(2021 Updated) Best Treadmill For Barefoot Running

When we run or walk on a treadmill, we don’t necessarily want the machine to grab our attention.

 We certainly cannot forget that we are on a mat, but we also do not want the machine to remind us of it at every step.

 After walking and running over 80 km on sixteen different treadmills, we believe the best choice for users looking for a simple, solid machine is the ProForm 505 CST. 

Its interface offers the clearest navigation of all the models we tested. 

Its running surface is 140 cm long, which is more than enough for everyone except very tall runners. Its speed and incline features are similar to models that are twice as expensive and it offers eighteen workout programs, which is rarely found on an object in this price range.

Our Editors Choice

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Product Name

Key Features

Prize

 Sunny Health & Fitness Portable Treadmill
  • iFit coach

  • Max Capcity: 220 lbs

  • Top Speed: 12 mph

  • Deck Height: 8"

  • Deck Height: 8″ 

  • Max Capcity: 250 lbs

  • Top Speed: 10 mph

  • Deck Height: 7″ 

  • Max Capcity: 220 lbs

  • Top Speed: 8 mph

Proform 905-CST  Low Ceilings Treadmill
  • Deck Height: 8″ 

  • Good build quality

  • Max Capcity: 300 lbs

  • Top Speed: 10 mph

  • Max Capcity: 220 lbs

  • Top Speed: 10 mph

  • Deck Height: 5.5"

Rank #1: OMA Treadmills for Home

Our favorite has a running surface large enough for most walkers, such as runners. It climbs up to 18 km / h, tilts up to 10%, offers a simple display and has eighteen training programs.

 

The ProForm 505 CST is equipped with all the features one could possibly need. And yet, it’s one of the cheapest models we’ve looked at. The machine climbs to 18 km / h, tilts up to 10% and has a fast motor, which allows the settings to be adjusted much faster than on some of its more expensive competitors. 

Even at maximum incline and speed, the mat is firm underfoot. The ProForm 505 CST includes eighteen workout programs, which can be selected with intuitively arranged buttons. 

Two large bottle holders and two small shelves adorn the console, as well as a tablet holder that lets you read or watch a video while you exercise. 

The running surface is 140cm long and can support up to 115kg (features that make this model suitable for the vast majority of users, but if you are over 1.80m, turn- you to our premium choice). 

The structure is guaranteed for ten years, parts and labor for two years, and the engine for three years. 

As with virtually all of the models we tested, the 505 CST’s platform lifts up, saving floor space when the machine is not in use.

OMA Treadmills for Home

Rank #2: ADVENOR Treadmill Motorized

The ProForm Smart Pro 2000can reach a maximum speed of 22 km / h, which is four km / hour more than our first choice, and offers a degree of incline of up to 15% (compared to 10% for our first choice). 

Unlike our favorite, it also has a descent option (up to -3%). 

Its 3.5 horsepower engine outperforms our top pick by one horse. This treadmill has fifty preset programs and may be sold with an included subscription to iFit, depending on vendors and current promotions. 

The console is simple, with buttons quickly accessible under the 7-inch touchscreen and color screen. These buttons are the start and stop buttons, as well as those for slightly adjusting speed and incline.

 The Smart Pro 2000 has two spacious bottle racks, a strip of thirty centimeters above the ventilation to place your objects and a tablet support at the top of the console. 

At 152cm long, the running surface is twelve centimeters longer than our favorite, giving taller runners a bit more room for strides. 

The same goes for its 55cm wide (four more than the 505 CST and several other models we tested). This mat can support up to 135 kg, compared to 115 for our first choice.

ADVENOR Treadmill Motorized

Our selection method

WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

The best option for your home may not be the same as the one for your local local gym or fitness franchise. That said, we looked at both personal use treadmills (of which there are many models under $ 1,000) and commercial ones, which are generally more expensive and designed with extremely sturdy, hard-wearing frames. repeated use. “The residential versions often have a more fragile structure ,  said New York University sports physiologist Harry Pino, “they are largely made of plastic. “ Normally this is more than enough for home use, but we have found that more and more home mats have sturdier frames with stronger materials, which are usually found on professional models. .

If you are looking for a treadmill with advanced features such as a belt that goes up to 20 km / h, a “descent” function, a touch screen, built-in programs and basic connectivity, there are models for home and for professionals who tick these boxes. These features aren’t necessary for everyone, but they are increasingly popular as connected fitness (home, on-demand, and streaming workouts) gain in popularity .

