Best treadmills 2021: the best running machines to get you road fit at home
The best treadmills are still in high demand, despite the ease in lockdown measures worldwide. Have no doubt, if you’re looking for a new running machine now, so is everyone else. You won’t believe how hard it has been to get treadmills in to review over the last year, but we have done our best and listed our favourites below. That said, it’s not impossible to acquire a new running machine now as long as you keep your eyes peeled and check stocks levels often.
The best treadmills and running machines are in high demand and some of the top treadmill brands, such as NordicTrack and Bowflex, have had big backlogs of orders to process. So if you see a cheap treadmill deal today in our pricing widgets, we recommend not milling over the decision whether to get one or not for too long.
As people seek to get fit and lose weight at home, suddenly a treadmill feels more essential and less of a foolish luxury. Indeed, treadmills are the go-to home cardio machine for many, despite elliptical trainers being better for the joints and rowing machines providing a better full body workout. That said, top treadmills have well-cushioned running decks to mitigate impact force and other features to help work the whole easier. Here is the best treadmill workout to get you started with.
Running on a treadmill is the perfect way to offset a sedentary lifestyle – getting your 10,000 steps per day, but at speed and within the confined walls of your home. You will have to pay for the privilege, alas. At least £500 / $600 for something solid and into the low thousands for the high-end, gym-style treadmills.
However, this kind of thing can typically be found with a reduced price tag if you hunt for it and even the more basic systems are a good way to get the body moving… without leaving your front door.
The best treadmills, in order of preference
As good as most high-end running machines are, most recreational runners won’t pay top dollars for the fastest/widest and most powerful treadmills. If you are after a decent indoor running experience and not planning on spending all of your life-savings on a treadmill, the JTX Sprint-5 might just be the perfect choice for you.
The newly updated 2020 model is capable of producing up to 12% inclines and speeds up to 18 kph. The relatively small running deck might feel a little weedy compared to treadmills you might have tried in gyms before, but the compact dimensions also make it a great option for those short on space.
The running deck features an 8-point suspension system and CSC springs to create a forgiving running platform, which can reduce impact by up to 30% and also make running on the JTX Sprint-5 relatively quiet too. The vertical grab handles are a nice touch, as they allow for steep incline power walking with the added bonus of heart rate monitoring. The built-in speakers and numerous HIIT workout plans are also nice touches.
For under a grand, you are not going to get anything better than this.
Peloton Tread is arguably more than just a static running device, as it offers a vast selection of on-demand and live classes, in-depth fitness tracking, boot camps and an entire social element. In fact, it’s designed to replicate the community element of group classes but from the comfort of your home.
The downside to all of this is that it’s rather expensive and once you’ve forked out the lofty asking price for the treadmill, you then have rolling monthly costs to deal with in order to unlock the previously mentioned classes and social side.
But then it is designed to replace – or at least reduce – the monthly gym and/or PT costs, as it has a knack for sucking you in to a programme and coaxing you into working out on a regular basis with a mix of live motivation, rewards and badges.
The treadmill itself is excellent, with a powerful motor and eye-watering top speeds catering for even the most advanced runners, while punishing inclines and carefully placed handles make even some of the innocent sounding hiking classes a beast to complete.
Its price competes with some of the most advanced, commercial gym-ready machines on this list but Peloton Tread offers so much more and for that reason, it sits in a league of its own.
• Read our full Peloton Tread review
Coming in at just under £1k, this isn’t the cheapest machine on the list but it is also no way near the most expensive, yet it offers some extremely competitive features.
These include a generous 12 per cent incline gradient, built-in workout fan, 32 pre-set workout programmes and an LED display that offers all sorts of fitness metrics to suit various training regimes.
Great for heavy use, the treadmill features a professional grade motor that is built with high-grade components and features a dynamically spin-balanced assembly (whatever that means) to power the treadmill up to a top speed of 22kph/13.6mph.
That might not be full commercial gym sprint pace, but it’s more than enough for a domestic jog.
The Kettler Sport Arena Treadmill has one of the slowest starting speeds (0.3 km/h) on the market, making it ideal for recovery as well as complete beginners. With this running machine, you can gently ease yourself into running training without having to worry about the weather outdoors.
The fully shock absorbed deck will make running less demanding on your joints as well more pleasant for the downstairs neighbours. For added peace of mind, the Kettler Sport Arena Treadmill also comes with a 3-year parts and labour warranty including lifetime on the frame and motor.
