Looking to make your cardio workouts more consistent and effective regardless of the season or weather? Then adding a treadmill to your home gym may be just what you need!
Owning a quality fitness treadmill provides unmatched convenience, flexibility and versatility to your training routines. You can knock out a quick run before work, get in some intervals during lunch, or catch up on your favorite shows while walking after dinner. The possibilities are endless.
However, the wide variety of fitness treadmill models and features makes selecting the right one challenging. In this comprehensive treadmill buying guide, we’ll cover:
- Key benefits of owning a home fitness treadmill
- The most important features and specifications to evaluate
- Leading fitness treadmill brand recommendations
- Buying considerations for your space and goals
- FAQs on maintenance, noise, warranties, and more
Let’s dive in!
Why Add a Treadmill to Your Home Gym?
What exactly are the advantages of investing in your own home fitness treadmill versus relying solely on outdoor running or the gym?
Convenience – The #1 reason people buy home treadmills is the convenience and accessibility of having cardio equipment right in your house. No commute to the gym or concerns about outdoor conditions.
Flexibility – Only have 30 minutes between Zoom calls to work out? Getting a run in with young kids at home? A home treadmill provides flexibility to exercise on your own dynamic schedule.
Consistency – Between harsh weather, limited daylight in winter, and schedule conflicts, it can be challenging to exercise regularly outdoors year-round. A treadmill solves this issue.
Low impact – Quality fitness treadmills utilize shock absorption technology that significantly reduces impact on your joints compared to running on concrete or asphalt. This makes longer runs and walks possible with less pain and injury risk.
Space saving design – Modern fitness treadmills fold up vertically to minimize the footprint in your home. Easy to store out of the way when not training.
Progress tracking – Treadmills allow you to precisely track metrics like distance, pace, calories burned, and heart rate. This data keeps you motivated and training productively.
Customization – Easily tailor your speed, incline, and workout programs to match your current fitness level and goals. The variability caters to beginners and athletes alike.
Owning a home fitness treadmill solves many of the hurdles that can impede consistent cardio training outdoors or at the gym. Now let’s explore the key features and considerations for choosing the right treadmill.
Most Important Treadmill Features and Specs
With the sheer variety of treadmill models available across pricing tiers, it’s vital to understand the features and specifications that impact performance, comfort, durability, and ease of use. Focus on factors like:
- Quality motor – The motor drives the tread belt and should be at least 2.5 HP (horsepower) for walking and light running up to 4+ HP for frequent or high intensity runners. Look for a model with a powerful continuous duty motor.
- Cushioning system – An effective cushioning system in the deck absorbs impact on your joints and spine when working out. Seek ample cushioning for your weight and gait.
- Belt size – Standard tread belt widths range from 16-22”. Aim for at least 20” wide to give yourself sufficient workout space. Length varies too.
- Speed and incline – Make sure the model offers the speed range and incline variability (at least 0-10% incline) your training demands.
- Weight capacity – Double check the treadmill’s weight rating suits the needs of all users. Often 200-300 lbs for home use but heavy duty models go to 400+ lbs.
- Safety features – Must-haves are an emergency stop cord and auto pause/stop function if you unexpectedly step off the belt.
- Console display – Larger touchscreen displays in HD boost immersion and let you take advantage of integrated training programs and streaming classes.
- Integrated programs – Look for at least 8-10 built-in workouts for intervals, heart rate training, calorie goals, and more variety.
- Heart rate monitoring – Choose either contact grip sensors or wireless monitoring via Bluetooth chest strap or wrist unit.
- Sound system – Integrated stereo speakers allow you to listen to music, classes, or shows without headphones during your workout.
- Fans – Having cooling fans integrated into the console prevents overheating and makes longer sessions more doable.
- Connectivity – Opt for Bluetooth to sync your smart devices, headphones, fitness trackers and access entertainment.
- Space saving – Seek a folding treadmill with hydraulic lift assistance to easily store it upright when not in use.
- Warranty – More years of comprehensive parts and labor coverage provide peace of mind. Look for at least 10 years on the motor and frame.
Evaluating must-have features and key specs equips you to narrow down the options and find your ideal match. Now let’s look at top treadmill models and brands on the market.
Top Fitness Treadmill Brands and Models
With so many treadmills available, it helps to start your search with best-selling models from leading home fitness companies. Here are great options to consider:
Sole F85 – Foldable with Easy Assist, Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, Bluetooth sound system, and 15 levels of incline. Highly rated for walking and running.
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – Boasts a powerful 3.5 HP drive system allowing speeds up to 12 MPH and -3% to 15% grade incline range.
ProForm Pro 2000 – Folds up, has a -3% decline to 15% incline range, and a 14” touchscreen with access to Studio workout classes.
Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT – Highlights adjustable cushioning, cooling fan, integrated speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and heart rate grips.
