As a runner, you want to make sure your treadmill meets your needs. Most importantly, the treadmill should give you a comfortable running experience.
In this article, you’ll find the best treadmills for running at home and important buying advice. So you’ll be able to make a better buying decision.
A Quick Overview of Our Top 5 Picks for Runners:
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
What to look for?
One of the most important aspects of a treadmill is the motor. In my opinion, the more serious runners need at least a 3.0 CHP motor.
If you are looking for a heavy duty treadmill because you are an overweight person or want to exercise very frequently and on a high pace, then you may want to choose a model with an even stronger motor.
A powerful motor is necessary because running puts more pressure on the motor. Most of the time, a strong motor is more durable, especially in the long run.
The maximum speed is another important aspect of your treadmill. Most treadmills for walkers or joggers have a top speed of 10 MPH.
A maximum speed of more than 10 MPH is an indication of whether the machine is designed for runners or not. That’s why you may want to go for a machine with a maximum speed of at least 12 MPH, even if you don’t plan on running those 5-minute miles.
You certainly want to pay attention to the cushioning system. Most treadmills have a standard built-in cushioning system right underneath the belt. A good cushioning system can greatly reduce the impact on your joints. Especially compared to running outside.
The types of cushioning systems vary. A standard cushioning system is usually non-adjustable. A higher-end machine might have a cushioning system that is adjustable. This way you can decide how much cushioning you want. If you need even more cushioning, then you could also use a treadmill mat, which reduces the vibration between the floor and your treadmill.
The deck is important for comfort and safety. A deck that is large enough makes your run more comfortable because it reduces the chance of you hitting the front of the treadmill with your feet or worse, falling off the belt. Although, this usually only happens if you make one of these mistakes.
You probably want to know how much space you’ll need. The amount of space you'll need may depend on your height and your running stride. If you're a more serious runner, I recommend choosing a model with a deck that is at least 20” wide and 60” long.
As a runner, you don’t want a machine that requires belt lubrication after a few runs. That’s why the quality of the tread belt matters.
Higher quality belts don’t need lubrication on a regular basis. So you can focus all of your attention on running. These are usually belts infused with silicone or another substance to ensure a good running experience.
Plus, they tend to be thicker. Check the amount of ‘ply’s’ to get an idea of the thickness of the belt. For example; a 2-ply belt means that the belt consists of 2 layers. So make sure you also check the thickness of the belt.
The warranty is a guarantee provided by the manufacturer. If you are unlucky, your machine may have problems after a certain amount of time. That’s why it is essential that you’re aware of the warranty period before you buy.
For serious runners, I recommend buying a model with a lifetime motor and frame warranty, which most high-end treadmills tend to have. The warranty period on labor, parts, and electronics usually varies.
If you are a risk-averse person, you might want to check if the manufacturer offers an extended warranty period. You'll usually have to pay for an extended warranty period.
Monitoring your heart rate
The option to monitor your heart rate might be something you may want to pay attention to, although if you don't want to monitor your heart rate, this obviously doesn't apply to you.
Most treadmills have pulse grip handle bars which allow you to check your heart rate from time to time. However, metal handle bars aren’t the most accurate way to measure your heart rate.
If you want to get a more precise reading of your heart rate you’ll need a wireless heart rate monitor. This is very important if you want to make use of a heart rate program.
Make sure you check in advance if the model you're about to buy includes a heart rate monitor because this isn’t always the case. If they aren't included, then I recommend you to check if it's possible to connect one.
Reviews of our top 5
The ProForm Pro 2000 is a higher end model suited for high-intensity runs. It has a 3.5 CHP Mach Z commercial motor with a lifetime warranty, a maximum speed of 12 Miles Per Hour and a 22 by 60-inch tread belt. These features are probably good enough for most runners.
What sets the Pro 2000 apart is the fact that you can run at a maximum decline of 3 percent. This is quite unique for a treadmill. Of course, this model also has an incline option (with a maximum incline of 15 percent). Running at an decline might be useful to prepare for an outdoor running event.
- A relatively strong 3.5 CHP motor, which is useful for interval or sprint training.
- An extra wide 22” by 60” deck.
- The option to run, jog or walk at a decline instead of at an incline.
The NordicTrack C990 is a solid machine with a lot of features. You can choose from 32 built-in workout programs. The programs vary from; speed, heart rate, calorie to incline programs. Each program directly shows you the approximate number of calories you’ll burn during the workout.
With a 20 by 60-inch belt, a 3.0 CHP motor and an incline of 12% the C990 offers users a good running experience. Additionally, the C990 may be a good choice for runners who want to use their tablet during their workout. The adjustable tablet holder can be adjusted to your preferred angle, so you can watch a movie or listen to music.
- The C990 has an integrated adjustable tablet holder, which is useful for people who can use some distraction during their workout.
- A decent 3.0 CHP, which is one of the features that makes this model suited for runners.
- The full-color display is easy to read.
- The assembly might cost you some time because it takes 22 steps.
- The extra module called ‘iFit’ isn’t free.
The Power 995i from ProForm is a model with decent specifications. With a 3.0 Continuous Horse Power motor, a maximum incline of 15% and a 20 by 60-inch belt it has somewhat similar specifications as the NordicTrack C990 and ProForm Pro 2000.
Just like the treadmills mentioned above, this model is iFit enabled. You can use iFit to get access to new workout programs.
One of the main features of iFit is the ability to connect with Google Maps. This emulates the experience of running outside. It automatically adjusts the incline to match the route. So iFit can help you stay motivated and challenged.
- A relatively large 20-inch by 60-inch deck.
- The 3.0 CHP motor is probably strong enough for most runners.
- The Power 995i has a maximum speed of 12 MPH, which might be useful for sprinters.
- The wireless heart rate monitor isn’t included.
- You’ll have to switch screens on the display if you want to see all of the information about your training.
The Nautilus T614 is especially suited for recreational running.
The specifications of this model might not be as good as your typical treadmill for serious runners, but they’re still good enough for runners who don’t need the higher-end specifications.
The 2.75 CHP motor, 20 by 60-inch tread belt and 12% incline still provides runners with a comfortable running experience. You can use one of the 22 workout programs. The programs vary from; interval, weight loss to heart rate programs (and more).
It has to be said that this model isn’t for everyone. As I said, it may be a good choice for recreational runners, but the more serious runner might want to look for a machine with better specifications.
- The Nautilus T614 is especially suited for recreational runners.
- It has a relatively large 3-inch by 5-inch LCD display with a high resolution.
- You can keep track of your progress by making use of the two user profiles.
- Less suited for serious runners.
- It doesn't include a lifetime warranty on the frame.
Furthermore, it has ‘Intelli-Step’. The patented Intelli-Step is a feature which you can use to count your steps accurately. This might be useful for people who have the aim of reaching a certain amount of steps per day, week or month.
- Suited for recreational runs.
- When you press a button, the eFold electric folding system unfolds and folds the belt automatically, which might be useful for older users or those who don’t have a lot of strength.
- It has no workout fan to keep you cool.
- Some users might want better specifications.
Running on a treadmill is a great alternative to running outside. Choosing the right treadmill for your needs might be a bit hard, but I hope it became a bit easier after reading this article.
If you’re still in doubt, I recommend the ProForm Pro 2000. In my opinion, this is the best treadmill for runners. The wide deck, 3.5 CHP motor and 3% decline feature are the main reasons why I think this one is the clear winner.
However, if you are a (very) serious runner, you might want to look for another model with an even better motor. Although, I think most runners will be satisfied with everything that the Pro 2000 has got offer.