4 Best Treadmills for Sale

4 Best Treadmills for Sale

36
Hours
Researched
28
Products
Evaluated

After 36 hours of research evaluating 28 products, we picked ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill as our top choice.

Our lives are so busy that squeezing in a session at the gym can be a bigger pain than most of us care to admit. And then there are those that prefer the privacy, or just need a machine for rainy days.

Enter the home treadmill. As treadmill prices have come down and home sizes have increased, it’s easier than ever to get one of the best treadmills for home.

But what should you look for?

The folks over at Consumer Reports offer some incredible buying tips. And, we think our time was better spent reading treadmill reviews, user reports, and getting on as many of these machines as we could – rather than rehashing the expert treadmill buying guide they provide for free.

And, if you’re lucky enough to have a home gym, you might also want to check our elliptical Faves as well. Perhaps you’ll find just the right machines for your budget this year. That’ll only make it easier to achieve your fitness goals, won’t it? Now, on to the list!

Why trust us: Faveable has spent thousands of hours researching, interviewing experts, and testing products to come up with carefully selected lists trusted by millions of consumers since 2013.

4 Best Treadmills for Sale

  • 4. Precor TRM 835 Commercial Series Treadmill with P30 Console
  • 3. Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
  • 2. LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
  • 1. ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

Best Treadmill to Splurge On

#4

Precor TRM 835 Commercial Series Treadmill with P30 Console

Best Treadmill to Splurge On: Precor TRM 835 Commercial Series Treadmill with P30 Console
80 % Editor Score
80 % User Score
78 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Quiet and smooth operation
  • Includes solid extras
  • Great preset programs

It’s a commercial treadmill with fully customizable preset programs and smooth stride cushioning that works seamlessly with the long, wide belt. Lever controls, cup holders, heart rate sensors, and clear LED display make exercising an awesome experience with this bad boy.

That price is shocking. And, there’s no way to plug any Android or Apple devices into it, which you would expect given the price.

If you’re a serious runner and you want a serious machine, this is the treadmill for you. Now, we probably don’t need to tell you this, but we think it’s responsible to remind you that you don’t have to spend this much on a home treadmill if you don’t already have an established workout routine.

The biggest bonus that comes from paying this much for a home treadmill (albeit one that’s actually a solid commercial model), is the overall performance and attention to detail. Take for example, the fact that it can manage a max weight of 400 pounds and has a sizeable (reversible) track. And add to that the Ground Effects Impact Control System that makes for a smooth run no matter what you throw at it and the heavy duty motor that makes it all possible – including a quick start when you turn on the machine.

But, that’s hardly the end of the benefits. There are the heart rate touch sensors in the handle bars (yes, just like you’d find at the gym) – or the option to connect the machine to your own heart rate monitor, if you prefer. The console has water bottle holders, and an accessory tray to hold all your goodies.

The LED display is easy to read and offers plenty of information (perhaps much more than you’ll ever need), and the 25 preset workouts can be customized to your liking. In addition, there are lever controls to swiftly change speeds or incline levels.

Now, it’s a little too high-end for most home users, but it’s barely at the top of the commercial game. And sadly, it’s missing the ability to plug MP3 players and phones into it for easy entertainment. Nor would you be able to fold it for storage. But, if you want something fancy for your home gym, this is the machine to get.

Is there a wide workout variety? There are 25 preset workouts, but you’re only limited by your imagination, strength, and endurance levels.

How fast can you make it go? Between 0.5-16 mph. That’s one of the highest achievable speeds for a home machine.

How much incline can you get? You can incline up to 15% and down to -3%. That’s very close to our top Fave’s abilities. Keep in mind that the -3% is available to simulate real terrain.

Are there any safety features? There’s a safety clip and lanyard system that will automatically stop operation if you feel you need to use it. There’s also a handy stop button right in front of you. It’s also not a safety feature per se, but there is a maintenance alert light on the front of the machine so you know when work needs to be done.

Maximum weight? 400 pounds, which is one of the highes on our list.

Track size? 60” L x 22” W. It still falls into the standard range, but it’s certainly on the bigger side of that.

Dimensions? 62” H x 83” L x 35” W. It does weigh a whopping 420 pounds though, so don’t expect to move it by yourself.

What type of motor does it have? The 4 HP AC motor works with the IFT-Drive controller for incredible performance.

