Image 15.0 R Treadmill (Refurbished)

Refurbished Item

Any price comparison, including MSRP or competitors’ pricing, is to the new, non-refurbished product price. Learn More

ITEM#: 10453096

  • Sturdy steel frame
  • MyTracks step counter keeps track of the steps you take while exercising
  • Interactive program allows you to customize your steps according to your goals
  • Patent-pending QuickSpeed controls allow you to instantly change the speed of the treadmill to your desired level with the touch of a button
  • 2.5 THP (1.3 CHP) velocity drive system
  • Precision Response impact absorption system
  • 17 x 50-inch tread belt
  • 275 lbs. user capacity
  • 2.5 THP/1.3 CHP motor
  • Up to 10 degrees incline
  • Multi-windows LED display
  • Displays speed, time, distance, calories, and pulse
  • Four Personal Trainer workouts
  • Workouts created by certified personal trainer and designed with heart health and weight loss in mind
  • Cool
    • Sturdy steel frame
    • MyTracks step counter keeps track of the steps you take while exercising
    • Interactive program allows you to customize your steps according to your goals
    • Patent-pending QuickSpeed controls allow you to instantly change the speed of the treadmill to your desired level with the touch of a button
    • 2.5 THP (1.3 CHP) velocity drive system
    • Precision Response impact absorption system
    • 17 x 50-inch tread belt
    • 275 lbs. user capacity
    • 2.5 THP/1.3 CHP motor
    • Up to 10 degrees incline
    • Multi-windows LED display
    • Displays speed, time, distance, calories, and pulse
    • Four Personal Trainer workouts
    • Workouts created by certified personal trainer and designed with heart health and weight loss in mind
    • Co

Best Treadmills of 2019 and 2020

Essential Treadmill Features in 2020

Just started your fitness journey? You’ve probably noticed by now that fitness can get quite boring. Fortunately, many treadmill companies are looking at ways to change that. To address the challenge, they’re making treadmills more user-friendly and interactive than ever, so that when you step onto your machine, you might actually have a little fun while exercising and stay engaged in the long term.

Designers are achieving this by adding features like built-in speakers so you can listen to podcasts or stream music, web browsers, and augmented reality workout programs that make it feel like you are exercising in different landscapes or fitness studios around the world. With features such as these on the latest machines, you’ll never be able to use boredom as an excuse to avoid exercise ever again.

Novelty features aside, when selecting a treadmill it’s important to consider the treadmill’s key physical features like its horsepower, belt thickness and belt size, as these will dramatically impact how enjoyable your workout feels.

To help make your treadmill search a little easier, here’s our complete treadmill features guide for 2020, with expert tips, tricks, and advice to guide your research.

Part I: Set Your Basic Standards

Let’s begin by examining the core treadmill necessities for a satisfying workout session. First, you’ll want to ensure the treadmill is motorized (unless you’re seeking a very basic, non-motorized unit of course) and then look for three key features (the belt size, the motor’s capabilities, and whether or not it’s a folding model).

To Fold Or Not To Fold?

Many first-time treadmill buyers wonder whether a folding treadmill is a wise investment. In theory, the compact size seems enticing. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that if you select a folding model you will sacrifice some features along the way.

A typical treadmill sold for home use measures roughly seven feet long and three feet wide. If you have the space for a machine of that size, then go for it. If not, folding models are an ideal alternative.

However, just because a treadmill is foldable doesn’t necessarily mean that it is easily movable. Even though they have wheels, the machines are still extremely heavy and difficult to move. So once your unit is in place, you’ll want to fold it up and leave it there. Sure, moving a treadmill can feel like a workout, but that’s not why you bought the machine, is it?

The good news is, if you are in the market for a folding treadmill, you can find them in a wide variety of price ranges. In the past, folding treadmills were either cheaply made or extremely expensive, without a middle ground. These days there are more mid-range foldable treadmills that are suitable for most homes.

Sole Fitness is the top rated brand for this design, and their best-selling model is the F80. You can find it for under $1500 and it’ll give you fantastic horsepower, speed, track size, and performance for your buck.

If you want to compare some more options, see our chart of the top folding treadmills for other space-saving models from Sole, NordicTrack and other leading brands.

Treadmill Workout Belts

The next thing to take into account is the treadmill belt. Each treadmill line has a different width and length of belt that impacts how you’ll feel on the machine. Belt thickness can determine how much noise the treadmill emits during use, and how often the belt will require maintenance work. Note that if the belt is very thin, it will wear down easily, so this is something to keep in mind when purchasing.

Width: The most common width of a treadmill belt is set to 20 inches wide, so anything that is wider than that is considered extra large. A wider belt is good for larger users or for those who tend to feel trapped in during their sessions. Extra wide belts are 22 inches wide; that’s the widest you’ll see in the industry.

Length: Likewise, length also comes into play. For best results, you’ll want to choose a treadmill belt that’s longer if you plan to do a lot of running as that ensures that your stride length will be higher.

The normal length for walking and jogging treadmills is 55 inches, while treadmills designed for running purposes can range up to 60 inches in length. Do keep in mind that your own height is also a factor. If you are over 6 feet tall but plan to walk on your treadmill, you may be better off simply going with a 60 inch belt length for comfort. Tall runners on the other hand will want to seek out treadmills with a longer stride length (up to 62 or 63 inches).

