Our lives have changed and have become steadily more hectic over the years.
Unfortunately, the casualties of this busy lifestyle are our activity levels and exercise routines. We simply cannot find the time to go to the gym or to involve ourselves with outdoor activities regularly.
However, these are exactly the kind of people to whom the purchase of a treadmill will be a boon. Now, the best treadmills for walking and running are not easy to find.
So, you’ll agree with me when I say:
Treadmills are an incredible purchase due to the fact that we can use them in the comfort of our own homes and convenience with regards to setting our own schedule is unparalleled when compared to fixed gym timings.
Moreover, they are beneficial to people at any level of fitness or people who suffer from back problems.
Nonetheless, the market is flooded with several options, and an average consumer is likely to get overwhelmed.
Hence, buying guides like these exist, to help you make a decision by presenting all the research and reviews for the best treadmills of 2017 so that you are equipped with all the information you need before deciding what to purchase.
Types of Treadmills
A considerable variety of treadmills is available on the market right now, each with distinct functions, designs and target demographics. Nonetheless, treadmills can be grouped into 3 broad categories:
Manual treadmills are activated when you begin walking on the belt, and the user provides all the required energy to get the belt moving. This type of treadmill provides a superior lower body workout as it requires the legs to move as well as exert force for movement. Since these treadmills do not have powered motors and other electronic parts, they tend to be the cheapest kind of treadmill on the market.
A healthy majority of the treadmills available on the market today are motorized models. They are equipped with a plethora of features that include, but are not limited to giving real-time digital feedback to the user and automatically adjusting inclination levels and speeds which prove helpful to users of all age-groups. Moving machinery, motors and parts tend to bloat the price of this type of treadmill and usually come attached to an expensive price-tag.
As the name suggests, these treadmills – ‘fold’, i.e. they are suitable for use in places with a limited amount of space such as a studio apartment. They are available in both motorized and manual variants, however, the manual version offers the maximum folding capability. Consequently, people tend to prefer the manually operated folding treadmill if they are looking to save space.
Reliable and Famous Brands to Watch
Brands play a part in the extent of reliability, sturdiness and user-friendliness offered by a treadmill. I personally would never want to spend my hard earned cash on a treadmill if the brand is not known to provide the aforementioned qualities in its products. I have listed a few brands that are recognized as well as trusted by the majority of its customers:
ProForm is the budget division of the famous brand – ICON Health & Fitness and it offers appealing features at affordable prices. Their products are available at the majority of e-commerce websites such as Amazon as well as, their own website ProForm.com. The prices of their products start as low as $600.
Lifespan Fitness treadmills and treadmill decks are manufactured by PCE Fitness based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Treadmill prices can range from 800$ to 8000$, offering products suited for both residential use as well as commercial use at gyms, fitness centers; these treadmills are sold all throughout the e-retail space and are very popular among customers.
Another division of ICON Health and Fitness, Weslo features the ultra-budget treadmill line of the company. Products can sell for lower than $500 and are the perfect fit for people who need a treadmill while on a tight budget. All Weslo products are sold online using e-retail websites like Wal-Mart, Amazon etc.
Top 10 Best Treadmills for Walking & Running
With this comparaison chart we help you answer this crucial question: “what is the best treadmill on the market today?”
Top 5 Treadmills for 2017
Performance, reliability and price are the most important factors to keep in mind while hunting for treadmills. Although in no particular order, the following list takes into consideration the aforementioned aspects and has been trimmed down to 5 or 10 top treadmills based on a combination of consumer reviews, sales and feedback. Reading through this guide will assist you in making an informed decision and ascertain the best treadmill model for your needs.
Netting 4-star aggregate reviews from over 2,300 verified customers on Amazon, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 treadmill is one of the cheapest motorized treadmills available on the market today.
The treadmill features a space saver design and can easily fit into an apartment space. Falling under the motorized collapsible treadmill design and weighing only 120 pounds, makes it more portable than its competitors.
Sturdy enough for jogging with guys weighing as much as 275 pounds, the two manual positional incline setting means this treadmill can increase the intensity at which you train when the need to test or push your limits arises.
Speeds can be adjusted in smaller increments which prove to be beneficial for senior citizens or beginners who need to take it slowly, for example: speed increments of even 0.1mph, unlike other models that tend to jump to higher speeds faster.
