Updated: Aug 17
As one of the most common and convenient pieces of home fitness equipment, treadmills come in a variety of models designed to help you lose weight and build strength in a matter of weeks. In fact, these machines were among the first home fitness equipment ever marketed. While the first treadmills were manual and came with virtually no additional features, the recent decades brought quite a major technological advancement to these machines. Indeed, treadmills now come with everything from speed adjustments to automatic inclines and programmed workouts. More importantly, treadmills are readily available and can be purchased in just about any fitness store or easily ordered online.
With a treadmill, you can maintain a daily exercise regimen without having to consider weather conditions. These machines can also be considered as long-term investments since it will help you avoid expensive gym fees. With the right workout, treadmills provide full-body exercise and can easily be used by people of various fitness levels and ages. Contrary to popular belief, treadmills do not necessarily have to be expensive: while it would be true to say that professional-grade machines are on the pricier side, users who don’t want to spend a fortune can even purchase a basic machine that will help them burn fat and build strength in no time.
Benefits of Exercising on a Treadmill
With a treadmill, you will benefit from an intense workout that will increase your stamina and metabolism, hence allowing you to burn calories even when you’re not working out. In fact, according to fitness experts, a treadmill can help you make the most out of the multiple benefits of a cardiovascular workout while helping you avoid conditions such as obesity, overly-high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, type two diabetes, and elevated blood sugar levels.
A treadmill also provides users with a full-body workout that will soon have you shedding those stubborn pounds. With this machine, you will be able to strengthen your core muscles and consequently gain enough muscular strength to add some extra hours to your training session. Treadmill running is great exercise for glutes, abdominal areas, thighs, calves, hips, and waist. Power walking, whereby users keep their elbows level to the waist areas and move their shoulders back and forth with each step, is also a great way to use a treadmill with low impact on the knees. This also allows you to work your upper body, which means that you won’t have to invest in other machines.
Treadmill workouts often burn between 200 to 1000 calories or more per hour, depending on whether you’re walking, running or jogging. The number of calories burned also depends on other factors such as weight, gender, age, and resistance. Along with the staggering number of calories burned per hour, treadmills also have the added advantage of providing you with various types of terrain without having to leave home.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Size and Safety: Of course, it goes without saying that size and safety are two of the primary factors to consider before buying your treadmill. For example, users should absolutely consider the belt length: while most treadmills sport a standard belt length, some of them can be shorter and more compact- something that can be more suited to joggers than runners. Users should also take into consideration the machine’s stability to ensure an energetic albeit entirely safe training session. Lightweight machines may be on the less expensive side but then again, they can wobble during more intense sessions or while you’re running. This will not only hinder your workout but it can also can lead to accidents. Lastly, if you’re short on space, you’ll want one that can fold away.
Motor: Too many people, unfortunately, rush into their decision and end up buying cheap treadmills without understanding the technical aspects. The motor is one of the most important features: some machines- especially the inexpensive ones- are equipped with weak motors that may die out after just a few years of heavy use. Therefore only buy a model with a weaker motor if you expect to use the machine infrequently. If you’re planning on working out more often, it’s recommended to go for a machine with a stronger motor.
Special Features: Treadmills often come with additional features designed to render your exercise session much more efficient. For example, most machines are equipped with a display monitor that will help you track important fitness data such as the number of calories burned, distance covered, speed, incline, time, pulse and the likes. Motorized treadmills even come with an automatic incline option, whereby you only have to press a button to go up or downhill. These models tend to be more expensive so if you’re on a limited budget, you might want to go for a basic treadmill with manual features. However, this does entail users constantly having to pause their workouts to manually adjust the incline setting.
Pricing: One way to look at pricing is to understand how often you will use it. More frequent users may be more willing to spend more. If you will only be using it occasionally, you may want to look for a budget model. Bear in mind, however, that the price is very closely linked to its quality and features. If you’re a novice user, it’s recommended to go for a cheaper and basic machine: while these aren’t always packed with features, they will help you build up enough stamina and strength before investing in a professional grade machine.
Best Treadmill for Home by Price
No matter what your budget is, there are machines available. Most of the time, the price determines the efficacy, features, and durability of your treadmill. Here is a breakdown of some home treadmills according to their price range.
Price Range: $100 – 300
Our Choice: Weslo Cadence G 5.9
Priced between $200 and $300, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is easily among the most affordable treadmills on the market. While it does not include more expensive features that are usually found on gym-quality machines, it does include a two-position incline designed to add some variety to your training session, while allowing you to experience an uphill terrain. This machine also comes with no less than six personal trainer workouts, which means that the machine can easily suit users of various fitness levels or larger families. This product is also made from PVC and steel, two materials that are reputed for their longevity.
As far as comfort is concerned, this unit is known for its comfortable cushioning and stable frame. Therefore, you can exercise as energetically as you want without having to worry about the machine moving. Users who live in cramped spaces will be glad to learn that the product folds and locks upwards to save up on floor space when you’re not using it. It also sports a series of transport wheels for easy mobility. With a weight limit of 275 pounds, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is extremely easy to use. It is protected by a 90-day warranty on labor and parts and 1 year on the motor.
