Last updated on January 2nd, 2023 at 12:13 pm
Having an indoor cardio option is critical for any great home gym, and a treadmill is arguably the most versatile option. If you buy one that is well-made and suits your goals, it should last you for years.
I’ve worked at a store that sells treadmills for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve seen brands come and go. I’ve seen new features get introduced and useless ones discontinued. I’ve seen what customers love and what they hate and return to the store.
This page will give you a short list of what I think are the absolute best treadmills in each of the listed categories based on my years of experience. I’ve also taken a moment to share what not to buy (based on quite a few customer complaints) and where I think the best place to buy a treadmill online is.
I hope this guide points you to a treadmill you’ll own and love for years to come!
Skip the reading and jump straight to the perfect treadmill for you!
- Best all-around treadmill
- Best treadmill for serious runners
- Best manual treadmill
- Best budget treadmill
- Best walking treadmill
What not to buy
Let’s start with how much a good treadmill should cost. I’ve never seen anything under about $800-$900 that’s worth buying. Yes, there are lots of $300-$500 treadmills on Amazon with great reviews.
Keep in mind that most of those customers have never tried any other treadmill. They also typically haven’t used the treadmill they are reviewing for more than a few days.
I’ve talked to countless customers who have been disappointed very quickly by trying to go super cheap on a treadmill. Treadmills are just one of those things that can’t be made well on the cheap.
I would also advise against buying an “under desk” or “walking” treadmill as your gym’s primary treadmill. If you need one to walk on that goes under your standing desk, these are great. They are not great to jog, run, or use daily as part of your home gym.
- How much space do you need to fit a treadmill?
- Can you install a treadmill on the second floor?
- How to clean your treadmill.
- Should you buy a treadmill mat?
- What size motor is right for your treadmill?
Should you pay for installation?
Yes! Having a pro do this is well worth the small extra expense. While it’s not complicated, it is time-consuming. More important than that, running the wiring harness in most treadmills is tricky at best.
If you run the wiring harness incorrectly or even slightly crimp one of the wires, your treadmill won’t work right, and you won’t know why. Most service calls on new treadmills are on customer-assembled units.
I’m not affiliated with them, but Jez Industries is a great place to turn to for treadmill installation nationwide. No matter where you live in the US, they have pros in your area to take care of the job. You can get their contact info here.
Recommended Treadmills by use
I’m always leary when I see lists titled “Best treadmills of 2020”. Best treadmills for what? Training for a marathon? Going on daily walks? Light jogging every day?
The first step to buying the perfect treadmill is to identify your general use. Once you know that, you’ll better understand what is perfect for you.
Best All-Around Treadmill for Most Home Gyms
If you want an outstanding treadmill for almost any use, the ProForm Pro9000 is the perfect model for you. It’s not the most or least expensive, but it is the best all-around treadmill I’ve ever used.
It’s comfortable, easy to use, smooth, and very well-built. It works with IFit, a subscription-based interactive training platform that lets you run in a myriad of different environments, either alone or with coaches.
The screen is immersive and better than almost any other model out there. This treadmill is a joy to use. Customer feedback on this model speaks for itself. We have more customers come in to buy one because a friend recommended it than any other kind we sell.
If I was to go buy a new treadmill today, the ProForm Pro9000 is the one I would buy without hesitation!
Here are the key features of the ProForm Pro9000:
- 22″ interactive HD touchscreen
- Bluetooth headphone compatible
- Heart rate monitor compatible
- 12% incline, 3% decline
- 12 mph top speed
- ReBound Pro deck cushioning
- 20″ x 60″ belt
- Built-in fan
- Interactive personal training
- 3.6 chp Mach Z motor
- 30-Day iFit Membership Included
- Folds for easy storage
- 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
Best Treadmill for Serious Runners
If you plan on putting in some serious miles every week, you’re going to want a treadmill that can keep up with you. Consistently rated at the top of countless lists, including gold medal awards from Runner’s World, the Nordic Track commercial line should be the go-to treadmill for all serious runners training at home.