We wanted to find a model with a belt of at least 140cm, the minimum generally recommended for runners who are up to 1.80m. During our last test session at the end of 2019, all the rugs we tested measured 152 cm, an adequate length for those over 1.80 m (our specialists recommend this length in particular for tall people, long strides) as for the others. If you prefer to walk, you can stick to a shorter mat. But keep in mind that shorter, cheaper models often have rudimentary tilt options and are less complete than a more rugged version.

A good treadmill should offer upward incline degrees ranging from almost flat to very steep. This feature allows you to mimic the effort of a session on a hilly course or to split the workout, which offers more variety, helps with speed goals and spices up a routine session a bit. A good fit is essential: “You have to grow taller, and not bend too far forward,” insists Roberto Mandje, director of coaching and training at New York Road Runners.“It’s okay to lean forward very slightly for a drop, but the tilt should come from the center of the bust, not from the waist. “Less expensive home rugs typically only have one or two degrees of incline. These models can be a good starting point for casual walkers, but a machine with more variety is more useful in the long run.

Some models can also tilt down, providing yet another type of course for training. Four of those we tested in 2019 offer a downward slope, or gradient , ranging from -2% to -6% (on a carpet sold as dedicated to the ascent). Descent is not a must-have feature, but it can add crucial diversity to a program. When using this function, you have to pay just as much attention to your posture as you do when climbing: “It is important to grow taller, and to make sure that the torso is centered above the legs” says Mandje.“[Often] the people lean too far back when running downhill. If you do this, you brake from the heels, which can cause pain in your shins, knees, and hips. “

speed appropriate is important on a carpet and all models offer a variety of degrees of tilt rise to at least 16 km / h. This is the equivalent of 3min45 per kilometer. Unless you are a seasoned athlete, this is a difficult speed to maintain for more than a minute or two. All the mats we have tested recently go up to 19 km / h (just over 3 min per kilometer), which can be useful for high level interval training.

We also wanted our top pick to offer interval , speed and incline programs to make workouts more interesting. Fortunately, almost all of them offer it.

Engine power is most often measured in continuous horsepower, which is the power that an engine can hold over time. The more horsepower the engine has, the faster it will be to change speed and incline. In theory at least ( more power doesn’t always mean a smoother ride ). Losing a few seconds per kilometer doesn’t matter much to most users, but you don’t want to wait forever for the machine to go from zero to ten kilometers per hour. For the average rider, Harry Pino recommends a minimum three horsepower engine, which is generally average for what is done. The carpet motors we tested recently have an output of 3.25 to 4 continuous horsepower.

The bounce quality of running surfaces varies. If the word of the description includes terms such as “flexibility” or “cushioning” (as is the case with all the models we have studied), the mat will be rather elastic. “Not all mats are created equal, but most have a sore point: usually the center of the mat is where you will find the most bounce,” says Mandje. The idea that a softer surface protects against injury is widely held, but there are no studies to support this theory . Seasoned runners usually prefer a firmer surface, according to Pino, because that’s the closest you can get to the surfaces you run on outdoors.

Ideally, the mat should be equipped with large bottle holders and a ruler to put your phone. The advantage of indoor running is that you have access to water, a tablet, a book, a magazine or a phone.

We did not aim to choose a rug that folds and stores vertically when not in use, especially because, even folded down, the object takes up a lot of space, requiring to devote to it an important room corner. But it’s common to find foldable models: all of the ones we’ve tested, with one exception, offer this possibility.

The mats provided for domestic individuals (and cheap business models) can support an average weight from 136 to 147 kilograms. Those with a larger capacity are more expensive and have shorter belts, since they are more dedicated to walking. It is rare to find a mat that can support more than 180 kg.

Even folded down, the object takes up a lot of space, requiring a large room corner to be devoted to it.

We also took into account connectivity , either the ability to export data, pair the machine with a wireless headset or transfer content. During our testing, we determined that it was often better to train with a portable activity tracker , rather than exporting data from the machine itself to an app. Among models with connectivity options, we looked for those able to interchange with the most popular health and fitness apps (such as Apple Health, Fitbit, or MyFitnessPal).

