Treadmills are one of the best ways to walk, jog, or run your way to better health. With comfortable surfaces, a variety of training programs, and monitors that help you understand exactly how well you’re doing, most treadmills are outright better than running up and down the block. If you’re looking for the best treadmill, here’s our guide to the top units of 2018.
Don’t forget to consider your workout plan – there’s a reason it’s better to use plans and workout apps instead of just getting on and running for a few minutes. Here are a few workouts to get you started, as well as some tips on using them from Harvard.
LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
Horizon Fitness T101-04
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NordicTrack T 6.5 S
ProForm Performance 600i
Sole Fitness F80
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ProForm Pro 2000
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
Weslo Cadence G 5.9
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How We Chose Our Ratings
Honesty and integrity is an important part of our rating process. We don’t just want to give you a list of machines – we want you to know why we’re recommending them over the competition. Several factors went into our final list.
First, we considered the testimonials and reviews from other people. We placed the most value on machines with a lot of positive reviews, while treadmills with little or no mention in public got moved off of our list. Bulk reviews are the best way to check for overall satisfaction and product quality, so they’re one of the most influential factors in determining the best treadmill for your needs.
Next, we considered the features of each treadmill, including its claimed construction quality and the variety of electronics, apps, and options. This is a list of the best treadmills, so we focused on treadmills with more features.
Finally, we considered the price of each unit. This wasn’t as big a factor because this list is organized by quality, but we did look for anything that felt like a disparity between what you’re paying and what you’re getting. Anything too out of line got removed from our list.
For balance, we decided to include a few low-cost treadmills. These options are unquestionably inferior to the others on our list, but if you can’t afford a full-featured option, they’re the best treadmill options you can get without breaking the bank.
10 Best Treadmills of 2018
After some debate, we decided to split these treadmills into several categories, based on need. The best treadmill in one category may not be the best for you, so consider which category seems like it’s the most effective before you buy.
Best Overall Treadmill #1: LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
- Selected as a Best Buy from Treadmill Doctor
- Compact folding design; treadmill measures 75 by 35 by 52 inches (L x W x H) and folds to 39 by 35 by 64 inches
- Integrated heart rate receiver and EKG pulse grips allow you to monitor your heart rate
- Speed range of 0 to 12 mph; 15 levels of incline; blue backlit console provides one readout display and program matrix
- 350-pound maximum user weight; lifetime warranty on frame and motor, 5 years on parts and 1 year on labor
LifeSpan’s TR1200i is a deceptively simple-looking treadmill that quickly compacts for easy storage. A hydraulic system makes it much easier to raise and lower it, while the 2.5 horsepower provides continuous speeds up to 11 miles per hour. The incline is adjustable from 0% to 15%, allowing you to add some extra challenge to your workout.
Meanwhile, the electronics system offers 21 built-in programs to support a variety of exercise needs. Multiple shock absorbers ensure that you won’t suffer too much pain in your joints while you’re moving, while an MP3-compatible audio system allows you to play music from most devices.
The frame and motor come with a lifetime warranty. The parts have a 3-year warranty, while labor is just 1-year. All considered, we wish these were longer, but they’re acceptable for a treadmill. With a weight capacity of 350 lbs, this machine is suitable for most buyers.
There are only two notable drawbacks. First, it doesn’t have a cooling fan, so you’ll need to install one yourself if you want to be more comfortable while working out. Second, you’ll need to pay for a membership if you want access to all of its features. It’s not a major cost – lifetime memberships usually go for $, which is pocket change compared to the price of this unit – but we think it should have been rolled into the main price.
Best Overall Treadmill #2: Horizon Fitness T101-04
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While not quite commercial-grade, Horizon Fitness’ T101-04 is a great unit overall. The quiet motor supports speeds up to 10 miles per hour without significantly heating or struggling, while the incline can go up to 10 degrees. You’ll note that both of these are a little less than our top choice – there’s a reason why this machine, as good as it is, is only in second place.
30 preset workout programs help you reach your fitness goals. 10 of these are based on step goals, 10 are based around distance gone, 6 focus on reaching calorie goals, 3 focus on intervals, and one manual option.
The LCD display is only 5″ and not as interactive as you can find on some other treadmills, but it gets the job done by providing information on topics like your speed, the time you’ve spent, your calorie burn, and your heart rate. Sadly, it doesn’t have a way of wirelessly monitoring your heart, and the running area is a little small for taller individuals.
