If you’re passionate about running, the benefits of owning a treadmill are obvious: you can get your running done at any time - rain or shine - and studies have shown that running any distance on a treadmill is far less harmful to joints than if you were pounding the pavement for the same distance. Treadmills come equipped with a wide variety of features: compact, space-saving models; cutting-edge machines that intelligently adjust their speed and incline based on pre-programmed workout routines; or high-end models that come packed with enough features to put a luxury sports car to shame! With so many treadmills on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But never fear! Let this article be your guide and primer in choosing the treadmill that best fits your personal fitness needs. We’ve scoured a plethora of home treadmill reviews to present you with our top 10 list so that you can find your best treadmill for home use.
Top 10 Best Treadmills for Home
Different Types of Treadmills
There are two basic types of treadmills: manual and motorized. For serious workout enthusiasts, several other types exist including elliptical treadmills and gym-quality treadmills. Beyond these basic types, treadmills vary tremendously in features and capabilities. Popular designs include smaller models with compact shapes and folding designs, which allow for maximum space saving without compromising your running surface. Other treadmills are designed with usability in mind, complete with impact sensors that automatically adjust the incline and resistance to maximize comfort and endurance running. Then there are treadmills that emphasize performance and durability, with high-performance motors and special treads expertly engineered to hold up under years and years of rigorous training regimens. Others still are loaded with features like dual cooling fans, surround sound speakers, USB charging ports, apps that wirelessly sync up with your tablet and TV, and other gadgets to help keep you comfortable, entertained, and most of all, motivated to keep working out. There are even treadmills that attempt to do all the above! With such variety on the market, it means there’s definitely a treadmill to suit nearly every fitness need, but it can be daunting to select the right one. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Manual vs. Motorized Treadmills
Manual treadmills are powered by your movements. To turn it on, you get on and start running. To turn it off, simply stand still and the machine will slow to a full stop. Manual treadmills are less expensive than other varieties, as they require fewer moving parts; however, since they are powered by the user, you might find yourself getting tired quicker. It can also be more difficult to achieve an even workout on a manual. The speed of the treadmill depends on how fast you are able to run, and the treadmill relies on you to provide your own consistent strides. In spite of these challenges, manual models still rank highly among the best treadmills for home use. Their compact shape means they leave a much smaller footprint than motorized models, and are an ideal choice for apartments or homes with smaller gym spaces. Manual treadmills also come in a variety of folding designs in which the various components of the treadmill are meant to be collapsed and ‘folded’ up, allowing the treadmill to be conveniently put away when not in use.
On the other hand, motorized treadmills are more expensive. As their name suggests, motorized treadmills are powered by a built-in motor of varying horsepower, and will run at a consistent speed as long as their power switch is turned on. Because the treads are capable of running automatically, motorized treadmills also often come packed with additional features, such as the ability to adjust running speeds and incline at the touch of a button. When shopping for motorized treadmills, be sure to consider the size of the running surface, the nature and adjustability of the incline and the motor’s horsepower.
Usability and Performance
Manual and motorized treadmills that emphasize usability and performance are made with high quality materials and specially engineered components and designs. Put together, these treadmills boast not only impressive longevity, but also tend to emphasize “user friendliness” - that is, they were designed to be easy to use, and offer easily customizable features and interfaces. Comfort is also key in these treadmill types. More sophisticated models come with various features cleverly designed to run “under-the-hood”, such as impact sensors and hi-tech receivers that automatically adjust incline and tension resistance based on your pre-programmed fitness goals, all with the aim of reducing stress while maximizing workout benefits, allowing you to work out longer, and more comfortably. Other models instead feature highly customizable console controls, allowing you to make quick - sometimes one-touch and on-the-fly - adjustments without interrupting your exercise routine. High quality materials and construction, along with continuous duty motors also mean that these treadmills are built to last under frequent and repeated use. These treadmills are also often backed by multi-year manufacturer warranties.
Are you the type of runner who gets bored running the same route day after day? Do you never leave the house without your trusty pair of earbuds and your smartphone strapped securely to its holster? You’re in luck: treadmill manufacturers have long accepted the importance of creature comforts to their customers. After all, it’s a very real fact that motivation is one of the main barriers to working out. And what better motivation than the ability to let you listen to your favorite tunes or TV shows in surround sound, while you work out? Indeed, treadmills these days don’t skimp on ‘luxury’ features like high-performance fans to help you cool down after feeling the burn, multi-port USB chargers, wireless connectivity to your home TV and the internet, and of course, the aforementioned surround sound speakers. Many consoles might also be equipped with cutting-edge user interfaces loaded with apps that help monitor your heart rate, track your fitness goals, connect to your favorite social networks and share your exercise accomplishments with your friends, family members, and the world wide web. If you’re willing to put up with the heftier price tag, your treadmill could very well end up with more features than your home entertainment systems.
Overview of the Top 5 Treadmills
Averaging 4 stars out of a staggering 1,999 customer reviews, the Wesldo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill ranks #1 on Amazon’s top-rated best home treadmills at the time of this writing. With its sleek, space-saving foldable design and compact 68 x 31 footprint, it’s easy to see why this treadmill ranks among the most popular buys for cardio enthusiasts looking for a straight up, no-frills treadmill.
