Treadmill Reviews USA

Best Treadmills for 2020

Last Updated: May 7, 2020

The treadmill industry is as competitive as ever with seemingly newer and better models getting launched each year. However, there may be marked differences in quality, and it’s always advisable to make your purchase from a trusted brand rather than going for cheaper models that might cause problems later on. 

With the wide variety of treadmills available, it can be tricky to choose one that would best suit your needs and fit your budget. It’s already a lot of work to choose a single treadmill while ensuring that all features from motor power to workout options are in your favor. Here’s a simplified compilation by our fitness professionals for the best treadmills of 2019-20, with in-depth reviews and comparisons:

Best Treadmills for 2020 by our fitness professionals

Overall Best Treadmill: NordicTrack Commercial 1750

NordicTrack’s new Commercial 1750, while not one of the brand’s fanciest models, has more than enough features to make it a high-value purchase for most people. The iFit-enabled model now has a Bluetooth audio feature and its upgraded 10-inch web-enabled screen makes workouts engaging by allowing you to surf the internet as you walk. This popular folding treadmill is of a sturdy, user-friendly design and also has 3.75 CHP motor power to cater to everyone, including hardcore runners.

The Commercial 1750 has received multiple awards including Best for Home Use, Best Folding Treadmill, Best for Runners, and Best Treadmill Under $2000.

Specifications:
Rating: 5/5
Motor Power: 3.75 CHP
Decline/Incline: -3–15%
Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
Speed: 0-12 mph
Weight Limit: 300 lbs
Dimensions: 78.8 x 39.2 x 63 inches
Built-in Workouts: 50
Folding: ✅

Best Treadmill for Athletes: Sole F80

If you need a treadmill suitable for regular running at high speeds, the Sole F80 could be a great choice. Retailing at $1,499. This machine is midway between the entry-level F63 and state-of-the-art though expensive F85.

The 3.5 CHP motor functions well in supporting speedy workouts for longer durations. The wide incline range of 15% is good enough for some extra lower-body resistance training, as is the maximum 12 mph speed. Awards of the Sole F80 include Best Treadmill for Runners, Best for Home Use, Best Folding Treadmill, and Best Treadmill Under $1500.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.9/5
Motor Power: 3.5 HP
Incline: 0–15%
Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
Folding: ✅
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 375 lbs
Dimensions: 82 x 37 x 57 inches
Built-In Workouts: 10

Best Budget Treadmill: Horizon 7.0 AT

If you need a durable treadmill without breaking the bank, the Horizon 7.0 AT can fulfill your requirements while adhering to a reasonable budget.

The 3.0 CHP motor is good enough for home use, as is its very respectable speed and incline range which is suited to both beginners and pros. This popular folding treadmill has also won the Best Treadmills Under $1000 and Best Treadmills for Walkers awards.

Specifications:
Rating: 4/5
Motor: 3.0 HP
Incline: 0–15%
Running Surface: 20 x 60 inches
Folding: ✅
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 325 lbs
Dimensions: 76.5 x 36 x 59 inches
Built-In Workouts: 6

4.0

Horizon 7.0 AT

Best Treadmill for Walkers: Sole F63

If you need a best-quality, basic treadmill under $1000, the Sole F63 can offer a good walking experience every time. The ample warranty package will keep you covered for a good few years, as will the excellent customer service from Sole in case you face any problems.

The widely popular and durable treadmill certainly has a lot to offer if you need a reliable machine for walking at home. The Sole F63 has well-deserved awards to its name, including Best Treadmills Under $1000, Best Treadmills for Walkers, Best Treadmills for Seniors, and Best for Home Use.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.5/5
Motor Power: 3.0 CHP
Incline: 0-15%
Running Surface: 20 x 60 inches
Folding: ✅
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 325 lbs
Dimensions: 82 x 35 x 57 inches
Built-In Workouts: 10

Best Treadmill for Focussed Runners: Landice L8 LTD

The Landice L8 LTD along with its large running track is one of the best treadmills available at the present. The versatile treadmill can accommodate people of dramatically varying weights, heights, and builds, with a limit of 500 lbs.