Price Range: $300 – 500
Our Choice: Merit Fitness 715T Plus
Priced between $300 and $500, the Merit Fitness 725T Plus remains an affordable choice that is also packed with handy features. The unit also has the added advantage of being quite easy to use, which makes it entirely suited for people of all ages and fitness levels. Users can, therefore, make the most out of the 4 workout programs to work on their basic metabolic rate which allows their body to burn up more calories than usual.
The 715T Plus has a 2.25-horsepower drive motor which is perfect for users who already have some experience with similar machines. Instead of one lone monitor, this machine has a unique three-window LED console that allows you to track your distance, speed, calories burned and speed, among others. Unlike other basic designs, this machine has an oversized running/walking area of 18 by 47. The machine also boasts of an incline that ranges between 0 to 10 percent. With a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds, the Merit Fitness 715T Plus is protected by a warranty of 90 days on parts and labor, 5 years on the motor and lifetime on the frame.
Price Range: $500 – 800
Our Choice: Horizon Fitness T101
A gym-quality piece of fitness equipment, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 is especially known for its extensive range of features. Indeed, this machine has everything you need to lose weight, including speeds that can go up to 10MPH. Users can also benefit from 30 program options- which is quite a special feature at this price point. These programs include but are not limited to: 10 step goal workouts, manual workouts, 6 calorie goal workouts, 10 distance based workouts, and three interval workouts. To keep you motivated during the entire duration of your training session, you’ll also be able to enjoy the high-quality surround speakers with MP3 compatibility.
There is also a heart rate monitoring system. The belt measures 20 x 55 inches, which is often considered as the perfect size for both running and walking. Suited to heavy-duty use, the treadmill boasts of a near-silent motor, making it easy for you to watch movies or music while you work out. Built to comfortably accommodate larger users, the unit has a maximum user weight capacity of 300 pounds. This machine is protected by a 1 year warranty on labor and parts and lifetime for the frame and motor.
Price Range: $800 – 1000
Our Choice: LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding
The LifeSpan TR 1200i will cost you between $900 to $1000 but it’s packed with features for the price. This machine has been built to sustain heavy-duty use, which means that you can use it every single day with very little to no risk of wear and tear. It has a 2.4 horsepower motor. The running track 20” by 56”, which is large enough to avoid feeling cramped between the handlebars. Unlike lower-quality machines, this machine even features a deck suspension system that can very easily accommodate more energetic workouts. User weight capacity is 300 pounds.
This machine is so well-packed in terms of features and amenities that it even received a variety of accolades, including the Treadmill Doctor “Best Buy” Award for the Best New Treadmill. It comes with a plethora of programs that target heart rate, healthy living, sports training, and weight loss. The multicolored LCD screen will help you track your time, speed, distance, calories, pulse and much more. The machine can be inclined up to 15 levels to provide a highly challenging uphill workout for novice or experienced users alike. Entirely foldable, it also comes with transport wheels for easy mobility. The LifeSpan TR 1200i is protected by a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame.
Price Range: $1000 – 1400
Our Choice: ProForm Pro 2000
Favored by professional users during the training season, the ProForm Pro 2000 is one of ProForm’s most recommended products. Oozing of handy features, this machine has everything that you’ll need for a more comfortable and efficient workout. For example, it comes with an 8-inch Auto-Breeze workout to keep you cool and motivate you to extend your workout. If you like to work out to music, you will be glad to learn that the unit is even equipped with an Intermix Acoustics 3.0 Sound System as well as a music port for your iPod.
The treadmill also has 24 preset workout programs that include, but are not limited to, 6 speed workouts, 6 intensity workouts, 6 incline workouts, and 6 calorie-burn workouts. Users also benefit from an 8-inch backlit display that boasts of a supersized viewing angle to suit both shorter and taller users. The speed can vary between 0 to 12 MPH and the incline can be adjusted up to 15%. To protect your joints, the machine also comes with an FS2 Full Surface Suspension Cushioning. With a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds, the ProForm Pro 2000 is protected by a 2-year warranty on labor, 5 years on parts and lifetime on both frame and motor. This piece of equipment costs between $1000 and $2000.
Price Range: $1400+
Our Choice: Sole Fitness F80 Folding
With superior-quality features, the Sole Fitness F80 is equipped with six standard programs, two heart programs, and two custom programs. Built to enable you to engage multiple muscle groups into your workout, the treadmill is commonly spotted in gyms since it comes with a solid base that can sustain heavy-duty use.
Fitted with a 3.5 CHP, DC Type motor, the unit also has a 0.5 to 12MPH speed range as well as an incline level of 15%. It also comes with two ply-belts as well as a chest strap to complement the pulse grip heart monitoring system. Like most superior-quality machines, this treadmill can be folded up for easy storage. Instead of fussing over fiddly knobs, users can quickly adjust their resistance and inclined thanks to the streamlined buttons located on either side of the backlit, color and widescreen LCD console. This machine even sports a precision welded frame that has been shown to be at least twice as durable as regular frames. The Sole Fitness F80 costs between $1500 and $2500. It is protected by a manufacturer’s warranty of five years on electronics, two years on labor and lifetime on the frame.