Is there a warranty? It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and welds; 10 years for parts; and 1 year on labor.

Will it break the bank? Yes. It will. Though it’s an incredible machine, you need to be serious about it to pay $8,500.

Best Budget Treadmill

#3

Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill

Best Budget Treadmill: Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
80 % Editor Score
82 % User Score
84 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Easy to set up
  • Great price
  • Solid yet wonderfully small treadmill

The price on this folding treadmill cannot be beat. There are preset workouts, a (manual) incline option, and an LCD workout read to track progress.

It’s noisy and a mostly featureless small treadmill for home. The track size is quite small; you will need to watch your stride or stick to walking.

With a price tag sitting at $350, you really can’t expect much from this home treadmill. You’re not going to get any cup holders, accessory trays, or music connections. What you get is a decent, foldable machine that will help any newbie get started. It’s also perfect for those that usually exercise outdoors and need the occasional indoor workout during inclement weather.

There are pre-programmed workouts for those that need a push to get started. There is the option of a 5% incline, but you need to adjust it manually (and we think the manufacturers probably could have skipped this option and knocked a couple extra bucks off the price).

However, we do appreciate the ability to monitor your heart rate with the thumb sensor and the “Comfort Cell Cushioning” which is a fancy way of saying your joints won’t feel your feet pounding – even if you’ll hear them doing so. And you will; this isn’t a quiet machine.

It’s a cheap machine, but a good compact treadmill all the same. And, it even features wheels for moving it out of the way once you’ve folded it closed.

Is there a wide workout variety? 6 pre-programmed workouts are primarily focused on weight loss and intensity training. Each program was designed by a certified personal trainer.

How fast can you make it go? Variable between 0-10 mph.

How much incline can you get? 2-position incline – up to 5%. But, keep in mind you’ll need to adjust it manually.

Are there any safety features? There’s a safety key which you clip to your clothing to switch the machine off if you lose your balance or fall. This budget treadmill will not operate without it.

Maximum weight? 250 pounds max, which is slightly less than others on our list. 

Track size? 50” L x 16” W. It’s smaller than many home models, but still a decent amount of space to get moving.

Dimensions? Assembled dimensions: 55.5” H x 64.5” L x 29” W. It weighs a mere 117 pounds.

What type of motor does it have? 2.25 CHP Mhz motor.

Is there a warranty? The motor has a 1-year warranty. Parts and labor are both covered for 90 days.

Will it break the bank? At $350, this is a fantastic bargain.

Best Treadmill for Smaller Spaces

#2

LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

Best Treadmill for Smaller Spaces: LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
80 % Editor Score
88 % User Score
83 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Easy to assemble
  • Amazing treadmill
  • Great quality

The pre-programmed workouts are all clever and offer a range of challenges, while the MP3 plug-in is a surprising bonus given the price. It folds for storage and you get a full (4-month) membership to the LifeSpan Club which helps with fitness tracking.

It’s a noisy machine – not overwhelming, but hardly quiet either. You will need to follow the 3-monthly maintenance checkups to make sure this machine continues to operate as you think it should.

You may find it difficult to believe you can score this folding treadmill for under $1,000. We certainly are. For the most part this is a remarkable machine and the attention to detail is outstanding. Now, it’s not 100% perfect, but it was difficult not to give this the top spot in the ranking. That begins with the EZ Drop system that makes folding it away rather easy.  

For a compact treadmill, it’s got more than enough length for most runners (sorry for the super long leggers out there) and the 2-ply belt moves along wide rollers, making for a smoother run than most inexpensive options. There are also 6 independent shock absorbers and a cushioned belt for comfort. And, the super-cool Intelli-Guard safety feature pauses your workout if you step off the machine for 20 seconds.

As for other goodies, this value-for-money treadmill certainly isn’t lacking. You get the cup holders that you would expect and there is a “book rack” for watching whatever you’d like on your iPad. More than that, there are headphone and MP3 player plug-ins. The LCD display is backed by QuickSet buttons to make changing your workout super simple. And, the handles offer heart rate grips. (If you want a chest strap, you will need to sort that out separately, but this treadmill is set up for that.)

You also get a membership to the LifeSpan Club with this treadmill. The upside of that is the ability to track your progress and download new workouts. The downside is that you only get 4 months with the purchase of your machine. After that, you’ll need to pay, though a lifetime membership costs just $69.

