Our Top Picks
Choosing the Best Treadmill
Consumers who are looking for a specific brand of treadmill will want to start by looking at the top lists below that highlight the various treadmills created by different manufacturers. For anyone who doesn't have a particular manufacturer in mind, and knows what they want to use the treadmill for, there are additional lists that help narrow down the best treadmill for each person.
The 3 Best Cheap Treadmills
The 3 Best ProForm Treadmills
The 3 Best SOLE Treadmills
The 5 Best NordicTrack Treadmills
The 5 Best Treadmills for Home Use
The 5 Best Treadmills for Runners
The 5 Best Treadmills for Walkers
What Treadmill Features Matter and Why?
Deck and Frame is all of the features of the deck, belt, and frame that directly impact the functioning of the machine. A built-in shock absorption system can help minimize injury, while a multi-ply belt can makea product more durable. Some of the best home treadmills will also have special handrail controls that make it easy to adjust speed or incline. This category is especially important for those looking to get the most out of their machine.
- Adjustable Cushioning - You can adjust the cushioning of the deck to reduce your impact.
- Decline - The treadmill can decline.
- Handrail Controls - Buttons are accessible on the handrails to adjust speed and incline.
- Heart Rate Grips - Hand grips are included to measure your heart rate.
- Incline - The treadmill can incline.
- Quiet Track - The motor and track have quiet features.
- Shock Absorption - There is a shock absorption system built into the deck.
- Thick Belt - The belt is two-ply or four-ply for added durability.
- Transport Wheels - Wheels are included for easy transport.
Display explains the information that is shown to the user on the console screen. This includes things like the length of the workout, total distance traveled, and the speed and incline. Some will also show the total calories burned for the workout, along with the user's heart rate information. Some premium products even have touch-screen displays. For those who like to keep track of this information during their workout, Display is a very important category.
- Calories Burned - The number of calories burned is displayed.
- Distance - The total distance you have traveled is displayed.
- Incline - The incline is displayed.
- Projected Pace - The projected pace per mile, based on your current running speed, is displayed.
- Screen Display - There is a screen that displays information about your workout.
- Smart Heart Rate - Heart rate is displayed when your age and weight are entered.
- Speed - The current speed is displayed.
- Touch Screen - A touch-screen display is included.
- Workout Time - The display shows the length of time you have been working out.
Folding Features is a category that only pertains to treadmills that fold. It includes features like a security lock, which helps hold the treadmill in place once it has been folded, and a lifting/dropping system, which can help make the task of folding or unfolding the heavy equipment much easier. The best folding treadmills will have a system that automatically raises or lowers the treadmill for added safety and convenience. This category will not matter for those products that do not fold, but for those that do, this category is particularly important.
- Automatic Dropping - The folding treadmill can unfold itself automatically after release.
- Lifting/Dropping System - There is has a system that helps you easily raise and lower the deck.
- Security Lock - There is a security lock that holds the deck in place.
Safety is all of the features designed to ensure safety while operating the treadmill. The best home treadmills will have hand and side rails, along with a safety clip that attaches to the user's clothing and the treadmill. If the user falls, the clip will dislodge from the treadmill and automatically stop the machine. In any kind of workout, safety is important, so this category is one to pay attention to.
- Auto-Stop Button - There is a button that, if pressed, will automatically stop the machine.
- Handrail - Handrails are included for extra stability.
- Safety Clip - A safety clip is included that attaches from the machine to your clothes to help stop the belt if you fall.
- Side Rails - Side rails are included for additional safety
Warranties is a category made up of all the different warranties that the company offers on its products. In many cases, this includes lifetime motor and frame warranties. Some companies may also offer warranties on the electronics, parts, and labor, though these are rarely lifetime warranties. This category is extremely important because treadmills are big investments and if something breaks, warranties ensure that it can be fixed at no additional cost.
- Electronics Warranty - An electronics warranty is included.
- Labor Warranty - An labor warranty is included.
- Lifetime Frame Warranty - A lifetime frame warranty is included.
- Lifetime Motor Warranty - A lifetime motor warranty is included.
- Parts Warranty - A parts warranty is included.
Console refers to the various features on the console that allow the user to control the workout. Speed and incline/decline control are common, and are definitely important features to look for when purchasing a treadmill. Some of the best treadmills for home use also have a chest pulse sensor, which measures the user's heart rate and transmits that information to the console, and a built-in fan for added comfort while working out. While some of these features may not be important to everyone, others are vitally important to the functioning of the treadmill, so this category should not be underestimated.
- Built-In Fan - A built-in fan is included in the console.
- Chest Pulse Sensor - There is a chest pulse sensor that takes your pulse and sends information to the console.
