Best treadmill for 2021 – CNET

Treadmills have always been one of the most popular pieces of at-home workout equipment, but demand for a home treadmill went through the roof when gyms shut down in 2020. Most home fitness brands responded by developing better and more advanced models than ever before. Many of the best home treadmill options now have smart features, like preset workouts, full integration with streaming services and access to live workout programs with live incline and decline. Other manufacturers skipped the bells and whistles and focused on the running deck — developing advanced cushioning for improved shock absorption and biomechanically correct belts that help simulate the feel of outdoor running.

Because every treadmill user has different needs and goals, I included a variety of both categories on this list. I considered factors like design, incline (and decline), speed, price and size, while making sure that no matter which home treadmill running machine you choose, you’ll still get a good machine that will make you happy. Even the cheap treadmill on this list is a quality treadmill. If you’re looking to add a new piece of fitness equipment to your home for a great cardio workout that helps you meet your fitness goal, read on to find the best treadmill for you.

Read more: How to beat boredom on the treadmill

Bowflex

The Treadmill 22 is the latest and most advanced model from Bowflex, and it’s designed to please (mostly) everyone. Built like an absolute tank, this treadmill has a 4-horsepower motor, a 22-inch-wide by 60-inch-long running path and Comfort Tech deck cushioning that helps absorb shock even at higher running deck speeds. It has the largest incline range on this list, going from -5% decline up to a 20% incline to simulate running up and down hills, and supports the highest weight (400 pounds).

It also has an adjustable 22-inch touchscreen that allows you to follow along with trainer-led workouts (via the JRNY which requires a subscription) or lets you stream your favorite shows from a handful of popular streaming services. But before ordering this treadmill, make sure you have the space. At 85 inches long, 39.6 inches wide and 70 inches tall, it’s fairly large but it does have a SoftDrop folding system that reduces its total footprint by more than 40%.

Assault Fitness

If you have the money to drop on a serious machine, you can end your home treadmill search with the AssaultRunner. Powered by your movement, rather than a motor, this manual treadmill forces you to work harder, which translates to increased calorie burn and a more intense workout. It doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles of the other machines — running on this treadmill certainly won’t be an excuse for you to watch your favorite TV show — but it does track calories, distance and pace among a handful of other metrics. 

With its curved running surface and shock-absorbing belt, it’s also one of the most biomechanically-correct treadmills so it ensures a proper running form workout, making you less prone to injury even if you are working harder. And despite its rather large footprint, it’s lighter than most other treadmills on the market.

NordicTrack

The NordicTrack Commercial 2950 got a redesign for 2021, and the attention to customer feedback shows. This version is equipped with a 4.25 continuous horsepower commercial motor and a 22-inch deck that sits on top of 2.5-inch precision nonflex rollers for frictionless movement, even at higher workout speeds. The RunnersFlex cushioning in the deck allows you to choose between a real road-feel or engaging dampers that soften impact on your joints and reduce the risk of injury.

Like the Bowflex, this treadmill has an ultra-large 22-inch touchscreen, but one thing that gives the NordicTrack an edge over the others is the live control offered through its iFit subscription. During live workouts, the treadmill will automatically adjust from a -3% decline to a 15% incline to simulate whatever you’re following along with on the screen. The iFit membership is a (worthwhile) additional monthly cost, but if you purchase this machine directly from the site, you’ll get a free monthly membership.

At a retail price of $2,800, the Nordic Track treadmill is one of the most expensive options on this list, so you’ll have to figure out what’s important to you — a more intense manual workout or interaction with trainers and extra smart features.

Best Buy

Another option from ICON Health & Fitness — the parent company of NordicTrack — this treadmill is a more budget-friendly option that still gives you access to iFit integration, if that’s what you’re looking for. The Proform Pro has a 10-inch smart touchscreen embedded right into the console so you can follow along with trainers as you run while simultaneously tracking your calories, speed and heart rate.

At -3% decline to 12% incline, it has a narrower incline range than the NordicTrack and a slightly less powerful 3.25 continuous horsepower motor, but it’s more than sufficient for most runners (or walkers). The 20-inch tread belt is equipped with ReBound Pro Cushioning, ProForm’s patented shock-absorbing system that reduces impact and puts less stress on your feet, ankles, hips and knees.

Sole Fitness

Sole makes some of the best home workout equipment available to the public, and the Sole F80 is another winner in the home treadmill lineup. It combines a 3.5-horsepower motor with zinc-coated flywheels and a welded steel construction for smooth, frictionless movement. The Cushion Flex Whisper Deck is designed to absorb impact by as much as 40% (compared to running outdoors) and it supports up to 375 pounds. 

While there is a large LCD display screen that shows heart rate, speed, pace, and calories burned, this foldable treadmill falls short of the NordicTrack, Bowflex and ProForm in that it doesn’t have a large screen where you can stream workouts or your favorite cardio show. It does have Bluetooth capabilities and a tablet holder, though, so you can make your own ideal guided workout setup.

Horizon Fitness

If you’re looking for an inexpensive treadmill that gets the job done on a budget, the Horizon T101 will suit your needs. You don’t get any extras here, but you do get a well-built machine, especially for the price. The Horizon Fitness treadmill features a 2.5 continuous horsepower motor and 55-inch deck with cushioning supports that are zoned for walking, jogging and running, helping to absorb some shock as you move.

The console includes the basics — controls for speed and incline, as well as a display that shows calories burn, heart rate, and other metrics — and it has Bluetooth connectivity so you can bring your own tablet if you have a fitness subscription and you want to follow along while you run. And when you’re not using it, it folds up for easy storage.

Amazon

If you want to fit a treadmill into a small space, you’ll have to adjust your expectations about what you’ll be able to get. The GoPlus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill definitely doesn’t have any extras, but it does offer a 40-by-16-inch running belt and a quiet 2.25-horsepower motor. While it’s less powerful than the CHP motors of some of the other options, it can still help you work up a sweat and burn some calories.

One of the benefits of this treadmill is that because of the way it’s designed, it can be used as an under-the-desk treadmill to keep you moving while you work or a regular running treadmill. Keep in mind that because it has a less powerful motor, you’re not going to be able to run at top speeds if you weigh over 200 pounds. While this compact treadmill says it has a weight capacity of 265 pounds, many users say it caps out around 175 pounds for running.

More health and fitness advice 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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