Would you love to lose weight while scrolling through Instagram in the comfort of your own home? What about improving your endurance while binge-watching your favorite TV show? You can get fit on your own, at home, and without a gym membership via an at-home treadmill.
Treadmills have come a long way over the years, and nowadays treadmills offer more than just stationary running. There are so many brands and types of treadmills out there, but which is the right choice? In this article, you will learn about the best treadmill brands, different treadmill features, how to prioritize your needs with an at-home treadmill, and how to pick a good-quality treadmill that will complement your home gym for years to come.
Why should I invest in a treadmill for my home?
You may wonder if investing in a treadmill is really worth it. There are thousands of YouTube workout videos that offer free cardio exercise online: Aerobics, Zumba, HIIT Training. You could just go to the gym and break a sweat on a variety of exercise equipment, right? Why would an at-home treadmill be a better option, and what can an at-home treadmill do for you?
Aside from the convenience of having the means to get a good workout in at your home, a good quality treadmill can accommodate a variety of exercise needs and will continue to challenge you as you get more fit. That’s the goal, right? Cardio on at-home treadmills is easier on the joints so it can push you to work out harder, workout longer, and lose weight quickly. Plus, once you buy a treadmill, no more monthly gym fees! You own the gym! Keep in mind, however, that with ownership comes more responsibility with maintenance and cleaning. Check out our “Tips” section below for more information about how to properly care for your treadmill.
Types of Treadmills: How to Know Which is Right for You
Understanding the benefits of an at-home treadmill is easy. The hard part: Choosing the best treadmill for you. Different treadmills offer different exercise benefits, different price points, and different space requirements. As you shop for treadmills, think about your needs, your current fitness level, and your fitness goals for the future.
If you are new to exercise, just getting 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular activity 3 times a week can have some huge benefits to your health. Just with 20 minutes a day, you can expect to see things like:
- Increased calorie burning
- Improved respiratory health
- Boost in immunity
- Better energy levels
- Management of blood sugar levels
- Better sleep
- Lower blood pressure
As your endurance grows, you can increase your time on the treadmill, getting up to 45 to 60 minutes. The big advantage of having a treadmill at home is that your exercise will not be hampered by days with poor weather, allowing for more consistency with your exercise.
They also design modern treadmills with a better ability to absorb your running or walking stride. This makes them better for those with joint and knee problems. Running outside is great, but the constant impact of the hard roads and sidewalks can lead to issues with your joints, tendons, and ligaments, and the possibility of significant injuries.
Here is a breakdown of popular treadmills and our tips on how to choose the best treadmill for you:
Tried and True: Best Treadmill Brands Over Time
You may feel comfortable investing in a treadmill from a long-standing fitness brand. Buying the best commercial treadmills on the market can be a costly purchase, and purchasing from a company with good customer service and lifetime warranties may be important. Well-known exercise equipment companies like Life Fitness, Precor, and Cybex are used in gyms all over the country and pride themselves on their experienced support team who specialize in their state-of-the-art products. Other companies can offer comparable products and services for the at-home runner. Let’s take a look at the best-selling treadmills for home.
Best Treadmill for Avid Runners and Athletes
Pro 2000 by ProForm
- Boasts a wide 20” x 60” running surface with ProShox Cushioning to minimize injury potential on your joints
- Adjusts up to 12MPH speed for sprinters and high-speed runners
- Contains decline and incline settings to challenge your muscles and coordination (-3% to +15% grade)
- Includes 32 workout apps that are already installed, iFit Live Technology, and a built-in fan for cooling
Who Makes It:
ProForm has been in the at-home exercise industry for over 30 years and partners with the Boston Athletic Association (principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon) and Le Tour de France. ProForm owns hundreds of patents, making their products and technology uniquely their own. ProForm prides themselves on being a highly recognizable fitness brand that strives to help their customers find success in achieving their exercise goals.
The Bottom Line:
If you are an avid runner, sprinter, or elite athlete, this treadmill is a great option for you due to its high speed. This treadmill offers extensive entertainment and technology hook-ups to enhance your already intense workout. One thing to note: This treadmill weighs over 300 pounds and may not fit in all homes. Make sure you measure your entry door before you buy it because installers warn that it may not fit through everyone’s door.
