The Best Treadmill for Home Use
The best treadmill for home use is substantial enough to offer a smooth and steady ride without taking up your entire living room. We brought in nine different treadmills that met our standards for power, tech, and reliability, and tested the user experience of each. In the end, we found a model for walkers and a model for runners that both pack a lot of quality into a manageable footprint.
We loved how the cleanly designed console made it easy to change settings mid-workout. The ProForm 505 may be 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. While the NordicTrack C 990 provides a well-cushioned, generously sized belt for a runner's strides, the machine’s overall dimensions are just as compact as our walking pick.
The Best Treadmill for Home Use
Working out from home shouldn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your exercise. Our favorite home-use treadmills offer the same solid construction and fitness programming as their gym-use siblings, but in a more affordable, more maneuverable package.
If you're looking to get in brisk walks or light jogs at home, we recommend the ProForm 505 CST. Its strong motor and heavy-duty build allow you to press into max speeds and inclines without shaking. And despite the ProForm’s low, $599 price tag, its programming and connectivity are on par with plenty of luxury picks. We loved its intuitive console and spacious feel, both of which led us to a more comfortable workout.
Do you log longer miles at faster speeds? The NordicTrack C 990 is great for runners who need a little more out of their treadmill motor. This compact, lightweight machine provides plenty of upscale features at a mid-range price ($999). Not least of which: a small, sharp touchscreen. The screen consolidates programming and adjustments, and opens up a ton of entertainment options, though it's less responsive than we'd like.
How We Found the Best Treadmill for Home Use
To find the best treadmills, we consulted online guides like Consumer Reports, Treadmill Reviews, and Runner’s World in search of quality machines that were durable, powerful, and easy to use. Before deciding which models deserved to be brought in for personal testing, we developed a set of criteria to guide our selections and accommodate the needs of both walkers and runners.
You can find further details of our search and our testing process over in our Best Treadmill review.
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 connectivity and downloadable workouts do wonders.
Roomy deck space
For most users, a 55-by-20-inch belt surface area allows for easy, uninhibited strides. If walking is your main 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 — around 60 by 20 inches. Clipping your strides means losing out on the muscle-toning benefit of stretching your legs out.
A strong motor
Continuous horsepower (CHP) 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. Here’s an easy guide:
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.
One, 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.
And two, 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 highly rated treadmills that mapped onto our criteria for power and programming, and explored a few major themes: the comfort of the run, ease of controllability, programming features, and overall ergonomics. Our favorites were intuitive and ergonomic, with solid construction and useful features that motivated us to press on when the workout got tough.
Our Picks for the Best Treadmill for Home Use
Best for Walkers
The ProForm 505 CST was our no. 1 walking pick in our Best Treadmill review thanks to its sleek design and supportive deck. With 2.5 CHP and a lofty max weight of 325 lbs, the ProForm is a durable choice for walkers and light joggers. We appreciated that the console, the handles, and the deck remained solid even when we pumped up the speed and raised the incline.
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. Horizontally placed controls allow 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 the 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 tougher 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.
Best for Runners
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-by-7-foot space. Plus, it weighs in at just over 200 lbs — the lightest treadmill we could find with 3 CHP. That weight is a boon for storage, and we didn't notice the lack of heft when we ran. Your running experience will benefit from 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.
And while 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 a classic treadmill 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 quickest.
One drawback to the NordicTrack C 990 — its top incline is 12 percent, three percentage points fewer 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.