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Treadmill buying guide: Everything you need to know

Bowflex Treadmill 22
Woman jogging on treadmill Bowflex

If you're building out your home gym, you're likely in the market for a good treadmill. But with so many options to choose from, where do you begin when it comes to picking out the best one? We spoke with fitness experts to help. Thanks to their help, our own research, and verified reviews, you can shop some of the best treadmills ahead.

But before you get to comparing features and prices, there's an even bigger factor to consider: the space you have available.

"You will need head clearance in addition to floor footprint," says personal trainer, nutrition specialist and "American Ninja Warrior" contestant Julie Lohre. "You want an additional cushion of 2 feet in either direction. 

"If space is at a premium, you can get a treadmill that is a bit smaller, or possibly one that will fold up to be stored out of the way." 

"For headspace," Lohre says, "consider who the tallest person using the treadmill will be, and aim for 10 to 12 inches above that, taking into account the loft of the base. That extra foot will give you room to run and bound without hitting your head on the ceiling."

Great treadmills to buy

Once you have an idea of what will fit where in your home gym, living room or home office, it's time to start comparing workout equipment. Check out the best treadmills worth investing in below.  

Check out these reviewer-loved and expert-recommended treadmills from BowflexEchelon and more brands.

Best monitor: Bowflex Treadmill 10

Bowflex treadmills: Save up to $500
Bowflex Treadmill 10 Bowflex

"If you are looking for a treadmill that can help you take your running to the next level, the Bowflex line of treadmills' sturdy design and excellent tech deck are a great fit," certified personal trainer and studio owner Lauren George told CBS Essentials. "The longer, cushioned belt is ideal for heavier mileage."

Bowflex treadmills boast motorized incline ranges from -5% to 20% for your cardio session, plus Comfort Tech deck cushioning -- said to provide soft landings and decent spring. The brand also has SoftDrop folding systems for easy storage, and Bluetooth capabilities. Plus, they come with a one-year JRNY membership ($149 value), which grants you access to the JRNY app, featuring a wide range of fitness classes taught by world-class trainers. 

"One feature that the Bowflex JRNY offers that is above and beyond other workout platforms is that it adapts with you as you progress," George says. "The app suggests different workouts as your fitness improves."

The Bowflex T10 is a crowning achievement of Bowflex treadmills. In addition to a 10-inch HD touchscreen and comfort tech deck cushioning, this treadmill has a speed capacity of up to 12 mph and an incline range of -5 to 15%. 

Bowflex Treadmill 10, $2,300

Most durable: Echelon Stride Treadmill


This 4.3-star-rated Echelon Stride Treadmill features a 20-inch-by-55-inch deck, a 10% maximum incline and a maximum speed of 12 mph. Heart-rate sensors are conveniently integrated into the handlebars. 

This impressively designed piece of home gym equipment includes a 30-day free trial to Echelon Premiere, which offers access to -- not a misprint -- 3,000 live and on-demand classes by fitness professionals.

Sara Dimmick, a certified personal trainer, running coach and founder of the Physical Equilibrium fitness boutique, told CBS Essentials that durable Echelon treadmills may be ideal for heavier individuals versus more affordable counterparts; this Echelon treadmill has a weight limit of 300 pounds.

Echelon Stride Treadmill, $1,300

Most affordable: Redliro Under-Desk Treadmill


Consider this under-desk treadmill if you work from home and want to get more movement into your daily routine. This motorized walking and jogging treadmill offers 12 preset exercise modes, as well as the option to manually adjust the setting for your perfect workout. 

This treadmill can work with the attached foldable arm rails up or down, which means this baby could easily fit under a standing desk. The portability, combined with a very reasonable price point, makes this a great purchase for anyone scouring the internet for treadmills. 

Redliro under-Desk Treadmill, $266 after coupon (reduced from $470)

Easiest to store: WalkingPad C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill


Do you work from home and don't have a ton of space? This mini walking treadmill is the perfect size to slide under a standing desk. When it's not in use, this fitness machine can be folded to almost half its size for easy storage, so it's the best treadmill for a small space. Choose from five colors.