While not a folding treadmill, the low-maintenance fitness machine with a powerful 4.0 CHP motor is able to accommodate the tallest and speediest of folks. It has appropriately been dubbed one of the Best Treadmills for Serious Runners, Best Commercial Treadmills and Best High-End Treadmills.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.5/5
Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
Incline: 0–15%
Running Surface: 22 x 63 inches
Folding: None
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 500 lbs
Dimensions: 83 x 35 x 62 inches
Built-In Workouts: 5

4.5

Landice L8 LTD

Best Cross-Training Treadmill: BowFlex Treadclimber TC100

This entry-level multipurpose fitness machine has a 3-in-1 design, being able to function as a treadmill, an elliptical, and a stair climber.

The Treadclimber TC 100 is reliable enough to offer low-impact, calorie-shedding sessions while keeping your workout options open to the max. This BowFlex model has been rightly named one of the Best Treadmills for Walkers, Best Treadmills for Seniors, Best Cross-Training Treadmills, Best Incline Trainers, and Best Treadmill Alternatives.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.6/5
Motor Power: –
Incline: –
Running Surface: –
Folding: No
Max Speed: 4 mph
Weight Limit: 300 lbs
Dimensions: 57 x 31.5 x 59 inches
Built-In Workouts: 4 Electronic Functions

4.6

BowFlex Treadclimber TC100

Best Incline Training Treadmill: NordicTrack X22i

Looking for some hardcore incline training? The NordicTrack X22i offers that and so much more, all within a reasonable budget.

The 40% incline range is as good as it gets, along with 4.0 CHP motor power and iFit-readiness for limitless and engaging workout options. Being a hot-selling incline trainer ever since it was launched, it’s no wonder that the X22i has been named one of the Best Cross-Training Treadmills and Best Incline Trainers.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.9/5
Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
Decline/Incline: -6 – 40%
Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
Folding: No
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 300 lbs
Dimensions: 70.2 x 39.6 x 71.6 inches
Built-In Workouts: 50

Best Compact Folding Treadmill: Horizon 7.8 AT

Need a solid treadmill that does the job without coming in your way all day? The Horizon 7.8 AT treadmill is one of the new-and-improved models offered by the company. From its spacious deck to the heavy-duty 4.0 CHP motor, this one also has you covered with a generous warranty.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.7/5
Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
Incline: 0 – 15%
Running Surface: 22 x 60 inches
Folding: ✅
Max Speed: 12 mph
Weight Limit: 350 lbs
Dimensions: 76 x 37 x 64 inches
Built-In Workouts: 10

4.7

Horizon 7.8 AT

Best Treadmill Desk: LifeSpan TR1200-DT5

If you’re occupied with tasks that require you to sit at a desk for long hours, why not do them while you walk instead? The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 is a great desk treadmill that can accommodate your laptop while keeping you moving at the same time.

With its spacious walking area and a range of adjustable heights for the desktop, it is a comfortable fit for most people. The 2.25 CHP motor is good enough to support brisk walks as you go about your business.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.5/5
Motor Power: 2.25 CHP
Incline: None
Running Surface: 20 x 50 inches
Folding: No
Max Speed: 0.4 – 4 mph
Weight Capacity: 350 LBS
Dimensions: 68.5 x 38 inches
Built-In Workouts: n/a

4.5

LifeSpan TR1200-DT5

Best Treadmill Alternative: NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i

From its sleek auto-adjustable stride of 32 inches to its multipurpose design, the NordicTrack FreeStride fitness machine is a great treadmill alternative if you wish to add some variety to your running routine. It can function as an elliptical trainer, stepper, and low-impact treadmill, making it a good choice for those who want to begin cross-training.

