You finally made a choice; you want to lose weight by making use of a treadmill. With so many models on the market, I can imagine choosing one might almost seem even harder than burning those calories.
That’s why I created this article with the best heavy-duty treadmills for heavy people. In this article, you’ll discover my top picks and what to look for to make the right choice. So let’s dive into it!
Best Treadmills for Obese and Heavy Persons - Reviews 2018
|Product||Weight capacity||Belt size (W x L)||Maximum speed||Price|
|1. LifeSpan TR1200i||300 lb||20" x 56"||11 MPH|| |
|2. Exerpeutic TF1000||400 lb||20" x 40"||4 MPH|| |
|3. ProForm Power 995i||350 lb||20" x 60"||12 MPH|| |
|4. Sole Fitness F85||400 lb||22" x 60"||12 MPH|| |
|5. ProGear HCXL 4000||400 lb||20" x 40"||4 MPH|| |
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
1. LifeSpan TR1200i
Weight limit: 300 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 56″
The LifeSpan TR1200i is the clear winner on our list. It’s one of the best selling electric treadmills by LifeSpan and with good reason.
The TR1200i is a real heavy-duty model with a maximum weight limit of 300 pounds specifically designed for heavy users who want a comfortable walking, jogging or running experience.
If you want to use this treadmill for walking, you’ll probably like the patented step-counting feature of this treadmill. LifeSpan calls it ‘Intelli-Step’. With this feature, you can accurately measure each step you take.
Additionally, you can use Intelli-Step to set a specific goal for yourself. Maybe you want to walk 1000 steps a day or perhaps even more. You can use the daily goal management system to keep track of your steps and work towards your personal goals. So the Intelli-Step is an ideal feature for weight loss.
For safety purposes LifeSpan has designed the ‘Intelli-Guard’. When you step off the belt, it automatically stops after 20 seconds of inactivity. So the treadmill knows when you aren’t exercising anymore. This is especially an interesting feature if you care about your safety or the safety of the people who will use the machine.
Furthermore, joggers and runners will probably like the 2.5 HP motor, large 20” x 56” belt and 21 training programs. Yes, it also has specific weight loss programs.
The motor in combination with the heavy-duty design is strong enough for high-intensity workouts. So even if you’re overweight, the machine still provides a quiet and stable workout at a higher pace.
2. Exerpeutic TF1000
Weight limit: 400 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 40″
With all due respect, the Exerpeutic TF-1000 is a treadmill for big guys and women. This treadmill supports a maximum weight of 400 pounds.
One of the main reasons why this treadmill can handle a lot of weight is because this treadmill doesn’t go faster than 4 miles per hour. Plus, it has a reinforced frame to accommodate a higher weight capacity.
In my personal opinion, the TF1000 is the clear winner for walking. The TF1000 is especially a good choice if you weigh less than 400 pounds and want to use your treadmill for walking or light jogging.
3. ProForm Power 995i
Weight limit: 350 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 60″
The ProForm Power 995i might be an interesting choice if you are searching for a treadmill with a user weight capacity of 350 pounds.
This treadmill is mainly suited for running, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use it for walking or jogging.
One of the main features that separates the 995i from the other treadmills in this article is the fact that it has a relatively high incline percentage of 12 percent. You might want to make use of this feature if you want to simulate an uphill walk, jog or run.
4. Sole Fitness F85
Weight limit: 400 lb
Belt size: 22″ x 60″
If you’re looking for quality, you’re probably going to like the Sole Fitness F85. This model is suitable for walking, jogging and especially ideal for running.
It’s a very sturdy machine. That’s probably the reason why it has a 400-pound weight limit and a lifetime warranty on the motor, frame, and deck. Additionally, it’s also relatively heavy because the F85 weighs 265 pounds.
The relatively heavy overall product weight is a good indicator of the quality of the materials. In most cases, a relatively heavy total weight means the materials are stronger and are therefore more durable.
Furthermore, it has a 4 CHP motor, an incline of up to 15 percent and a ‘cushion flex whisper deck’. The extra cushioned belt is especially helpful when you’re overweight because you can use the extra support to lower the impact on your joints.
