The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill is our best treadmill, which has a soft drop system for its portability as a foldable treadmill. It also has a holder for your phone or tablet for reading, watching movies, listening to music and the like. It easily controls your speed with the handrail controls and automatically saves your data when you stop the machine.
Our step-up pick is the NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill and this treadmill has 20 preset workouts and uses a 2.6 continuous HP system for adding more power and intensity for longer periods of time. The backlit display makes it easy to read the text and the flex select cushioned deck does not add too much impact on your joints.
The budget pick is the Merax JK1603E Easy Assembly Electric Treadmill and the deck cushion is good for your knee joints and makes workout on the treadmill much more bearable. The folding design makes it easy to take outdoors. It has a running surface of 14 x 44 inches and has a top speed of 6.2 miles per hour.
Table of Contents
- A Little Background
- How we picked
- Our pick
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
- Step-up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Best Treadmill that is Foldable
- Best Treadmill for Heavy Users
- Best Treadmill that has a Compact Design
- Best Treadmill for Home Use
- Best Treadmill for Running and Jogging
- Best Treadmill for Walking
- Best Treadmill that has an Under Desk Design
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping it up
A Little Background
A treadmill is a higher impact exercise which simulates running outdoors but set in a safer indoor area. The treadmill is a machine that lets you run or walk in place without going anywhere and is one of the most popular gym and fitness exercise machines you can find in the world today. Nearly all gyms have at least one or two treadmills in their setup.
Treadmills can be used by anyone indoors so it is a good workout even when it is raining outside or snowing outdoors. Treadmills can be used by anyone for as long as they have an instructor who will help them operate the machine. Beginners can find a treadmill too hard because of the uncontrollable speed of walking that might cause muscle pains later on so they should take it easy and have an instructor around for safety purposes.
Treadmills also have the option to go on inclined mode. This lets you simulate running towards the hills. The incline of the treadmill is helpful for building up intensity for your training so that you can maximize your workout. You can also select your desired speed of the belt so that you do not have to work too hard in a certain speed to travel in a stationary distance. The treadmill’s design lets you work out at your own pace.
Do remember that not everyone can find the treadmill an easy exercise at first sight. While walking casually or light jogging and running is something that can be attained by anyone, a treadmill may be more suitable to advanced users because of the way it might tire you out if you are not used to the speed of a treadmill.
Remember that running is an endurance sport so it may not be easy for beginners or those who were not physically active beforehand. Therefore, it is important to warm up a bit first before you go with a treadmill to avoid injuries and the like.
A good exercise equipment to use before moving on to the treadmill would be the trampoline and rebounder because both of them can help you lose more fat and gain more endurance so that you do not have to catch your breath all the time.
In addition to that, lightly walking outside before you go on a treadmill can help as well. Other exercise machines that you can use aside from the treadmill include the elliptical machine, the rowing machine and the recumbent bike. These workout machines do not impact your joint too much.
Another word of advice when you want to try the treadmill is that you should consider its intensity and possible impact to your knees. If you are a person who often gets bad knees or are recovering from knee injuries and the like then you should begin with warming up first or try lower impact exercises instead to avoid worsening your injury in the long run.
Likewise, you can also try the lowest setting for the treadmill in order not to strain yourself and then gradually increase this number as you get better in the treadmill. Otherwise, you can just stick to lower impact machines instead.
How We Picked
For you to choose the best treadmill, you should know the following details:
Incline option: a treadmill should have an incline option to simulate running, walking or jogging towards the hills. This ensures that you get a good intensity workout when you go on a treadmill. The incline option should also be turned off when not needed, such as for beginners.
Speed settings: a good treadmill should have really in depth speed settings so that you can be able to set the right level of intensity for your training program.
Manual or electric: some treadmills are manual but some are electric powered for your needs. The most common types of treadmills are the electric ones because they are easy to operate and are more challenging because you can set the speed. However, they are ideal for professionals since too much automatic speed can potentially injure your legs and other muscles of the body.