Connectivity is on the rise, but it’s not everything. “On the one hand, there is a growing group of home fitness enthusiasts, who are increasingly tech savvy, a phenomenon that can be found in other activities,” analyzes Justin Mastine-Frost, contributor of TreadmillReviews.net and editor of FitRated (FitRated earns a commission on purchases made through its site).“On the other hand, there is still a substantial market segment that subscribes to the philosophy of minimalism (‘less is more’) when it comes to sports equipment. As these consumers view the purchase of a treadmill as a long-term investment, they opt for simpler models, with a more powerful motor, a stronger frame and lower-tech consoles. The idea here is that the carpet will outlive its warranty and if there is less technology there is less chance of failure and therefore less costly repairs. “

How we tested them

Our testers putting treadmills to the test in 2017. CREDIT: WIRECUTTER / KYLE FITZGERALD

We hired a team of professionals to assemble most of the home treadmills, to make sure they were installed correctly. The other models were either delivered pre-assembled or assembled by a member of the Wirecutter technical team.

Five testers compared nine treadmills for the first version of this guide in 2017. At the end of 2019, we tested seven more models, with seven guinea pigs, some novice runners, members of the New York Times running club for others ( The New York Timesis the parent company of Wirecutter). Each tester walked and ran on the mats. Ingrid Skjong, author of the second version of this guide, has covered at least 1.5 km on each of the seven models to start. Then, we focused on the models that stood out, both in terms of functionality and feel. Ingrid and the testers racked up the miles, sometimes at the pace of a five-kilometer run, sometimes at the speed of a walk you would take while chatting or listening to a podcast (and at many other rates between these two). Ingrid also tried several programs connected with the offering mats that offered this functionality.

We noticed the feeling underfoot: some mats have more bounce, some feel more slippery, others have footrests on the sides of the running surface. We very quickly eliminated a model that rocked back and forth when running.

Our testers are running on site in 2019. WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

We also ran speed trials when our testers noted that some mats take forever to accelerate, even to reach a modest jogging pace. So we started the machines and measured the time it took to get to 10 km / h, then to 16. This test is not particularly accurate: most consoles display the speed you just claimed and not the speed at which they actually operate. This made it difficult to determine when the treadmill was actually moving at 10 km / h (we often relied on our hearing, watching for the moment when the sound of the treadmill gives the impression of having reached its cruising speed). But, coupled with our observations, this test nevertheless offers a useful measure. Besides,

We measured the length and width of the belt, as well as the extent of the arms of the machines. In doing so, (unsurprisingly) we observed that the measurements announced were not always completely accurate. However, even a difference of three centimeters in width can give the feeling of being more cramped.

We have raised and lowered the platform of each model several times. Most high-end models were easier to lift thanks to their hydraulic assistance. On the less expensive models, you had to lift the full weight of the platform and close it with a pin. If you’re having trouble lifting a box of books and placing it on a shelf, you may also have trouble folding and unfolding a price-measured treadmill.

If you have a treadmill, occasionally you will need to reinstall the walking belt to keep it centered. Two screws at the end of the mat, near the floor, control the position of the belt. They must be turned with an Allen key (often supplied with the object) to orient the carpet to the right or to the left. On some models these bolts are easy to spot and handle, while on others we had to slip the wrench into a small hole and fumble for several minutes before it finally found the screw.

Verification of the dimensions of the tested models. WIRECUTTER / KYLE FITZGERALDSome treadmills require adjustments with special tools. These are provided and it is a good idea to keep them. WIRECUTTER / KYLE FITZGERALD

We also listened carefully: all models are very loud (you can’t keep a baby in a bassinet nearby, for example, without the situation getting out of hand), but some models produce a higher sound than others, or echo more the sound of footsteps. Some emit annoying noises when they light up or start up, sounds that are sometimes strident, sometimes very voluminous, and which can generally be lowered or even cut.

We tested the fans, if any, at their maximum level for a few kilometers. Most treadmill fans are small and out of place. If this refreshing feature is essential to you, we recommend getting a portable model like the Vornado 630 , which is a good choice for a home gym because of its size (and it blows to over 27 km / h).

