Treadmills were the world’s best selling home fitness equipment for many years, and for a good reason. After all, if you got tired of using the machine or moved on to some other type of workout equipment, you could always do what many others have done – use it to hang your clothes.
But treadmills still give you the most effective cardio workout for losing weight, as long as there aren’t shirts hanging on the machine. After all, as so many experts will tell you, the best piece of home workout equipment is the one that you’ll actually use.
If you are just getting started with treadmill shopping then please read our complete treadmill buying guide.
Here are our top 5 best treadmills for home use.
1. NordicTrack NTL11219 T 8.5S Treadmill
When you’re pretty sure you’re not going to end up buying a treadmill to eventually become a very expensive storage rack, the brand-new T 8.5S is a terrific choice. Nordic Track is well-known for the sturdy construction and thoughtful design of its exercise equipment, and this machine is another great example.
Unlike most models, the T 8.5S is designed specifically to be used with iFit’s 16,000+ (and growing) library of on-demand workouts conducted by world-class coaches; thousands of them are straightforward studio/gym programs, and thousands more are filmed on location at incredible locations from Africa to New Zealand.[youtube id=”wJddzUkP7Q0″ width=”750″ height=”340″ position=”left”]
The workouts you choose are displayed on the 10-inch full-color wireless touch-screen display, which pivots to any angle that’s comfortable for you to watch. Best of all, the iFit remotely controls your treadmill to simulate the conditions of the workout whether it’s the proper speeds and inclines for a gym session, or startling-real simulations of remote road, mountain or savanna terrain. And the first year’s iFit membership (value: $395) is included in the cost of the treadmill.
The track is large (60 x 20 inches), the cushioning is fully adjustable, the incline is either automatic (based on your program) or manually selectable from 0 to 12 degrees, and the digital quick speed control lets you reach speeds up to 12 miles per hour. The SpaceSaver design with power assist lets you fold the machine up to an easily-storable size, too.
Most of the other niceties you’d expect at a high price point are included, such as a workout fan and heart rate sensors on the handlebars, but the complete iFit integration is what makes the T 8.5S the future of high-end home treadmills.
Key specifications of the NordicTrack T 8.5S Treadmill:
2. ProForm PFTL99715 Power 995i Exercise Treadmill
ProForm makes solid home treadmills at price points somewhat lower than companies like Nordic Track, and if you’re willing to also move one notch down in terms of features, the Power 995i provides great performance with most of the same benefits as the C 1650.
The Mach Z Commercial Plus 3.0 CHP motor still lets you reach speeds up to 12 miles per hour, and while there’s no decline feature, the selectable or automatic incline of 0-15 degrees is what you’d expect from a complete home machine.
This ProForm is iFit enabled for full tracking and unlimited access to running or walking courses, in addition to the thirty included workout programs. There are heart rate monitor grips (with an optional monitor belt), MP3 compatibility, a cooling fan – and if you’re on the large side, the maximum weight capacity for the Power 995i is a full 350 pounds.
This is a very strong choice, at an attractive price.
Looking at the details of the ProForm PFTL99715 Power 995i Exercise Treadmill:
3. Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill
Sole does much of its business selling exercise equipment to major commercial operations for placement in fitness centers nationwide, so you would expect that their home equipment is top-notch. And it is.
In many ways, it’s on a par with the Nordic Track treadmill the Groom+Style review team ranked at the top of our list of the top 5 best treadmills for home use; the primary reasons it ranks lower, though, are that it only comes with ten workout programs included, and the console/monitor are not built to be web/iFit compatible.
Just about everything else is terrific: the 3.5 CHP motor with a 12 mph top speed, 20 x 60 inch running area, 0-15 degree incline, and great cushioned padding on the track. The F80 also comes with chest-strap heart rate monitoring and a very large 7.5-inch LCD display.
Groom+Style like the Sole F80 a lot – just not as much as similarly-priced treadmills ranked a bit higher.
Key specs for the Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill:
4. Sunny SF-T4400 Health & Fitness Treadmill
Yes, there are still very good treadmills available for much lower prices, and the Sunny SF-T4400 is one to strongly consider. The Sunny is often sold as an “entry-level” machine, but it has many more advantages than you’ll normally find in “cheapo” models.
To begin with, this machine does not have the power or features of the treadmills we’ve discussed so far. But its 2.2 HP motor can reach top speeds of nine miles per hour, and it inclines as much as 12 degrees (the bigger difference is that you have to make the incline adjustments manually instead of by simply pushing a button).
The 49 x 16 running deck is a bit smaller than on our top-rated models, but it probably won’t make a huge difference to you unless you’re a workout warrior or are quite tall and take long strides. There are nine built-in workout programs in the Sunny, with a functional but not flashy LCD display that tracks speed, time and calories burned.
This isn’t the machine for serious runners or large runners (maximum weight capacity is 220 pounds), but it’s just right for most people who just want a regular workout in the comfort of their home.
Looking a bit deeper at the Sunny SF-T4400 Health & Fitness Treadmill:
5. Precor TRM 211 Energy Series Treadmill
The Precor is the most expensive treadmill on our list. Make no mistake, it’s a great machine. However, Groom+Style feel that when you compare price to features, you can do better with our top two entries if you want to spend that type of money.
Here are some of the pros of the 211 Energy Series treadmill, and you’ll see that they’re slightly less than you get with the Nordic Track or Sole machines: 3.0 CHP motor for speeds up to 12 miles per hour (vs. 3.5 CHP), 0 to 15 degree incline (vs. -3 to 15 degrees), 20 x 57 inch track (vs. 20 x 60), six workout programs (vs. 34).
The Precor also doesn’t fold (although, to be fair, the manufacturer considers that a plus in terms of stability), and doesn’t accommodate iFit or Bluetooth.
The TRM 211 is a well-built machine which will definitely hold up over the long-term and let you get a strong workout. It’s just doesn’t have all of the features it might for a treadmill at this price.
Important specifications for the Precor TRM 211 Energy Series Treadmill:
Nordic Track C 1650 Treadmill
Note: this model is outdated and has been replaced by the NordicTrack NTL11219 T 8.5S Treadmill.
The C 1650 has one of the largest collections of workout programs you’ll find on a moderately-priced treadmill.
There are 34 different built-in programs, each designed by a personal trainer; if you choose the optional iFit subscription, you can tie in to an unlimited number of online, “real-life” routes in conjunction with Google Maps. iFit also lets you easily track your workout and progress.
The track is large (60 x 20 inches), the cushioning is fully adjustable, the incline is either automatic (based on your program) or manually selectable from -3 to +15 degrees, and the DurX Commercial Plus 3.5 CHP motor lets you reach speeds of 12 miles per hour.
One feature that’s new to Nordic Track treadmills is a bracket into which you can insert your tablet, if you’d prefer to use your own device instead of the full-featured, web-enabled touchscreen – or if you simply want to read and surf while you work out.
All of the other niceties you’d expect at a high (excuse us, moderate) price point are included as well, such as MP3 compatibility with speakers and headphone jack, and heart rate sensors on the handlebars with additional Bluetooth chest monitor straps available as well.
In short, there’s nothing missing from the C 1650 that any home user could need.
Key specifications of the Nordic Track C 1650 Treadmill:
Once you have bought your treadmill you might want to read about the Top 12 Mistakes to Avoid While Using A Treadmill. Otherwise, if you have decided you want a machine that works the upper body as well, maybe you need to investigate rowing machines?