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Running can be a great way to integrate cardio into your workout routine—not to mention it has plenty of health benefits, including reducing the risks of things like hypertension, diabetes, and congenital heart disease. But sometimes, an outdoor jog just isn’t on the menu, whether you’re dealing with winter weather or a 90-degree summer day.
Thankfully, running indoors boasts many of the same benefits, and all you really need to get started is a treadmill. (Well, that and a pair of running sneaks, but we trust you’ve got that covered.)
The complicated part of buying a treadmill is, of course, finding one that’s worth the investment. Sifting through fancy features and determining which products best meet your needs can be challenging, but the good news is that excellent options abound—and we've researched them all to help you choose the right one.
Read on to learn more about the best treadmills available now.
What to Look For In a Treadmill
Especially for the non-tech savvy, a user-friendly and intuitive display can save you time and headaches. Look for reviews or pre-test your treadmill choices before purchase to ensure the display and functionality are easy to set up and understand. The same is true if your treadmill has a heart rate monitoring system or WiFi capabilities. Be sure these features work well and are easy to implement.
If you'd like your workouts planned for you, check for pre-programming features on your treadmill purchase. Many treadmills come with options for workouts such as steady-state cardio, high-intensity intervals, mimicking hill climbs, or a mixture. Some brands require memberships, paid or otherwise, while some offer this programming for free, included in the machine with purchase.
Space Saving Design
If space is a limiting factor for you, it's wise to check if your treadmill can be folded, rolled, and stored away. Look for dimensions for the treadmill once it's at its smallest possible size. Measuring your space before you buy is a good idea to prevent purchasing a machine that is too big.
Hopefully, you won't need it, but having a solid warranty is a good idea. Check the manufacturer's warranty for parts, motor, and frame. It's also wise to check how easily parts can be replaced or serviced and whether you'll need to pay for shipping if your machine needs to be fixed.
Best Overall: Sole F80 Treadmill
The Sole F80 is pretty much everything you could want in a treadmill. Its incline can reach 15 different levels, and its tread belt can accommodate speeds up to 12 MPH. It also comes equipped with patented rollers that keep the tread belt moving smoothly, and its Cushion Flex Whisper Deck offers plenty of shock absorption—plus, its display screen is large, vibrant, and user-friendly. There are a few tech-savvy amenities, too, like a built-in tablet holder, a USB charging port, and Bluetooth audio speakers so you can blast your go-to jams to your heart's content.
Best Budget: Horizon Fitness T101 Series Treadmill
Requiring just 30 minutes of setup time (!), this Horizon treadmill makes it super easy to start your indoor running routine. Even better? It does so without breaking the bank. Its 55-inch belt gives you plenty of space to move around, while its three-zone cushioning design alleviates pressure on your joints as you walk, jog, or run. Its user-friendly controls make it easy to toggle between speed and incline settings, and its motor promises to stay relatively quiet. Also, even though it's budget-friendly, it comes equipped with a few fun features, like a built-in device holder and charging port. Another bonus? It folds in half so that you can store it between workouts, and it's backed by a lifetime frame and motor warranty.
Best Luxury: TechnoGym SkillRun
The TechnoGym SkillRun is a luxe, heavy-duty treadmill designed with athletes in mind. It even doubles as a sled bar and triples as a parachute brake, allowing you to build speed, endurance, coordination, and strength with just one machine. In addition to these varied training modes, the TechnoGym offers guided training sessions. Sign up for one of these single-player workouts, and the TechnoGym SkillRun will automatically adjust the speed and incline for you. It also comes equipped with Netflix, YouTube, and Internet access—plus, since it can connect to wireless headphones, you can stream your favorite entertainment hassle-free.
Best for Small Spaces: Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill with Device Holder
This Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is about as small space-friendly as you get. Not only is it foldable and portable, but it’s also relatively compact when it’s fully set up. This may be a downside for some, but it might be perfect for you if you don't have much space to work with. It also has some neat features, like a large display screen (which you can use to access one of the machine’s nine built-in workout programs) and a ledge for holding a phone or tablet. Plus, it can accommodate speeds up to 9 MPH and inclines up to 4.37%.
Best Folding: NordicTrack T Series Treadmill
The NordicTrack T Series Treadmill is not your average folding treadmill. While many folding treadmills are small and narrow, this one boasts plenty of running space with a 20 x 55-inch tread belt. It also offers an array of exciting features, like OneTouch incline and speed control, FlexSelect deck cushioning, and a built-in speaker system. The most impressive thing? Even though it's relatively heavy-duty, it's still designed to be easy to fold and transport. It's also backed by a one-year labor warranty, a two-year parts warranty, and a 10-year frame warranty.