Specifications:
Rating: 4.7/5
Motor Power: –
Incline: 0 – 10%
Running Surface: –
Folding: No
Max Speed: n/a
Weight Limit: 375 lbs
Dimensions: 58.5 x 29.5 x 74 inches
Built-In Workouts: 35

4.7

NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i

If you’re looking for a solid treadmill that does the job along with having the essential features for comfort and convenience, you should expect to spend at least around $1500 for something that will last a good few years without causing too many problems. The following is a guide to some key features to keep in mind when selecting a treadmill for personal use.

Treadmill Essentials – Features to Look for in 2020

With new and improved treadmill models being introduced by top fitness companies, purchasing a treadmill is no longer straightforward and limited to one or two brands like before. Modern treadmills have now evolved into engaging, powerful machines that can keep you hooked to your workout for longer periods via internet and app connectivity. These treadmills offer maximum speeds suitable for professional athletes and often wide ranges of incline as well for an added challenge. 

When shopping for a treadmill, you should consider features that will make your workout experience smooth and comfortable. These features include a spacious and quiet treadbelt, a good-quality motor that doesn’t heat up with moderate use, and if you’re someone who values gadgets, a web-enabled console screen, and audio features to make your workout more fun!

Here’s a guide to successfully buying the best treadmill for you:

Step 1: Deciding the Basics

First, filter out the obvious necessities you need in your treadmill. Most people would want to go for a motorized machine, so if that’s the case, you should rule out any non-motorized units.

Next come essential features to note like the size of the tread belt, motor power, and a folding option.

  • Folding or Non-Folding?

While folding treadmills may be more compact, you might have to sacrifice some features. Moreover, all treadmills are quite heavy so you cannot expect a folding treadmill to be very portable. Even if it has wheels, it will still require a fair amount of effort to move from one place to another, so it’s always better to reserve a spot for your treadmill whether it’s in use or in storage.

Fortunately, nowadays there are many mid-range treadmills available that offer a folding option. The F80 treadmill by Sole Fitness is the best folding treadmill if you need a sturdy, lasting machine offering a powerful motor and good value for money.

There are other companies as well with good options for folding treadmills. For example, NordicTrack offers many folding treadmill models at different price points.

  • Belt Quality and Dimensions

The treadmill belt determines your walking/running space as well as durability to some extent. Too thin of a belt can wear out easily and often require frequent maintenance. Narrow belts may not work for folks with broader builds, and shorter belts may cause difficulty for taller people by limiting their movement as they stride.

Belt Width

Treadmill belts are commonly 20 inches wide, with 22 inches being the widest that is currently offered by some companies. If a treadmill will frequently be used by larger individuals, a 22-inch belt is a better choice to avoid a trapped feeling while walking or running.

Belt Length

Longer belts are always better if you plan to run on your treadmill since running requires longer strides. It’s also essential for taller people to buy a tread belt of extra length so that they can move freely. 

Usual walking and jogging treadmills have 55-inch long tread belts while running treadmills offer up to 60 inches. A 60-inch belt may be enough for someone more than 6 feet tall who only needs to walk, but a longer length of at least 62 inches would be better for taller people who plan on running. 

Belt Thickness:

A one-ply tread belt may stretch out or tear while running. It may be enough for walking, but more serious workouts require at least a 2-ply belt for good functioning. Such a belt can last for very long distances without needing repair or replacement. It is also believed that thicker belts make lesser noise, even while going fast.

Future maintenance levels are in part determined by belt thickness. Thicker belts are typically low maintenance, requiring less lubrication and waxing than thinner ones. Lower quality belts may require regular maintenance which might not be feasible in the long term. 

  • Motor Power

One of the main things to consider when buying a treadmill is the motor power. The strength and power of a treadmill motor is measured in CHP. More to come on CHP in a bit.

Since the function of a treadmill motor is to push the belt forward, a stronger more will be required if heavier users will be walking or running or if you plan on using it at high speeds on a regular basis. Incompetent motors may exhaust faster, especially if used for running frequently.