Thickness: If you are purchasing a treadmill with a belt thickness of just one-ply, it may stretch or rip during running. For walking, that thickness may be fine, but more vigorous workouts require a belt thickness of two-ply or more. This type of belt can go for many, many miles without replacement. Most people also find that the thicker the belt, the quieter the treadmill (even as you approach higher speeds).

Maintenance: Belt thickness also determines how much maintenance your treadmill requires. Some belts only require occasional lubricating or waxing and are very easy to uphold. Other belts require far more regular maintenance. This is time and energy that most owners don’t expect, and can be a real pain in the long term. Generally speaking, the thicker the belt, the less maintenance is required.

Home Treadmill Motors

Another important consideration in home treadmill ownership is the motor. The motor is a huge component of what makes a treadmill run, so you don’t want to cut corners here. If you do, the treadmill won’t run properly for very long.

The main motor in any treadmill helps to push the belt forward. So the faster you plan to run on that treadmill and the heavier your body weighs, the more power you’ll need. This is a factor that too many people overlook. A motor running near its full capacity at all times will begin to fatigue and sputter out faster than a motor that has plenty of power to spare.

Horsepower: The first thing to look for in a treadmill motor is the horsepower. Usually you’ll see this referred to as continuous horsepower (CHP) rather than plain horsepower. This indicates how much total power that treadmill can put out over the entire time that you are exercising. HP only indicates how much power the machine generates in an instant, which is no good if you plan to exercise for an hour at a time.

Horsepower is one of the factors that greatly influences cost, so keep that in mind when you are doing price comparisons. It’s not something that you’ll want to cheap out on, so do try to look for the highest possible horsepower within your budget.

Typically you’ll see today’s treadmill models coming in with a CHP rating of 2.25 to 4.25. The higher the CHP, the more you can do with the treadmill.

For those who weigh 200 lbs. or less, you’ll generally want:

  • At least 2.0 CHP for walking
  • At least 2.5 CHP for jogging
  • At least 3.0 CHP for running

If you are training for a marathon or you have two or more people in the family who plan to use the treadmill on a daily basis, opt for 4.0 CHP.

Also keep in mind that if you are a heavier individual weighing over 200 pounds, you’ll want to add an additional half rating of CHP to give the treadmill a bit more of a push.

Warranty: Most home treadmill warranties include a lifetime motor warranty. Obviously, you won’t keep your cardio trainer for the next 80 years, but do insist on a lifetime warranty if you can afford it. When a treadmill lacks this guarantee, it’s an indication of poor construction and the machine will breakdown. You’ll lose everything you saved purchasing the treadmill on maintenance.

Part II: Don’t Be Shocked! Cushion & Tilt Your Run

It’s no secret that jogging and running are high impact activities that are hard on the joints. If you want a very low impact exercise machine, you’d be better off reading an elliptical guide right now instead.

Walking makes less of an impact, but it’s still a higher impact activity than swimming, cycling, or elliptical training. So paying attention to the shock absorption qualities of your treadmill is important.

You want to ensure that whatever treadmill you are considering offers protection for your joints, tendons, and ligaments. Otherwise, your treadmill will quickly become just another piece of furniture. Think of it this way: you are far better off spending $2000 on a treadmill that you use 200 days of the year than you are spending $1500 on a treadmill that you use only 50 times because it hurts your joints and causes injury. It’s always worth spending a bit more to get a model that is more comfortable to use in both the short and long term.

When a treadmill is well made, it’s often able to nearly completely deflect the shock that you experience while using it, changing your running game forever.

About Treadmill Cushioning

You’ve heard the saying before that for every action, there’s an opposite reaction; we all learned this back in grade school. Whenever your feet are hitting the deck of the treadmill, forces are acting upwards and exerting pressure on your joints.

You might think that this force equates to your body weight, but you would be wrong. The forces you feel coming back up at you are magnified by gravity pushing forces upwards as you land with each step. This is why jogging has more impact than walking. With walking, one foot is always on the ground. When running your feet completely clear the ground for a brief moment.

Treadmills that offer strong shock absorption are usually much quieter as well; an added benefit to keep in mind.

The shock absorption for your treadmill consists of three parts:

  • The belt, which you can see laying flat against the top.
  • The deck, which is a wood or wood-like synthetic material laying beneath the belt. Running on this alone would be very hard on your joints.
  • The steel frame with shock absorbers, which line the deck and help it move in and out as it adapts and cushions your body weight. Think of these shock absorbers like springs. As the deck pushes down on them, they give only to eventually push back up and provide cushioning.

Here are a few additional things to keep in mind:

  • If you are a serious road runner, you may want to deactivate your cushioning system so that it feels more like you are actually running on flat ground. NordicTrack and ProForm make this possible by allowing users to turn the shock absorption on and off.
  • Some treadmills come with what’s referred to as ‘variable cushioning’, which is firmest at the push-off zone and softest where you land at the top. This is an advanced system and is only available on higher specification treadmills.
  • Of all the treadmill companies, Sole tends to offer the best overall cushioning support system for their price range. The impact on joints can be reduced by up to 40% on Sole treadmills when compared to the impact that you’d get running outdoors. Most treadmills in this price range only deflect about 30% of the total impact you’ll experience.
  • If you go with a high-end brand such as Landice, you’ll get cushioning that is rated as five times softer than grass. This will make your joints feel like you are running on a cloud. Landice’s top-of-the-line treadmill offers cushioning that is seven times softer than grass, which will make your joints feel like you are running on a cloud in marshmallow shoes. For those with chronic joint pain, this is the ideal choice.

