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During the height Covid-19 pandemic, we saw lots of people take their fitness indoors — to their homes, specifically — with the rise of stationary bikes, ellipticals and of course, treadmills. While life has reopened, some of us have yet to disengage from the comfort, ease and safety of exercising at home. And why should we? It’s just as simple as ever to buy a treadmill that satisfies form, function and warranty, which our experts told us to prioritize.
SKIP AHEAD How to shop for a treadmill
Treadmills can be expensive, but the best ones are worth the splurge. To help simplify your shopping experience, we consulted two popular fitness experts to learn how to shop for the best treadmills in 2022 and beyond. The pros — Rhys Athayde, founder and CEO of Phantom Fitness, and Anthony Crouchelli, master and founding trainer at Grit Bxng — shared their thoughts on the best treadmills for the money and tips for those who are just beginning their exercise journeys (should you shut your treadmill off after every use? yes!).
Before diving in, consider these top-rated treadmills. And while you're here, don't forget to check out our home gym equipment content, if cardio doesn’t feel like the right place to start. We’ve consulted personal trainers on everything from kettlebells, TRX suspension devices to dumbells, too.
Some treadmills were recommended to us by experts and others met the criteria of what a quality treadmill should have. All of our recommendations provide shock absorption, as indicated by our experts, in addition to tread lengths that are at least four feet long, hold 220 pounds or more and have warranties that offer at least three years of coverage.
Crouchelli called the Sunny Health & Fitness Foldable Treadmill “a great, shock-absorbing treadmill” that saves space, limits noise and creates “a low impact on your joints from start to finish on your daily runs.” An LCD screen displays your speed, distance, time, calories burned and your pulse. There’s also a user mode to set runs, walks or jogs to distance, time or a calorie-specific goal.
In addition to its touchscreen monitor and Bluetooth connectivity, the Echelon Stride folds up automatically with the push of a button. Once folded, the Stride has a depth of 10 inches and its wheels will help you move to store it. Crouchelli described the Stride as “extremely light” and talked about its “awesome,” and “world-class” virtual competitions, which let you challenge friends and family. “Echelon offers an extended outreach and connection from their instructors to members daily,” he said, praising its live and on-demand classes.
“The best treadmills for home use are ones that are compact or the ones that have immersive run experiences, such as Peloton or NordicTrack,” said Athayde, “because you’re either saving space in your home for other gym equipment or you’re getting the most out of your purchase with interactive features that make the runs more challenging and engaging.” This highly-rated NordicTrack option comes with a 10-inch interactive HD touchscreen and a 30-day free trial of iFit, Nordictrack’s interactive fitness membership, which allows you to follow along with guidance from a personal trainer (after the trial, the membership will run you $39 per month).
“NordicTrack hands down has some of the best on-demand trainers in the business, as they provide no stop top-tier programs across the board,” said Crouchelli.
For a commercial-grade treadmill, consider the NordicTrack X22i, which boasts a 22-inch rotating touchscreen to stream exercise classes through iFit. The X22i has Bluetooth compatibility, two speakers — so you can easily hear your instructor’s directions — and a built-in fan to cool you down. NordricTrack says X22i’s deck offers low-impact cushioning and should be gentle on your joints. Additionally, you can run up to 12 miles per hour on the machine, whereas most treadmills cap out at 10 (let’s be real, most of us aren’t going past 6 miles at our best). It allows you to choose between a -5% decline to a 40% incline during your workout.
Crouchelli described the ProForm as the “top of the line” when it comes to your at-home treadmill because it offers interactive training sessions and connected fitness tracking. ProForm also makes some of our favorite rowing machines and ellipticals.“This treadmill is also spatially friendly — with the best motor on the market — and includes a heavy duty drive system that cools itself to handle the constant incline and speed changes from your training,” he said. You can run up to 12 miles per hour on the machine, which can hold someone up to 325 pounds and comes with a 10-year frame warranty and a 30-day iFit membership trial.
If you’re looking for a less expensive ProForm model to bring home, the Carbon T10 Treadmill is a few hundred dollars less than the Pro 2000. Beyond its 10-inch HD touchscreen display, dual speakers and a 30-day membership to iFit, this Carbon T10 Treadmill sports a cooling fan to prevent you from overheating and a self-cooling motor to prevent it from overheating. (That’s what we call double duty.) The treadmill can be folded up for easy storage when not in use.
Shopping for a strong treadmill with a variety of workout routines and a long warranty? Consider the Nautilus T618, a Bluetooth-enabled treadmill that has 26 workout programs and dual screens so you can track your metrics (think heart rate and weight management). The Nautilus is also rated to carry more weight than any other treadmill we recommend — up to 350 pounds. It also has a 15-year long frame warranty, 5 years longer than NordicTrack and the ProForm.
Nautilus’ companion app, Explore the World, allows you to choose from 27 routes in 19 locations, so you can run with other Nautilus owners in real time.
At just under $400, the Xterra’s “price point is perfect for a budget-friendly individual who wants to get into running without breaking the bank,” said Crouchelli. The Xterra Fitness TR150 offers three manual incline settings and 12 pre-programmed runs, allowing readers to have variety in their home workouts. The treadmill also tracks your workouts and logs various information (your inclines, calories burned, distances, pulse and speeds) on its 5-inch LCD display screen. Since it folds, the TR150 should be simple to store, too. It comes with a lifetime warranty on its frame.
According to the pros we consulted, the factors to consider when shopping for a treadmill are the same as any other substantial at-home gym equipment.Athayde said to consider pricing above all, then how much space it will take up, its functionality, and finally the warranty and maintenance of your potential new treadmill.
When it comes to functionality, Athayde recommended looking at the length of the treadmill, whether it offers shock absorption, its maximum weight capacity, as well as its highest potential speed.
“When purchasing a large piece of equipment like a treadmill, we often forget the weight impact it has on your floors and surfaces,” remarked Crouchelli. He agreed with Athayde on looking for shock-absorption, because he’s found that “some treadmills are constantly shaking and rocking while in use, making the workout extremely difficult.”
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Nicole Saunders is a former associate commerce editor for Select on NBC News, covering wellness and lifestyle.
Justin Krajeski is an associate editor for Select on NBC News.
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