Choose the Best Treadmill for Home Gym
Treadmills are one of the most often used cardio workout equipment found in practically every commercial or home gym.
They are not the cheapest piece of the equipment, but they have many great characteristics, and one of them being is that they actually - work! Using treadmill regularly can help burn extra calories, lose unwanted fat, increase strength and stamina and generally feel and look better.
When you decide to buy a treadmill for your home gym, there are many things to consider like motor strength and drive system, type of console, size of a running track, treadmill weight and dimensions, warranty etc. but also personal preferences of future trainee, their number, available space, budget etc.
Home Treadmill Price
A good manual walking home treadmill can be found for less than $100, while good running treadmill, with spacious running deck, with automatic incline and decline deck positioning, good maximum user weight limit, many built-in and custom programs, integrated Google maps, wireless heart rate monitoring etc. can cost thousands of dollars.
Such expensive treadmills are big, sturdy, come with warranties lasting for years or even with lifetime warranty on some parts (construction for example) and similar, but don't forget that it is the trainee who does all the work, not the treadmill or any other piece of home gym equipment.
Size and Dimensions of Home Treadmill
Commercial treadmills are, in most cases, not foldable. They are designed for constant use, on the permanent position.
On the other hand, home treadmills are usually of foldable design. There are basically two type of foldable treadmills:
- after the use, running/walking deck is lifted toward the console. In most cases, such treadmills are positioned on permanent location, and due to lifted deck, they require less space when not in use.
- after the use, console is lowered down toward the running deck. Total height of such folded treadmill is around 8-12 inches, sometimes even less, enabling such treadmills to slide under the bed, for example.
In both cases, treadmills have transport wheels for positioning around the home, when required. Due to the weight and physical size of larger treadmills, they should be positioned on permanent location and moved only when really required.
Running or walking deck size varies. Most walking treadmills have deck width in range around 16 and 20 inches, and deck length around 54 and 60 inches. Such treadmills are large enough for walking even for larger people.
However, if you need running treadmill, 20 inches wide and 60 inches long deck should be minimum deck size of a good running treadmill. Since such treadmills can be quite costly, many people choose smaller treadmills with deck size of 18x56 inches, for example, and find them more than good enough.
Maximum allowed user weight of home treadmills varies from 200 to 400 pounds (~90 - 180 kg). Treadmills for really heavy and overweight people are commonly built as walking treadmills with maximum belt speed in the range of 4-5 mph (7-8 km/h) and have many built in features, like heart rate sensors and programs. Faster belt speeds for such heavy people are, after all, not required, since they first have to lower their weight and increase strength and stamina, and only them to try some running - all of this is, of course, done under doctor's supervision.
Treadmill Cushioning System
Treadmill cushioning system protect joints of the walker or runner, by absorbing the energy of impacts of foot landing on the running deck.
Good cushioning system is important both for people having issues with their joints (ankles, knees, hips etc.) and for people wanting to keep their joints healthy. Also, good running shoes and running technique are very important for keeping the joints healthy.
Treadmill Electric Motor Power
Generally, good walking treadmills have 1.5 - 2 CHP electric motors, while good running treadmill have 2.5 - 4.0 (or even more) CHP electric motors. 'HP' stands for 'Horse Power', of course, while 'C' stands for 'Continuous' and this 'C' is very important.
Why? Well, CHP stands for 'Continuous Horse Power' - that is continuous power provided by motor for a long time. So, if you decide to walk or run for hours, you can rely on your CHP motor that it will do it flawlessly, without overheating. And heat kills electric motors and other electric equipment with ease.
Noise levels of a treadmill depend on the motor strength, but mostly on the treadmill design. Stronger motors are not necessarily noisier. When pushed to the limit, smaller and weaker motors will be under larger relative load than stronger motors. Also, heavier and more sturdier units will hardly squeak or produce any similar sound during slow speeds.