Horsepower:

CHP, or continuous horsepower, is the standard unit of measuring the motor strength of treadmills. It’s an indicator of the total power your treadmill can emanate throughout the duration of your workout. HP (horsepower) is just an indicator of the power generated in an instant, so it isn’t a reliable unit to determine motor strength. 

The CHP is one of the major determinants of the cost of a treadmill. You can expect a considerable price hike with even a 0.5 increase in CHP. In spite of this, in many cases it is better to spend some more and get a treadmill of at least 3.0 CHP to ensure smooth functioning.

Nowadays, treadmill motor powers range from 2.25 to 4.25 CHP. For people weighing under 200 lbs, it is recommended to get at least 2.0 CHP for only walking, at least 2.5 CHP or more for jogging, and 3.0 CHP minimum for running. If you’re planning on marathon-level running or have multiple people who plan to use the treadmill daily, it’s better to jump to  4.0 CHP. 

In case you’re over 200 lbs, it’s better to add 0.5 CHP to the recommended motor power for an extra boost to your machine. 

Motor Warranty:

Most treadmills come with a lifetime warranty for the motor, and this should always be a priority since it usually implies higher quality. Those which don’t offer this guarantee are unpredictable since this indicates that the machine might break down frequently due to poor construction. 

It’s always better to purchase a lifetime warranty if you have the option, otherwise, you might find yourself spending considerable amounts on maintenance.

Step 2: Shock-proof Your Run

In general, jogging and running are activities that have a greater impact on the joints. If you need a low impact activity, an elliptical would be a better option for you than a treadmill.

Walking may seem like mild exercise, but is, in fact, harder on the joints than sports like swimming, cycling, or elliptical use. It is, therefore, essential to consider the shock-absorbing capabilities of your treadmill. 

Many treadmills come with a shock-absorbing option which can make a lot of difference in your running experience. It lessens the chance of injuries to your joints, tendons, and ligaments with every step you take, thanks to the cushioned feel of the running deck.

The cushioning feature on a treadmill can be of great value if you consider how it can prevent injury and therefore keep you fit enough to work out regularly and make the most of your machine. In contrast, suffering from impact injury would only limit you from using your treadmill daily, so it’s better to invest in one which has cushioning technology.

Another point to note is how treadmills with powerful shock-absorbing features are quieter, even while running.

About Cushioning Technology 

The cushioning feature on a treadmill is needed to reduce the reactionary force transferred to your joints through the treadmill deck with each step you take on it. This force is magnified by gravity and is more powerful while jogging or running as compared to walking.

Different parts of a treadmill work together for shock absorption:

  • The belt which lies flat over the surface
  • The deck, lying underneath the belt, usually of wooden material. Running directly on the deck can make your workout hard on your joints
  • The shock-absorbing steel frame which lines the deck and helps it move slightly up and down to cushion your movement in a spring-like fashion

Types of Cushioning in Different Treadmills

  • Some treadmill companies like NordicTrack and ProForm offer optional cushioning which can be turned on or off. If you’re a serious road runner, you may opt to rain with cushioning turned off for a roadlike simulation.
  • Advanced cushioning technology is offered by certain modern treadmill models. This allows the deck to feel firm when you push off it, and soft when you land back. 
  • If you’re looking for a treadmill with the best cushioning system, Sole is one manufacturer that offers excellent low-impact machines at a reasonable price. Sole treadmills can reduce the impact on your joints by up to 40% in contrast with other brands that offer a maximum 30% impact reduction as compared to walking on asphalt.
  • Some high-end treadmills offered by Landice feature light-as-a-cloud workouts due to their efficient cushioning systems. The brand has state-of-the-art machines with running surfaces that feel ultra-soft, five to seven times more than grass. This can be very useful for patients of chronic joint pain who wish to stay active.