Featuring a 6-preset personal trainer workout setting, designed by certified fitness trainers, that ensures each workout is tailor made for you and every session will result in a burn which directly assists losing weight, increasing stamina and performance in a matter of a few weeks.
The digital info panel supplies comprehensive data about your run/jog/walk. Stats such as: calories burned, time elapsed, distance and speed as you exercise, is extremely beneficial to enthusiasts and casual users alike.
The assembly procedure is downright simple and you should not require external help. Moreover, the whole assembly process should be completed in under 20 minutes.
Similar to its sibling the G 5.9, the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 is a ridiculously affordable and solid product. Sturdiness, reliability, comfort and compactness are well taken care of, considering the price. It also features a 2 positional adjustable incline which can be exploited to control the intensity of your workouts.
Offering a sturdy and strong experience, even at high running speeds, the only major drawback to the R 5.2 is the noise level when the treadmill runs at above jogging speeds.
On the other hand, the price is so low that most people would bear with these tiny inconveniences just to have access to the wealth of features that this treadmill offers.
Operating and adjusting settings on this treadmill are easy and intuitive tasks. Moreover, 6-speed preset settings, of which 3 are for weight loss and the other 3 reserved for intensity and interval training, are tailored to allow you to start your training regimen with minimum tweaks and setup.
If the preset adjustments are too intense or simply do not cut it for you, the user can easily override these preset speed settings and make their own adjustments accordingly.
The treadmill supports speeds of up to 10 mph, which should be sufficient for the average user.
Confidence Power Plus boasts the lowest of prices and one cannot argue considering the sub-$200 price tag. You must be wondering: ‘What features can such a cheap treadmill offer?’.
Your apprehension is justified, but I will go over the details of this treadmill so you can decide whether this is the model you want to purchase.
The similarities to Weslo’s budget offerings are immediately apparent while going over the features of this treadmill.
Portable and foldable, this treadmill can easily fit anywhere and its narrow, compact frame only enhances the space saving design.
The weight limit, 250 pounds, is a bit low compared to other budget treadmills which can handle a maximum of 275 pounds; however, considering the difference in price in comparison to its closest competitor, a slightly lower weight capacity is not a huge issue unless you weigh somewhere around the limit.
It is simple to set up and does not have a cluttered instrument panel, which many high-end models tend to house, hence, those looking for a minimal look will be pleased with this design.
One unexpected difference between this treadmill and the other budget treadmills is the noise made at higher speeds (8mph and below)! It is quieter than most treadmills at and around this price range, which gives it a significant edge in this market.
It is a perfect addition to your exercise regimen (present/planned) if you have a shortage of space and/or a tight budget.
If the treadmill you are looking for needs to reliable and completely uncompromising on quality and performance, you will need to shell out a bit more than how much the budget models cost.
The 505 CST model manufactured by ProForm is one such treadmill; it is powered by a 2.5 CHP (continuous duty horsepower) motor which is right at the starting end of the powerful treadmill segment of the market.
Although, this treadmill is not suitable to be used commercially, which will result in continuous use for long periods of time by different people running/walking at varying speeds.
A 10-degree incline makes sure that you get to decide the intensity of your workout. Another beneficial feature, especially for people with heart problems and/or who are 40+ years old, is the inclusion of the heartbeat sensor; the sensor keeps track of your heart rate at all times and displays it on the screen.
The 505 CST boasts an impressive 300-pound weight capacity, which makes it much more durable than the cheaper options available. The only common complaint among several reviews are that customer service is lacking.
Lifespan is known to manufacture products that cater to the enthusiast level runners and joggers, instead of battling it out in the budget segment of the market. The quality and the build of these treadmills are sublime, but Lifespan does charge a premium.
The motor provides 2.5 CHP and has a reliable lifetime warranty on the motor as well as the frame.
The LCD screen offers comprehensive information about your workout that will help you track your exercise regimen in detail and plan future sessions accordingly. It can accurately track time, distance, calories burnt and heart rate tracker.
Featuring a maximum speed of 11 mph, the treadmill is equipped to handle anything you can throw at it, or on it. There are several preset training regimens are available for programs that include weight loss, athlete training, healthy living etc.
The TR1200i has won several best treadmill awards to date, and has raving reviews by all customers. A unique feature that sets this model apart and gives it a novelty factor is the inclusion of a USB port; plugging in a storage device to the port will allow you to record detailed statistics of your run to the device you attached.
