With so many options and different models available, choosing a treadmill can become a daunting task when it comes to things like speed, incline, cushioning, programs, accessories, console etc…
Hopefully this guide will help you finding the best home treadmill you actually need.
If you already know what to look for in a home treadmill, have a look at our recommended treadmills for each of the following budgets:
Why buying a Treadmill?
A few reason why getting a treadmill for home.
Running is the most popular fitness activity in the UK because you don’t require much accessories to get started: you just need some decent running shoes. In the UK, we’re not really lucky with the weather as opposed to Europe / southern Europe where outdoor running is extremely popular. This is where the treadmill enters your life, you can keep fit, improve your cardio, or practise for any race from home: regardless of our UK weather mood.
It might also be that depending where you live, it might not be a nice forest to run in, or a decent country side road path to stretch your legs, another reason to consider a treadmill.
Of course, you could go to your local gym but it will cost you a monthly fee which can be expensive when it turns out that you go to the gym once a month because ‘you can’t be bothered’.
However buying a home treadmill can also be expensive so this is why you need to take your time to compare and read about it.
Hence you’re here reading this guide on how to choose a treadmill. 🙂
You need to consider the following 3 main factors which we are going to dive into individually:
Space in your home / dimensions
Purpose: walking / running
Specs and technical bits
How much do you need to spend?
Between £500 and £1,500, there are plenty of reputable brands that sell brilliant piece of equipment. Further down this guide is our pricing guide of the best home treadmills.
There is a wide range of treadmill prices depending on ‘gadgets and gizmos’ but if you fancy a “gym-like” treadmill you will need to splash out upwards of £1,500. For more info, we have reviewedthe top 3 treadmills from £1,500 to £3,000.
However you can find some fantastic treadmills for much lower than that, save your pennies!
Also, it’s worth adding that spending less than £500 in a treadmillmight results in a disappointment because the treadmill belt might not big enough, because you can’t fold it away, because the console and programs are very basics without even mentioning the quality of plastics and so on..
We’d say that the price range of your treadmill depends on who you are. Are you more a “walker” or a “runner”?
How much space do you need for a treadmill at home?
Larger running machines tend to have better features such as longer (and sometimes wider) running decks because they are usually designed for runners.
If you’re a walker, your stride would be smaller than if you were running so you may not need that much space around your treadmill.
Walking Vs Running stride in a nutshell:
The mechanics of walking are somewhat different to those of running. The different stride profiles of running and walking affect the power efficiency, maximum speed and impact level of the activity on your body. While walking and running burn roughly the same number of calories over the same distance and at similar speeds, the joint impact and muscle use that are involved in each type of stride are different.
The image just below demonstrates how much space would be required around your treadmill if you want to use it the safest way possible:
What are the specs to look for when buying your treadmill?
MOTOR & MAXIMUM SPEED
Often treadmill manufacturers talk about CHP or HP. It’s common jargon.
The ‘CHP’ label represents the continuous duty-rating horsepower which is a measurement of the motor’s ability to maintain a listed HP over an extended period of time.
If you are planning on to run over 5 times a week for example, or you weigh over 11 stones, we would suggest that you look for a treadmill with a 2.0 CHP motor at least.
The motor of a treadmill is another important element which depends on your fitness goal (walking, jogging, running, high intensity intervals etc…)
Here is a quick power guide per activity:
-Minimum motor power for walking: 2.0 CHP
-Minimum motor power for jogging: 2.50 CHP
-Minimum motor power for running: 3.0 CHP
The incline of the treadmill is a great way to emulate a mountain trail. This is ideal if you’re training for a trail race.
You’ll strengthen your calves muscles and also improve your cardio.
Incline is often use for walking purposes only, you can also run on an inclined running deck should you want but this requires some strength and might not be a good idea for everyone. However, if you’re a trail runner then this a very good feature to consider..
A great feature available from most of treadmills from £500-£600 minimum. Specific treadmills (like the X9i incline trainer treadmill from Nordictrack, more info about this brilliant treadmillin our recent review) can go up to a 15%incline!
USER WEIGHT LIMIT
Some treadmill are more resistant to others and are able to handle heavy users. Most treadmills for home use can support a weight up to 120kg (approximately)
This comes to the resistance of the running deck and the ability of the cushioning system to handle your weight.
It is of course is a detail but it is fair to say that you might be disappointed if you invest into a treadmill that you can’t use because of your weight. Something to bear in mind…
RUNNING SURFACE or RUNNING DECK
The running surface of a treadmill is important for one main reason: your running stride might be restricted if the treadmill is directly against a wall of your room. In this case, choose a small running deck.
On the flip side, if your room is spacious and there are plenty of free space around the treadmill, then go for a large running surface area.
The running belt is a very important element to consider, this depends on your goal.
Here is a quick size guide per activity:
-Ideal size for walking: 43″ long and 14″ wide (110 × 35 cm)
-Ideal size for jogging: 47″ long and 16″ (120 × 40 cm)
-Ideal size for running: 50″ long and 18″ wide (125 × 45 cm)
-Ideal size for comfort: 55″ long and 20″ wide (140 × 51 cm or even more)
Typically, you need a larger running deck if you choose to run on your machine as your stride is much longer than when walking.
On the other hand, if you’re a walker then a smaller deck could be more than enough and therefore you could save some pennies.
One very important to feature of a treadmill is its cushioning system or its ability to absorbs the shocks from your weight when running / walking. A good cushioning system will prevent from joint pains and known knee articulation issues.
Programs are equally important as you want the treadmill to be sophisticated enough to guide you and help you achieving your goals. Most running machines have in-built programs, some better than others. Programs are developed for specific for needs such as weight loss, mountain climbing, cardio etc.