10 Best Treadmills
Treadmills are the best selling fitness machines year over year because they are convenient and get results, but buying one can be confusing. There are hundreds of different models with drastically different prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to over $5000.
In this article we list our top 10 best treadmill reviews. We could have made the entire list out of machines that cost more than $3000, but instead we focused on models that cost less than $3000 and also chose units from a variety of price points below that as well.
Some of the important things we took into consideration for our ratings included the size/folding options, construction quality and ergonomics, overall performance including the motor and incline/decline percentage, programs including heart rate control versions, options such as cup holders and music ports, and the warranty.
For more information on these important details see our treadmill buying guide.
The True Fitness PS100 is our choice for the best treadmill under $3000. This non-folding model has won numerous Best Buy awards and True Fitness was voted #1 in customer service.
Overall this thing combines outstanding construction quality, a top performing motor and drive system, and a cushioning system that is second to none. We would recommend the PS100 to all types of users.
About the only slight negative in addition to its price is for those of you where space is a concern. Since it does not fold up it needs more room permanently.
The Precor TRM223 is one of Precor’s models in its newest line of treadmills. The 223 provides you with a gym-quality, non-folding machine in the privacy of your own home.
It has a smooth and quiet operation with its structurally sound construction and no-maintenance design. It comes with touch sensors or wireless heart rate monitoring and 10 preset workouts.
One negative is that it only has a 57-inch long running surface. While that should accomadate most everyone, it might not be long enough for really tall people which is a bit disappointing on a model that costs almost $3000.
If you are looking for a very sturdy, durable non-folding treadmill under $2000 then the Sole S77 might be for you. It scores high marks from users on Amazon with a 4.4 star average and it is also rated as a Best Buy by the leading consumer magazine.
The motor provides plenty of power that is rarely seen in a model costing less than $2000. Overall you would have a hard time finding a better performing machine for this price.
However, the cushioning system is just slightly above average and with just 6 standard workout programs and 2 heart-rate monitor programs, users might find that to be too few.
The Precor TRM 211 is another gym-quality non-folding Precor model that is the cheapest option of Precor’s newest line. As with all Precor models the construction quality and reliability is excellent.
However the downside is the lack of programs. It has just 6 preset workouts and while it does have a hand rail with touch sensors for heart-rate monitoring, it does not have the safety side rails found on virtually all other machines. Although some users may find they actually prefer this style.
The LifeSpan TR4000i was rated the #1 treadmill by Health Magazine, a best buy by another leading consumer magazine, and is our choice for the best folding treadmill.
The construction is solid and durable and provides stable support for serious runners. The cushioning, while good, isn’t quite as good as gym quality machines.
It features 21 different programs including 2 customizable and 2 heart-rate programs with a wireless chest strap. It has a USB data port to save your workout information and upload it.
The warranty offers a solid 5 year parts coverage.
The Sole F80 has won numerous Best Buy awards. If offers excellent value in the $1500 price range. It might not be spectacular in any area, but it does not have any weakness either.
The constuction quality is great and provides sturdy performance for runners. While the motor is adequate, it is not superior to other models in this price range. One area that is impressive is the noise level. It is really quiet and has a smooth operation.
One cause for concern is the controls. They are not as responsive as we would like.
The warranty is really great and amongst the best you will find for any treadmill. The motor, deck, and frame are all covered for life. Electronics, belts and rollers get 5 years of coverage, while labor gets two years.
The ProForm Pro 2000 folding treadmill is one of the best values for your money. In fact a leading consumer magazine scored it as their highest rated folding treadmill and gave it a Best Buy award.
The motor is above average, construction quality is good, and it has a good cushioning system. It is maybe a tad bit noisy, but comparable to other models in this price range.
It has 24 built in workouts, and although it comes with a wireless chest strap and 2 hand grip heart rate monitors built into the handlebars, it does not have heart rate control programs. One feature it does have that very few budget models have is in addition to a 15% incline it also has a 3% decline.
It comes with a fan and sound system that are slightly better than other budget models, but still are not the great.
Rated as a Best Buy by the leading consumer magazine the AFG 3.1 AT folding model is one of the best values you can find at its price. While nothing in its construction or operation stands out as excellent, there is nothing that is really bad either. About the only real weakness is the size of the running surface which is a bit small at 55″ x 20″.