Other Decent Treadmill Options
Now: I will briefly list another 5 treadmills that are not as popular as the ones listed above, but judging from the reviews, seem to provide a reasonably good user experience –
Another quality treadmill for the enthusiast manufactured by ProForm, available on Amazon here.
The ProForm Pro 2000 is a treadmill with a wide array of features and tweaks that will allow you to tweak your fitness regimen, exactly the way you want.
Even though it is not meant for industrial use, it can handle a few hours of vigorous activity with ease.
Have you ever wanted to work, or read or watch something while you work out?
Presenting a novelty product by Lifespan that offers a desk in place of the standard handles to work or read while you train.
The desk is designed to comfortably place a laptop so you have the option of working, watching movies etc. while you are burning away those calories. Available on Amazon.
Another Confidence budget treadmill, available to purchase on Amazon.
This product is similar to the Power Plus mentioned above, with a few tweaks to the treadmill – including better build quality as well as an adjustable manual incline.
Recommended for home and casual use as its motor is not built to handle long periods of stress.
A popular treadmill choice for people on a budget, and is available on Amazon here.
Featuring convenient handrail controls and a maximum speed of 9 mph, the treadmill is an amazing budget option.
However, a low max user weight of 220 lbs. coupled with a comparatively flimsy build, impacts it negatively.
Anything more strenuous will take its toll on the underwhelming motor and shouldn’t be purchased unless you are looking for a sturdy treadmill for walking.
It is one of the low power treadmills that seems to be a trendy choice on Amazon at the moment, and can be bought here.
Overall we can say that this model is one of the best treadmill for walking at home.
Treadmill Buying Guide
I went over a few of the popular options in the market above, and now I will guide you on how to make an informed decision when weighing several treadmill options.
There are some factors that you need to keep in mind, some essential, some absolutely critical and some that vary from user to user.
Here are the factors you should consider when deciding on a treadmill to purchase:
The first couple of questions you must ask yourself before even beginning to look at the treadmill options 0n the market are: ‘Do I have enough space to set one up?’ and ‘Is the aforementioned space permanently free to store a treadmill when it’s not in use?’
If your answer to the first question was ‘No’, then you should think about clearing out some space in your house first.
Once the answer to the first question is ‘Yes’, answer the second question; if the answer to that is ‘No’, then you HAVE to go for a foldable and/or portable model.
On the other hand, if you answered ‘Yes’ to having permanent space – you can and should go for a full-featured motorized treadmill if your budget allows it.
The highly portable models of treadmills will inevitably compromise on performance, quality and features, while the heavier models will be sturdier and packed with features, but will cost more due to the plethora of functionality and performance offered.
Factor level: Varies user to user.
2- Clear and Easy to Read LCD Display
There are too many treadmills on the market that offer juicy features, but the quality of the treadmill LCD display provided is sub-par, making it is impossible to read while you’re in the middle of exercise.
Always ascertain that the display can be viewed from an angle you are comfortable with, as I have encountered a few treadmills whose display cannot be seen clearly by people who are too tall (6+ feet).
Factor level: Essential!
3- Cushioning System
If you do not want your treadmill purchase to endanger the health of your body, especially your legs – read through this essential factor to consider when buying one.
Each treadmill offers varying levels of cushioning, and depending on how well it is implemented and chosen, it has a direct effect on the strain on your legs and knees.
If the treadmill you are using feels ‘spongy’ to run on, and you feel as though your feet are sinking into the deck; do not buy it or continue using it.
Decks like the one I mentioned are the primary cause of serious knee injuries due to the excess pressure exerted on the knees during the walking/running activity.
On the other hand, if the deck gives you the feeling of traversing on asphalt, i.e. it is unnaturally hard and firm, this causes an additional shock to your legs each time you slam your feet down on the deck to run.
The ideal cushioning should give you the experience of running on a dirt trail, not completely rigid, but firm enough so as to not be soft. A treadmill that can successfully replicate this environment of running is a perfect and safe companion for your exercise needs.
Factor level: Essential!
We all want the best, but unfortunately, the best comes along with a huge price tag which everyone cannot afford. Hence, budget constraints will inevitably factor into your purchasing decision.
