Walking is the perfect exercise for beginners and experienced fitness lovers alike. It protects your joints by lubricating the muscles around them, strengthens your heart and lungs by gently raising your heart rate, and helps maintain muscle tone while burning calories, meaning you’ll burn even more when you’re finished.
Experts suggest a healthy number of steps to get each day is 10,000, which sounds daunting to some, especially with gloomy skies and cool temperatures in much of the country preventing outdoor walking. That’s why treadmills are so great: they offer an all-weather, indoor alternative that lets you walk or run to your heart’s desire without ever leaving your home.
So what should you look for in a home treadmill? That will depend on your individual needs, amount of space, and desire for bells and whistles like pre-programmed workouts and Bluetooth connectivity in the bountiful options on the market. Keeping this in mind, we looked at five top-rated models from different online retailers and chose consumers’ favorites in different price points for you.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black
Nearly 7,000 reviewers give this affordable, stable option an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with many pointing toward its easy assembly and lasting power as reasons to take the plunge.
“Two years later and it still functions perfectly," one user reports of their experience with the XTERRA. “The motor still sounds as new as the day I assembled it, the tread still moves smoothly, and all the buttons and programs still work flawlessly. Definitely a fabulous bang for your buck!"
Some perks include a quiet motor, 250 pound weight capacity, 12 separate programs that reach a maximum speed or 10mph, three manual incline settings, a 50-inch deck, and an easy-folding construction that makes it great for small spaces and apartment living.
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill
Like the budget option above, this treadmill has a quiet 2.5 HP motor and 50 x 20 inch running surface, but a powerful incline motor lets you go from 1-10% incline swiftly and efficiently. Built-in Bluetooth audio speakers work with virtually every device you can pair, and assembly should take less than 30 minutes. A lifetime frame and motor warranty sweetens the deal, as well as a stronger frame that can hold 300 pounds. Buyers give it a 4.0 average rating, citing its sturdiness and small footprint as positives, but keep in mind programs are simple so advanced runners may want something a bit more complex.
Nautilus T618 Treadmill - Black
Nautilus is a familiar name in workout equipment, so naturally their treadmills rank high up on a favorite among consumers.
At 78 inches long by 37.6 inches wide and clocking in at 62.8 inches tall, this 241-pound beast requires substantial space in your home but pays off by having a 350 pound weight limit and strong 3.5 horsepower engine. 25 resistance levels and 29 programmed workouts offer a plethora of variety, so invest in this top-of-the-line machine if you’re a passionate runner committed to getting in your miles.
Another bonus: Best Buy’s Geek Squad will carry the machine into your home and assemble it for you. No muss, no fuss, and no struggling with tools–just start running.
Costway 800W Folding Treadmill Electric /Support Motorized Power Running Fitness Machine
This fun pink option certainly doesn’t have the strength of the more pricey option above, but is it cute and foldable with a 220 pound capacity, and it measures heart rate, scan, speed, distance, time and calories on a multi-function LED display. At just 59 pounds, it’s relatively easy to transport or move around (at least compared to a full-size model), and reviewers love how easy it is to put together and its low noise output.
“It goes up to 6.5 mph so its perfect for a morning stroll or an evening jog,” one buyer writes. “Folds up neatly and is pretty silent while in use. I got it to stay active without having to leave the house and its perfect!”
NordicTrack 2450 Commercial Treadmill
This is another professional model that would do as well in a commercial gym as it would in your home.
A wide, Runners’ Flex cushioned running deck has the ability to reach 3% decline and 15% incline, and AutoBreeze™ workout fans keep you cool as you reach up to 12mph on your run. You also get a whopping 50 preset workouts and a one year free iFit membership as well as ten year frame, two year parts, and one year labor warranties.
“I bought this for a graduation gift to myself as I wanted to start running again,” one runner says. “So thankful I did. The price hurt, but you get what you pay for. It is very sturdy, has great sounds, Bluetooth, storage, and the fans work great.”