Is there a wide workout variety? The 21 programs include 2 heart rate, 5 weight management, 7 sports training, 5 “healthy living”, and 2 customizable programs. The pre-programmed options were designed by physiologists.

How fast can you make it go? From 0.5 – 11 mph. That’s average.

How much incline can you get? Inclines from 0-15%.

Are there any safety features? It has EN957 and UL certifications. More importantly, if you step off the belt, the Intelli-Guard safety feature automatically pauses it. There’s also an easily accessible stop button.

Maximum weight? 300 pounds.

Track size? 56” L x 20” W. That’s on the smaller side of average. Mind you, it’s not bad, but it’s not huge. Though anyone with long legs will want to splurge on a treadmill for home with a longer track length.

Dimensions? Assembled dimensions: 54” H x 70” L x 33” W. When packed away: 63” H x 39” L x 33” W.

What type of motor does it have? 2.5 HP Continuous Duty DC.

Is there a warranty? There is a Lifetime warranty on the frame and motor. There is also 3 years on parts and 1 year on labor.

Will it break the bank? At $900, we think this is a serious value-for-money treadmill.

Best Overall Treadmill

#1

ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

Best Overall Treadmill: ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill
84 % Editor Score
94 % User Score
171 Bought

Why People Love it

  • Excellent product
  • Users fall in love with this machine
  • Easy to assemble

This is easily one of the best treadmill options especially given the price; it’s feature-rich and folds away with a hydraulic system. Integration with iFit transforms this machine into more than a mere treadmill.

It’s quite heavy – you’ll need help moving it. Other issues are ridiculously minor – especially given the price.

Wow! If you’re looking for the best treadmill for your home – that won’t totally break the bank, you’ve just found it. In their review, the folks at Runner’s World say “opt for this machine if you are on a budget.” We have to agree. If you’re serious, but you can’t justify anything over $5,000, you’re in the right place. The fact that you’ll pay less than $1,500 is just the first bonus you’ll find.

This awesome treadmill offers 32 programs which you can totally customize. The incline allows for downhill running as well as uphill training – that’s because the machine integrates with iFit so you can run simulations of real routes, work remotely with a trainer, and compete against friends. (Yes, seriously.)

Other huge bonuses include the cooling fan (yes please), more than decent sound with the 3.0 Intermix Acoustics speakers, tablet holder, iPod plugin, and heart rate chest strap. There is a tray for holding any other bits you need. And, the Hydraulic spring EasyLift Assist makes it easier than usual to fold this away (though you will need help moving it to another room – it’s heavy).

Basically, this product is about as awesome as it gets for a home treadmill. And don't just take our word for it either; multiple treadmill reviews give this full marks. If you're looiking for something just over that $1,000 price range, you want this treadmill. Promise.

Is there a wide workout variety? 32 workouts can all be hyper-personalized. You can choose to focus on high-intensity workouts, speed, incline, or calorie-burning.

How fast can you make it go? Up to 12 mph.

How much incline can you get? Imitate outdoor conditions with a range between -3 and 15%. Yes, that’s a -3% which is an unusual feature that you can use with iFit programs and much like roads you’d find on actual routes.

Are there any safety features? The handlebars offer a premium firm grip. There’s also an easily accessible stop button and a key that you can attach to your clothing – if you want; though it’s not necessary for most users.

Maximum weight? 350 pounds. That’s incredible – and you still won’t feel it shaking.

Track size? 60” L x 22” W; that’s on the generous side of average compared to other home models – only super tall runners will find it difficult to use.  

Dimensions? Assembled dimensions: 73.5” H x 80” L x 36” W

What type of motor does it have? An impressive 3.5 CHP commercial motor.

Is there a warranty? There’s a lovely lifetime warranty on the frame and motor. You get 5 years on other parts and 2 years of service.

Will it break the bank? The MSRP is $2,000. You’ll find this for sale somewhere between $1,300 and $1,500. It’s definitely a great value for the money.

Faveable Expert Tips

We can’t tell you how to use a treadmill - or how to care for it - that’s information you’ll find in the manuals for the specific machine that you purchase. And, we can’t tell you which workout is best for you either - that’s something you should discuss with a trainer or healthcare professional that can assess the specifics of your situation.

But, we have all the information you need when it comes to purchasing a treadmill that’s right for you.

What are your fitness goals?

