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A home treadmill is an excellent way to stay fit. And though they all may look similar at first glance, a more in-depth review will make sure you’re getting the right one for you and your fitness goals.
One of the biggest benefits to an at-home treadmill is that there are no more excuses not to get to the gym. The gym is your house now. This works two ways: both as a motivator to get started (no excuses about having to drive to work out), but also knowing you can push yourself to your absolute limit, without the intimidation of other people around you, or pricey membership fees.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Treadmill
There are many different types of treadmills available online. Before you buy, consider a few things:
Usage: How many people in the house will be using the treadmill? If it’s going to have multiple users, make sure to look at the belt length, and be certain that it can accommodate the most extreme needs for the tallest person in the house, including not just their height, but also the length of their stride.
A 54-inch tread will fit in a small space, but a taller person may require a 60-inch, which is generally what you’d find in a gym or health club. Width and weight matter as well. Always go for a treadmill that’s designed to hold more than the heaviest person’s weight – the landing force and impact of a body in motion is heavier than just standing still on a scale. Treadmill belts have gotten immensely better at shock absorption over the years, but if that constant pounding of running is taking a toll on your ankles and shins, or you’ve got old injuries that you don’t want flaring back up, a softer “Orthopedic Belt” is available on some models too.
Motor: Horsepower and motor size are another point to consider. What type of workout will you be doing? For moderate health maintenance or brisk walking to running, a standard treadmill should meet your needs. But for more intense running — say, marathon or long-distance training — you’ll need something that can handle the speed and time without overheating. Incline matters too — even if you’re not full-on running, a brisk walk at a steep incline will still get your heart pumping.
Space: Finally, take a moment to look at the space you’re planning to put your treadmill in. If you prefer to be watching something as you exercise, consider where in the room your treadmill might go so it’s pointed at your TV. Or if not, a treadmill with a built-in TV screen is an option too. And if you live in a small space, many models fold up for easy storage. Just fold it down and hide it away under the bed or against the wall.
Overall, you don’t want to feel constrained, either in terms of space or your workout. Go for something that not only meets your needs now, but that’ll meet them months and years from now, as your workout evolves and your fitness levels up.
1. Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill
The Bowflex is an investment, but one that you’ll quickly see a payoff from with regular usage.
Through Bowflex’s JRNY app, the machine’s AI gets a feel for your footwork, and customizes daily workouts specifically to you – giving you realtime tips, targets, and even celebrating when you reach your fitness milestones to keep you motivated.
All your stats are brightly displayed on the treadmill’s 7.5-inch, full-color backlit screen, and there’s memory space to keep track of up to four individual users.
The 20 x 60 inch surface area leaves plenty of space for a long stride, and the ComfortTech shock system will soften the impact of each step. Top speed here is 12mph, which should be more than enough for the average runner. When your run is done, fold it up, then unfold it next time with the touch of a button.
PROS: Sturdy, solid, and soft on your joints. Has the ability to connect to your mobile devices, along with a few USB charging ports. The built-in, three-speed fan is a welcome and cool add-on too.
CONS: Heavy, bulky, and can take some time to put together.
2. NordicTrack T-Series Treadmill
NordicTrack started out of a Minnesota garage, and quickly ascended to the top of the at-home fitness world, where it’s remained for more than 30 years.
The T-Series continues what they started. The belt is built to provide you space for a long and safe stride, while the colorful 10-inch touchscreen lets you stream an entire library’s worth of iFit interactive workouts and classes at any time, led by world-class trainers. Your focus can remain fully on running, as the class leaders automatically control things like your machine’s incline and decline in real time. There’s an absolute endless amount of classes to try, including yoga, weightlifting, and “running” on famous settings and landmarks (the steps of Machu Picchu is especially neat) so your workout routine will never get stale.
The suspension system here is top-notch, and the cushioning of the FlexSelect CushionDeck walking platform is adjustable, protecting your joints from all the impact of running. And it can handle serious speed too: varying from 1 to 10, where 6 is a light jog, and 10 will get your heart pumping hard. Don’t be afraid to push your personal running record either – the SmartResponse motor is guaranteed to run as long as you do.
Finally, fold it up and get that space back, until you’re ready to run again tomorrow.
PROS: Quieter than most other treadmills, cool virtual trainer feature, and lots of various fitness classes to try out.
CONS: The built-in speakers aren’t the best quality, but plugging in a pair of headphones fixes that problem.
3. MaxKare Folding Electric Motorized Treadmill
For those constrained by space, MaxKare offers an apartment-sized treadmill that’ll get the job done without all the bells and whistles – but still retains a few of them anyway.
The 17-inch wide multi-layer rubber tread belt and its anti-shock system can take on up to 220 pounds, which means less sore ankles and more miles. It’s surprisingly quiet too, thanks to the pure copper motor, and cranks up to 8.5mph – plenty of speed for the casual runner.
While there’s no TV screen, there is a large LCD display with pre-set programs, featuring MaxKare’s one-touch system, that challenges your endurance with 15 different workouts.
The most important extra feature is still here though: tracking real-time data for each exercise, including speed, time, calories, distance and heart rate through their convenient “heart-handrail.” Just grab on and get going.
PROS: Stores and folds easily, thanks to its built-in wheels. Simple but still gives you the basic stats you need.
CONS: The belt seems to be a bit shorter than other brands, and the handrails and weight capacity a little lower. For a smaller person, this would be an ideal choice, but a taller runner may find their toes slipping off the back of the belt with every stride.