About Treadmill Incline

Another factor to take into account is the incline abilities of a treadmill. This feature gives you another element to add to your workout routine, and also ensures that you are fully challenging your body at all times.

The tilt that comes along with incline helps reduce the impact of exercise on your joints. When using a proper incline, you’ll also receive other benefits such as burning more calories and strengthening your muscles. Walking or jogging uphill is always more strenuous than walking or jogging on flat ground.

Here’s what you need to know about incline.

  • Manual or electric? You can find inclines in both styles but manual is very hard to come by these days. If incline is manual, you’ll have to get off the treadmill and bend down to adjust the deck. If it’s electronic, you simply press a button and the treadmill inclines. This type of incline, often referred to as power incline, is also important for pre-programmed workout options.
  • Higher end treadmills now offer augmented reality workouts which use apps such as iFit Coach or Google Maps to formulate walking and running routes across various landscapes and terrains. As you explore the locations on a tablet or console, your treadmill incline changes in real time, simulating changes in the topography you are discovering. Imagine feeling like you’re running through Rome or Tokyo without ever leaving your basement! This feature is available on machines from both NordicTrack and ProForm.
  • Usually you’ll find treadmill inclines that range from 10-20%, with price being the biggest factor determining how high they go. The cheaper treadmills will typically only offer about 10% incline, while more expensive ones will go up to 20%. Most people find that they are satisfied with an incline that tops out at 15%. However if you are someone who is in serious training, having that additional 5% incline can make a big difference on your performance abilities. You might also want to look into something called inline trainers, which are treadmill hybrid machines that can tilt up to 40%. These machines are like a cross between a treadmill and a stepper and are ideal for burning high amounts of calories.
  • Higher inclines should be considered by anyone who can’t run, and instead wants to exercise through walking. Walking on a high incline can burn just as many calories (if not more) than running.
  • Some treadmills that have incline capacities also have decline capacities, and can move into a downhill slant. Do keep in mind though that this can be even harder on the joints than flat walking or running and should be used with care.

Part III: Listen To Your Heart… Wirelessly

With visions of weight loss and gorgeous muscle tone, people forget that treadmills are cardio trainers. Most of these machines have heart rate monitors, and using the data from these can help maximize your progress. You can ensure that your effort isn’t too low and also that you don’t work too intensely and risk injury or burnout.

About Heart Rate Zones

To benefit from a monitor, you need to know your heart rate zones. Each zone covers a certain percentage of your maximum theoretical heart rate. You’ll be aiming to train within a specific zone. Here are the zones commonly recognized in health and fitness.

Zone 1: 60% to 70% – This zone is used for warm-ups and cool-downs. It could also be used for the majority of your workout if you’re just starting to get into shape.

Zone 2: 71% to 80% – This zone is most common for treadmill training. In this zone, you can hold a conversation without gasping for breath. Exercising in this zone can help your body use oxygen more efficiently.

Zone 3: 81% to 93% – Exercise in this zone is intense. You can say short sentences but holding a normal conversation isn’t an option.

Zone 4: 94% and Up – The top heart rate zone is of course for your hardest effort, like when a racer speeds to the finish line. As for the “talk test,” you might be able to utter a few words at a time (like “help me”, for example).

How to Calculate Heart Rate Zones

What are your heart rate zones exactly? The conventional formula is to start with 220, then subtract your age. For example, if you are 40 years old, then 180 beats per minute is your theoretical maximum heart rate. From here you can calculate the percentages noted above.

This doesn’t reflect individual differences in resting heart rate though, so we suggest the Karvonen formula. For this, you start off with the same 220 minus your age. Then subtract your resting heart rate. The resulting number is your heart rate reserve. Multiply that number by the percentage at which you want to train to get your target beats per minute.

Types of Treadmill Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate can be measured with touch sensors or wirelessly. Wireless monitoring is significantly more accurate.

Most treadmills in 2020, no matter the price range, are equipped with touch sensors. Typically these sensors are built into the handlebars. On cheap treadmills, these heart rate monitors tend to be inaccurate and not so useful. With better models, you can have more confidence in the data, and use it to your advantage.

Wireless heart rate monitoring is the most accurate. It isn’t compromised by a sweaty grip and the reading is accurate whether you’re standing still or moving at top speed. Mid-quality and high-quality treadmills tend to provide touch sensors. Plus they work with wireless chest straps by Bluetooth, Polar and other manufacturers. Sometimes the cardio monitoring strap is included with purchase.

The Finish Line… Best Treadmills 2020

Here are what we consider to be the top treadmills on the market.

NordicTrack Commercial 1750 – 5 Stars

Sole F80 – 5 Stars

ProForm SMART Pro 9000 – 5 Stars

Life Fitness F3 – 5 Stars

NordicTrack Commercial 2950 – 5 Stars

Sole TT8 – 5 Stars

NordicTrack X22i – 4.5 Stars

Horizon 7.0 AT – 4 Stars

Bowflex BXT216 – 4.5 Stars

Horizon T101 – 4 Stars

Regardless of your home treadmill budget, you can choose a machine that has a range of special features to suit your workout needs. Keeping the performance essentials in mind will help you find the treadmill that’s right for you. Now that you know how to judge treadmill frame style, motor power, belt size, power incline, cushioning and heart rate monitoring, your new treadmill is just a few more hours of research and head-scratching away! Good luck on your search, and if you need some more help, check out our many reviews to dig deeper into the details and find your perfect home treadmill.

