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 pack a lot of quality into a manageable footprint.

The 2 Best Treadmills for Home Use

Best Treadmill for Walkers
ProForm 505 CST
ProForm
The 505 combines a clean console with a solidly constructed deck.
Pros
Strong and solid
Good programming
Cons
Limited without iFit

Why we chose it

Strong and solid

If you're looking to get in brisk walks or light jogs at home, we recommend the ProForm 505 CST. The ProForm 505 CST was our no. 1 walking pick in our overall Best Treadmill review thanks to its supportive deck and spacious feel. With 2.5 CHP and a lofty max weight of 325 lbs, the ProForm is a durable choice for walkers and light joggers thanks to a strong motor and heavy-duty build that allows you to press into max speeds and inclines without shaking. We appreciated that the console, handles, and deck felt solid even when we pumped up the speed and raised the incline.

505 CST for Treadmill

Good programming

Most treadmills in the sub-$800 price bucket are practically identical; the ProForm 505 CST’s sleek design is refreshingly unique. And despite the ProForm’s lower price tag, its programming and connectivity are on par with plenty of luxury picks. The intuitive, sleekly designed console made it easy to change settings mid-workout. Horizontally placed controls allow you to reach forward the same amount whether you’re hitting the key for 3 mph or 10 mph. 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.

505 Console for Treadmill

Points to consider

Limited without iFit

Another offshoot of elevated design: more reliance on high-tech features. 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. Overall, the ProForm 505 CST is an incredible value for its price.

Best Treadmill for Runners
NordicTrack C 990
NordicTrack
This treadmill offers a cushioned run and solid horsepower in a small package.
Pros
Comfortable running surface
Touchscreen tech
Power, condensed
Cons
Slight incline

Why we chose it

Comfortable running surface

Do you log longer miles at faster speeds? NordicTrack C 990 is great for runners who need a little more out of their treadmill motor and a little more support from the belt. Your running 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.

Touchscreen tech

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. The small, sharp touchscreen helps: It consolidates programming and adjustments, and opens up a ton of entertainment options. And while the ProForm 505 CST’s high-tech capabilities can only be accessed after syncing up with your smartphone, the NordicTrack 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.

C 990 Console for Treadmill

Power, condensed

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. While the NordicTrack 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. This compact, lightweight machine provides 3 CHP while weighing in at just over 200 lbs and occupying a less than 3-by-7-foot space — the lightest treadmill we could find with that kind of horsepower.

C990 for Treadmill

Points to consider

Slight incline

One drawback to the NordicTrack C 990 — its top incline is 12%, 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.

How to Find the Right Treadmill for Your Home

Choose your pace

You want a treadmill capable of every bit of exertion you are. But no need for a sky-high threshold if you’re going to power walk at most. Remember the rule of thumb when it comes to continuous horsepower: 2 CHP for walking, 3 CHP for running. Landing on a treadmill that allows for that and not too much more will be lighter weight, cheaper, and easier to maneuver in your home.

Choose your tech

It may seem superficial, but a treadmill that lacks engaging programming or useful health stats is going to quickly become hard to use. Think about your favorite parts of working out — including watching visualizations of progress, challenging yourself with interval workouts, getting to zone out to road run footage, even feeling the cool fan and getting to rest your magazine on a convenient media shelf. Your chosen treadmill should offer the features that contribute the most to your run.

Get professionals to set it up

Can you assemble a treadmill? Yes. But the more tech-dense a machine, the more tricky and exasperating putting it together becomes, and both of our favorites listed on this page are guilty of tech complexity. Opt for room-of-choice delivery (omitting the headache of lugging it in from the curb) and have either the manufacturer or Amazon Home Services get it from box to built.

Treadmill FAQ

What about folding treadmills?

Our research steered us clear of any treadmills that claim folding or portability as their first characteristic. Here’s our rationale: a treadmill is only as good as the number of times a week you’ll use it. A cheap, rickety treadmill that’s best when it’s folded up won’t provide the comfortable, secure experience that will keep you moving. Secondly, “out of sight, out of mind” is a cliché for good reason. A treadmill that’s just bulky enough to be in your line of sight is going to necessarily more often thought of, and as a result more often used.

Are treadmill warranties important?

As it is for most product warranties, any damage you inflict on your treadmill won’t be covered. So normal wear and tear, and its gradual impact on the appearance and functionality of your machine, are part of the deal. But manufacturer flaws, those little quirks that crop up after a day or a year and impede functionality for no visible reason, are another story. Keep your warranty in force in order to guard against those (fairly frequent) instances of manufacturer defect by keeping its part well tended and having a professional do the installation. That’s right: DIY-ing your treadmill’s assembly could void it strait out of the box.

The Best Treadmills for Home: Summed Up

ProForm 505 CST
NordicTrack C 990
Best Treadmill for Walking
Best Treadmill for Running
MSRP
$999
$1099
Continuous Horsepower
2.5
3
Max Speed
10 MPH
12 MPH
Max Incline
10%
12%
Max Weight
325 lbs.
300 lbs.
Programs
18
32

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