On the other end of the intensity-spectrum, the Kettler Sport Arena Treadmill also offers seven HIIT (high intensity interval training) programs straight out of the box. HIIT training is an excellent way to lose weight and to maximise training efficiency, should you be pressed on time. HIIT workouts are made possible due to the high maximum speed (18 km/h) and the incline capabilities (up to 12%) of this treadmill.
The Kettler Sport Arena Treadmill supports Bluetooth connectivity so you can play music through the speakers of the running machine. Not only that but once paired, you can control the playback on the phone with the dedicated buttons on the console.
• Buy the Assault AirRunner for £2,999 at Wolverson Fitness
The Assault AirRunner does so much more than a standard running machine. It doesn’t sport the typical motor-powered belt like others, but instead feeds off user input to crank up resistance and adapt with effort.
It also feels like running on air, while the slightly kicked-up design means there really is no limit to how hard you can push yourself on it. Designed with HIIT in mind, it is great for cranking up the pace in a split second, without the awkward wait for a belt to catch up.
Worried about parting with the dosh? Its steel frame and handrails, corrosion resistant hardware and a slat belt running surface are built to last up to 150,000 miles of use.
• Read our full Assault AirRunner review here
A name that will be familiar to anyone who frequents the gym, Life Fitness produces top quality equipment that can also be introduced to the home with minimum fuss.
The standout feature on this model is the Track console, which easily connects to smartphones and tablets in order to harness the power of the excellent Life Fitness app. A powerful FlexDeck shock absorption system is said to reduce impact on joints by 30 per cent. It’s fairly expensive but you get what you pay for.
Oh, and you’ll need a decent amount of room at home because this is, quite predictably, a big ol’ unit.
This is a great entry-level treadmill that’ll suit many casual/skint runners just fine. Space will likely be one of the major factors in the decision for or against a running machine at home, which is why many are designed to neatly fold flat so they can be stowed against a wall.
The mains-powered Active 120 from York Fitness features an easy belt folding mechanism and wheels, so the unit can be moved around the room with minimal effort. A 1.25 horsepower motor delivers speeds of up to 16kph (just under 10mph). That’s a low slower than a gym machine but a perfectly adequate pace for occasional joggers.
Tech on board includes hand sensors for an acceptably accurate heart rate read out, full LCD display and 13 preset programmes aimed at a number of fitness goals. A slim line belt could prove a problem for more portly users, however.
This compact running machine won prestigious Red Dot and iF design awards for its small but beautifully formed exterior. An impressive quantity of features is crammed into the MyRun’s svelte frame.
Perhaps the killer feature is a punishing maximum incline of 12 per cent. That’s great for training for fell runs and general cardio conditioning.
The built-in screen gives basic run information but things gets really smart when synced up to a tablet via a built-in Bluetooth connection.
From here, it’s possible to relive outdoor runs via data captured from the TechnoGym App, experience a workout session that adapts to music in your library and receive detailed analysis of running style and ways to improve.
The MyRun machine is also the first to feature a surface that adapts to the way you run and absorbs impact to reduce the risk of injuries without sapping power.
Despite all that power, it’s designed to be set up in a matter of minutes. Just follow an incredibly speedy DIY assembly process, plug it into the wall and get running.
Admittedly, the price tag will be at the very top of most treadmill budgets but TechnoGym supplies its products to some of the UK’s best gyms, and it knows a thing or two about how to create a realistic running experience that reduces the chance of injury and will go the distance. This machine is also Zwift compatible, which is a major plus.
Holy sweet mother of pearl, this is one eye-wateringly expensive machine, but then if you really must have gym-quality kit in your abode, there really is only one brand to consider. It’s an absolute unit and weighing a massive 206kg, you are going to want to have it professionally installed and then leave it in that place forever. But its 16-inch touchscreen tablet and Lifescape, Zwift Run and RunSocial connectivity means that you won’t really want to move it.
Plus, it works with Netflix, online radio and much more, so even if you give up running, you can always use it as a bizarre, lounge-based entertainment console.
• Buy the Adidas T-16 Treadmill for £899 at sweatband.com
The T-16, from popular German sportswear brand Adidas looks a bit spindly at a glance, but it actually possesses a very generous 51cm wide running deck. That’s excellent considering the unit itself measures no more than 84cm in width, and means you get more space for elaborate interval training, sprints and other such cardio-based folly, without eating into precious floor area at home.
