Treadmills are a staple piece of equipment at any commercial gym and can make a great addition to your home gym as well, if you are ready to make that leap. Having your own treadmill allows you to skip going to the gym, saving on transportation costs and gym membership fees. It can also allow you to stay inside and run from your home when weather conditions are not ideal for outdoor running, such as snow or rain. Ideally, this is meant to help you work towards increasing your cardio, fitness, and overall health.
When purchasing a treadmill, it is best to start with the type of treadmill you want, since this will be largely dependent on if you plan on using frequently and where you will be storing your machine regularly. Motorized treadmills come in a variety of types, usually distinguished in the market by folding or non-folding options. In order to distinguish between quality and user needs, we are breaking them up into Budget Folding Treadmills, Folding Treadmills, and Non-Folding Treadmills.
Budget Folding Treadmills
As a much smaller model with a shorter running belt, these machines are built for regular use and intensity. These treadmills are great for people looking to use the machine for mostly walking and who want a potentially smaller unit and to take up less space. Since these units are foldable, they can easily be stored or folded to save space. They are generally smaller than non-folding treadmills, as they are less permanent, and even folding treadmills. Since they have a shorter running belt they take up far less space and require less space around them for safety. These models do not usually come with higher end features such as a heart-rate monitor or heart-rate control programs, but will still have a display for speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
Budget folding treadmills are great for a regular user, and ideal for someone who will not push the treadmill to its limits, more commonly using it for walking than running even. If this is all you need out of your treadmill, this is a great way to go since they take up less space and are less expensive as some of the larger and more heavy duty models. These treadmills can be less stable as they are typically made from lighter materials. Depending on the stride of your run, the deck may be too short to facilitate running; you should always test a treadmill before purchasing one.
The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill is an extremely popular treadmill on Amazon, featuring a space saving design and foldability. It offers six different workouts and adjusts to offer two different incline levels. Cushioning ensures comfort and safety while using the treadmill too. The Confidence Power Plus Motorized Electric Treadmill is a folding treadmill that allows for easy storage and to reduce the space it takes up when not in use. It is great for both walking or running, and can hold up to 250 pounds, making it great for heavier individuals looking for a sturdy machine. It also features an LED display that gives you various control over your workout and the ability to track your exercise. The Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill comes in a space saver design, so it does not take up too much space. It has a cushioned deck to ensure comfort while running, and has two different incline settings to allow you to diversify the intensity of your workout. Both types of foldout models can potentially be the best type of treadmill for your home, since it allows you to adjust the amount of space it takes up during and when not in use. This way the treadmill doesn’t take up too much space when not being used.
The main thing these have in common with budget folding treadmills is that they also fold, making it easy to store them or to reduce the amount of space they take up in your home when you are not using it. Folding treadmills have a sturdier construction than budget folding treadmills and offer more stability and can support a more intense load and workout. These decks are still shorter than non-folding treadmills though, and are not built for as heavy duty of a workout. These units are a great middle ground between the budget folding treadmills and the non-folding treadmills. These still may have a shorter deck and ultimately not be ideal for running or if you have a long stride, and it may not offer the same foot rail supports or some of the high end features that many non-folding machines come with.
The ProForm 505 CST Treadmill is a folding treadmill that allows for space during storage and when not in use. It can hold up to 200 pounds, and therefore offers great durability and stability. It features soft cushioning to ensure safety and comfort during use. It features ultimate adjustability, offering inclines from zero to ten percent. It is also a higher technology model, offering iPod compatibility for audio. This is a great mid-range machine that gives you folding options and stability. The Lifespan TR1200i Folding Treadmill offers one of the largest running surfaces, with a deck 20” by 56”. This deck is also built with a suspension system that can support up to 300 pounds. The LCD display allows you to track a variety of workout information, including time, distance, speed, and calories burned. It come with a variety of built-in program options that are ideal for weight loss, healthy living, sports training, and heart rate programs. The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill easily folds up to save space when not in use, and a soft drop system to ensure you set it up safely when ready to use. It features controls on the handrail for easy access while using the treadmill, and features nine different built-in workouts. It has three levels of incline adjustability and has a smartphone and tablet holder so you can keep in touch while doing your workout. The Exerpeutic 2000 WorkFit High Capacity Desk Station Treadmill has been tested to support up to 400 pounds, offering an extremely heavy-duty machine with strong durability and longevity with the added folding capabilities. This allows you to save space while still getting the best in quality and security. It features the best in adjustability, with an incline range from zero to fifteen percent. It also comes with extra long safety handles to ensure you don’t slip or fall during your workout.
