The Best Treadmills For Heavy People

treadmill for obese and heavy people

You finally made a choice - you want to lose weight by making use of a treadmill. Except, picking one almost seems even harder than shedding those pounds.

That’s why I created an article with the best treadmills for heavy people. You’ll want to look for a treadmill with adequate cushioning, good stability and of course one that can hold the most weight.

Our Top Rated Heavy Duty Treadmills


Maximum User Weight Capacity     

300 Lb

300 Lb

325 Lb

350 Lb

400 Lb

What To Look For In A Heavy Duty Treadmill?

Weight capacity

Obviously, the most important thing to look for in a heavy duty treadmill is the maximum weight capacity. Each treadmill has got its weight limit.

Make sure you are under the maximum weight limit for the treadmill you are about to buy. There’s nothing worse than investing your money in a treadmill only to find out you exceed the maximum weight limit. measure your weight before you make a decision. Measuring your weight might confront you if you don’t weigh yourself that often, but it’s essential for making a good decision.

If you slightly exceed the maximum user weight, you could count on a ‘margin of error' which the manufacturer possibly build into the treadmill, but exceeding the maximum user weight might cause the treadmill to break. So it’s certainly not recommended.


Most treadmills have a cushioning system. Cushioning reduces the impact on your body when your feet hit the belt. The cushioning will help to make you feel less fatigue and reduce the wear and tear on your knees, ankles and hips. As a result, you ultimately reduce the risk of getting injured during your workout.

Higher-end treadmills might have variable cushioning, which gives your joints the biggest form of protection. 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 to reduce the impact of your foot landing on the belt.

Be aware of the fact that not every treadmill has a cushioning system. If you’re overweight than working out will likely put more pressure on your joints than it would to a person who has an average weight. So this makes a decent cushioning system extra important for an overweight person.


Using the incline option on a treadmill can be a good way to increase your workout intensity without putting 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 say that walking at an incline could; 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.

There are some differences between the incline feature on a treadmill. The most noteworthy two are; the percentage of the incline and the option to manually or automatically change the incline.

The incline percentage usually varies between 0.5% and 20%. I would recommend choosing an incline higher than 5% because in the Ball State University study they found no evidence of any benefit on your joints at an incline percentage of 5% or lower.

The second thing you want to look for in an incline on your treadmill is an automatic incline. You could go for a manual incline, but this means that you’ll have to pause your workout before you can change the incline. So an automatic incline is certainly recommended, this allows you to adjust the incline by pressing the incline button on the console of the treadmill.

What are the benefits of using a treadmill for heavy people?

There are numerous benefits of using a treadmill. There also more than a few advantages of using a treadmill if you are overweight or those who suffer from obesity. 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 an 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.

What’s the best way to start using a treadmill if you're overweight or obese?

You might feel fearful about starting your first workout on your new treadmill. The risk of physical, 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. Always talk to a physician before you start.

Obese people should take it easy in the beginning. Start with walking at a slow pace which feels comfortable. 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.

Obese people should take it easy in the beginning. Start with walking at a slow pace which feels comfortable. Walking puts the least amount of pressure on your joints.

The most important advice that I can give you is to always ‘listen’ to your body. The second one being; keep your training routine consistent. ‘Slow and steady wins the race’!

If you have trained 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 video below!

The guy in this video is seriously challenging himself with an interval workout on the treadmill. He starts slow and steadily builds it up from there. The basic principle of an interval training is to constantly change the workout intensity during your training.

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.

The Best Heavy Duty Treadmills Reviewed (Our choices)

LifeSpan TR1200i treadmill (300 pound weight capacity)

The LifeSpan TR1200i is a heavy duty treadmill that supports a maximum user weight of up to 300 Lbs. It has a steel frame and the belt has a cushioning system that consists of 6 compression shock absorbers, which provide a stable and comfortable workout experience.

The lifetime warranty on the motor and frame is a good sign. It tells you that LifeSpan feels confident about the product quality.

If you want to use the treadmill for walking, then you might be interested in the ‘Intelli-Step’ system. The Intelli-Step system counts your steps. A step counting system might be useful if you want to set a daily goal for a number of steps you want to make that day.


