The Best Treadmills 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews
- Our Top 5 Treadmill Picks
- Factors To Consider When Buying a Treadmill
The treadmill is one of the most well-known exercise machines in the fitness world. You can find them in every gym and it’s probably the first major piece of equipment that home users buy. That’s not surprising because fitness experts and medical practitioners suggest walking as the first thing to do when managing your weight and your health.
And, you’re here partly because you understand all the good things walking, jogging, or running can do for you. But, there’s just one problem. Since treadmills have been around so long and are so popular, there are a lot of brands and models for sale. What’s worse, most of them are hardly worth your attention. So, how do you select the best treadmill for your needs? Well, that’s what this guide is for. We aim to help you find the treadmill that fits your own unique requirements.
Our Top 5 Treadmill Picks
|MODEL||PRODUCT DIMENSIONS||ITEM WEIGHT||USER RATING||PRICE|
|NordicTrack T 6.5 S||73 x 35.75x 67.5 inches||203 pounds||4.1/5||$$
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|LifeSpan TR1200i Folding||70.25 x 33 x 55 inches||4.0/5||$$$
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|Weslo Cadence G 5.9||10 x 31 x 68 inches||119 pounds||3.9/5||$
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|ProForm Pro 2000||84 x 25 x 38 inches||230 pounds||3.5/5||$$$$
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|Sole F85||83 x 39 x 15 inches||280 pounds||3.4/5||$$$$$
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This comprehensive guide has two sections. In our list of the best treadmills of 2017, we cover the best treadmills on the market for different customer profiles. The section that follows explains all the factors you need to consider to make an informed buying decision. To get the best out of this article, I suggest you scan the product reviews first, the read the next section, and finally come back to the list to pick the best treadmill that suits your needs. Let’s get right into it with the LifeSpan TR1200i Folding!
#1 LifeSpan TR1200i Folding – The Best Treadmill For Home Use
The LifeSpan TR1200i is the best treadmill for running in the gym or at home. It is cleverly designed, durably built, and technologically sophisticated. At under $1000, this product is also very reasonably priced for the features it offers.
The TR1200i has a 2.5 CHP motor powering a two-ply 20″ x 56″ track. The track performs without slippage across a 0.5 to 11 mph speed range and 0 to 15 percent inclination range. The running deck also has six independent compression shock absorbers that support up to 300 pounds of weight. So, performance wise, this machine checks all the right boxes.
The EZfold™ system allows you to fold and unfold the track safely and effortlessly. To fold the machine, you must lift the track until it clicks into place. To unfold the machine, all you need to do is disengage the lever and the hydraulic system does the rest.
The onboard computer on the TR1200i tracks all important metrics. You can export the data into a USB memory device and upload it to your LifeSpan club account. This treadmill also offers you five weight management, five healthy living, and seven sports training programs in addition to two heart rate programs and two customized user programs. But, I recommend buying a compatible chest strap heart rate monitor if you plan on using the heart rate monitor programs.
The media tray, speakers, headphone slots, and many other features make the TR1200i a nearly complete workout platform. And, you get all this with a lifetime warranty for the frame and motor.
- Reasonable price
- Powerful motor
- Effective shock absorbers
- Technologically sophisticated
- Reliable performance
- Wide range of pre-set programs
- Heart rate monitor receiver
- Headphone jack and built-in speakers
- Lifetime warranty on motor and frame
- Grip heart rate sensors don’t work well
- No quick-set button for changing speed
#2 Weslo Cadence G 5.9 – Best For The Money
Retailing at $399, this is one of the low-cost treadmills that don’t suck. In fact, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is a bestseller on Amazon. If you’re looking for a treadmill that is best for the money, then this is it. However, at this price range, you shouldn’t expect anything fancy. More importantly, you should figure out whether the treadmill has all the essentials you need.
The 2.25 CHP Impulse™ motor running the 16″ x 50″ track is excellent for this price range. However, the track is a little narrower than I prefer. Also, the incline has only two positions and you can’t change the inclination without getting off the machine.
But, the treadmill does come with six pre-set programs – three for fat loss and three for intensity. I also like the QuickSpeed Control that lets you change the speed from 1 to 10 mph easily. And, I’m happy that Weslo included the Comfort Cell cushioning system and the SpaceSaver design, even though this is a low-cost model.
Overall, I don’t think I can add anything more to this product without increasing its price. That’s why this product appeals to people shopping for a budget buy.
- Very inexpensive
- Extremely popular on Amazon
- Powerful motor
- Durable design and built
- Foldable track
- QuickSpeed control
- Narrow track
- Only six pre-set programs
- Only two incline positions
- No on-the-fly incline adjustment
#3 Sole F85 – Best For Commercial Use
Industry experts view the Sole F85 as the best folding treadmill among the many high-end models on the market. Mainly meant for commercial use, this treadmill caters to a wide range of body types and exercise requirements. It is also built to withstand rigorous use for prolonged periods.
The two-ply belt provides a 22″ x 60″ running surface that allows for speeds from 0.5 to 12 mph and inclines up to 15 percent. And, the 4 CHP motor ensures that the treadmill delivers steady performance across the entire range of speed. Coupled with a low-noise deck and the Cushion Flex shock absorbers, the F85 provides a comfortable and safe workout experience for loads as high as 400 pounds.