Best Treadmill for Beginners and Those with Medical Conditions
Confidence Power Trac Treadmill by Confidence Fitness
They make this treadmill for slow runners and walkers. It accommodates beginners, speed walkers, the elderly, and those with preexisting conditions such as aching joints from Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis. It has a sleek design and can fold away when not in use. Priced at less than $250, it is the best budget treadmill and is the best cheap treadmill in this list.
- Adjustable speed range from 0.6-6.2MPH
- Includes 12 built-in fitness programs
- Contains 3 incline settings (5% grade or less)
- Basic and straightforward data display for speed, distance, time, and calories
Who Makes It:
Confidence Fitness specializes in exercise equipment that is low impact and safe for people who are trying to lose weight, increase flexibility, or increase confidence in movement and balance. Their products are available in-store or online at Walmart, eBay, and Sears.
The Bottom Line:
This treadmill is best suited for people who want low impact endurance exercises. Beginners, the elderly, those who need low impact workouts for compromised joints, and speed walkers would enjoy this treadmill for its slower speeds and simple, easy-to-use programming. One thing to remember: The max weight for this machine is 265 pounds. This basic treadmill may not be suitable for every person, but this is one of the few treadmills suitable for a very specific population. If walking is your speed, the Confidence Power Trac Treadmill by Confidence Fitness is the best treadmill for walking.
Best Treadmill Under $1000
C700 Treadmill by NordicTrack
- Boasts a 22” x 55” running/walking surface
- Adjustable speed range from 0-10MPH
- Contains incline settings from 0%-10% grade for added toning and intensity during your workout
- Comes with a lifetime frame warranty + 25-year motor warranty + 1-year parts-and-labor warranty
Who Makes It:
NordicTrack got its name from its original “skier” exercise equipment, which became successful via television ads into US households. Customers raved about NordicTrack’s smooth gliding, low impact products which motivated the company to patent their technology. NordicTrack has since expanded over 25 years to include a wide variety of low impact exercise machines that still challenge the exerciser.
The Bottom Line:
This is the best affordable treadmill for all the features it offers, making it the best treadmill for the money. It is a great investment for families of differing fitness levels and needs. A middle-aged mom, her high school football player son, and his elderly grandfather all could use this equipment at home. It is moderately priced and backed by NordicTrack’s unparalleled warranties. Consumers can have confidence in purchasing this high quality, versatile treadmill for their at-home family gym.
Best Treadmill Under $500
TR150 Folding Treadmill by XTERRA Fitness
Not only is this the most compact treadmill version by XTERRA Fitness, but it is also the lightest and the least expensive of the line. Perhaps because this treadmill is reasonably priced and keeps runner safety in mind, it has made its way to the top.
- Boasts a 16” x 50” running/walking surface
- Adjustable speed range from 0.5-10MPH for a variety of fitness levels
- Contains a XTRAsoft cushioned deck to minimize injury potential on your joints
- Includes 12 preset programs to diversify your workout and 3 incline settings to tone all your leg muscles
Who Makes It:
XTERRA Fitness is a fitness equipment brand whose products are sold in stores like Walmart, Overstock.com, and on their website. They have worked directly with professional athletes and outdoor activity fanatics to fine-tune their products to fit the needs of any activity level. They pride themselves in their lifetime warranty, safety, and exceptional customer service.
The Bottom Line:
If you are a beginner to exercise with room to grow in your home gym, this treadmill is a great option. You may need help with installation, however, since it is not the most compact treadmill out there. However, this treadmill offers a wide variety of programs and levels for a cheaper price point.
Best Foldable and Compact Treadmill for Home
Folding Electric Support Motorized Power Running Fitness Treadmill by Hurbo
This treadmill boasts low noise during use and easy folding mechanisms for quick storage, making it the best folding treadmill on the list. Aside from its space-saving capabilities, this treadmill also provides fitness settings for higher calorie burn, muscle toning, endurance training, and fat burning.
- Boasts a compact 14” x 40” inch running/walking surface for a small at-home footprint
- Folds down to 47” x 24” x 9.5” for easy storage
- Total treadmill weight: 57-88 pounds (varies by material)
- Adjustable speed range from 0.5-6MPH
Who Makes It:
Hurbo manufactures many home products from space-saving full-body fitness equipment to exercise trampolines to bicycles. Hurbo products emphasize safety at any age via protective gear and safe assembly functions.
The Bottom Line:
This foldable, compact treadmill by Hurbo would be exceptional for the at-home runner or walker who wants the benefits of a home gym with minimal space. Those with small city apartments, condos, dorms, or mobile homes can feel confident in investing with the Hurbo foldable treadmill because it contains all the basic features of competing treadmills without all the weight and space requirements.