However, it is not recommended to compromise on quality to the extent that your treadmill will have a negative impact on your body.
The majority of budget treadmills in the market are absolute trash, offering almost no features coupled with a flimsy build and bad motor that will give them a laughably low life.
Nonetheless, there exists some models that will offer some of the features that you like and also provide a certain feel of durability at a low price. But the cold hard truth is, you will end up compromising on some factor if you are constrained by a budget.
Factor level: Varies user to user.
The power output of the treadmill motor is of utmost importance, especially if you are buying one for running regularly. Weaker motors have the distinct disadvantage of wearing out quickly and/or not being able to support any excessive weight.
A motor that can output at least 2.0 CHP is considered powerful enough for the casual home user and should be considered the minimum, although, there are several other factors, such as cooling, to take into account if you are looking for the maximum life possible on your treadmill purchase.
However, if you are looking to run at speeds of 10-11mph, buying a treadmill that is powered by a 2.5 CHP motor is recommended.
Factor level: Critical!
6- Treadmill Control Panel Interface
A majority of people skate over this factor completely, but, if not optimal – this is the one that causes the most frustration to the users.
Think about it:
You begin using your treadmill, and start it; after a while, you’d like to stop and are at a very high speed and find that the stop button – for reasons known only to the manufacturer – is located miles away from the treadmill handles.
Moreover, this is just one example!
An easily navigable and convenient interface is of utmost importance and should be kept in mind when looking for a treadmill.
Factor level: Essential!
7- Safety Features
Your safety is of paramount importance; it is just not worth risking your safety by purchasing treadmills that have limited or no safety features.
Although a safety clip is standard on all models in the market now, you should confirm that they work as advertised; especially when dealing with budget models that might have quality issues. A wide platform to step, on the sides of the belt is another important feature to keep in mind.
Factor level: Critical!
Any electronic equipment does run the risk of running into issues, a couple of years down the line if not immediately. Hence, a reliable warranty is essential when deciding what treadmill to buy. It goes without saying, but, prefer models that have a longer warranty period.
However, some manufacturers will offer a warranty, and will hide behind a list of terms and conditions that will leave them liable for nothing except a tiny part of the treadmill – so make sure you read the terms of the warranty too, and don’t get swayed by the period of warranty offered alone.
Factor level: Essential!
9- Build Quality
The last thing you want is to experience your treadmill deck giving way under you as you are running on it, hence, build quality is a critical factor that must be taken into account.
Cheaper treadmill models are lighter, but they compromise on build quality, it is important to buy a treadmill that does not compromise by a huge margin.
Make sure that the treadmill you are about to buy, has a sturdy build, does not wobble when you walk/run on it and doesn’t make creaking noises while you exercise.
Factor level: Essential!
Inclines offered by different treadmills vary by a great margin. Some provide a mechanical incline that must be manually set, while some others feature an electronic incline that will change the incline angle at the press of a button.
Incline helps in tweaking your run to add an element of intensity to it, simulating uphill running. An electronically controlled incline will be a costly affair, albeit a convenient one, however, make sure that the treadmill you are purchasing offers several levels/degrees of incline, mechanical or electronic, to allow you the flexibility of customizing your run intensity as and when you like.
Factor level: Varies from user to user.
11- Pulse Monitor
If you have just crossed the threshold of middle age and have traversed into the 40+ territory, this feature is absolutely essential for you. A pulse monitor allows you to work out while keeping your body stress and exertion levels at a safe limit.
A safe heart rate is (your age) subtracted from 220, for example – if you are 40 years old, a safe pulse rate while exercising, for you would be 220 – 40 = 180bpm. Hence, a heart rate monitor on the treadmill will allow you to keep your heart rate within the safety limit and will not cause you to put yourself in mortal danger by overexertion.
Factor level: Varies from user to user.
Final Words – Wrapping it up
Reading through this guide must have brought you to the realization that deciding on and purchasing a treadmill involves considering and researching several essential factors, although, the process seemed like a straightforward one when you first heard about it. I have covered every bit of information that you will need when deciding on which treadmill is the best fit for you and what treadmill to purchase.
The reviews of the best treadmills for walking and running on the market will be a massive help as I have already provided a curated list of the best treadmills out of the crowd of products available. If you have read this guide to the letter, and will follow the recommendations given, it should greatly ease your buying experience!