Home or commercial gym use: do consider if your treadmill will be for home or commercial use. A treadmill that is meant for home use will usually be smaller compared to one that is ideally used in a gym or for commercial purposes. What’s more, commercial or gym use treadmills also have more features than your average home treadmill.
Mobility (wheels) for transport: some treadmills do have wheels to make them easier to move around. The wheels are helpful if you do not always have enough space at home to constantly place your treadmill.
Walking or running: some treadmills are well designed for running while some are more ideal for walking based on its functionality. Do pick a treadmill that will fit your style, as treadmills that are meant for running can be more ideal for professionals or for seasoned athletes and gym goers.
Price: the price of a treadmill is usually high but it depends on its features. You should be able to get more features for the cost by looking at its stats before you go and buy one.
Warranty policy and durability of the belt: most warranty policies of treadmills cover the belt but separately from the other parts and labor of the treadmill itself. Usually, higher priced treadmills have better warranty policies.
Its maximum speed is up to 9 miles per hour so it is a great cardio workout at home. There are also transport wheels to make this treadmill easy to move across the room.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
While not a deal breaker, the Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill can tend to have some very slight cosmetic blemishes or defects in some parts but this is minor and does not affect the overall performance of the treadmill (and it is workable anyway).
You can also integrate this treadmill with other apps as well as use Google Maps to get authentic training routes and download them onto your machine. It has a 25 year warranty for the motor and 1 year for the parts and labor (lifetime for the frame).
It has 3 incline positions, an easy to use interface and a weight capacity of up to 220 lbs per person. It is backed by a 1 year warranty for the motor and frame.
Best Treadmill that is Foldable
There are wheels under this treadmill to allow it to easily move from one place to another. There is a self-lubrication method to reduce on maintenance. It has 3 years warranty for the motor and 2 years for the frame.
Best Treadmill for Heavy Users
The treadmill is ideal for walking and can be okay for up to 400 pounds per person when it comes to weight. At 1.5 hp, it is backed by a warranty of 1 year for the frame and 5 years for the motor.
Best Treadmill that has a Compact Design
The walking belt measures 16 x 50 inches while its incline has two positions. The large LCD screen helps you track your statistics during every workout.
Best Treadmill for Home Use
With a slim and space saving design, it also has a standard belt size of 16 x 50 inches. It is great for cardiovascular workouts and can reach up to 10 miles per hour in speed.
Best Treadmill for Running and Jogging
The incline design is adjustable and the design is a space saver as well. The backlit display makes it easy to navigate through your running or walking stats. The belt measures 16 x 50 inches as well.
Best Treadmill for Walking
Perfect for office use, it allows you to walk while you work and gives you ample walking room in the process. You can burn more calories with a compact treadmill like this with you while at work.
Best Treadmill that has an Under Desk Design
It can go for up to 4 miles per hour and has a warranty of 1 year for labor, 2 years for the parts and 3 years for the motor.
Other treadmills did not make it to our list because they were not durable enough and there were not enough features and settings to say about these treadmills. Most of them also did not have a good warranty policy about the belt.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do people use a treadmill?
A: The treadmill is perhaps the most mainstream of all gym equipment and exercise machines that you can see in a gym that pertain to fitness. It is the most widely accepted form of indoor exercise for most people and can be found on nearly any gym out there. Here are the key uses of a treadmill:
Treadmills are useful when it’s raining, snowing, storming or cold outside and you want to work out. One of the best reasons to own a treadmill is that it can help you exercise even when you are indoors. This is highly important for those countries that often have snowy weather, stormy weather or rainy weather and they are stuck in their apartment or home. This is where an indoor treadmill can come in handy for workout purposes.
A treadmill can let you run faster than you normally would outside due to the lack of obstacles. Unlike in running or jogging outdoors, the treadmill lets you run up to 12 miles per hour and not worry about bumping into another person or watching out for traffic. You can train for the great outdoors even when you are just at home in your treadmill while it’s really chaotic outside and full of hindrances.
