The Best Treadmills That Deliver the Biggest Bang for Your Buck

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Maybe you're training for your next marathon. Or maybe you simply want to make it easier to squeeze a little walking into your day. Whether you're a seasoned runner or you're charting your path from the couch to your first 5K, investing in the best treadmill for your workout goals is a great start.

Still, there are a lot of treadmills on the market today—all of them offering a range of different features and varying in their levels of user friendliness—and trying to settle on which is the right one for you can feel like a workout in and of itself. That's why we recently set sights on the most popular options available today with the aim of finding out which treadmills can indeed walk the walk. And we didn't just look at quality; we determined which treadmills are best suited for specific buyers based on workout needs, budget, space limitations and more.

Here are the six best treadmills we found for the following categories:

Editor's Pick: NordicTrack Commercial 1750

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Do you want a great interactive workout with a little one-on-one training thrown in? The NordicTrack 1750 is part of NordicTrack's commercial line. And while the name does imply it belongs in a gym, the treadmill is actually designed for your home. The NordicTrack 1750 comes with lots of interactive workout programs through iFIT, features a 10-inch HD smart touchscreen and tops our list as the best choice for serious runners wanting intense incline and decline training. But while this NordicTrack treadmill is our top pick for the best all-around treadmill, it does come with a higher price tag because of all its included features. 

 

BUY: NordicTrack Commercial 1750, $1,799

Best Treadmill for Runners: Bowflex Treadmill 10

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There's no mistaking that the Bowflex Treadmill 10 is for serious runners. You can push yourself to your limits while knowing this treadmill can take a pounding and stick around for the long haul. Its speed and incline knobs let you adjust swiftly without breaking your stride, and you can kick it into high gear up to a max speed of 12 mph. Its virtual coaching options (membership required), incline settings ranging from -5% to 15% and all kinds of metrics that help you track progress and milestones makes the Bowflex Treadmill 10 our top recommendation for running enthusiasts. There's a lot packed into this treadmill, though, and that bulks it up quite a bit, so people with space limitations might want to explore other options.

 

BUY: Bowflex Treadmill 10, $1,999

Best Treadmill for Walking: Lifepro Pacer

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The Lifepro Pacer is the perfect match for walkers. Don't let its small stature fool you; it's easily one of the most durable compact treadmills we've seen. It comes with a whopping 36 preset training programs with customizable time, speed and incline. You can also set fully manual workouts and adjust by time, distance or calories. The Lifepro Pacer even includes some of the finer features of many high-end models into its exceptionally tiny frame. With Bluetooth connectivity and built-in speakers you can connect your favorite fitness apps from your smart device or listen to your favorite music and podcasts. With a top speed of just under 9 mph, beginners won't outpace this treadmill anytime soon. It's also foldable, so when you're done, it can be put away for next time. 

 

BUY: Lifepro Pacer, $750

Best Treadmill Under $1,000: Horizon T202

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The Horizon T202 treadmill is on par with more expensive counterparts yet manages to come in under $1,000. A user-friendly choice for beginners with plenty of features for more experienced runners, the Horizon T202 works well for anyone seeking a solid cardio workout on a budget. Its extended 60-inch deck is made for shock absorption, with a cushioning support running surface that's set into three zones. An added perk is that it has a very quiet motor that won't drown out whatever fitness app, music or podcast you're streaming through its Bluetooth speakers. And when your workout is over, you can effortlessly store the treadmill with its one-step hydraulic folding. The Horizon T202 treadmill will deliver a great workout—without putting your wallet through the ringer.

 

BUY: Horizon T202, $799

Best Compact Treadmill: Echelon Stride

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If you think having to deal with limited space rules out owning a quality treadmill, think again. The Echelon Stride treadmill is what happens when functionality, technology and intelligent design collide. When in use, its dimensions are 69.3 inches in length, 31inches in width and 49.2 inches in height. And while those are compact measurements, the treadmill makes zero compromise on some features you'd expect to be left out of a high-end home model, like its integrated handlebar heart rate sensors, a generously sized display screen, and side steps for convenient step-off. But its most standout element is its auto-folding. After a workout, you simply adjust the console, work a handle and press a pedal—then watch as the treadmill folds flat before your eyes. 

 

BUY: Echelon Stride, $1,299.99

Best Curved Treadmill - Trueform Trainer

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A curved treadmill can take your workout to a whole new level. That's because running on an arc works more muscle groups in your legs and burns more calories than running on a traditionally flat treadmill surface. No other treadmill embodies all that's great about curved treadmills than the Trueform Trainer. It's a non-motorized, manual treadmill that's compact, lightweight and simple to use. It does feature a battery-operated LED screen to show your pace, speed, distance and time, but other than that, its primary power source is you. It has a steel frame with 112 sealed steel ball bearings, so it has the look, feel and durability of a treadmill you'd spot in a professional training facility. And while it can look intimidating, it puts out whatever level of intensity you put into it. You're in complete control of your workout—from a casual stroll to a flat run. Along the way, its curved surface promotes healthy posture, balance and cadence.

 

BUY: Trueform Trainer, $2,995

Will a Treadmill Help My Performance?

Being able to do regular aerobic exercise thanks to having quick and easy access to a treadmill in your home gym can improve heart health. And while a treadmill can be a bit of an upfront investment, you'll eventually recoup that cost in the money you save from gym membership fees and travel. 

Treadmill Factors to Consider

Noise: All treadmills are going to make some noise, even motorless curved treadmills, due to friction. A loud treadmill may be a big issue for anyone trying to keep quiet for the sake of others or the desire to hear music, shows and workout apps while walking or running. A general rule of thumb is the bigger the motor, the louder the treadmill.

Space: If you have limited space for a treadmill, take measurements to see if the one you have your eye on is the right fit. Some treadmills not only fold, but they're easily moveable, too. If you have a tall enough couch or bed, you may be able to simply slide your folding treadmill underneath to maximize living space when you're not working out.

Materials: Never forget to take note of how a treadmill is constructed and what it's constructed from. Frames can range from heavy duty steel to a varying mix of metal, plastic and rubber. Different components of a treadmill, like handrails, can be constructed out of foam. Then there are the electronics such as a display screen or speakers. But along with a sturdy frame, you always want to make sure the running belt is made of something durable, like PVC, so you can rack up the mileage without worrying about your treadmill breaking down.

Budget: There is a quality treadmill out there for every budget, so don't feel like you have to invest in a top-of-the-line model with a ton of extra bells and whistles unless it's what you want. Read reviews and take time to study up on the features of any treadmill you're considering. While it's important to purchase a treadmill that fits within your budget, it's equally important to find a treadmill that suits your lifestyle and fitness goals.

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