As a recreational runner, I enjoy running outdoors, but I know that sometimes weather or lack of time can impede a potential run. I’ve trained for many races relying on outdoor trails and treadmills, and I always find it helpful to have the option of a treadmill on hand. The best treadmills can help you to get some guaranteed cardio in the comfort of your home. The treadmills available for home use have also become more technologically advanced and often have touchscreens, workout programs, streaming platforms and more.
I tested the most popular treadmills by running, jogging and walking, then determined which are worth buying, who they are best for and what to consider before making a purchase. Take a look at our top picks below.
What is the best treadmill overall?
The best overall treadmill we tested was hands down the Nordictrack Commercial 2450. It’s on the bigger side, but it’s worth it if you want all the features that come with a high tech treadmill. The 22-inch adjustable touchscreen on this treadmill makes it easy to view your workout and to tilt if you’d like to do a separate workout on the floor. It has decline and incline options, ranging from zero to 15% incline and up to -3% decline, which is not easy to come by on a treadmill. Through Nordictrack’s iFit program, you can personalize your own running trail using Google Maps to exercise anywhere in the world. But the most elite feature has to be Nordictrack’s autoadjust technology. This allows an iFit virtual instructor to adjust your incline and speed during class, so it feels like you’re actually on the terrain featured during your workout.
Read more: How to Beat Boredom on the Treadmill
Best treadmills of 2023
The first thing I noticed about the NordicTrack Commercial 2450, NordicTrack’s newest addition to its commercial treadmill series, is the touchscreen. It has a 22-inch HD touchscreen that resembles a desktop computer screen, so it’s huge. It also tilts and pivots so you can adjust it for different uses, like if you want to take workout classes on the floor. The treadmill itself is also on the bigger side since it’s a commercial treadmill, but it does fold up using its easylift assist feature, so if space is limited you can always prop up the belt. Assembling this treadmill can take about two and a half hours (as one of CNET’s warehouse technicians estimated) and will require at least two people. However, NordicTrack does offer the option to include assembly in the delivery for an extra $299.
This treadmill has both decline and incline options, ranging from zero to 15% incline and up to -3% decline. It’s a rarity to find a treadmill that declines, so this is a unique feature. The speeds range from zero to 12 miles per hour and there are quick-touch control buttons on the console, which makes it easier to adjust your speed during interval training.
In order to get the most out of the NordicTrack Commercial 2450, you will need an iFit membership that is included as part of a 30-day free trial upon purchase. Afterwards it will run you $39 a month. Besides treadmill workouts, iFit also offers other types of live and on-demand classes, so you can enjoy a variety of workouts on the floor. The treadmill uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can connect headphones, a smartwatch or a heart rate monitor. However, I thought it was a missed opportunity that this treadmill doesn’t give you the option to connect your own music through Spotify or Apple Music. You’ll also want to make sure that you have decent Wi-Fi because it can get spotty if the treadmill has a hard time reading it.
During the testing process I enjoyed the smooth, quiet tread belt of the NordicTrack. This would be an ideal treadmill for both short and tall people since the tread belt is long and wide, and it has a 300-pound max user capacity. Although this treadmill has a touchscreen, it also has buttons for users who like having that option. Right beneath the screen there’s a fan and a console that has buttons that control the incline, decline, start, stop and speed buttons. The cup holders on this treadmill are on each side of the treadmill and are disappointingly on the smaller side. The most they can hold is a bottle or towel and your phone. But I’m guessing it was designed this way to keep you focused on your workout instead of fiddling with your phone.
I like how you have the option to run or walk in manual mode without taking a class, but iFit itself has a diverse group of classes to pick from. One of the interesting features iFit has is that you can create your own trail using Google Maps to exercise anywhere in the world. For example, if you want to run in Central Park, you can select the location to create that immersive experience during your run. The stand out feature I was most impressed by was NordicTrack’s AutoAdjust technology, which allows an iFit virtual instructor to adjust your incline and speed during class. You could be running or walking in the jungle and you’ll notice the treadmill adjust to replicate that terrain. This hands-free option lets you focus on the class without having to fuss with any buttons. It’s also a good way for runners who need to train for a race to get the outdoor feel indoors.
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The Bowflex Treadmill 10 is ideal for those looking for a heavy-duty treadmill. It has the highest weight capacity of all the treadmills on this list at 400 pounds — most cap out at around 300 pounds. It’s also the biggest one on the list, measuring 85 by 39.6 by 65.3 inches. According to our technician, assembly took about three and a half hours and can be tedious because of the different pieces you have to install. Bowflex does offer assembly for an additional $349.
