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Published Oct. 12, 2021

With more and more people building home gyms instead of joining fitness centers, treadmills are among the smartest purchases for exercise enthusiasts or anyone looking to get back into shape. There are considerable benefits to putting a treadmill in your living room, office, or basement. Treadmills are easy to use, easy to maintain, and provide a sweat-inducing workout in a short amount of time. And, of course, there’s the time-saving aspect of having a treadmill at home,  eliminating the trip going back and forth to the gym. Here are some tips for shopping for one, along with our recommendations.

How We Selected The Best Treadmills

Methodology

A treadmill was my gateway to a life of running. My parents bought a treadmill for our basement when I was in high school, and I logged countless hours just walking on the machine. It was instrumental in helping me keep in shape when I was home on winter breaks from college and away. I used a treadmill while training for my first race to teach myself what a specific pace felt like. In coming up with this list, I surveyed the market and considered user reviews. This list of the best treadmills for your home gym is based on three criteria.

  • Budget: Treadmills vary in price primarily due to the extra features the machine offers. This list has less expensive treadmill options for people on a budget and high-end machines that a person would find in a commercial gym.
  • Variety: Some of the models are incredibly basic, with few bells and whistles. One or two of the treadmills offer so much technology the machine might even be smart enough to do your taxes.
  • Exercise objectives: A few treadmills on this best-of list are explicitly designed for hardcore runners or anyone in training for a specific event. Some of the treadmills on the list were chosen specifically with new runners in mind. One of the treadmills on this is specifically for walkers.

The Best Treadmills: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: NordicTrack T Series 6.5

Does It All

SMART-Response motor provides effective speed, interval, or endurance training. NordicTrack

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Why It Made the Cut: A fitness-center-caliber workout machine right in your own home. The impressive decline and incline capabilities of the Nordictrack T Series 6.5 will challenge every runner, while the FlexSelect cushioning of the running belt will soften the impact on the joints.

Specs:

  • Item Dimensions: 73 x 35.8 x 67.5 inches
  • Power Source: Corded
  • Weight: 203 pounds
  • Maximum Weight Recommendation: 300 pounds
  • Maximum Horsepower: 3 Horsepower
  • Maximum Speed: 10 MPH
  • Maximum Incline: 10

Pros:

  • 30-Day iFIT Membership Included
  • SMART-Response Motor
  • Space-saver design
  • Folding for easy storage

Cons:

  • Membership isn’t included in purchase
  • Extremely heavy to move

You know that treadmill at the gym that you love? Now it’s in your house. The Nordictrack T 6.5 Treadmill offers a OneTouch incline and speed control, so you don’t have to mess around with buttons in the middle of your workout.

The machine has plenty of leg and elbow space, so you’re not bumping into the sides and losing your balance as you run. And the FlexSelect deck cushioning protects your joints for those long, intense training runs.

Nordictrack’s innovative space-saver design and EasyLift assist make folding up the unit and storing it out of the way a perfect option for people in smaller living spaces.

Another excellent feature of the Nordictrack T Series 6.5 is the iFit on-demand workout app. Users can stream thousands of live and on-demand workouts, all led by elite iFIT Trainers. You can choose between high-energy studio classes or global workouts that bring different parts of the world right into your living room or home gym. Each training session will automatically adjust your speed, decline, and incline to optimize the workout.  Each treadmill purchase includes a free 30-day trial of iFit.

Best Value: Xterra TR150 Folding Treadmill

Bang For The Buck

Full of features developed to keep performance and comfort in mind. XTERRA Fitness

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Why it made the cut: The perfect machine for people who are unable to spend top dollar but still want a reliable treadmill that will provide a solid workout.

Specs:

  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Item Dimensions: 63.4 x 28.75 x 51.4
  • Item Weight: 108 pounds
  • Maximum Horsepower: 2.25
  • Top Speed: 10mph

Pros:

  • Lower price point
  • Larger running surface
  • 12 preset programs
  • Grip sensors to track training zones
  • Quiet but powerful motor

Cons:

  • Maximum weight capacity of only 250 pounds
  • Manual incline setting
  • Not many extras

Not everyone has the space or budget to purchase a large, expensive treadmill to use at home. The TR150 folding treadmill from XTerra solves both these problems with a high-quality and compact machine at a lower price.

The folding deck design is quick and easy to use, and the simple-to-read LCD will track the essential parts of your workout like time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. The hand pulse grip sensors will keep you updated, so staying in your training zone is a breeze.

The XTRASoft deck cushioning provides multiple cushioning points for maximum impact absorption while the steady and almost silent motor powers the treadmill to a top speed of 10 mph.  

The larger running surface provides ample room for taller users, but keep the 250-pound weight limit in mind.

Best For Home Office: UREVO 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill

Time Saver

Non-slip running will absorb shock to provide cushioning for knees, muscles, and joints. UREVO

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Why It Made the Cut: Perfect for multi-tasking, the UREVO 2-in-1 treadmill is great for people who have time to work out and for people who really don’t.

Specs:

  • Power Source: Electric
  • Display Screen Size: 16.9 inches
  • Maximum Weight Recommendation: 265 pounds
  • Maximum Speed: 7.6 mph

Pros:

  • Two machines in one
  • 16.9 inch wide running belt
  • Comes fully assembled
  • LED Display and Remote control
  • Wheels make for easy moving and storage
  • Phone holder  

Cons:

  • Basic display options
  • Possible hazard while working

The UREVO treadmill is a multi-purpose machine designed for running or walking. Just leave the frame up for a great running workout or take it down to walk during a Zoom call or Netflix binge session.

