The 5 Best Treadmills for Running

By: Jason Parker

Wanting to find the best treadmill for running? For many, running becomes more than just a cardiorespiratory exercise—it becomes a way of life, a component of one’s identity, and an activity that can be enjoyed in isolation and in large groups. If you enjoy the flexibility and ease of running indoors, a treadmill is an excellent option.

But not all treadmills are designed with runners in mind. There are important features you’ll need to look for in a treadmill to ensure that you’re buying a dynamic, high-quality machine that fits your long-term training goals and provides excellent comfort for long, slow-distance runs. Find the best treadmill for running by reviewing what factors constitute a great treadmill for runners and glimpsing our top picks.

Benefits of running on a treadmill

Not only is running on a treadmill excellent for your cardiorespiratory health, but it also enhances athletic performance and help athletes recover from ACL surgeries. For beginner runners, the aerobic benefits gained through treadmill use can enhance sprint speeds and help exercisers train for long-distance races. Running on a treadmill can improve a runner’s race time, regardless if you follow a continuous moderate-intensity workout regimen or a sporadic, high-intensity training plan.

If you’re seeking to increase cardiorespiratory health, improve race times, or recover from an injury sustained from running or another sport, look for a treadmill specifically built for runners.

What to consider when buying a running treadmill

Great treadmills share a few key characteristics. Here are the features you’ll want to consider before selecting the best running treadmill for your home gym.

  • Deck length—Runners require a full-length deck, especially if they have a longer stride. If you know your stride length, use it to help you determine the minimum required length you’ll need in a treadmill deck. Common deck lengths are 55 inches (great for walkers), 55 inches (great for runners), and 60 inches (great for runners over six feet tall). Despite these common deck measurements, the best treadmill will have a running deck that fits your stride length when you’re at top speed. Test out your treadmill before buying it to ensure the deck length is appropriate—if your feet hit the front of the treadmill when running, find a different machine.
  • Cushioned treadmill belt—In addition to the deck length, pay attention to the cushioning of the treadmill belt. The best treadmill for running will have better-than-average cushioning and absorb impact during use.
  • Maximum speed—While most treadmill models will have a top speed of at least 10 mph (suitable for walkers), look for treadmills that have maximum speeds of 12–15 mph (perfect for runners). Running on a treadmill at 10 mph is equivalent to a six-minute mile pace.
  • Adjustable incline—A treadmill with an adjustable incline provides a high-intensity workout and allows you to build muscle in your abdominals while burning fat. Running on an adjustable incline also prevents shin splints and can be easier for runners who want to increase their speed.
  • Commercial motor—The best treadmill for running will have at least a 3.0 CHP (continuous horsepower) motor. The more you weigh and the more intensely you train, you’ll want a treadmill with more power, perhaps a treadmill with a 4.0 CHP motor. Regardless of which type of motor you choose, make sure it has cooling capabilities that prevent wire burn.
  • Featured console—Treadmill functionality is operated by the central control panel. Most treadmill consoles are easy to use and have a screen that provides information on calories burned, miles ran, and time spent running. Assess the control panel before you purchase a treadmill and determine whether you prefer an analog, digital, or LED touchscreen.
  • Training programs—The best treadmills for running come with preloaded exercise programs that provide a variety of running workouts for exercisers. Some treadmills even have virtual running routes to enhance your workout experience.

Other factors like price, comfort, and technological features are also important when making a decision. Check out consumer reviews and objective treadmill reviews to ensure you’re considering all necessary factors.

5 Best treadmills for running

1. Sole TT8 Treadmill: best treadmill for runners

Sole Fitness designed this treadmill to appeal to exercisers who log some serious running miles and make the running experience as realistic as possible. In addition to 15 incline levels, the Sole TT8 treadmill features six decline settings. This design makes the treadmill extremely adaptive and gives users a high degree of training customization.

With a maximum speed of 12 mph, a chest strap heart rate monitor, built-in interval training workouts that stream across a 10.1-inch LCD display, built-in Bluetooth capability, and a 36-inch cushioned deck, the Sole TT8 appeals to all types of runners. Sole offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, motor, and deck, a two-year warranty on labor, and a five-year warranty on electronic components.

2. NordicTrack C1750: best running treadmill for custom workouts

NordicTrack makes a variety of treadmill products, including commercial-grade treadmills and treadmill desks for office use. We love the NordicTrack C-Series, which contains some of the best treadmills designed for home gym use.

The all-new 2018 C1750 is NordicTrack’s premium treadmill model, with a maximum speed of 12 mph and an adjustable incline up to 15%. The treadmill offers 38 custom workouts and a seven-inch, web-enabled touchscreen monitor that enables iFit Coach treadmill workouts, allowing you to combine landscape views with the physical sensation of uphill and downhill exercise. It even gives you access to email, news, and social media during a workout.

Some other benefits of the C1750 include flex cushioning, heart rate monitoring, a 3.8 CHP motor, and Bluetooth capability. As a folding treadmill, its deck can be stored upright when not in use to maximize your workout area. Shipping and assembly options range from $99–$249. The space-saving storage feature is well-loved, making this treadmill great for smaller spaces.

3. Bowflex BXT216: best premium treadmill for running

Bowflex is one of the most trusted and renowned gym equipment manufacturers in the world, and this is Bowflex’s best treadmill offering to date. The company launched its first fitness product in 1986 and is well-known in the industry for designing equipment for home gyms.

The BXT216 is Bowflex’s premium treadmill option, with a 4.0 CHP motor and a maximum speed of 12 mph. It also boasts a 15% adjustable incline and 11 programmed workouts, with the ability to download workouts to your fitness tracker. The BXT216 comes with a 15-year warranty on the frame and drive motor, a five-year warranty on mechanical parts and electronics, and a two-year warranty on labor. Expect to spend $249–$348 for shipping and assembly.

4. ProForm Power 1295i: best running treadmill for small spaces

The ProForm Power 1295i is a machine that offers 34 programs and iFit fitness capability. Complete with an EKG heart rate monitor, a 7-inch HD touchscreen display, and wireless connectivity, the ProForm Power 1295i has a maximum speed of 12 mph and quickly adjusts to inclines from 1%–15%.

The running deck is 60 inches long and equipped with cushioning for a comfortable running stride, and its 3.5 CHP motor is the same motor that runs in ProForm’s commercial-grade series. The 1295i also has a space-saving design that provides a quick and easy storage option for smaller spaces.

ProForm offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor with a five-year warranty on parts and a two-year warranty on labor.

5. Life Fitness T5: best running treadmill for families

Life Fitness gym equipment is often seen in commercial gyms, but the company has equipment designed for in-home use as well. One of their treadmills, the Life Fitness T5, is equipped with technology that allows you to train on three different running surface tensions. The T5’s deck is 60 inches long and 22 inches wide, providing ample room for most runners.

The T5 quickly learns your preferred walking, jogging, and running settings and offers 16 programmed workouts and a dozen other customizable programs. When purchasing, you can select from two different console displays—the Go Console and the Track Connect Console. The Track Connect Console enables Bluetooth on your mobile device and pushes data to a number of fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and Jawbone. The T5 is also a great treadmill to share—up to four people can have custom profiles, and the T5 will remember them all.

LifeFitness has a lifetime warranty on the frame, 10-year warranty on the motor, seven-year warranty on parts, three-year warranty on the console, and one-year warranty on labor. For most Life Fitness models, a discount code applied at checkout qualifies you for free shipping.

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We’ve reviewed the top treadmill options for your home gym to help you find the best treadmill for running.

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