The Best Treadmill
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11 Best Treadmills in 2023
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Treadmills Buying Guide
There are so many different treadmills from manual to foldable, ones that offer inclines to other hi-tech features. It helps to know what to look for before making your purchase.
Buying a treadmill should be viewed with a long-term view and as an investment. You want the treadmill to last.
We’ve outlined how to choose the best treadmill for you based on your fitness goals, features you may want to screen for, and your budget.
All you have to do is get ready to run like Forrest Gump once you’ve made your purchase.
A treadmill is a piece of equipment used for walking or running indoors. It has a flat surface that runners or walkers use to move forwards or backward.
Treadmills are often found in gyms, but they can also be purchased for home use. The popularity of treadmills has grown over the years because they are a great way to get exercise without having to go outside.
They are also a great way to train for running races or for walking long distances. Treadmills come in a variety of different sizes and price points, so there is sure to be one that fits the needs of any exerciser.
Benefits of Treadmills
Treadmills are great for cardiovascular benefits and help you to get into shape regardless of your fitness level.
Whether you want to have a brisk walk, a constant jog, train for a marathon, or want to kick it up several notches with HIIT, a treadmill offers versatile workouts for everyone.
Having a treadmill indoors means you can work out whenever you want, all year round without giving too much thought to the weather outside.
For fitness enthusiasts who enjoy running and getting runners high, running on a treadmill can be easier on the knees, as it can be a lower-impact alternative to pounding concrete sidewalks.
Finally, when you have a treadmill at your fingertips at home, you’ve run out of all possible excuses from, having no time to travel to a gym or can’t seem to fit it into your schedule.
Ultimately it’s a long-term investment in you staying healthy and staying in shape.
Features of Best Treadmills
Types of Treadmills
Treadmills are often a pricey purchase. Finding the right treadmill for your body weight and the type of exercise you wish to do, whether it's: running, walking, interval training, incline, endurance running or any other type of workout is key.
A manual treadmill uses rollers and a belt, which a user must move with the action of their feet. The treadmill belt only moves if you move it, it doesn’t move by itself.
Users expend more effort using a manual treadmill, on the other hand, you get to set your own pace.
A manual treadmill may not be the best option for you if you are lacking motivation, as you may feel like you are lugging weight. Manual treadmills are often the cheaper models on the market.
Manual treadmills are great if you are on a limited budget and focused solely on getting into shape, as you’ll be doing all the work.
A motorized treadmill allows you to maintain speed as the treadmill motor moves the belt at a pace you set electronically.
The lion's share of motorized treadmills enables you to increase or decrease the incline of the treadmill belt.
Motorized treadmills require electricity, are sturdier and larger in size than the average manual treadmill. They require a permanent place in your home.
A motorized treadmill is not for people seeking portable treadmills that can be folded away after use.
As the name suggests folding treadmills offer the option to fold the console and running deck with a locking system for safety.
The majority of folding treadmills can be raised, but don’t fully fold flat. This ensures that despite being portable and compact after use, when being used the treadmill frame is sturdy.
A foldable treadmill is ideal if you are on a modest budget and space is an issue in your home.
Semi-commercial and commercial treadmills provide a variety of high-quality features.
From a motorized incline, horsepower, and cushioned running deck, to interactive screens and features enabling heart training.
The primary difference between semi-commercial and commercial treadmills is how much time you can use the treadmill in a day.
Commercial treadmills can be used constantly for around 12 hours a day. Semi-commercial treadmills are perfect for keen runners.
Semi-commercial treadmills are a great option to have at home if your budget and home space allow. They are sturdy, have a longer running belt, come equipped with a range of hi-tech features, and are durable.
Under the Desk Treadmill
An under-the-desk treadmill allows you to use a treadmill for walking and a desk for working while you walk.
A great option for workaholics, who may struggle to find the time to work out. An under-the-desk treadmill is not the right option for you if you are a keen runner and your primary fitness goal is to run.
Medical treadmills are also known as anti-gravity or zero-gravity treadmills.
This is highly beneficial as preventive rehab therapy, allowing you to work out whilst recovering. A medical treadmill allows you to walk or run at a lower percentage of your body weight.
Maximum User Weight
Pay attention to the treadmill belt, frame, and motor which all provide an indication of the quality of the treadmill and the maximum user weight the treadmill supports.
A good treadmill for the home will support a maximum user weight of over 160kg / 352 pounds.
Commercial treadmills often support a maximum user weight of over 180kg / 396 pounds.
Many treadmills have top speeds between 10 and 12 mph, some go even faster than this.
The typical incline gradient for an average treadmill ranges from 10 to 15 percent, however, some treadmills offer a steeper incline.
If you want to vary your workouts with uphill climbs, then you may want to seek a treadmill that offers a higher percentage of incline.
As a runner, you want to select a treadmill that has a long deck length, where you can run or walk confidently and both your walking and running strides are accommodated comfortably.
If you are tall, it is important that you are not having to shorten your strides to fit the length of a shorter belt.
A horsepower is a unit of measurement for motor size. A treadmill with a large horsepower of 3hp or more indicates a top-quality motor that is durable.
