Best Treadmills for Walking: Stay Active in Every Season

Christine Reed
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person walking on treadmill

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As winter is upon us, many of us are taking our exercise routines indoors. A treadmill is a staple at any gym or fitness studio, so why not include one in your home gym? We all know the great physical and psychological benefits of walking. While some of our picks are explicitly designed for walking, many of them are also compatible with running and would make a great versatile machine for your fitness goals now and into the future.

Some days it's tough to stay motivated, so we've also picked out the best walking apps to help keep you moving. Once you've got your treadmill set up, you'll want to make sure you have a solid pair of walking shoes.

The Best Treadmill for Walking - Our Top Picks

We've included one specific pick for a budget-conscious option here, but for more, you can check out our rundown of the best treadmills under $1,000. And if you need new walking shoes, we have you covered with options for men, women, and flat feet.

Why Trust Us?'s editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated.

Best Overall Treadmill for Walking - Echelon Stride-5s

Echelon Stride-5s


  • Dimensions: 81"L x 36"W x 63"H
  • Running deck dimensions: 60"L x 22"W
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Max speed: 12.5 mph
  • Max incline: 15% (16 levels)
  • Screen: 24" HD touchscreen
  • Warranty: 30-day money-back guarantee, 1-year parts and labor, 1-2 year extended warranty available for purchase


The Echelon Stride-s is our choice for the best overall walking treadmill because it has everything you need and nothing you don't. Maxing out at a 15% incline and 12.5 miles per hour, this treadmill is versatile and capable. The impact-absorbing rubber running deck protects your joints as you walk any distance and helps to minimize sound, which is important if you live in an apartment or train at night and don't want to wake your family.

This treadmill comes equipped with a 24-inch HD touchscreen, so you'll really want to try out the Echelon app for live and on-demand classes featuring motivating instructors and workouts filmed around the world—on every walk you'll go somewhere completely new, all in your own home. The treadmill can function in manual mode without the app, but you'll be missing out on the extensive programming.

What We Like

  • Up to 15% incline
  • Large 24" HD touchscreen
  • Metal safety bar to prevent objects from being pulled under
  • Live and on-demand classes included with Echelon app
  • High weight capacity

What We Don't Like

  • Large footprint and doesn't fold
  • Limited warranty compared to other models

BUY: Echelon Stride-5s

Best Walking Treadmill for Beginners - NordicTrack EXP 14i

NordicTrack EXP 14i


  • Dimensions: 79.9"L x 35.08"W x 59.35"H
  • Running deck dimensions: 60"L x 20"W
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Max speed: 12 mph
  • Max incline: 12%
  • Screen: 14" HD touchscreen
  • Warranty: 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor


The NordicTrack EXP 14i is everything you need to walk or run your way to a more active life. It has a wide range of incline, from 0 to 12%, a decline of -3%, and speed from 0 to 12 miles per hour. With easy OneTouch controls, you can adjust your workout as much as you like. The FlexSelect cushioned belt allows you to decide whether you want a softer surface for a low-impact workout or you would like a more realistic road-walking experience. With that feature, you can mix indoor and outdoor training, while being mindful of your joint health and specific needs.

With the 14-inch HD Smart Touchscreen, a free 30-day iFIT trial, and Bluetooth connectivity, you'll have everything you need to get started. The included programs will take the guesswork out and set you off on the right path for your active journey. The AutoBreeze workout fan will keep you cool, so it's great for hot summer days as well as winter. The NordicTrack is a larger, more sturdy treadmill, but it is still engineered with the SpaceSaver design and EasyLift assist, so it's simple to fold and store.