Treadmills can be used at home or in an apartment due to their compact design. The treadmills of today are slimmer and more compact and some can even be folded so that you can be able to fold them back into the storage area. This is helpful if you live in an apartment or a small home that does not have a lot of space for exercise equipment and machines for fitness.
A treadmill is helpful for strength and endurance training. One of the key reasons why people use the treadmill is that they want to build strength, especially for athletes who want to train hard for an even. Whether you are an athlete or just a regular person who wants to improve your strength and your endurance, the treadmill can be of good use for you because of its physical benefits.
You can build muscles with a treadmill due to the lower body workout. A treadmill is good for muscle building for your lower body so it is ideal for those who want to tone their calves, thighs, buttock muscles, hamstrings and the like. The treadmill is a good muscle toning exercise equipment at the gym or even on the comfort of your home.
Running on a treadmill, of course, burns a lot of fat and calories. As we have all seen on TV and in popular media, the treadmill is a great and ideal way to push yourself to the limits even when you are indoors so you can burn more fat and calories as you go with the treadmill. It is capable of letting you run at a higher pace than you usually do.
You can do other things while on a treadmill, like listen to music or read a good book or watch a movie or TV series. There are so many benefits that you can get from an indoor treadmill because it is capable of helping you run or jog even when you are at the comfort of your home. These activities while running on a treadmill can help motivate you or help to pass time by while you are working out.
Heart health is one of the key benefits of using a treadmill. Frequently running even when you are indoors is crucial to your health because it puts you at lesser risks for illnesses and other problems such as heart diseases. Your cardiovascular system is at work when you do the treadmill a lot of times in a month because it helps your heart brace itself for endurance and impact.
You also gain more bone strength with the frequent use of a treadmill. Treadmills are beneficial for our bones as a higher impact exercise so it is good for those who want to build strength and reduce the risks of osteoporosis later in life.
There’s no chance of getting lost in the wilderness or getting into trouble outdoors while jogging when you’re just at home running on a treadmill. Unlike when you are running outdoors, the treadmill can be a great companion indoors without getting you into trouble such as waking up neighborhood dogs or getting lost in the forest when you go for a morning jog.
Q: What are the main differences between the treadmill that runs manually and one that is electric powered?
A: There are two types of treadmills : the manual and the electric one. These are the key differences of the two types of treadmills so that you know which one to use or to invest in:
|Criteria||Manual treadmill||Electric treadmill|
|Price||The manual treadmill is always cheaper because you have no motor to run and to upkeep.||The electric treadmill is the more expensive one because you need a motor to run it.|
|Space taken or footprint||A manual treadmill always takes more or less a lower footprint or space required in comparison to the electric treadmill due to the small and slim design of the mechanism.||Electric treadmills are bulkier in general because they have an electric nature and thus require a motor and a housing to complete its design.|
|Purpose||A manual treadmill is ideal for walking, brisk walking and for beginners.||An electric treadmill is ideal for running, jogging and athletic speed training.|
|Mobility||The manual treadmill is easier to move because of its lighter weight.||The electric treadmill is more difficult to move due to its heavy weight.|
Q: What are some concerns with treadmills?
A: The treadmill may be a beneficial exercise equipment for most people, but here are some small cons to consider:
Most treadmills, especially electric ones, are really expensive. The treadmill can cost up to $2,000 depending on the model, although there are cheaper ones that are about $500 to $1,000 but have limited features and limited durability as well. If your money isn’t really an issue then treadmills are pretty okay to have, if you really like running in the same place for strength training.
Treadmills can be bulky depending on whether they are electric or manual. Because of the motored design of the treadmill, they will be very hard to lift or move around, hence they require a lot of strength to set up at first. This can be frustrating if you want to set up your own home gym.
Treadmills can get boring over time because they are only limited to lower body exercises like running and walking. Because the treadmill is only capable of letting you walk or run as fast as you can, if you don’t add variation to your running or walking then you will eventually leave it in the dust.
