If you’re serious about working out and have the space (and budget) for a home gym, you’ve probably considered buying a treadmill. Aside from making it easy to squeeze in a morning jog without having to leave your house, many treadmills are programmed with interactive workouts — not to mention virtual-class programs. But just as when investing in any major item of furniture or large appliance, there are plenty of factors to consider when buying an at-home treadmill. Price, for one, and — especially for city dwellers — space. Luckily, there are a lot of options out there, and, as New York–based personal trainer Miriam Fried points out, “many treadmills fold in half, which makes them easier and more functional for home gyms with less space.”
To find the best treadmills for working out at home, we asked Fried, along with three other fitness coaches, for their picks. Read on for all of their recommendations, which include treadmills from a classic fitness brand you might recognize from your actual gym, one that will make you feel like you’re running outside, and even a model that doesn’t use electricity.
Best overall at-home treadmill
The majority of the trainers we talked to named NordicTrack as a trusted and reliable brand. “My mom has used her NordicTrack for years!” says Amanda Tress, CEO and founder of FASTer Way to Fat Loss. “It’s a trusted brand that many people know and love.” Ava Fagin, a personal trainer and functional-strength coach, seconds that and says the machines offer “good cushioning, and many models come with built-in workouts.” She recommends the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 (her sister happens to have just bought one), which comes with built-in workouts like incline training as well as live interactive programs where trainers can control your speed and incline. It also costs less than $2,000 — a good ceiling if you’re buying your first at-home treadmill, according to Fagin. “My advice for someone just starting to run is to not spend much more than that,” she says. Fried also recommended the 1750 model, telling us that when it comes to what’s important for an at-home treadmill, it ticks all the boxes: It folds in half, making it easier to store in a smaller space, and has a good range of maximum speeds and maximum inclines. “You’ll want something that ideally goes above 10 mph and a 10 percent incline, especially if you have more-specific fitness goals in mind,” she explains. David Roche, coach and founder of the Swap running team and co-author of The Happy Runner, is also a fan of these treadmills. He says they’re “super-stable and give you everything you need for home workouts.”
If you have a bigger budget for a treadmill, Fried also likes the NordicTrack Commercial x22i Incline (it has “more spice,” she says), while Tress suggests the NordicTrack 2950, which “comes with lots of bells and whistles.” Even the cheaper of those two models is a whopping $1,000 more than the Commercial 1750, however.
Best eco-friendly at-home treadmill
If you want an intense at-home workout that won’t ramp up your electricity bill, you could try the Assault Fitness Air Runner. This one comes recommended by Ben Unger, a personal trainer and nutrition coach based in New York. “There are tremendous benefits with using this treadmill,” Unger told us. “The runner uses all of his or her energy to power the treadmill, which means way more calories are burned than on an electric treadmill in the same amount of time. It also saves on energy costs and is really good for the environment.” This one doesn’t have a maximum speed, so you can run as fast as you want, and it’s particularly lightweight — the manufacturers claim it’s the lightest treadmill with a 33-inch belt on the market.
Best at-home treadmill for simulating outdoor runs
Tress told us this treadmill “mimics outdoor running with lower impact than traditional treadmills.” The feeling of running outside comes from the slatted texture of the machine’s belt — a design that Woodway has patented and which is meant to reduce shock on joints and muscles when you run. Brenda Greene, a designer at the running clothes brand Tracksmith, explains that the Woodway “feels more like you are running on an actual surface, and not a belt. So less like the belt could slip or like the belt is moving you.” And thanks to the color touchscreen LCD display, Tress says this would also be a good treadmill for getting in some sprints while binge-watching Netflix, something you can’t do with the other models on this list. Gerren Liles, a fitness trainer at Equinox, also says he’s a “huge fan” of Woodway treadmills, and trainer and coach Elizabeth Corkum tells us it’s “the only treadmill I’d recommend.” It’s the same treadmill you’ll find at high-end studios like Equinox’s Precision Run. Or Artzi, a trainer and Precision Run coach, says she’s “obsessed with [the Woodway] and just really, really loving it.”
Note: Delivery time is up to six weeks.
If the 4Front is outside your budget, Woodway also makes a non-motorized treadmill (like the Assault Fitness Air Runner above) called the Curve that features the same slatted surface but costs nearly half as much. “Because of the shape of the belt, it forces a runner to really engage their core, glutes and hamstrings in a way a regular treadmill doesn’t,” says Corkum. She explains that runners should always be engaging these muscles, so the Curve may be a good option for perfecting your form when you can’t run outside.
Note: Delivery time starts at two weeks.
Best under-desk treadmill
If you plan on using your treadmill mostly for walking, an under-desk model is a solid space- and money-saving option. These treadmills are the size of yoga mats and are much quieter than full-size versions. Strategist contributor Brittany Brown, looking to squeeze in some exercise during her work-from-home days, tried out three under-desk treadmills (walking on them several hours per day each week); she called the Treadly 2 Pro the best one if you care about performance. With the attached handrail up, it reaches a maximum speed of five miles per hour (which you can certainly jog at), and without the handrail, the maximum is 3.7 mph, or a brisk walk. Compared with other under-desk treadmills she tried, Brown says, “the Treadly allows you to increase speed in increments of .1 mph, giving you more precision. And there’s no auto-shut-off feature, so you can walk (or jog) for as long as you want.” She also likes the associated app, which lets you walk with a friend via video chat or turn on “coach mode” to have a coach set your pace.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included the Peloton Tread+ and Tread. Both have since been recalled by the CPSC and Peloton. If you already own either, the CPSC recommends that you immediately stop using it and contact Peloton for a full refund.
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