Treadmill prices vary widely. As prices go up, the machines tend to have stronger motors, more advanced programming, higher weight capacities, and longer warranties. Here is a general guide to the best treadmills for home that are available in different price categories.
Budget-priced treadmills cost about $500-$1000. They typically have 55” tracks, relatively weak motors, and top speeds of 10 mph. For these reasons, they’re best for walking and jogging, not running.
If an incline is present on a budget treadmill, it might be manual (not motorized) and probably tops out at 10%. One exception is the Horizon T103, which has a 12% incline.
Displays on budget treadmills are usually very basic. Inexpensive treadmills tend to have few program options and the cheapest versions only operate in manual mode. That said, ProForm and some other brands have integrated impressive program variety with budget treadmill designs. Also, many of the newer budget treadmills include grip heart rate monitors and show constant cardio data.
Mid-priced treadmills cost about $1000-$2500. They usually have 55” or 58” treadbelts, but some have the 60” belts that are needed by taller trainees and runners.
Compared with budget treadmills, mid-priced treadmills have higher weight capacities and offer better workout variety. Many have motorized inclines to simulate hill training. Some include wireless heart rate monitors and can use pulse information to adjust workout intensity. They also tend to have better cushioning than their cheaper competitors.
Expensive home treadmills are priced at $2500 and up. They’re distinguished in part by their powerful motors, long 60” tracks, and excellent shock absorption – three features that are especially required by runners. These treadmills often have commercial-quality motors that can operate at 12 mph. They also tend to have outstanding program variety, steep automatic inclines, and extras such as cable TV and Internet browsers.
Luxury treadmills are virtually maintenance free. In contrast, cheaper treadmills require occasional lubricating to prolong track life and will eventually need to be replaced. Many luxury treadmills have lifetime warranties. Landice treadmill warranties are even transferable to a second owner.
A good example of a luxury treadmill is the NordicTrack Elite 9500 PRO. It retails for $2999 but sells for less online. It has a powerful 4.0 HP motor, a long track, virtually unlimited program variety, and excellent shock absorption – plus cable TV and a limited lifetime warranty.
Exceptions to the Rule
It’s possible to find cheap treadmills that have certain exceptional features. However, you probably won’t find a cheap treadmill that combines all of the elements of an expensive treadmill AND promises its durability. For example, the Epic View 550 retails for just $1299. It has a 60” track and 28 built-in programs, but its parts warranty is sketchy.
When comparing your treadmill options, be sure to consider warranties in addition to prices. Choosing a slightly more expensive treadmill with a better warranty (or buying an extended warranty for a cheap treadmill) will likely pay off well in the long run.