Most treadmill motors can be noisy and can interfere with your Netflix movie marathon. If you are a person who would always read a good book or watch a good movie while using the treadmill then the noise can interfere with your treadmill running session. The same is true if you enjoy adding sounds to your workout – the noise will probably blur out your favorite song.
Because treadmills run on a motor, they can be bulky and are not ideal for small homes. Most electric treadmills that run on motors do not have the option to be folded, hence they are not very good if you only live in a small apartment or space. Hence, this is why you will only mostly find a treadmill in the gym and not in most homes due to their really large space requirements.
Because a treadmill is ideal only for high intensity impact exercise and training, it is not the best for those with hip, back, ankle and knee problems. As we mentioned above, people who want to use the treadmill need to watch for signs of injury and potential knee problems, as using a treadmill can potentially have some impact on your knees.
As most treadmills are electric powered, maintenance is also a problem and requires someone knowledgeable to repair it. Therefore, make sure that the treadmill has a manufacturer that covers the labor and parts for the warranty policy.
Q: What is HIIT? What do I need to consider when doing HIIT on the treadmill?
A: A HIIT or high intensity interval training is a kind of workout that is meant for really maximizing all of your power to add more endurance and strength for your body and well-being. High intensity interval training is one of the commonly done training programs on a treadmill.
However, you need to take care and don’t spend too much time on HIIT if you can’t perform it for longer periods of time. Here are tips to keep safe with treadmills during high intensity interval training:
Make sure you get enough recovery time. To know how much rest you need, make sure you know the intensity of your treadmill run. If you increase the intensity then you also need to decrease the time you need to spend on the treadmill. For example, if you run with really high settings then that shortens the time you actually need to work out. This is so that you do not have to strain yourself with too much pressure.
Exercise with a good amount of time and not too long. Don’t go to the point that your treadmill running is ruining your daily lifestyle such as your work, school or hanging out with family and friends. Treadmill time should be at least 20 minutes long and going more than that means you are probably an athlete training for the Olympics.
Use a low-high-low intensity method if you can’t go through high intensity all the time. Not everyone has the equal strength of an expert and everyone begins somewhere, so it is good to use high and low interval trainings for your treadmill so as not to get bored with running or walking and not to get tired too easily.
Q: What common programs on the treadmill can I make use of?
The common preset programs that you can use on the treadmill are the following:
Interval training is a favorite for most people because it lets you switch between two speeds so as not to get tired too often. You can switch between a slower and a faster speed so you can keep on working out even when you’re tired for higher speeds.
The cardiovascular mode is a setting that helps you get in the right heart rate, which is about 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. It is important if you want to get the right intensity of exercise and speed depending on your heart rate, age and other factors.
The 5K run is another common program on the treadmill which simulates a 5K run in real life – but in a treadmill. It is useful for actually training for a 5K run, especially if your company or school offers one of those marathons for a cause or fun runs.
The fat burning zone is much more powerful than the cardiovascular setting, as the speed is adjusted automatically so you can reach from 80 to 85 percent of your max heart rate. This is ideal if you really want to work up a lot of sweat and vigorously run to push your limits.
The fitness test is a heart rate monitor test that also measures your different health aspects, and is also found on other gym exercise machines.
The incline options can come in either Alpine pass or random hill. The incline options simulate actually climbing on a hill or steep area. The random hill does what it says – give you a random hill course and random speed so you need to brace yourself. The Alpine pass is more intended for experts because of the higher and higher increase of the uphill incline (and then downhill), which can be challenging for beginners.
Q: What are the common parts of the treadmill and their typical sizes or values?