What We Like

  • Bluetooth audio and 2" Digitally Amplified Speakers for great sound
  • SpaceSaver with EasyLift Assist makes storage quick and easy
  • Roomy running deck, almost the largest of our picks
  • Up to 12 mph and 12% grade allow range of possible walking and running
  • FlexSelect Cushioning lets you decide the level of impact

What We Don't Like

  • Complex to assemble and many people report issues getting it set up
  • After 30-day iFIT trial, you will need to pay for membership

BUY: NordicTrack EXP 14i

Best Under Desk Walking Treadmill - WalkingPad A1 Pro

WalkingPad A1 Pro


  • Dimensions: 56.37" x 21.5" x 5"
  • Running deck dimensions: 42.2" x 16.4"
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs.
  • Max speed: 3.72 mph
  • Max incline: N/A
  • Screen: N/A, digital display
  • Warranty: 3-year structural frame, 180-days other parts and components


For a specific use, we look for a specific product. The WalkingPad A1 Pro is designed to fit easily under your standing desk, so you can walk while you work. Maxing out at 3.72 miles per hour for safety reasons, you won't be running on this little machine. It is highly recommended to always use walking pads at a desk, where you'll have something to grab if you lose your footing. Built-in shock absorption will keep your knees and feet happy as you walk through your day.

Small and super light, you can fold and stash the WalkingPad out of the way when not in use. However, because of its small size, this treadmill can only support walkers up to 220 pounds. With a handy remote control, you can adjust speed and stop the machine or use the three built-in zones—accelerate at the front, maintain constant speed in the center, stop or slow down toward the back—to adjust your speed using your momentum.

What We Like

  • Very lightweight and foldable for storage
  • 3 speed zones to adjust manually
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Digital monitor displays time, speed, steps, and calories burned
  • Safety features including child lock

What We Don't Like

  • No incline adjustability
  • Max speed is less than 4 mph
  • Lowest maximum weight capacity of our picks at 220 lbs.

BUY: WalkingPad A1 Pro

Best Folding Treadmill for Walking - Echelon Stride-s Auto-Fold

Echelon Stride-s Auto-Fold


  • Dimensions: 74"L x 34"W x 53"H
  • Running deck dimensions: 59"L x 20"W
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Max speed: 12 mph
  • Max incline: 10% (12 levels)
  • Screen: 10" LCD touchscreen
  • Warranty: 30-day money-back guarantee, 1-year parts and labor, 1-2 year extended warranty available for purchase


The Echelon Stride-s Auto-Fold is our pick for best folding treadmill because it's a smart treadmill with the ability to fold in three easy steps. The 59-inch deck is cushioned and balanced for max absorption and can reach a max incline of 10%.

If you're using the treadmill for walking, the motor specs might not appeal to you right away, but the DC brushless motor with 3.5 Peak HP is ready for running if you or a family member feel so inclined. You can also track your pulse with the sensors built into the system's handlebars. As previously mentioned, this treadmill is usable in manual mode, but you will want to get the Echelon app to reach this machine's full potential.

What We Like

  • Easy 3-step folding for storage
  • 10% incline
  • Longer running deck
  • Ability to adjust speed and incline via touchscreen
  • Pulse tracking

What We Don't Like

  • Limited warranty
  • Need Echelon app for best user experience

BUY: Echelon Stride-s Auto-Fold

Best Walking Treadmill for Heavy People - Sole Fitness F80

Sole Fitness F80


  • Dimensions: 82" L x 37" W x 66" H
  • Running deck dimensions: 60" L x 22" W
  • Weight capacity: 375 lbs.
  • Max speed: 12 mph
  • Max incline: 15 levels
  • Screen: 9" LCD
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame, motor, and deck, 5-year electronics and parts, 2-year labor


The Sole Fitness F80 is our best overall pick for the best walking treadmill for heavy people, with a max weight limit of 375 pounds. For more options for heavy people, check out our full article.

The Cushion Flex Whisper Deck reduces impact up to 40%, as compared to running on asphalt. It includes six preset programs and two customizable workouts, which display on its user-friendly control panel. The Bluetooth speaker, USB charging port, and tablet/phone holder keep you plugged in while you walk. This treadmill comes with a chest strap, in addition to the standard pulse grips, for more accurate heart rate readings.

With 15 levels of incline and up to 12 miles per hour speed capabilities, this is a machine with as much potential as you.

