Are you interested in transferring your jogging routine to the comfort of your own home? Don’t know which devices meet the criteria for best treadmills for running? While the market offers an extensive array of quality treadmills that offer a challenging workout and smooth running belt, not all models have the same features.
Some are more suitable for walkers, some are better for fast runners, and others have extreme incline settings or additional built-in features. Let’s dive in to see which ones stand out from the competition.
- 1 In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
- 2 How Am I Qualified to Write About These Products?
- 3 Who Is This Guide For?
- 4 How We Picked the Best Treadmills For Running
- 5 How We Compared Each Product
- 6 The Products
- 6.1 NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – The Best Overall
- 6.2 NordicTrack Commercial 1750
- 6.3 Lifespan TR5500i – The Best for Fast Runners
- 6.4 Lifespan TR5500i
- 6.5 Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill – The Most Affordable Treadmill
- 6.6 Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill
- 6.7 Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill – The Best Foldable Treadmill
- 6.8 Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill
- 6.9 NordicTrack Commercial X22i – The Highest Incline Control
- 6.10 NordicTrack Commercial X22i
- 6.11 AssaultRunner Elite – The Best Manual Treadmill
- 6.12 AssaultRunner Elite
- 7 The Buying Guide
- 8 FAQ
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
|Product's name||Best Overall||Best for Fast Runners|
LifeSpan Fitness TR5500iM Home Treadmill, with 10" Full-Color Touchscreen...
|Most Affordable Treadmill|
Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmills, Motorized Running Machine for...
|Best Foldable Treadmill|
Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill
|Highest Incline Control||Highest Incline Control
AssaultRunner Pro, Portable
|Verdict||The stunning 14-inch display screen located at the center of the console is easily one of the best in its class.||While this model might not be much to look at, its performance is unimpeachable.||When your budget forces you to check price tags, the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill certainly fills the gap.||One particularly handy feature is the side-mounted control buttons that allow you to grip the rail and make quick adjustments to your speed and incline settings, ensuring you never have to take your focus off the road.||Out of all the smart treadmills on the market, this one definitely takes the cake. It's the perfect option for elite runners who want to take their workouts up a notch and create a realistic experience similar to outdoor running.||The resilient and durable frame offers plenty of support and stability, while the simple design gives you a good idea of how it performs without any flashy features.|
|Max Incline||15%||13%||15%||15%||40%||Curved belt|
|Deck Size||22” x 60”||22” x 60”||16” x 49”||22” x 60”||22” x 60”||17” x 65”|
|Max Speed||12 mph||13.5 mph||9 mph||12 mph||13 mph||None|
|Motor Capacity||3.8 HP||4 HP||2.2 HP||3.5 HP||4 HP||3 HP|
|More Info||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon|
How Am I Qualified to Write About These Products?
As a lifelong fan of outdoor running, I’ve done quite a bit of running outside, in all kinds of weather and terrain. And naturally, over the course of those years, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of experience, having clocked in countless miles and taken part in multiple marathons.
But we all know the weather conditions aren’t always in favor of outdoor runners, and they can be quite unpredictable. And while I love being able to run outside, I also don’t like getting caught in unexpected rain or chilly temperatures. Thankfully, many fitness clubs have commercial treadmills that allow me to get my cardio in, no matter the weather.
But when the pandemic hit and I couldn’t maintain my fitness level at the gym as I normally would, I decided to invest in a treadmill and bring my running routine back home. And while I was at it, I decided it was best to really dive in and do thorough research on which treadmills for runners have great value for money and meet the highest standards of quality.
Who Is This Guide For?
If you’re tired of predicting the weather and don’t like commuting to the gym on a daily basis, you might be interested in buying your own treadmill to create a home workout space. And if you find yourself in that basket, you might want to stick around some more.
Of course, you don’t need any long-term experience or certifications to understand the fundamentals of a treadmill for runners and its main features. After all, it’s a fairly simple machine in terms of design and purpose.
However, if you’re looking to invest in a top-of-the-line product that will help you harness its full potential in achieving your fitness goals and make the most of your money, you’d be best off taking some time to list through all the aspects of the device and get familiarized with all its features, specs, and technological advancements.
