The Best Treadmill for Home Use
Lace up and hit your stride right from home.
The best treadmill for home use should offer you a sturdy run without taking up an entire room. We tested nine different treadmills that met our standards for power and design and tested the running experience of each. In the end, we found two that minimized space without sacrificing quality.
We loved its cleanly designed console for making it easy to change settings mid-workout. The ProForm 505 is a bit noisier than other treadmills, but it makes up for it in comfort and stability.
Next-level programming and power for a manageable price. And while it carries a full-sized running belt, the machine’s overall footprint is the same size as our walking pick.
The Best Treadmill for Home Use
Working out from home shouldn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your exercise. Our top picks for home-use treadmills offer the same solid construction and fitness programming as their gym-use siblings.
For anyone wanting to do some walking or light jogging at home, we recommend the ProForm 505 CST. A strong motor and heavy-duty build allow it to keep up with higher speeds than our walking pick, despite the ProForm’s low, $599 price tag. We loved its intuitive console and slightly longer running deck, both of which lead to a more comfortable workout.
The NordicTrack C 990 is great for runners who want to log a few more miles at home. This compact, lightweight machine provides plenty of upscale features at a mid-range price ($999). The touch screen consolidates programming and adjustments, though the screen pretty is less responsive than we'd like.
How We Found the Best Treadmill for Home Use
If you’re looking for the perfect treadmill for your home, a few key considerations can help you find your fit: The form of exercise you plan on doing, how much money you're willing to spend, and the level of technology you enjoy. Depending on those variables, the right treadmill for you may be a simple, easily storable model, or a state-of-the-art machine that turns home workouts into an experience.
To find the best treadmill for home use, we consulted online guides like Consumer Reports and Runner’s World in search of sturdy machines that were easy to use. You can find our criteria in more detail over in our Best Treadmill review, but overall, we looked for treadmills that made our workouts less of a slog.
What we looked for:
If you aren't able to dedicate a whole room to home fitness, you're probably in the market for something that can wedge between couches while in use and slide into a closet when it’s not. We liked treadmills that fold with the help of hydraulics and come with wheels for easy maneuvering.
Helpful tech features
While working out from home cancels out a lot of excuses, boredom can become its own stumbling block. This is where programming and entertainment come in. A virtual personal trainer and simulated trail running may not be at the top of your must-have list, but we can all appreciate machines that help stave off treadmill fatigue. Wifi connectability and downloadable workouts do wonders.
Roomy deck space
For most users, a 55” x 20” belt surface area allows for easy, uninhibited strides. If walking is your primary form of exercise, you probably won’t ever need more. If you primarily run, or have extremely long legs, you may find a few more inches of length can do a lot to free your movements. Clipping your strides means losing out on the muscle-toning benefit of stretching your legs out. Whether walking or running, we like a belt that measures at least 55” x 20”.
A strong motor
Continuous horsepower is the motor power measurement to look for. Some treadmill manufacturers skew the numbers by reporting peak capabilities — the max horsepower a treadmill can exert for a limited amount of time. You want to know the level of energy it can sustain for the long haul. If you think of your treadmill as your workout partner, it should be able to match you stride for stride, no matter how long you go.
Much like belt surface area, walkers can get away with less CHP than runners. Here’s an easy guideline to what you probably need:
Walking: 2 CHP
Jogging: 2.5 CHP
Running: 3 CHP
Warranty of 10 years or more on frame and motor
You'll want to buy a treadmill with a long warranty for two reasons.
First, treadmill owners tend to experience problems after a year of use. The companies that sell super-cheap treadmills with warranties of 30 or 60 days will be long out of the picture when, after 12 months, the belt splits and the motor starts smoking. When issues arise and parts need replacing, you’ll be grateful that you purchased from a company that sticks around to see how their products age.
Also, offering long warranties is only a good business idea for companies whose products don’t break. When companies offer long warranties, they’re suggesting you won’t need it.
Then we tested the best.
Of course, we couldn’t recommend a treadmill without getting our feet on it. We brought in nine different treadmills based on the criteria above and tested them to make sure we understood the workout experience. Walkers, joggers, and serious runners have different needs, but they’ll need the same basic functionality out of their machines, so we looked for a few major themes: We paid attention to the comfort of the run, how easy it was to control the treadmill, the extent of programming features, and the overall ergonomics of the design. Our favorite treadmills were easy to use, comfortable to run on, and accommodating in their workout programs. For a more in-depth look at our testing, visit our review of The Best Treadmill.
Our Picks for the Best Treadmill for Home Use
The ProForm 505 CST was our No. 1 walking pick in our Best Treadmill review, thanks to its sleek design and supportive deck. With its 2.5 CHP and increased max weight, 325 lbs, makes it a durable choice for walkers and light joggers.
Most treadmills in the sub-$800 price bucket are practically identical; the ProForm 505 CST’s sleek design is refreshingly unique. Beneath ProForm’s design innovations, its workout programs and functionality are essentially the same as its peers, but we found that design alone improved our workout experience. It helps that its design innovations include horizontally placed controls, allowing you to reach forward the same amount whether you’re hitting the 3 or 10 mph key. Because really, isn’t it hard enough to increase speed without making you work to punch buttons?
Another offshoot of elevated design: more high-tech reliance. While you would be hard-pressed to find a new treadmill that didn’t have the ability to connect to an app, some rely on app control more than others. We found that prior to syncing with iFit, the 505 CST made it hard to access the programming and workout stats we wanted. It also has about half as many pre-programmed workouts as the average machine. This may make for a steeper learning curve when it comes to mastering the 505 CST. But whether or not you opt into all the extra iFit features this model offers, you can enjoy its substantial build and contemporary style.
The only thing we didn't like was its noisy belt — but we had that complaint about most of the treadmills we tested. Overall, the ProForm 505 CST is an incredible value for its price.
If you’re on the hunt for a running treadmill that won’t break the bank or commandeer your entire living room, the stats of the NordicTrack C 990 are about to make you sing. Its powerful motor and sturdy build are condensed into a less than a 3’ x 5’ space. Plus, it weighs in at just over 200 lbs — the lightest treadmill you can find with 3 CHP.
Where the ProForm 505 CST’s high-tech capabilities can only be accessed after syncing up with your smartphone, the C 990 puts all of its potential in one place by coming equipped with a small touchscreen. The touchscreen opens up the machine’s full functionality without making you pay for a console upgrade or fiddle with your phone for the right app.
Visually, the C 990’s console represents a happy medium between the Horizon and the ProForm: It's simple and straightforward enough that you never wonder what any button is going to do, and sleek enough to look like a freshly issued model. Of all the treadmills we tested, the NordicTrack C 990 got us from powering on to running personalized training programs the most quickly.
And when it came to the running experience itself, we were pleased with the C 990’s excellent cushioning, which testers rated as more supportive and comfortable than the other running treadmills we brought in. We preferred a softer running surface, which is how the C 990 is set on arrival, but know that, like for most treadmills, you can adjust its cushioning density to match your preferences. Rule of thumb: The longer and faster you run, the more solid a surface you’ll want.
One drawback to the NordicTrack C 990 — its top incline is 12%, three fewer degrees than other equivalent running treadmills. If challenging yourself to those max inclines is more important to you than saving space, check out the top models in our Best Treadmill review.