The Keys to Picking the Best Treadmill for You: Your Checklist Before You Buy
Now that you’re familiar with the best treadmills on the market, you can now make an educated purchase in a treadmill that will be suitable for you years to come. Here’s a checklist of the most important factors in finding the perfect treadmill for you:
- Your Budget: Budget is often the most important factor when choosing large exercise equipment for a home gym. Consumers want to balance cost and convenience to make investing in a treadmill worth it. As detailed in this article, most treadmills cost between $500-$1500, with others exceeding this range. However, as you have seen, more expensive treadmills do not necessarily mean better ratings from customers and better-selling products. The person who wants to get fit at home on a budget can find high-quality treadmills between $200-$500.
- Your Fitness Goals: If running is your life and your passion, you may want to opt for treadmills that have all the bells and whistles to connect your phone and track your running progress. Being able to track your fitness data is a great way to make sure you are progressing with your workouts. As we discussed, some treadmills offer innovative technology to improve the quality and enjoyment of running, whereas others are far more basic for those who want to run and be done! If you like to do low impact workouts and being an elite athlete is not your goal, there are plenty of treadmills to choose from. Remember to consult your doctor before starting any workout routine, including those on your home fitness equipment. Your doctor may be able to help you create fitness goals and prioritize your needs in an at-home treadmill.
- Space and At-Home Footprint: Keep in mind that treadmills can be huge and heavy! Don’t invest in a treadmill that is not suitable for your home, because that will lead to problems during delivery, installation, and everyday living. The best at-home treadmill for you should complement your home gym and your lifestyle.
- What Will Motivate You: Just like almost everything in life, another important key is to understand which treadmill will motivate you to actually start exercising and keep up with it in the future. If you feel you need a treadmill with a TV or music or detailed running stats, make sure you find a treadmill that offers these features. If you think getting a compact treadmill that you can store away when not in use will motivate you to work out more than running outside or running at a gym, that is important to consider. The best workout is the one you will actually do, so find the right piece that inspires you to continuously use it. When it comes to getting results, adherence and consistency are the most important factors.
Tips for How to Care for Your New Treadmill
- To avoid damage and injury to yourself, make sure that you set your treadmill in an open area with at least 2 feet clearance around all sides of the treadmill. This will ensure your safety as well as prevent damage to furniture as you engage the moving parts of the treadmill.
- With treadmill ownership comes your responsibility to clean and maintain the machine. Treadmills require cleaning for both aesthetics and proper hygiene, so it is important to clean the surface from dust and surface spots as well as disinfect the treadmill. While the treadmill company may offer you their specific cleaning products, you can also make your own treadmill cleaning solutions. Here’s a list of products you can use to clean your treadmill:
- Gym equipment wipes (found in commercial gym equipment stores)
- Disinfecting surface wipes or aerosol spray (i.e. Lysol)
- Fitness equipment polish (i.e. Spintech)
- Make your own equipment cleaner by combining 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup baking soda, and 2 cups hot water into a spray bottle. Spray this mixture onto the treadmill and wipe dry with a clean towel.
- One thing to keep in mind when cleaning your treadmill: Clean all areas of the treadmill but avoid letting liquid cleaning products seep into the crevasses of the treadmill. The internal electrical equipment in the treadmill can be damaged if wet, so do not over-do the spraying. It is best to use cleaning wipes or lightly spray the treadmill to avoid drips.
- Companies may also offer cleaning and maintenance services for a fee or as part of their warranty, so understand the ongoing financial commitments for treadmill maintenance before you buy.
- Always consult the treadmill’s user manual or call the customer service line for questions regarding the maintenance of your machine. Doing so will ensure your treadmill will operate at its best for years to come.
The Bottom Line on Selecting and Purchasing a Home Treadmill
Everyone can benefit from an at-home treadmill to lose weight, increase cardiovascular endurance, and ultimately become more fit. Once you find the perfect treadmill for you, you will find that a treadmill complements, enhances, and motivates you to reach your fitness goals.
Now that you’ve read this article, the easy part is finding the right treadmill. The harder part: Evaluating your particular needs. Use the checklist above to help you. By following this checklist and choosing your perfect treadmill, you’ll lose the weight and be more fit in no time!
What’s your most important factor in choosing a treadmill? Budget? Small footprint? Cool features? What motivates you to get on your treadmill? Let us know in the comments below.