Incline Training

Running over a flat treadmill can have harmful effects on your joints. While cushioning technology helps in reducing impact injury, using the incline feature is also effective for the same purpose.

Other than shock absorption, an inclined surface can be a great way to challenge yourself and add some variety to regular walking. It adds an element of resistance training to your usual cardio workout, strengthening your muscles and shedding more calories as well.

Most modern treadmills have incline and decline settings that are electronically controlled. This is recommended since it saves time and effort. The manual incline is rarer in treadmills nowadays and requires you to step down or push up the treadmill and adjust the incline yourself. Treadmills offering built-in preset workouts will always have an electronic incline.

Treadmills from top companies offer between 10 and 20 incline levels. A 10% incline is pretty good for beginners, and many cheaper treadmills offer it. However, you may want to spend a bit more and get 15 to 20% incline if you are planning on challenging yourself and incorporating more strength training in your walks or runs.

Hybrid machines known as incline trainers can be your go-to option if you need dramatic inclines of 30 to 40%. These are midway between a treadmill and stair stepper, sloping steeply for uphill walking. These can produce serious calorie-burning workouts. 

Such high incline levels can be especially useful for people who don’t prefer running or aren’t able to run but still need to burn calories. Simply walking on an incline can multiply your calorie burn by a significant degree.

Extra Apps and Features

Modern treadmills from companies like NordicTrack and ProForm offer next-level workouts through apps like iFit Coach and Google Maps. These provide virtual running locations from around the world so that you can explore different destinations while you use your machine. The incline feature over your treadmill will keep adjusting automatically to match the actual terrain. 

iFit Coach also offers a library of thousands of workout videos and many innovative exercise-friendly features as well. While it usually requires a paid subscription, some treadmills come with complimentary one-year memberships free of cost.

Step 3: Monitor Your Heart Rate

Most, if not all, treadmills have wireless heart rate monitors and using this feature wisely can guide you through your workout and help you set its intensity according to your goals. 

An understanding of heart rate zones is best if you need to use this feature effectively. Each zone covers some percentage of your maximum possible heart rate which itself is theoretical. 

Zone 1 is 60% to 70%, usually suitable for beginners. It’s also best for warming up and cooling down pre-and post-workout.

Zone 2 is 71% to 80% and enables your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently. It’s the commonest for treadmill training. A good indicator of heart rate zone 2 is being able to continue a conversation without getting breathless.

Zone 3 is a level up, about 81% to 93%. It involves intense exercise, and you might be able to speak short sentences but usually conversing normally in this zone isn’t possible.

Zone 4 is the highest heart rate zone with the most intense forms of exercise or high speed running. Only uttering a few words at a time is possible in this zone.

Staying in the Right Zone by Calculating Your Desired Heart Rate

You can stay in the right heart rate zone by calculating it with a simple formula. The old school way is to subtract your age from the number 220, which gives your theoretical maximum heart rate. The resulting number can be used to calculate each heart rate zone by its percentage.

One issue with this formula, however, is that it doesn’t account for differences in the resting heart rate of different individuals. A better way, therefore, is to start by subtracting your age from 220, then subtracting your resting heart rate from the resulting number. This is your heart rate reserve which you can now multiply with the percentage of the heart rate zone you wish to stay in.

Different Kinds of Fitness Heart Rate Monitors

Most treadmills come equipped with a heart rate monitoring feature, but not all work in the same way. Some may have touch sensors and others may have wireless monitors.

Irrespective of the price range, most running machines of 2020 have touch sensors to monitor your heart rate built into their handlebars. On high-quality treadmills, you can expect a reliable reading by gripping the handlebars that have a device built in to detect your pulse. Cheaper treadmills may not show this level of accuracy.

The most accurate form of heart rate monitoring is still of the wireless kind. Some treadmills provide this option along with touch sensors. Some modern treadmills even allow the usage of chest straps for heart rate monitoring through Bluetooth or Polar, sometimes even offering a strap along with the purchase of the treadmill.