Treadmills are an extremely popular piece of fitness equipment. They are found in every single gym in America thanks to one solid reason: they mimic exercises that maximize the performance of the human body. Running and walking are familiar, comfortable, and fun. Furthermore, when you’ve got a busy schedule or the weather doesn’t cooperate, a treadmill gives you a ton of options for exercise. Most would think it’s just a lower body and cardio workout, but utilizing a treadmill and its various features will help you get a full-body workout.
If you’re tired of going to the gym and want to invest in a treadmill for your home, you’re in luck. There are numerous options and price points, so it’s easy to find one that works for your budget and requirements.
Considering a treadmill an investment also brings up a few other points to consider beyond the price. A treadmill is an investment because it takes up a lot of space. There can be a significant difference in quality between machines, so you want to ensure you pick one that will help you feel your best about your workout.
We’ve done some of the research for you already, and we have a roundup of our favorite treadmills.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Under $500
- 2 Best Under $1000
- 3 Best Over $1000
- 4 Before you Buy
Best Under $500
This model comes with six personal trainer workouts to get you started and a price that won’t break the bank. It’s a good basic treadmill because it’s super comfortable and maximizes your workout while actively minimizing the damages to your joints. This is important when getting involved with a treadmill as sometimes the process of running can damage your knees and make you sore.
This model isn’t as wide as some, which makes it useful if you have limited space. The assembly is easy too – minimal setup with just a few screws and bolts before it will be ready to go. It’s ideal for walking and jogging, and it’s super affordable; a definite win-win
The Confidence Plus is another machine with a super affordable price. It has a handrail, which is important because it’s short and skinny. It’s also super light and easy to assemble. As a lightweight and affordable machine, it’s not designed for someone to pound into it like they’re trail running. Nevertheless, it’s a reliable treadmill.
These factors make a great positive experience, especially for someone who just wants a treadmill to speed-walk or jog. It’s whisper quiet and is around four feet tall and four feet long, just perfect for a small space. Consider your height on this one, though, as the belt isn’t all that long. If you’re over 6 feet tall, you might want to look into other models.
Best Under $1000
Horizon Fitness presents a product that has all the bells and whistles you can imagine for under $700. This one has some power: about 2.25 horsepower to pump your workout to the extreme. It’ll get you up to speed with at least 10 MPH speed functions, plus the all-important 10 percent incline to maximize your workout. Its’ also got a huge belt that’s well over two and a half feet long. There are 30 workout options to supplement the surround sound speakers for your MP3’s. Finally, a heart rate monitor and quality computer monitor sits right in front of you.
It’s got twin hydraulic shocks to keep you steady and stable, and an impressive fitness fan that keeps you cool while you’re running. With this treadmill’s powerful, quiet motor, durable design and great features; it easily becomes one of the “Best Buys” in the treadmill category. The Horizon’s 5″ LCD display helps you quickly see your workout stats, and you’ll be able to get the most out of your workout experience with the 30 workout programs, which include 10 step programs, 10 distance programs, 6 calorie burn programs, and 3 different interval workouts.
The Nautilus T614 is a great machine that features 22 workouts. It runs up to 12 miles per hour and features an incline of up to 12%. It also includes a 3-speed fan and sealed acoustic speakers. Overall, this is an excellent investment if you want a treadmill that gives you workout options and dependability.
Less expensive treadmills are a bit noisy. When you pay more, you get a quieter machine. That’s the case with this machine. Its quiet and it includes a nice, large display. The Nautilus is a serious treadmill when you’re ready to really invest in your home gym.
ProForm’s Performance 400i is a futuristic looking machine that has all the tools for you to get a great cardio workout. The display on the 400i has an intuitive design that tells you when you are running at endurance, tempo, and peak levels. This is a great feature for anyone looking to increase the intensity of their cardio routine. For an affordable price, the 400i can be great addition your at-home gym.
Like most treadmills in this price range, the 400i comes with a multitude of workout programs, 18 to be exact. If you’re looking to have diverse workouts, then the 400i can provide a multitude of options for you to test your body.
Best Over $1000
You might ask yourself, what’s the big difference between the 400i and the 995i? We’re glad you asked. The 995i is the next step up from the 400i not only in price but versatility. As a more expensive machine, it comes with a more powerful drive system that appropriately handles any of the 30 different workout apps on the treadmill. This treadmill is definitely built for the person looking to take their physical fitness to peak levels.
The 995i comes with a number of cool little perks that make it an ideal home workout machine. A cooling fan located at the bottom of the center console will keep you cool while you run. The treadmill also folds upward and is all around easy to move, unlike most treadmills that are completely stationary.
As the most expensive on our list, the 3G Cardio Elite Runner is the top of the line. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it if you are an avid user who wants to invest in a home gym. It is a heavy piece of equipment, but it will give you the feel of the treadmills at the gym. It’s quiet, sturdy, and has plenty of options for workouts.
Some of the construction improvements you’ll notice over less expensive machines have to do with the belt itself. On the Elite Runner, you get high-quality orthopedic belt designed to reduce strike vibration and give you cushioning and support. The console is also high tech and has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-quality machine.
Before you Buy
Choosing the best treadmill will ultimately come down to your budget, the programming options of the model you’re looking at, what motor you’re looking to buy and how much space you have to keep it. Here are a few things to think about when you’re deciding which treadmill to buy:
- Your budget. It’s important to get the best you can get for what you can afford in any situation, and buying a treadmill is no different. The best treadmills are comfortable, quiet, easy to use, and are made from quality materials that will last you a long, long time. The most expensive treadmills cost upwards of $3000 and will be the highest quality. A mid-range price is around $1500 for a quality model with the best motors.
- Motor control. Nothing on a treadmill is more important than the motor; a quality motor ensures you get the absolute best workout possible. Generally speaking, most treadmills you’re going to find are going to have two motors, one that’s powering the belt, and another that cranks up your incline. It can be pretty confusing to figure out horsepower- especially for people like us who are used to hearing about thousands of horsepower in our engines. For simplicity sake, we suggest a treadmill that’s operating at approximately 2.5-3.0 horsepower.
- Belt sizes. You want a belt that’s plenty long and plenty wide so you don’t trip yourself up and so you’re comfortable. If you get a small tracked one, you could be wasting your time, and you’ll decide never to use it again.
- Speed. You want to be able to run at least 10 miles per hour without your motor topping out. It might sound like a lot for a novice, but it’s not that hard for someone who’s been running on a treadmill for a short period — you might even find yourself doing it some day.
- Incline. You want at least 10% incline. Statistically, every percent of incline exponentially increases the workout gain you receive, plus it allows you to hit muscles that you might have missed on a flat elevation workout.
- Cushioning. It’s important for your running bed so that it absorbs shock and the belt doesn’t move on you every time you take a foot-strike. Again, like the wideness and length of the belt, this choice is often a ‘make or break’ on quality equipment. It’s important to decide early before your initial investment exactly how much space you want (within reason).
- Stability. It’s all gotta be even while you’re working so you can focus on training and tune out everything else. You have to be on your game when you’re running, if your treadmill is shaking and bobbing, then you’re not stepping how you should, and eventually, either the machine is going to break, or you are.
- Control Panel. Don’t ever underestimate a good control panel. We recommend finding a quality machine with an excellent control panel for you to see everything you can do. You might want to look at features that come with a quality control panel too, like running or walking programs, heart rate monitors, or the ability to hook up your treadmill to websites to track your fitness.