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Feet of someone walking on a treadmill.

Best Home Treadmills of 2018

These top-performing models from Consumer Reports' tests can help you hit your stride

The best treadmills are supportive and well-built, and have programs that allow you to vary your routine to keep yourself engaged. On the flip side, lesser models make you painfully conscious of the fact that you’re walking or running, leaving you feeling less like Usain Bolt and more like Sisyphus.

Before you drop thousands on a top-tier treadmill, you should know that there are big differences among models—chief among them the ability to fold for storage. Treadmills that do fold tend to be less expensive and designed for the casual user. Stationary models that don't fold offer solid construction and larger running belts, favored by runners because they can accommodate a long stride.

Whichever path you pick, start with Consumer Reports’ treadmill buying guide, then make sure to try a few models in the store. “It’s important to get a treadmill you enjoy using,” says Peter Anzalone, the Consumer Reports engineer who oversees treadmill testing. “If you’re not having fun using it, you likely won’t be using it for long.”

How We Test Treadmills
Our tests focus on ease of use, construction quality, ergonomics, exercise range, and user safety. Exercise range is an important one—that's our assessment of whether a machine is suitable for a variety of fitness levels. It factors in the range of treadmill speeds, incline range, stability, cushioning, and more.

Our user safety tests evaluate the accessibility of the emergency stop button, the workings of the safety key, the security of folding models, and more. The last thing you want to do is trip and face-plant like Taylor Swift in this YouTube video.

We also perform a durability test using two custom-made rigs dubbed Johnnie Walker Red and Johnnie Walker Black for the color they're painted—that comprise a giant metal drum covered in rubber “feet” that run along each treadmill for 25 hours total to simulate half a year of use. 

We test and rate treadmills from a variety of brands, including AFG, Bodyguard, Horizon Fitness, Landice, LifeFitness, Precor, Sole, Xterra, and more.

Read on for reviews of six of the best from our tests, in alphabetical order, suitable for every fitness level.

Nautilus T616

Nautilus T616

CR's take: If you want a folding treadmill that won’t break the bank, consider the Nautilus T616. It’s one of our highest-rated budget folding treadmills, earning an Excellent score for exercise range and strong scores in our other tests. And even at this relatively affordable price, the Nautilus doesn’t skimp on features. You’ll find a chest-strap heart-rate sensor included for heart-rate-based exercise programs, two cup holders, and a magazine rack for reading or watching videos on a tablet while you run. This model’s only downside is that the controls are tightly arranged, with a lot of buttons and labels, making it a little confusing to use.

    ProForm Pro 2000

    ProForm Pro 2000

    CR’s take: The highly rated ProForm Pro 2000 is one of the cheapest high-end folding treadmills in our ratings, earning it a CR Best Buy designation. This model includes a chest-strap heart-rate monitor, 24 built-in exercise programs (although no heart-rate control programs), and a negative incline to simulate downhill running—a feature that will keep veteran runners interested while engaging different muscle groups. Our testers find that it offers superb durability and give it high marks in our tests, including a Very Good score for ease of use.

      Sole F63

      Sole F63

      CR’s take: The budget-friendly folding Sole F63 offers solid construction and a robust range of programs for the price, including a built-in chest-strap heart-rate monitor, which can adjust your workout in real time based on feedback. In addition to docking a smartphone, the built-in Bluetooth can sync to the Sole Fitness App, allowing you to track workout history, build a profile, and set goals. Our tests find that this model offers top-notch performance, including a Very Good score for user safety. For a reasonable price, the Sole F63 offers a lot for an entry-level user, with room to evolve, too.

        Sole TT8

        Sole TT8

        CR’s take: If you have the space—and resolve—to run almost every day, the Sole TT8 is a well-built machine that can be tailored to a serious user’s needs. In addition to side-grip controls for speed and incline, this model also lets you create a negative incline for downhill running. It can also use Bluetooth to pair with the Sole Fitness App, allowing you to build a personal profile, track progress, and set goals. In our tests, it earns a Very Good score for ease of use. One disappointment: Though the machine has custom heart-rate-controlled programs that vary based on user feedback, you’ll need to pay extra for the chest-strap heart-rate monitor itself, to the tune of $65.

          Spirit Fitness XT485

          Spirit Fitness XT485

          CR’s take: If you don’t mind paying a premium, this treadmill offers high-end features. And you can fold it flat and stash the machine under the bed when it’s not in use. That makes this model best suited for a serious user with limited space who will take the extra step of wheeling it out of storage before each workout. The Spirit Fitness XT485 offers solid construction and thoughtful features for walkers and runners, including side hand-grip controls to change incline and speed settings in motion. It fares well in our durability tests and earns an Excellent score for construction, among other high marks.

            True M30

            True M30

            CR’s take: A CR Best Buy pick, the True M30 is great for serious runners on a budget, as it costs around half the price of some of our other top-rated non-folding treadmills. It includes a chest-strap heart-rate monitor for programs that adjust speed and incline to keep your heart rate in a target zone and the ability to create custom workout profiles. The True M30 earns an Excellent score for ergonomics, with similar scores in our other tests. But at this price, don’t expect fancier features like companion smartphone apps or negative incline.

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              Daniel Wroclawski

              I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).