How We Picked the Best Treadmills For Running
When you’re constantly digesting information online at a relentless pace, it becomes easy to get swayed by all the bustling advertising rhetoric. How can you see through the noise and actually pick the right product for you?
We’ve spent countless hours researching, analyzing, and comparing the most popular treadmills for runners across the most plain-spoken social platforms and fitness forums across Reddit and Quora. This is where real users speak openly about their experiences, so it’s an invaluable source of first-hand information.
We’ve also delved deep into customer reviews across online stores such as Amazon, Rogue, and Titan, where we looked for patterns and commonalities among different customer experiences. What some love may be a con for other users and vice versa, which is why we need to find the common thread that binds all these reviews together.
And finally, professional reviews from magazines and tech sites such as Treadmill Review Guru and Runner’s World were taken into consideration in order to validate the patterns we noticed in our prior investigation. This gave us the final piece of the puzzle and helped us decide which products can truly make a difference to an everyday runner.
How We Compared Each Product
When you’re comparing different devices with varying specs and features, it’s best to break down the individual components of each product to truly understand what sets them apart from one another. You need to set them down on equal footing to draw a fair comparison. We did exactly that from the following angles:
- Durability and Build Quality – When you’re constantly running at top speed, you want to ensure that your machine can withstand the strain and keep up with your needs over time. We analyzed the sturdiness of each device and how well-built they are, in order to determine which ones can actually last.
- Motor Power and Speed – A treadmill’s max speed is determined by the power of its motor. We compared the ratings of each device to determine which ones had the most horsepower and top speed.
- Incline Settings – Incline training is an unmistakable part of a runner’s training regimen, and being able to adjust it quickly is a key factor in getting the most out of it. We looked at each device’s incline setting to determine which ones have the greatest range and flexibility.
- Price Range – While having a higher price tag is generally seen as a sign of better quality, that isn’t always the case when it comes to exercise equipment. Even the most expensive treadmills won’t do you much good if they don’t suit your particular needs.
When you’ve got all the grounds covered, it’s time to dig into the actual products and see how they stack up against each other. What some find useful, might be a hindrance for others – so we’ll let you decide which one serves your needs in the best way.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – The Best Overall
A true pillar of the fitness industry, NordicTrack is known for its impressive slate of features and jaw-dropping performance. The cushioned belt is wide enough for a comfortable run and produces minimal noise, both for recreational runners and professional athletes. And despite its heavy-duty frame, it can still be folded up and placed out of the way when not in use.
|Deck Size||22” x 60”|
|Maximum Speed||12 mph|
|Motor Capacity||3.8 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||300 lbs|
Why It’s Great
The stunning 14-inch display screen located at the center of the console is easily one of the best in its class. With its tilting mechanism and resilient touchscreen, you can quickly and easily access the iFit Live workout software and enjoy a wealth of features.
It includes all the control buttons that NordicTrack devices are known for, such as the three-zone cushioning system that changes the way the belt reacts to your foot strike and the adjustable speed settings up to 12 mph. You can conveniently jump between incline levels as you please and tailor your workout to the way you want it.
With over 50 different exercise programs and trainer-led workouts, you can receive an all-around training experience that caters to your exact needs. You don’t need to splurge on a monthly subscription or additional equipment – it’s all included in the console. And with the flexibility offered by the adjustable deck cushioning, you can customize your runs to simulate any environment, whether it’s a hill or an off-road trail.
Lifespan TR5500i – The Best for Fast Runners
A true powerhouse packed in a relatively simple and compact design, the Lifespan TR5500i has a consistently strong motor with numerous speed settings and customization options. Ideal for interval and HIIT training, this machine will keep up with your needs as you push your limits and go the extra mile. Plus, its low-noise cushioned deck ensures a quiet experience that mimics your natural running posture.
|Deck Size||22” x 60”|
|Maximum Speed||13.5 mph|
|Motor Capacity||4 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||350 lbs|
Why It’s Great
While this model might not be much to look at, its performance is unimpeachable. It’s equipped with a true continuous-duty 4.0 HP motor that can reach speeds up to 13.5 mph, and its automatically adjustable incline settings boost the intensity of your run as you progress and adapt to your goals. Given its massive power, it’s the only treadmill motor that allows you to do a sub-2 hour marathon and sub-5-min-mile pace.