Hence, if you looking for room treadmill that is going to be used early in the morning, be very careful regarding noise levels. On the other hand, if you plan to buy treadmill for dedicated home gym (in the basement), maximum noise levels are important too, but not that much.
LCD/LED Treadmill Console
Treadmill console is vital part of any home or commercial treadmill. It usually has one, sometimes two screens for displaying all relevant information to the trainee like used program, intensity, incline, heart rate, covered distance and similar.
Most treadmills have several built-in workout programs for various purposes and options for custom programs. Console controls enable the user to choose the program, speed/intensity, incline and other options for best possible running or walking workout.
Treadmills with automatic incline or decline systems change incline level depending on the used program, but also according to the current needs of the user - additional incline and speed controls are usually right in the front of the user and are easy to hit/press even when running.
Other safety features include safety pin, long enough handles, heart rate sensor (wireless or wired) and user sensor - if the user falls off the treadmill, treadmill automatically stops. Note that not all treadmills have all the features.
Other features not always found on every treadmill include:
- Built in fan or fans keep the trainee cooler and thus postpone fatigue due to excess sweating. Of course, keeping the gym temperature at appropriate level is much more important.
- Water bottle holder enables the trainee to have the water bottle right next to him/her and to hydrate him/herself whenever required, without stopping the exercise.
- Sound system is very important for keeping the boredom away. Sound system is based on one or more speakers and can have inputs via USB port, via wireless or similar.
- Charging stations - some treadmills can be used for charging smartphones and similar devices. While you run or walk on the treadmill, your device is being charged. Of course, main reason for charging stations is avoiding such smartphones and other devices being discharged while in use during exercises, and additional charging is just a nice bonus :)
Of course, there are many other features that can be found on modern treadmills. Some of them just increase the price and complexity of the units, while others really improve workouts and can be quite useful.
Warranty conditions – note that warranty conditions are not the same for the whole unit. For example, frame can have lifetime warranty, while warranties for motor, electronics, parts, and labor can differ significantly.
Depending on your budget, before buying consider purchasing 'protection plan' for treadmills, but also for other similar units. Such plan may include maintenance, common parts replacement, labor and similar. It increases the initial costs, but in the long run, it can save you money and time.
For more info about this topic, feel free to check out our articles:
Here are our treadmill reviews and recommendations ordered according to the date added or modified:
Bowflex BXT116 Treadmill is definitely worth considering when one is looking for a sturdy treadmill. Its durability and features can certainly be compared to a commercial-grade machine though it’s not advertised as one.
Although Bowflex has come up with the upgraded BXT216 with slightly improved features, the BXT116 too has a solid motor and maximum user weight capacity for a lower price, and is able to offer almost everything a health-savvy user needs.
Published: August 17, 2020.
The Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill, though made for home use, is designed with the highest quality which is almost equal to a light commercial exercise machine.
It’s heavier than the BXT116 and has upgraded premium features such as a more powerful 4.0 CHP motor that enables users to run for long, wider 3-ply belt with extra deck cushioning that provides more thickness, comfort and durability, higher weight capacity, a large 9” full-color display, 11 pre-programmed workouts and advanced heart rate monitoring. All in all, it’s a perfect treadmill for serious exercise enthusiasts.
Published: August 4, 2020.
EXERPEUTIC TF2000 Recovery Fitness Walking Treadmill is a unique exercise machine in that it has been designed with those people in mind who are not very strong and hence, want to go at a slow pace, and look for more number of safety features than that in standard exercise machines. The elderly, injured and ill people come under this category. The Exerpeutic TF2000 caters to their needs.
Exercise is usually considered an activity to be performed by young people. However, elderly people are actually in greater need of exercise to keep their muscles active and in good shape, so that they don’t have to become immobile or even worse, bedridden.
Published: July 14, 2020.
The ProForm PRO-9000 Treadmill was released by ProForm in 2017 not as a commercial treadmill, but as only a home treadmill.
However, it has a robust construction and a great range of features including the largest running surface among ProForm treadmills, and therefore it resembles at least a light commercial-grade machine.
