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Best treadmills {year}

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(Image credit: Future)

The best treadmills are tried and tested pieces of cardio kit that have stood the test of time thanks to their enviable CVs; increasing the efficiency of your heart and lungs, torching calories and improving your running performance are just some of the benefits that come with consistent use. 

Modern models go several steps further than the running machines of old, too. Alongside some of the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) and best rowing machines (opens in new tab), they boast the ability to beam a cornucopia of workout classes into your living room through tablet-esque touchscreens. These make them intuitive to use while providing you with all the workout information and motivation you need for a well-rounded at-home fitness routine – a real win-win. 

Classes on offer include follow-along studio workouts, virtual routes from picturesque locations around the world (fancy a quick jog along a Hawaiian beach, anyone?) and real-time runs where you can compete against fellow users via a live leaderboard. You can even enjoy off-the-machine sessions including strength, core work, yoga and Pilates – just unfurl one of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) and get ready to sweat. 

Brilliant as they are, it’s worth noting that these innovative features don’t come cheap. So, if you’re wondering how to start running (opens in new tab) or looking for a top treadmill to ensure your home workouts always go the extra mile, it’s important you spend your money wisely. 

Below, our in-house testing team has revealed their pick of the best treadmills you can buy, with options to suit all budgets. Each one has been put through a rigorous review process to assess its strengths and weaknesses, so you can work out which running machine is right for you and buy with confidence. 

Best treadmills

(Image credit: Future)With thousands of engaging classes and an unrivaled range of incline settings, our top-rated treadmill is sure to provide a great workout, whatever your fitness level.

SpecificationsDimensions: 81” x 39” x 76”

Weight: 505lbs (in-box weight)

Tread belt size: 22” x 60”

Max user weight: 297lbs / 135kg

Display: 22” HD touchscreen

Speed: 0-12mph

Incline: -5 – 40%

Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, dual speakers, Runners Flex cushioning, 30-day iFit Family Membership

Reasons to buy+High-end features

+Great incline and decline range

Reasons to avoid- Bulky 

– Needs iFit subscription 

The NordicTrack X22i treadmill doesn’t do anything by halves, and that’s why we love it. Why have a few preset programs when you can have thousands of engaging on-demand workouts, who wants a 7in display when you can have a cinematic 22in HD touchscreen,  and why stop at a 15% incline when you can hike up a daunting 40% slope? 

It doesn’t just stand out because of its go hard or go home approach to innovative features either, it’s also a brilliant running machine in its own right. We appreciated the Reflex Cushioning built into the belt, which ensured our joints didn’t bear the brunt of lengthy runs, and the powerful 4chp (continuous horsepower) motor works impressively quietly to deliver a top speed of 12mph. 

Now, at some point we do have to address the elephant in the room; at over 70in long and almost 40in wide, this is a big machine. However, if you’ve got a dedicated home workout space to house it, these considerable dimensions can be seen as a plus. The running belt feels roomy – even for our taller (6ft 2in) tester – and the treadmill stays stable and wobble-free no matter what incline or speed setting we selected. 

We were also left seriously impressed by the wealth of health content available via the iFit app. This requires a monthly subscription fee after a 30-day free trial, but you definitely get your money’s worth with access to thousands of studio classes, instructor-led virtual routes and off treadmill workouts. So, if you’re not in the mood for a run, you can opt for a strength, Pilates or yoga session instead. 

Given its impressive credentials, we think the NordicTrack X22i is the perfect training partner for anyone looking for a machine that can revolutionize their home workouts and provide a well-rounded fitness routine.

Read our full NordicTrack X22i review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)The Peloton Tread model has a sleek, pared-back design and offers some seriously high-energy classes.

SpecificationsDimensions: 173cm L x 84cm W x 157cm

Weight: 291lbs / 132kg

Tread size: 150cm x 50cm

Max user weight: 304lbs / 136kg

Display: 23.8” HD touchscreen

Speed: 0-12.5mph (20kph)

Incline: 0-12.5% grade (no decline)

Other features: Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility, Tread Lock (prevents unauthorized access), 16 GB internal flash storage, front-facing stereo speakers, 2.2 Channel with rear-facing woofers, USB-C charging port, 3.5 mm headphone jack

Reasons to buy+ Crisp HD touchscreen 

+ Huge array of live and on-demand classes 

Reasons to avoid- Expensive 

– Doesn’t fold or decline

The Peloton Tread is a sleek and well-made treadmill that offers a satisfying running experience for all fitness abilities. It comes in Peloton’s signature black and red colors and has a striking minimalist design. We particularly liked the machine’s fuss-free touchscreen, which is easy to navigate. 

Speed and incline dials are positioned on the handrails, so there is really very little to distract you from that shiny display. It doesn’t have any kind of base at the front of the tread, so you can run along its full length—useful if you have a particularly long stride. 