Image Treadmills Reviewed

Update: This treadmill has been discontinued.

You may visit our best buy treadmills page to look our top ratings brands!

Image treadmills are perfect for those on a limited budget.

So if you’re looking for a budget treadmill, then this brand might be of interest to you. However, I must warn you that like most budget treadmills, most of these Image units also come with below average quality. So don’t expect these treadmills to be problem-free for very long.

The Company behind Image Treadmills

Image is another one of those brands that are being made by Icon Health and Fitness. Image is actually one of the least popular brands from Icon which explains why they are being sold for such low prices.

Icon is the largest manufacturer and marketer of exercise equipment in the world. Icon owns and manufactures some of the most well-known brands in the fitness industry including ProForm, Weslo, and HealthRider, and licenses the popular Reebok and Gold’s Gym brands. In addition to manufacturing, the company also performs all marketing, research, development and industrial design for these product lines.

Image’s Price Range Category

Image models belong to the low to mid price range category with treadmills being sold from as low as $400 to some as high as $1,700. Most of these treadmills only have a 90 day warranty, which is something to be expected since budget treadmills usually don’t last very long. Lately however, the company has been producing above average machines (Advanced series) with better quality and longer warranties at the same rock-bottom prices.

What it Lacks

According to my research, there had been some complaints regarding Image’s customer service. Other than that, they have fixed all their other problems in the past including their product’s quality and the length of their warranties with their Advanced models.

Recommendation

In conclusion, Image treadmills are recommended especially for price conscious individuals. They have improved on most of their weaknesses in the past few years which makes them one of the better entry level treadmill brands. However, I must warn you that most websites still sell older models from Image which comes with poor quality and short warranties. You should avoid these models as they would only cause you headaches. I suggest you stick only with Advanced series models.

Update: I no longer recommend buying any Image products. This brand has been discontinued so warranties may no longer be honored and support and parts may no longer be available.

Where to Buy Your Image

If you plan on still buying this brand even after reading this review, then I suggest you buy your Image treadmills from Amazon.com. They still have a few stocks of Image models left. So if you really like to get one you must hurry.

Image 10.0 Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $388.37
Motor Size: 2.0hp continuous duty
Maximum user weight: 250lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 50in x 18in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: The Image 10.0 treadmill is one of the best budget treadmills below $500.

Image 15.0 Q Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $388.37
Motor Size: 2.5hp
Maximum user weight: 250lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 50in x 18in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: Image 15.0 Q treadmill is a well packaged basic treadmill.

Image 16.0 Q Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $499.00
Motor Size: 2.5hp
Maximum user weight: 250lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 54in x 19in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: Image 16.0 Q treadmill is for people on a tight budget but wants a big treadmill.

Image 14.0 Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $548.62
Motor Size: 2.5hp
Maximum user weight: 250lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 55in x 18in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: Image 14.0 treadmill is another one of those Image treadmills that comes with a huge tread belt and a small motor.

Image 19.0 Q Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $598.22
Motor Size: 2.5hp
Maximum user weight: 300lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 55in x 19in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: Image 19.0 Q treadmill is probably Image’s best packaged treadmill.

Image 10.4QL Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $987.46
Motor Size: 1.75hp continuous duty
Maximum user weight: 250lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 55in x 20in
Heart Rate: no
Folding: yes
Others: The Image 10.4QL treadmill is one of the bigger and more expensive treadmills from Image.

Image Advanced Treadmills

below are some of the latest treadmill models from Image…
Image Advanced 1400 Treadmill *Discontinued*
Cost: $699.87
Motor Size: 2.25 chp
Maximum user weight: 300lbs
Maximum Speed: 10mph
Running Surface Size: 55in x 19in
Heart Rate: yes
Folding: yes
Others: The Image Advanced 1400 provides one of the best values for a treadmill below $700.

Are You an Image Treadmill User?

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Tell us what you like or hate about the company and/or its treadmills. We want to hear from an actual owner/user whether or not this brand is worth purchasing. We need you to help prevent buyers from making a costly mistake.
Note: This site would no longer accept submissions that does not offer real value to other readers.

Read Opinions of Other Consumers

Comment and read contributions by other people regarding Image…

Image treadmill parts. Still available? Not rated yet
I am inquiring about a pre-owned treadmill. An Image treadmill model # IM393510, serial #8553375. I am desiring to know if I can still get parts …

Image Treadmills Consumer Reviews Not rated yet
We purchased the Image 19.0Q 9 years ago. We use it for walking not running. On average it is used 2 times a week anywhere from 2 to 4 miles each …

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Running inside might not bring the same rush as getting outside, but the latest treadmills pack so many powerful training tools, cool interactive elements, and performance features that they’re more appealing than ever. Plus, you can’t beat the convenience and safety of jumping on a good machine, especially during slippery winter conditions.

While a solid treadmill with a variety of programming and interactive features can set you back more than $1,000, the investment will pay dividends for many years as you bank miles and workouts you might otherwise have missed. We put 36 of the newest models through their paces to find the top performers based on their quality, features, and affordability. Whether you’re upgrading an older version or searching for your first treadmill, one of these will suit your needs. (And once you have a treadmill, check out these great workouts that help you increase speed, build strength, and burn fat.)