The belt is 22” wide and 60” long, which is relatively large. The width of the belt is useful if you’re a big guy (or girl) and need the extra room to make sure you can workout without stepping on the sides of the machine.
5. ProGear HCXL 4000
Weight limit: 400 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 40″
The ProGear HCXL 4000 is quite similar to the Exerpeutic TF1000. They both have a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour, which makes both machines especially suitable for walking. Additionally, you could use them for light jogging.
The HCXL 4000 also has an extra wide belt of 20 inches, extra long handles for safety purposes and a maximum weight capacity of 400 Lbs. The frame is reinforced to support the relatively high weight capacity.
As far as I’m aware of, there aren’t a lot of features which makes the HXCL 4000 stand out from the TF1000. Although the HXCL 4000 isn’t entirely the same as the Exerpeutic TF1000, it’s still quite similar.
For example, it’s also foldable and transportable by making use of the transport wheels underneath the belt. This is useful if you want to store the treadmill after your workout.
Plus, it also has a 2 level manual incline which you can use to walk or jog at an incline. Walking or jogging at a slight incline might be useful to vary your regular workout routine and burn some extra calories.
One noticeable difference is the LCD of the 4000, which has the shape of a rectangle, while the TF1000 has a round display. It’s up to you which type of screen you prefer the most.
6. LifeSpan TR4000i
Weight limit: 350 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 60″
If you’re looking for a high-performance treadmill, then the TR4000i might be worth a look. It basically is the more advanced version of the TR1200i. Most of the features are a bit better, and some are the same.
For example, this model has a bigger 60” by 20” belt, a stronger 3.25 Continuous Horse Power motor and a higher weight capacity of 350 lb. That’s why the TR4000i is especially a good choice for running.
What makes this treadmill stand out is the Bluetooth connection with your smartphone. This allows you to use any app that can receive data from Google Fit or Apple Health with the LifeSpan Active Trac app.
Using these tracking apps can make a lot of difference, especially if you’re a bit of a tech-geek. Of course, it can also help regular users who can use some extra motivation.
Please note: you’ll need the LifeSpan Bluetooth adapter for this to work.
Furthermore, this model does have a fan, which the TR1200i doesn’t have. The 3-speed cooling fan might be a helpful feature for users who sweat a lot or use the machine in a room without a lot of ventilation.
7. Sole Fitness F80
Weight limit: 375 lb
Belt size: 22″ x 60″
The Sole Fitness F80 is similar to the F85. They’re both advanced machines, which are especially suitable for running. However, overall the F85 has even better features than the F80.
For example, the F80 has a 3.5 Continuous Horse Power motor instead of a 4.0 CHP motor. Additionally, it has a weight limit of 375 pounds instead of 400 pounds and a 7.5” LCD color display instead of 9” display.
So there aren’t a lot of difference between the F80 and the F85. If you aren’t going to use your treadmill for running, both models will probably suit your needs.
However, if you want to use your machine for running, now or in the future, then I would pick the F85 instead. It has slightly better features, so that’s why I recommend the F85 for runners.
Walkers or joggers probably won’t notice a lot of differences between the machines. So for them, the choice probably won’t make a lot of difference.
8. Horizon Fitness T101-04
Weight limit: 300 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 55″
The Horizon T101-04 designed by Horizon Fitness is a sturdy treadmill which can be used for walking, jogging and running.
With a weight limit of 300 lb and a 2.25 CHP motor it is powerful enough for running. So it might be a good option for runners.
What makes this treadmill stand out from the rest is the ‘variable response cushioning’ system. The response cushioning consists of 3 separate parts. A solid part at the back of the belt, a neutral zone in the middle and a more flexible part in the front where your feet lands.
The variable cushioning is especially useful for people with bad knees or those who think they could benefit from an extra comfortable tread belt.
9. Sole Fitness F63
Weight limit: 325 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 60″
If you’re into Sole Treadmills, then you’ll probably also want to take a look at the Sole F63.
The F63 might be a better choice if you want a Sole, but don’t need the relatively (overall) higher-end features of the F80 and the F85.