What We Like

  • 375-lb. weight limit
  • Longer and wider running deck dimensions than most machines
  • Cushion Flex Whisper Deck—soft and quiet
  • Starting speed of 0.5 mph
  • Excellent warranty

What We Don't Like

  • Larger and heavier machine than most—not as convenient to set up and move around
  • Technology functions leave a lot to be desired

BUY: Sole Fitness F80

Best Budget Treadmill for Walking - Horizon T101

Horizon T101


  • Dimensions: 71" L x 34" W x 57" H
  • Running deck dimensions: 55" L x 20" W
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Max speed: 10 mph
  • Max incline: 10%
  • Screen: 3 blue LED windows and tablet rack
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame and motor, 1-year warranty on parts and labor


The Horizon T101 is a great low-budget treadmill option to get you started with regular walking. The 55-inch deck is designed with three impact zones to specifically cushion feet during the strike and take off. With an incline range up to 10% and speed up to 10 mph, you have a full range of workout options. The Johnson Drive System recalibrates with each foot fall to avoid that annoying lagging and surging you may have experienced with other treadmills. It also runs at lower RPMs for an ultra-quiet experience.

This treadmill includes a built-in device holder, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated speakers, as well as a rapid-charge USB port so you can stay plugged in for as long as you can walk. The treadmill is lightweight and includes hydraulic folding to make moving and storing it between workouts a snap. The Horizon T101 may be our budget pick, but you sacrifice very little when it comes to features and capability.

What We Like

  • 3-zone Variable Response Cushioning
  • Ultra-quiet Johnson Drive System runs at low RPM to prevent overheating
  • 30-min., quick-and-easy setup
  • Very affordable compared to others in the same category

What We Don't Like

  • Not as sturdy as others for running, not an issue for walking
  • Horizon is working to correct some issues they have had with their delivery process

BUY: Horizon T101

Best Compact Walking Treadmill - Echelon Stride Auto-Fold

Echelon Stride Auto-Fold


  • Dimensions: 69"L x 31"W x 49"H
  • Running deck dimensions: 55"L x 20"W
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Max speed: 12 mph
  • Max incline: 10% (12 levels)
  • Screen: Console with stand for your tablet
  • Warranty: 1-year limited


The Echelon Stride Auto-Fold is our top pick for a walking treadmill that is also compact. This treadmill maxes out at 12 miles per hour, which is great for both runners and walkers. Additionally, the Rubber Running Deck promises a lower-impact workout experience. Rather than a touchscreen, this Echelon model features a console with eight pre-programmed workouts and a built-in device holder for streaming media or accessing the Echelon app.

Unlike many treadmills which fold to a standing position, the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold folds flat to a height of 10 inches, and still has the ability to change incline levels! It was truly designed for functionality in the smallest of spaces.

What We Like

  • Easily folds down to 10" tall in 3 steps
  • Many safety features
  • Console has 8 pre-programmed workouts
  • 12 levels of incline
  • Easy to set-up

What We Don't Like

  • Limited warranty
  • May not work for taller or heavier users

BUY: Echelon Stride Auto-Fold

Best Manual Treadmill for Walking - TrueForm Trainer

TrueForm Trainer


  • Dimensions: 64"L x 31"W x 63"H
  • Running deck dimensions: 17"W
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Max speed: Manual
  • Max incline: Fixed
  • Screen: LED display
  • Warranty: 3-year structural frame, 180-days other parts and components


A manual treadmill is another great walking option that often doesn't get the screen time it deserves. In terms of speed levels, just like walking outside on the sidewalk, your speed is fully determined by your own legs. Additionally, studies have shown that users burn more calories when using a manual treadmill.

The TrueForm Trainer has a 2.5-inch curve and helps you to develop better form while walking and running. The polyurethane-reinforced Responsive Belt Technology is designed to recreate a natural running surface that reacts to your movement and subtly corrects your posture and stride. Lastly, an LED display shows speed, time, pace, distance, and heart rate. If you happen to have a Polar heart rate monitor, this treadmill is compatible with it.