Xterra Fitness TR150 – A budget-friendly folding treadmill with 10 built-in programs, Bluetooth speakers, and a soft drop system.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 – Comes with a 22” HD touchscreen, soft impact cushioning, Bluetooth heart rate armband, and speakers.
3G Cardio Elite Runner – A commercial-grade model with a roomy 22” x 62” belt, speeds up to 12 mph, and integrated 0%-15% incline control.
LifeSpan Fitness TR1200i – Provides 21 exercise programs, integrated controls, equipment monitoring, and a folding design. Great value model.
NordicTrack Commercial X22i – Includes a 22” HD display, -6% to 40% digital incline control, and an interactive personal training powered by iFit.
Peloton Tread – Features a 24” touchscreen for streaming Peloton classes, shock-absorbing slat belt design, and speeds up to 12.5 mph.
This list demonstrates the excellent selection of fitness treadmills available from reputable brands ranging from budget-friendly to luxury.
Next, let’s recap additional buying considerations to help select your ideal model.
Key Buying Considerations for Home Fitness Treadmills
To select the perfect treadmill for your specific training goals, space, and budget, be sure to carefully evaluate factors like:
- Usage – Will you mostly use it for walking, jogging, running, intervals, sprints? Seek out features and specs that align with how you plan to exercise.
- Room dimensions – Carefully measure the space you have available for the treadmill. Account for clearance on all sides and whether you’ll fold it up.
- Cushioning – The ideal system will absorb impact based on your weight and gait patterns. This protects joints from jarring forces.
- Weight capacity – Make sure the construction supports users up to the advertised capacity. Plan for multiple household members if relevant.
- Powerful motor – The motor directly affects the speed range, weight capacity, and long-term durability. Choose a continuous duty motor with sufficient horsepower.
- Safety features – Look for an emergency stop cord and auto pause/stop function in case you unexpectedly step off the moving belt.
- Heart rate monitoring – Both grip sensors and wireless monitoring have pros and cons. Choose which version suits your preferences.
- Display size/quality – Larger HD touchscreens boost immersion but aren’t essential. Even compact consoles get the job done.
- Integrated programs – More built-in workout variety keeps your training fresh and provides structure. Look for at least 10-15 presets.
- Connectivity – Seek Bluetooth to sync devices for music and data tracking. This expands entertainment options immensely.
- Warranty – Good treadmill warranties span 7-10 years for motors, 2-5 years for parts, and 1+ year for labor. Longer is better.
Evaluating these factors helps ensure the treadmill you choose meets your needs for many years. Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions for deeper insights.
Answers to Common Fitness Treadmill FAQs
How much assembly is required for treadmills out of the box?
Plan on 1-3 hours for full assembly. Allen wrenches, hardware, and detailed instructions are included. Carefully follow each step. Consider expert assembly for an added cost if you’re unsure.
What kind of routine maintenance do treadmills need?
Expect to periodically lubricate the belt/deck, check components like arms for wear, clean the belt, inspect the alignment, adjust the belt tension, and watch for any rattling sounds when operated. Consult the owner’s manual for the recommended timeline.
Are treadmills noisy when in use?
Quality models are designed for relatively quiet operation. However, incline/speed increases will increase motor noise to some degree. Using a treadmill mat can further reduce vibration sounds. Compare noise ratings if concerned.
What treadmills are ideal for walking?
Look for a treadmill with a wide belt (20”+), good shock absorption, speeds up to 10 mph, and at least a 2.5 HP motor. An incline range to 15% gives you variability to increase intensity.
How much clearance space should you allow for the treadmill?
Plan for at least 2 feet of clearance space on the sides and behind the treadmill for safety and access. Carefully measure your workout room to ensure enough space with dimensions of any model you’re considering.
Is it difficult to fold up the deck after each use?
Quality folding treadmills utilize hydraulic or electric lift assistance to make standing the deck upright seamless and hassle-free. It may feel heavy at first but becomes easy with repetition.
Can you use a tablet with a treadmill console?
Many treadmills come equipped with a tablet holder above the console so you can securely use a tablet for entertainment, classes, or web browsing during your workout. Very convenient!
How often does the walking belt need replaced?
With proper lubrication and maintenance, expect to replace a high quality walking belt every 4-6 years on average. Higher usage will require more frequent belt changes. Consult the owner’s manual.
Ready to Start Your Fitness Treadmill Search!
In summary, today’s home fitness treadmills provide unmatched access to effective cardio workouts year-round in your own space. Models like the Sole F85, NordicTrack 1750, ProForm Pro 2000, Horizon 7.8 AT, and Bowflex Treadmill 22 combine advanced shock absorption, power, entertainment, and overall quality at reasonable price points.
Keep your fitness goals, space constraints, budget limitations, and preferred features in mind as you research. Read treadmill reviews and seek models with warranties that provide peace of mind. With the ideal fitness treadmill added to your home gym, you can take your running, walking, or training to the next level on your own schedule!