The console itself is no-nonsense and straightforward, with 20 preset programs and two user-defined running tracks. The interface is much simpler than most other models, but it offers all the necessary basics for a comfortable run – pulse-rate sensors on either side of the console, weight management and monitoring features, and a bright LED display with all the necessary feedback.
Despite not being able to connect with third-party apps, you can mirror your phone’s screen with the display and run with your favorite music or podcast in the background. The treadmill is also Bluetooth HR Chest Strap compatible, offering real-time heart rate stats and a more accurate pulse reading than the sensors alone.
Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill – The Most Affordable Treadmill
Offering a budget-friendly alternative to some of the pricier models on the market, the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill has all the necessary features for a comfortable run. At a fraction of the cost, this machine still packs plenty of punch and can keep up with the most challenging treadmill workouts at a steady speed.
|Deck Size||16” x 49”|
|Maximum Speed||9 mph|
|Motor Capacity||2.2 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||220 lbs|
Why It’s Great
When your budget forces you to check price tags, the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmill certainly fills the gap. It does lack some of the more advanced features, but for its price tag, you still get a solid motor that can reach speeds up to 9 mph and a 3-level adjustable incline range that helps you mix up your runs.
The frame itself might be a bit on the small side, but it’s made of sturdy steel and offers easy portability thanks to its folding capabilities and the built-in transportation wheels. It has silky smooth walking strides and a shorter belt that adds little to no impact on your joints. Sure, running at that speed might not be up to par with other models, but it’s more than enough for most runners and offers plenty of room for improvement.
The main display screen doesn’t have much to offer, but it’s easy to read and shows all the necessary feedback such as speed, distance, time, pulse rate, and calories burnt. It also features some pre-set workouts that you can use to mix up your runs and increase your endurance.
Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill – The Best Foldable Treadmill
Despite having a smaller motor than most smart treadmills, it’s still one of the most powerful and reliable machines on the market. It’s marketed as being able to reduce the impact on your joints by an impressive 40% as compared to asphalt, which is definitely backed up by its gentle bounce and soft underfoot. But even so, it’s quite stable and can handle up to 375 lbs of user weight.
|Deck Size||22” x 60”|
|Maximum Speed||12 mph|
|Motor Capacity||3.5 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||375 lbs|
Why It’s Great
The smaller motor on the Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill doesn’t mean that it’s any less powerful than its competitors. Of course, certain compromises had to be made in favor of the foldable design and smaller size, but you still get a responsive deck with ample cushioning to reduce the impact on your joints.
One particularly handy feature is the side-mounted control buttons that allow you to grip the rail and make quick adjustments to your speed and incline settings, ensuring you never have to take your focus off the road. And since the display console doesn’t come with a touchscreen, you have an additional tablet holder that lets you use your own device to watch videos or get instructions in real time.
You can also take advantage of the Bluetooth speakers and USB charging port and upgrade your experience with on-demand classes, but you’ll need to pay an optional subscription to Sole Fitness to unlock access to the full range of workouts. But when you consider that it might just be a better investment than getting an expensive treadmill, we have to give some praise where it’s due.
NordicTrack Commercial X22i – The Highest Incline Control
The Highest Incline Control
Out of all the smart treadmills on the market, this one definitely takes the cake. It’s the perfect option for elite runners who want to take their workouts up a notch and create a realistic experience similar to outdoor running.
The incline options are the defining feature of this treadmill, offering a maximum incline angle of 40%. It’s designed to replicate outdoor jogging on various terrains by challenging a greater range of muscle groups. The cushioned belt offers adequate support that absorbs the shock of each step, while the excellent running mechanics help you maintain a natural gait.
|Deck Size||22” x 60”|
|Maximum Speed||13 mph|
|Motor Capacity||4 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||300 lbs|
Why It’s Great
Out of all the smart treadmills on the market, this one definitely takes the cake. It’s the perfect option for elite runners who want to take their workouts up a notch and create a realistic experience similar to outdoor running. The built-in Google Maps integration, automated feedback, and beautiful display screen make it a worthwhile investment.