Non-folding treadmills are the most heavy-duty treadmills available, offering a strong, sturdy construction than can support large loads and intense workouts. These will have a more secure deck and frame, a longer deck for running, and a plethora of program options to diversify your routine. Since these units do not fold, they do take up a lot of space, and require additional perimeter space around the treadmill for safety. They do not fold and are therefore quite a permanent addition to the room. These pricey models will not always have many built-in programs, and some folding models will have more, as these are built to be the sturdy, quality treadmill that offers all your basic running needs with the highest end quality and comfort in mind. These units are much more expensive than other types of units, but is the best option for diligent runners, offering higher top speeds and inclines. These units will feature the longest warranties and are designed to carry heavier loads as well.
ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill offers all the bells and whistles, with a backlit display, iFit and iPod compatibility. It can reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour and offers a wide incline range, from -3 to 15 percent settings. It comes fully loaded with 32 workout programs to provide the best in workout variety and options. It also has cushioning to offer support and comfort. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill is a heavy-duty treadmill that offers great adjustability, having zero to ten percent incline settings and twenty built-in workout programs. It also has iPod and MP3 compatibility. This model features a large deck, 20” by 55” for a great stride while running. Because of how permanent these are, these are ideally suited for home use.
Things to Consider
When choosing the best treadmill for yourself, you will want to consider a number of things, including how you intend on using it and which features you need to fit that lifestyle. You will want to consider your fitness goals and how you plan on using the treadmill. This will mean considering whether you want to walk or run, the intensity of your workout, and the diversity of features you want during your workout. When determining this, you will want to get a more sturdy and strongly constructed machine if you are planning on using this consistently for running and higher intensity workouts. Depending on how hard you plan on working your machine, you may be able to get something less expensive and bulky. If you plan on walking regularly and running on occasion, you may want to consider a foldable machine that offers a lot of the features of the non-folding machines, but with the ability to store and reduce space and cost.
Another thing to consider is budget, since you will want to target a machine that offers you the features you want for your lifestyle, without costing you too much. The more money you spend, the more features you get, as well as a potentially stronger base construction and design. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, it may be best to sacrifice some features for price, keeping your purchase reasonable.
Thirdly, you will want to take into consideration the size of the treadmill and the available space you have for it. When considering size, you will want to think about how much space it will take up, how permanent of a fixture it is, and how much space you need around the treadmill for easy access and safety. If you have no issues with sacrificing space because you’re an avid runner, you may want to purchase a non-folding machine and get some of the extra features you want as well. If you want to be able to fold it up so it doesn’t take up a lot of space while it isn’t in use, you may want to purchase a folding or budget folding treadmill, allowing you to reduce the amount of space it takes up when not in use.
The final big thing to consider when purchasing the best treadmill is adjustability options. Many of the folding and budget folding models will have sufficient speed and incline options for your workout, but generally, as the grade of the treadmill increases, so does top speed and incline.
There are many features that treadmills can offer, and choosing which treadmill is best for you will mean evaluating, comparing, and negotiating what you are willing to sacrifice and what you need. These should all be dictated by the use you expect to get out of the treadmill, and should be considered when making your decision.
