As much as we all love running outdoors in the summer months, with busy schedules or children to look after, it's not always convenient to sling on your running shoes and head outside. That's where the best treadmills come in – they allow you to put in the miles whenever you have a spare moment.
These running machines are also a great tool for completing structured workouts, as they create a controlled environment. On an electric treadmill, you can more accurately control your pace, incline, interval and recovery time. You may also feel more motivated to complete these type of sessions in this environment vs. attempting them unaided outside, especially if you sign up to apps like Zwift or Run Social, which allow you to run alongside others in a virtual world. (Fans of Zwift may also be interested in our round-up of the best turbo trainers.)
What to look for in a treadmill
Size: Unless you're lucky enough to have a home gym or spare room where you can leave the treadmill permanently unfolded, the chances are, you'll need a folding treadmill that can be stored away when you're not using it. Some of the options on this list are small enough to fit under the sofa when you're not using them.
Top speed: Sure, you're probably not running as fast as Dina Asher-Smith, but you don't want to find yourself frustrated by the top speed of the treadmill, unable to run to your full potential. We've rounded up the top speeds for each treadmill on our list to help you make the right decision.
Cost: If you've been browsing for a while, you'll know that the affordable treadmills are often out of stock. That said, don't let the larger price tag put you off! A treadmill is an investment and many brands allow you to split the payments over a year – think of it like paying for a gym membership.
Tech: If you’re just after a solid treadmill for some recovery runs, tech probably isn’t at the forefront of your mind. But, with recent releases offering the likes of live classes and even access to TV streaming services via touchscreens, it’s worth taking a look at what each machine has to offer before making your mind up.
Do you need to subscribe to an app to use a treadmill?
Some treadmills can link to apps, which come with a whole host of benefits: a huge library of workouts at your fingertips, stat-tracking, live classes and leaderboards showing how fellow members are faring, to name a few.
However, to gain access to this, you do have to pay a monthly subscription fee which will vary depending on which app your treadmill links to.
The treadmills on our list that require subscriptions are the Bowflex Treadmill 56, with its JRNY app available for just shy of £15 per month, the Peloton Tread’s Peloton All-Access Membership, which costs £39 per month, or £12.99 per month for new app members, the NordicTrack Commercial X32i, which links to the iFit app available from £24.99 per month, and the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill’s £39.99 per month Echelon Fit app.
Runner’s World Expert Tested
Treadmills on this list with the Runner's World Expert Tested logo have been tested by a panel of people consisting of both novice runners and ardent athletes. They laced up their trainers and hit the belt, testing each treadmill at various speeds and levels of incline to make sure they offered a comfortable, smooth and stable run.
They also considered the running machines’ ease of use, navigating the various touchscreens and control panels to find a suitable workout, before providing detailed feedback. We then used their comments to calculate an overall score for each model – only the best received our Runner’s World Expert Tested seal of approval.
You’ll also find recommendations from the Runner’s World editors in our round-up. These are machines used by one or more of the highly experienced editorial team and tested through the range of capabilities and functions before forming an opinion, so there’s something for every fitness level and budget.
The best treadmills on the market 2022:
Ready to run? Here are the treadmills to invest in – all available to buy in the UK.
1. NordicTrack X32i
Best for: A realistic running experience at home
Bringing the Lake District into your living room may seem like a logistical nightmare, but with this NordicTrack treadmill you can at least enjoy the national park’s testing topography from home. Its unmatched 40% incline is a real bragging point, and allows it to provide realistic virtual runs via the iFit app – we enjoyed a trainer-led jaunt along a Hawaiian beach.
If you fancy a change of pace, you can also stream on-demand studio classes. In some sessions, the machine is programmed to automatically adjust your speed and incline as you go, leaving you free to focus on your run without the usual toggling process.
There was no wobbling at any speed and the belt provided plenty of bounce (something our long-suffering knees definitely appreciated), and our running stats were clearly displayed on the screen during classes, too. The touchscreen could have been a bit more responsive, sometimes lagging slightly, and you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate this hefty treadmill, but if it’s a realistic running experience you’re after then this is your best bet.
This machine’s impressive top speed of 13.7mph, which is around a 4.23min/mile pace, is also capable of testing even seasoned athletes.
2. Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill
Best for: People looking for a compact treadmill that's super easy to fold away
Though we found our tablet did cover the control panel, and some of our workout stats as a result, the app impressed our testers with its huge selection of workouts. Most found there was plenty of choice when it came to finding a class that set their pulses racing, though more experienced runners said they would have liked more of a challenge than the limited 10% max incline could offer.
