There’s no denying 2020 has been a tough year for personal fitness. In most cities across the US, local gyms and fitness studios have been closed for most of the year, forcing many people to turn to outdoor activities like running and bicycling to work up a sweat. In the home, there are options like the classic 7 Minute Workout. But if you’re fortunate enough to have the space, a home gym is another excellent and safe way to stay fit. Investing in a quality treadmill will ensure you get your cardio in without ever having to head outside. Plus, when you compare the cost of many treadmills to the expense of an annual gym membership, you might find that even the best treadmills are ultimately more cost effective over time.
No matter the type of treadmill you’re looking for, be it a super simple budget pick or an ultra-expensive, kitted out model, here are eight of the best treadmills you can buy for your home right now.
Best Value Treadmill
Horizon Fitness T101
While you can certainly find less expensive treadmills, the Horizon Fitness T101 is the best intersection of price and features, making it an excellent value. It is a somewhat small treadmill at just 20 x 55 inches and powered by a modest 2.25 CHP motor, but it still offers the essential specs that even a beginner will probably want, such as speeds up to 10 mph and an incline up to 10 percent. Heart rate is measured through the hand grips, and a small cooling fan helps keep you from melting on hot workout days. There’s an easy to use command center console and Bluetooth connectivity that lets you play audio from your phone through built-in speakers. And the treadmill comes with about 30 pre-set workouts programs.
Despite offering all those basics, it still manages to fold up — similar to the way the ProForm SMART Pro 2000 folds up, though perhaps not as efficiently — so it can take up less space when not in use.
Best Upright Folding Treadmill
ProForm SMART Pro 2000
The ProForm SMART Pro 2000 is a deceptively large treadmill, heavy duty all around and equipped with a generously wide 22-inch running deck. But it doesn’t need to take up a lot of floor space 24/7, because when it’s not in use the Pro 2000 folds up for a much smaller footprint.
It’s a great choice for dedicated runners thanks to the beefy 3.5 CHP motor, ProForm’s ProShox Cushioning system and the fact that it has both an incline (up to 15 percent) and a decline (3 percent). Not a lot of treadmills offer a decline, so your runs can simulate hills better than many.
The console includes an integrated 7-inch LCD display that works with ProForm’s subscription-based iFit service, which delivers streaming, on-demand guided workout sessions. The app can actively control the settings on your treadmill, adjusting speed and incline to match the workout. There’s also an included heart rate sensor, cooling fan and integrated Bluetooth speakers.
Best Treadmill For Big and Tall Users
3G Cardio Elite Treadmill
3G Cardio’s Elite Treadmill is a bit expensive, but it may be a smart choice for bigger folks looking to get into walking, jogging or running. The 4 CHP motor is more robust than most, and the deck supports a maximum user weight of 400 pounds, which is also at the high end of what many consumer treadmills are equipped to handle. Nor will you feel claustrophobic on the 22 x 62-inch deck. The soft, ergonomic Ortho Flex Shock suspension system also reduces stress on your joints as you walk or run.
There’s no large LCD display here, but the console does come with pre-programmed courses, integrated speakers, and a USB input for your smartphone (as well as an AUX audio input). Unfortunately, there’s no Bluetooth connection, though, so you do need to plug in. The machine inclines up to 15 percent and you can vary the speed up to 12 mph.
Best Smart Treadmill
The Echelon Stride is a treadmill with a modern sensibility. Not only does it have a large touchscreen display with Bluetooth, but this foldaway treadmill folds up automatically at the press of a button, after which you can wheel it into any corner of the room where it’s out of the way.
It’s not the most powerful treadmill you can find — it has a 1.75 CHP motor, for example — but the machine manages a top speed of 12 mph and has a maximum incline of 10 degrees.
Membership into Echelon’s on-demand fitness program is a core part of owning the Stride. You get access to live classes as well as streaming on-demand sessions, and you can compete on the leaderboard with your own social circle of family and friends. While the monthly fee is $40 per month, the price drops to as little as $29 per month if you commit to a two-year plan.
Best Splurge Treadmill
You can’t round up the best home treadmills without including the Peloton Tread. Peloton, after all, is responsible for popularizing subscription-based live classes in home exercise gear, and the Tread is a premium treadmill that costs over $4,000.
Equipped with a massive 32-inch touchscreen, the Peloton Tread’s on-demand and live classes definitely have a visceral impact. That said, the Tread can’t adjust its settings automatically in response to the speed and incline in the on-screen workout, which is a big oversight. But those settings are easy to make — rather than the usual spaceship-like buttons, the Tread has a pair of elegant dials for changing the incline (up to 15 percent) and speed (12.5 mph).
Best Treadmill With Guided Workouts
NordicTrack T 8.5 S
Even though Peloton might be the treadmill you think of when it comes to taking classes — and it wins on sheer size of screen — the NordicTrack T 8.5 S is the treadmill you probably want to use to follow an on-screen trainer. And for a fraction of the price, to boot. The screen is just 10 inches, but NordicTrack’s iFit app lets you choose from a library of 16,000 or so guided workouts set in beautiful locations. You also have access to studio workouts, yoga, cross-training and more. Want to run anywhere on earth? NordicTrack lets you with help from Google Maps. And the workout sessions can take control of the treadmill to dial in the appropriate incline and speed without your manual input. Meanwhile, you can connect your mobile device to the Bluetooth speakers to play your favorite music.
The treadmill itself is built around a 3.5 CHP motor and the belt is padded with NordicTrack’s FlexSelect Cushioning that helps simulate a real running experience while lowering the impact on your joints. You get a range of 12 percent incline and 12 mph speed.