The incline options offer a range of challenges, from uphill sprints to downhill jogs. The computerized tracking also helps you monitor your progress, so you can take note of your speed, distance, time, and calories burned. The speakers can provide you with motivation when needed, and the USB charging port is a nice touch for anyone who wants to bring their own device.
Other additional features worth mentioning are the built-in sled grips, which extend the arm rails toward the screen to provide you with extra stability and control. You also get the push bar to assist you in getting started, as well as a tablet holder and plenty of storage pockets for water bottles and other accessories.
AssaultRunner Elite – The Best Manual Treadmill
If you’re not a particularly tech-savvy individual, then you’ll appreciate the AssaultRunner Elite’s manual design, which provides a surprisingly accurate feedback system. While it doesn’t have any of the appealing and flashy features found on the higher-end models, it performs exceptionally well in a variety of settings and provides a smooth jog.
|Deck Size||17” x 65”|
|Maximum Incline||Curved belt|
|Motor Capacity||3 HP|
|Maximum User Weight Capacity||400 lbs|
Why It’s Great
The most noticeable feature of this device is its curved belt with rubber slats that help you maintain a natural running form, as well as its lack of max speed specifications. This specific design requires more muscle engagement with each stride but also helps you get the most out of your effort by rewarding you with accurate feedback.
Plus, the lack of electricity means you can bring it anywhere, use it in any environment, and save on energy bills. You can use it both inside and outside, and it doesn’t require any additional assembly or maintenance. The running belt will last you for an impressive 150,000 miles, and the console includes all the data tracking you need to compare your performance over time.
The resilient and durable frame offers plenty of support and stability, while the simple design gives you a good idea of how it performs without any flashy features. It can hold up to 400 lbs of weight, with the adjustable deck providing extra comfort and promoting an even distribution of body weight. The guided interval training on the console creates a challenging yet enjoyable experience, while the multiple storage pockets provide a nice touch for any extra items.
The Buying Guide
Even with the main features of each product laid out, not all runners have the same needs. Even if you get the most expensive model, it might not tick all the boxes in the way you need it to. To narrow down your choices, you need to take into account your specific requirements.
This is directly related to the speed settings and incline changes you want. A good motor should be able to maintain a consistent pace, even when increasing or decreasing the resistance. If you plan on using the machine for running, make sure to get one that can easily handle your desired speeds.
Casual walkers could make do with less than 3 HP, but anyone wanting more intense workouts should focus on higher options. If you plan on training every day or doing long distances, aim for something closer to 4 HP.
Depending on how you plan to use the device, you might want to get one with specific speed levels. Casual runners or walkers could opt for a lower range, somewhere between 8 and 11 mph. But if you’re looking to do sprints or have a much higher max speed, try getting one that can reach up to 15 mph.
This refers to how quickly the machine responds to your input, both in terms of incline and speed. When you’re doing high-intensity interval training or sprints, the usual lag of 3-5 seconds could impede your progress. Look for something with a shorter response time if you plan on pushing yourself to the max.
For steady-state and medium-speed runs, you don’t need a model with the fastest response times because you won’t always rely on it to maximize your efforts. Even if there is a slight delay, it likely won’t affect your performance or results in any way.
Naturally, when you’re doing quick movements and stomping on the belt, you want it to stay in place. While this does have a certain correlation to the device’s weight capacity, it also depends on how sturdy the frame is. The more stable your treadmill, the less likely it is to wobble or shake when you’re running on it.
The usual materials used for this are steel and aluminum. Both of them provide excellent stability, but steel tends to be heavier and more durable. If you want a lightweight device that’s easy to store when you don’t need it, aluminum might be a better option.
When you’re training, the last thing you want is to disturb people around you. Unfortunately, some devices can be quite loud and create a lot of noise when you start running. If you have a sensitive roommate or are training in the middle of the night, this can become a real issue. Not to mention the distracting vibrations that some machines tend to produce.
To avoid any unnecessary headaches, look for treadmills that have noise-reducing technology, such as special belt designs or built-in shock absorbers. These devices tend to be more expensive, but they’re worth the extra money if you have to keep noise levels down. Not only will they make your workouts more enjoyable, but you also won’t have to worry about bothering other people in the area.
Roller Size and Texture
Sadly, this aspect is often overlooked and seen as an afterthought for many people. But the size and texture of the roller can dictate how much wear and tear your treadmill will suffer over time, as well as how comfortable it is to use.