The machine doesn’t have quite as many features as we’d like to see at this price point, as it’s lacking a decline option or in-built fan, both of which you can find in the slightly cheaper NordicTrack model above. You will also need a Peloton app subscription to access those famous virtual classes. All of that aside, it is a satisfyingly compact, stylish and quiet machine for runners of all ability. 

Read our full Peloton Tread review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)A marginally more affordable option that’s brilliant for hill training.

SpecificationsDimensions: 59.6” x 77.3” x 35.3”

Weight: 263 lbs (in box)

Tread belt size: 20” x 60”

Max user weight: 300 lbs

Display: 22” Smart HD Touchscreen

Speed: 0-22 km/h

Incline: -3%- +12%

Other features: Bluetooth audio, wireless headphone connectivity, 2” dual speakers, iFit access, heart rate sensors, CoolAire™ fans.

Reasons to buy+Tons of interactive workouts via the iFit app

+Foldable for easy storage

+Challenging max speeds, and incline/decline settings

Reasons to avoid-Noisy at top speed and during incline/decline transitions

-Some minor tech and Wifi issues

-Bluetooth audio only

ProForm has taken a minimalist approach to design with the ProForm Pro 9000, using a black and silver palette that gives the tread a slick and subtle look. There’s nothing subtle about the size or price tag of this model though, so you’ll need some cash and space to house it.

The 9000 comes complete with inbuilt dual speakers, fans, and iFit capability which provides access to a vast array of workouts and classes from top-notch coaches and trainers in the game. The 22” eye-catching crisp color touchscreen display will certainly suck you in, and with so much workout choice available, this tread can quench the thirst of even the fittest of running fanatics. The speed and incline quick controls are splashed across the dashboard to offer fuss-free on-the-go adjustments, and you can choose between -3% to +12% incline/decline, as well as up to 22 km/h of speed – all of which can be automated by your trainer during workouts. 

While this treadmill does offer an immersive training experience, we found some of the tech tricky to master –  although thankfully, we could connect our headphones. There are a couple of tech fixes that could make this model more competitive for the top spot, especially when pitched against models like the NordicTrack X22i. 

Read our full ProForm Premier 9000 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore)This space-saving treadmill is ideal for anyone wanting a quality product that offers hundreds of on-demand classes and folds flat when not in use

SpecificationsDimensions: 69.3” x 31” x 49.2”

Weight: 156lbs / 70kg

Tread belt size: 20” x 55”

Max user weight: 300lbs / 136kg

Display: No screen, digital touch console

Speed: 0-12mph

Incline: 0-10%

Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, live and on-demand classes via Echelon Fit app (subscription needed), USB charging port, foldable

Reasons to buy+Ultra compact

+Easily foldable

+Echelon Fit App filled with workouts

Reasons to avoid- Small motor 

-Lack of touchscreen 

The Echelon Stride is the ultimate space-savvy treadmill, with its compact running belt and fully foldable design meaning you can have this petite machine flat in seconds – ideal for storing under a bed or behind a sofa. And it seems the saying “good things come in small packages” rings true, with the tread delivering an impressive performance on test (in spite of its diminutive dimensions).

It offers speeds of up to 12mph and incline settings as high as 10%. We found the base felt sturdy and secure, with only slight wobbling at the highest paces and gradients, and though it only has a 1.75 horsepower motor the belt moved smoothly with no juddering underfoot. 

There is an LED console on the handlebars with several interval sessions of varying difficulty on offer. However, we think it’s well worth investing in the Echelon Fit app which – for a monthly subscription fee – allows you to link the treadmill with your phone or tablet and access a huge selection of engaging classes. During testing, we discovered even those sessions labeled advanced proved on the easier side, but there is a huge selection of on-demand studio classes, live workouts and more to explore.

So, if you’re a running newcomer looking for a compact, affordable option, the Echelon Stride is the best treadmill for you. 

Read our full Echelon Stride Auto-fold Treadmill Review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)Easy to fold up and store, this machine is a sturdy treadmill that will suit out and out runners – just don’t expect any bells and whistles.

SpecificationsDimensions: 33” x 42” x 67”

Weight: 211lbs / 96kg

Tread belt size: 20” x 56”

Max user weight: 350lbs / 159kg

Display: 7” TFT touchscreen

Speed: 0-12mph

Incline: 0.5-15%

Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, heart rate monitoring, USB port, audio jack, 3-speed fans, speakers, iPod and MP3 compatible sound system, device holder, 21 pre-programmed workouts, shock absorbers, foldable

Reasons to buy+ Well made 

+ Easy to use console 

Reasons to avoid- Small treadmill belt 

– Short handrails 

The LifeSpan Fitness Treadmill TR3000i has everything a traditional treadmill should. We found it benefits from a stable, cushioned running deck, a maximum speed of 12mph and incline settings up to 15%. Yet, with the multitude of mod cons crammed into newer running machines, its traditional approach struggles to keep pace with its smarter competitors. 

