Editor’s Note: Updated February 21, 2023: We updated this article to ensure all treadmills are in stock from sellers that offer you the best price.
The single easiest way to build fitness is to add walking or jogging as a consistent part of your workout routine. But bad weather, busy schedules, and avoiding gyms because of the lingering COVID-19 cases are all real hurdles to getting in your exercise. That’s when it’s helpful to have one of the latest home treadmills, which offer many workout programs and entertainment features to keep you motivated and moving. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience and safety of jumping on a good machine in your own basement or garage.
Best Treadmills for Your Home
Treadmills for Walking vs. Running
The treadmills on this list are all typically best suited for light home use—perfect for somebody building their home gym and planning to use it for walking or the occasional run when you can’t otherwise get outdoors. But if you plan to use a treadmill for more frequent running, then check out our guide to advanced running treadmills. Those models, which typically cost more than $2,000, have sturdier construction that withstands heavier use, plus advanced training features and interactive screens that make long runs more enjoyable.
Why Walk on a Treadmill at All?
Why would you want to get a treadmill for your home or climb onto one at a gym when you can just walk or run outside? Well, there are several key benefits.
Treadmill sales skyrocketed when the world went on lockdown to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. During the stay-home period, there was no safer way to get exercise than from the comfort of your own house or apartment. That remains true today. Plus, you don’t have to deal with rain or muddy surfaces.
Five Things to Know Before You Bring Home a Treadmill
Even a light-duty folding treadmill is a very large piece of equipment—one that isn’t going to go unnoticed in the corner of your living room. While most can be tipped and rolled by one person, actually setting one up or moving it to another room (or floor) of your home can be a real challenge. So we spoke with Ed Pryts, Chief Sales Officer at Gym Source, who has been selling treadmills for over 30 years, to learn the most important considerations before you purchase a new treadmill for your home.
• Check your ceiling clearance by adding 15 inches to your body height. So, if you are 6’0”, you need at least a 7’3” ceiling. Behind the treadmill there should be at least three feet of unobstructed space.
• Make sure all four contact points of the treadmill are solidly on the floor and that the floor is stable. Positioning a treadmill close to a wall can increase stability.
• If there’s another apartment or bedroom below the treadmill’s room, adding a treadmill mat will significantly deaden the transmitted noise in these situations.
• If you’re moving a treadmill into a basement or smaller room, hire experts. But if you insist on DIY, move and install the deck first, followed by the uprights and console. Either way, check the dimensions of the base and make sure you have clearance for tight corners.
• If possible, dedicate an electrical circuit to the treadmill. Additional appliances plugged into that circuit can lead to a power overload and an inadvertent shutdown.
And once you have a treadmill, check out these great workouts that help you build strength and burn fat.
How We Tested
Every treadmill on this list has been thoroughly evaluated or tested by our team of editors. We research the market, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience walking and running on treadmills in our offices in Pennsylvania to determine the best options. And, during the pandemic, we continued to test the available models by having them set up at the homes of our test editors and staff, so we could live with and use them full-time, just as you will when you purchase one. We spent hours assessing all the features of these machines. We’ve walked while listening to music, done long runs watching movies, and even completed workouts to test the machines’ interactive and studio class functions. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, durability, value, reliability, and fun factor to come up with this list of treadmills that will best serve your needs when you can’t get outside.
Note: The 1750 is currently listed as “closeout,” so you can score a solid deal on a highly rated machine.
When it comes to bang for your buck, the 1750 has always been one of the best treadmills. This version has been updated for 2022 with a fast, tilting 14-inch touchscreen console and a quiet incline motor that auto-adjusts during your home workout. It still features all of the convenience options you find on NordicTrack machines—like quick keys to jump to a particular speed or incline with a single tap instead of repeatedly pressing a button.
But you may not need those speed adjustment buttons thanks to the big touchscreen and the ever-growing library of trainer-led workouts. The screen offers more than twice as much real estate as earlier models. We find it’s large enough to see the countryside in Germany, for example, where one tester virtually followed pro Lucy Bartholomew on a gentle trail run. (NordicTrack treadmills come with a free 30-day trial of iFit.)