This technologically advanced machine comes with six standard programs, two custom programs, and two heart rate programs. The treadmill has a wireless heart rate monitor receiver that you can pair with a compatible device. You can also transfer workout data via Bluetooth using apps such as Fitbit, Record, Mapmyrun, and Apple Health.
To top it all, the frame, motor, and deck have a lifetime warranty and the electronics and parts have a five-year warranty. All in all, the Sole F85 is the first product you must check out if you’re looking to buy a commercial grade treadmill.
- Powerful motor
- Extra long and wide running surface
- Very high build quality and design
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Lifetime warranty on frame, motor, and deck
- Very expensive
- Limited pre-set programs
#4 ProForm Pro 2000 – Best Treadmill For Walkers
The technological integration, immersive experience, ease of control, and pre-programmed workouts offered with the Pro 2000 will blow your mind. Let’s go through each of these factors one at a time.
The Pro 2000 features a 3.5 CHP commercial grade motor, solid steel frame, -3 to 15 percent incline, 0 to 12 mph speed, and ProShox cushioning with 4 shock absorbers. Also, the Quick Speed, Quick Incline, and Quick Decline systems allow you to jump to any speed or incline with a single button press. The smart merger of performance with control makes this one of the easiest treadmills to use, despite its sophistication.
The most exciting feature of the Pro 2000 is its compatibility with the iFit experience. With the iFit wireless module, sold separately, you can enjoy the visual and physical experience of running on different routes across the globe. The feature transforms running at home into an adventure.
But, even without the iFit experience, the 32 built-in workouts pre-programmed into the treadmill will guide you to your fitness goals. You can choose between incline, calorie burn, speed, high intensity, and mixed workouts.
All this comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor and a five-year warranty on parts. Although the machine’s retail price is expensive, the price drops to a very reasonable level when it is on sale. If you can get it for around $1200, it’s a great buy.
- Powerful motor
- High-quality design and construction
- Compatible with iFit
- 32 built-in workout programs
- Excellent purchase protection
- iFit wireless module not included
#5 NordicTrack T 6.5 S – Also Worth Considering
The NordicTrack T 6.5 S’s price is about half-way between that of the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 and the LifeSpan TR1200i. And, if you want a budget-friendly iFit compatible treadmill, then consider buying the 7 6.5 S. But first, let’s look at its features.
This treadmill has a 2.6 CHP motor that runs a 20″ x 50″ track. So, there’s enough power and running space on this machine to provide a good running experience. However, the incline adjustment on the machine goes only up to 10 percent incline. The speed is also limited to 10 mph. But, it does have one-touch controls that let you switch to any incline or speed instantly. It also comes with the FlexSelect Cushioning system that lets you vary the cushioning per your needs. Plus, the treadmill comes with 20 preloaded workouts.
Now, if you pair the treadmill with iFit, the possibilities for workouts are endless. iFit also provides an excellent immersive experience. But, you have to buy the iFit wireless module separately and also subscribe to the iFit service. Apart from this, the treadmill has grip-type heart rate monitor, performance metrics display, iPod compatibility, and SpaceSaver design. Overall, this is a very good intermediate treadmill.
- Reasonable price
- Good construction and foldable design
- iFit compatible
- 20 pre-programmed workouts
- One-touch speed and inclination selection
- Lifetime frame warranty
- 25-year motor warranty
- Incline only 10 percent
- iFit wireless module sold separately
Factors To Consider When Buying a Treadmill
While researching material to put this article together, I looked at nearly 200 treadmills. The research revealed that while you can get a basic unit for under $500, these low-cost products don’t have important features, such as pre-set workout programs, high CHP motors, effective shock absorption, and accurate performance metrics displays.
A good treadmill that addresses all your needs costs between $1000 and $1400, and commercial grade treadmills can cost $2000 or more. Since we’re talking about a lot of money here, every dollar counts. That’s why we put together an informative guide that will remove all the guess work involved in the buying process.
We will start with the advantages and disadvantages of treadmills compared to other cardiovascular exercise equipment and then discuss the important factors you need to keep in mind when buying a great treadmill. At the end, I will share some of the top brands that you can explore to broaden your options. If you’re ready, let’s get moving.
Should I buy a treadmill? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
First, let’s compare the treadmill with other cardiovascular exercise equipment, such as elliptical machines, rowing machines, or stationary bikes. One of the main advantages of exercising on a treadmill is that it builds real world capability. What do I mean by that? Well, how often in your daily life do you cycle, climb stairs, or row? Not nearly as often as you walk or run. But, walking, jogging, or running skills are really handy for your everyday life. Whether you’re on a relaxing evening walk or dashing to catch a bus, the time you spend working out on a treadmill will translate directly into everyday movements.
When it comes to calories burnt, all of these machines more or less fall into the same category. So, that’s not a meaningful basis for comparison. However, running is a high-impact exercise. While running, the joints in your body experience stress. Unless you follow a well-planned training program with proper form, running will cause injuries. Exercises such as working out on an elliptical, rowing machine, or stationary bike puts less stress on your joints. If that is a focus for you, it might be a good idea to look into those machines as an alternative.