Nevertheless, the folding design and substantial offering of sessions from the app make this a top pick for first-time treadmill buyers. And its top speed of 12mph (a 5.00min/mile pace) will be ample for most owners.
3. BowflexTreadmill 56
Best for: Runners looking for a great all-rounder with sessions to suit all goals
Gym treadmill sessions may have soured your relationship with running machines – steady-state cardio while staring at a wall, anyone? Fortunately, this running machine leaves little room for boredom.
The Bowflex Treadmill 56 boasts an impressive range of gradient settings, from 20% to -5%. It also links to the brand’s JRNY app, which collects your performance data before providing personalised workouts, as well as offering virtual scenic running routes. These are displayed on its easy-to-use 22” touchscreen, which allows you to scroll through the app’s extensive workout library to find a session to suit all fitness levels and goals. You can even watch streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime as you run – far more exciting than a gym wall.
The Bowflex is undeniably a big machine, even when the belt is folded away, so it might not fit in smaller home gyms. But this extra size enabled it to offer a spacious running belt and sturdy base, allowing for a comfortable run with no wobbling whatsoever.
This tread has a top speed of 12.4mph, which is around a 4.50min/mile pace, so should be able to push most runners.
4. Peloton Tread
Best for: Live classes and motivational instructors
This Peloton machine will do more for your morale than most, with a plethora of instructor-led running sessions (as well as strength, yoga and even meditation classes) available through the brand’s app. Trainers, beamed through a bright touchscreen, provide tips and limitless energy to help you grind through pre-work workouts. You can also see how fellow members of the Peloton clan have performed thanks to live leaderboards – something that quickly unearthed our thinly veiled competitive side.
The belt balanced bounce with firmness, allowing us to generate plenty of power with each stride while providing a comfortable amount of cushioning. Testers also raved about the inclusion of easy-access adjustable speed and incline dials on the arms, rather than the usual buttons on the control panel.
The max speed of 12.4mph, a 4.50min/mile pace, is more than fast enough for most runners too.
Best treadmills for 2022 chosen by our editors:
1.Domyos Treadmill Incline Run
Bestselling treadmill on decathlon
Combining a wide running surface with a high incline, this running machine is a good option for runners who love hill training or want to add hill hiking to their cross-training regime. With a 18km/h top speed (5.22 min/mile pace) and a top incline of 20%, this should suit a lot of runners, plus there are 30 programmes to give you a challenge.
2. JTX Pro Professional
Best for: Runners who use Zwift
If you're someone who dreads the treadmill and needs every distraction possible to get through the session, this is a good option. It's compatible with Zwift and Run Social and has a ledge to allow you to rest your phone or iPad. It has a top speed of 22 km/h, which is faster than a 4:33 minute mile pace, so should be suitable for all runners. The best part? It's currently on sale.
3. DOMYOS T540C Treadmill
Best for: Runners looking for a gym experience on a budget
One of Decathlon’s bestselling treadmills, this is designed to be comfortable, compact and versatile. It’s got all the extras you might be used to – speakers, a jack to plug in your tech, a tablet holder and two smart pockets. The backlit screen gives you a range of stats: time, distance, speed, average speed, calories burnt, bpm and a snapshot of your current run. The treadmill has a top speed of 16km/h, which is a 6:02min/mile pace. It folds away for easy storage.
4. Life Fitness F1 Smart Folding Treadmill
Best for: Runners who will need to move the treadmill from room to room
If you’re looking for a treadmill that’s going to be easy to transport, this Life Fitness tread is a bestseller on John Lewis, thanks, in part, to its handy transport wheels and soft-drop folding mechanism for easy storage. There are multiple incline modes and training programmes to play with, as well as a display console that gives you all the basics, and there’s a built-in fan to keep you cool. The treadmill has a max speed of 16.1km/h, which is around a 6.00min/mile pace.
5. Life Fitness T5 Treadmill
Best for: Those who aren't too bothered about folding the treadmill
If you're not worried about folding the treadmill away, or moving it from room to room, this Life Fitness T5 treadmill is a good option. It's easy to assemble, you can set up two user profiles, to make jumping on simpler if you are sharing with another runner with different training needs, and there's a handy energy-saving mode for when you're not using it. There's a top speed of 12mph, which is about a 4:59min/mile pace.
6. JTX Sprint-5 Electric Treadmill
Best for: Value for money
This JTX treadmill has got all the features you really need from a treadmill: a g00d-sized running deck (140x 48cm), durability thanks to its heavy gauge steel frame, built for stability under the pressure of daily use, bluetooth compatibility and an incline of up to 10%, which will auto-adjust according to the terrain (if following a virtual workout via the likes of Zwift). It has a top speed of 18 km/h, which works out to be a 5:22min/mile pace, so should be faster enough for most. For speedsters, though, JTX also has the Sprint-9 Folding Gym Treadmill or Pro Professional which are able to reach higher speeds.