Underfoot, the 22-by-60-inch deck size is spacious enough, even if you want to jog or run, and the machine is stable if you have a heavy footfall. The cushioning is just slightly bouncy, though it’s adjustable so you can make it a bit firmer.
Instead of locking you into its own training ecosystem, Horizon keyed in on features to give you greater control of your workout. The 7.0 AT has limited training options but connects easily to an iPad or Android tablet. That keeps costs in check because there’s no built-in television, but it allows you freedom to take Peloton classes or run using Zwift. We like the thumb dials mounted chest-high on the hand grips that let you quickly adjust your speed and incline—it feels way more fluid than trying to stab at buttons on a console. While we don’t often recommend home treadmills that cost less than $1,000 because they generally have small motors and shaky frames, the 7.0 AT is surprisingly steady. We set it up in the home of one of our testers, and he found that the deck didn’t shake during months of use. The belt is narrower and shorter than we’d prefer for running, but it’s an ideal size if you’re walking. Plus, you’ll appreciate the small profile if you’re setting it up in a small room.
This budget-friendly treadmill on Amazon is a great deal because so many people buy and love it. (Currently, it has earned over 1,000 five-star reviews.) Of course, to hit such a low price, there are a lot of compromises—the belt is the skinniest we’ve seen, the motor tops out at 9 mph, and to adjust the incline you have to get off the machine and flip a lever under the deck. But, it’s smooth and reliable at walking speeds and is handy for the occasional jog when you otherwise can’t get outside. It’s hard to argue with what this treadmill delivers at this price.
We have always appreciated the value a Pro-Form delivers. The sibling brand to NordicTrack, Pro-Form shares much of the same technology, like the iFit interactive workout programs. (You get a free one-year subscription to iFit when you buy a treadmill.) But, this machine is dialed back just a little to keep the price in check. You get only a 7-inch touchscreen display, and the treadmill tops out at just 10 mph—fast enough for walking and jogging. Still, the 2.6-horsepower motor and cushioned deck make it plenty capable of handling a few easy runs per week.
NordicTrack long offered a “T Series” of treadmills, which were just a step below its “Commercial” line—they had smaller motors and rollers, plus a slightly narrower deck. That saved you hundreds on the cost, but the machines were still strong performers. Now, the EXP line steps into that role, with the 14i at the top of that range. (The number in the name indicates the size of the touchscreen on the console.) The Commercial 1750 (above) is still our top pick here if you’re training for a marathon or competing in road races. But, save some cash that you can put toward new shoes by going with scaled back specs: The 20-inch belt is still plenty wide for walking and jogging, while its 12 percent incline is as steep as the Mount Washington Auto Road. So it packs plenty of power to suit an entire family of walkers and runners.
The TR5500iM has been updated with a 10-inch touchscreen console, but still has the plain-Jane look that we’ve long loved and the small stance that won’t take up much space in your basement. The refreshed console is a nice upgrade—even if it doesn’t bring you live coaching or Google Streets views—because it’s so easy to use. But, you can add smarts to that console by “mirroring” your phone’s screen, so you can watch videos on the machine’s larger display. Plus, when you’re preprogramming a workout, you can simply slide bars on a chart up or down to adjust the speed and incline for each segment. That console also sits quite low; taller testers had to look down more while running on this treadmill than they did on other machines. However, we like that the lower console is out of the way if you are watching a TV.
Folding treadmills don’t really disappear—you’re not sliding one into a closet when you’re done with your jog. But, the City L6 collapses nearly flat and could slip under a bed. With its small motor and low top speed, buy this one if you want a machine only for light walking. But, it still packs a lot of training tools you find on ProForm’s running treadmills: If you have an iPad or tablet, you can connect to the iFit interactive training platform to get coaching, workouts, and virtual walks through scenic locations.
Jeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner's World, guiding the brand's shoes and gear coverage. A true shoe dog, he's spent more than a decade testing and reviewing shoes. In 2017, he ran in 285 different pairs of shoes, including a streak of 257 days wearing a different model.