It has a 3 CHP motor, 20” by 60” belt and a maximum weight limit of 325 pounds. This is still pretty decent if you compare the F63 with some of the other models on the list. That’s why the F63 is ‘still’ a good choice for joggers and runners.
Furthermore, you might want to know about the folding deck. The folding deck is especially helpful if you’re going to store your machine after you’re done with your exercise. The belt has a ‘safety lock’ which prevents the belt from falling. Safety first!
10. Confidence Power Plus
Weight limit: 250 lb
Belt size: 14″ x 38.5″
The Confidence Power Plus doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. It might be a good choice if you’re looking for a stable machine with a maximum user weight of 250 lb.
With a 600W power motor, a belt of 14” by 38.5” it can be used for jogging or running. Although, in my opinion, it’s better suited for walking.
11. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
Weight limit: 220 lb
Belt size: 15.75″ x 48.82″
The treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness supports a maximum user weight of up to 220 Lbs. It has a 2.20 Peak HP drive system, a running surface of 15.75 by 48.82 inches and a maximum speed of 9 miles per hour, which means it’s suited for running.
Although the size of the belt might be a bit small for the more frequent runners, who like to push their limits.
An interesting feature for users who want to use the machine for walking are the three incline levels. It has three manually adjustable incline levels of 0 percent, 2 percent, and 4.37 percent.
The incline allows you to increase the intensity of your workout without increasing the speed. Increasing the level of intensity will help you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
What To Look For In A Heavy-Duty Treadmill?
Obviously, the most important thing to check right-away is the maximum weight capacity. Make sure your body weight is lower than the maximum weight limit.
There’s nothing worse than investing time in researching a particular model only to find out you exceed the maximum weight limit. This also means you’ll have to measure your weight before you start.
If you don’t frequently weigh yourself, then measuring your current weight might confront you, but it’s essential to make a good buying decision.
Most treadmills have a cushioning system. A good cushioning system reduces the impact on your body when your feet hit the belt. The cushioning will usually help to make you feel less fatigue and reduce the wear and tear on your knees, ankles, and hips. As a result, you reduce the risk of getting injured during your workout.
Higher-end treadmills might have a variable cushioning system, which tends to provide even more support for your joints. These systems usually consist of 3 different parts; the back, the middle and the front.
- The back; consist of stiff rubber to create a steady push-off from the belt.
- The middle; gives an average amount of cushioning.
- The front; is usually the softest part, which reduces the impact of your feet when landing on the belt.
Be aware of the fact that not every treadmill has a cushioning system; especially non-motorized treadmills usually don’t have a built-in cushioning system.
If you’re overweight, then working out will usually put more pressure on your joints compared to a person who has a normal body weight. So that’s why a decent cushioning system is an extra important feature for an overweight person.
The different types of incline
The incline usually varies from one model to another. You probably want to take a look at the percentage of incline and the option to manually or automatically change the incline.
The incline percentages usually vary between 0.5% and 20%. If you want to prevent knee problems, you may want to go for a model with an incline higher than 5% because a Ball State University study they found no evidence of any benefit on your knees at an incline percentage of 5% or lower.
The second thing you may want to look for is an automatic incline. You could go for a manual incline, but this means you’ll have to pause your workout before you can change the incline.
So an automatic incline is recommended because this allows you to adjust the incline by pressing the incline button on the console without having to pause your workout. Although, in my opinion, a manual incline is always better than no incline at all.
Incline (for strength & prevention)
Using the incline can be a good way to increase your workout intensity without putting a lot more pressure on your joints. So if you are overweight, the ability to increase the incline isn’t an unnecessary luxury feature.
According to a study from the Ball State University, incline walking can strengthen your leg muscles while putting less pressure on your knees.
During their study, the participants walked at different gradients at the same speed for 3-minute bursts. They found that the peak internal knee abduction drastically decreased by walking at different incline levels, except at 5% or lower.
Furthermore, the researchers point out that walking at an incline may; reduce pain, decrease the development of osteoarthritis and reduce the degeneration of the knee joint. These advantages could benefit older people, knee surgery patients, and obese individuals.
