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As the weather begins to cool, many people will opt to skip an outdoor workout and just work out in their homes instead. If cardio is a crucial part of your workout, your home gym will definitely need a treadmill to complete it. Whether you’re more of a casual walker or marathon runner, a treadmill will help you reach any cardio goal you set for yourself.
The best treadmills have practical and enjoyable innovations. Smart features, such as preset treadmill workouts, streaming service integration and access to live treadmill workout programs that have the instant adjusting your decline and incline setting to match, are increasing in popularity and showing up in more and more models. A workout program like this is perfect if you want to improve speed and endurance. Some of the best treadmills go the other route, however, skipping the smart device bells and whistles to focus more on the motor, the running deck, biomechanically correct belts that help simulate the feeling of outdoor running while on your treadmill running surface, and cushioning for improved shock absorption. These motorized treadmill models offer a different experience, but it’s certainly one worth trying out.
Everyone has a unique fitness goal and set of needs, whether it’s a running surface that’s kinder to your knees, a way to easily adjust the incline setting parameters or a workout program with active coaching. Because everyone is different, I’ve tested a variety from both camps, and collected a list of my personal favorites. The best treadmill for you will depend on many factors, but this guide should help you identify and choose the ones that best fit your needs.
I thought about form and function when analyzing the best treadmill workout you could get at home, considering factors like design, incline and decline, price, size (largely in terms of floorspace requirements) and range of speeds. From this list, I’m confident you’ll find the exact running machine to fit your personal needs. If you have a need for speed or just an urge to keep in shape, and you’re ready to take the next step in achieving your fitness goals, read on to discover the best treadmill for your home gym.
Best treadmills for 2022, compared
|Treadmill||Maximum speed||Maximum incline||Maximum user weight||Price|
|Bowflex Treadmill 22||12 mph||20%||400 pounds||$2,699|
|Assault Fitness AssaultRunner Pro||Manual||N/A||350 pounds||$2,999|
|ProForm Pro2000||12 mph||12%||300 pounds||$1,499|
|Sole F80||12 mph||15%||375 pounds||$1,600|
|Horizon T101||10 mph||10%||300 pounds||$649|
|GoPlus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill||7.5 mph||N/A||265 pounds||$330|
Read more: How to Beat Boredom on the Treadmill
The Treadmill 22 is the latest and most advanced model from Bowflex, and it’s designed to please (mostly) everyone. Built like an absolute tank, this treadmill has a 4-horsepower motor, a 22-inch-wide by 60-inch-long running path and Comfort Tech deck cushioning that helps absorb shock even at higher running speeds. During testing, it was the best treadmill for stability, too. No matter how fast I was running, the treadmill didn’t shake or wobble. I felt fully supported.
It has the largest incline range on this list, going from -5% decline up to a 20% incline to simulate running up and down hills, and supports the highest user weight (400 pounds). The incline and speed controls are on the handles and the stability bars, which made it easy to control the treadmill in the middle of my workouts.
This incline treadmill has an adjustable 22-inch touchscreen that allows you to follow along with trainer-led workouts (via the JRNY which requires a subscription) or lets you stream your favorite shows from a handful of popular streaming services. The only downside here is that if you decide to stream, the show ends with your workout. You can’t add time or switch to another workout without exiting the program and starting over, which was a bit of a bummer.
While the Bowflex Treadmill 22 has a lot going for it, make sure you have the space before ordering it. At 85 inches long, 39.6 inches wide and 70 inches tall, it’s pretty beefy. It does have a SoftDrop folding system that reduces its total footprint by more than 40%, but it doesn’t fold up completely, so you’ll still be sacrificing a decent amount of floor space.
If you have the money to drop on a serious machine, you can end your best treadmill search with the AssaultRunner. Powered by your movement, rather than a motor, this manual treadmill naturally forced me to work harder during my runs, which translated to increased calorie burn and a more intense workout.
It doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles of the other machines — running on this treadmill certainly won’t be an excuse for you to watch your favorite TV show — but it does track calories, distance and pace, among a handful of other metrics. And I didn’t even miss the extra features. Because I had to work harder to move the belt, I felt more immersed and committed to my workout, rather than just trying to get through it while I watched Euphoria.
With its curved running surface and shock-absorbing treadmill belt, it’s also one of the most biomechanically correct treadmills. It forced me to have proper running form and my movement felt more natural, which makes you less prone to injury even if you are working harder. This is an expensive treadmill and despite its rather large footprint, it’s lighter than most other treadmills on the market.
This treadmill is a budget-friendly option that gives you access to the iFit subscription. If that’s what you’re looking for, this may be the best treadmill for you. The ProForm Pro has a 10-inch smart touchscreen embedded right into the console so you can follow along with trainers as you run while simultaneously tracking your calories, speed and heart rate. The display doesn’t have as much wow factor as the 22-inch screens, but it does the trick and has all the same functionalities as other smart treadmills.
At -3% decline to 12% incline, it has a narrow incline range and a less powerful 3.25-continuous-horsepower motor, but it’s more than sufficient for most runners (or walkers). It easily accommodated both my boyfriend and me and didn’t stall, lag, or shake at all at any speed. The 20-inch tread belt is equipped with ReBound Pro Cushioning, ProForm’s patented shock-absorbing system, so my workouts felt much lower impact and I felt like there was less stress on my feet, ankles, hips and knees.