Best Home Treadmill #1: NordicTrack T 6.5 S
- 30-Day Ifit Membership Included; Stream Live & On-Demand Workouts On Your Equipment With Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Elite Trainers Adjust Your Equipment (15 Dollar Value).Maximum Horsepower : 3 Horsepower
- 10% Onetouch Incline Control; 10 Mph Smart Onetouch Speed Control; With Ifit, Your Trainer Auto-Adjusts Your Speed And Incline Through A Smart Bluetooth Connection
- Smart-Response Motor For Effective Speed, Interval, And Endurance Training; 20" X 55" Tread Belt Offers Plenty Of Leg And Elbow Space As You Run; Flexselect Deck Cushioning Protects Your Joints
- Innovative Spacesaver Design With Easylift Assist Means Your Treadmill Can Fold Up After Your Run For Compact, Simple Storage; Auxiliary Music Port And Dual 2-Inch Speakers Provide Entertainment
- 300-Pound User Capacity; Protected With A 10-Year Frame Assurance, 2-Year Parts Assurance, And 1-Year Labor Assurance; 54" H X 36" W X 73.5" L
NordicTrack is one of the best treadmill manufacturers, so we weren’t surprised to see their name on our final list. This machine is designed specifically for home use, with several features that help it stand apart from the crowd. At its base level, this treadmill goes up to 10 miles per hour and has an incline of up to 10%, offering an excellent variety of workouts.
All of that is fairly normal, though. The first thing that sets this unit apart is its self-cooling motor, which ensures the machine can continue to function even over longer sessions. Meanwhile, its EasyLift Assist features make it much easier to fold and unfold it for storage, cleaning, and repositioning it.
The 22 workout programs included were designed by a certified personal trainer to support varied fitness goals, including burning fat, boosting metabolism, and improving overall cardiovascular fitness. The 5-inch LED screen isn’t as fancy as we’d like, but it gets the job done.
Best Home Treadmill #2: ProForm Performance 600i
- 60-inch length gives your legs plenty of room to stretch out your stride
- 20 x 60 tread belt, proshox cushioning, space saver with easy lift assist, IPod Compatible audio
- CoolAire workout Fan, EKG grip Pulse, 325 lb Weight capacity
- This Treadmill is protected with a Lifetime frame and motor Warranty, 2-year parts Warranty and 1-Year Labor Warranty
- If it Compatible- requires if it Wireless module; sold separately; buy an if it Wireless module and receive a free one-year if it subscription
A strong competitor to the NordicTrack, Proform’s Performance 600i offers a variety of useful features to potential buyers. The most notable part is its use of iFit technology to provide a better workout experience through different routes displayed by Google maps. The motor is a little better than most of its competitors, capable of moving the machine as much as 12 miles per hour. The incline goes up to 12%.
Meanwhile, its ProShox cushioning system uses four shock absorbers to minimize the stress on your muscles and joints. That’s directly correlated with faster recovery and longer workout sessions, so while the shock absorbers may not be obvious, they’re ultimately one of the most important components of his machine.
A workout fan, an integrated sound system, and a lifetime warranty on frame and motor round this out to create another good choice for using the treadmill at home.
Best Office Treadmill: Lifespan TR1200-DT5
- The tr1200-dt5 treadmill desk workstation is a combination of LifeSpan's under desk treadmill base and manual height adjustable standing desk.
- The compact and motorized running machine measures 68.5" x 28.5" (L x W) with a large desktop surface area of 38" x 29" (W x D), providing an ergonomic boost to computer and laptop work.
- High capacity and quiet 2.25 HP electric motor with a 20-by-50-inch walking surface. Portable wheels for lightweight mobility providing space saving and storable versatility.
- Console readouts include: distance traveled, calories burned, walk and run time, step count and adjustable belt speed of 0.4 to 4 MPH.
- Bluetooth capability allows you to sync your activity data to an iPhone or Android using LifeSpan's free Active Trac app to track your progress over time.
This machine is a little different than most treadmills. It doesn’t have a tall upper display or a bunch of different settings. What it does have is a quiet motor, more shock absorbers, and a small profile so you can easily put it below your desk and walk while you work. This is ideal for anyone who wants to get exercise without sacrificing work time.
The TR100-DT5 comes with a built-in solid desk, though this is entirely optional and the unit can fit below most normal decks as well. Given size differences, we do recommend measuring below your desk, then checking the width of this unit with your preferred retailer. Note that it doesn’t go nearly as fast as most other treadmills – at just 4 miles per hour max, it’s designed more for strolling than jogging or running.