Published: July 3, 2020.
The ProForm Pro 2000 (model number PFTL13113) Treadmill belongs to ProForm’s wide range of commercial-grade treadmills. It has been designed to provide a great running experience in the indoor environment to health enthusiasts.
Due to the number of features it offers, this treadmill is worth considering for health lovers looking for an efficient exercise machine.
Published: May 25, 2020.
The ProGear BT5000 Foldable Electric Treadmill has been designed to make walking and running on it comfortable and effective.
With an extended size running belt, 2 position manual incline, wide speed range, and hand pulse sensors for heart rate monitoring, it’s easy for users to give their body an effective exercise as per their fitness level. After exercise, it can be conveniently stored away too.
Published: May 18, 2020.
The Fitness Reality TR1000 Manual Treadmill is known for its high quality and some amazing features like twin flywheels, 2-level incline, LCD display, and long handles.
It’s also known for giving good results and making exercising enjoyable, but users have to put in more effort while exercising as the machine has no motor.
Published: May 9, 2020.
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill is an entry-level foldable and rather affordable treadmill for home use, equipped with quite a few features. Having very small footprint, Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill can fit anywhere, even in a small home.
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill has won many Best Buy awards for the home treadmill in its price range.
Updated: April 22, 2019.
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill is simple to use, yet versatile, mid-range home walking/running treadmill.
It doesn't feature Bluetooth connectivity and various fitness apps, but it come with relatively spacious running deck, strong construction, motorized incline, a number of different workouts for various goals and in the end, it has very good warranty.
Published: January 10, 2019.
XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill is entry level home treadmill that can be used for walking and jogging by lighter athletes. It comes with all basic features required for cardio workouts and can be used as part of a home gym or as standalone cardio unit.
XTERRA TR150 also lacks few useful features, but such features are commonly found on more expensive models.
NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill is budget friendly home treadmill suitable for both walking and running. It comes with good motor and maximum user allowed weight, large number of built programs, it is iFit compatible, can be easily and quickly folded and unfolded etc.
Exerpeutic TF1000 Ultra High Capacity Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill can be an ideal walking treadmill. Equipped with Quiet Drive System and a good speed, this treadmill can be used anywhere in a home, anytime without any disturbance to others. Moreover, given its low price which is less than any annual gym membership, it offers great value for money.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603 Electric Treadmill may not be as large as treadmills users might have used in their gym and definitely doesn’t sport the same range of features and exercise options. But it’s definitely far easier to set being small and compact and also can offer users some decent walking and jogging exercise options.
If someone is looking for a treadmill at a mid-ranged price, a really good option available is ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill. It’s equipped with a 2.0 CHP motor with which its belt can attain the speed of 10 mph and up to 10% incline. Users can easily adjust both, the speed and incline, by just touching a button that also allows an increase or decrease in intensity without hassle. This quality treadmill has a running surface cushioned with ProShox cushioning system that is typically found on all ProForm treadmills. This system can absorb almost all sudden impacts, thereby relieving stress from the users’ knees, ankles and hips.
Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill is very popular inexpensive home treadmill. It lacks many features found on larger, sturdier and more expensive treadmills, but nonetheless it is still one of the best buy treadmills on the market - it has acceptable maximum user weight, good speed range, comfortable running deck etc.
LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill is excellent home folding treadmill, with many options and great features that justify its price. It has very good and strong 2.5 CHP motor, and it comes with lifetime warranty on motor and frame.
Body Solid T50 Endurance Cardio Walking Treadmill with adjustable speed is an outstanding treadmill designed especially for walkers, elderly, aged care, rehab facilities, retirement homes, or for those who want their starting speed to be very slow and the machine with strong extended rehab handrails. Therefore it sports an access ramp, a wide stable platform, an oversized computer screen and keys facilitating easy usage, a weight capacity of 310 lb (140 kg) and safety with a magnetic safety lanyard.