Best treadmills for home use 2023
We've tested the best treadmills to help you take your cardio fitness to the next level.
At Live Science, we understand that one of the best treadmills is a big investment, so we've put the top brands to the test to help you choose your future running buddy. Whether you're training for a marathon, or trying to improve your cardio fitness at home, a treadmill can help you get your steps in and improve your cardiovascular fitness from the comfort of your own home. When there's ice underfoot or weather conditions that make you want to stay indoors, a good treadmill can help you hit your running goals without risking injury on a slippery sidewalk.
If you're looking to improve your stamina, one of the many benefits of running, then the best treadmills can be a great way to supplement an outdoor running plan, giving you the option to set incline and speed for a tailored workout. Or if you're wondering is running good for weight loss, a session on the treadmill can be helpful to burn calories and maintain calorie deficit, helping you to achieve weight loss goals.
At Live Science, we’ve rated a number of models with foldable designs, shock absorbing running belts and high-tech app pairing features, considering how suitable they are for a variety of fitness goals, budgets and space requirements. If you’d rather walk than run, many models now offer walking and hiking workouts with beautiful real footage of famous trails and mountains. Or, if a treadmill isn't the machine for you, we've also tested the best rowing machines and exercise bikes, rounding up our favorites to help you choose your ideal cardio workout.
Some of the models we tested, like the Peloton Tread, have a HD touchscreen which gives you a high-tech experience when adjusting your incline and speed and lets choose guided workouts through famous scenery. For a more wallet-friendly option, the Mobvoi Home Treadmill will track your calories burned, distance and speed so you can keep an eye on your progress.
Best treadmills in our tests
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Forget the Peloton Tread, the NordicTrack X22i is one of the most impressive home treadmills we’ve tested and it’s packed with smart features that will keep you coming back for more. You are literally spoiled for choice with thousands of motivating on-demand workouts, as well as daily live classes (iFit subscription needed), a cinematic 22” HD touchscreen and a -6 to 15% decline/incline range.
With joint-friendly Reflex Cushioning, a meaty 4CHP (continuous horsepower) motor — which is surprisingly quiet — and seemingly limitless iFit virtual content, you can work your way through studio classes, instructor-led virtual routes and off the treadmill training like Pilates or yoga. The only downside to this we found was the screen is a bit hard to see when you’re not on the treadmill so we had to rely on audio cues to know what to do next. You can tilt the screen slightly, but it would be good if you could angle it into a more practical position.
Another thing worth mentioning: this is a beast of a treadmill and would be better suited to a garage or home gym than the corner of your living room. The plus side of this monster of a treadmill is it has a 22” by 60” belt, so even our tallest tester (6ft 3”) could enjoy a proper run. It’s not cheap either, but it’s definitely one of the best treadmills we’ve ever tried, so if you’ve got the funds, you won’t regret the investment.
There aren't many user reviews of this particular machine, but the ones we've spotted across the internet have been resoundingly positive, with users raving about the many features packed into the machine.
- Read our full NordicTrack X22i review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
A decent treadmill will usually set you back by around $1000, but this budget alternative from Mobvoi is surprisingly powerful and comes in at less than $400. It has a maximum speed of 12km/h, which is ideal if you want to do daily gentle jogs and runs. You can also add or remove the rails on either side of the machine, allowing you to slot it under a desk and use it as a walking treadmill.
At this price, you won't get flashy extras like a dedicated digital running platform with upbeat classes displayed on a HD screen. But there's a handy slot for your tablet or phone at the front of your device, which allows you to watch shows while you workout.
During our testing, we found the belt sturdy and smooth — a lot of cheaper machines tend to 'jerk' at higher speeds, but that wasn't the case here. We were also fairly impressed with the in-built Bluetooth speakers, which allowed us to blast tunes while we ran. If you prefer a quieter session, then the Mobvoi is great too; it was whisper quiet during our testing period.
You can navigate the different controls on the machine using either the LED dashboard or a handy remote. And because it's so compact, it easily slots underneath a sofa or bed for storage.
We did find the belt felt a little thin and it's quite narrow too, but for this price you can't really complain.
Users rated this walking treadmill 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon and praised the model for its great quality, sturdy build, and value for money. Some users were not convinced that the Mobvoi was durable, but these opinions weren’t mirrored by most buyers.
- Read our full Mobvoi Home Treadmill review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
At $1,299, the Echelon Stride isn't exactly cheap — but it's by far our favorite when it comes to balancing a good set of features with a mid-range price tag. It's the ultimate space-savvy machine, with a compact running belt and fully foldable design — ideal for storing under a bed or behind a sofa. And it seems the saying “good things come in small packages” rings true, with the tread delivering an impressive performance on test (in spite of its diminutive dimensions).
It offers speeds of up to 12mph and incline settings as high as 10%. We found the base felt sturdy and secure, with only slight wobbling at the highest paces and gradients, and though it only has a 1.75 horsepower motor the belt moved smoothly with no juddering underfoot.