Best Heavy-Duty Treadmill #1: Sole Fitness F80
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Sole Fitness’ F80 is essentially a commercial product, though it’s also suitable for home use. Aside from its user-friendly folding, its powerful motor can maintain speeds of up to 12 miles per hour, while the incline can go as high as 15%. Both of these are significantly better than most of the competition.
As if that wasn’t enough, this unit has a good variety of workout programs, multiple bottle holders, cooling fans, a high weight limit, and even Bluetooth connections for linking with other fitness apps.
Warranty-wise, this machine has a lifetime warranty on the frame, motor, and deck, as well as a five-year warranty on its parts and a two-year warranty on the labor. Again, these are better than most of the competition. The price is higher, too – this is a full-featured treadmill, but those features come at a cost. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a heavy-duty unit.
Best Heavy-Duty Treadmill #2: ProForm Pro 2000
- Footprint: 39.15” W x 79” D x 71.4” H | Tread Belt: 22” x 60”
- Weight Capacity: 300 lb
- 7 inches backlit over sized LCD with racetrack display, iFit compatible. Integrated device shelf
- 3.5 CHP Mach Z commercial Pro, 0 to 12 MPH Quick Speed
- -3 – 15% Digital Quick Decline & Incline Control
This treadmill doesn’t have quite as many features as the F80 above – in fact, it’s the cheapest in ProForm’s Pro line. That said, it’s a remarkably durable unit and is far more affordable than the F80, making it a better choice for most people who want a treadmill intended for heavy, frequent use.
The 12 mph speed cap is competitive with the best units, and while the maximum incline can reach 15%, the minimum incline diverges from the norm and goes to -3%. This is rare for treadmills and gives you the opportunity to simulate downhill training and stimulate different parts of your body.
Electronically, this treadmill has 32 workout programs, two built-in speakers, and contact grip heart sensors to help monitor your performance. The biggest drawback to be aware of is that ProForm’s customer service can be slow. That’s not likely to be a real problem, but you should know it before you buy.
Best Budget Treadmill #1: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
- 2.20 Peak HP drive system with 49L x 15. 5W in running surface. Speed range from 0. 5 to 9. 0 mph
- Easy folding mechanism and soft drop system to help you unfold your treadmill safely and hands free
- Handrail controls that allow you to control speed, start and stop
- 9 Built-in workout programs; Large LCD display and smart phone/tablet holder
- Choose between 3 options of manual incline levels
This is an affordable treadmill, usually retailing for under $$ (especially if you can find it during a sale). While it’s not as powerful as any of the systems above, it can still sustain up to 9 mph for your workout session. Meanwhile, the soft-drop hydraulic system stops it from lowering too quickly and ensures you won’t have to worry about being struck by the weight of the body.
That said, it is more limited than most of the better systems. There are only 9 built-in programs, and the incline can only be adjusted to 0%, 2%, and 4.37% – far less than the 8% or more that gives a real workout. Despite the lower cost, the treadmill deck is still well-cushioned and makes for a reasonably comfortable experience, so this is worth considering as a budget treadmill.
Best Budget Treadmill #2: Weslo Cadence G 5.9
Another treadmill available in the $$ range, this unit goes up to 10 mph and has two manual incline positions. It also has a series of six workout programs designed to offer maximum effectiveness, and the number of features is rather surprising on a unit this affordable. As a folding, compact unit, it’s also easy to store and move around.
Unfortunately, the warranty is quite short – there’s only one year of coverage for the motor and 90 days for the parts and labor, which can be a problem if the unit fails soon after you purchase it. It’s not nearly as risky as some models, but this is a situation where you get what you pay for. If you plan to use your treadmill on a frequent basis, you’ll be better off with another, more-durable machine.
Best Budget Treadmill #3: Merax JK1603E
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Merax’s JK1603E is one of the most affordable treadmills you’ll find that still offers the basic features we expect from a useful machine. Chances are you won’t find better value below the $ range – the cost for a reasonably-durable motor means you can’t reduce the effective cost of a good treadmill much below this point.
The small motor of this unit offers speeds of up to 6.2 mph, while the 3 workout programs offer a slight variation in your experience. On the bright side, the motor is so small that it doesn’t make much noise – that makes it easy to set this unit up in front of a television and enjoy watching something during your workout. It’s also a good choice in areas where noise complaints could be an issue.
This isn’t the best treadmill – or even the best budget treadmill – but it has enough unique advantages to be worth considering if price matters more than quality.