Some models, like the ProForm Smart Pro 2000, include built-in programs. This treadmill also offers an optional iFit subscription, which syncs with the phone through an app. WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

Connected mats may seem new , but Icon Health & Fitness, which owns the ProForm and NordicTrack brands (both tested and approved in this guide), have been on the scene for years. Its iFit platform offers, in streaming, more than a thousand workouts led by coaches, filmed in the studio or on site around the world. The subscription costs 149 euros per year. iFit also allows you to set a favorite route on Google Maps for running or walking. Connected fitness is not just streaming videos on a screen, says Chase Watterson, iFit marketing director: “we are currently in the race for connectedness… We believe that the future is here. interactivity and personalized coaching. “

iFit is available on all ProForm and NordicTrack treadmills. Ingrid has tested several of the platform’s programs and found them to be quite captivating and well done: the instructors gradually provide sports advice and little information on the region in which you run or walk. (At any given time, three or four iFit teams are spread out across the field filming new content.) Ingrid also sketched out her favorite route around the Great Lakes in Minneapolis and even felt a little nostalgic pang of heart as she was progressing on the course. As you advance, the treadmill automatically controls speed, incline uphill and downhill. So certainly,

Once again, that said, you have to know yourself well before taking out a subscription. Indeed, one of our testers found the program he tested “outdated” and felt “somewhat disoriented” . Another indicated that she wanted to physically turn when a turn was announced on the screen …

 

Its flaws which are not crippling

Most of the negative reviews of this machine relate to assembly difficulties or manufacturing defects. These themes come up often for all models in this price range. These problems are common with home treadmills.

If you are significantly over 6 feet tall, you should consider a mat with a longer strap. Our tester of this size felt comfortable on the ProForm 505 CST and its 140cm surface, but overall it is considered that taller people will feel better on a model with a 152cm surface ( which is the case with our top-of-the-range choice ).

It takes a little force to lift the running surface and secure it high. CREDIT: WIRECUTTER / KYLE FITZGERALD

Not being hydraulically assisted, the platform of the ProForm 505 CST is harder to lift than that of more expensive machines. It must also be closed with a pin (rather than just pushing it). If, for example, you have difficulty carrying your groceries, and you plan to fold your machine regularly, choose another model.

The arms on this ProForm aren’t the longest, or the easiest to grip (they’re made of thick plastic), but they’re comparable to most models we’ve tested. Longer, thinner arms can be an attractive feature, especially if you like to stabilize yourself when you walk.

The screen of the ProForm 505 CST may displease some as it does not display your speed per kilometer, nor animation symbolizing the distance you would have traveled if you were on the track. And the only way to export your training data from this model is to have an iFit subscription.

On the back of all platforms, on either side of the belt, are screws that you can turn to tighten the band and adjust it to the right or left. On the ProForm 505 CST (like on four other Icon Health & Fitness treadmills we’ve tested), these bolts are tricky to locate and reach. We have had to thread keys blindly, in a very small hole, groping for several minutes before finally reaching the screw. In addition, the key can be difficult to turn since the bolt is well in the bottom of the hole, which leaves little room for a good grip of the handle. This being the case, the carpet is adjusted infrequently enough so that this drawback is not prohibitive.

After the first publication of this guide, a reader informed us that upon installing this ProForm model, a window opened on her display screen inviting her to start a free 1-month iFit subscription. To do this, she had to enter her credit card information, which she didn’t want to do. To skip this step and continue installing the machine, press and hold the iFit button for thirty seconds.

 

Treadmill versus Outdoor Running

If you are preparing for a run, it is not ideal to run only on treadmill. Research shows that you put less effort into running indoors than on a sidewalk or trail. In addition, you will probably not have the luxury of having someone who moderates your speed on D-Day. “I recommend that we train extensively outside,” recommends coach Elizabeth Corkum.

Mile High Run Club coaches advise their members who train indoors to adjust the speed of various parts of the session based on “perceived exertion” . “If the runner is honest with himself and his body, then the effort should transfer relatively easily to the outside,” Corkum notes. She also advises runners to set the incline to 1%.

This rule of thumb comes from a study published in 1996 , which suggested that running on a treadmill at 4 minutes / km with an incline of 1% would be equivalent to running outdoors at the same speed. When you run slower, the effort on a mat flat or at 1% incline is comparable to that outdoors. The difference is due to the resistance of the air, which you don’t experience if you move around in place.

In a sprint, the gap can increase. Matteo Bonato, sports physiologist at the Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute and athletics coach, asked his team to train in high intensity intervals. He wanted to know how the effort differs if athletes train indoors (in winter, when the weather is bad, for example). He measured the amount of oxygen needed by fifteen runners (which indicates the intensity of their effort) during interval training on the mat with an incline of 1%, compared to that on the track. He found that the practice on the mat was a little easier, which is due, according to him, to the elasticity of the belt. He recommends increasing the speed on the treadmill by 15% over the chosen interval speed, to expend the same energy as outside.