What We Like

  • Helps correct your form while in use
  • LED display tracks pace, speed, distance, time, and heart rate
  • Manual treadmills may help burn more calories
  • High weight capacity

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller running surface
  • Expensive

BUY: TrueForm Trainer

Benefits of Walking Treadmills

Regularly walking on a treadmill is a fantastic way to stay fit and active, especially as we age. Walking can help manage and reduce the risk of health issues that are often associated with inactivity, as well as improve overall mental health. Walking on a treadmill is also a great way to ease back into regular exercise after an injury. As the saying goes, "We must walk before we can run." Aside from the many health and wellness benefits, walking treadmills are also accessible for most people and allow for regular exercise on days when the weather isn't optimal or time is a factor. Considering a few of these treadmills even fit under your desk, there's no excuse not to work a light stroll into your busy schedule.

How to Choose the Best Walking Treadmill for You

Size and Weight

When considering the size and weight of your treadmill, it all comes down to the amount of space you want to dedicate to your machine. If you have a small space available and need to be able to store the machine away between uses, a lightweight, folding machine may be your best option. However, if you have the option to keep the machine out and set up, this can make a huge difference in the amount you use the machine—removing the mental and physical barrier of having to set it up before each use. And if you're going to keep the treadmill set up all the time, a heavier machine will generally be more sturdy—and often offer a higher user weight limit.

Speed and Incline Levels

Treadmills specifically designed for walking often have a lower upper-speed limit than traditional running treadmills. If you're interested in eventually transitioning from walking to running or might be sharing the machine with others, you may want to make sure that the upper limit extends to the higher 10 to 12 miles per hour limit.

Many standard treadmills include variable inclines, but some more compact, lightweight, or budget models do not. For walking fitness in particular, varying the incline can offer a more challenging workout and variability of muscle focus.


There is a huge variety of features in treadmills—everything from the length and cushion of the belt to cup holders and a tablet platform. Considering how you plan to use the walking treadmill and what you'd like to have within reach while you're on it will help you determine whether these little nice-to-haves are a necessity for you personally. Hydration is incredibly important when exercising, but if you plan to walk in 20-minute intervals, you may not need water at hand while walking.

A tablet stand is great if you're planning to follow a workout program or want to watch the latest episode of your favorite show, but if your treadmill is in the same room as your tv, that may not be a deal-breaker.

FAQs About Treadmills for Walking

Is walking on a treadmill as good as walking outside?

While there are known health benefits to spending time outdoors, we all know that isn't always practical or possible. The benefits of walking on a treadmill are in most ways exactly the same as walking outdoors. Sometimes it's too hot or cold or too snowy, icy, or rainy to get your daily exercise outside. A walking treadmill can help you stay active consistently through all seasons. If you're concerned about the variability of terrain, many treadmills offer adjustable inclines and if you're wondering about the belt doing some of the work for you, check out some manual options.

Is it better to walk or run on a treadmill?

Many of the treadmills that we have chosen have the speed capacity to be used for both walking and running. Walking is a lower-impact activity, so if you are dealing with joint health issues or are in a heavier body, it is a great option to stay active without over-stressing the knees and feet. Some machines offer more cushioning than others to protect your joints for higher-impact activities like running. We believe that being active is the number one priority—so if walking is what you do to stay active, then great! And if walking is a gateway to running, we love that too.

Should you hold on while walking on a treadmill?

The handrails of treadmills are there to keep you safe and on the walking deck. You don't need to hold on the entire time you are walking unless you are struggling to stay in the center of the deck. With practice, most users can walk hands-free during their workouts and use the handrails mostly to mount and dismount the machine, or to track heart rate.

At what speed should I walk on a treadmill?

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish! Walking at any speed is a great way to get your blood pumping, keep your muscles engaged and active, and clear your head. Different heart rates and effort levels will yield different physical results—but being active is always the first goal.