7. JTX Sprint-9 Folding Gym Treadmill
Best for: Runners looking for gym-quality
If you can afford it and you've got the space, this folding gym treadmill is a great piece of kit. It's got a large deck (153 x 52cm) weighing 100kg and this provides, a firm, steady base, making it feel similar to the high-quality treadmills you'd find at your gym. It integrates directly with Kinomap via Bluetooth – an app you can purchase for your phone or tablet, which allows you to run stunning routes from all over the world, using Google Maps.
It's got a decent maximum incline of 15% and a top speed of 20 km/h, which is a 4:50 minute mile pace, so should be fast enough for most, but faster runners might want to look at JTX's Pro Professional, which reaches speeds of 4:33 minutes per mile.
8. Opti Folding Treadmill
Best for: Runners on a budget – and looking to click and collect from Argos today
Another affordable option that is popular with runners (Argos gives you the option to split your payments over several months), this has three levels of incline and a maximum speed of 12km/h (an 8:03min/mile pace). The running surface is pretty narrow, but the treadmill folds away small for easy storage, which is handy.
9. Opti Non-Motorised Folding Treadmill
Best for: Runners who don’t want to spend more than £150
A super-affordable option, this isn’t like the treadmill you’d be used to in the gym – it’s non-motorised, meaning you need to start running or walking to make the belt move. There’s only one level of incline, and it’s set to 6%, so you’ll feel like you’re running uphill. The treadmill folds flat for easy storage. It’s probably not the best for your long run, but it’s an affordable option.
10. CitySports Folding Motorised Treadmill
Best for: Runners looking for an affordable option on Amazon
This is Amazon’s bestselling treadmill right now, and for a reason; it’s affordable, it folds down super-small and it has a holder for your iPad, allowing you to tap into different training programmes, such as Zwift or Apple Fit. It has a top speed of 6km/h, so it won't be suitable for all runners, but if you're a beginner, or planning to walk indoors, it's a solid option.
11. HOMCOM Electric Treadmill
Best for: Runners who want a treadmill they can store behind the sofa
One of the most impressive features on this treadmill is how compactly it folds away – great for runners who are short on space. The treadmill has everything you need for a comfortable run, plus it comes fully assembled, meaning you'll be up and running in no time. It's got a top speed of 10 km/h, which is around a 9.40 min/mile pace.
12. Viavito LunaRun Fold Flat Treadmill
Best for: Speedier runners looking for a treadmill in the next 3 weeks
This treadmill has a top speed of 16km/h, which is a 6:02min/mile pace. As well as everything you'd expect from a treadmill (programmed workouts, a varied incline, and easy assembly and folding), it's already 90% pre-assembled in the box, so you won't have to spend hours putting it together.
13. Viavito LunaRun Fold Flat Treadmill
If you’re in the market for a bargain treadmill, this folding option from Mobvoi is one of Amazon’s best-sellers, with over 1,200 4.5-star ratings. It’s popularity perhaps comes in its simplicity: you’ve got two modes, one for walking, one for running, there’s an in-built Bluetooth speaker for playing your favourite tunes and it has a high-quality running belt to protect your joints. And all at an affordable price point. Plus, it packs down so small you can shove it under your sofa when you’re done!
Running on a treadmill – the tools to help
Of course, the treadmill doesn't really compare to miles outside, but if you are taking your training indoors, there's a few tools that can help.
Treadmill pace converter chart – if you're used to running in miles per hour, it might take a bit of getting used to converting your session into kilometres. A pace-conversion chart can be a handy tool to screenshot.
Avoiding injury on the treadmill – Running on a moving belt, especially if it's too fast for your fitness level, can affect your stride. Indeed, experts see specific injury patterns in those who use the machine as their main training ground. Have a read of their advice to avoid injury when logging your miles indoors.
Building a workout – One of the main reasons many runners dread indoor sessions is boredom. If logging your long run while staring at the clock is enough to put you off forever, why not try one of our treadmill workouts?
Connecting with others – If you're used to running with friends or with a club, solo miles on the treadmill can be lonely. One app trying to address this is Zwift. If your treadmill isn't compatible, you can buy a NPE Runn – a treadmill sensor you can add to almost any treadmill that transmits the belt’s speed in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). If you don't want to buy the sensor, you can use the Runpod, which attaches to your shoe and measures your speed, cadence and distance and pairs with Zwift via Bluetooth.
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