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 other than our choice for #1 we focused on models that were more budget friendly without sacrificing quality and cost less than $2000.
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 Precor 9.31 is our choice for best treadmill under $4000. You can spend more if you want to, but there really is no need to.
Simply put this is an extremely solid treadmill. It will provide you years of very reliable service because of its quality construction. It is designed to be low-impact and it provides one of the best cushioning systems on you can buy. Their system absorbs shock while providing stability where you push off.
You also won’t find a better warranty for parts. Precor covers parts and wear items for 10 years, the frame for life, and labor for 1 year.
The motor certainly provides enough power, but it could be improved upon. It is the same as the motor on Precor’s lower priced offerings.
If you want a gym-quality treadmill then look no further, the Precor 9.31 is perfect for you.
The NordicTrack C1750 provides a lot of features and solid performance into its $1500 price tag.
The physical side of the treadmill is great. It has an overall quiet operation and sturdy frame. The motor is very good and provides enough power for heavy users.
The highlight of the machine lies in its Android powered 7″ touch screen and integrated iFit. You can browse the internet and use it to work out with elite trainers or draw your own route with Google Maps.
Overall we highly recommend this model, although if you don’t need all the high tech options you can find more budget friendly treadmills.
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 construction 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.
It is also available at Sears.com.
The ProForm Pro 2000 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.
The LifeSpan TR4000i was rated the #1 treadmill by Health Magazine and a best buy by another leading consumer magazine.
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 Smooth 7.35 treadmill is rated as a best buy from a leading consumer magazine and users on Amazon have rated it at a very good 4.3 out of 5 stars. Overall it has nice design and a quality model in the $1500 price range.
We have no major complaints in the construction quality, performance, or cushioning. There are better options if you want to spend much more money. It is also backed up by a solid warranty that offers 7 years of protection on parts.
The 7.35 offers a good variety of programs including preset, custom, hear-rate control, and fitness test programs.
One negative is that the speakers and fan are almost useless.
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.
Shoppers should note that some users have complained that assembly is difficult and some components didn’t work right out of the box. For those that got the machine up and running right, they seem to really like it.
The power on the NordicTrack C 900 Pro treadmill’s motor is excellent. Even serious runners should have no trouble pushing themselves to the max on this unit. The QuadFlex cushioning system is also very good. It greatly reduces the impact on your joints. It compares well to much more expensive models.
If features 32 different workouts and is iFit compatible. It has a built in heart rate monitor in the handle grip bars and a chest strap, but has no heart rate control programs. The C900 also has a built in sound system with music port.
Overall we think this is a good machine for the money, but the initial construction and assembly causes some concern.
If you want to get an above average treadmill for a below average price than the Proform Power 995 treadmill might be for you.
This machine has a powerful motor that you normally would only find on more expensive versions. It offers solid reliable performance with a good cushioning system that utilizes ProShox Elite technology.
It features 20 different workout apps, but while the machine does include a dual-grip heart-rate monitor, none of them are heart rate control apps.
The Horizon Fitness T101-3 is our choice for best budget 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. 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.
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