A: The common parts of the treadmill are the following:
|Part of the Treadmill||Description||Typical Size, Value or Material|
|Frame||The frame holds together the treadmills parts and keeps it standing upright. It should be durable to withstand heavy use and the test of time, like other machines.||Can be made of aluminum or steel|
|Motor||The motor keeps the treadmill running. Without it, you won’t be able to activate the treadmill, unless it is designed to be manually powered.||At least 2.5 to 2.75 horsepower|
|Rails||These are handlebars that are important to keep you balanced while running on the treadmill. You should not hold them all the time but they are great for supporting you when you are tired or out of balance.||Can be made of aluminum or steel, should be padded with foam for comfort|
|Belt||The belt is where you run on the treadmill. It goes round and round like a loop and continues to loop depending on the speed you set on the treadmill’s dashboard.||Usually 19 x 50 inches in size|
|Deck||The deck is where the belt will go through, and can dictate how much running space you will have other than with your belt. Decks usually have the inclined feature.||Usually 30 x 80 inches in size or depending on your belt size, incline feature is usually from 1 to 16 percent|
|Console or dashboard||This is the central command system for your treadmill and gives you access to all data such as heart rate, calories burned, distance, speed and the like.||Should have extras like mp3 player ports and the like|
Q: How does a treadmill correct your outdoor running problems?
A: Most people run outdoors just for fun and don’t get focused enough, or get tired too easily. Treadmills can help correct that aspect by simply getting you trained enough not to get tired too often. Treadmills prompt you to keep running so that your endurance will go up.
In the real world, you should learn to keep going and not to get distracted. Getting focused with constant speeds and flow can be practiced with the use of a treadmill. This is so that when you head outside, you will not get distracted too easily.
Q: How much calories can I potentially burn from using a treadmill?
A: It depends upon your weight loss goals and the intensity and other factors, but you can really burn up to 100 calories for each mile that you run, and you can even burn more if you tweak the settings of a treadmill. Here are some factors that can affect your treadmill run and your calories burned:
• The number of calories you intake
• Your overall weight
• The speed settings of the treadmill
• The incline settings of the treadmill
• The length of the workout
• The intensity of your workout
Q: How do I know how many miles or kilometers I have traveled with the treadmill?
A: The treadmill has a dashboard or console that lets you see the distance that you have traveled. You can simply select the display options to set it to either miles or kilometers as to which one you commonly use. In this way, you can know how much you have traveled with a treadmill.
Q: How does indoor running compare to outdoor running?
A: Indoor running and outdoor running both have their pros and cons, and we’ve compiled them in a table below:
|Aspect||Indoor Running||Outdoor Running|
|Safety||Indoor running is considered safer because you are kept safe from hazards such as bad weather, traffic accidents and many other hindrances along the way.||Outdoor running is less safer because you need to face traffic problems, random people and situations. Jogging by yourself can leave the house empty, which is kind of unsafe.|
|Weather or Climate||Indoor running can be done in any climate and in any weather possible.||You can’t always run outdoors because it will potentially rain, storm, snow or get cold outside.|
|Incline Training||Incline training is okay for indoor machines such as the treadmill, but outdoor inclines are more realistic.||Outdoor inclines are more realistic but once you get tired of one route, it can get boring, and can also get unsafe.|
|Injuries||Treadmills can only get you injured if you don’t use it properly. Otherwise, you won’t probably trip over rough rocks and the like.||Outdoor running gets you susceptible to injury such as running over rough rocks and the like.|
|Cost||Treadmills are very expensive for the average person, so only gyms usually have these exercise machines.||Running is free of charge! The only thing you actually need are running shoes and a good bottle of water.|
|Convenience||Treadmills are more convenient because you only need to set it up and you can just run any course you want versus having to go outdoors.||Finding a more challenging running course in real life can be frustrating, since there are threats of security and it depends on where you live.|
|Social interaction||If you use the treadmill at home, surely you won’t get any social interaction. However, using the treadmill at the gym gives you room to greet people.||There’s nothing like the good old social interaction and greeting everyone a good morning with outdoor running, walking or jogging!|
Q: Where do you most likely speed up running more: indoors out doors?
A: A specific study shows that you actually spend more time running faster outdoors than indoors. The reason for this is because of our view of space and perception. Indoors, we feel cramped so we tend to get awkward at running as fast as we can, whereas outdoors, we feel like we have more freedom to run anywhere with no speed limits, even if indoor treadmills can prompt you to go faster.