The 16.9-inch wide belt gives users more room to move around and more freedom during a run, while the non-slip surface will make running and walking a little easier on the body.

Sporting an LED Display with a remote control option, the machine tracks speed, distance, time, and calories while the remote makes changing speeds and stopping the machine simpler. The powerful 2.5HP motor is quietly efficient. The unit quickly switches from walking to running modes and can be easily transported.

Best Smart Treadmill: Echelon Stride

Cardio Redefined

The Stride features auto-fold technology to make heart-pumping workouts more accessible than ever before. Echelon

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Why It Made the Cut: Functionality and technology meets intelligent design in the latest addition to the top-notch Echelon product family. The Echelon Stride is powerful—with a top speed of 12 mph—and portable, allowing users to move the unit around the home gym or living space.

Specs:

  • Voltage: 110 volts
  • Incline: 12 levels
  • Max Incline: 10 percent
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Running Surface: 55 x 20 inches
  • Unit Weight: 156 pounds
  • Maximum weight capacity: 300 pounds

Pros:

  • Meets strict international safety standards
  • 8 preprogrammed workouts
  • Equipped with USB charger
  • Equipped with speakers
  • Two water bottle Holders
  • Smartphone Holder
  • Secure tablet Holder

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Monthly fee for app membership

Let’s call this machine the Tesla of treadmills. The Echelon Stride puts safety and convenience first and meets some of the strictest safety standards in the world for exercise equipment, thanks in part to a metal safety bar underneath the running deck that protects objects from being pulled under. The company even added side steps for getting on and off the machine.

Heart rate sensors are integrated into the handlebars. The machine has a max speed of 12 mph and a max incline of 10 percent.

The Echelon Stride comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB charging port for other devices, and a built-in steel handle for moving the unit around the house.

Best for Walking: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M

Perfect Starter Machine

An affordable treadmill to start your fitness journey. Sunny

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Why It Made the Cut: The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M is an excellent option for people who might not be ready to spend an entire paycheck on a treadmill. This machine is compact, lightweight, and moves solely on leg power.

Specs:

  • Frame Material: Alloy Steel
  • Item Dimensions: 49 x 23 x 50 inches
  • Power: Manual
  • Item Weight: 46.7 pounds
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 220 pounds
  • Maximum Incline Percentage: 13.5

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Compact and ergonomic
  • Easy to move around the house
  • Requires no power so can work anywhere in the house
  • LCD monitor tracks time, speed, distance, calories
  • No assembly required
  • Non-slip handlebars
  • Transportation wheels

Cons:

  • Maximum 220-pound weight capacity
  • Too bare bones

The Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is the perfect beginner machine and a smart purchase for anyone looking to start a running habit or find another way to get their daily steps in.

A solid but portable treadmill created for small spaces, the Sunny SF-T1407M treadmill still offers a decent-sized running surface. The treadmill is durable and will withstand power walking or light jogging. That said, the weight limit is 220 pounds so heavier runners should consider another machine.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Treadmill

Before you start rearranging the furniture to accommodate a new treadmill, here are some things to consider:

Goals

What are your specific reasons for buying a treadmill? Are you looking to get into shape or back into shape? Maybe you’re training to run your first race or compete in a half or full marathon? Perhaps the thought of going back to the gym is enough to make you want to stay home for the winter. All of these reasons are valid for browsing this list of the best treadmills for your home.

Usage

If you’re interested in getting back into shape without a gym membership, a home treadmill is a good idea. If you’re going to spend a substantial amount of money on a treadmill, you should come up with a plan for how often you’re going to hop on the machine. You’re also going to want to find a spot for the treadmill that will remind you to use the machine (and make you feel guilty when you don’t).

Space

The good news for people interested in buying a treadmill is that many models are now foldable and take up far less space than previous generations. That said, a treadmill still takes up a considerable amount of room just standing up straight in the corner. If you’re lucky enough to have an extra room to convert into a home gym or don’t mind staring at a treadmill during family movie night in the living room, a treadmill is a smart purchase.  

FAQs

Q: Is running on a treadmill better than running outside?

Running on a treadmill isn’t any easier or harder than running outside, as both are dependent on the amount of effort a person puts into the run. Both activities have pros and cons. Treadmills allow a runner to set and stick to a pace, but they don’t offer much of a challenge unless a runner changes the speed or incline. Outside running offers uphills, downhills turns, and terrain plus something different to look at every time. Of course, the home treadmill is always available for a run, while rain, wind, and snow outside can cancel workout plans. Both options also have a place in a runner’s regular routine.

Q: Are treadmills bad for my knees?

This all depends on the activity. If you’re jogging or running, treadmills can put some stress on your knees, but so will an outdoor run up steep hills. Increasing the speed on a treadmill and running for long periods could cause a little more irritation on the knees and joints. If you’re using a treadmill specifically for walking, a treadmill is no better or worse on the body than walking outside. 

Q: Is the calorie count accurate on treadmills?

The calorie count on most treadmills is accurate as long as the machine asks for your weight before working out. Most devices don’t ask for weight and assume the average user is 155 pounds. People under that weight are actually burning fewer calories during each treadmill session. For those interested in getting an accurate reading of calories burned, heart rate, and other vital stats, we suggest buying a smartwatch for tracking purposes.

Final Thoughts

Treadmills are the ideal choice for a home exercise machine, and they’re useful for people of all ages and fitness levels. The machine will long outlast your interest in going to the gym and eliminate excuses for not exercising during inclement weather.

No matter your fitness goal, buying a treadmill for your home is a smart purchase. Just do your homework before buying and make a promise to yourself that the machine will be put to good use and not become just another place to hang clothes.

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