"If your goal is to up your daily step count without compromising your house décor, the compact WalkingPad is an excellent option!" George says. "You can fit it under a standing desk to accrue more steps while answering emails, or hop on for a stroll while watching TV. The belt is also designed for maximum cushion and comfort."

WalkingPad C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill, $450 with code WPBTSchool (reduced from $600)

Above-average weight capacity: Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 Walking Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 walking treadmill

The T7643 walking treadmill by Sunny Health & Fitness would make an excellent addition to your home gym. The treadmill boasts a 19.5-inch-wide surface for walking or running and an above-average weight capacity of 350 pounds. It's equipped with two bottle holders and a space for your tablet or phone.

A good fit for speed walkers and light joggers, the T7643 walking treadmill can reach speeds up to 6 mph. The built-in digital monitor displays your burned calories, speed and distance covered while working out. This piece of home gym equipment's deck can be folded into the frame. Plus, it's often on sale.

Sunny Health & Fitness T7643 Walking Treadmill, $550 (reduced from $770)

Space-saving: Goplus 2-in-1 Superfit Folding Treadmill

Goplus 2 in 1 folding treadmill

The 2-in-1 Superfit treadmill can be used as a traditional treadmill -- capable of reaching speeds of up to 7.5 mph -- or folded down and used as a walking treadmill that will max out at 2.5 mph. The sturdy frame and shock-absorbing, multi-layer design will keep your workout quiet and comfortable.

This piece of home gym equipment would make a great addition to any home office for the remote worker trying to get in their steps between (or even during) meetings. Just add a standing desk into the mix, and you're good to go.

It's available in seven colors. Prices vary by color. The price listed below is for the blue model.

Goplus 2-in-1 Superfit Folding Treadmill (blue), $280 with coupon (reduced from $500)

Easy to assemble: Runow Folding Treadmill

RUNOW Folding Treadmill

This folding treadmill has three incline options and an LED monitor that tracks your speed, distance, calories burned, time and pulse while working out. This piece of gym equipment has a shock-absorbing system that protects your knees and ankles and takes only 15 minutes to assemble.

Runow folding treadmill, $459 (reduced from $700)

How to choose the best treadmill for you

"Will you be using it mainly for walking or to train for a marathon?" George asks. "You get what you pay for with treadmills, so if you are going to be logging a lot of running miles, you definitely want to opt for a treadmill that is designed for higher use. A treadmill with a larger motor and a sturdier frame will hold up for longer and give you a better running experience. 

"You also want to look for a treadmill with a larger belt to accommodate a longer stride. Ideally, look for a belt 60 or more inches long and 20 or more inches wide."

Naturally, there's the classic treadmill for your home gym, but then there are also treadmills for other needs. If you live in a small space, try a foldable walking treadmill that you can tuck away. If you want to stay active while working, check out an under-desk treadmill. 

Other factors to consider are a treadmill's weight limit, whether or not it has an incline option and its maximum speed. Also consider whether you want a basic treadmill experience or you want one that pairs with an app for fitness classes. Some treadmills accommodate tablets while others don't.

Finally, consider the treadmill's shock absorption. Treadmills that absorb more shock can be better for your joints, but they might not be necessary for everyone.

"If you are someone who usually runs outside and you just want a treadmill to be inside for the cold or bad weather, it probably doesn't matter that much since you are used to running outdoors and have that joint durability built up," Dimmick says.

How we chose these treadmills

We went off of shopper reviews and fitness expert advice to pick the recommended treadmills below. We chose treadmills for a variety of needs and budgets. Take a look at the main factors we considered below:

  • Treadmill features: Whether you're looking for a flashy new monitor to track those precious workout stats or want something with above-average weight capacity, we made sure to have a treadmill for you.
  • Portability: Unless your home gym is huge or you live in a mansion, you probably need a good space-saving treadmill that's easily moved or stored away. We have your back here as well. 
  • Customer reviews: We made sure to highlight treadmills with 4-star reviews or higher.
  • Expert feedback: Only after chatting with health and fitness experts did we finalize our picks for the best treadmills.

Read more about how we review products

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