The feel of the deck is exactly what you’d want if you are running a lot. The programs and console are perfectly suited to your training regimen. And the Nordic Track commercial line is about as well-built a treadmill as you can get.
The Nordic Track 1750 and 2450 (the only difference is the screen size) are my top choice for this category. With unique features like google maps training, a swivel screen, and auto-adjust technology, you’ll absolutely love putting in the miles on this unit.
Here are the high points of the Commercial 1750 and 2450
- 3.5 Horse Power Motor
- 14″ or 22″ swivel touchscreen monitor
- 0-12 mph speed
- 300lb capacity
- 30-day iFit trial included
- Bluetooth compatible
- Heart monitor compatible
- Google maps workout technology
- 3% decline and 12% incline
Best Manual Treadmill
There’s a newer type of treadmill taking the treadmill world by storm. It’s called a “manual treadmill.” According to serious runners and walkers, a manual treadmill is the closest you can get to walking or running outside. Some report an increase in calorie burn of 15% over walking and running outside too.
In addition, a manual treadmill operates at whatever speed you want it to. Its pace is completely controlled by how fast you walk or run on it. This makes it a joy to use as it seamlessly adjusts to your workout on the fly.
While this type of treadmill doesn’t come with fancy touch screens and interactive fitness programming (although it is compatible with a host of apps that fill this role), it’s the best tool for the serious cardio enthusiast to get the job done.
Of the models that are available, my favorite by far is the Xebex AirPlus Runner. I love this particular model because it combines two things all home gyms need: An indoor cardio option and a sled.
Xebex makes one of the most unique sled options with their magnetic resistance wheeled sleds, and that same experience can be had without a sled by using the sled push bars on the AirPlus Runner. This saves space and money and also gives you the most versatile sled that exists (it takes up zero extra room in your space!).
Here’s a quick rundown of everything the AirPlus Runner offers:
- 8 resistance levels
- Mimic sled drives
- 10mm low-impact surface
- Phone and water bottle holders integrated
- Built-in transport wheels
- Integrated console and software
- 350 lb capacity
- Warranty – 5yr frame, 3yr parts, 2yr console
Best Budget Treadmill
Of all of the companies that make lower-cost treadmill options, Pro-Form does it the best. Their deck cushioning, build quality, running feel, and consoles are solid across their entire line.
If you aren’t quite up for the higher investment level of their Pro series model, their Carbon line offers a ton of premium features at a more budget-conscious investment.
Specifically, I think the Pro-Form Carbon T7 is the ideal budget treadmill.
Here are the highlights:
- Interactive Trainer-Led Sessions
- 1-Year iFit Membership Included
- 7″ Smart HD Touchscreen Display
- 2.75 CHP Mach Z Motor
- 20″ x 55″ Tread Belt
- 0-16 MPH Digital QuickSpeed Control
- 0-10% Digital Quick Incline Control
- SpaceSaver Design With EasyLift Assist
- CoolAire Fan
- Audio Auxiliary Port With Dual 2″ Speakers
- 300 lbs Weight Capacity
- Under $1000
Best walking treadmill
Okay, so you’re not going to run, and you’re not going to jog. You don’t need an incline or anything that goes fast. You just need something you can use to walk on days when you can’t make it outside.
Enter the “walking treadmill.” Walking treadmills are just that, treadmills designed for walking only. They don’t have high-speed settings. They often don’t incline. They don’t have a deck suited for running or sprinting.
What they do have is a belt for you to walk on at slow speeds.
The problem with this type of treadmill is that there is a lot of junk out there that will be a waste of money. Because these are designed to hit lower price points, many manufacturers simply build the cheapest thing they can.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a ton to get a good walking treadmill. The GoPlus 2 in 1 folding treadmill is a perfect solution. Solid quality at a reasonable price.
I also like that it has a folding riser that collapses for under-desk use. The unit automatically limits its top speed in this configuration, which is a nice safety feature not found in most other treadmills of this type.