How to Choose the Right Treadmill

Use this guide to run down the list of everything you need to know before buying a treadmill.

Customizable for those of all fitness levels, treadmills are the king of the home gym. Buying a treadmill for home use can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to run you ragged. This Pro Tips guide is here to help you take the first step toward finding the right treadmill for you.

MANUAL VS. MOTORIZED TREADMILLS

One of the first things you should consider when buying a treadmill is the power source. While most modern treadmills have a motor, some are manual.

MANUAL TREADMILLS

With manual treadmills, it’s up to you to power the belt. The treadmill begins moving through the action of your feet. Manual treadmills require more effort from runners than motorized treadmills.

Manual treadmills are more cost-effective and do not require electricity. However, there are certain drawbacks. They tend to have less features, are less sturdy, and you also have to manually change the incline. In general, manual treadmills tend to be better for walking rather than running.

MOTORIZED TREADMILLS

Motorized treadmills have motors powered electrically with continuous horsepower, or CHP. The CHP measures how much power the motor maintains throughout the workout.

Motorized treadmills include more features and are suitable for longer training sessions. With various settings for speed and incline, they allow for more varied workouts. However, motorized treadmills tend to be more expensive. The higher the CHP, the more expensive the cost.

RUNNING SURFACE

Also known as the belt or deck size, your treadmill’s running surface is a key component. There are a few different elements of the running surface you will want to look for.

  • Running Surface Length: Lengths of treadmill decks range from 45 inches to 60 inches. Treadmills with a short length work well for walkers. Those with long surfaces are better for running. However, users with long strides may also prefer a longer deck.
  • Running Surface Width: The width of treadmill decks ranges from 16 inches to 22 inches. Treadmill users with wider frames may prefer a wider deck. Meanwhile, those with smaller frames may opt for a narrow deck to be closer to the side handrails.
  • Belt Thickness: The thicker your belt, the more cushioning and comfort provided to legs and joints. Some belts come with a built-in cushion to help provide more shock absorption as your run.

Those with limited space should be mindful of length and width before purchase.

TECHNOLOGY AND FEATURES

Treadmills come with a variety of technologies and features. Some can help advance your fitness goals, while others simply provide a little more luxury.

  • App and Wireless Compatibility: Modern treadmills often have app and wireless compatibility. This allows you to track your performance with corresponding smart phone apps.
  • Built-Ins: If music helps you get into your groove, then you may want to consider a treadmill with built-in speakers. Some models feature television screens that allow you to catch up on your favorite shows as you catch up on your steps. Treadmills may also have built-in water bottle holders or cooling fans for added convenience.
  • Folding: Light on space? A folding treadmill may be best for your household. These treadmills have a deck that folds up for easier storing when not in use.
  • Preloaded Workouts: Some treadmill consoles have preset workouts with specific speeds and inclines. Preloaded workouts sometimes include displays with virtual sceneries.

When making a big purchase, you want to tread carefully. Features aren’t the only consideration when buying a treadmill; budget plays a role, too. Learn more about what is driving the price of your treadmill.

Now that’s you’ve discovered how to choose the right treadmill, check out our top picks for the best treadmills of the year.

BEST TREADMILLS OF 2021

Bowflex BXT6 Treadmill

Bowflex BXT6 Treadmill

The Bowflex BXT6 is focused on technology, motivation and delivering results all at an entry-level price. Designed for performance, the 20 x 60″ running path can take you up to 12 MPH and up to a 15% incline. The BXT6 has a 7.5″ LCD display screen perfect to showcase nine built-in workout programs and the Bowflex Burn Rate Console feature, which shows total calories you’re burning each minute. Connectivity is a key feature too, with performance tracking for up to two users, a USB charger, and 120+ voice-coached custom workouts with JRNY and Explore the World subscriptions.

Shop the Bowflex BXT6 Treadmill

Sole F63 Treadmill

Sole F63 Treadmill

When choosing the right treadmill, you’ll probably be on the lookout for horsepower and tech features. The SOLE F63 Treadmill features lots of amenities you might find enticing, including a large, LCD display screen, Bluetooth compatibility and a tablet holder. Plus, it’s built with powerful, yet quiet, 3.0 continuous horsepower. And finally, its whisper deck helps reduce impact and ranges from 0.5-12 MPH and can go up to a 15% incline, making it ideal for a variety of speeds and inclines. If you’re looking for a treadmill with these amenities and more, you might love the Sole F63.

Shop the Sole F63 Treadmill

Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill

Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill

When buying a treadmill, it’s good to keep in mind how you’d like to use it. The Horizon Fitness T101 treadmill is a solid, easy-to-use treadmill for all-purpose walking, jogging and running. It features simple assembly and sturdy construction, ideal for years of use. Plus, powerful motors deliver speeds from 0-10MPH and boast an incline range of 0-10% grade. And, you’ll be able to stay connected with Bluetooth audio speakers, which allow wireless streaming of music from almost any device. If you’re looking for a simple treadmill for all of your walking, jogging and running needs, this could be a great choice for you.

Shop the Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill

Sole 2019 F80 Treadmill

Sole 2019 F80 Treadmill

Looking for a high-quality treadmill to help challenge yourself on your next workout? The Sole F80 features a powerful yet quiet 3.5 CHP motor that helps provide challenging workouts to runners. This treadmill offers a wide 22″ width by 60″ length running surface, a 9.0″ LCD display, quick handle adjustment controls and 10 challenging built-in workouts. The F80 also includes Bluetooth audio and technology, allowing you to have the freedom to either listen to music or transfer workout data from your fitness equipment. If tech and challenging workouts sound good to you, then the Sole F80 could be your top pick.

Shop the Sole 2019 F80 Treadmill

NordicTrack 2450 Commercial Treadmill

NordicTrack 2450 Commercial Treadmill

While you’re on the hunt for the right treadmill, you should consider how important training programs are for you. If they’re at the top of your must-have list, this NordicTrac 2450 treadmill may be your best bet. This top-tier machine can help up your endurance and cardio abilities with incredible full-body workouts and programs. The powerful Commercial Plus motor is designed to help you through tough workouts, while the large tread belt provides a wide running surface. Plus, it features a 3% decline, 15% incline and can go up to 12 MPH. Perhaps the coolest feature is the 14″ touch screen display, which helps bring your workout to life with programmed workouts. And last but not least, it features a runner flex cushion deck, fan to keep you cool and space saver design.

Shop the NordicTrack 2450 Commercial Treadmill

Looking to switch up your routine? Check out these four treadmill workouts to challenge yourself during your next cardio session.