It’s easy to make price the biggest deciding factor on which treadmill to buy. And, cost is obviously a big factor in any decision. But, the most important question to ask yourself before purchasing a home treadmill relates to your fitness goals.

What do you want to achieve with your treadmill workouts?

If you don’t know the answer to this question now, take a few minutes to consider it. Without a fitness or workout goal in mind, you’re likely to choose the wrong machine… and that means it may well end up in the garage collecting dust for a few years before you desperately try to sell it on Craigslist at a price well below value.

No matter how much or how little you pay for your home treadmill, no one wants that - especially you, at this moment, when you’re totally motivated to get your workout on at home.

General fitness goals and broad guidelines on the right treadmill for each one

Everyone has their own fitness goals and that’s not something we can determine for you. (And, if you have any health concerns, including extreme weight loss, it is imperative that you consult a professional to help form your workout goals and capabilities.) But, we can help you make a sensible choice about the home treadmill you purchase based on your workout goals.

We’ll dive deeper into the relevant features below, but these basic guidelines will allow you to get started on the search for a perfect home treadmill.

Walking or general increase in physical activity: If you want to increase your activity level, your healthcare professional has recommended walking to improve your general health, or you just know walking is all you’ll ever do with your treadmill, you’re in luck.

You can opt for a machine with a shorter and thinner belt than running requires. This definitely saves you when it comes to the space factor, and it means you can opt for a more basic machine - as long as it fulfills all your other requirements.

Walkers can consider any treadmill with a length over 48” and a width over 18” - though anyone with long legs (and therefore long strides) should increase their minimum requirements accordingly.

Additionally, you don’t need to consider a machine with high speeds; 8 mph is more than enough for you. And, unless you plan to walk for several hours a day, every day, then a motor with lower horsepower (between 1.5 and 2) will be sufficient.

Weight loss: If you’re hoping to loose weight by working out on your treadmill, you’re going to be very interested in maintaining your target heart rate through varied workouts. While this may mean walking at the beginning, hopefully, you’ll soon reach a point of running.

If you can afford it, you will want a treadmill that enables you to create workouts based on your heart rate. If that’s not in your budget, you will at least want to invest in a machine that achieves speeds up to 10 mph and has a minimum horsepower of 2 (though 2.5 is a much better bet). But, be sure to check the minimum weight supported by a treadmill, as you may need a machine with a higher horsepower to support your weight without overtaxing the motor. Look for belts that are at least 54” long - and the wider, the better.

Strength training: If strength training is what you’re after, then incline features will be most important for you. There is a big range of treadmills with incline capabilities, however, so you may need to consider other features that will help you remain motivated.

You do have the choice of manual incline machines, although these probably aren’t your best option for the long term, especially as you’ll want a range that reaches 12 degrees to build your strength levels. While you may not need top speeds, you will still need a machine that can reach 10 mph and has the width and length of running machines.

Endurance: If you’re running - or even walking - to increase your endurance levels, you can bet you’ll be on your treadmill for long periods of time on any given day - and that necessitates a machine with higher horsepower speeds. Indeed, the higher the better. You will easily wear out any motor under 2.5 and you should make horsepower your primary deciding factor when choosing a machine for home use.

Runners: Runners - and by that we mean people who believe running is a way of life and not just an exercise or means of achieving a fitness goal - should only consider machines with long belts, high speeds, a wide range of incline options, and probably computer tracking for personal goal achievement. This does mean that you’re looking at more expensive machines, but, hey, if running is part of your life then you’re probably ready to invest in a solid treadmill.

Size is always the second most important factor (and you’ll need to consider storage and safety alongside size)

If you have a large home gym, a dedicated room for fitness, or a seemingly endless number of square feet at your disposal - you probably don’t need to worry about the space your treadmill will consume, nor will you worry about machines that fold and roll. If you also don’t have small children or pets that can access your workout space, then skip this section entirely - and consider yourself exceptionally lucky.

Everyone else needs to think about size of their future treadmill as their second biggest concern.

There are options, but you should know that any quality treadmill is going to take a fair amount of space when fully set up - and you need some additional space on the sides and behind the machine for safety’s sake. Unless you are of average (or short) stature and only plan to walk on your treadmill (in which case you can choose something slightly more compact), you can anticipate any treadmill to take up 70” by 33”. Larger options offer more comfortable workouts (everything else being equal), and generally come with more of the features that you want.

