Looking to bring the gym home by investing in a treadmill? With so many options ranging from under $500 to over $4000, it can be tricky to determine which treadmill is right for your budget, space and fitness goals.
After extensive research comparing features, performance, quality and customer satisfaction, I’ve determined the top treadmills to buy in 2023 across budget categories. Read on for my picks for the best affordable treadmill, best under $1000, best high-end treadmill, and best folding treadmill on the market this year.
Key Factors in Choosing a Treadmill
Before getting to the top recommendations, here are some key factors to evaluate when choosing a home treadmill:
- Price – Entry models start under $500, mid-range is $1000-$2000, high-end reaches $4000+. Set a budget and stick to it.
- Motor horsepower – Aim for at least 2.5 HP (continuous duty) for power; runners need 3+ HP. This impacts speed and incline capabilities.
- Incline range – Most treadmills incline up to 12-15% to simulate hiking or hill running. Auto-adjusting incline is convenient but costs more.
- Cushioning – Look for shock absorption or adjustable cushioning like FlexDrop to prevent joint strain during miles of running.
- Belt size – Dimensions around 20” x 55” provide ample workout space for most users, but confirm based on your height. Extra length is ideal.
- Display – Larger touchscreens provide a more immersive workout experience. A device shelf and fan are also nice extras.
- Controls – Make sure controls are responsive and easy to reach. One-touch speed and incline buttons make operation more seamless.
- Warranty – Aim for at least 10-15 years on frames, 2+ years on parts, and 1 year labor minimum.
Considering these key factors leads you to the best treadmill to meet your training needs and budgetary limits.
ProForm Smart Pro 2000 – Best Affordable Treadmill Under $500
If you want an affordable treadmill under $500, the ProForm Smart Pro 2000 gives you the most value and capabilities for the price. With a sizeable running track, powerful motor, and a modern LCD display, it provides all the key features for effective cardio workouts and calorie burning.
- 2.5 CHP Mach Z Motor
- Up to 10 MPH Speed
- 20” x 55” Tread Belt
- 0%-10% Power Adjustable Incline
- 7” LCD Display with Android Browser
- Very affordable sub-$500 price
- Compact overall size
- LCD display with web browsing
- Powerful motor for the price
- Responsive speed and incline controls
- Suitable incline range
- Smaller display compared to costlier treads
- Light overall build lacks some durability
- Heart rate monitoring not included
- Speakers lack power and depth
- 1 year parts & labor warranty only
While it lacks some bells and whistles, the ProForm Smart Pro 2000 puts robust performance and critical features well within budget for treadmill shoppers. Solid customer ratings affirm it as the top affordable treadmill pick under $500.
Horizon T101 – Best Treadmill Under $1000
Stepping up to the $1000 budget range allows more premium design, components and features. The Horizon T101 delivers the ideal blend of quality engineering, performance and value at this mid-range price point.
- 2.5 CHP Motor
- 12 MPH Top Speed
- 20” x 60” Running Area
- 15% Maximum Incline Grade
- 9” LCD Display
- Very smooth and quiet operation
- Generous 20” x 60” track for extra length
- 15% max incline matches premium models
- Great shock absorption for joint protection
- Intuitive console controls
- Assembly is quick and easy
- Impressive lifetime frame and motor warranty
- Display lacks touchscreen functionality
- Maximum user weight of 300 lbs
- Speakers are underwhelming
- Bottle holder is an extra cost add-on
With superior components, construction quality and shock absorption, the Horizon T101 represents exceptional value and has very satisfied owners. It earns my top recommendation for best treadmill under $1000.
Sole S77 Treadmill – Best High-End Treadmill $2000-$4000
For those seeking absolute top-tier performance with all the bells and whistles, the Sole S77 Treadmill is my pick for best high-end treadmill. With rise incline/decline capability and one of the largest running tracks available, it’s worth the $3000+ investment for serious runners and those who want the very best.
- 4.0 HP Motor
- 12 MPH Top Speed
- 22” x 60” Running Surface
- -3% to 15% Incline/Decline
- 15” HD Touchscreen Display
- Commercial gym caliber build quality
- Massive running surface
- Powerful 4.0 HP motor provides true versatility
- Advanced shock absorption for max joint protection
- Integrated cooling fan to stay refreshed
- Tablet holder and USB charging ports
- Exceptional lifetime frame, motor and deck warranty
- Heavy at 324 lbs requiring home delivery
- Higher price tag over $3000
- Add-on $39 monthly class membership
If your budget allows, the Sole S77 deserves your consideration for the absolute best treadmill money can buy with superior components that last. It’s built like a tank and worth the investment for serious training.
Goplus Folding Treadmill – Best Folding Treadmill
For space-challenged homes, a folding treadmill like the Goplus 800W provides a compact, affordable option. With soft drop folding enabled by gas shocks, it can stand vertically to minimize footprint.
