x56” will accommodate most runners, the 2.5” front rollers and 2” rear rollers will provide smooth and quiet performance and the 2-ply belt will ensure years of use. This treadmill also provides up to 15% incline so that you can adjust your workout intensity.
LifeSpan also packs the TR1200i Folding Treadmill with some great convenience features. First their patented Intelli-Step feature counts steps by sensing each time your foot lands on the treadmill belt. This step count is then displayed on the console. Using this same technology, LifeSpan also provides the Intelli-Guard safety feature will automatically pauses your workout if you step off of the belt. Finally, LifeSpan has equipped the TR1200i Folding Treadmill with 17 programmed workouts and they also provide a full membership to the LifeSpan Club with the purchase. With these features you’ll have a ton of exercise options and the ability to track your improvements from one workout to the other.
#2. Excellent Value: Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
The entry level Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill can’t be beat coming in at a great budget-friendly price. This treadmill is ideal for someone new to walking, jogging or running. It has some great features that you don’t typically find on an entry-level treadmill that will keep you interested in running. The best two features are heart rate monitoring and programmed workouts on the console. Heart rate monitoring is ideal for improving your fitness. The fact that the Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill provides this option will ensure that you are getting a serious workout. If you do your research, you might be lucky to find another treadmill under $300 that provides heart rate monitoring, but you will not likely find one with programmed workouts. At this price, it is truly unbelievable that you are getting six (6) programmed treadmill workouts. These workouts take all of the guess work out of trying to find a good exercise routine.
This treadmill is specifically designed for weight loss and intensity training. The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill is definitely a recommended buy.
The NordicTrack 2950 Treadmill sits at the pinnacle of NordicTrack’s line of tough-as-nails and feature-rich treadmills that are commercial-grade but excellent for home use. The 2950 comes with a 4.25 continuous horsepower DurX Commercial Motor and its running surface and rollers provide a smooth and comfortable running experience. The treadmill features a touch-controlled incline of up to 15% (that’s a lot) and speeds up to 12mph. You can even get a decline workout with the 2950’s 3% decline function. The running surface will accommodate the biggest running strides at 22″x60″ and its “WhisperQuiet” functionality keeps the noise of footfalls to a minimum. On top of that is a FlexSelect Cushioning system that allows you to chose between a soft running surface or a firmer, road-type feel. Beyond that, the NordicTrack 2950 Treadmill comes with a 10″ HD touchscreen with 40 workout choices/apps, the iFit Coach, a music port, tablet holder, heart rate monitoring, AutoBreeze Fans to keep you cool, and a lot more. Click the link below for our full review.
Treadmill Features to Consider
Treadmill Running Surface Size
Your first consideration for a treadmill should be the running surface size. The largest running surfaces you are going to find are about 60-62” in length and 20-22” wide. The reason this is so important is because you want to make sure that the treadmill’s belt can accommodate your full running stride. A couple inches too short and you’ll either be tripping on the front of the treadmill or you’ll be coming off the back. In order to get the full effectiveness of the exercise you need to make sure you’re performing full exertion and not artificially shortening your running stride. Just keep in mind that a compact treadmill can be good for space saving but might not be right for your stride length.
All the best treadmills provide an incline option, but there are some varied incline features to take note of. A good degree of incline on a treadmill is 15%. This is provided on a lot of models and gets the job done. The main feature you want to look for on an incline treadmill, however, is electronic adjustability. This is important so that you can increase or decrease your intensity while not stopping your workout to make a manual adjustment. There are some other great features when it comes to incline treadmills, like negative incline, or decline. The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill provides this incline feature, which simulates downhill running and adds another option to your exercise routine.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Again, heart rate monitoring is an option that is provided on nearly every treadmill, but its accuracy is extremely important. Heart rate monitoring can be achieved by a thumb sensor, contact sensors on the grips or by a chest strap. The most accurate and convenient of these is the chest strap. This allows you to get into your running style and not have to worry about grabbing anything to take a reading. Additionally, the continual heart rate tracking from the chest strap provides far more accurate readings.
Treadmill Computer Features
One complaint from people who don’t like running is that it’s boring. Well, not with a good treadmill computer. A good computer will provide programmed workouts designed by personal trainers. These workouts automatically speed up the treadmill and adjust incline to ensure an optimal workout. The best treadmills will connect to features away from the treadmill like fitness apps or the manufacturer’s own website. Features like these allow you to download exercise data so that you can track your improvement.
Though this is the last topic we’re hitting on, when you’re purchasing any piece of exercise equipment, you absolutely want one that is durable and built with superior quality. You want it to stand up to a lot of workouts.