Before you look at a single treadmill, it’s important to know where you’re going to put it and exactly how much space you have. And, if you’ve allocated space in your basement or attic, be sure that you have enough height to run without banging your head.

And then there is storage… and safety

Folding treadmills have definitely come a long way in the past several years. But, while you can find a few that can become very compact, you are still more likely to find those that fold in half to take up less floor space. They will be tall however, and this can become a whole new challenge. Sure, it won’t be in the middle of your living room, but will it fit in a closet?

On that note, how easy is it - and how likely are you - to fold your treadmill away? If you only need to pack your machine away when you have company, and you have the floorspace available, the simple fact that you can move it may be enough for you. But, if you have small children or rambunctious pets, safety dictates that you’ll need to store your treadmill daily if they have unsupervised access to the space.

If you have a small space or one of the above concerns, it’s critical that you measure your storage space as well as your workout floor space before you begin narrowing down the treadmills that work for you. It may come down to budget in the end, but it’s pointless making a purchase that you can’t fit into your home - and, therefore, your life.

What’s in your budget?

Finally… the money question!

If money is no object - at least where your new treadmill is concerned - then you’ll probably be able to get all the bells and whistles you want without compromising performance, safety, or size. And, once again, you can skip this section if you have at least $5,000 to spend on a home treadmill. (Incidentally, you may still have to make a few choices until you reach the $8,000 mark.)

Treadmills span a huge price range. Huge. You can find a few quality no-frills options between $300 and $400, though you’ll need to put in some time to ensure you have the best one for you. The same goes for machines in the $600-$1,000 range, though you’re more likely to find a motorized machine that will adapt to changing fitness needs. Over $1,200, the options really begin to open up.

If you have a fixed budget on the low end, it’s critical to look for the machines that match your fitness needs. You probably won’t get a lot of extra features like cup holders and multi-user settings, but you will get the workout you want. So, someone that just needs a walking machine, may be able to pay a little more for a heart rate monitor as they don’t need a lot of horsepower. But, if you need an incline machine, you might not have a cup holder built into the console.

Although manual machines under $200 may appeal to your budget, these are often tedious to set up and use. If you really want to save a few bucks, you may actually want to investigate gently used automatic machines instead.

When you’re willing to pay more for extras, it’s still better to consider your fitness goals above convenience. A built-in fan may sound like a benefit, but you can work around that easier than you can program courses based on your target heart rate range.

What about warranties?

If you're interested in a warranty, then you'll probably want to consider splashing out a little extra on extended plans too. The machine you really want has a lifetime warranty, though many of the best quality machines only have 10-year warranties.

As you move down the scale, you’ll start seeing differentiated warranties - a few years for parts and, perhaps, one year for labor or electronics. Although there are a few treadmills with 90-day warranties, you do want to avoid these unless the machine is really special and you’re willing to put a lot of effort into the first 90 days to ensure nothing is wrong. Given any choice, a longer warranty is still a better option than built-in speakers.

If you’re using your treadmill regularly during the first few months, you will find that any issues covered under the warranty will be obvious. Once you get past three months (of regular workouts), you can expect at least a few years of trouble-free use.

It should go without saying that you will need to assemble, maintain, and clean your treadmill according to the manufacturer’s instructions to keep it in working condition - and to ensure you don’t inadvertently void your warranty.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the machine you really want

Your workout goals, size constraints, and budget will frame the direction of your search, but you still need to understand the specifics of what’s out there so you know you’ve found the best possible workout equipment for you.

More about the motor

The power of treadmill motors is provided in horsepower units. (You may see HP on specs sheets.) The higher the number, the more robust the machine, but you’re not looking for exceptionally high numbers here. You can expect to see something between 1 and 4, though treadmills designed for communal gym use may have higher numbers.

For treadmills, horsepower should be expressed as continuous duty HP rather than peak HP, though the latter is useful for those that push themselves excessively every once in a while.

Average weight walkers that workout for less than 30 minutes a few days a week can get away with a horsepower of 1 to 1.5. But, you will not be able to up your fitness game if this is all your motor can handle.

If you’re hoping to work out a little longer or walk every day, you will need a horsepower of at least 2 for walking speeds. Joggers should and strength trainers shouldn’t look under 2.5. If you use your machine for daily runs, especially if you like longer sessions, then you shouldn’t consider a machine with a HP under 3.