However, we did a quick survey of athletes during track training and the results tend to confirm that many runners, despite research, believe mat training is more grueling than outdoors. Why ? As Bonato explains, the foot lands more flat on a mat, so muscles work differently and suffer more if they’re not used to machine training.

Whether treadmill running is a chore or a pleasure for you, remember: you are in control of the machine, not the other way around. Roberto Mandje, the running coach who recommends familiarizing yourself with the machine before starting your first run to make sure you are comfortable and oriented correctly, points out that a mat is designed to keep you in place. that can change the way you run. “If you lean too far forward, you risk taking the console,” he notes. “If you are too far back you might fall off the mat. You can also lean too much to the left or to the right, because of the handles. “

It is common to take too long strides on treadmill, that is to say the foot lands too far in front of the body, when trying to maintain too high a speed. There are several ways to avoid this pitfall , including sticking to your speed settings, improving the flexibility of the hip flexors, and increasing the pace that causes the feet to land on them. place, under the hips.

How to set up a treadmill

If you are looking for someone to help you assemble your mat through a search engine, the service will probably cost you a hundred dollars. Amazon often offers free or discounted installation offers. In our view, it is useful to be helped by a professional.

Indeed, treadmills are much more complex to assemble than an IKEA piece of furniture, as one of the professionals we hired to do this pointed out. Especially since the machine may be impossible to move in your home without an extra pair of arms or a hand truck. The ideal is to schedule the arrival of the professional assembler at the same time as the delivery of the machine: he can help you take your carpet in hand. For our first test session, in 2017, we ordered two new mats from Amazon and, although the delivery guys took both machines up to our office via the elevator, customer service insisted heavily that they didn’t have to bring them in at all, even inside the building. We also come across very negative treadmill reviews on Amazon,

That said, if you’re a DIY, beefy, and have a like-minded friend (and maybe a devil), assembling a treadmill shouldn’t be overwhelming.

Maintenance and cleaning

Our favorite models have a very good warranty, but it’s still better to maintain them to postpone the day of the first maintenance.

The belt of the carpet slides on the platform using a silicone lubricant. Some models, like our top pick, come pre-lubricated and the manufacturer advises not to over oil them. But if the mat stops moving when you step on it and press down with all your weight, then grease again. To keep from this point, you can apply a little lubricant to the belt every few months (the manual says exactly how often to do this and most machines come with a bottle).

If the belt moves horizontally, back and forth (which can be seen by turning on the machine, standing behind and observing the rear roller), it must be tightened, with the screws located on each side of the belt. rear of the platform.

If the time and distance data seems incorrect to you (for example, if the console displays that you are doing 4.3 mins / km while running at 10 km / h) you can calibrate the treadmill, following the instructions in the manual. of use.

Finally, according to the professionals who assembled our rugs, these machines can get dirty with agglomerated animal hair. If you have a cat or dog that likes to hang out around your treadmill (when it’s off, of course), consider vacuuming the belt and wiping it down regularly with a rag.

What about Peloton Tread?

WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

The Peloton Tread is an elegant mat, equipped with a 32-inch touch screen that allows the user to immerse themselves in live or on-demand training (running, walking, muscle building off the mat, cardio, etc.). If you add to that a pair of dumbbells , elastic bands and a good floor mat , you might be able to cancel your gym membership. But the Tread is not sold in France, and it is very expensive, even for athletes who spend some two hundred euros per month on course or subscription. In the United States, its price exceeds 4,000 euros, and the accompanying monthly subscription is billed at 40 euros (the first year is free).

However, the Peloton Tread is an impressive machine, quite beautiful even. Our first reaction (as well as that of most testers) was: “Wow! “ The touch screen 32-inch 1080p HD is much broader, much clearer and more sensitive to touch than most competitors. It’s even so responsive that it bugged for a brief moment after receiving a few drops of sweat from one of our testers.