Upon looking at the Bowflex Treadmill 10, you can tell it’s a solidly built machine due to the size of the tread and the wide design. I like how size-inclusive the design is: The space between the handles provides plenty of room to move your arms, and the tread belt is long enough if you have longer strides, so individuals over 6 feet tall will be able to run on it comfortably.
The touchscreen on the Bowflex is only 10 inches, so it’s smaller than I expected and seems out of place considering how big the body of the treadmill is. I also didn’t love how some of the buttons that control the speed and incline are positioned further back on the sides of the treadmill and made of a plastic material. I’m short, so it didn’t seem practical to me to reach behind me to change the speed or incline. However, I could see this being more comfortable for taller people. The upside is that there are handles in front of the console that also have buttons that control the speed and incline. The console is also wide enough to hold your phone or tablet and has one cup holder on each side.
The Bowflex Treadmill 10 has incline and decline options and goes up to 12 miles per hour. When you’re running, the belt feels smooth and is on the quiet side, despite the minimal whirring sound the motor makes. Bowflex also has a JRNY membership which you need to access the various exercise and treadmill classes. New members get to try JRNY for free the first year, but afterwards it’s $20 a month, a fairly price compared to other memberships. You can also easily sync up your treadmill with the JRNY app on iOS and Android. If you’re not in the mood to take a class, you also have the option to use the treadmill in manual mode. You will need to make sure you have an internet router in or close to the room where your treadmill is set up. I didn’t experience any issues with the connectivity, but some reviews point out that the classes glitch if the Wi-Fi isn’t stable enough. You can also connect the treadmill to your Bluetooth enabled smart devices and heart rate monitors. I tried connecting it to my Apple Watch, but had no luck, which I can see being an issue if you’re a runner who wants to track your data. This treadmill can’t connect to music streaming services, but it can connect to streaming apps like Hulu or Netflix so you can watch your favorite shows while you work out.
When you’re done using the treadmill, you can fold it upright by pressing a lever on the lower right hand side of the belt and lifting it up to close. Although it doesn’t close all the way, it does prop up the belt which can help save you space.
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Unlike the rest of the treadmills on this list, the Echelon Stride was made with limited space in mind, and its sleek all-black exterior will blend into any room. It only took our technician 15 minutes to set up. This treadmill is best for someone on the shorter side since the spacing between the arms and treadmill feels more narrow compared to the Bowflex and NordicTrack treadmills. The belt is also shorter, measuring only 55 inches long. It has a 300-pound weight capacity, which is impressive considering its size. It could pass for a walking treadmill because of how slim it is, but during testing I was able to comfortably walk and run on it. The speed capabilities are in line with the bigger treadmills, however, the incline is not as high, and the Echelon Stride doesn’t have a decline option.
I’d recommend this treadmill if you’re going to be using it for shorter runs, jogs and walks, because even though it’s sturdy and can handle high speed, I’m not certain it will handle intense mileage over time — especially if you’re a long distance runner. It also sometimes lags when you increase the speed. The foot rails are narrow, which makes sense since it fits the size of the treadmill, but I wouldn’t be comfortable hopping on them if I suddenly needed to do so mid-workout.
The Echelon Stride is more bare bones than the other treadmills on this list because it doesn’t have a touchscreen and is instead controlled by a few buttons beneath the LED console. If you want to access workout programs, you’ll need an Echelon membership ($35 a month) and the Echelon app on your phone or tablet. If you don’t like to rely on additional gadgets to view your workouts, this may not be the best option for you. I had to use my phone and the app worked perfectly fine for me, but truth be told, I would’ve preferred a built-in screen. The good news is you can connect your Spotify account and other third-party accounts like Strava, Apple Health and Fitbit. The buttons on the Echelon Stride are intuitive and may be preferable for those who don’t want smart features. The LED console shows the speed, step count, time, distance, incline and quick speed. This treadmill only has a mesh cup holder to hold a water bottle, which fits its small frame, but doesn’t hold much else.
A big advantage this treadmill has over the rest on this list is that it folds flat so you can store it under your bed or lean it against your wall. It’s truly a space saver, unlike other treadmills which just fold upright and still require some space.
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The Horizon 7.0 AT treadmill looks like a commercial treadmill at the gym without the bells and whistles. It’s also fairly priced and the only treadmill on this list under $1,000. This treadmill took our technician two hours to assemble, but you have the option of white glove delivery and assembly for an additional $269. You will need to make sure you measure out the space in your home since this treadmill is pretty big, measuring 76.5 inches long and 36 inches wide. It does fold up, but similar to some of the other treadmills on this list, you still need to make sure you have enough room to store it upright.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Horizon 7.0 AT treadmill is that it doesn’t have a touchscreen. Instead, the console has two display screens: a 7-inch LCD screen that shows your metrics during a workout, and right beneath it other smaller screens that display time, speed, distance, calories burned, incline, heart rate and pace. It doesn’t have the most modern features and looks like it was designed in the ’80s or ’90s, but it’s still functional.
