HealthyBeat articles include advertisements and affiliate links. We may earn a commission when you purchase through links on our site. Learn more Updated December 18, 2020There are tons of great reasons to run on a treadmill—especially if you’re new to running. Treadmills have a cushioning system that absorbs shock to help relieve joint pain and reduce risk of impact-related injury. Treadmills allow you to set your incline and speed, helping you keep track of exactly how much effort you exerted and how many calories you burned. Maybe best of all, home treadmills let you work out from the comfort of your own house whenever you want, regardless of the weather, which can really help you stick to your running regimen, even if you live in a harsh climate or hate going to the gym.If you’ve never bought a treadmill before, one of the first things you’ll realize is the sheer number of products out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with ads promising you you’ll be the fittest and thinnest you’ve ever been in your life. But do these products deliver? How do you know if you’re overpaying? What’s the best treadmill for your needs? Below, we’ll answer these and more of your burning questions to help you pick the right product for you.Best Treadmills for BeginnersBest Treadmill Overall: Sole Fitness F63 treadmillBest Treadmill for Small Spaces: Echelon StrideBest Low-Noise Treadmill: Lifespan TR3000iBest Budget Treadmill: Horizon Fitness T101 TreadmillBest Desk Treadmill: Goplus 2 in 1 Folding TreadmillBest Treadmills for Beginners1. Best Treadmill for Beginners Overall: Sole Fitness F63 treadmillWith a top speed of 12 miles per hour, this treadmill offers plenty of wiggle room for beginners who want to advance, while still coming in at under $1,000 for those runners still just looking to get their feet wet. This treadmill also has all the great features consumers have come to expect from Sole: a cushioned deck that reduces impact by up to 40 percent, easy-assist folding technology, a solid 3.0 horsepower motor, and a 15-level incline range—something hard to come by in similarly-priced treadmills.The drawbacks of this treadmill are pretty minimal. This piece doesn’t come with much additional technology like Wi-Fi-connected touchscreen displays or other similar bells and whistles. The cooling fan on this treadmill also isn’t very powerful.2. Best Treadmill for Small Spaces: Echelon StrideIf you’re wanting an easily foldable treadmill that won’t take up much space when not in use, look no further than the Echelon Stride from Echelon Fitness. The Stride is made with convenience in mind, boasting not only an easy-fold design but also a smaller running track for portability and compact storage. Folded against the wall, the Stride only takes up about 10 by 24 inches—and you can even stuff it under your bed if your frame has about a foot of clearance, making this treadmill perfect for the urban apartment dweller looking for a home gym that won’t suck up their entire living room.The downside is everything that makes this treadmill great is also a drawback at the same time. The smaller track is harder to run on, and the foldability means there’s not a lot of room for extra features. The lack of features can make it hard to justify the $1400 price tag. So if you’re looking to spend your money on a high-performance treadmill with a ton of extras, this probably isn’t the one for you—but if you’re looking for a treadmill that’s so storable it’s like it isn’t there, this is a great option.3. Best Low-Noise Treadmill for Beginners: Lifespan TR3000iFor those in a multi-person living situation who don’t want to disturb their roommates, the Lifespan TR3000i features a whisper-quiet 2.75 horsepower motor that hardly makes a sound. The 8-inch compression shock absorbers aren’t just easy on the joints and bones, but they’re also great for absorbing the noise of your foot’s impact. But noise reduction is not the only great feature this treadmill has to offer, it also boasts a 15 percent incline, folding feature, 17 built-in workout programs, a phone and tablet holder, and a full-color touchscreen console.On the flip side, this treadmill has a shorter running deck of only 56 inches. If you’re taller, that may not be enough to accommodate your stride. Its nearly $1,500 price tag isn’t close to the highest on the market, but it may be steeper than some beginners are willing to pay.4. Best Budget Treadmill for Beginners: Horizon Fitness T101 TreadmillLooking for a decent treadmill in the $600 to $700 range is a little like finding a needle in a haystack, but with its Bluetooth connectivity-capable speakers, rapid-charging USB port, 3-zone cushioned deck, hydraulic folding feature, and $649 price tag, Horizon Fitness may as well rename the T101 treadmill “the needle.”Of course, a treadmill this budget-friendly is going to come with a few cons. Thankfully, the drawbacks aren’t horrible. The belt is only 20 inches wide by 55 inches long—a good size for this price range, but still not great for tall runners. The 10-mile per hour top speed is also great for walking and jogging, but if you’re a serious runner, 10 miles an hour is probably below your max speed. The incline range is also only 10 percent, again, good for the price range, but not great if you’re looking for serious performance.Best Desk Treadmill for Beginners: Goplus 2-in-1 Folding TreadmillIf you’re wanting to walk while you work, there are tons of great under-desk treadmills out there that can help you hit those 10,000 steps a day without killing your workday. One of the best ones is the Goplus 2-in-1 treadmill because it functions as both an under-desk treadmill and a standalone treadmill depending on whether you engage the folding handrails. It can hit up to 7 miles an hour with the handrails up, and at 49 inches long, the running belt still offers enough surface for most average-height runners to get in a good jog. When you fold the rails down, the treadmill fits comfortably under your desk for hours of walking while you work.The biggest drawback of this treadmill is that it simply isn’t a piece of equipment meant for training. 