The belt is made of rubber strips. This is the kind of technique found on high-quality commercial machines, like those made by Woodway , which cost up to $ 10,000 apiece. Slat belts have more rebound than the continuous belts we have seen on most home models. They’re also more durable: In general, continuous belts last “at least five to seven years with normal use ,  according to NordicTrack spokespersons, while Woodwaysays his, on pro-level models, can last up to 240,000 km. In other words, even if you run 16,000 km per year (or more than a marathon per day), the mat should last you fifteen good years. The model is too new to be able to gauge its longevity, but the brand maintains that its belt should “last the life of the Tread . ” The running surface is also longer than on the other models at home with its 170 cm (against 152 for our high-end choice ). This amplitude, along with the shape of the arms and the screen, offers plenty of room for runners with long legs and minimizes the tendency to stick too much to the console.

Likewise, we were impressed with the controls of the Tread. Instead of the usual buttons, the Tread is equipped with two handles, one on each arm, which adjust incline (up to 15%) and speed (up to 20 km / h). A “jump” button is on each handle, to jump directly to the upper round number. Not only is it convenient, but it also seems faster than the buttons or touch screens found on other machines (you can also adjust the speed and elevation from the touch screen, but our testers preferred to use these handles ). Finally, the Tread offers a “free” mode, which turns off the engine and makes you push the mat on your own strength, which is good for building muscle.

Regarding the Peloton programs: currently, the app has thousands of on-demand classes, a mix of specific Tread workouts, whether walking or running, and intensive routines including muscle building off the mat , which is performed with dumbbells and a floor mat. The lessons, lasting from five minutes to an hour, are aimed at novice, intermediate or advanced levels. You can also search for a program according to the part of the body you want to work on (arms, back, entire body, etc.), or by musical genre (rock, hip-hop, country, EDM, etc.). The coaches, numbering a dozen (including Instagram celebrity Robin Arzon), are motivating and charismatic.

If you want to take the intensive bootcamp or muscle building classes, you will also need a mat, some dumbbells and elastic bands. Some programs also require a chest belt for a heart rate workout. This treadmill is overall very good even if you don’t pay for the Peloton programs, but again, it is not available in France, and it is expensive: around four times more expensive than our selection, or even more in some cases.

What about Woodway rugs?

Shannon Palus, the author of the initial version of this guide, didn’t bother ordering the Woodway, the best treadmill on the market according to a specialist. Indeed, this model costs more than ten thousand euros . None of the experts we spoke to spent that much on a home machine. Instead, they even said they own low-end, if not seedy, models that have just the right amount of features.

Still, Shannon wanted to test the Woodway. So she went to the Mile High Run Club, which has a whole fleet of them. Shannon pre-booked a machine for an expensive 45-minute lesson. She arrived in a studio filled with a purple light and began her session to the rhythm of a song evoking plans for an alcoholic release.

The belts of the Woodway mats are worthy of military tanks, with thicker and rougher sipes than those of the other machines we tested. This gives the mat a certain bounce, so much so that Shannon, facing a mirror, could observe the ephemeral prints left by her feet with each step on the belt. If you glue your nose to the frame (as required by the coach to have you do a set of push-ups), you will see the ground through the gaps in the running surface.

The Woodway is undoubtedly making noise… but, to tell the truth, it is impossible to know it with the music blaring and the cheering cries of the coach: “Come join the party! “ He yelled at two women who arrived late, or ” Excellent job, the great team! » , He addressed to the room at the end of a sprint lap.

But Shannon still noticed a few common flaws in treadmills. By reflex, she put her towel on one of the arms of the machine. Towel that has obviously slipped as you accelerate, like on an ordinary carpet. Twice during sprints, she got too close to the console and popped the safety key, causing the mat to suddenly stop. And even a luxury machine won’t do anything for you if you’re in short shape.

The Woodway is admittedly a little more comfortable than the other models overall, but it still cannot match outdoor racing. And while it’s more fancy than Shannon’s usual pitch, she left the class with the same breath of endorphins as after any real effort.

Other models that we liked

WIRECUTTER / KYLE FITZGERALD

The Gold’s Gym Trainer 720 is one of Walmart’s best sellers. In many ways, it’s virtually identical to our favorite: the platform looks and feels the same, and it offers the same speed and incline options (it must be said that the two share a single parent company, Icon Health & Fitness). A few differences keep it from being our favorite, however: the screen is a bit more confusing, with three small windows that each alternate between two data, and, although the Mat has eighteen split programs just like our top pick, it does not have a graphic display allowing to gauge the content of these programs at a glance, nor the variations in speed or incline. If you want to know the distance traveled and you are looking at the screen at the wrong time, you will have to wait a few seconds. The display is made of bright LEDs, a bonus if you prefer to run in the dark (while watching TV for example). One of our testers called the display“Simple and easy to understand” , just like our favorite.