Q: How does a treadmill compare with a rowing machine?
A: The treadmill is a mostly lower body workout while rowing machines are a combination of upper and lower body workouts. Here are the key differences between the two:
|Muscles used||Lower body only||Lower and upper body, core|
|Impact||High impact, can wear down your joints after prolonged use||Low impact, safe on your joints|
|Calories burned||181 calories (faster and more)||158 calories (slower and less)|
Q: How does a treadmill compare with a recumbent bike?
A: The treadmill is mostly used for high intensity workouts while the recumbent bike is mostly for low intensity workouts. Here are some of the key differences between the two:
|Muscles used||Lower body only||Lower body only|
|Impact||High impact, can wear down your joints after prolonged use||Low impact, safe on your joints|
|Calories burned||Up to 538 calories (faster and more)||Up to 445 calories (slower and less)|
Q: Which is generally better for good health: walking or running?
A: When using a treadmill , it is important to know whether you want to walk or run on the treadmill. Here are the pros and cons of running and walking:
For losing weight: running is your best option. Walking is pretty slow paced and is ideal only for those who are under rehabilitation or recovery. Running is a sure-fire way to better weight loss goals.
Risk of injuries: you can count on walking to lessen the risks of injuries. While losing weight is more of a running thing, it can potentially lead to injuries and bad knees if you don’t rest enough. Walking is less of an impact for your knees.
Appetite hormones: this dictates how much appetite suppression or regulation you get to keep you from excessively eating afterwards. It turns out that running does a better job than walking in this case.
Q: How is a treadmill different from an upright bike?
A: The upright bike and the treadmill are just about as different as the recumbent bike versus the treadmill, although the upright bike is meant for more challenges. Here are the difference between the two:
|Muscles used||Lower body only||Lower body and sometimes upper body and core|
|Impact||High impact, can wear down your joints after prolonged use||Slightly high impact, may affect your joints as well|
|Calories burned||Generally more calories||Generally less calories|
|Balance||Can be a challenge to balance without holding on the rails||Can also be a challenge to balance so proper gripping is important|
|Size||Bulkier because it has a bigger motor||Slightly smaller and more compact than the treadmill in general|
Q: How is a treadmill different from an elliptical machine?
A: The treadmill and the elliptical machine are both common gym equipment, but they do have exceptional differences from each other:
|Muscles used||Lower body only||Lower and upper body due to the included handles|
|Risk of injury||Can impact your knees, hips and back||Less impact to your knees, back and hips|
|Reverse||Treadmills don’t have a reverse option but they do have an incline option||Elliptical machines have a reverse option, which is good for the hamstrings|
|Incline||Treadmills have an incline option most of the time||Only some elliptical machines have an incline option, most don’t have them|
Q: Why shouldn’t children use a treadmill?
A: As with most exercise equipment , treadmills are not advised for children for a number of safety factors:
Treadmills are so fast that your child might not be able to keep up with them.
The power cord of the treadmill could be dangling around and can cause injury for kids.
The moving parts of a treadmill can potentially cause bad injuries for curious kids.
Children like to push buttons, so it’s not really a good idea to let them use the treadmill, especially when alone.
Q: How about seniors? Are they okay with a treadmill?
A: It depends on the fitness level of your grandma or grandpa, but generally, no. This is because seniors will usually tend to have arthritis or knee problems as well as bad backs. These are signs that they should not use the treadmill because it can compromise their health further.
In addition to that, a treadmill can be dangerous for seniors if they do not know how to balance properly. Unless your grandma or grandpa was an athlete or army officer during his or her youth, it can be hard for seniors to balance and keep up with a treadmill in general.
Q: If I am a beginner with treadmills, how long should I use it at first?
A: To prevent injuries, beginners should start with 10 to 15 minutes of using the treadmill with bearable speeds. You can always upgrade this speed later on if you are feeling good with it.
Wrapping It Up
The Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill is our best treadmill with a 220-lb weight rating, soft drop system and speed of up to 9 mph.