Our lunch runs were spent indoors, staring out windows at picture-perfect fall days, to get a full assessment of how each treadmill performs. Trevor Raab

Why Run on a Treadmill at All

Why would you want to get a treadmill for your home or climb onto one in a gym when you can just run outside? Well, there are several key benefits.

Treadmills are safe and convenient
There’s no rain or icy surfaces to deal with in winter, and your body doesn’t need as long to warm up since you’re in your heated home or gym. And if you don’t want to run when it’s super dark in the morning or evening, jumping on a treadmill is a great alternative that doesn’t require strapping on a headlamp.

Related Story

You can better simulate your race
If you live in a flat region but have a hilly course coming up, a treadmill can let you mimic the course with its incline setting. Some newer treadmills even allow you to pre-load real course profiles and will automatically adjust up and down to follow the incline. (Some with larger screens even show the entire route as a course preview.)

It may help your form
Some research shows that runners have reduced stride lengths and higher stride frequencies (turnover) on a treadmill as compared with ground running. You could also use the treadmill on speed workouts to hit intended time goals, since you have no choice but to run at the speed that you’ve put into the machine. (Just be safe and attach the safety key to your clothing so that if you slip the treadmill will stop automatically.)

What’s New for 2020

Connected fitness has invaded our home gyms, closely replicating the studio class experience. Gone are the days of staring at an LED representation of a 400-meter track, watching your little blinking dot complete laps. The newest treadmills, even at the budget level, are packed with entertainment and virtual coaching options—usually delivered via touchscreens embedded into the consoles. At higher prices, you’ll find larger displays that let you take advantage of video workouts. Manufacturers are increasingly using live trainers in fitness studios or real-world footage of exotic locations, sometimes with a coach serving as tour guide, to help you beat the boredom and get a high-intensity workout. Even Woodway, which has been focused on serious, high-level training, has expanded its machines with consoles that let you stream video and get interactive coaching.

News editor Andrew Dawson tests the pre-programmed workouts on the Landice L8 Cardio. Trevor Raab

How We Tested

Every treadmill on this list has been thoroughly evaluated and tested by our team of editors. We research the market, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience running on treadmills for extended sessions in our offices in Pennsylvania to determine the best options. Our team of experienced testers skipped their daily runs outdoors to spend many hours and miles assessing all the features of these machines. We’ve done easy runs while listening to music, long runs watching movies, and even workouts to test the machines’ interactive and studio class functions. We evaluated them on performance, price, comfort, durability, value, reliability, and fun factor to come up with this list of treadmills that will best serve your needs when you can’t get outside.

—PUT IT ON AUTO-PILOT—

NordicTrack Commercial 2950

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: -3% | Programs: 40 | Motor: 4.3 HP

NordicTrack NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Cyber Bundle, $2,588 nordictrack.com

  • The trainer and terrain can control speed and incline
  • Huge touchscreen display
  • Powerful fans
  • You can’t use the display to watch movies or sports

Testers loved the 2950’s enormous 22-inch touchscreen display and broad range of coaching options. “It actually kept me engaged in the running rather than droning music and TV,” said Pat Heine, Runner’s World video producer and ultrarunner. “The trail climb I did had a lot of speed and incline variation that felt natural.” To accomplish that, the treadmill taps into the iFit programming platform, where you can get video lessons from coaches like elite runner Tommy Rivers Puzey. His guided run through Patagonia leads you along scenic trails, while the machine automatically adjusts the incline and speed to make the experience feel realistic. Is it? Well, no. But the large display helps you forget that you’re stuck in your basement on a cold winter morning. We just wish you could use it to stream Netflix, too.

Our testers were impressed by the two powerful console-mounted fans, one that points at your upper chest, while the other aims at your torso.

—ROAD-LIKE RUNNING SURFACE—

Woodway 4Front

Running Surface: 20 in. wide x 68 in. long | Max Speed: 15 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 50+ | Motor: 2 CHP, 5 HP peak

Woodway Woodway 4Front, $13,145 woodway.com

  • Slats feel natural underfoot
  • Huge touchscreen display can be used to watch television
  • Large running surface
  • Expensive
  • Insanely heavy

This tank has long been the gold standard at some of the best gyms around the country. Credit that to its rock-solid build. The 4Front is heavy. And it uses a heavy-duty belt that resembles the caterpillar track on construction vehicles but delivers the most realistic road feel you’re going to find on any treadmill. The boardwalk-like slats flow smoothly underfoot, thanks to a ball-bearing design, and will last your entire running life.

Don’t be fooled by the big, modern entertainment system on the newest 4Front, this machine is still a serious training tool at its core. “I could have continued running on this for seven miles—if I had a fan,” said test editor Amanda Furrer. “My steps were so quiet on the belt, and the transitions were smooth.” There are no quick keys that allow you to jump from one speed to another, but you can program your workouts ahead of time and the machine adjusts speed and incline exceptionally quickly.

The big, 20-inch touchscreen lets you stream video from services like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. You can also opt to run in “real” locations, like San Francisco, or virtual worlds. But there aren’t any speakers or fans, so you’ll need to supply your own.