Next, let’s compare running on a treadmill to running outdoors. For any exercise to be effective, you must systematically manage three variables: duration, intensity, and resistance. When running outdoors, you can deal with duration and intensity. But, how will you change resistance? Treadmills, however, give you control over all three variables.
For instance, you can vary the intensity by changing the speed, and vary the resistance by changing the incline. Some machines come with pre-programmed workouts that simultaneously manipulate all three variables to give you an incredible workout. Running on a treadmill also lets you concentrate on your form because you don’t have to worry about obstructions. This translates directly into your real world running.
After considering the pros and cons of buying a treadmill, if you’re convinced that the treadmill if the best solution to your current fitness needs, you must familiarize yourself with the key factors that separate good treadmills from the bad ones. So, that’s what we’ll discuss next.
What are the factors I must consider when buying a treadmill?
Did you know that treadmills as cheap as $99 are available on Amazon? At the same time, Amazon also offers treadmills that cost more than $4000. Since the price range is so broad, learning to identify good products is an essential skill. So, here’s a list of important factors you must consider while shopping for a treadmill.
- Motor Power: The motor is the most important part of the treadmill. Companies express the motor’s power in continuous horsepower or CHP. For home users, a 1.5 to 3 CHP motor is enough.
- Inclination: The ability to change the inclination is one of the most important features on a treadmill. That’s because you can change the resistance by changing the inclination.
- Running Area: The length and width of the running area is an important consideration. Look for machines that are at least 4.5 to 5 feet long and 1.5 to 2 feet wide.
- Shock Absorption: Shock absorbers protects your body and the treadmill from impact. The most reputable treadmill manufacturers have proprietary shock absorbers mounted at multiple points under the track and frame. This is a very important feature to have.
- Frame Quality and Stability: The treadmill takes a lot of pounding during its lifetime. So, obviously, the treadmill frame must be strong. The treadmill must stay put without wobbling as instability can lead to serious injury.
- Belt Slippage: The tension on the belt starts to drop as you continue using the machine. This causes slippage. This is when the roller rotates, but the belt doesn’t. It feels like watching a video which is skipping erratically. To counter this problem, the machine must have an easy mechanism for adjusting the tension.
- Console: The console houses the controls and the display interface. In a good quality machine, the display is large and clear and the buttons are sturdy and responsive. Without a console, the treadmill is practically useless. So, pay attention to its look and feel.
- Pre-Programmed Workouts: Earlier, we discussed the importance of optimizing time, intensity, and resistance. Pre-programmed workouts offer an easy way to do this. But, don’t go by the number of programs, read the manual to learn what the programs are good for.
- Heart Rate Monitor: To get the most out of your workout, you must exercise in the correct heart rate zone. Some machines come with a grip heart rate monitor. These are awkward because holding the heart rate sensors on the sidebar impedes a natural running form. That’s why treadmills with wireless heart rate monitor receivers work much better.
- Folding: Buying a foldable treadmill is almost always a good idea. A good feature to have in this regard is a hydraulic lowering system that brings the treadmill track down gradually. This prevents you from accidentally dropping and damaging the treadmill’s track.
- Capacity: Every treadmill is designed to function well within a range. It’s not wise to exert the machine beyond its capacity. In fact, you should pick a machine such that your weight is below 80 percent of the machine’s maximum capacity.
In addition to this, you can look at auxiliary features, such as a media tray, headphone audio input and output jack, USB port, onboard speakers, and a cooling fan. By considering the above factors when choosing a treadmill, you can increase the value that you get for your money.
Great, buying a treadmill sounds right. So, what are my options?
From the hundreds of products that are on sale, only a few of them merit your attention. We’ve reviewed the most notable treadmills on the market. But, there are a lot more products out there. So, if you want to do your own research, you can use the information in this section to find the right product from reputed brands such as Lifespan, NordicTrack, Sole, Life Fitness, ProForm, Horizon, and Bowflex.
Treadmill shopping is no walk in the park. After reading our list of the best treadmills of 2017 and studying the factors to consider when buying a treadmill, we know that many quantitative and qualitative considerations go into buying one. A treadmill that has all the basic-level features and a few intermediate-level ones would cost you around $1200 dollars. At this price, the ProForm Pro 2000 is the best treadmill you can get.
If you don’t have a $1000+ budget, the LifeSpan TR1200i is the best treadmill you can get under a thousand dollars. For those with a really low budget, the Weslo G 5.9 offers the best value for money. But, the NordicTrack T 6.5 S’s iFit compatibility makes it a worthwhile budget treadmill.
Manufacturers have been developing treadmill design, construction, and features rapidly. At the same time, treadmill prices have been coming down. Thanks to this trend, a machine that was once restricted to gym floors have now made their way into homes.
This rise in popularity has spurred many fitness companies to push their products into the market. Not all companies do a good job at making non-commercial treadmills. But, since you now know how to spot a good treadmill by comparing value and price, you’ll find the right match for yourself in no time!