Landice L7 Pro Sports Trainer
Landice L7 Pro Sports Trainer

Best treadmill

The Landice L7 is built for serious runners, with a powerful 4-continuous-horsepower motor to drive its generous 20-by-58-inch belt. Reviewers say the L7's deck is extremely stable and well cushioned. Its bumper-to-bumper warranty can be transferred to a new owner, which is unheard of in the fitness equipment industry.
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Est. $3,500 Estimated Price
 Horizon Fitness T101-04
Horizon Fitness T101-04

Best cheap treadmill

The Horizon T101-04 is remarkably smooth, stable and powerful, given its low price. The 20-by-55-inch treadbelt accommodates almost any user at a walk or jog, and offers enough room for some to run. The T101-04 is even more stable than its predecessor, still features power incline, and is backed up by excellent customer service.
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Weslo Cardio Stride 3.0
Weslo Cardio Stride 3.0

Best manual treadmill

The Weslo Cardio Stride 3.0 presents the best value in this price range. Owners love its light weight and portability; it folds easily for storage. The 17-by-41-inch belt accommodates short to medium-height walkers well, and its handlebars are an acceptable height for taller users.
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NordicTrack Commercial 1750
NordicTrack Commercial 1750

Best incline/decline treadmill

The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 offers the best combination of performance, value and incline/decline range, adjusting from a 15 percent incline to a 3 percent decline. Its 4.5-continuous-horsepower motor is remarkably powerful for a home treadmill, and the touch-screen control console draws nearly universal praise.
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Est. $1,500 Estimated Price
LifeSpan TR1200-DT5
LifeSpan TR1200-DT5

Best treadmill desk

The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 strikes the best balance of value, stability and performance for a treadmill desk, with its high-torque 2.25-continuous-horsepower motor and 350-pound weight limit. The desk manually adjusts to suit users from 4 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet, 8 inches tall, and the treadmill is so quiet you can walk and talk discreetly.
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Est. $1,500 Estimated Price
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Some treadmills are not built for running

According to a recent ConsumerReports.org poll of more than 1,400 subscribers, the majority of those who own treadmills are happy with their purchase and use the machine at least as much as they had originally planned. Many experts recommend budgeting at least $1,000 for a quality treadmill, especially if you plan to do a lot of running. If you prefer walking or light jogging, you can get by with spending less.

Manual treadmills, which have no motor and must be powered by the user's walking motion, usually cost less than $200 and are at the bottom of the satisfaction list. Manual treadmills are set at a constant incline, which makes it easier to press the belt back with every step but also produces a much harder workout right off the bat. If you don't hold on to the handlebars as you walk, you might slide right off the back of the treadmill.

Small walking belts, short warranties and serious durability problems are common in this category, but some consumers are willing to overlook these issues in exchange for a lightweight, portable machine that can be stored almost anywhere.

Motorized treadmills around the $600 mark are best for walking and limited jogging. They usually don't have the necessary heft, power and stability -- or running space -- to stand up to frequent use or heavier users, although we did find one noteworthy exception to this rule: the Horizon T101-04 (Est. $630) . Once you pass the $1,000 price point, you'll find stronger motors; larger running belts; more stable frames; and longer, more comprehensive warranties.

Some treadmills come with novel features like iFit Live, which allows you to map out virtual-reality courses with Google Maps; the unit adjusts its incline to match the simulated terrain. That said, serious runners put a treadmill's sturdiness, power and controls ahead of showy features. The rare treadmills that can adjust to a negative incline are an exception to this rule because they offer a more realistic experience; we feature three such units in this report.

Walking while you work

If you're interested in walking while you work -- whether to lose weight or just avoid the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle -- you can improvise a desktop across the handlebars of a regular treadmill. However, purpose-built treadmill desks are much safer. You don't have to worry about accidentally blocking access to the controls or tipping the "desk" off the handlebars. Treadmills meant specifically for use while working also have high-torque motors designed to withstand constant, slow speeds for hours at a time -- typically 1 to 2 mph.

Walking on a treadmill instead of sitting at a desk is a big commitment, but most owners who take the leap are thrilled to find themselves losing weight, incorporating more physical activity into their lives and just plain feeling better. "In the first day I casually walked to 17,000 steps [more than eight miles] without realizing it," writes one happy Amazon.com user who recently made the switch to a treadmill desk.

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Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $999.00 $799.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $799.00   
Average Customer Review:  
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