We rated the LifeSpan TR1200i as our best treadmill under $1000 mostly because of the overwhelmingly positive user reviews. Very few people have complaints about this machine with users giving it a 4.3 overall rating on Amazon.
The performance and construction won’t blow you away, but it won’t let you down either. The maximum weight supported by this model is 300 pounds, which is 50 pounds lighter than most models. The motor offers solid, but not outstanding performance. The comfort level is decent for this price range. Overall this machine will provide years of reliable service.
What we really like about the TR1200i is the programs and controls. There are 17 preset workouts, 2 heart-rate control programs, and 2 custom programs that you can set up and save for future use. You also receive a membership to the LifeSpan Fitness club when you purchase the treadmill. This online program helps you manage and track your health results.
We highly recommend this model for those looking for solid budget treadmill.
The Horizon Fitness T101-04 is our choice for best budget folding treadmill. While this machine might not do anything spectacular, it would be difficult to find a model of this quality at a cheaper price.
It offers good design and quality parts. For the average user, the motor will give you the performance you want, but the overall machine might not stand up to the constant abuse from a hardcore runner.
The PerfectFLEX cushioning system is decent, but certainly not as good as pricier models. It is also a little bit noisier than we would prefer, but not too bad.
Overall we highly recommend this model for someone who’s primary use will be walking.
Treadmill Buying Guide
Generally speaking, the more you plan to use your treadmill, the more you should spend on it. If you only plan to use it for walking, there is no need to spend over $1000. If you want more features, like workout programs or iFit compatible, then you might need to spend around $1500 and up to get all the features you want. If you are taller than 6 feet, weigh more than 200 pounds, or multiple people plan on regularly using the treadmill, then we recommend spending a little bit more money to get a quality model.
When shopping for a new treadmill here are some important factors to consider:
Size – Even though many treadmills fold up, you need adequate space to actually use them. They are usually about 3 feet wide by 6.5 feet long and about half that length when folded. You also need a couple of extra feet around the unit to get on and off the machine safely.
Weight / Assembly – One thing that many people overlook is just how difficult a treadmill can be to set up. They can weigh up to 400 pounds and need some assembly. When purchasing check into delivery and whether assembly is included. Delivery men will usually just leave it outside your house or in your garage, so you will be responsible for getting it into its final position unless you make arrangements with someone to do that for you. Should you be doing it on your own we recommend having at least one if not 2 or more people to help you with moving it and assembling.
Construction / Comfort – Maybe the most important detail of a treadmill is how well it is constructed. You need a machine that will stand up to the abuse it will take while still providing you with the utmost comfort while using the unit. You should be aware that non-folding units typically are much more stable and durable than folding models are. The entire drive system including the motor, belt, and deck must be well engineered – they should work seamlessly together to make a smooth quiet operation. If a machine is really noisy that is a good indicator of a poorly or cheaper built machine. The belt size, or running surface area, should be examined for enough space, especially if you are taller or primarily run. Also look for extra or specialized cushioning to reduce impact on your joints and back.
Safety – Most models come with a key that is needed to start the machine. This key has a long cord that you clip to your clothing so that if you slip and fall it will turn off the treadmill. The key will also prevent young children from starting the machine. Handrails should be padded and are useful if you need a little assistance. Look for wide foot-rails next to the belt to make getting on and off the machine easier.
Controls / Programs – Look for intuitive controls that are clearly labeled and are simple up/down controls or quick touch buttons for speed and incline adjustments. Many models also come with workout routines built into the machine for you to follow which allows for variety, but many people do not use them. Many versions also come with a heart-rate monitor, usually a chest-strap or in some cases a hand-grip. Some treadmills feature a heart-rate control program which is designed to keep your hear-rate in the ideal range. Many new machines also integrate iFit which can track your workout history and uses Google Maps to give you a ‘real world’ workout.
Advanced Features – More and more high-tech, comfort, and convenient options are becoming available for treadmills, just remember they all cost extra. Some options include cooling fans, speakers, docks and ports for music players, wireless Internet connectivity, and internet browsers. Some options that many people don’t think about, but are very handy include cup holders and reading platforms.
Warranty – Last but certainly not least is the warranty. It seems like certain models have high user complaints of poor assembly or components that break quickly. So at a minimum the warranty should provide two to three years of coverage on major moving parts and a year on labor. The better ones can offer up to 10 or more years on parts and welding. For the most part we recommend avoiding any extended warranties.