Treadmills and people exercising

Treadmills have come a long way from manual models that were nearly impossible to operate and could be dangerous. The best treadmills now feature technology that tracks workouts and helps train for specific events.

There are so many treadmills to choose from today. To make it easy, we reign the options into the best treadmills for different purposes. This guide will help you learn more about the features you should be looking for and what you should keep in mind when you’re on the hunt for a new treadmill. We’ve found treadmills that are made to suit almost any budget and that will work for your needs no matter what they are!

Read on to learn about the best treadmills, which ones might be harder to operate, and what you absolutely need to look for in a treadmill.

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: NordicTrack T Series Treadmill
Best Budget: Horizon Fitness T101
Best Upgrade: 3G Cardio Elite Runner
Best for Small Spaces: Lifespan TR2000e Electric Folding Treadmill
Best Tech: NordicTrack Commercial 2950

The Best Treadmills: Our Top Picks

Best Overall
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NordicTrack T Series Treadmill

With 10 levels of coaching and integrated training, the T Series provides expert coaching.

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$1,399.00 USD

Why we Picked It

With a 10-inch color display, the T Series provides an easy way to keep track of your workout and stay motivated. Workouts from iFit can be played on the screen and this NordicTrack includes a membership to the fitness plan for one year.

Features like the autobreeze fan make a workout with the T Series a better choice for people who get hot. It’s easy to turn the fan on while you’re working out so you can start cooling off no matter how intense the workout is. Keep track of your heart rate and be sure your workout is on track with the EKG grip pulse that won’t interrupt your walk or run. NordicTrack’s quick incline feature make switching the intensity of your workout as easy as the push of a button.

Keep in Mind

The T Series is a full gym size, seven foot treadmill and will likely not fit into small spaces.

In a Nutshell

  • Coaching included for one year
  • 300-pound weight limit
  • Syncs with Bluetooth

Best Budget
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Horizon Fitness T101

Get more for a lower price with the best budget treadmill.

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$599.00 USD

Why we Picked It

Despite its small price, the Horizon Fitness T101 packs a big punch. It’s Bluetooth capable and can connect with most phones to sync a workout. The 3-zone variable response cushioning makes it more comfortable to walk on and may even provide some “give” that other treadmills do not.

The T101 is great for small spaces and performs well when you need a quiet treadmill. It easily folds to take up just a fraction of its unfolded size. It’s also extremely quiet and can be used when a reduced noise level is necessary.

You can also customize your workout with 10 speed and incline choices. Share the treadmill with other users and take advantage of the quick program keys that will ensure you always land on your own workout instead of anyone else in your family.

Keep in Mind

While the T101 does not have a built in LED screen like other models, it does have a stand and USB charging port where you can connect your device.

In a Nutshell

  • 250-pound weight limit
  • 10 MPH top speed
  • Foldable for storage
Best Upgrade
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3G Cardio Elite Runner

Commercial shock absorbency makes for a workout that’s better on joints.

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$3,399.00 USD

Why we Picked It

When it’s time to get serious about working out at home, the 3G Cardio Elite Runner provides commercial-level shock absorption. It’s a great option for runners who are looking for an upgrade and gives enough even for those who struggle with running on a treadmill. The Elite runner includes courses, fitness tests, and tracking tools that are all pre-programmed and ready to use. With a 400-pound weight limit, it’s the best treadmill for all body types.

The built in speakers help make your workout more entertaining and give you a chance to choose the best music for your own personalized workout. Connect a device to watch follow along with a workout in surround sound. Built-in fans that have multiple speeds can help you cool down when the workout starts to heat up.

Keep in Mind

Non-LED digital controls are easier to see during a workout, but may not save as much energy as LED-controlled screens.

In a Nutshell

  • Shock absorbing cushioning
  • 400-pound weight limit
  • Up to 15% incline
Best for Small Spaces
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Lifespan TR2000e Electric Folding Treadmill

Compact and filled with easy to use features.

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Why we Picked It

The Lifespan Electric Folding Treadmill’s compact size doesn’t sacrifice quality and comfort. You’ll be able to enjoy the convenience of a treadmill that fits into almost any space while also getting all the features you love for your workout. At just 71 inches long, the treadmill fits into tight spots but it can also fold up to save even more space.

Integrated USB chargers allow you to charge your device and give you the chance to upload and track your workouts. Included with the treadmill is a free membership to the Lifespan club.

Keep in Mind

The small size does not have a lot of power behind the motor, but it is comparable to larger treadmills and quieter.

In a Nutshell

  • 300-pound weight limit
  • Small and foldable
  • Free club membership
Best Tech
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NordicTrack Commercial 2950

Featuring a huge screen and thousands of workout options.

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$3,008.77 USD

Why we Picked It

A 22-inch screen not only gives you a place to follow along with pre-programmed workouts but also acts as a control center to keep track of all things fitness. The controls are included in the touch screen and a free membership to iFit for one year allows you to get all the workouts you need.

Speakers allow you to hear the pre-programmed workouts or your favorite hype music in surround sound. The fans help cool you down and their quiet motor means you can still hear above them. You can also save your favorite workouts and settings under multiple user profiles so you’ll always be able to choose your workout instead of having to compete with other household members for a workout style.

Keep in Mind

The pre-programmed and expert-led interactive workouts require a Wi-Fi connection to work properly.

