Why Buy a Home Treadmill?
The top performers in our review are the NordicTrack Commercial, the Gold Award winner; the ProForm Pro, the Silver Award winner; and the Sole F80, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a treadmill to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 products.
If you have ever experienced endorphins filling your brain and making you feel wonderful after a great workout, then you know how thrilling this sensation can be. You can have this experience along with better cardiovascular health, stronger leg muscles, a healthier immune system and greater endurance – all by using a treadmill as an integral part of your fitness plan.
What is even better is the fact that you can gain all of this in the comfort of your own home with a treadmill. It's not an exaggeration that sensible and faithful use of a good-quality home treadmill can change your life.
Gone are the excuses for not exercising. No time for a workout? Not to worry. You do not have to schlep a gym bag anywhere, find a place to park, change into exercise clothes and then wait your turn to use a gym treadmill if you have one conveniently under your own roof. Maybe you don't feel like going for a run or even a brisk walk because it's raining outside. That doesn't need to hold you back. You can just take a few steps over to your handy treadmill and let the workout begin.
The best treadmills for home use offer everything a high-end gym treadmill can provide, and, given the extraordinary convenience, you can set and reach more ambitious fitness goals than ever before. Our lineup features excellent treadmill brands with an abundance of features that should suit nearly every exercise fan's needs. For more information, check out our articles about treadmills.
Treadmills: What We Looked For, What We Found
When you consider which treadmill to buy, you'll want to think about your fitness needs and goals and then choose a treadmill with the functions to help you achieve those health improvements. You might even want to make a list of these needs to keep in mind so you get the best treadmill for you.
If you are over 5'10, you may need a treadmill with more stability and a longer running surface to match your stride. Generally speaking, this would mean a treadmill with a running surface of at least 55 inches long, preferably 60 inches. The taller you are, the longer the running surface should be, since you undoubtedly have a longer stride than someone with shorter legs.
Nearly all good-quality treadmills offer the option to adjust the treadmill to increase the incline level of the running area. This makes your workout more difficult, since you are moving "uphill," and the more you raise the incline, the more strenuous the workout. This is a great option for losing weight, because the greater the incline, the more calories you burn. A treadmill that features a decline capability helps you strengthen different muscles, so if you alternate the incline and decline for different workouts, you will end up with a more thorough exercise regimen.
There are many treadmill options on the market today. A treadmill with basic features and programs might be exactly what you need if you prefer walking or running without outside distractions from your own thoughts, although none of the treadmills we reviewed is a non-electric treadmill. If you are a dedicated athlete or a tech-savvy person who loves to try different workouts as well as program them, then you might prefer a treadmill with customized goals and heart rate programs to tailor your workouts to your needs in great detail.
Another consideration is how much space you have at home. If you live in an apartment or condominium, you might be happy with a folding treadmill that you can put away when you are not using it. Although the treadmills in our lineup are not small treadmills or compact treadmills when set up for use, some are nonetheless easy to fold and neatly store so they do not take up your living space.
Another good choice is a quiet treadmill, with a deck and motor that operate with little noise. This is especially important if your workouts have to take place at unusual hours so you do not wake up the rest of the household.
If you have a heavy workload, fear not. Some treadmills offer a tablet stand and touchscreen interface so you can keep up with everything that's happening at the office, effectively turning your exercise machine into a treadmill workstation.
For some lighter stimulation with your workouts, you can get a treadmill with extras such as speakers so you can run to your favorite music, and a touchscreen with video capabilities and interactive video workouts. Some of the top-rated treadmills let you transport yourself via the video screen to a beach in Malibu, a trail in Colorado, or a street in Paris so you can enjoy the view and distract yourself from the fact that you've got 25 more minutes to run, even though your legs are beginning to feel the effects of your workout so far. A little entertainment along the way can provide a welcome relief and keep you motivated and moving.
There are other factors to consider before investing in a home treadmill. These aspects can be just as important to your customer satisfaction.
In case you train frequently and for long periods, or you are worried about the impact of running or prolonged walking on your joints, some top treadmills offer adjustable cushioning. All quality treadmills have cushioning in the running area. Generally, this involves a shock-absorbing layer under the surface. Some treadmills offer three areas of cushioning, with a softer section in the front where your foot lands, a moderate level of cushioning in the middle of the running area, and firmer cushioning in the back where your foot presses down to take a new stride.
The best treadmills let you adjust the cushioning level in different parts of the running area so it is firm where you want it to be and softer elsewhere. This can make a tremendous difference in how your knees, ankles and back feel during and after a workout, since they bear the brunt of the impact when your feet land as you move.
Before you purchase any treadmill, you will want to read the fine print to make sure there are no loopholes in the machine's warranty coverage. You should choose a motorized treadmill with a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame, or 10 to 15 years at minimum. Parts, labor and electronics come with their own limitations. Typical treadmill warranties cover parts, labor and electronics for one to five years, while the best treadmills offer a five-year to a lifetime warranty on these elements. This is a major purchase, so you need excellent coverage for your treadmill.
Help & Support
The majority of treadmills come with a user manual as well as an assembly manual. The assembly manual generally displays every nail, screw, lever and switch needed to put your treadmill together. Before purchasing a treadmill, make sure that the manufacturer provides a user and assembly manual, either as physical copies or PDF versions. Live chat is another support feature to look for so you can get quick answers to your treadmill questions. The manufacturer should also provide a technical support phone number or a support email or form for you to use to contact its service representatives.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the manufacturers in advance of publication.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
The NordicTrack Commercial, which won our Gold Award, can accommodate someone who weighs 300 pounds, provides a 22-inch-wide running surface and includes 38 workout programs. You can use its touchscreen video to browse the web, choose prepared workouts or go to Google Maps to select training routes. You also get adjustable cushioning in the running area to spare your joints any unnecessary wear and tear. You can turn this feature off to experience running on a harder surface that is more like a road.
Our Silver Award winner, the ProForm Pro, gives you 34 preset programs, allows an unlimited number of users to track their progress over time and operates very quietly. This durable treadmill also features a video screen so you can pick prepared workouts or customize your own, and it has a shelf to hold a tablet at a level where you can read and access it.
The Sole F80, which earned our Bronze Award, gives you a 15 percent maximum incline so you can increase the intensity of your exercise sessions as you progress. This is a great choice if you live in a small home, as it is a folding treadmill, so after your workouts, you can store it easily. It comes with speakers so you can attach your iPod or MP3 player and zone out to some tunes while getting fit.
Whatever your fitness needs, a treadmill is a great machine to help you excel in your fitness goals. Exercise equipment like this is an investment, but the best home treadmills are effective once you decide to take control of your health, boost your immune system, increase your self-confidence and improve your wellbeing.