A woman in sneakers running on a treadmill.

Treadmills are a big investment but can pay off in the long run. 

Our recommended models start at just $900, and a budget folding treadmill with a reasonable rating can be had for closer to $600. High-end treadmills can cost you close to $4,000. 

Most people don't need the most expensive machines. And though some machines come with features like mobile-app connectivity and interactive programs, if you don't think you'll use those fancy features, simpler machines can save you money, says Peter Anzalone, Consumer Reports’ senior test project leader for fitness equipment.

Our buying guide can help you figure out which options are available and what makes sense for your needs.

How We Test Treadmills

Our tests focus on ease of use, construction quality (including design, noise and feel, and durability), ergonomics (how well the machine accommodates different users), 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 security of folding models, the accessibility of the emergency stop button, the workings of the safety key (which stops the treadmill if you fall), and more.

More on Treadmills

We also perform a durability test using two custom rigs made of a giant metal drum covered in rubber “feet." This runs along each treadmill for a total of 25 hours to simulate half a year of use. The results of that test are factored into our "construction" rating. 

The roundup below includes some of our top picks or best buys from 2018 in three major categories: nonfolding treadmills, folding treadmills, and budget folding treadmills. Members can see our full ratings and reviews here.

Top Picks

1

Ergonomics
Construction
Ease of use

2

Ergonomics
Construction
Ease of use
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The Rundown on Treadmills

Ready to lose those extra pounds? Consumer Reports expert, Peter Anzalone, shows 'Consumer 101' TV show host, Jack Rico, which treadmill features will give him a run for his money.