—BEST STUDIO EXPERIENCE—

Peloton Tread

Running Surface: 20 in. wide x 67 in. long | Max Speed: 12.5 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: N/A | Motor: 2 HP

Peloton Peloton Tread $4,295.00 onepeloton.com

  • Huge touchscreen console is immersive
  • Natural feel underfoot from slat surface
  • Most stylish treadmill you can buy
  • Classes require a subscription
  • Can’t use the touchscreen for any other entertainment

Peloton has elevated indoor running. From the sharp, 32-inch touchscreen display to the sleek, stylish all-black frame, everything about this machine is beautiful. It’s a work of art. Thankfully, it runs just as great as it looks.

Of course, the biggest reason you buy the Tread is for the studio classes and to connect with other runners in real time, in your own home. Classes are typically held before and after work (caveat: those are East Coast times), though you can follow along to prerecorded classes and race the other runners who’ve previously completed the class—a leader board shows your position, based on your total energy output over the duration of the class. Since I have a bit of a competitive streak, I was pushing harder during an interval class than I intended. To stay atop the standings, I nudged the incline of our Tread up to 2 percent, so I’d burn a bit more than other class participants.

Beyond the programming, the machine has a premium build. That starts with the slatted belt—like on Woodway machines—that gives you a realistic ground feel and a smooth rolling surface underfoot. And, when you want to tweak speed or incline, you just roll forward or back on the dials that are conveniently located on the side rails—no more jabbing at console mounted buttons mid-workout.

—FOR THE VIRTUAL TRAVELER—

NordicTrack Commercial 1750

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: 3% | Programs: 38 | Motor: 3.8 HP

NordicTrack NordicTrack Commercial 1750 $1,799.00 nordictrack.com

  • Choose from lots of iFit programming options
  • The workout controls speed and incline
  • Built-in fan
  • Updated screen still feels too small
  • Belt stops abruptly when you end a run

Bang for your buck, the 1750 has always been hard to beat. The updated version is even better. It still features all of the convenience options you find on NordicTrack machines—like quick keys to jump to a particular speed or incline with a single tap. “They let me adjust speed instead of pounding the arrows while at times holding on for dear life,” said Furrer.

But now you’re less likely to need those speed adjustment buttons thanks to a larger touchscreen and the ever-growing library of trainer-led workouts. The 10-inch screen offers double the real estate of the earlier model, though testers still felt it was a tad too small. But it’s large enough to see the countryside in Germany, for example, where one tester virtually followed pro Lucy Bartholomew on a gentle trail run.

Underfoot, we found the 22-by-60-inch running surface spacious enough for high-speed intervals, and the machine’s deck remained stable as we cranked up the speed. The cushioning underfoot is just slightly bouncy, though it’s adjustable so you can make it a bit firmer, and the machine responds quickly to changes in speed and incline. The iFit training workouts are great, but don’t let you adjust duration or intensity on the fly.

—TAKE ANY CLASS YOU WANT—

Horizon Fitness 7.8AT

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 10 | Motor: 4 HP

Horizon Fitness Horizon Fitness 7.8AT Treadmill, $1,799 horizonfitness.com

  • Dials allow you to easily change speed and incline
  • Speed and incline changes are fast and smooth
  • Dials are easy to bump mid-run
  • Fan is pointed at your stomach

A lot of treadmill makers now offer custom training content and, in a way, lock you into their ecosystem. But Horizon is trainer-agnostic, even though it wants you to take advantage of the studio-class experience. Its goal with the 7.8AT is to give you a machine that responds quickly to inputs and let you choose whichever training program you want to stream—just bring your own iPad, there’s no way to display workouts on this mill’s console.

To let you keep up when the trainer says it’s time to sprint, the 7.8AT has quick-access controls mounted chest-high. “The thumb dials to adjust speed and incline were great,” said tester Kristen Parker. “They were very easy to use and much more fluid mid-run than trying to stab at buttons.” But those same dials are extremely sensitive and you have to be careful you don’t make huge jumps in speed or incline. Plus, they’re easy to bump inadvertently as you’re running. Tip: Don’t run so close to the console, there’s plenty of belt behind you.

And when you command the 7.8AT to go faster or raise up, it moves quickly. Horizon says its “Rapid Sync Motor” responds 33 percent faster than other treadmill motors. We found going from recovery jog to interval speed—six mph to 10 mph—the 7.8AT reached the top speed faster than most of the other models here, though not as quickly as the Technogym Skillrun (below). Even so, it’s impressive for a machine that costs less than $2,000.

—FOR COMPETITIVE ATHLETES—

Technogym Skillrun Unity 7000

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 68 in. long | Max Speed: 18.6 mph | Max Incline: 25% | Max Decline: 3% | Programs: 45 | Motor: 10 HP

TechnoGym Technogym Skillrun Unity 7000, $14,400 technogym.com

  • Monitors your running form in real time
  • Strength training options built-in
  • Belt made of slats has a realistic feel
  • Expensive
  • May be too tall for rooms with low ceilings

Technogym machines are more commonly found in high-end gyms, but you could put one in your house if you’re truly committed to the sport. The Skillrun is much more than just a treadmill. Sure, it’ll do the basics—hit start and go—but this ’mill is designed to maximize power and performance. For starters, during your running workouts, a “Biofeedback” screen shows you data about how you’re moving, including stride length, ground contact time, left-right balance, and even your running power measured in watts. Such info can help you identify imbalances in your stride and work on your form, which may help prevent injury.