For most runners, the ideal roller size would be around 2–3 inches in diameter. This is because it offers enough room for a contact between the belt and the rollers, which increases stability. Anything smaller could result in greater friction, shorter belt life, and more noise.
The texture of the roller affects how it feels when your feet make contact with the belt. Some manufacturers use smooth models, while others opt for a slightly textured option. The former usually provides a more comfortable experience, but the latter might be a better choice for those who are more concerned about durability and slipping.
Ease of Use
While most modern display consoles have a relatively optimized design, they’re not all user-friendly. Some require more effort to navigate and understand, while others have intuitive controls that make it easy to select your desired program or tweak the settings.
This can be particularly frustrating if you’re just trying to get your daily run in without having to spend more time than necessary. And since you can’t always test the machine in the store, the best way to determine this is by reading customer reviews and seeing what other users have to say about its simplicity.
And if you really want to play it safe, opt for a manual treadmill. The main downside is that you won’t be able to set up programs or adjust the speed settings, but it’s great for maintaining a steady pace without having to fuss around with a console.
We’ve all seen those videos where people almost lose their balance while running on a treadmill and end up face-planting on the floor. While it’s definitely a source of amusement, you don’t want that happening to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an experienced user – accidents can always take us by surprise, and it’s best to be prepared.
That’s why manufacturers have included a few safety features to make sure that you don’t hurt yourself due to inattention or inexperience. Look for emergency shut-off options that allow you to stop the belt even if you’re too far away from the console or a handrail that can be used for support. Some devices even have fall-detection features that will immediately stop the belt in case of an accident.
Regardless of the kinds of workouts you plan on doing, you need to make sure that the device you buy will fit in your home. Many of them have a larger footprint when they’re fully assembled, so you need accurate measurements which you can compare with the space you’re working with.
Some treadmills are foldable and don’t need a lot of room when they’re all packed up. This can come in handy if you don’t have a dedicated exercise corner in your home, or if you want to store the machine after you’re done with your workout.
Warranty and Durability
Of course, no one buys a new product and hopes that it will break down in a few weeks or months, so they can use the warranty to get a free replacement. But even if you don’t want to imagine a situation in which the device fails, no one can guarantee that it won’t happen.
Now, you should know the difference between a frame warranty and a parts and labor warranty. The former covers the frame of the device and usually lasts a few years, while the latter covers any potential problems with the motor, belt, rollers, and other components. The latter can expire after just a few months, given the constant wear and tear that the machine is subjected to.
So, you should look into both of these options and make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. If you have to choose between two equally-priced treadmills, you should always pick the one with a longer warranty. That way, you can rest assured that your investment won’t be wasted if something goes wrong in the future.
Oftentimes, our fitness choices are determined by our financial capabilities. What we dream and strive towards might not be affordable, so we have to settle for something in between. But even on a tight budget, you can still find a decent machine that offers great performance without putting a dent in your wallet.
Once you know how much money you can spend, you can narrow down your search and focus on the most suitable models. What’s important to remember is that there are no shortcuts or gimmicks when it comes to fitness equipment – what you get for the money you spend is exactly what will determine the quality of your workouts.
Try to stay away from low-cost machines with no warranties, as this is more likely to result in frustration than success. Instead, focus on the absolute necessities – belt, rollers, and motor – and see if you can find something that fits your needs within the budget you’ve set.
Is running on a treadmill effective?
Absolutely, it’s just as effective as jogging outdoors. In fact, treadmill running can be even more beneficial because it gives you full control over the terrain, speed, and incline settings. Plus, it’s easier to keep track of your progress and adjust accordingly.
What kind of treadmill is best for running?
This depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how much you’re willing to spend. Generally speaking, more expensive models tend to offer better performance and a longer warranty. However, if you have a specific area of your workout that you want to address, you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune. The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 is a great pick if you’re looking for an effective workout.
Is a treadmill good for losing belly fat?
Yes, it can be. While it doesn’t seem obvious, running on a treadmill can help you burn calories and decrease your overall body fat percentage. By getting rid of visceral fat, you can start to see a difference in your belly area. If you keep going with a consistent workout routine, you should be able to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall well-being.