In a Nutshell

  • Huge 22” smart touchscreen
  • 300-pound weight limit
  • Variable settings with multiple users

How We Chose the Best Treadmills

Noise, versatility, and user reviews all play a big role in the choices we make. Learn more about how each category impacts our decision.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can be a huge indicator of how well a treadmill works. We consider what people have to say about treadmills, what they like, and what issues they’ve had with them. When looking at reviews, we try to take into account the length of time someone has had the treadmill and what they’ve used it for. We also try to screen for reviews that may be “fake” or may not be an accurate representation of using the treadmill.

Versatility

We consider how versatile a treadmill in terms of varied uses, from casual walking while watching TV all the way up to training for a big race. We consider the incline of the treadmill and whether it works just as well inclined as it does on a flat surface. A treadmill’s versatility tells us more about the quality of the treadmill and whether it will work for anyone who wants to use it for different purposes.

Noise

While it’s reasonable to expect some noise from a treadmill, walking on one that shakes the whole house or is very noisy can be distracting and can ruin a workout. When we look at treadmills, we consider how noisy they are and what that means for users. Not only is the motor noise level an important consideration but so is the amount of noise the belt makes. We also check treadmills to make sure their shock absorbency is enough to keep them from bouncing around on hard floors.

Programmed Workouts

The best treadmills have pre-programmed workouts that are easy for users to start doing at different fitness levels. We consider the type of workouts included with each treadmill and if they’re able to work for people who are at different fitness levels. We also consider how easy they are to do and how easy the workouts are to access on treadmills. By looking at both automated and interactive workouts on treadmills, we can decide which ones are the best for people who want to do a variety of different workouts.

What to Look for in a Treadmill

Not every treadmill will be the perfect option for each user. When you’re looking for a treadmill, it’s important to consider how you’re going to use it and the features you find important in your workout. In general, looking at each of these categories can help you make the best choice for your own treadmill.

Size

You’ll need to consider the treadmill’s footprint, the type of space you have, and how the treadmill will be stored when you’re not using it. If you only have a small amount of space, you’ll need to find a model that not only has a small footprint but also folds up when not in use.

Weight Limit

Check the weight limit before you buy a treadmill. Most have a maximum weight they can handle so it’s important to know what it is before you purchase them. Buying a bigger or better constructed treadmill does not always mean it can handle more weight. Even the largest models may have a relatively low weight limit. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Construction

Heavy treadmills can be hard to move around, but they are usually better constructed. They tend to last longer, will not rattle as much, and can feel more stable even when you’re running for a long time. They may come with better features and might be easier to customize to your workout needs. The trade off is that heavy treadmills also tend to be more expensive.

Maximum Speed

If you run fast or are practicing for sprints, you will need to find a treadmill that has a higher maximum speed. While many runners don’t need much more than 7-8 MPH as a maximum speed, sprint runners may want to find models that go higher. If you just want to walk or don’t plan to run at a fast speed, a lighter model may be a better choice.

Interactive Technology

If you want more motivation or you love the idea of a workout class, find a treadmill that gives you virtual classes and training sessions. You may also want to try a model that features interactive classes so you’ll be able to get feedback for each of your workouts. Smart models with large screens can simulate the outdoors and may give you more motivation while you’re working out.

How to Safely Use a Treadmill

Treadmills are among the most common pieces of workout equipment, but they are still a piece of machinery. Knowing how to operate them safely will not only ensure you have a successful workout but also that you do not hurt yourself.

Starting the Treadmill

If you’ve never worked out on a treadmill, it’s best to familiarize yourself with how they work. Use your own model to look at the different controls and learn about what each one does before you start working out. The best way to start out on a treadmill is standing with your feet on each side of it. Start it slow and then start walking on it instead of starting while standing on the belt.

In Case of Emergency

All treadmills come standard with a safety feature that protects you in case you fall while you’re working out. The emergency clip allows you to stay safe and will shut the treadmill off if you happen to fall. Clip the red emergency clip on your shirt or pants so if something happens and you lose your balance, it will pull and the machine will stop.

Stopping Safely

When you’re ready to stop working out, you will need to slow the treadmill down. Use the handrails to maintain your balance and step onto the sides just as you did when you started working out. Bring the machine to a complete stop after you’re off the belt.

Treadmill Care and Maintenance

A treadmill is an investment. It’s important that you care for your treadmill and make your investment worth it. By taking good care of your treadmill, you can extend its life and ensure you get your money’s worth. Always consult your owner’s manual for detailed treadmill care, but these steps are a great place to start.

  • Clean the exposed surfaces monthly. Wipe them down with a gentle all purpose cleaner and a damp rag. If your treadmill has an LED screen, use a cleaner that’s made for that specific purpose.
  • Monitor the belt tension and adjust it as needed. Make sure your belt is not too tight. When your belt is too tight or too loose, the treadmill will not operate properly and it may become worn out faster. You’ll need to use your owner’s manual to learn about the proper tension and how to access the area where you can adjust it.
  • Lubricate the rollers and other components to ensure they work properly through each and every workout. You’ll need to use machine oil or a lubricant recommended by your manufacturer. Most treadmills do not require lubrication right out of the box, but check your owner’s manual to make sure your model does not require it.
  • Vacuum out and dust the motor compartment occasionally. While this step may seem unnecessary, it can help your treadmill’s motor run better and can be helpful if you notice the rollers are sluggish. This step is more important if you live in a home with a lot of dust or you have pets, as their hair can clog up the inner components.

Related Resources

If you’re creating a home gym or you just want to make sure you get in shape in the best way possible, explore these other exercise reviews.

 

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