There is an LED console on the handlebars with several interval sessions of varying difficulty on offer. However, we think it’s well worth investing in the Echelon Fit app which – for a monthly subscription fee – allows you to link the treadmill with your phone or tablet and access a huge selection of engaging classes. During testing, we discovered even those sessions labeled advanced proved on the easier side, but there is a huge selection of on-demand studio classes, live workouts and more to explore.
So, if you’re a running newcomer looking for a compact, affordable option, the Echelon Stride is the best treadmill for you.
The Echelon Stride scores 3.6 out of five stars on Best Buy, with only two reviewers giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews said the treadmill was very easy to set up, quiet and compact. However, negative reviews complain it’s overpriced and the deck is quite hard. One reviewer said: “This is just one step above walking on pavement. I’ve owned $1200 treadmills with great suspension and soft decks so it’s a bit frustrating that it’s like this for the price.”
- Read our full Echelon Stride Auto-fold Treadmill Review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Peloton Tread is a sleek and well-made treadmill that offers a satisfying running experience for all fitness abilities. It comes in Peloton's signature black and red colors and has a striking minimalist design. During testing, we particularly liked the machine's fuss-free touchscreen, which is easy to navigate.
Speed and incline dials are positioned on the handrails, so there is really very little to distract you from that shiny display. It doesn't have any kind of base at the front of the tread, so you can run along its full length—useful if you have a particularly long stride.
The machine doesn’t have quite as many features as we'd like to see at this price point, as it's lacking a decline option or in-built fan, both of which you can find in the slightly cheaper NordicTrack model above. You will also need a Peloton app subscription to access those famous virtual classes. All of that aside, it is a satisfyingly compact, stylish and quiet machine for runners of all ability.
The Peloton Tread scores 4.2 out of five stars on Peloton. Positive reviews praise the choice of workouts, as well as off-treadmill classes, guided runs and the motivational Peloton instructors. Negative reviews wished for a steeper incline option to make workouts more challenging.
- Read our full Peloton Tread review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
ProForm has taken a minimalist approach to design with the ProForm Pro 9000, using a black and silver palette that gives the tread a slick and subtle look. There’s nothing subtle about the size or price tag of this model though, so you’ll need some cash and space to house it.
The 9000 comes complete with inbuilt dual speakers, fans, and iFit capability which provides access to a vast array of workouts and classes from top-notch coaches and trainers in the game. The 22” eye-catching crisp color touchscreen display will certainly suck you in, and with so much workout choice available, this tread can quench the thirst of even the fittest of running fanatics. The speed and incline quick controls are splashed across the dashboard to offer fuss-free on-the-go adjustments, and you can choose between -3% to +12% incline/decline, as well as up to 22 km/h of speed – all of which can be automated by your trainer during workouts.
While this treadmill does offer an immersive training experience, we found some of the tech tricky to master when we tried it out. There are a couple of tech fixes that could make this model more competitive for the top spot, especially when pitched against models like the NordicTrack X22i.
There aren’t many reviews available for the ProForm Pro 9000, as it's relatively new. But a few happy reviewers on the ProForm site have commended the machine for its usability, its large display and the fun mix of classes.
- Read our full ProForm Premier 9000 review
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The LifeSpan Fitness Treadmill TR3000i has everything a traditional treadmill should. We found it benefits from a stable, cushioned running deck, a maximum speed of 12mph and incline settings up to 15%. Yet, with the multitude of mod cons crammed into newer running machines, its traditional approach struggles to keep pace with its smarter competitors.
The 7in touchscreen feels tiny and, while it’s fairly responsive, the display is a bit grainy. It feels wholly unnecessary too, as the machine only has a scattering of preset programs to choose from – a figure that pales in comparison to the thousands of live and on-demand classes on offer from the likes of the Peloton Tread and NordicTrack X22i.
It took us almost an hour to set up, with the upright handles needing screwing into place and the monitor requiring an overcomplicated (not to mention fiddly) wire-matching exercise before it would work. Yet it costs over $1,000USD, meaning you’re still spending a considerable chunk of money on a treadmill that lacks the innovations of other modern models.
Seasoned runners may appreciate the simplicity as, once the treadmill is set up, a quick start session allows you to get running with minimal fuss, adjusting your incline and speed settings as you go. But anyone looking for a piece of fitness kit to transform their home workouts will be better served elsewhere.
The Lifespan TR3000i gets lots of five star reviews on Lifespan with fans praising it for its excellent cushioning, perfect size and easy assembly. Negative reviews cited issues with it being very heavy, and that the display doesn’t show pace. One reviewer said: “The console is pretty simple and doesn’t have an overabundance of features.”
- Read our full Lifespan TR3000i Folding Treadmill review
How we test treadmills at Live Science
We tested all treadmills in our purpose-built testing center (with the exception of Mobvoi, which was tested out at home) completing a longer run, an intense shorter session, and (where applicable) several workout classes on each machine. We also checked any claims made by brands, including the machines’ functionality at their maximum speed and incline settings, before awarding each one a score out of five for the following categories:
- Set-up and usability
- Design and display
- Value for money
These figures were used to calculate a final score out of five, and decide which running machines made our roundup of the best treadmills.
