Best Treadmills for Running

What is the best treadmill for running? I hate writing “best of anything” posts.

Each brand and company is catered towards someone’s particular wants. Like anything, what is the best for you, might not be the best for me.

I don't hate the treadmill

A few questions I get:

Is it worth it to spend over $1000 on a treadmill?

Are you $1500 treadmills really any better?

Can I get a cheap treadmill?

Which treadmill is best for your knees?

Is treadmill running “real running”  I answered that here.

Is treadmill running the same as running outside? I answered that here.

So I finally decided to write something I can come back to.

First, no matter your pace or speed, you’ll notice a difference between a high-quality and low-quality treadmill. That threshold of quality is somewhere around $1000. Most treadmills under $1000 are going to require more maintenance and while it may seem good to save money at first, typically you’ll spend more in maintenance. They also aren’t going to have fancy running workout programs, and they will have a much harder deck.

What is a treadmill deck? Like the pavement, it’s the part of the treadmill your body is pounding. The softer the deck, the more forgiving it is on your body. This means cheaper treadmills are harder on your bones, joints, and body. If you think you’ll be running a few times a week on the treadmill, it might be good to invest in something more expensive to protect your body. Many of the treadmills used in gyms range in price from $1500-2000 and can often be found used on craigslist.

What Treadmill do I own?

I own the Nordictrack X22i. I am not paid to tell you that. I got the Nordictrack X22i because it has all of the features I want in a treadmill, and it’s the best treadmill for me. It has a soft deck, the ability to go to 12.0 mph without feeling like the treadmill might explode, and the ability to both incline and decline. While the NordicTrack X22i can sync with iFit, it’s not a feature I use. The only downside is it has a screen with no ability to stream 3rd party TV (which is my only real gripe about the machine).

run treadmill me nordictrack

When finding the best Treadmill for you, ask what is important: 

  • Price
  • Do you want a screen to stream TV?
  • The softness of the treadmill Deck (this is the part that you’re running on (like pavement or concrete)
  • Do you want programs included?
  • What speed do you plan to use it at? Many treadmills under $1000 feel as though they are exploding at anything over 8.0 mph.
  • Do you want inclines or declines?
  • What running deck size do you need? Most runners can be fine with a 48-inch deck, but if you are taller or have a longer stride, you may want to make sure that the deck is 54-60 inches.
  • How much space do you have? Space is a factor when finding the best treadmill. While fold-up treadmills “seem great,” sometimes they are usually less quality than treadmills that do not fold up.

Best Treadmill Brands:

  • NordicTrack
  • Woodway
  • Peloton
  • Precor
  • Sole
  • Horizon

How can you save money on the best treadmills?

  • Buy used. Finding the best treadmill doesn’t mean new. Many gyms went out of business and needed to offload treadmills. You might find a quality gym treadmill for a lot less. Plus, the treadmills are well taken care of. I always recommend first checking marketplace or craigslist.
  • Wait for the holidays. Most holidays will have coupons for saving X on the best Treadmill.
  • Google: By simply googling save money on X treadmill. Yes, really, you could save $100 or more that way. I found sales on most of the treadmills listed here!

Best Treadmills for Under $1000:

It can’t be stated enough but if you buy a new treadmill for under $1000, keep in mind these decks are extremely firm. If you plan to run a lot on a treadmill, I encourage you to look for something softer that is more forgiving. That way, your body feels better and you do too.

Another problem with cheaper and lower-end treadmills is that they are high maintenance. Sure it costs less to purchase one, but you’ll have a lot more maintenance to keep it safe and running. Most need waxing every few months, and most require a professional adjustment because the belt will stretch with use.

A few problems you might run into with cheaper treadmills are low horsepower, low top speeds, and poor electronics. If you are someone who runs often, it’s better to look for something that costs more. It will save you time, money, and general annoyance in the long run.

