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Best treadmill

Best treadmill
(Image credit: @Ryan De Hamer on Unsplash)

A good treadmill helps you walk, jog and run indoors whenever you want. They’re ideal for beginners looking to build up their cardio fitness, as well as for experienced runners wanting to maintain consistent training indoors if the weather is too harsh for outdoor runs. Home treadmills are also suitable for hiking workouts as well as interval training, where you throw in some sprints. The best treadmills monitor your heart rate, calories burned and distance covered.

Best overall

NordicTrack Commercial 1750

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

NordicTrack commercial 1750 home treadmill

Gym-level performance

NordicTrack makes pro-level cardio machines, including the NordicTrack commercial 1750 home treadmill for a good body workout. This treadmill is a stunning gym-grade running machine that is quiet while in use and loaded with features including built-in workout programs, four user settings, and a connection to your iFit account. With iFit you have access to over 16,000 on-demand workouts.

Pros:

  • 38 built-in workout programs
  • 16,000+ on-demand workouts
  • Low impact cushion

Cons:

  • Heavy

The deck is cushioned to reduce the impact on your ankles and knees as you run, plus it has interval training with digital incline controls. It supports speeds up to 12 miles per hour and holds a maximum weight of 300 pounds. The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 has an EKG grip pulse and tracks time, speed, distance covered and calories burned during each walking or running workout. While the HD touchscreen is relatively small compared to the overall size of the treadmill, the display is clear and easy to view, with two built-in speakers enabling you to exercise along with your favorite workouts. To keep you comfortable while exercising, the Commercial 1750 will blast you with a dual AutoBreeze fan.

Best value

Sunny Health & Fitness manual treadmill

(Image credit: Sunny Health & Fitness)

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M

Manual treadmill

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M treadmill doesn’t have a lot of advanced features, which makes it a great option for those who are just starting to get into shape. It has a decent incline and doesn't require any power to use.

Pros:

  • No-power design
  • Inclining deck

Cons:

  • Not a lot of features

Other features of the Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill include an LCD display that will show you how long you've been working out, how fast you're doing, the distance you've walked or ran, and the number of calories you've burned. The display requires batteries to use, but because the rest of the treadmill doesn't need electricity for you to use it, you don't have to use the display. This treadmill is lightweight and compact and folds up to store more easily. It's so easy that only one person can get it folded up.

Best folding

XTERRA Fitness TR150 treadmill

(Image credit: XTERRA Fitness)

XTERRA Fitness TR150 treadmill

Space-saving design

The XTERRA Fitness TR150 treadmill has 12 different programs already set, plus three incline settings that you manually set. The entire treadmill weighs 108 pounds, which isn’t a lot compared to other machines. It folds up so it’s easier to slip into a corner or closet in between uses rather than take up space.

Pros:

  • Easy to store
  • Pulse readers

Cons:

  • A bit bouncy

The LCD control panel displays metrics like speed, distance and calories burned. It also keeps tabs on your pulse.  Surrounding the console  The 50-inch deck holds up to 250 pounds. It isn't the most sturdy deck, so there is a bit more bounce especially during sprints. The console is surrounded by a couple of holders that can keep tabs on your keys and other personal items, and are wide and deep enough to hold water bottles. It also has a rack to hold a magazine or your tablet to look at while working out.

Best for the office

Goplus 2 in 1 treadmill

(Image credit: Goplus)

Goplus 2 in 1 treadmill

Low-profile design

The Goplus 2 in 1 treadmill is designed for walking, and for use underneath a standing desk to help you stay physically active while working a desk job. It’s compact and designed with transportation wheels so you can easily move it to a new spot, including under furniture.

Pros:

  • Run or jog
  • Slim and lightweight
  • Wheels for easy rolling
  • No assembly needed

Cons:

  • Low max weight capacity
  • No incline mode

This treadmill can be used as a traditional machine for jogging or running. But the handlebars fold down flat around the deck so it can be used for walking at low speeds. There is a display right above the deck that will keep track of your metrics whether you have it set up in jogging or running mode. With the handlebars up there is a holder for your phone or tablet. You can also connect your mobile playlist to the built-in Bluetooth speakers, and connect the machine to an exercise map to keep track of your workouts.