In addition to being budget-friendly, the Pro2000 is a great option if you want a solid machine, but don’t have a lot of extra space. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a compact machine, but it takes up considerably less space than some of the other models.
Sole makes some of the best home workout equipment available to the public, and the Sole F80 is often considered the best treadmill among those designed for personal use. It combines a 3.5-horsepower motor with zinc-coated flywheels and a welded steel construction for smooth, frictionless movement. The Cushion Flex Whisper Deck is designed to absorb impact by as much as 40% (compared to running outdoors) and it supports up to 375 pounds. In short: This is a serious machine at a really reasonable price point for what you get.
It felt solid at all speeds, didn’t struggle under my weight or my boyfriend’s, and was one of the quietest on the list too. The sidebar controls also made it easy to adjust speed, which I appreciate when doing intervals. While it has an impressive incline range — it adjusts from 0 to 15 — there’s no decline capabilities. If you like to simulate running or walking on hills (I do), you won’t get that with this machine. You can go uphill, but not down.
While there is an LCD screen that shows heart rate, speed, pace and calories burned, this foldable treadmill falls short of the Bowflex in that it doesn’t have a large screen where you can stream workouts or your favorite cardio show. It does have Bluetooth capabilities and a tablet holder, though, so you can make your own ideal guided workout setup if you want it to feel more like a smart treadmill.
If you’re looking for the best treadmill to get the job done on a budget, the Horizon T101 will suit your needs. You don’t get any extras here, but you do get a well-built machine, especially for the price. The Horizon Fitness treadmill features a 2.5-continuous-horsepower motor and 20-inch wide deck with cushioning supports that are zoned for walking, jogging and running. The zoned construction helped absorb shock, especially when I was running at higher speeds. It did wobble a bit during interval sprints, but I wouldn’t knock any points off for it since it wasn’t anything major and I expected it at this price point.
The console includes the basics — controls for speed and incline, as well as a display that shows calories burned, heart rate and other metrics — and it has Bluetooth connectivity. I have an iFit subscription so I was able to connect my tablet and follow along with workouts on the screen. You don’t get the same iFit integration without a ProForm model, meaning the treadmill won’t auto-adjust, but it does the trick if you’re looking to save some cash.
Another win for the Horizon T101 is that it folds up pretty compactly for storage. It has a minimal footprint — 70 by 34 by 55-inch — to start, and when it’s folded that drops by about 50%. The deck folds almost vertically, unlike larger models that fold up but remain at an angle, so it’s less intrusive and a good option if you need to store it out of the way when you’re not using it.
Factors to Consider
Consider how the treadmill will function in the home setting.
Design and size
Research and decide what look you want your treadmill to have, special features and if you have enough floor space.
Incline and decline
Decide how much incline and decline you’d like the treadmill to have.
Range of speeds
Decide how fast and slow you want the treadmill to go.
Decide how much you’re willing to spend on a treadmill since they come in different price points.
How we tested
Design: We looked at the design of the treadmill and other features it has to offer.
Incline and decline options: We looked at the max incline and decline settings the treadmill offers.
Price: We tested treadmills in a variety of price points.
Size: We considered the size of the treadmill and if it’s appropriate for home settings.
Range of speeds: We looked at the speed ranges provided and if there’s enough variety for both running and walking.
Factors to consider
- Set yourself a budget and decide how much you’re willing to spend on a treadmill. They can be expensive, even for home use.
- Determine if you want a smart treadmill with a touchscreen or if you prefer a screen that provides basic metrics.
- Consider the size of the treadmill and how much space you have in your home to fit one.
- Decide if you want the treadmill to be foldable for saving space and easy storage.
- Decide if you’re OK with a treadmill that makes some noise or if you prefer it to be silent.
- Determine if you plan on using it more for running than walking or vice versa.
- Consider if multiple people in your household will be using the treadmill and if you need one that can handle various heights and weights.
Which is better: A treadmill or elliptical?
This depends on your personal needs and goals. If you’re prone to injuries and need a low-impact option for cardio, the elliptical is a better option. However, if you’re training for a race or not prone to injuries, a treadmill is a good choice.
How do you lubricate a treadmill?
According to NordicTrack, you’ll need to buy a nonsilicone-based treadmill lubricant from the treadmill supplier. Follow its recommended steps to properly lubricate your treadmill.
How much do treadmills cost?
The cost of a treadmill will depend on the type and quality of treadmill you’re looking for. You can find treadmills under $1,000, but they may lack the sturdiness and capacity that a more expensive option provides. If you want a treadmill with special features you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000, with more expensive models ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000.
How long do treadmills last?
Treadmills can last about 10 years or longer if they’re well-maintained and cared for.
Is a treadmill bad for your knees?
Running on a 0% incline or high incline can increase your chances of injuring your knee and shin splints or other issues. According to orthopedic surgeon Kevin D. Plancher, running at lower inclines is safer for the knees. He suggests running at a 1 to 3% incline to prevent unnatural movement patterns that normally occur at a 0% incline setting. This helps relieve pressure from the knees and instead ends up working more of your glutes and hamstrings.
More health and fitness advice
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.