Treadmill frames are made from steel or aluminum. Steel frames are sturdy and are quieter sounding.
Aluminum frames are equally strong but are not as springy as steel frames.
Which frame you opt for comes down to personal taste.
Treadmills that have a built-in shock absorption system can enable you to run for longer and reduce the chance of developing injuries related to running.
Avoid running decks that provide spring shock absorption systems, as they return the force of a stride back into the body.
Variable Durometer Elastomer Cushions absorb some of the impacts and are often found in commercial treadmills.
The average size of a treadmill is 77 inches long and 35 inches wide.
A folding treadmill will be half its length when stowed away. The floor space needed for a treadmill is more, as you need room on either side, the front, and rear of the treadmill.
The size is important when considering where you may want to place the treadmill permanently, or whether it’s more optimal to go for a treadmill that folds after being used.
Weight and Assembly
Whilst a manual treadmill is much lighter, an average motorized treadmill can weigh between 200 to 220 pounds.
Give some thought to whether you can assemble the treadmill or whether the model/brand you buy offers assembly assistance. Most treadmills are not a one-person assembly job.
Heart Rate Monitoring and Programs
There are 2 types of heart rate monitors. Wearable monitors and hand sensor monitors.
Wearable monitors can be watches or chest straps, which you wear whilst working out. Hand sensors take your pulse via hand grips on the treadmill.
Some people don’t like using hand grips, they find it restricts their workout and prefers wearable monitors. What you select comes down to personal taste.
Do you want side handrails? Some runners like handrails to help them balance when they first get on a treadmill and ease into a run.
Alternatively, after you've been running and you want to slow down, the handrails can be an anchor, preventing you from stumbling before a final stop.
Does the treadmill offer a slow start/stop? Most people like starting off slowly and increasing the speed of their workout. This is a feature most good quality treadmills will offer.
In the digital age we live in, we’ve been spoiled with our fitness machines coming equipped with smart technology.
Do you want a treadmill to have docks for smartphones, iPads, USB ports, Bluetooth, and wireless internet connectivity? Do you want interactive workout programs for a more immersive experience?
Be cognizant that any on-demand workouts or live streams will most likely come with additional monthly/yearly subscription costs in addition to the purchase cost of a treadmill.
The average price of a new motorized treadmill is around the $1,000 mark. The more sophisticated features a treadmill has, the higher the price is, venturing into $3,000 upwards.
There’s no question treadmills are pricey and will cause a dent in your finances. If your budget allows, splash out on a good quality semi-commercial treadmill, which comes equipped with high-end features, and is durable.
Is there a trial period? Does the model come with money-back guarantees?
Many brands will offer a 28-day money-back guarantee providing you return the treadmill in its original packing and you pick up the tab for return costs.
Read the fine print and be clear about who the warranty is with. Typically the warranty is with the original manufacturer. What duration is the warranty for?
Warranty duration differs for motors, electrical parts, and labor. Does the warranty cover in-home repairs during your warranty period? Does this include both labor and parts for the repair?
Is there an opportunity to extend the warranty? Do your homework.
Are treadmills noisy?
Whilst treadmills may make a slight sound, ideally, you want a treadmill that has a relatively silent motor.
After all, you don’t want to be disturbing the rest of your household or your neighbors.
Depending on the construction of your building, if noise carries easily and you want to work out at midnight or on Sundays, your neighbors will not be impressed.
Also, look into buying protection mats to protect your floor. You could also consider using an old carpet under the treadmill, which can cushion the treadmill noise vibration.
Where should you keep your treadmill?
You should avoid keeping electronic fitness equipment in cold rooms, such as garages. Especially when these rooms can get super cold during the winter months.
The last thing you want is a condensation building inside the electrical circuit boards.
You also don’t want to put a treadmill in a room that gets super hot. You don’t want to be roasting whilst you workout.
Put your treadmill where you are likely to use it, with access to music or home equipment and if possible a window, so that you can open a window should you need it.
How much space do I need for a treadmill?
You should ensure that you have sufficient room to walk around your treadmill. Avoid obstructions on the rear and to the front.
What maintenance will need to be done for a treadmill?
To ensure your treadmill stays in good condition every three months lubricate and tighten the belt.
Dust the treadmill and make sure the area under the treadmill is kept clean and dirt-free.
What is the life expectancy of a treadmill?
How long a treadmill will last, depends on the make, the model you buy and how often you use it, and how well you maintain the treadmill.
The higher your budget, the better quality treadmill you’ll get which will last longer.
The general rule of thumb is, the average life expectancy of a treadmill is from 7 to 12 years.
What treadmill is best for marathon training?
A commercial or semi-commercial treadmill will be the most optimal treadmill to train for a marathon.
- Get smart about treadmills – Harvard Health Publishing
- Leisure – Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk – NCBI
- Running for health: Even a little bit is good, but a little more is probably better – Harvard Health Publishing
- The Health Benefits of Running and Jogging – Crossroads Medical Group
- The Truth Behind ‘Runner’s High’ and Other Mental Benefits of Running – John Hopkins Medicine
- The Transcriptional Signature of a Runner’s High – PubMed