  • The TR1200i has a lot of features that might be useful for people who are overweight. Specific weight loss workouts, extra stability and the step counting system.
  • A 2.5 Continuous Horse Power motor which is powerful enough for jogging or running. The 2.5 CHP might be interesting if you want to use the treadmill for running (in the future).


  • This treadmill would’ve been even better if the workout result were automatically uploaded to an online accessible account. Instead, you’ll have to manually upload your workout results by placing an USB-stick into the treadmill and inserting it into your computer after you finish your training. Only then you’ll be able to track your progress from your smartphone or computer.
  • The incline feature has 15 levels. You might mistakenly think that this means an incline up to 15% because LifeSpan doesn’t provide any information about the exact maximum incline percentage on their sales page. After contacting their support, they told me that the TR1200i uses a 650 lb. Thrust incline motor, which equates to approximately 10% incline at level 15.

Horizon T101-04 treadmill (300 pound weight capacity)

The T101-04 designed by Horizon Fitness is a sturdy treadmill especially suitable for walking, jogging. The 2.25 CHP motor is powerful enough for running as well.

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 on the back of the belt, a neutral zone in the middle and a more flexible part in the front where your foot lands. The variable cushioning is especially useful for people with bad knees or those who think that they could benefit from an extra comfortable tread belt.


  • Variable response cushioning for extra joint protection.
  • The folding system has two 'hydraulic shocks' which help you to fold and unfold the tread belt more easily.
  • ​Easy folding and unfolding system. This might be useful for users who want to move the treadmill after they’re done with their workout.


  • Good for walking and jogging, but not for the more serious runners. Maybe you aren't one now, but you might be one of them in the future.

ProForm 505 CST treadmill (325 pound weight capacity)

The 505 CST from ProForm is a treadmill without a lot of bells and whistles. It might be a good choice for those looking for a stable treadmill which can handle a maximum user weight of 325 Lbs.

The commercial grade 2.5 CHP Mach Z motor gives users the ability to run at a maximum of 10 miles per hour. Instead of increasing your pace to vary your training you could also use the automatic incline which goes up to 10 percent.


  • A maximum automatic incline of up to 10 percent.
  • The ProShox cushioning system is designed to minimize the pressure on your joints while still providing a comfortable running experience.
  • ​A relatively high product weight of 191 pounds. A higher overall product weight will give you more stability.


  • There’s no option to save or input any user info.
  • Because of the relatively high product weight, the treadmill might be heavy to assemble. It's recommended to install the treadmill with two persons. Always check the manual for assembly and safety instructions.

ProForm Power 995i Treadmill (350 pound weight capacity)

The Power 995i might be an interesting choice if you are searching for a treadmill with a user weight capacity of 350 Lbs. This treadmill is mainly suitable for running, but this obviously doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for walking or jogging.

One of the main features that separate the 995i from 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.


  • Extra big 20 by 60-inch tread belt. A large belt might be useful for big and tall people who have a long stride.
  • ProShox cushioning for a more comfortable walk, jog or run.
  • ​This treadmill is iFit enabled which means you can connect your smartphone or tablet to your treadmill and use it as an extra screen. You can then use it to display a track via Google Maps, which will show on the device.


  • It might look a bit big in a small room. The overall product dimensions are; 88” (L) by 32” (W) by 66.75”.
  • Unfortunately, ProForm decided not to include a chest strap. Of course, you could choose to buy one separately or use the pulse grip to display your heart rate.

Exerpeutic TF1000 (400 pound weight capacity)

With all due respect, the Exerpeutic TF-1000 is a treadmill for big guys and women. This treadmill supports a maximum weight of 400 Lbs.

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.

So this treadmill might be a good choice if you are close to 400 pounds and want to use your treadmill for walking or light jogging.


  • For safety purposes, the handles of this treadmill are extra large long. The 18-inch handles allow you to hold onto the handles more easily.
  • A relatively high 400 pound maximum user weight.


  • It’s possible to change the incline in 2 positions, although you’ll have to do it manually.


You will have to decide for yourself which treadmills suits your needs the best. 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 don’t forget about the importance of a cushioning system and an incline feature. These are the most important features to look for in heavy duty treadmills. Good luck with your decision and your weight loss journey!

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