And since you’re going to be doing some high-performance training on this machine, it’s built to handle the abuse. The frame weighs a ton—figuratively, but it took four men to deliver it to our office—and it doesn’t budge when you’re at a full-out sprint. The belt, made of slats, rolls smoothly underfoot and gives you plenty of space to really lengthen your stride. And the 10-horsepower motor cranks, making speed changes faster than any other machine we’ve tested. If you’re committed to doing intervals on a treadmill, this rig is for you.

We tested the parachute drill on the Skillrun. It’s fun—and exhausting. Trevor Raab

You can also use the Skillrun to build functional strength. It has the ability to add resistance to the belt so you can simulate sled pushes and parachute training. At the heaviest end, the 300-plus-pound “sled” wouldn’t budge for our skinny distance runners. But you can dial the resistance down all the way to 11 pounds, then choose the distance you’ll push and the number of reps. Likewise, for parachute training, you can select the resistance—basically, the size of your parachute—and strap a waistbelt to the machine’s arms. The Skillrun gradually adds resistance as you run farther and faster. After a set of parachute drills and sled pushes, we had sore hamstrings and glutes for a couple of days.

—FORM TRAINING FOR THE MASSES—

TrueForm Trainer

Running Surface: 17 in. wide x 64 in. long | Max Speed: N/A | Max Incline: N/A | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: None | Motor: None

TrueForm TrueForm Trainer $3,995.00 trueformrunner.com

  • Non-motorized treadmill at a more affordable price
  • Solid construction
  • Easier to control speed
  • Harder than running on a normal treadmill
  • No entertainment options

One knock on some of the motorized treadmills we’ve tested is that they cost more than $5,000—beyond the budget for many recreational runners and walkers. Enter the new TrueForm Trainer, which has no motor (the belt moves under the pressure of your stride) and a lighter build than the TrueForm Runner (below), costing significantly less. Instead of the hand-welded metal body of the Runner, the Trainer gets plastic side rails, but it still has a heavy-duty frame and the slat belt that rolls smoothly on steel ball bearings.

“It forces you to run with good posture,” said test editor Dan Roe. But the Trainer is a bit more forgiving because of its shallower curve. It’s still responsive to changes in your position and allows you to accelerate quickly, though novice runners were able to control the speed with less nervousness.

Like the Runner, it has no entertainment options. “If you’re not gonna give me a screen, I’d at least like a cup holder,” said Roe.

—THE SPACE SAVER—

LifeSpan TR5500i

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 13.5 mph | Max Incline: 13% | Max Decline: -2% | Programs: 50+ | Motor: 4 HP

LifeSpan LifeSpan TR5500i Folding Treadmill $1,899.00 lifespanfitness.com

  • New touchscreen makes it easy to adjust programs
  • Small and stable
  • No interactive programming
  • Noisy when changing incline

The TR5500i has been updated this year with a new touchscreen console, but still has the plain-Jane look that we’ve long loved and the small stance that won’t take up much space in your basement. The refreshed console is a nice upgrade, even if it doesn’t bring you live coaching or Google Streets views. But, when you’re pre-programming a workout, you can simply slide bars on a chart up or down to adjust the speed and incline for each segment. That console also sits quite low—taller testers had to look down more than when running on other machines, but we like that it would be out of the way if you were watching a TV while running.

Though the TR5500i is a bit slow to respond to speed changes, it’s on par with treadmills in this price range and can go as fast as 13.5 mph, which isn’t typical for a budget model. And when you’re really cranking along at your top speed, there’s a slight bounce in the deck to help cushion your stride.

—EASY TO OPERATE—

Precor TRM 445

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 56 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: -2% | Programs: 23 | Motor: 3 HP

Precor Precor TRM 445, $4,499 precorathome.com

  • Sleek design
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet incline changes
  • No interactive options

Much like its little brother, the TRM 223 (below), this treadmill has a sleek, stripped-down aesthetic that encourages you to hop on and hit go. The console doesn’t have a slew of buttons or a big touchscreen to distract you, but buried under the hood is a suite of 23 pre-programmed routines to help you reach your training goals, plus the option to save your workouts. (It records changes you make during your run, so you can perform the same session again later.)

Our test team, however, really liked this machine for its simplicity and realistic running feel. The belt is two inches wider than the one on the 223, so it doesn’t feel cramped, and the platform is sturdy underfoot. Another winning feature is just how quiet the machine is when changing incline. It drops to 2 percent decline or rises to 15 percent incline, but the only way you’ll be able to tell is by how much harder or easier your effort feels.

—WHISPER QUIET—

Landice L8 Cardio

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 63 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 20 | Motor: 4 HP

Landice Landice L8 Cardio, $4,844 landice.com

  • Quiet and smooth
  • Makes heart rate-based training easier
  • Solid deck doesn’t wobble
  • No entertainment options

This thing focuses on what’s important: the feel of the run. In testing, the L8 proved to be the quietest, and the thick four-ply belt made for ninja-like footfalls. It’s also fast to respond to speed changes; runners were shocked at how quickly it reacted to big variations during intervals. Incline changes, on the other hand, are a little slow but happen so smoothly you don’t realize the deck is rising (plus the display flashes until the belt reaches your desired slope). You’ll need to set up your own fan, though, because this machine doesn’t have one built-in.

