In the winter months, a treadmill is a great option when the weather puts you off heading out for a run, plus, with a treadmill set up in the spare room, think of the time you'll save not having to choose what base layer to wear.
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 treadmill that can be folded 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, 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, 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.
Ready to run? Here are the machines to invest in...
The best treadmills on the market 2022:
To save you scrolling, we’ve picked the best treadmill deals on the internet:
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, our winner 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.
2. NordicTrack X32i
Best for: Anyone looking for a realistic running experience from home
Bringing the Lake District into your living room may seem like a logistical nightmare, but with this NordicTrack runner 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.
3. Peloton Tread
Best for: Live classes and motivational instructors
Winter’s short days and constant showers can decimate your running motivation. Fortunately, treadmills take chilly conditions out of the equation, and that’s not the only way they can reignite your running mojo.
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.
4. Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill
Best for: People looking for a treadmill that's super easy to fold away
Short on space but still want a top treadmill? No problem. This Echelon machine is a fraction of the size of many of its rivals and folds away with just the push of a lever, meaning it can be stored flat against a wall with ease. It also saves additional space by not including an in-built screen. This omission needn’t be seen as a weakness, however, as the treadmill can connect to an iPad to access the Echelon Fit app.
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 compact 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.
5. Decathlon Domyos Compact Treadmill Run 100
Best for: Runners looking for a compact treadmill under £500
We love an innovative bit of fitness kit here at Runner’s World, but there’s a lot to be said for simplicity sometimes, and that’s exactly what this Domyos treadmill delivers. It might not have the steep inclines, shiny touchscreens and app connectivity of its competitors, but it still fills the primary function of a running machine impressively — namely, it allows you to enjoy a good run. It also won’t take up too much room, and will cost you a fair bit less than tech-heavy models (less than £500).
The absence of any digital gradient settings was a big miss (you have to lift the machine up by hand for a 3% incline) and taller testers said the smaller belt felt a tad cramped. Information displayed on the control panel is limited, though there are 30 preset interval programmes to work through. The belt moved smoothly too, and the frame didn’t shake at all as our team racked up the miles, making this a great budget option for those after a simple sweat session.
The 8.7mph top speed (6.54min/mile pace) is fine for walking workouts or longer runs, though you’ll struggle to push the pace over shorter distances.
6. Domyos Treadmill Incline Run
Bestselling treadmill on decathlon
Combining a wide running surface with a high incline, this 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.
7. Opti Non-Motorised Folding Treadmill
Best for: Runners who don’t want to spend more than £100
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 six per cent, 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.
8. 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 Swift 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.
9. DOMYOS T540C Treadmill
Best for: Runners looking for a gym experience for less than £500
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.
10. Opti Folding Treadmill
Best for: Runners 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Viavito Ultrarun Treadmill
Best for: Speedier runners looking for a treadmill in the next 3 weeks
This treadmill has a rapid 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 assembling it.
15. 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.
16. JTX Sprint-3 Electric Treadmill
Best for: Runners looking for an affordable option
This JTX treadmill has 40 different in-built programmes for runners, a free tablet holder to allow you to log-in to virtual training programmes and a top speed of 16 km/h, which is a 6:00min/mile pace.
17. JTX Sprint-5 Electric Treadmill
Best for: Runners who love a sale
This JTX treadmill has been reduced from £999 to £859! It's got all the features you'd expect - pre-programmed workouts and an easy-to-read display, as well as a top speed of 18 km/h, which works out to be a 5:22min/mile pace.
18. 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 maximum incline of 15% and a top speed of 20 km/h, which is a 4:50 minute mile pace. It's also currently in the sale!
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 and the app and still feel like you're running with your crew.
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