Despite lacking the smart capabilities of its competitors, it’s a solid machine with a long belt measuring 60-by-20 inches, long enough for taller individuals to run on comfortably. It has a weight capacity of 325 pounds. The treadmill is on the quieter side, which is good if you’re planning on cranking up the speed or doing intervals. Speaking of intervals, Horizon designed this treadmill to have quick-dial knobs on the shorter handles that stick out of the front of the console. The knobs are easy to turn forward to pick up the speed or incline or to turn back if you want to decrease them. The Peloton Tread has a similar feature on the side of its tread, but I found that Horizon’s design makes more sense. The Horizon treadmill goes up to 12 miles per hour and can hit an incline of up to 15%. This treadmill doesn’t decline.
One of the things that sets this treadmill apart from a NordicTrack, Bowflex or even Peloton model is that you aren’t required to buy any additional workout programs in order to use it. You can use it on its own or you can connect it to apps you already own, including iFit or Peloton, Zwift, Nike Run Club and Apple Fitness Plus. You can also connect to apps such as Netflix, Hulu or Spotify. Full transparency: I struggled to connect my phone to the treadmill, despite following the instructions verifying that my Bluetooth was on. However, other reviewers have had better luck. CNET contributor Lindsay Boyer previously tested the Horizon T101 (another Horizon treadmill), and was able to successfully connect to the iFit app.
Additional features on this treadmill include a fan, heart rate sensors and automatic and manual programs. It also has USB and headphone ports if you need to charge your phone or prefer to wear wired headphones. And if you ask me, there’s nothing wrong with a treadmill that sticks to the basics.
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If you’re familiar with Peloton’s exercise equipment, then you know it all shares the same black sleek exterior with touches of red. The Peloton Tread is no different, but its stand out feature is the 23.8-inch HD touchscreen. This makes it the treadmill with the biggest screen on this list. The Peloton Tread requires plenty of room since it is large and doesn’t fold up. It’s 59 inches long so it can appropriately fit people of all heights, and you can tell by the width and length of the belt that it can comfortably fit someone over 6 feet tall. It has a 300-pound weight capacity. The Peloton Tread can go up to 12.5 miles per hour and has a maximum 12.5% incline, but no decline option. Its competitors NordicTrack and Bowflex have the ability to decline, so I was surprised that Peloton was lacking there.
To control the speed, the Peloton Tread has a speed dial on the right and an incline knob on the left. This design is ideal if you’re doing intervals, though I found the dial to lag when I tried to change the speed. Regardless, the Tread offers a smooth and mostly quiet ride. Another aspect I observed when testing is that the belt comes to an abrupt halt when you hit stop instead of slowly coming to a stop. This may be part of the safety features Peloton incorporated after the 2021 Peloton Tread recall. The Peloton also has a safety key and a tread lock, which is a four-digit safety pin that you’re required to enter to access the treadmill. I found the tread lock to be particularly annoying because I had to enter it every time I walked away from the treadmill momentarily. However, I understand the need for it and think it’s important, especially in a home with pets and children.
Peloton doesn’t have much to offer as far as a console goes; the plastic cup holder is just big enough to hold two water bottles. There is no fan. It looks a little more bare-bones than I expected considering this is the most expensive treadmill on the list.
As with other Peloton exercise equipment, you need the $44 a month All-Access membership to experience the classes. You also have the option to set it to just run or the scenic run mode so you don’t have to actively participate in an instructor-led run class. You can make an account for everyone in your household. I can see Peloton members gravitating towards the Peloton Tread because they’re familiar with the software and brand, but the average consumer may be deterred by the high price and prefer a less expensive option.
My favorite part about using the Peloton Tread is how crisp and clear the classes are on the HD touchscreen. Even compared to the NordicTrack 2450, which has similar screen dimensions, the Peloton Tread has it beat. You can view the instructor clearly along with your stats at the bottom of the screen and the leaderboard on the right hand side.
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Best treadmills for 2023, compared
|Treadmill||Maximum speed||Maximum incline||Maximum user weight||Price|
|NordicTrack Commercial 2450||12 mph||15%||300 pounds||$2,999|
|Bowflex Treadmill 10||12 mph||15%||400 pounds||$2,000|
|Echelon Stride||12 mph||10%||300 pounds||$1,300|
|Horizon 7.0 AT||12 mph||15%||325 pounds||$999|
|Peloton Tread||12.5 mph||12.5%||300 pounds||$2,995|