7 miles an hour is a fast jog, but if you really want to train hard, this treadmill isn’t fast enough. It also doesn’t offer any incline. This treadmill is made for walking, and if that’s what you want, it’ll be great for you. But if you want serious cardio workouts, this treadmill won’t be adequate.How to Pick the Right TreadmillThere are lots of things to consider when looking for treadmills. Your current level of fitness, your fitness goals, your height and stride length, your budget, and your lifestyle all factor into your choice of a treadmill. Let’s look at a few key aspects of treadmills you need to be aware of while you shop.SpeedTreadmills have different max speeds. Desk treadmills might only make it up to 5 or 6 miles an hour, while treadmills meant for competitive athletic training might come close to or even top 20 miles per hour. So you need to know what your current running speed is and what running speed you want to achieve before you buy. You definitely don’t want to buy a desk treadmill if you want to work your way up to a 7 or 6-minute mile.FeaturesTreadmills can come with tons of features or nothing more than a belt and a motor. Extra features include everything from fast-charging stations to cooling fans to entertainment consoles to steep inclines to heart rate monitors and even built-in sound systems. Before you shop, you’ll need to decide which features you want and how much you’re willing to pay for them.A treadmill with a built-in LCD screen for streaming will be much more expensive than one with a basic touchscreen, but maybe you can put your treadmill in front of the TV to save some money. A steeper incline usually equals a steeper price, but it might be worth it to you if you want to do serious uphill training. Only you can decide which features you can and cannot live without, so it’s important to know your must-haves from your perks before you shop.PriceTreadmill prices can range anywhere between a few hundred dollars to well over $10,000. Normally, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 for a decent-quality treadmill that will provide sufficient max speeds and inclines for you to develop your fitness.SizeMost of us don’t have to worry about belt length because we’re not so tall that our stride length exceeds the average treadmill belt. Most walkers can get away with a belt length of around 50 inches, while runners need a length of 55 inches. However, if you’re over 6 feet tall, you’ll need a deck of at least 60 inches to accommodate the length of your stride.If you’re going to be moving your treadmill around and storing it, you’ll also need to think about its weight and how far/often you’re going to be moving it. Don’t forget your weight also has an impact on the treadmill you need. All treadmills have a max capacity, and they’ll all say right in the specs what that is. So make sure you’re buying a treadmill with a max capacity above your bodyweight.How to Use a TreadmillWhile treadmills are great for working out, the conveyor belt system means there’s always the potential for injury. So there are a few rules you should follow for a safe workout.Wear the Right Shoes and SocksJust because you’re not outside pounding the pavement doesn’t mean you don’t need solid shoes. The same pair of running shoes you need to hit the bricks are also necessary for the treadmill. Make sure your shoes have adequate arch support and proper cushioning for the areas of your feet that take impact.A lot of running shoes have shock absorbers for your heels to help reduce the stress of repetitive impacts on your heel bones. You’ll also want to make sure the sole of the shoe has enough traction to prevent you from slipping on the belt.Don’t skimp on the socks either. Good running socks will keep your feet stable inside your shoes, preventing your feet from sliding around in there or the shoes from slipping off your feet. Look for a few basic things in a good running sock, like sweat-wicking fabric, arch support, a deep heel pocket, and small or no seams. Try out a few different pairs of running socks with your new shoes to figure out which ones work best for you.Stay HydratedEverybody needs to replenish fluids when they work out, and the longer and harder you run, the more fluids you lose. Generally speaking, you need to drink anywhere from 10 to 30 fluid ounces of water per hour while you’re working out. If you’re exercising really intensely or are working out in a hot and humid climate (which makes you sweat more), you might need to drink even more than that.Warm-Up and Cool Down AdequatelyWarming up and cooling down are important parts of your workout. Warming up helps raise your body temperature and increase blood flow to your muscles, gearing up your cardiovascular system for performance. Warming up can help loosen up your muscles and joints before you use them intensely, possibly reducing post-workout pain and the risk of injury. Cooling down