Not to be underestimated as simply an ‘old-fashioned’ treadmill, the Welso Cadence G 5.9 also packs an impressive amount of features, such as a package of six workouts put together by certified personal trainers to maximize your fitness gains and minimize your time investment, 2-position manual inclines to adjust your workout intensity, and Comfort Cell Cushioning to ensure that you’ll keep your strides steady and consistent throughout your run. Being a manual treadmill, its fastest run pace has been reported as 10 mph, so serious runners may want to look for a higher performance machine. For everyone else, the G 5.9 finishes first as one of the best treadmills for running at home.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill ranks #2 on our list, with an impressive 4.5 stars out of 153 reviews at the time of this writing. With a running surface of 15.75” x 48.82”, the Sunny Health & Fitness is also among the smaller models to make the list; indeed, its space-saving size and silent drop-down deployment features are among the treadmill’s most enthusiastically-promoted features.
Both its size and affordability make it popular among reviewers, who have by and large praised the treadmill’s performance value for the dollar, light weight, and ease of assembly and wheeled transport. Some users even expressed admiration for the size of the treadmill’s running surface, arguing that the smaller surface size helps them maintain a steadier stride and more even pacing. As for features, the treadmill comes with various conveniences such as handlebar controls, a built-in holder for phones and tablets, and an LCD screen to help track time, speed, and calorie burn. The console comes pre-programmed with 9 preset workouts for varying skills and fitness gains.
Ranking at #3 with 4 stars out of 14 customer reviews, the NordicTrack T 6.5 S is the first motorized model to make our list. With a 2.6 horsepower continuous-duty drive system and a generous 20” x 55” treadbelt, the T 6.5 offers respectable performance and affordability.
Built-in workouts designed by both certified and celebrity personal trainers are a staple of NordicTrack treadmills, and the T 6.5 does not disappoint: it ships with 20 of these workouts that cover a wide range of fitness goals, from casual daily maintenance to intense training. Its digitally-adjustable incline can be varied up to an impressive 10 percent in order to target specific muscle groups, and built-in software allows it to network with other NordicTrack exercise equipment in your home for a more unified workout routine. Other features include an input jack that accommodates iPods and MP3 devices, allowing you to play your favorite workout music on the console’s speakers. Users have praised its easy assembly, pricing, easy to read display, and dependable gym-grade performance. The T 6.5 also receives high marks for its relatively quiet motor and safety features that make it inviting to older or younger users.
You might look at promotional photos of the LifeSpan TR 1200i, notice its folding design and immediately think, “Oh, that’s gotta be a manual treadmill.” Guess again! A rarity for its breed, the TR1200i is actually a folding motorized treadmill.
Packing a high-quality, quiet-running 2.5 hp continuous-duty motor, an all-steel frame, and sprawling 20 x 56” running space, the TR 1200i was built to simulate real-world conditions and to maintain peak-intensity performance over miles of use. Six compression shock absorbers also provide safety and automatically-responsive conditioning for knees, back and joints. And if all those features wasn’t enough, its folding capabilities are hydraulically-powered, allowing the treadmill itself to assist you in folding and unfolding. A built-in soft-drop system supports the entire weight of the treadmill, allowing it to be packed and unpacked safely and conveniently.
For all its features, the TR1200i maintains a competitive price for the market. Users have also highly praised its easy assembly, easy-to-read LCD console, dual handrails with speed and incline controls, and of course, its sophisticated folding and unpacking system.
Striding confidently into our #5 spot is the Weslo Crosswalk 5.2T. The second treadmill from Weslo to make it on our list, the Crosswalk 5.2T is the motorized version of the company’s popular line of home treadmills. It features a 2.25 horsepower Impulse O Motor, a respectable 16” x 50” treadbelt, an LCD window and a 2-position electronically-adjustable incline. Its upper-body arms also allow full-body conditioning, and come equipped with a thumbprint Easy Pulse heart-rate monitor.
A standard on Weslo models is their Comfort Cell Cushioning technology built into the running surface, allowing for dampened foot-on-machine impact and increased comfort. Supporting pacing speeds of up to 10 mph via a digitally-displayed speed control and an impressive 250 lb weight capacity, the Weslo holds its own alongside its manual cousin on our list of best treadmills for the home. A favorite feature among home treadmill reviews is the handlebars, which are reported to offer a surprisingly intensified workout if used in their elevated upper arm positions.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the selection that’s out there. There’s a staggering number of treadmill variations available online or physical retailers, from compact space-saving models to hydraulic-powered folding constructions, to treadmills made to withstand the test of time and rigorous exercise, to high-tech exercise machines of the future. Before buying a treadmill, be sure to have a good idea of your personal fitness goals, do your research, and be sure to buy from a reputable company. Also consider that most treadmills weigh around 200 lbs and even the smallest models require unpacking and personal assembly: be sure to have an extra pair of hands ready, or get out that billfold and be prepared to tip your delivery person generously. Whether you’re a casual runner currently renting a small apartment space, or a homeowner training for a marathon, there’s a treadmill out there for you. We hope our list has been useful in helping you find it.
Not sure what to do once you buy your dream treadmill? Check out this short video for some interesting treadmill workouts:
Product images are sourced from their respective pages on Amazon.com
Rankings and star ratings given are accurate at the time of writing.