The Trainer 720 climbs to a maximum of 16 km / h and tilts up to 10%. It is foldable but the maneuver requires a little elbow grease, as with the ProForm 505 CST.

Its frame is guaranteed for life, its motor for 25 years and parts and labor for one year.

The LifeSpan Fitness TR4000i comes equipped with a solid frame, several connection options and a good warranty. WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

Our testers liked the minimalistic LifeSpan Fitness TR4000i almost as much as our top-of-the-line pick, the ProForm Smart Pro 2000 . We found the TR4000i to be the most robust of those we tested in 2019 and it turned out to be among the easiest to assemble. One of our colleagues set it up in no time, remarking in hindsight that the very clear instructions and simple parts helped ship the proof.

Its console is spartan, punctuated simply by start, pause, stop buttons, as well as those for speed and incline which allow two-in-two (2, 4, 6 …) or tenth (7.3 for example) settings. . The top speed is 19 km / h, equal to that of the Smart Pro 2000. The incline can go up to 13%, which is 3% more than our favorite and 2% less than our top-of-the-line pick. But the TR4000i also offers descent down to -2%. This is not a huge vertical drop, but it is enough to give the feeling that you are going down a hill. Two large waist-high handles in front of the console ( which take your heart rate when you hold them) have “plus” and “minus” buttons to change speed and incline. This mat also counts steps, an option we haven’t seen elsewhere.

The platform of the TR4000i is smooth, solid and quite firm. This model is equipped with a 7-inch color touchscreen, which displays the program in one of three dashboard modes to choose from: graph, gauge or circuit. On each side of the console sits a deep bottle holder. Between the screen and the controls, there is a 2.5cm slot to accommodate a tablet, phone or book (it could be a little deeper). The 3.5 continuous horsepower motor (which is 0.25 slower than our top-of-the-line pick and 0.75 slower than our favorite) shifts between gears quite efficiently, though some testers found it somewhat slow. about adjustments.

We did not encounter any difficulty in pairing the TR4000i with a smartphone using Bluetooth. We were able to listen to a podcast on the speakers over the sound of the engine, but the sound was not overly loud. We quickly synchronized the machine with the Garmin heart rate monitor and its results mirror those reported by the TR4000i. We also didn’t have any problems syncing with his app, which we found to be complex. LifeSpan is also compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit.

The TR4000i can support up to 160 kg. It’s 15cm shorter in length and 14cm shorter in width than our premium pick. It’s rare to describe the size of a treadmill as frugal, and yet the adjective is adequate in this particular case in that the TR4000i does bend (albeit still quite heavy). The LifeSpan warranty for the TR4000i is generous: its structure and motor are covered for life, and its spare parts for five years.

The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 offers a 152 cm running surface, a 10 inch touchscreen and an optional iFit subscription. WIRECUTTER / SARAH KOBOS

Testers had a great time on the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 , also similar to the Smart Pro 2000. The 1750’s running surface measures 152cm by 56cm, which gives it a spacious appearance. Its 3.75 horsepower engine (compared to 3.5 for our top-of-the-range choice) takes it to its maximum speed of 19 km / h. It tilts up to 15% and down to -3%. This treadmill placed second in our speed test, demonstrating responsiveness.

During our testing, the 1750’s platform appeared smooth and nothing to report (which is a good point). However, several testers noted that when the incline rises above 10%, the platform shakes markedly. The 10-inch touchscreen is large without being intrusive, and its display is virtually identical to our top-of-the-line pick, with incline, calories burned, elapsed time and speed, and distance. to the hundredth of a kilometer rather than to the mere tenth. During our tests, colleagues who worked nearby observed that the 1750 produced a hypnotic and calming sound. The 1750 being a commercial model, it is very large. But it does fold up, without too much effort, to save you space.

This model comes with a one-year subscription to iFit, the streaming workout platform owned by Icon Health & Fitness, the parent company of NordicTrack. Then the subscription will cost you 149 euros per year (399 euros for a family subscription allowing you to identify up to five separate devices). If this type of streaming workout (whether the videos are filmed in the studio or on location across the world) can be a source of motivation for you, this feature is worth a look. Otherwise, in any case, the 1750 comes with fifty preloaded programs. The warranty covers the structure for ten years, parts for two years and labor for one year.