- 2.25 HP Peak Motor
- 0 – 7.5 MPH Speed
- 16” x 40” Running Space
- 0%-10% Manual Incline
- 5” LCD Display
- Folds vertically to just 23” wide
- Gas shocks enable easy lowering / lifting
- Built-in transportation wheels
- Affordable price under $600
- Solid handrail ergonomics
- Tablet holder and water bottle tray
- Heart rate sensors included
- Smaller 16” wide running surface
- Light overall weight limits stability
- Max speed just 7.5 MPH
- Basic LCD display lacks immersion
- 1-year frame warranty only
If you have limited workout space, the magic of a folding treadmill like the Goplus 800W lets you maximize training while minimizing its footprint. It’s the ideal affordable solution for small spaces.
How to Select the Right Treadmill for Your Needs
Choosing your perfect treadmill comes down to honestly assessing your training needs and space limitations, then matching must-have features to your budget:
Budget – Generally aim to spend as much as feasible to maximize quality, horsepower, comfort and features. But great options exist even on a $500 budget.
Your fitness level – Walkers can get by with 2.0 HP motors and basic displays. Runners need 3+ HP motors, speed above 10 MPH and advanced cushioning.
Intended use – Will it be for casual exercise or serious hardcore training? Let your goals dictate motor power, build quality and tracking features.
Available space – Carefully measure your workout area space to confirm the treadmill will fit. Account for 2+ feet clearance on all sides for access and safety.
Special requirements – Do you need foldability for storage? Entertainment options? Specific performance metrics tracking? Unique needs impact choices.
Warranty coverage – More critical components like motors and frames should be covered for as long as possible. At least 10-15 years is ideal for frames.
Evaluating these factors leads you to your ideal treadmill tailored to your available space, budget, fitness level and any special requirements.
Frequently Asked Treadmill Buyer Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common questions for prospective treadmill buyers:
What treadmill features are must-haves for walkers versus serious runners?
Walkers can get by with 2.0 HP motors and no incline adjustability. But runners should look for 3+ HP motors, 12+ MPH top speeds, strong shock absorption and 0-15%+ incline grades. Larger touchscreens and advanced training metrics also benefit serious runners.
What treadmill characteristics impact durability and longevity?
A robust motor with higher continuous duty horsepower improves longevity, as does a heavy overall treadmill weight. Stronger frames that undergo fatigue testing also last longer. Lastly, look for at least 10+ year warranties on frames and motors.
How important is horsepower for a home treadmill?
The motor horsepower significantly impacts the treadmill’s top speeds, incline capabilities, smoothness and long-term durability. Look for at least 2.5+ HP continuous duty motors for robust performance. Runners need 3.0+ HP ideally.
What treadmill brands are the most reliable?
Brands known for quality and reliability include Sole, Horizon, Landice, Precor, True, NordicTrack, and Woodway. Stick to established brands with proven reputations versus generic or uncertified manufacturers.
How much assembly is required for a new home treadmill?
Assembly time ranges from 30 minutes for basic fold-ups to 2-3 hours for more advanced designs. Many retailers offer setup services. If self-assembling, have an assistant to lift and align while you attach components.
How can I maximize safety when using my treadmill?
Clip on the safety key, stand mid-belt when starting, hold on initially, build up speeds gradually, wear proper shoes, maintain at least 2 feet clearance on all sides and have accessible emergency stop buttons. Keep kids and pets away.
What kind of treadmill maintenance is required?
Lubricating the belt every few months is advised along with checking belt tension and cleaning under the belt periodically to prevent debris buildup. Also visually check all components for wear and test emergency stops.
What do treadmill warranties typically cover?
Frames and motors should get at least 10-15 year warranties from quality brands. Decks, parts and electronics are covered 1-5 years, and labor 60-90 days. Lifetime warranties on frames and motors are ideal.
How do I choose the right treadmill for my fitness level?
Assess your current conditioning, projected training intensity and any distance running goals. This helps dictate your ideal speed range, necessary horsepower and advanced feature requirements from the treadmill.
Let me know if you have any other treadmill buying questions! I’m happy to provide guidance to help you find your perfect match.
Bring the Joy of Treadmill Training Home
Having a home treadmill makes it easier than ever to get your run or walk on regardless of weather or limited daylight. I highly recommend considering investing in one of the best treadmills detailed above to bring top-tier performance to your home gym.
Just remember to set realistic expectations for your needs and budget to choose a treadmill you’ll enjoy for years to come. Keep safety top of mind, gradually increase intensity as your conditioning improves, and monitor your progress to maximize your results.
Have you recently purchased a home treadmill? Which model did you choose and how has it worked for your training and fitness goals so far? Share your top picks in the comments to help other buyers choose the best treadmill!