- Incline/Decline Control - The incline or decline of the treadmill can be adjusted during a workout.
- Numeric Keypad - A numeric keypad is located on the console.
- Quick Start - There is a button that allows you to quickly start a workout.
- Speed Control - Speed can be adjusted during a workout.
Delivery and Assembly is the information about where the manufacturer will deliver the machine and whether or not they provide assembly. Many manufacturers offer curbside delivery at a minimum, and some offer in-home or in-room delivery. In-home assembly is also an option that some may want to consider, though not every company offers this service and those that do often charge an additional fee. This category can be especially important for those who do not feel comfortable trying to put a treadmill together on their own.
- Assembly - The manufacturer offers delivery and assembly inside your home.
- Curbside - The manufacturer offers curbside delivery to your front door.
- Free Shipping - The manufacturer offers free shipping.
- In-Home - The manufacturer offers delivery inside your home.
- In-Room - The manufacturer offers delivery inside a room of your choice.
Support encompasses the different ways that the company can be contacted if assistance is needed. The most common options are phone and email support, though some of the best companies offer live chat support through their website. Social media support is also becoming popular, with Facebook and Twitter being the most commonly used. Support is a relatively important category because a treadmill is a big purchase, and it is nice to know that the company is there to assist in the buying process and with fixing any issues that may arise after the sale.
- Email/Ticket - The manufacturer has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- Live Chat - The manufacturer offers live chat support.
- Phone - You can contact the manufacturer by phone to get support.
- Social Media - You can contact the manufacturer with questions through social media websites.
Workout Programs refers to the types of workout programs that are built into the product. Some examples are manual, weight loss, and interval workouts. The best treadmills also have preset distance workouts and workouts designed to help users reach their target heart rates. Those that enjoy having a variety of different exercise programs to choose from will want to look for a treadmill that scores high in this category.
- Endurance - You can select a workout program designed to improve your endurance.
- Heart Rate - You can select a workout program designed to help you reach your target heart rate.
- Interval - You can select from several interval training programs.
- Manual - You can manually select your speed, incline, and distance.
- Preset Distances - You can select preset distances, such as 1 mile, 5 K, or 10 K.
- Random - You can select a random workout program.
- Weight Loss - You can select a workout program designed to facilitate weight loss.
Entertainment refers to all the things that a product offers to make working out more enjoyable. This can range from an audio port and speakers for playing music to a built-in Internet browser. Some of the top treadmills are also iFit-compatible, which means that they can sync to the Google iFit program and track workout information, in addition to providing custom workouts powered by Google Maps. While not crucial to the operation of the machine, this category is still something to be aware of when shopping around.
- Audio Port - You can plug your audio device into the treadmill.
- iFit-Compatible - The treadmill has iFit technology, which allows you to access customized and interactive workouts powered by Google Maps.
- Speakers - Built-in speakers are included.
- Television - A built-in television is included.
- Video Workouts - Video workouts are included.
- Wi-Fi - A built-in Internet browser is included.
Learning Materials describes the various resources provided by the company to help in learning about the product. These resources often include FAQs and user guides, which give in-depth explanations of the assembly and function of the products. Some companies will also have video tutorials dedicated to the use and maintenance of the product, along with a blog containing information about products and other fitness-related topics. Learning Materials is a less important category, however, as the availability, or lack thereof, of these resources does not directly impact a product itself.
- Blog - The manufacturer maintains a blog with useful industry-related articles, tips, or other valuable content.
- FAQ - The manufacturer provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
- User Guide - A user guide or training manual is provided by the manufacturer.
- Video Tutorials - The manufacturer provides video tutorials.
Treadmill Software discusses the tools that allow the user to track and store their personal workout information. The ability to track personal bests and set goals for each workout are extremely valuable for those looking to train for a race or just to track progress over time. In situations where multiple people are going to be using the same treadmill, having access to individual user IDs can be helpful. However, for those just looking for a basic treadmill without any extra features, Treadmill Software isn't likely to be an important category.
- Goal Setter - There is a feature that allows you to set goals for each workout.
- Personal Best - The software allows you to track your personal bests.
- Racing Track - There is a feature that shows your progress on a race track.
- User IDs - The software allows you to set up an individual user ID which stores all your workout preferences.
- Workout Tracker - The software allows you to track your workouts over time.
User Reviews refers to how highly the product was rated on the Amazon, Best Buy, and Sears websites. When shopping for the best treadmill for home use, it is important to look beyond the machine's specs. Treadmill reviews can tell alot about overall customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the product. Treadmills that scored four or more stars will do well in this category.
- Favorable User Reviews - The product received four out of five stars or higher from customers on amazon.com, bestbuy.com, or sears.com.