Best Compact Treadmill
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill
Not everyone has a room dedicated to serving as a full home gym. If space is at a premium, the Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill does exactly what the name says. The handrail folds down so the entire treadmill folds flat and can be rolled under your bed or sofa.
It’s not especially large; the deck is 16 inches wide and 40 inches long, which makes it easy to store but a little cramped in daily use. And there’s no console on the top of the handrail; the compact and minimalist display is down at your feet, controlled by remote control. There is a stand for your phone, though, and a Bluetooth speaker.
GoPlus calls this a 2-in-1 treadmill because, with the handrail folded down, you can use it for walking or jogging up to about 2.5 mph. Raise the rails and you can run at a maximum of 7 mph, powered by the modest 2.25 CHP motor.
Best Treadmill For Immersive Guided Runs
NordicTrack Commercial 2950
The name weirdly implies this is not a treadmill for the home — that perhaps it’s intended for commercial gyms — but don’t worry. This treadmill is commonly used in home gyms and is built for individuals and families. And because it’s a NordicTrack, it has familiar features, like the iFit app for workouts. But this treadmill comes closest to replicating the premium feel of the Peloton Tread with a large 22-inch LCD display. It’s that display which is likely to make you fall in love — it’s hard not to choose a guided run in the iFit app and not be mesmerized by the beautiful real-world trails on the giant display. Want something simpler? There are 40 on-board workout programs as well. Either way, the app can take control of the treadmill to change speed and incline to match the terrain, which helps to make you forget about the passage of time during your morning workout.
This treadmill isn’t just beauty, either. Built around a 4.25 CHP motor, it has one of the strongest motors of any treadmill you are likely to consider for your home, particularly anywhere near this price point. It can get up to 12 mph, inclines 15 percent and declines up to 3 percent.
Best Self-Powered Treadmill
Assault Fitness AirRunner
While they monopolize the floor at most gyms and tend to be the go-to choice for home exercisers as well, motorized treadmills are not the only way to get in your morning run. Manual treadmills have a lot of advantages over the motorized variety, and the Assault Fitness AirRunner is one of the best and most popular. Don’t mistakenly think that manual treadmills are necessarily cheaper, though; the AirRunner is priced at the top end of the treadmill market.
Most runners who use the AirRunner end up loving it, though. The curved deck contributes to a more comfortable, ergonomic run, and the heavy duty, high-capacity construction is solid and feels indestructible, far more stable and rigid than a typical treadmill. Running on the AirRunner also feels more natural than on a motorized tread, and burns more calories for the same length of workout. It supports a maximum weight of 350 pounds, so it’s great for users of almost any size, and the lack of a motor means you’re in the driver’s seat; there’s no practical maximum speed.
The AirRunner includes a digital display to report your stats — remember, you set the pace by your running, not a dial on the control panel — and it supports Bluetooth for tracking your heart rate.
Most Popular Treadmill [Currently Out of stock]
Nautilus is a respected brand that has a wealth of experience making exercise gear, and the T618 demonstrates that with a solidly built treadmill that should stand up to many years of use. It has a 3.5 CHP motor and something that Nautilus calls its Rebound Cushioning System, which softens your feet’s impact in front and helps propel your kickoff at the back. All together, it adds up to a quieter mechanism that redirects your body’s force to a more energetic workout. You can take it up to 12 mph and simulate hilly runs with an incline of up to 15 percent.
The treadmill doesn’t have the sort of large LCD display which appears to be all the rage these days, but the digital controls are large and easy to use, which is important when you need to make adjustments in the middle of a run. It comes with a wireless heart rate chest strap as well. The system uses Bluetooth to sync with the Nautilus mobile app which includes an “explore the world” feature — you can go on a virtual jog at dozens of locations around the globe, and the first-person video adapts to your running speed.
Bottom line: The Nautilus T618 hits all the right notes and is consequently very much in demand — which may explain why it’s currently out of stock at every retailer we could find, including the Nautilus web site.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Treadmill
Choosing the best treadmill for your home gym can be challenging. There are countless models online, and a lot of features to consider. You’ll want to make sure it’s sturdy and rugged, for example, as it will take a lot of pounding and needs to withstand daily use.
You might want to start by considering your budget; in general, the more money you can invest in a treadmill, the more rugged and durable it will be. For example, any treadmill that costs less than $1000 is probably not going to last for more than a couple of seasons; the motor and belt simply isn’t resilient enough. But starting around $1500, treadmills offer the same kind of reliability and features you’ll find in processional models at the gym.
One critical specification to consider is the motor’s CHP — continuous horsepower rating — which should be no less than 2.5 if you want to use it routinely for running. A treadmill that lists a low CHP (or avoids CHP entirely and only tells you its peak HP), is more likely to burn out prematurely.
You’ll also want to consider shock absorption, cushioning, and overall noise level in addition to the actual running specs: How fast can it go, does it incline, and can it decline as well? What’s the maximum weight rating — is it suitable for everyone in the house who might want to use it?
One of the hottest trends in home exercise gear these days is subscription-based workout classes, so be sure to take that into account when looking for a treadmill. Some treadmills come with large LCD displays that let you immerse yourself in online coaching sessions and workouts, but that requires an ongoing commitment each month. And other special features are worth considering too. Larger displays are more immersive, and some classes are live, while others only offer pre-recorded sessions. And the most immersive treadmills can be controlled remotely in real-time by the instructor. Otherwise, you’ll need to adjust speed and incline manually throughout the session.