Are treadmill calorie counters accurate?
Even the most budget-friendly treadmills provide useful data to track performance and progress, from distance traveled to average pace. You’ll also be able to see the number of calories burned during a session, but are treadmill calorie counters accurate?
Put simply, not quite. Treadmill calorie counters are only really estimating your total calorie burn and the number quoted is most likely to be inaccurate, because it doesn’t take into account the multiple variables that affect its total — including age, gender, height, body composition and fitness level.
But don’t despair, as what the calorie estimate is useful for is indicating the overall intensity of your session.
“Having a general sense of calories burned is always better than nothing,” exercise physiologist Bianca Grover told Live Science. Some treadmills may ask you to put in personal details such as age, weight and height before you start, and this is likely to improve how accurate they are.
“They don’t have pinpoint accuracy,” says Grover, “but they are likely closer than those that don’t take this information into account.”
Do treadmills help you lose weight?
Weight loss is a common goal for those taking up treadmill running, and using a running machine can help in this process thanks to its calorie burning credentials.
“Because treadmill exercises – like any physical activity – require you to burn calories, this can help contribute to your desired daily calorie deficit,” Grover says.
However, if you’re looking to decrease your body fat percentage, she advises addressing several other factors alongside upping the amount you’re exercising.
“Treadmills can certainly help you lose weight, but they are only one factor in the equation. If you are looking to lose weight, you must be at a consistent caloric deficit, meaning you must burn more calories than you are taking in.”
Grover recommends “a safe caloric deficit” of between 200 and 500 calories (per day), with a general goal of losing one or two pounds per week. This will enable your body to slowly lose weight without starving it.
Are treadmill distances accurate?
As treadmill manufacturers are aware of the length of their running belt and the speed at which it is moving, distance-trackers on these machines should be able to provide a good level of accuracy.
“It likely depends on the treadmill, but (in general) they are quite accurate,” says Grover, adding: “Keep in mind that they will certainly feel different than running outside or on a track. Treadmills usually impact things such as length of stride and consistency of terrain.”
Does a treadmill build muscle?
If you want to take a closer look at this query, our feature on, “Does running build muscle?” should have all the answers you need.
A 2015 study published in Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews concluded that aerobic exercise (like rowing, cycling or running on a treadmill at a moderate speed) “should be acknowledged to increase skeletal muscle mass and be considered an effective countermeasure for muscle loss with advancing age”.
(All the more reason to invest in a pair of the best running shoes for supination.)
But, while running can increase skeletal muscle mass to some extent and prevent muscle loss, it can’t be used to pack on significant slabs of muscle. If muscle gain (or hypertrophy) is your goal, and you’re less concerned about the working your cardiovascular system, then strength exercises should be your first port of call.
We prescribe hitting the weights (like some of the best adjustable dumbbells) and following a program that takes advantage of the progressive overload principle.
What is a good treadmill size?
Treadmill size will depend on the space you have available in your home — there is no point buying a machine that is going to be cumbersome and difficult to move around if you don’t have the space for it. A folding treadmill may be a good option if you need to pack the treadmill away after your workout.
Your height and stride length will determine the belt length and width you need, as will the type of workouts you wish to undertake. Keep in mind that the required running space, which you can work out via the treadmill belt size, can also impact the overall footprint of the treadmill. A 22 inch wide belt is usually sufficient for runners, whilst walkers can get away with a 20 inch. If you are over six feet tall, then you’ll want a 60 inch length belt, but if you are under six feet then 55 inch is long enough. If you will be walking exclusively, then a 50 inch belt length is suitable.
What does treadmill warranty cover?
Treadmill warranty will vary depending on the model, but a boilerplate warranty will offer different periods of cover for different parts of the machine: frame, motor, parts and labor. For instance, NordicTrack treadmills offer a 10-year warranty on the frame, but some brands offer a lifetime warranty on the frame.
Treadmill warranties are designed to cover manufacturing defects, as well as potential wear and tear on the machine over time. You should ideally look for frame warranties that are 10+ years, motor warranties that are 5 to 10+ years and parts and electronics that are 1 to 3+ years. Most companies will also have a labor warranty lasting 90 days to 2 years, which covers the cost of the repairman if the machine breaks down in that time.
Some brands, like NordicTrack and Proform, have clauses that say storing your treadmill in a garage will void the warranty, as it is potentially exposed to damage in this space. You might also want to consider that a cheaper treadmill may be constructed from lower quality materials, so you’ll want to be sure that the warranty is good.
Bianca Grover is a certified exercise physiologist, medical exercise specialist and personal trainer. She holds several certifications and specializations from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association. Her specialities include functional training, strength training and orthapedic considerations.
Live Science newsletter
Stay up to date on the latest science news by signing up for our Essentials newsletter.
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.
- Lou MudgeHealth Writer