allows your body to recover more slowly and smoothly from its peak heart rate and blood pressure, helping regulate blood flow.Always Use the Safety ClipJust like boats have a kill switch, most treadmills have a safety clip to kill the motor and stop the belt in case you fall. If you don’t wear this clip, the belt will keep going after you trip, which could result in you suffering friction burns or being launched across the room. Don’t risk it.Use a Great Beginner WorkoutIf you’re not used to running, you can’t just throw the treadmill on the highest setting and power through. You have to work up to it. The good news is there are tons of great beginner workouts that can help you challenge yourself enough to increase your endurance and aerobic fitness, while not causing you to overexert yourself.Many treadmills have preset interval workouts with different levels of intensity to get you started and step you up. There are also tons of great free workouts on YouTube and subscription streaming services and apps that can make you feel like you’ve got your own personal trainer.FAQsHow long should a treadmill last?You pay a lot of money for a treadmill, so you expect it not to fall apart in a year or 2. Normally, if you take care of your treadmill and purchase a quality one, you won’t have to worry about that. The average treadmill ought to last anywhere from 7 to 12 years. You can make them last even longer than that by taking good care of them, and inversely, even expensive treadmills might hit their last leg after a couple of years if you don’t.Keep in mind your warranty coverage will be a good indicator of the quality of your treadmill—and therefore how long you can expect it to last. Generally, the higher the quality of the product, the longer your warranty (and treadmill) will last.What do I have to do to maintain my treadmill?Dust is treadmill enemy number 1. It gets into the motor of even the highest-durability treadmills and clogs it up, so vacuuming around the treadmill and making sure to wipe the dust with a dry cloth at least once a week can keep too much dust from building up inside the machine. Also make sure you’re wiping down the treadmill after each workout so you’re not leaving sweat on it since sweat accumulation can reduce your treadmill’s performance over time.Belt care is also essential for treadmill owners. Belts deteriorate faster than other parts of the treadmill, but one way to slow this deterioration down is lubricating them every few weeks. You do this by gently lifting the belt and applying oil or lubricating spray to the middle of the deck, underneath the belt. Make sure the oil or spray is specifically made for treadmills. Any old can of WD-40 won’t do, since a lot of manufacturers specify their warranty will be voided by using lubricants not designed for treadmill belts.Is it better to run faster with no incline or slower with a steeper incline?It’s better to do both for a more balanced workout rather than just sticking to one or the other. You should adjust to different speeds and inclines at intervals throughout your workout. Slower, high-incline workouts build power and strength, while faster, low or no-incline workouts build endurance and stamina. You need all of these to achieve good overall conditioning. Many treadmills with pre-programmed workouts—normally labeled things like “interval” or “aerobic” or “high-intensity”—will make incline and speed adjustments for you. Treadmills may also come with programmable settings that let you create custom workouts to suit your needs.Should I use the handrails?If you want to increase your fitness level, handrails are a good way to impede your progress. Normally, fitness experts say holding onto handrails is a bad habit since they serve as a crutch by creating the illusion that you’re running harder and faster than you are, which translates into less effort and slower cardiovascular development.The only real reason to hold onto them is safety. If you have problems with balance or you’re recovering from injury or illness, you can use the handrails as a way to help you build up strength until you’re fit enough to walk or jog without them. However, if you’re already fit enough to walk on your own without help, avoiding the handrails is a better option.Can I actually get any work done walking on a desk treadmill?Sure you can. Desk treadmills are made to work in tandem with your sit-stand desk so you can get your work done whilst simultaneously reducing sedentary behaviors like sitting in your chair for hours at a time. Walking and working does take some getting used to, as walking can sap some of your focus from your work. However, if you keep your treadmill pace slow enough that you don’t need to concentrate on things like balancing and you don’t have to put forth too much effort, you can learn to walk at your desk without pulling much, if any, focus off of your work.Bottom LineTreadmills are a great way to work out when the weather is terrible, it’s too dark to run outside, or you just want a quick daily walk. If you live in a really hot or cold climate, they can get you through the blazing summer or freezing winter months without you having to take a break in your workout schedule or schlep out to the gym. They’re also great for habitual runners who want to cut down on wear and tear to their joints. Whatever treadmill you wind up with, it’s sure to be an amazing addition to your home gym equipment.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. 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