Choosing the best treadmill for you

"Purchasing a new treadmill can be likened to purchasing a car,” said Pete Schenk, president of LifeSpan Fitness. “You should purchase based on treadmill capabilities first and foremost. Whatever attractive features are built-in should be viewed as a bonus.”

Schenk also said many first-time buyers are swayed by a feature or two and are then disappointed when the treadmill needs repairs just a few months down the road.

Picking the best treadmill for you should include knowing the space available in your home gym, your personal fitness level and goals, and how many people in your home will be using it. 

Running surface

When buying a treadmill, don't pick anything with a running surface that measures less than 20x60 inches. A wider and longer running surface is much more comfortable, especially if there's any impact-reduction cushioning to reduce stress on your joints.

Motor power and speed

While the horsepower is important (most treadmills average 3-4), the key factor here is the continuous speed provided. If a treadmill will only achieve your average pace, you’ll quickly end up burning the motor out. Most treadmills have a top speed of 12mph, which is ample for most people.

Incline/decline

To mimic ascents and descents, choose a treadmill with a decline and incline function. Declines are good for feeling as though you are running or walking downhill at pace, while inclines help you feel as though you are climbing. A good range is -3-15%.

Control panel (console)

This is another important factor, with some of the best treadmills for home use offering large, full-color touchscreen displays, giving you swift access to a range of onboard workout and training modes. Some even offer interactive training via Google Maps, via which you can virtually run anywhere in the world, with the treadmill replicating the terrain to a point (provided you have an incline mode).

NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

Can you lose weight on a treadmill?

Treadmills are a great way to help you shed the pounds. You’ll need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat. A 30 minute run won’t come close to this, but it will chip it away and do it regularly enough and the pounds will soon fall off. 

Not only that, but most treadmills will have a program to fit your needs. Here's a list of basic workouts and what each type entails:

Lose weight fast: If you’re looking to lose weight, you should use interval workouts. Warm up, and then move to a brisk walking pace for about 2 minutes. Then, run as fast and as hard as you can for roughly double that time. Repeat this process several times – but always listen to what your body tells you, and slow down when you need to. 

Build muscle: Use the treadmill’s incline function for an interval workout. Run on a flat surface (0 degrees) before raising the incline to a level where you feel challenged but comfortable; this will really work your hamstrings. Alternate between running on a flat surface and at an incline. 

Increase endurance: Endurance training is an important part of running for a long time, as in a marathon. On a treadmill, start with a jog for a little less than a mile, and then increase your speed to a full sprint. When you need to slow down, start jogging again to cool down. Continue alternating as long as you can.

Aside from helping with weight loss, running (and walking on a treadmill) has numerous other health benefits. Each time you do a cardiovascular workout, your heart is strengthened, which can lower your blood pressure. And you don't have to run as fast as you can either; many treadmills are programmed with workouts that range from light and breezy to extremely strenuous. It's important to figure out what works best for you and talk to your doctor about any health concerns. If you feel lightheaded or experience sharp pain, you should stop your workout immediately.

Treadmills are great if the weather’s wet and cold outside, as you can stick to a training plan without fear of slipping on an icy road or sidewalk. Not everyone likes running in the dark, so a home treadmill means you can run in the comfort of your own home whatever time of day it is.

Why trust us?

At Top Ten Reviews, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.

For treadmills, we weren't able to get a hold of every brand and model to test personally. However, we did get two that we tried out in our office and sent other testers into gyms to learn about the features and feel of others. This, along with talking to fitness experts, helps us understand what to look for in a good, reliable machine.

Claire Davies

Claire is Health and Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews and covers all aspects of health, wellbeing and personal care. With over 17 years' experience as a qualified journalist, writer and editor, Claire has worked across some of Future's most prestigious, market-leading brands. Due to past struggles with insomnia, she is particularly passionate about the role quality sleep plays in our physical and mental health, and loves helping readers to sleep better. Claire is always keen to hear from brands regarding products and services that can help readers feel healthy, happy and empowered.