Best Under-Desk: RHYTHM FUN Treadmill
This Rhythm Fun under-desk treadmill offers an easy (and space-saving) way to squeeze a little cardio into your workday. The treadmill’s 18 x 45-inch tread belt is narrow enough to slide under most desks but long enough that you’ll still have room to move around—plus, it's designed to be shock-absorbing and noise-reducing, so you can squeeze in a quick jog without disturbing your peers (or your downstairs neighbors). Lastly, since it comes without a vertical attachment, it’s effortless to store between workouts. Simply roll it under your desk to store it horizontally, or stand it up against a nearby wall.
Best for Walking: Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 Heavy Duty Walking Treadmill
Avid runners may want a performance treadmill with tons of fancy features, but if walking is more your thing, you can likely find everything you want in a lightweight, budget-friendly option like this one from Sunny Health & Fitness. Though it's relatively low-profile, it can withstand speeds up to 6 MPH, and its 44.5 x 19.5-inch tread belt still offers ample walking space. It also comes with a digital monitor, a built-in device holder, two built-in cup holders, and easy-to-use buttons to adjust the settings of your workout.
Best for Virtual Coaching: NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Treadmill
If your #workoutgoals involve having a personal trainer coach you as you run, this NordicTrack treadmill is the one for you. It comes with a one-year membership to iFit, an interactive personal training program, which grants you access to more than 17,000 workouts, daily cross-training challenges, and live training (which allows NordicTrack’s personal trainers to adjust your treadmill’s incline, decline, and speed as you work out). The treadmill itself is tricked out, too: Its belt is equipped with RunnersFlex cushioning, which is designed to potentially alleviate pressure on the joints, and it can accommodate 0-12 MPH speeds and -3%–15% inclines. It's also backed by a one-year labor warranty, a two-year parts warranty, and a 10-year frame warranty.
Best for Studio Workouts: Pro-Form Pro 2000 Treadmill
Can’t choose between a treadmill, a personal trainer, and a group exercise membership? With this ProForm treadmill, you don’t have to. The feature-heavy treadmill comes complete with a free one-year membership to iFit, an interactive personal training program. Use the treadmill’s screen to access one of iFit’s many studio workouts, or enable the Trainer Control feature to allow a trainer to adjust your speed and incline settings while you run. The helpful features don’t stop there, though. This treadmill is equipped with a cushioned belt and a CoolAire fan—plus, even though it's relatively heavy-duty, it folds up, making it easy to store between uses.
Best for Incline Training: NordicTrack Commercial X11i
Many treadmills boast the ability to incline, allowing you to mimic the feeling of walking or running up a hill. But few can match the incline range that the NordicTrack Commercial X11i offers. The treadmill can accommodate everything from a 6% decline to a 40% incline—which, FYI, is incredibly steep. (For context, many treadmills can accommodate inclines up to 15%, and some cap out at 5%.) That's not the only feature on offer, though. This treadmill comes with Bluetooth speakers, cooling workout fans, Reflex cushioning, and a free one-year membership to iFit. Plus, it's backed by a one-year labor warranty, a two-year parts warranty, and a 10-year frame warranty.
Best for a Quiet Workout: MaxKare Folding Treadmill Electric Motorized Running Machine
Most treadmills run using some kind of motor. Unfortunately, this can also be the thing that makes them noisy, which may pose a problem if you live with other people. Thankfully, some treadmills, like this MaxKare option, are designed using quieter motors. For example, this one promises to keep the noise under 60 dB. (For reference, that’s about as loud as a standard conversation.) This treadmill comes equipped with 15 workout programs and can also fold in half, making it easy to store between sweat sessions.
Can I Lose Weight On a Treadmill?
You can certainly lose weight on a treadmill. Treadmills help you to burn calories when you walk or run on them, which is essential for your health and useful for creating a calorie deficit needed to induce weight loss.
Is Using a Treadmill as Good as Walking?
There are benefits to stepping outdoors for a walk that can't be found on a treadmill, but treadmills are convenient and all-weather friendly. Owning a treadmill might make getting more steps into your day easier since it is so accessible.
Is it OK to Use a Treadmill Every Day?
Using a treadmill everyday can be safe for most people. If you are new to exercise, start by walking 10 to 20 minutes each day, or more, depending on your fitness level and current health status. Build up to walking or running up to 150 minutes per week of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
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Donnelly JE, Honas JJ, Smith BK, et al. Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: Midwest exercise trial 2. Obesity. 2013;21(3):E219-E228.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?.