If you're building your home gym from the ground up or looking to upgrade some new equipment, buying a treadmill for home use is the perfect place to start.
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After all, treadmills offer endless at-home workout options for runners, joggers, walkers and HIIT fanatics — especially considering today's technology. But even if high-tech features make your workouts more fun, they can also make shopping more confusing.
Do you need a model that includes on-demand workout programs, or do you just want to track your speed and distance? What is the best treadmill for beginners versus runners in marathon training? What if you have joint issues or are working with tight spaces?
Luckily, we've done the research on your behalf. Read on to find the best treadmill for your home.
1. Best Overall: Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill
Which treadmill is best for home use? If we had to pick one, it would be the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected.
If you're looking for a machine that has it all, Echelon is a top treadmill brand. Made for convenience, this model easily folds up to save you workout space when not in use. And its sleek, lightweight frame makes it easy to move around your home.
It's also a great buy for fitness class fans. "Echelon has world-class instructors teaching live and on-demand classes on this compact and easily transportable machine," says New York-based physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist Sam Becourtney, DPT, CSCS. The fitness classes are easy to follow and cover every part of the workout, from warm-up to cool-down.
Plus, the machine allows you to easily adjust incline and speed without breaking your stride.
Is that price range too high for your budget? The machine's available with multiple financing options to help you space out the costs, Becourtney says.
Buy it: Echelon.com; Price: $1,338.98
2. Best Budget: Sunny Health and Fitness Foldable Walking Treadmill
Want a top-rated home treadmill that doesn't break the bank? Look no further than this foldable and affordable piece of equipment. It has a small fixed incline and its speed starts at 0.5 mph and builds up to 7 mph, making it a solid option for walkers and joggers.
While inexpensive, it more than has your basics covered, Becourtney says. It has a digital LCD screen that tracks speed, time, distance, calories and pulse. It also has safety handlebars and an emergency stop clip. The machine's transportation wheels help you easily roll and store the machine between workouts.
The bonus is it comes with a three-year warranty.
Buy it: SunnyHealthFitness.com; Price: $399.99
3. Best for Competitive Runners: Woodway 4Front
Woodway's 4Front can handle all the miles you can.
The 4Front has a strong rubber belt that can last for more than 150,000 miles (10 times longer than you find with most machines). The belt surface is also gentle on the joints, making it one of the best treadmills for bad knees.
"The 4Front is specially designed with shock-absorbing slats to decrease the impact and stress on the joints when running compared to other, less shock-absorbent machines," Becourtney says. "The design also allows for use of 50 percent less electricity."
The 4Front's dynamic mode enables you to run on the belt like a non-motorized treadmill — a great option for your sprint interval workouts. Plus, it has a 19-inch, Bluetooth-compatible screen you can connect to your favorite running apps.
4. Best for Small Spaces: GoPlus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill
Who doesn't love multi-use products? This 2-in-1 folding treadmill is a fun example. This machine can be used with the frame up for walking and jogging. Or, you can fold the handrail and place the machine under your standing desk to sneak in some movement throughout the day.
And because you can fold the handrail, it's easy to store under your couch or bed or prop against a wall in your closet.
Space-friendly when folded, this machine has Bluetooth so you can play music during your run. Its remote-control start makes controlling the speed and stopping on demand a breeze, Becourtney says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $399.99
5. Best for Quiet Workouts: NordicTrack Commercial X22i
NordicTrack is a well-known brand and this model really outdoes itself for home use. It's complete with new quiet-drive, sound-absorbing technology, which includes an elevated belt, so you don't wake your household.
This machine is also built with a push bar and sled grips, meaning its a perfect HIIT-style machine. You can even adjust the incline and decline, making it the perfect race prep companion.
"This machine has digital control of incline up to 40 percent as well as decline up to 6 percent, which replicates the demands of outdoor running with uphill and downhill segments," Becourtney says. "Plus, it offers a high-quality, large screen for improved user experience."
Buy it: NordicTrack.com; Price: $2,999
6. Best for Runners Who Are Plus-Sized: Bowflex Treadmill 22
Bowflex's 22 is built with a wide, Comfort Tech cushion deck, and can support up to 400 pounds, thanks to its sturdy frame. While most treadmills have a 20-inch running path, Bowflex's track is 22 inches wide.
"The comfort tech deck cushioning makes it great for larger bodies and also lessens the load through the joints," Becourtney says. (Consider this another ideal treadmill for bad knees.)