Competition

Previously, we recommended the NordicTrack C 990 as a high end option. It usually costs as much as our new pick in this class , but doesn’t have a downhill option.

The NordicTrack Commercial X22i is extreme in every sense of the word. It tilts up to 40%, down to -6% and is equipped with a 22-inch touch and color screen which, although it is large and pleasant to watch, has moved a lot during our tests. We also found that this model made too much noise. During our testing, a colleague sitting across the room reported that it was noticeably louder than another model we tested a few minutes earlier. Additionally, we found that its large vertical handles that extend from the arms to the screen block access to bottle holders and phone shelves (according to one of our testers, “it looks like a torture device from Game of Thrones , with a futuristic immersion screen »). The platform is bouncy and gives the feeling that you are wearing particularly responsive running shoes. All in all, that’s a lot.

The Sole F63 enjoys good reviews on other sites (in English), but it disappointed us with its confusing display, somewhat dated look and lack of responsiveness. As we ran, its surface produced an ominously discontinuous crunch, and the belt (two-ply, not three-ply like most of its competitors) felt the toughest of the lot. And the front panel is oddly placed: we kicked it throughout our practice.

The Bowflex BXT116 quickly paired with its app (somewhat dated design) and connected relatively easily to both Apple Health and Under Armor’s connected fitness app. But we didn’t love the machine itself. The platform, flexible and pleasant, is made of low-end materials and does not appear super-strong. We easily hooked up our phone to the speakers, and the belt purrs at a pleasant level, but the “calorie burned” console and display didn’t impress us much, and the speed control is inconvenient and a bit inconvenient. slow.

We quickly ruled out the Nautilus T618, because it produces annoying loud beeps, its display is cluttered, and the buttons look dated. It is similar to the BXT116 in feel (Nautilus owns Bowflex), its platform is flexible, but it was too slow in our speed test (this model and the BXT116 placed fifth and seventh of seven respectively) and it lacks responsiveness. Its app is identical to the Bowflex app, except for the colors. We were able to connect to other apps (Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, Under Armor), as well as connect the speakers to our phone. This model has a number of compartments for storing small items, but its 5.5-inch screen seems small.

The ProForm Power 995i is a good model, but several details in its design kept us from making it one of our favorites. In particular, the display shows the watts per kilogram in the center, a perfectly useless data. And the two bottle holders are smaller than those of most competitors.

The Nautilus T616 and Schwinn 830 are made by the same parent company and are basically two versions (one smaller and one larger) of one and the same model. The two took forty seconds to go from zero to ten kilometers per hour. This waiting time is annoying at best, at worst a real pain for those who intend to work in middle distance. However, of all the ones we tested, these models have the easiest arms to hold. If you often need to hold on for stability, and if you only plan on walking, the Schwinn 830 in particular is a good choice for its price.

We liked the feel of the Sunny Health & Fitness T7513 under the sole of the foot. It is a little more flexible and a little more discreet than its competitors. However, Sunny Health & Fitness only guarantees spare parts for 90 days. In addition, the brand only provides an email address for customer service in the United States, and no phone number.

The Horizon Fitness T101-04 came with a broken wheel. The manufacturer quickly sent us a replacement part, but according to reviews on Amazon, other users who have encountered this issue have not been lucky enough to get such fast service.

Soon after stepping onto the Xterra Fitness TR6.6, our testers felt the machine was very shaky as they moved, an incorrigible characteristic according to our assemblers. Also, the layout is odd, with a lot of room given to some middle distance programs with clipart. The “adventure” setting , for example, displays a sketch of mountain peaks and the “glutblast” mode launches a small pattern of buttocks.

Some models that we have considered but not tested

The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 was among the best sellers on Amazon at the time of our research. But its 127cm running surface is too short for most runners and it can only tilt in two positions.

NordicTrack’s T 6.5 S is made by the same parent company as our top pick, and is virtually identical in terms of features, but the display is a bit cluttered.

The NordicTrack C 1650 is one of the most popular of this brand, according to a representative of the manufacturer. We chose to test the higher rated NordicTrack Commercial 1750 instead.

Coming soon

Some brands prefer versatility to content, like connected fitness. Horizon Fitness recently launched its 7.8 AT treadmill, a machine designed to track a variety of interval-based cardio training programs, including those from Peloton, Studio, and Fitbit. We tested it briefly, but couldn’t try it in time to update this guide. We will do it soon.

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