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 2019
|Product||Weight capacity||Belt size||Maximum speed||Price|
|1. NordicTrack T 6.5S||300 lb||20" x 55"||10 MPH|| |
|2. Exerpeutic TF1000||400 lb||20" x 40"||4 MPH|| |
|3. Sunny Health & Fitness T7643||350 lb||19.5" x 43.3"||6 MPH|| |
|4. ProForm 905 CST||350 lb||20" x 60"||12 MPH|| |
|5. Nautilus T618||350 lb||20" x 60"||12 MPH|| |
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
1. NordicTrack T 6.5S
Weight limit: 300 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 55″
The NordicTrack T 6.5S is the overall winner on our list. It’s one of the best selling NordicTrack treadmills, which in my opinion, isn’t surprising at all.
The 2.6 Continuous Horse Power motor is strong enough for walking, jogging, and running. So it’s a suitable model for a lot of users, which is probably the main reason why this model is so popular.
A useful feature for walking is the adjustable incline up to 10 percent. The incline allows you to increase the intensity of your workout without increasing the speed. You can easily adjust the incline by pressing on one of the ‘incline buttons’ on the console.
Of course, you can also use the incline feature while jogging or running up to 10 Miles Per Hour.
Additionally, a feature like the FlexSelect™ cushioning system under the belt is extra useful during your jog or run, because it reduces the pressure on your joints.
Furthermore, you can use one of the 20 built-in workout programs. The programs include specific; intensity, incline, speed, and calorie burning programs. If the integrated programs aren’t enough of a challenge, then you could choose to buy (!) iFit which contains a lot more programs and options. However, you don’t have to purchase iFit to use the treadmill.
2. Exerpeutic TF1000
Weight limit: 400 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 40″
With all due respect, the Exerpeutic TF1000 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.
The TF 1000 has a relatively wide 20-inch belt, just like the NordicTrack T 6.5S. A wide belt reduces the chance of a painful misstep and provides extra space. The wide tread belt in combination with the relatively long 18” handles makes this model extra suitable for users who need additional safety and stability.
Furthermore, the treadmill is easily foldable and transportable. This is especially useful if you don’t have a lot of space or want to place the machine in front of a television.
In my personal opinion, the TF1000 is the clear winner for walking. So, the TF1000 is especially a good choice if you weigh less than 400 pounds and want to use your treadmill for walking.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness T7643
Weight limit: 350 lb
Belt size: 19.5″ x 43.3″
The Sunny Health & Fitness T7634 is also a heavy-duty walking treadmill, but has a slightly lower 350 Lb weight limit.
This model might be a better choice than the Exerpeutic TF1000 for some users. It’s especially an interesting option if you also want to use your treadmill for light jogging because it has a higher maximum speed of 6 MPH.
What makes the T7643 stand out is the easy-to-use console with integrated tablet holder. The buttons on the console are extra-large, which makes it easier to increase or decrease the speed during your workout. The same goes for the other buttons on the console. Plus, there aren’t any unnecessary buttons. So it’s simple to use.
Furthermore, this treadmill has features like; transportation wheels, a folding system, and a shock absorption system which reduces the impact on your joints. In my opinion, these are features which make it a ‘complete’ treadmill.
The T7643 could be a better option than the Exerpeutic TF1000. They do have some similarities. Both treadmills are mainly designed as heavy-duty walking treadmills, but the T7643 offers a higher maximum speed (6 MPH) and has a tablet holder.
4. ProForm 905 CST
Weight limit: 350 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 60″
According to ProForm, they even test the belt one million cycles at two times the user weight. So they made sure the belt can hold a lot of weight.
The 905 CST also has features which help you to vary your workout. It has a 12% incline, 30 pre-set workout programs, and a backlit iFit display. iFit isn’t required to use the treadmill, but it gives you, even more, features to vary your workout. Please note; iFit requires a paid subscription.
What makes this machine stand out is the overall sturdiness. It has a steel frame and a solid construction, which keeps the machine stable, even if you’re a heavy person. You have to keep in mind that a solid construction also means a heavy construction. You’ll need to be able to safely lift 45 lbs to raise or lower the treadmill belt.
I would recommend this model to anyone who’s looking for a durable treadmill which you could use daily for higher intensity workouts.
5. Nautilus T618
Weight limit: 350 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 60″
Well, the reason for this is simple; if it’s suitable for fanatic runners, it’s certainly suitable for walkers or joggers. I mean, the 285 pounds overall product weight alone already indicates it’s a robust machine. Additionally, it has a 3.5 CHP motor, which means it can handle a lot of pressure and stays relatively quiet.
Furthermore, the T618 has Bluetooth connectivity. This means you can connect a smartphone or tablet with the training computer. As a result, you can use your smart device as a display for the Nautilus Trainer 2 App or other supported fitness apps.
I recommend the T618 for overweight persons who don’t weigh more than 350 lb and want to make sure the treadmill can hold their weight without a problem.
6. 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.
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 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.
7. Horizon Fitness T101
Weight limit: 300 lb
Belt size: 20″ x 55″
The Horizon T101 designed by Horizon Fitness is a sturdy treadmill suitable for walking, jogging, and running.
With a weight limit of 300 lb and a 2.5 CHP motor, it is certainly 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 cushioning system consists of 3 separate parts;
- A solid part at the back of the belt (push-off zone).
- The neutral zone in the middle (transition zone).
- Plus, a more flexible part in the front where your feet lands (impact zone).
The variable cushioning is especially useful for people with bad knees or those who think they could benefit from an extra comfortable tread belt.
8. Sole Fitness F80
Weight limit: 375 lb
Belt size: 22″ x 60″
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 two machines. So for them, the choice probably won’t make a lot of difference.
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.
According to the Confidence brand, this machine is often converted to a walking desk. However, they point out the product doesn’t include the parts to convert it from a ‘normal’ machine to a walking desk. So, you’ll have to convert it yourself.
11. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
Weight limit: 220 lb
Belt size: 15.75″ x 48.82″
The SF-T4400 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?
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 the right 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 (three-part) 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 varies 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. Read more about this below.
The second feature 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’!
You will have to decide for yourself which treadmill suits your needs. It may be needless to say, but before 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 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)
- NordicTrack T 6.5S (for walking, jogging and running)
The TF1000 is, in my opinion, the best option for people who are overweight or obese and want to use their machine for walking. The main reason why I recommend this model is the fact that it has a solid construction which can hold a maximum 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 NordicTrack T 6.5S. 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!