Is an incline on a treadmill good for weight loss as well?
If you’re purely looking to lose weight as fast as possible, then it isn’t necessary to get a machine with an incline of more than 5 percent. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t want to look for an incline at all.
Walking, jogging or running at incline always helps to increase the number of calories you burn during your workout. During a run, even a small incline of 1 or 2 percent can help you to burn more calories because according to this study it simulates the intensity of outdoor running.
While the intensity of walking and jogging is usually lower than during running, walking at an incline still helps to burn more calories. It’s also a useful feature to keep varying your workouts.
Varying your workout is important because when you perform the same workout every time over a longer period, your body will get more and more accustomed to it. So to keep losing weight, it’s important to vary your workout. That’s why I recommend choosing a model with an incline!
What are the benefits of using a treadmill for heavy people?
There are numerous benefits of using a treadmill, especially if you are overweight or obese. Some of the most significant benefits for heavy and obese people are;
- According to Men’s Health, a treadmill is the most effective cardio machine for weight loss. For example, you’ll burn 17 calories per minute on a treadmill compared to 13 calories per minute on an elliptical machine or 14 calories per minute on a stationary bicycle. Of course, the exact amount of calories burned per minute may vary based on different factors, like; workout intensity, age, weight and your metabolism.
- It helps you to keep moving, even if you are tired or don’t feel like working out. The belt keeps rolling under your feet, and you have little choice but to keep up. This is a unique aspect of a treadmill. Usually, you need to start moving before the cardio machine does. In other words; a treadmill ‘forces’ you to keep up. Personally, this is the reason why the treadmill is my favorite type of cardio machine.
How to start using a treadmill if you’re overweight or obese?
You might feel a bit fearful about starting your first workout on your new treadmill. The risk of physical pain, mental pain or injury might hold you back from starting. The fear of starting is completely normal, especially if you haven’t worked out for a long time.
Obese people should take it easy in the beginning. Start with walking at a slow pace which feels comfortable, because walking puts the least amount of pressure on your joints.
If you think your body can handle it, then you could start your first week with 10 minutes of walking almost every day of the week, 20 minutes in the second week and 30 minutes in the third week. Build it up from there.
The most important advice I can give you is to always ‘listen to your body’. The second one being; keep your workout routine consistent. ‘Slow and steady wins the race’!
Interval workout for heavy people
If you have exercised for a while, you may be ready to try an interval workout. Interval training is a highly efficient way to burn fat. Check out the ‘Being Fat Sucks’ video below to get an idea of how it works!
The guy in this video is seriously challenging himself with an interval workout. He starts slow and steadily builds it up from there. The basic principle of an interval training is to change the workout intensity during your workout.
For example; you start by walking 2 minutes at a slow pace and 1 minute at a fast pace, followed by 4 minutes at a slow pace, after which you walk fast for 2 minutes. It’s just an example, but you probably get the idea.
Of course, it might take a while before you are ready for your first interval training. But when you do, this video might help you to start with your very first interval training.
Always talk to a physician before you start.
You will have to decide for yourself which treadmill suits your needs. It may be needless to say, but when you make a decision always check the maximum user weight first.
It’s even better if you keep some margin between your weight and the maximum user weight of the treadmill. This way you won’t push the treadmill to its max.
Please also don’t forget about the importance of a cushioning system and an incline feature. These are the most important features to look for in a heavy duty treadmill.
If you’re still unsure which one you should choose, then I recommend the;
- Exerpeutic TF1000 Ultra high capacity (for walking)
- LifeSpan TR1200i (for walking, jogging and running)
The TF1000 is, in my opinion, the best option for people who are overweight or obese. The main reason I recommend this model is the fact that it has a weight limit of 400 Lb.
If you also want to use your machine for jogging or running and weigh less than 300 Lbs, I would go for the LifeSpan TR1200i. It’s a decent model with more than enough features to help you lose weight.
Good luck with your decision and your weight loss journey. If you’ve got a question about heavy-duty treadmills (or something else), then feel free to ask it in the comment section below!