If you utilize a treadmill more than once a week, you’re not going to find a brand new treadmill under $500 that won’t require a lot of maintenance. It doesn’t matter pace or speed but it’s better to spend $700 or more and have less maintenance and less stress on your body. That being said, if anyone asks I usually tell them to skip brand new $1000 treadmills and find a better one that is used and the same price. If you must have new…

Anyway, here are a couple of treadmills under $1000: 

Horizon T101 Treadmill:

If you are looking for the best treadmill with the most bang for your buck, the Horizon T101 is the best option. At just $799, this will have the most amount of features of under $1000. It features a quiet, 2.5 CHP motor. It also has a 55″ deck with shock-absorbing 3-zone cushioning.

horizon t101 treadmill

Nordictrack T Series 6.5 ($699)

I hesitate to add this since it is sold out until May 1, 2022. But the deck of Nordictrack is soft. You can go from 0-10 mph without worrying that it will break or explode. It’s a good option but that’s why it sells out quickly.

Best Treadmills for $1001-$1999

When you start looking for the best treadmills under $2000, you’ll find the quality is much better, and the maintenance is much lower. Even though it’s more expensive to purchase one, the best treadmills under $2000 usually require far less maintenance. You’ll even be surprised to know most gyms utilize treadmills between $1500-$2000, so these are the ones you can usually find used. Check online like craigslist, facebook marketplace, and places that sell used gym equipment. You’ll be surprised what you can find and for a great deal.

Sole F63 Treadmill ($1099.99)

One of the best treadmills for the price. If you are looking to spend about $1000 and want a high-quality treadmill, you really can’t get better than the F63 Sole Treadmill. It features a cushioned deck which reduces impact to joints by 40%. Plus, it has 15 levels of incline. The one thing the Sole F63 is missing is a touchscreen.

sole treadmill

ProForm Pro 2000 ($1499):

If you are tall or have a longer stride, this is one of the best treadmills for you. The deck is 20X60 inches and built with their signature cushioning to make for soft landings. It’s simple, durable, and has a long bed.

ProForm Pro 2000 treadmill

Proform Pro 9000 ($1799)

It’s hard to believe the Proform Pro 9000 is only $1799. Not only is the belt soft and can take a pounding, but you can also stream classes from ifit. Plus, it even folds up. To me, this Treadmill has nearly all of the features of anything more expensive but for over 1000 less. This is one of the few quality folding treadmills there are.

Nordictrack Commerical 1750 ($1899)

If you logging a lot of mileage on a treadmill, this is one of the best options and almost always on sale somewhere. There is a soft belt to reduce pounding, the ability to do both decline and incline, plus you can go up to 12 mph without worrying you’ll break it. If you find yourself running indoors at least a few times a week, you can’t go wrong with the Commerical 1750.

Best Treadmills to Splurge:

Peloton ($2450):

If you love workout classes and live classes, the Peloton Tread is a great option. The deck is great but no better than many other treadmill models. The draw for Peloton is the community and the name. People love the sense of community for Peloton! I’ve run on one, and it’s nice but I prefer doing my own thing versus taking classes.

NordicTrack X22i: ($3000)

Of course, I need to add the treadmill I use and like. What makes this one of the best treadmill options? The deck is soft, and I appreciate the ability to incline and decline the treadmill as needed. Not many treadmills go up to an incline of 40% and down to a decline of -6%.

A big feature for me is the lack of pounding on my joints. I would forgo most treadmill features if it meant the treadmill deck was soft. When you hear people “got injured” on the treadmill, it’s usually because they were running on a firm deck.

I’ve run hundreds of miles on my Nordictrack over the last several years, from climbing mountains to decline to 20 mile long runs to even workouts that include 6 min or faster miles. Each time the Nordictrack X22i performed well. I’ve done almost no maintenance over the last few years (which has also been wonderful). Finally, not related to everyone but it’s been through 3 moves and is durable enough to take military moves…which if you know…you know.

nordictrack x22i treadmill

Woodway ($11,000):

Woodways are one of the most expensive but one of the most luxurious treadmills out there. Yes, they are over 10k, but they also use far less electricity than other models of treadmills.

Plus, as far as beds go, they are one of the softest beds for your joints. Woodway Treadmills motor free and powered by gravity and harness the body’s shifting body weight. The downside is, of course, the price.

woodway treadmill

Conclusion:

As you can see, there are plenty of treadmills to meet your needs. The best advice for buying the best treadmill is to buy used. If you can find a high-quality treadmill for cheaper, that is usually better. Just make sure to do your research of where it’s coming from.

But also, saving a few hundred dollars at the beginning might seem ideal, but treadmills under $500 are probably going to have higher maintenance costs later down the road.

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Questions for you:

What is your favorite Treadmill?

Do you own a treadmill?