Unlike some other machines, the L8 lets you hit top speed and incline at the same time—the potentially dangerous combo would tax even the world’s best mountain runners in just minutes. Our test model came with the new version of Landice’s “cardio console,” which prioritizes heart-rate-based training programs and allows you to set up your workout and dial in on particular heart rate goals—the machine adjusts speed and incline to keep you working at that effort.

—GREAT FOR HIIT TRAINING—

Woodway Curve FTG

Running Surface: 17 in. wide x 67 in. long | Max Speed: N/A | Max Incline: N/A | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 50+ | Motor: None

Woodway Woodway Curve FTG, $8,945 woodway.com

  • Resistance levels can be manually adjusted
  • You can accelerate quickly
  • Console can play Netflix and Hulu
  • Takes time to get comfortable running on it
  • Better suited for intervals than long runs

Get ready to sweat. This curved treadmill doesn’t have a motor—you power the belt with every stride. It takes some time to get used to, as you have to engage the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings to keep the belt moving smoothly. But once you get the hang of it, you can accelerate quickly for high-speed interval workouts.

Mounted on the left handrail are plus and minus buttons that let you dial in 20 levels of resistance. At the toughest setting, you’ll need to be a sled-drill-loving linebacker to get the belt to budge; at the lowest, the belt spins more easily, but distance runners might still find it too taxing for their easy days. Set it somewhere in between for HIIT workouts.

The entertainment options are the same as on the 4Front. You can watch videos from Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube or surf the Internet. Though given the Curve has just a 10-inch display, you might be better off setting up a separate television for your watching.

—STRENGTH-BUILDER—

TrueForm Runner

Running Surface: 17 in. wide x 64 in. long | Max Speed: N/A | Max Incline: N/A | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: None | Motor: None

TrueForm TrueForm TrueForm Runner $5,995.00 trueformrunner.com

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Realistic running surfaces
  • Hard to use with poor form
  • Best suited for intervals

The TrueForm Runner looks much like the Woodway Curve, and is powered the same way—you are the motor that drives the belt by engaging your backside muscles. It’s hand-built in the U.S. with a rock-solid frame and realistic running surface that lasts far longer than a typical treadmill belt. Plus, with no motor or electrical components, there are fewer parts to break down over the life of the machine.

Our test model had a running track surface, which allowed us to train in spikes for a mile race, but it’s also available with a rubberized belt or a turf surface (football and soccer players can warm up in cleats rather than by pedaling a bike). Just stay focused—the 17-inch running surface is the narrowest of the models we tested.

—BACK TO BASICS—

NordicTrack C 990

Running Surface: 20 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 12% | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 32 | Motor: 3 HP

NordicTrack NordicTrack C 990 $1,599.00 nordictrack.com

  • Excellent value
  • Solid frame underfoot
  • Quick speed and incline changes
  • Bring your own entertainment
  • Belt is a bit narrow

You might be tempted to pick up a cheap ’mill if you’ll only use it for occasional jogs or walks. Resist that urge and get one with a quality frame like this one that saves you cash by skipping some of the fancy extras you’ll find on pricier machines. Designed for smaller spaces, it has a more compact footprint than many other models and folds up tightly. For some runners, that means the 20-inch-wide running surface is going to feel relatively cramped—especially when they’re hoofing it at a quick pace. But for most easy running speeds, there’s plenty of space. The belt is still 60 inches long, so you can stride out.

Like all NordicTrack machines, the C 990 has quick keys alongside the display, so you can easily jab a single button to set your incline and speed. That’s especially helpful during interval workouts.

—PARED-DOWN-INTERFACE—

Precor TRM 223

Running Surface: 20 in. wide x 57 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 15% | Max Decline: N/A | Programs: 9 | Motor: 3 HP

Precor Precor TRM 223, $2,699 amazon.com

  • Easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Small but stable
  • Narrow belt

The sleek, black console is free of clutter and extra buttons, which should appeal to task-focused runners. “It has a simple design,” said tester Derek Call. “It doesn’t have an overwhelming number of options—just what you need, like hill and interval workouts.” The straightforward LCD screen and its Tetris-like display of blocks shows you the workout underway, while the most important metrics like time, distance, and pace are always displayed in big, easy-to-see digits.

There’s a lot to like about this treadmill, but the 20-inch-wide belt is on the narrower side, which may be a concern for some runners.

—FOR MOUNTAIN GOATS—

True Fitness Alpine Runner

Running Surface: 22 in. wide x 60 in. long | Max Speed: 12 mph | Max Incline: 30% | Max Decline: 3% | Programs: 38 | Motor: 4 HP

True Fitness True Fitness Alpine Runner $8,399.00 truefitness.com

  • Steady even at max incline
  • Adjusts smoothly
  • Requires high ceilings

This is a dream machine for runners who loves the steeps. The obvious reason to buy this True Fitness is because it tops out at 30 percent incline, but all of our testers were wowed by its rock-solid build: The nearly 600-pound frame doesn’t wobble a bit, whether level or fully raised. The incline motor cranks out enough power to travel from one extreme to the other in as little time as machines with half the incline, yet it did so smoothly.

Our test model came with the Transcend 16 touchscreen console with a built-in HDTV tuner and a bunch of workouts, including climbs up famous monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Just give yourself room. With the deck raised to 30 percent, your feet will be nearly level with the console and your head will be in the rafters—you need at least 10-foot ceilings.

Jeff Dengate Runner-in-Chief Jeff is Runner-in-Chief for Runner’s World, guiding the brand’s shoes and gear coverage.

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