The 7in touchscreen feels tiny and, while it’s fairly responsive, the display is a bit grainy. It feels wholly unnecessary too, as the machine only has a scattering of preset programs to choose from – a figure that pales in comparison to the thousands of live and on-demand classes on offer from the likes of the Peloton Tread and NordicTrack X22i. 

It took us almost an hour to set up, with the upright handles needing screwing into place and the monitor requiring an overcomplicated (not to mention fiddly) wire-matching exercise before it would work. Yet it costs over $1,000USD, meaning you’re still spending a considerable chunk of money on a treadmill that lacks the innovations of other modern models. 

Seasoned runners may appreciate the simplicity as, once the treadmill is set up, a quick start session allows you to get running with minimal fuss, adjusting your incline and speed settings as you go. But anyone looking for a piece of fitness kit to transform their home workouts will be better served elsewhere. 

Read our full Lifespan TR3000i Folding Treadmill review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)Hit 10,000 steps by walking while you work with the refreshingly affordable Mobvoi Home Treadmill

SpecificationsDimensions: 42” x 49” x 27”

Weight: 74.96lbs / 34kg

Tread belt size: 16” x 40”

Max user weight: 265lbs / 120kg

Display: N/A

Speed: 0-7.45mph

Incline: None

Other features: Bluetooth connectivity, foldable, safety key, remote control

Reasons to buy+Saves space

+Affordable

+Well-designed

Reasons to avoid-Basic functions

-Narrow tread belt

-Low maximum speed

Not only is the Mobvoi Home Treadmill a great way to stay active during the working day, at around $400USD it’s also less than half the price of the other machines in this guide. Now, don’t expect to set a 5K PB or face a lung-busting workout on this machine – it has no incline settings and a maximum speed of 12km/h (just under 7.5mph). But this is ideal for its MO as a walking treadmill, allowing you to move at a brisk pace while checking your emails or tending to spreadsheets (if you pair it with a standing desk). 

We found the running belt felt sturdy in use with no unsettling jerking or wobbling, and it’s a breeze to set up thanks to its compact, folding design. This has the added bonus of making it simple to store, as it will easily slide under most sofas. 

Thanks to the folding handlebars, you can use the machine as a flat walking pad under your desk or raise them up for the functionality of a traditional treadmill. If you choose the latter option, the handlebars house a bright LED dashboard with quick touch controls for speed and an attachable phone holder. Or, if you’re using it as a walking pad, a handy remote means you can stay in control at all times. 

The belt itself felt a little thin underfoot and the lack of cushioning was noticeable. It was also quite narrow to stand on, which could feel quite suffocating if you’re a bigger user. But the machine is whisper quiet in action and has Bluetooth speakers built in, so you can blast power ballads while smashing your daily step goal – if that’s your thing.

Read our full Mobvoi Home Treadmill review (opens in new tab)How we test treadmillsWe tested all treadmills in our purpose-built testing center (with the exception of Mobvoi, which was tested out at home) completing a longer run, an intense shorter session, and (where applicable) several workout classes on each machine. We also checked any claims made by brands, including the machines’ functionality at their maximum speed and incline settings, before awarding each one a score out of five for the following categories:

Set-up and usabilityDesign and displayFeaturesPerformanceValue for money These figures were used to calculate a final score out of five, and decide which running machines made our roundup of the best treadmills. 

How to choose the best treadmill for youThese bits of kit are among some of the best workout equipment for home (opens in new tab)  – but they are expensive, so you should make sure the model you’re buying packs in everything you need. 

“Before buying, take a free taster session at your local gym to try out the treadmills to see if you enjoy running on one, as they are very different to road running.” Personal trainer Lucy Arnold told Live Science. “Treadmills are a great investment for home workouts, especially if you have limited time, can’t get outside or don’t like running in the dark.”  

So what features should you look for in a treadmill? “Depends on what you want to achieve and how often you’ll use it,” says Lucy. “If it’s going to be your main exercise as you can’t get outside much, then a treadmill with all the bells and whistles may benefit you – screen, inbuilt classes, inclines, speed options, motorized belt… but with this comes expense. If it’s for the odd occasion, consider buying a foldaway, non-motorized treadmill. They’re cheaper and take up less space.”

What should you do first if you want to buy the best treadmill? Lucy says: “Do your research: decide what features you want and set a budget. Also, measure your space to make sure you can fit one in.”

Another consideration is noise. The bigger the motor, the louder the treadmill but if you’re a serious runner you’ll want a decent size motor for it to power the belt. Also, check the weight capacity. Larger individuals will require a treadmill with a higher max weight.

Running belt size is another consideration. Look for at least 48’ by 18” for running, and if you are over 182cms (6ft) then you will need at least a 52-inch belt for walking, and a 54” one for running.

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training. 

When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy. 

Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.

Source : Live Science

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