The 2.75hp engine allows running speeds of up to 18km/h (11mph), which is a fairly challenging pace for most mere mortals, as well 15 levels of incline that are easily adjusted from 0 per cent to 15 percent thanks to the multitude of buttons on the centre console.
Other areas of the treadmill are a little basic, with a rather old-school digital readout, and built-in speakers that wouldn’t be a substitute for your headphones even if you use the ones that came free with your mobile.
Even if it’s not quite as robust or clever as rivals on this list, the T-16 is still a solid, pacey offering for those looking to train hard at home.
Sitting comfortably at the ‘affordable’ end of the spectrum, this offering from Reebok packs some pro-spec features that feel rather generous for the money. A clever ‘ZigTech’ cushioning system on the deck disperses the impact energy across the length of the running deck, helping to protect your joints, while the safety cut off clip is something that is typically seen on more expensive models.
Although easily folded and stashed away, the running deck has been designed with long-legged joggers in mind and the unit has been rigorously tested to withstand users that weigh up to 17 stone. Alas, the digital display feels a bit cheap on this model and the myriad buttons aren’t quite as neat nor easy to get on with as others on this list but then what do you expect of the world’s 10th best treadmill?
The NordicTrack line of fitness equipment neatly treads a line between the affordable and the well bolted-together. Its treadmills are chunky and even this foldable item behaves like a borderline professional unit when used.
The motors is powerful, allowing for a max speed of 20km/h – more than enough for most fitness fans. Plus, there’s a 10% incline setting, which is more than enough to punish those thighs and glutes on more targeted workouts.
The switches and screens tend to lift the side down a tad, but there’s a specific clip for housing a tablet, which is great for use with the compatible iFit fitness app (available for a subscription fee).
Where to buy treadmills right now?
The best treadmills are always in high demand and even more so now, so finding a reasonably-price running machnice will be a bit of an effort. If you can’t find a suitable model at the shops listed below, you can always try and source a second-hand model: it’s not all that unlikely people will give up on their new hobby and try to sell their hardly used cardio machines for cheap online. The best places to look are Ebay US, Ebay UK and Ebay AU, but who knows, you might end up finding gold on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or Craigslist.
Which treadmill is best for home use?
Of course, something like the LifeFitness Platinum Club Series sits at the top end of the budgetary scale – it’s got the word ‘platinum’ in it, so what did you expect? – but that’s not to say there aren’t great choices to suit less extravagant tastes.
Prices range from around £160 / $200 for the really basic, self-propelled models, but these tend to offer a very unrealistic running experience and fall apart after a couple of uses, so really the sweet spot between performance and price starts at around £600 / $700.
A good, mains-powered treadmill is judged on its running deck, which has to absorb the impact of a run while simultaneously representing an outdoor surface, as well as keeping the amount of noise it produces to a minimum.
Naturally, the more money you spend on a running machine, the more technology is thrown at it. So if you like tracking stats, running along with a virtual partner or ingesting some multimedia, then it’s worth opting for the machines with built-in screens or reliable smartphone connectivity.
Or, you can buy a basic model and also get the best exercise bike, best elliptical or best rowing machine added to your pain cave. What are the differences between how treadmills, exercise bikes and elliptical? We compared them to find out, here our our findings: treadmill vs exercise bike and treadmill vs elliptical.
RRPs can be punitive but you’ll found the usual online-shopping suspects tend to offer enormous discounts off sports equipment of this nature. Just make sure there aren’t any enormous delivery and set-up charges involved, especially for the larger, fancier stuff. Our price widgets will always pull in the lowest price offered by our retail chums.
One final tip: sports scientists have found that runners tend to exert less energy when pounding the miles on a treadmill, presumably due to the springy running board offering an extra boost. So, if you want to keep fit indoors, much sure you place the speed on a faster setting than you think you need.
And is it’s speed you are after, you will need some additional gear too, like the best running shoes and for tracking heart rate accurately, the best heart rate monitors. If you need to isolate yourself from your surroundings at home, you might also want to wear the best running headphones.
Are treadmills bad for your knees?
No, they aren’t! As a matter of fact, they are probably better for the knees than running on hard surfaces, like tarmac. Modern treadmills have cushioned running decks which not only make your running home workout less noisy, but it also reduces impact force as you run. It’s a different story if you try to run fast but that will have an effect on your knee joints on any surface. If you’re concerned about your knees, try running slower and should you feel any pain or discomfort, consult a medical professional.
Published at Thu, 06 May 2021 15:32:12 +0000
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