Plus, you can take it on both inclines and declines to feel like you're hiking or jogging on uneven terrain.
The machine even offers personalized voice-coach workouts that automatically adjust as your fitness improves. Adjust your settings to watch worldwide landscapes or your favorite Netflix shows during your workouts.
Buy it: Bowflex.com; Price: $2,699
7. Best for Your Office: Unsit Under Desk Treadmill
This under-desk treadmill is made specifically for use in the office, not the gym. So if you want to keep moving while you're working, this machine is perfect.
Unlike most treadmills, Unsit's Under Desk Treadmill is built close to the ground, giving you plenty of space underneath your desk. The machine's short design also helps reduce wasted space behind you.
Buy it: Inmovement.com; Price: $2,195
8. Best Cord-Free Model: Assault Fitness AssaultRunner
The AssaultRunner is a totally motorless treadmill, meaning your legs do all of the work. This treadmill is one of the lightest availble. And thanks to its built-in wheels and chord-free design, you can actually move your treadmill workouts outdoors in warmer weather, according to Assault Fitness.
"This a curve treadmill, which means it is self-propelled and the resistance and belt speed are a direct result of the force provided — aka the speed someone is running," Becourtney says. "This is great for pushing your limits, working on maximum speed and doing short sprint intervals."
Unlike other machines, this treadmill is also built with weather-resistant materials, so you won't have to worry about doing damage.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $3,9409.26
9. Best for Beginners: Pro-Form Pro 2000
Created with iFit, a training platform that enables you to work with personal coaches, the Pro-Form Pro 2000 is the ideal machine for new runners and treadmill users.
Unlike other standard treadmills, the Pro 2000 can track and record your stats, allowing you to track your progress. And new runners will love the built-in personal trainer. Through iFit technology, your trainer can adjust your speed, incline and decline remotely.
This beginner treadmill also features a built-in fan to keep you cool. And it even folds in half to save space.
Buy it: Proform.com; Price: $1,499
5 Tips for Finding the Best Treadmill for Your Home
Before you buy a treadmill for home use, familiarize yourself with some machine basics to ensure you're getting the best machine that caters to your goals, fitness level and available space.
1. Pick Within Your Price Range
After some scrolling online, you'll notice that there are some pretty expensive treadmills on the market. But you don't need to break the bank to find a good machine.
Some brands do offer financing options. Just remember you will still pay the same amount of money (if not more) over the long term.
2. Choose a Continuous Motor
As you've probably guessed, the motor powers the treadmill and helps move the belt in circles, Becourtney says. When you're buying your new treadmill, look for a machine that's built with a continuous horsepower motor.
"This will ensure there is always a minimum horsepower so that the belt runs smoothly and there is less likelihood of the belt stopping or stuttering during a workout," he says. Luckily, most machines are built with continuous horsepower but you'll want to double-check nevertheless.
Of course, if you decide on a self-powered, motor-less treadmill, you can ignore this tip.
3. Look for a Non-Slip Belt
The belt is the part of the machine you run on, so choose one that's built with a strong, non-slippery rubber, Becourtney says. If you're an avid runner who's logging a ton of miles, look for a treadmill that has a belt warranty (just in case you need a replacement belt).
If you have knee problems but your doctor clears you for treadmill use, you can get the benefits of low-impact, brisk walking with a simple treadmill, as long as it provides a cushioned belt and stability. A cushioned track reduces the impact on your knees and other joint. Some top-rated treadmills even have adjustable cushioning settings.
Typically belts are either single-ply, two-ply or three-ply (yep, kind of like toilet paper), with each having different levels of cushioning. If you have any joint concerns, you may want to opt for a thicker, two- or three-ply belt for heavy-duty shock absorption. Higher-ply machines are the best treadmills for knees.
4. Prioritize a Durable Deck
The deck of the machine will determine how durable and functional your treadmill is, Becourtney says. It also enables you to adjust the incline or decline of your machine.
"You want to choose a deck that can support your body weight and is long and wide enough to meet your stride length and anticipated weekly mileage," he says. A medium-thickness fiberboard treadmill deck is a solid choice for its longevity.
5. Buy Tech That Will Keep You Motivated
The treadmill can help build cardiovascular and muscular strength, but it isn't always the most interesting cardio machine. If boredom is a concern, look for options that offer interactive technology and training programs, Becourtney suggests.
At the very least, look for a treadmill with a built-in tablet holder.