As the weather turns colder, running outdoors is becoming more of a pain, while the safety of going to the gym — if it’s even open — is questionable at best. Either way, cardio can be tough with a mask on. So, if you love to run, you’re probably already considering picking up a treadmill for your home to stay on track with your running goals and keep you sane during a pandemic winter.
Shopping for a treadmill isn’t the easiest thing, so let’s break it down. There are generally two types of treadmills: The most common type of treadmill is a motorized one. Like the ones you see at the gym, these have — you guessed it — a motor, and you can set the speed at which it moves the tread. A lot of motorized treadmills are specifically made for at-home use and fold away for easy storage. Many also have bells and whistles, such as heart-rate tracking, easy speed-switching buttons, mileage tracker, and more.
There are also manual treadmills, which have no motor: You have to use your power to turn the tread yourself. These can be notoriously difficult and should really only be used if you’re an elite athlete looking to build power — not necessarily an everyday runner.
If you’re not an elite athlete (yet), you’ll probably want a motorized treadmill with some data tracking that fits inside your space and fits your needs.
The Best Budget Treadmill
For a solid treadmill at a low-low price, you can’t beat the Horizon. The tread has variable-response cushioning, giving you an easier run, and the whole treadmill folds up (not necessarily easily, though) so you can fit it in a closet. When it comes to customizability, the treadmill has 10 speed keys and 10 incline keys for quick switches.
The Best Treadmill for Serious Runners
If you’re serious about your mileage, you shouldn’t settle on anything less than the best. The NordicTrack 1750 is just that: dozens of buttons to switch speed and incline, in-depth statistics on your speed, elevation, heart rate, and intensity, and the big kicker—iFit. That’s interactive personal training, where coaches will guide you through a group fitness workout from the comfort of home.
The Best Treadmill for New Runners
If you’re new to running, you don’t want to necessarily over-commit with a big treadmill splurge. The Fitness Avenue tread is a great place to start your journey—not too expensive, but has the bells and whistles you need, such as a few preset programs, incline levels, and a max speed of 7.5 miles per hour. Its digital display calculates speed, time, and distance in big numbers, so you can get a quick snapshot of where you’re at whenever you need it.
The Best Treadmill for Small Spaces
This pint-sized treadmill packs serious power, with a 51-inch long tread that still can go up to 8 miles per hour. It even has built-in speakers and an AUX cable that lets you play your music out loud while you run. At beyond a reasonable price, it’s a reasonable treadmill to keep you moving in a small room.
The Best Treadmill for Dataheads
When it comes to tracking your data, be it mileage, heart rate, what have you, the Nautilus has pretty much everything. It comes with 26 pre-loaded performance programs that help you maximize your workouts and the free Explore the World app, which takes you on runs through the Scottish Highlands, among other hot spots. Bluetooth connectivity means you can sync all your data with your phone or Apple Watch.
The Best Treadmill for Walkers
If you just need to move around a little when you’re working from home, the Goplus tread is your answer. It has a unique folding design that lets you store it easily and toggle between functions: If the riser is down, you can have a brisk walk, and if it’s up, a jog. An LED screen on the front of it lets you know your time and distance, even when the riser is down. Place it under a standing desk to supe up your work-from-home days.
The Best Treadmill If Money Is No Object
It’s certainly not the most budget-friendly option, but if you want your home gym to feel like, well, a gym, then the Landice L7 is your treadmill. With speeds from 0.5 to 12 miles per hour, 15% grade elevation, a large 58-inch long running area, and a 1000-pound thrust motor, it’s obviously gym quality. But it’s the 4-horsepower motor that makes it really stand out for its quietness and its quality. Plus, with a hardy aluminum frame, this treadmill should last you a lifetime.
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