There are many of components on a treadmill that can give you a good read on its quality; don’t just rely on the brand name. Take a look at things like the construction of the belt. Is it single ply or double ply? The better the belt, the longer it will last. Is it a fully portable treadmill or do you really just need a folding treadmill? How many rollers are in the deck and what size are they? A quiet and smooth treadmill will have more rollers and larger rollers. How big it the motor on the treadmill? Motors typically range from 2.0 continuous horsepower (CHP) to 4.0. Again, the larger the motor the better performance you are going to get out of the treadmill. There are a lot of components that you can compare in order to make an educated buying decision…don’t just count on the name.
Benefits of Running on a Treadmill and How It Works
No question, running is the best exercise for burning calories. Couple that with specific workouts designed for that purpose and you will shed pounds in no time. Exercises like interval training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) are ideal for calorie burning. These exercises raises the heart rate quickly, causing the body to use more oxygen during the lower interval, which it turn burns more calories than normal workouts. Treadmills are ideal for performing these workouts as you are only limited by what your body can put out. You’re not restricted by the mechanics of a bike, elliptical or stepper.
Excellent Cardio Workout
As we said with calorie burning, there’s nothing like running and using a treadmill to get the heart rate up for an intense cardio workout. While HIIT is great for increasing metabolism and burning fat, it is also great for building stamina and endurance. Additionally, running at a slower rate for longer periods of time is also great at cardio workout for building endurance. Both of these exercises are equally effective on a treadmill, in a controlled environment, where you don’t need to worry about passing cars and changing road conditions. These are true advantages of having a home treadmill.
Lower Impact than Running
A lot of runner’s experience joint pain or some type of lower body injury in their lifetime. Running on a treadmill can alleviate a lot of these pains. There is less impact than running on pavement or concrete. Treadmill decks are designed with this need in mind. There are a lot of technologies in treadmills that can absorb 40% of this impact or even more. Forget the saying, “No Pain, No Gain.” Get a treadmill and enjoy the best of both worlds.
You’ll Feel Awesome
Have you ever heard of “Runner’s High?” It’s a real thing. It’s the reason that runners often become addicted with the exercise. Running releases endorphins into the brain and can create mood changing responses. Endorphins are said to be the brain’s naturally created opiates. So there’s no better way to feel great than to get on your treadmill at home at put in a 30-45 minute workout.
Other Treadmill Considerations
Treadmill Care and Maintenance
Treadmill maintenance is a vital component of keeping your machine in great working order. Most people overlook this and are confused when the machine starts to fail. After an intense workout, cleaning the treadmill is the last thing you want to worry about, but you should always wipe down your equipment after you workout. There will be sweat if you’re doing it right. Some treadmills require oiling or lubricating, so make sure you do your research before making your purchase.
Another important consideration is keeping your treadmill indoors in a climate controlled environment. According to Nautilus, your treadmill’s electronics can be damaged by excessive cold and heat and humidity. Excess moisture should also be avoided. If you keep the machine inside and keep it clean, you give it the best chance of going the distance and performing for a long time.
Good running shoes are also of utmost important when exercising on a treadmill. There are a lot of stores out there that can diagnose your running style and put you in a proper shoe. Not that you need to go that far, but you should be looking for a lightweight shoes with support and cushioning. Don’t forget to lace them tight and double knot them. We’ve all tripped on our laces when they’ve come untied. Don’t let this happen to you!
Finally, we want to talk about workouts. You need to look for one that is going to accomplish what you are looking for. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you training for a 5K? Do you just want to get healthy? You can find plenty of running regimes with a quick search on Google or YouTube. We’d highly recommend that you give interval training a try. A good interval workout can generally accomplish any goal that you are looking to achieve.
Final Word on Finding the Best Treadmill for You
So here’s the final word(s) on buying a home treadmill…no more excuses. When you hear people talk about running, you no longer need to respond, “I just can’t get into running,” or “I’ve tried and I just can’t run.” With a home treadmill, there’s no need to make excuses because of any insecurities you may have about running at the gym or in public. No more excuses for not getting to the gym for a workout. With your own home treadmill exercising in a highly effective and low-impact way is absolutely within close reach.
There are a ton of choices in treadmills at almost every price point. Treadmills come with a ton of options these days; incline, decline, heart rate monitoring, cooling fans, MP3 compatibility, mobile device connection, programmed exercise programs and connectivity to the outside world. Take a close look at them all and keep your goals in mind. The best treadmill is out there for you. We hope this guide has helped you get a better picture of what’s out there and what a great treadmill can do for you.