Keep in mind that your weight, your speed, and the duration of your workout have an impact on the motor’s ability to perform. Given the option (which, here, usually means budget), a higher horsepower is usually better. But, if a machine has everything you want at a price you can pay, you can consider what the manufacturer has to say about the motor’s cooling mechanism. If it is top-notch and your weight isn’t an issue, then you should be able to get away with a machine with a slightly lowered continuous duty HP.

The belt and the deck

You’re buying a treadmill so that you can walk or run while staying in the same place, so the belt makes a big difference. While it is a matter of comfort, it should go without saying that the longer and wider the belt is, the more comfortable your workout will be. But, there are a few minimum guidelines to keep in mind.

  • Walkers need a belt length of 48” to accommodate those strides safely. The minimum recommended width is 18”.
  • Runners should have no less than 54” lengthwise and 20” widthwise, though longer lengths are generally preferred.
  • Tall runners will want a belt closer to 60” with a width of 22”.

The deck is the platform the belt runs along. The smoother the deck (ie, the more lubricated), the less the stress on the motor. Either way, you’re looking for strong powder-coated steel or laminated wood. The thicker the deck, the less the pressure on your joints, though the perceived smoothness of your run has everything to do with the shock-absorbing pads underneath the deck.

When it comes to the deck and the shocks, these details usually only become important when you’re comparing two almost identical machines within your price range. If it comes down to that, just take a look at the thickness of the deck to see if that can help you make your decision. Shocks vary widely between brands, so it’s really a matter of checking the shock absorption system before making your final determination.

Understanding incline differences

The most basic treadmills won’t have any incline options - you’ll be walking or jogging on a horizontal belt only. If your goal is simple movement and walking will achieve that, you don’t need to worry too much about the incline.

However, anyone looking to increase their strength and endurance - or really challenge themselves - will want to have at least the option of an incline. And, there are two different ways to achieve this: manually and automatically.

Manual incline machines require you to adjust the position of the deck using your own two hands - so you either need to complete your entire workout on an incline or you will need to stop your workout to make adjustments. But, the obvious benefit of this option is price. Manual incline machines are much less expensive than automatic options - but you’ll also have a smaller range of options to choose from.

The good news is that there are plenty of reasonably priced treadmills with an automatic incline feature. Typically, you can expect incline angles somewhere between 10% and 15% - and you may also find decline options between -1 and -3% on the better machines. Decline angles require you to use different muscles and also build strength, even if it feels easier.

When deciding on the incline, it’s totally a matter of personal preference, though the wider the range, the longer you can expect your treadmill to challenge you. And, if you can afford it, programs that stimulate actual running paths with a combination of inclines, declines, and flat grounds are a real bonus.

Safety features

Most modern treadmills have a mix of safety features beginning with their actual weight. While heavier machines are obviously more difficult to move should you need to do that, the weight usually translates into a more stable frame which is less likely to shutter during a workout, causing missteps.

Another safety feature to consider is the length of the handrails. Again, this is a matter of personal preference, but you may find that slightly longer ones will make you feel more comfortable, especially if you need to build your endurance or are recovering from an injury.

But, it’s the safety key and stop buttons that matter the most. Stop buttons should be accessible and responsive so that you can almost throw your hand at it to stop the machine.

If you have small children or pets, a safety key ensures the machine will only operate when it’s in place to complete the circuit. In addition to hiding the key when not in use, these often have a cord to attach to your clothing or wrist while working out. If you slip you’ll disengage the key, causing the treadmill to stop automatically.

Beginners and those with children in their home should strongly consider the safety key and stop buttons when making their final purchasing decision, however, even seasoned runners should not take these features lightly (and preferably choose a safer machine over one with extra features).

Weight, assembly, and folding options

If you’re buying a stationary treadmill that will only move from its position when you move to a new house, you only need to consider the weight of your machine when it arrives. And, even if it is light enough for you to move on your own, it’s always a good idea to have someone to help rather than straining yourself.

The weight of your treadmill becomes more important if you plan to pack your treadmill away from time to time. Few users unpack and repack their treadmill for each workout; most leave the machine in place most of the time. All the same, you will want to consider the folding mechanism. Some are entirely manual, while there are those that operate with release buttons that do much of the folding work for you.

If you’re buying a folding treadmill, be sure to consider the overall ease of this procedure rather than the specific mechanisms. And remember that you will also need to unfold it. If you are uncertain that you will be able to safely lower the deck on your own, it is better to pay for a machine that handles the hard work with hydraulic lifts.