A fan is something that some treadmills come with, and this can be a great feature as the fan will be located in an ideal position to give you a good breeze during your workout, allowing you to cool down. Although a model with a fan can be advantageous, if it breaks, it will probably be more expensive to fix than a traditional stand-alone fan. Despite the convenience and comfort that a built-in fan could provide, you may want to consider saving money and getting a separate fan and find a way to position it ideally for your exercises. Many units, even some of the lower end models, will feature fitness trackers, which allow you to track the progress of your workout. This helps you ensure you are on track, meeting your goals, and helps you organize your workout routine. These units can also be purchased separately, and built-in units may be more expensive to repair or replace than a stand-alone fitness tracker. Ideally, you will probably want at least some tracking features, such as time, distance, and speed. Depending on the other needs you have of the machine, consider purchasing a fitness tracker separately.
Many treadmills come with built-in exercise programs, offering a variety of workout options for varying difficulties and levels of exercise. More advanced treadmills come with a wide range of exercise programs to choose from, but in many cases these will be unnecessary. Even experienced runners can get the exercise and benefits they are looking for through simple programs that most treadmills come with, such as hill climb, stepped and variable incline, and random. Some of these built-in exercise programs are geared towards specific workouts, such as weight loss or muscle strengthening. These displays also offer various other features as well, such as high-tech offerings for entertainment and productivity. Some offer docks for iPods, USB ports, and wireless internet to allow you to connect your music or activities to the treadmill’s display. This can enable entertainment options; paired with a table option, you can use WiFi to potentially do work while on your treadmill. Some even feature more advanced technologies, such as a heart-rate monitor to allow you to register and track your exercise level.
Safety is another feature to consider when purchasing a treadmill. You want to ensure have space to safely place and operate your machine. You also want wide, sturdy hand and foot rails to enable easy access as well as safety and support while using the treadmill. Added safety feature can include a tethered safety key that will automatically shut the machine off if pulled out. By connecting this to you, you ensure the treadmill shuts off if you accidentally fall or slip off the treadmill.
Best Treadmill for Running
If you are a serious runner, you may feel the need for all the bells and whistles to help you get through your workout. If perks such as entertainment displays appeal to you, then you will most likely want to get a higher end, non-folding treadmill. These are the most sturdy, heavily constructed models, offering the most durability and longest life expectancy. These machines do not always necessarily come some of the high-tech extras, but ensure that all of the basics are top notch quality, built for serious, consistent, and diligent runners.
The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a durable, sturdy, and stable machine that offers a great size deck for running. This model has a lot of specialty features and is tailored to a serious runner, and is intended for more intense workouts. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill is a heavy-duty treadmill that offers many specialty features for more advanced runners. This is great for people looking to get a serious workout and push the limits of the machine, geared more towards running than to walking or casual use.
Best Treadmill for the Money
Getting the best value out of your treadmill purchase will not be as simple as buying the cheapest machine, but balancing what you want with what you are willing to pay for it. This will ultimately depend on the needs and intended uses of your treadmill, and will change based on each person. However, in general, the budget folding treadmills are the cheapest models, offering the basics as well as the ability to reduce the space it takes up. For most people looking to make an economic purchase but still get the essential needs of a treadmill, a budget folding treadmill should be sufficient and the least expensive. All in all, you get what you pay for. Take this into consideration when you are investing in your health. Buy the treadmill that will make exercising as enjoyable and built to your needs as possible.
Buying the Best Treadmill
Getting the best treadmill for you will depend on what you want out of it, there is no direct answer. You will want to balance and negotiate the features you want for a reasonable price. You will want to think about type of treadmill first, based on available space, how much you are willing to spend, and what level of workout you want with the machine. From there, you will want to think about the various features you want. Do you want a lot of built-in programs or do you have your own workout routine already in place? Do you want all of the tracking features or are you a more casual walker or runner? Do you want high-tech options like iPod accessibility or tables that function as a work station? Ultimately, when choosing the best treadmill for you, you will want to choose something that fits all of the needs you want from the machine in terms of performance, durability, stability, convenience, and comfort.