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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 5 Best Treadmills for Runners

The main concern when looking for a treadmill for running is whether the machine can stand up to such intense workouts over time. A strong motor will be crucial, as will solid warranties. Another thing to take into consideration is how comfortable the machine is to use. A large track surface and built-in shock absorption system can help with that. And from there, it all depends on what features matter the most to you. Considering the types of workout programs and entertainment features you are looking for in addition to your price range can help you to find a treadmill that is well-suited to your needs.

The 5 Best Treadmills for Home Use

Choosing the best home treadmill isn't always an easy process because the treadmill capabilities desired by one person may not be what is desired by another. Price is usually an important factor to consider, as are the type of workouts you are hoping to use the treadmill for. Runners will want to invest in a durable machine with a more powerful motor, while walkers will be able to get by on less. The available space in your home is another important consideration, and if you don't have much room to spare, it's probably wise to choose a folding model. From there, the workout programs and entertainment options can also help you narrow the list. These five treadmills listed below are some of the best treadmills for home use and would be a good place to begin your search.

The 3 Best Cheap Treadmills

While price is obviously going to be the most important factor in your search for the best cheap treadmill, it isn't the only thing that should be considered. Available workout programs, entertainment features, and warranties should also factor into that decision, as should user reviews of the product. It's a good idea to think about the types of workouts you plan on using the treadmill for, as that could add more considerations to your list. Those looking for a treadmill to run on, for example, will want to look for a more powerful motor and a long-enough deck for their stride. It may be difficult to find everything you want in a budget treadmill but, by keeping in mind the features that are most important, you can find a basic treadmill that can serve your purposes at a price you can afford.

The 3 Best ProForm Treadmills

Compared to other treadmill brands, there is a lot more variation among the best ProForm treadmills. This can be helpful, though, because it allows very different people to find treadmills that are well-suited to their needs within the same brand. ProForm treadmills generally have an excellent assortment of onboard workout programs as well as some entertainment features. Warranties are fairly strong, though not all models have an electronics warranty. Those looking for a treadmill with an extremely powerful motor for more intense runners may wish to look elsewhere, but overall, it shouldn't be too difficult for anyone to find a ProForm model that interests them.

The 5 Best NordicTrack Treadmills

The best NordicTrack treadmills are also some of the top treadmills in the entire industry, with an excellent variety of workout programs in addition to tons of entertainment extras in every machine. NordicTrack treadmills also possess easy-to-use consoles and strong warranties, including lifetime frame and motor warranties. When choosing between NordicTrack models, differences are going to be much more subtle than if you were choosing between two completely different brands. Price becomes much more of a factor as do things that directly impact the durability of the machine, such as the motor quality and weight limit of the treadmill.

The 5 Best Treadmills for Walkers

When searching for the best home treadmill, the needs of walkers are going to be a little different than the needs of runners. Runners need powerful motors and the treadmills better suited for them tend to be higher in price. Walkers don't need as much power in a treadmill motor, which means they can get by with a less expensive machine. Price and motor quality shouldn't be the only factors in your decision, however. Available workout programs and the length of the warranties are also important to consider as they could have a serious impact on the overall usability of the machine.

The 3 Best SOLE Treadmills

SOLE treadmills generally have strong warranties, a good selection of workout programs, and excellent console controls. One area where these treadmills fall a little short of other brands is entertainment features. SOLE treadmills all have audio ports and built-in speakers for listening to music, but nothing beyond that. When comparing two or more SOLE models, things like track size, motor quality, and price become much more important.

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.

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