Also look for locking features that secure it in either position. And, if you need to move the machine rather than just folding it, you absolutely want wheels that allow you to shuffle the machine without assistance.

Whether you choose a folding machine or a stationary one, you will definitely need to worry about assembly. Very few (if any) machines arrive fully assembled and ready to go. If you’re not confident about assembling your machine, look for one that offers it for an extra fee.

Otherwise, you should plan to spend a few hours assembling your treadmill. Most machines come with explicit instructions and any reputable manufacturer will also have tutorials, guides, videos, or one-on-one chat help on their website. Make use of these services if any of the instructions are unclear; if you don’t assemble your treadmill properly, you could negate your warranty (or worse, injury yourself when attempting your first work out).

Keep in mind that specialized tools needed will arrive be in the package, but you may be expected to supply your own screwdrivers or basic tools.

When it comes to the weight capacity of your machine - rather than its weight, keep in mind that the max weight really is the max weight. It’s actually better to subtract 50 pounds from the stated weight to get a more realistic idea of weight capacity.

What about the fun stuff?

It’s almost difficult to believe that questions of display and programs haven’t come up yet. But, while these are the features you’ll interact with most, they’re nowhere near as important as the physical and practical considerations.

All about the monitor and control panel

The sophistication of your monitor and control panel is usually (but not always) related to the amount you’re prepared to pay. At the very least, you should expect start and stop buttons along with speed and incline controls (if the latter are applicable). On the display you should expect at least a basic readout of speed and/or time. Even on basic machines, you should expect the display to be large enough and easy to read.

If you’re looking at machines above the base level, you should look for stats relating to distance and calories burned. Many reasonably priced machines will have heart rate monitors (either in the handles or something that is attached to your wrist or clothing).

It’s usually not worth it to pay for more advanced monitoring unless your fitness goals demand it - or the improvements come with other extras that appeal to you.

Programs, programs, programs

With treadmills, you can expect to pay more for machines that have more programs. A variety of programs can keep your workouts fresh (and provide motivation to workout as planned) and they do become more useful as you achieve your primary goals and look to challenge yourself in new ways without upgrading your equipment.

However, the number, variety, and ease of working with preset programs is completely individual and you should start by looking at those that match your goals. Standard options include: weight loss, calories, cardio, intervals, heart rate, and quick start programs. Treadmills that allow you to customize these programs are usually more expensive, but they also lengthen its lifespan in terms of viability in your workouts.

No one but you can answer questions about the programs you should have, but if it comes down to two machines that are almost equal in your eyes, consider the one with more options.

The extras that make working out fun (or at least doable)

Once you’ve covered all your workout needs, you may still have some space in your budget to think about your workout wants. All of these are bonuses that you might want to look for - though you are unlikely to find machines in the lower price ranges that make use of many or all of them.

  • Low-noise operation. Many treadmills strive for it, few achieve it. If you can find a quieter one, great.
  • Tracking programs. Built-in data collection is a big plus for anyone targeting a specific goal but there are ways around this, including apps that allow you to manually enter your workout stats.
  • Multi-user profiles. If you share the use of your treadmill with someone, user IDs become useful with customizable programs and tracking.
  • Cup holders
  • Tablet, phone, or magazine holders for entertainment
  • Cooling fans (for you, not the motor - you definitely need the latter)
  • iPod docks or USB ports
  • Headphone jacks
  • WiFi connections and integration with exercise apps

As you would expect, you will pay more for these extras, but if they keep you on track and excited for your workout - and you can afford them - then it’s worth it to indulge.

But, you should never sacrifice the features that directly speak to your primary fitness goals for something like a cup holder (which you can always work around). So, now, it’s off to refining your fitness goals so you can find the very best treadmill for home use.

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Article Staff

Katie’s Cleveland proud; but she’s also lived in Australia, Switzerland and now stays in South Africa. That’s a roundabout way of saying she can’t sit still; she’s always moving, always busy.

She has a BA in International Relations from Kent State University and work towards a Masters in Human Rights. She speaks French, is learning German and used to dream in Spanish. For years, Katie worked as a producer on fashion and advertising shoots before she realized her passion was the written word.

Katie’s far more interested in guy’s gear than women’s, except she has a wardrobe brimming with little black dresses. She drinks her beer out of the bottle and is raising her two boys to be better men.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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