The best treadmills provide a way to run, jog or walk at home — no matter the weather or current social distancing regulations in your area. The best treadmills can provide a heart-pumping cardio workout even if the local gym remains closed. That’s why it’s an essential item in the best home gym equipment.
While running indoors doesn’t have the same feeling of pounding the pavement or trail, many people use home treadmills for their daily morning jog or even marathon training. And pandemic or no, weather conditions have always affected outdoor running and walking routines. Getting one of the best treadmills ensures you never have to miss a workout.
There’s a wide range of treadmill options available that meet different, specific needs. There truly is a treadmill for everyone.
What are the best treadmills?
Our list of the best treadmills is led by one of the most best-known brands in home gym equipment. Like other machines made by NordicTrack, the Commercial 1750 is sturdy, durable and reliable. It comes with a ton of great features, including a large touchscreen to stream iFit workouts (a one-year membership is included with purchase; monthly subscription is required after).
The Peloton Tread also ranks high among the best treadmills. Like its indoor cycling counterpart, the Tread is beautifully designed. A new Peloton Tread model coming out in March, which boasts a 23.8” HD touchscreen. Plus, Peloton offers the exclusive live classes and community features that have made it so popular in recent years.
Our recent Echelon Stride review says the mid-tier treadmill can be used as a Peloton alternative, as long as you have a tablet and a subscription to the Echelon app.
NordicTrack is a trusted brand that has produced reliable, steady treadmills for years. Among its lineup, the Commercial 1750 is the best option that combines great features, convenience and affordability. For under $2,000, you get a treadmill with a decent-sized screen (10 inches, compared to 32 inches on the Peleton Tread), FlexSelect cushioning, an automated fan for cooling and a space-saving design that folds up. The Commercial 1750 comes with one year of iFit, which streams on-demand, interactive trainer led global and studio workouts.
One Amazon reviewer said, “I love the treadmill, quality is excellent, does everything I could want it to do.” Another raved, “I have been blown away by quality and functionality of the Commercial 1750. I absolutely love the iFit software that’s built into the beautiful touchscreen display. It’s allowed me to find a true passion for the fitness community.”
The premier brand for indoor cycling also makes a high-end treadmill with the big, 32-inch high-res touchscreen that has made Peloton so popular. Of course, it’s not just the screen itself, but the live studio classes it plays. Peloton class teachers have become celebrities in their own right.
The Peloton Tread is expensive, just like its spin sibling: The new model (due in March 2021) starts at $2,495, while the Tread Plus model starts at $4,295. But if you can afford to splurge, you may fall in love at first run. Runners World lauds the “stunning, angled frame with thoughtful design and a minimalist appearance. It’s a work of art. Thankfully, it runs just as great as it looks.” The Verge notes, “Where Peloton differs is it’s actually entertaining to watch the instructors run with you.”
The Echelon Stride sits between treadmill categories — it’s not cheap, nor high-end. In most categories, it’s just fine in terms of build, power and features. The Stride has fewer bells and whistles than more expensive treadmills; for instance, it doesn’t have an HD video screen. Yet, it also boasts an easy-to-use folding mechanism which makes storage a snap.
The Stride can be paired with a tablet running the Echelon app, which provides access to live and in-demand studio classes for a monthly fee. If you’re looking for a cheaper Peloton alternative, then the Stride plus the Echelon Fit app mostly fits the bill.
Read our full Echelon Stride review
The inexpensive XTerra Fitness TR150 is best suited for walkers or for light joggers since it has a shorter belt and a lower max speed than other treadmills on our list. The design makes it easy to fold and store away, which makes it perfect for anyone with a small space. The simple LCD console tracks calories, time and pulse, while preset keys allow for quick changes in speed.
While not a high-end treadmill, the TR150 is a great value, as Amazon reviewers note. “Both my wife and I use the treadmill daily and love it!! It is built solid, and the programs provide us with a different workout each time,” one wrote. Another lauded the small footprint of the machine: “It’s not huge, so if you are looking for a space saver-this is it.”
Want a great workout and help the environment? The Assault Fitness AirRunner is a non-motorized, manual treadmill that uses no electricity — it’s powered entirely by you! As you step forward on the contoured, slatted belt, it moves backward, so you set the speed. The AirRunner was designed for high-intensity interval training, and the company claims its durable belt will last 150,000 miles. A simple LCD screen shows your time, speed, distance, pace, watts generated and estimated calories burned.
Amazon reviewers rave about the product: “Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s as good as you think it is. Yes, you should buy it.” Another reviewer praised the AirRunner for pushing them to work out more often, saying, “It’s magical – operating is simple and has caused me to run much, much more than I would have ever imagined – just so friendly and inviting!”
This tank of a treadmill is a splurge, there’s no doubt about it, but for road runners, it could be worth the investment. The Woodway 4 front delivers the most realistic road running feel of any machine in the market, thanks to its patented running surface and slatted belt design. Toggle between dynamic mode, which feels more like a non-motorized treadmill, and the resistance mode, which is great for HIIT activity. There are 10 preset programs, but you can also add customized workouts. You can choose among the four screen options, from a basic LED with the usual stats to the Prosmart Touchscreen, which can stream Netflix, Hulu or YouTube videos.
Reviews are uniformly glowing, even with the hefty price tag. The Runner’s World test editor said, “My steps were so quiet on the belt, and the transitions were smooth.” One trainer told The Strategist that it’s “the only treadmill I’d recommend.”
Training for the Leadville 100? Get the feeling of going up and down hills with the NordicTrack X22i, which boasts an impressive range of 40% incline and 6% decline. That allows you to burn even more calories and target different muscles while walking or running. The sturdy build is what you expect of the brand and the cushioned belt is easy on the joints. There are 50 preprogrammed workouts, plus the X22i comes with one year of iFit, which streams on-demand, interactive trainer led global and studio workouts.
Trail Runner magazine’s review said, “The max 40-percent incline is burrrrly and not only challenges your quads but your balance” and advised use of the arm handles.
If you want a no-frills treadmill for a simple run or walk, then the Horizon T101 is the best bang for your buck. Since it costs less than $600, you don’t get a touchscreen or live studio classes. What you do get is a solid, sturdy machine with a powerful motor, shock-absorbing surface, cooling fan and Bluetooth speakers. The well-designed dashboard lets you change the speed and incline with the touch of a button. And Horizon T101 easily folds, thanks to a handy hydraulic-assisted lift.
Reviewers on Amazon raved about the Horizon T101’s quick assembly and whisper-level operation. One reviewer called it “the quietest treadmill I’ve ever encountered.” Others noted the treadmill’s value for the price, saying, “If you aren’t into the bells and whistles … and just want a basic treadmill, this is the one for you!”
How to choose the best treadmill for you
When choosing the best treadmill for your needs, there are a number of factors to consider. Start with the type of workout you want — hard running, light jogging, walking, etc. If you’re marathon training, you may want better shock absorption and a longer surface length while walkers may find longer arms useful.
Also think about which treadmill features are most important to you, such as: horsepower; speed; and incline and decline; footprint and portability; and touchscreens. If you want a demanding run as if you’re on hilly terrain, then higher horsepower and higher incline settings are necessary. If you’re a city dweller with a small apartment, a folding treadmill is a must. Another important feature is the content that the treadmill offers, like pre-programmed exercises or live and on-demand studio classes.
The more features you want, the more expensive the treadmill. Everyone has a different price point, so you may have to trade off some bells and whistles if you’re on a budget.
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