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Best treadmill 2021: Improve your cardio fitness with help from JTX, JLL and more

Keen on getting your indoor running fix at home? This is our pick of the best budget, mid-range and high-end treadmills to buy

When picking a treadmill it’s easy to overlook more affordable machines and start lusting after professional-looking machines that wouldn't look out of place at a gym, but you don't need a commercial-standard treadmill unless you’re planning on spending 16 hours a day on it. In this article, you’ll find our four favourite sub-£1,000 options that cater for every level of walker or runner, as well as a couple of more fancy high-end picks for those of you who are you are set on recreating a gym-standard experience in your own home.


The best treadmills: At a glance


How to choose the best treadmill for you

How much do I need to spend?

If you want something that gets anywhere close to the quality of the treadmill you find in a gym, you will need to splash out upwards of £1,000, but there are some great home-use options available between £500 and £1,000, while walkers and beginner runners can find a machine that suffices in the £200 to £500 range. We really wouldn’t be tempted to spend less, however: dipping below the £200 mark usually means a very limited feature set that even beginners will tire of quickly, not to mention questionable build quality.

How much room do I need?

Carefully check the dimensions of any treadmill you’re interested in. You’ll need at least a single bed’s worth of room when using the treadmill, and some clearance at the back to step on and off. It’s also worth considering what else you’ll want in the room with your treadmill, such as a TV to watch while running. Many models will fold up after use, which saves a little space, but there’s no such thing as a truly compact treadmill. In all honesty, you’re far better off reserving an ample amount of space for a treadmill and keeping it clear – that way, you don’t have to spend precious running time setting it up each and every time you want to use it.

Do I need a treadmill capable of hitting a specific speed?

A major difference between most home and commercial treadmills is the top speed available. Gym treadmills will routinely go up to 19-22.5km/h (12-14mph), but home-use machines will often top out at 12-16km/h (8-10mph) or even lower. Unless you want to end up frustrated, it pays to make sure that the treadmill you’re considering is able to keep up with you.

Buying a treadmill with variable incline settings is a sensible choice, too. It’s worth looking out for treadmills that can provide a maximum incline of around 10-15%, as this allows you to increase the difficulty of your run without needing as much speed.

Last but by no means least, you’ll want to make sure that the treadmill belt is long enough to accommodate your running stride, and that you don’t exceed the manufacturer’s maximum weight ratings. The latter is particularly important, as any warranties will be null and void in the event of an accident – and having a treadmill fall to bits halfway through a run is less than ideal in any case.

What other features should I look out for?

One of the most useful features to keep an eye out for is whether a treadmill has a variety of preset workouts you can follow on the treadmill, such as hill and sprint sessions. The variety of different-sized screens available on treadmills is huge, too, ranging from simple monochrome displays right up to detailed colour LCD TV screens that connect to the internet for the best in-run entertainment. Other features to look out for are contact heart rate monitors, and whether the products provide connectivity to smartphones or fitness wearables for both tracking and uploading your workouts.

What should I look for in terms of build quality?

As a minimum, you want a two-year warranty on a treadmill. After that, it’s worth finding out about individual parts, especially the motor. The horsepower of the motor is important – runners should look for a minimum of 2.5HP (continuous, rather than peak, so it lasts your whole workout), while walkers can get away with 1.5 or 2.0HP. Also, check the thickness of the running belt. Thicker, cushioned belts are more durable and comfortable to run on.

How much am I going to use it?

It's a tough question when it comes to exercise equipment, but an important one. The more a treadmill will be used, the better a motor and sturdier a build it needs, and that means spending more money. Gym-standard treadmills are designed to withstand people pounding on them all day for many years, while the cheapest consumer ones might struggle with an especially keen runner. If you’re a heavy user, or if more than one person will be using the treadmill, it’s worth spending a little more to get a hardier machine.

READ NEXT: The best running shoes to buy

The best treadmills to buy

1. JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill: The best compact treadmill

Price: £540 | Buy now from Amazon

The JLL T350 treadmill offers a great set of features for the price, as well as folding down to save you space when you’re not using it. We’re not going to suggest it’s tiny when folded by any means, but it’s easy to fold and unfold using the hydraulic arm and you can tuck it away by a wall using the wheels when it is folded up.

When you are running on it, the JLL T350 doesn’t disappoint in terms of the speed and incline range available, going right up to 18km/h and offering 20 levels of automatic incline to provide a challenge to runners of all levels. The 2.5HP continuous motor is also powerful enough to ensure that using the machine at top speed feels smooth.

There are 20 preset running programmes, which you can use for a guided workout, and you can adjust the speed on three of those to customise them to your ability if you’re finding the session too easy or too hard.

The only real negative about this compact treadmill is that the running area is small and very short at 123 x 41cm (L x W), so many runners will struggle to get beyond jogging pace. Check your stride length if this is a concern.

Key specs – Size: 158 x 70 x 128cm (LWH); Speed range: 0.3-18km/h; Incline range: 20 levels; Motor: 2.5HP continuous, 4.5HP peak


2. JTX Sprint-3: The best mid-priced treadmill

Price: £605 | Check stock at JTX Fitness

Like the JTX Sprint-7 but more basic, the JTX Sprint-3 is nonetheless a highly accomplished treadmill suitable for all runners. It misses out on the Bluetooth connectivity but does have built-in speakers and a 3.5mm aux input. Its 2hp motor doesn't go quite as fast (16km/h or 10mph) and the track doesn't incline as far (up to 12%).

The Sprint-3's most attractive aspect is its compact size. Measuring a mere 162cm long, it's the smallest treadmill in JTX's range and ideal for anyone for whom space is at a premium. The running deck can even be lifted up and folded out of the way if space is especially tight.

Despite the small size, however, it's solidly made. A reinforced steel frame means it's super solid and running on the 46cm wide deck feels like you're running on a commercial gym class machine. The Sprint-3 comes mostly assembled, too, and ready to go out of the box. All you'll need to do is attach the free tablet holder.

With a selection of 40 preprogrammed workouts an easy to read backlit display and a heart rate sensor built into the support handlebars, the Sprint-3 packs a lot in for not much money.

Read our full JTX Fitness Sprint-3 review for more details

Key specs – Size: 162 x 74 x 150cm (LWH); Speed range: 0-16km/h; Incline range: 0-12%; Motor: 2HP continuous

Check stock at JTX Fitness


3. JTX Sprint-7: The best treadmill under £1,000

Price: £899 | Buy now from JTX Fitness

Beginner, intermediate and advanced runners alike will be well-served by this sturdy treadmill, which tops out at a speed of 20km/h (12mph) and an incline of 15%. It’s as close to a commercial gym experience as you can get for less than £1,000. The Sprint-7 offers 24 preset workouts and will even link to Polar wearables to run automated workouts based on your heart rate.

JTX has a reputation for providing exceptional customer service and the Sprint-7 is no exception – it comes with a warranty that provides three years of in-home servicing and repair, in addition to a ten-year motor warranty. It’s a reliable machine that runs very smoothly, allowing you to clock up big miles at a decent clip without any fears that the machine will break down. The running area is 145cm long, which will be fine for any runner under 6ft, but if you want more space and Bluetooth connectivity, the JTX Sprint-9 is the next step up in the series at £1,499.

Key specs – Size: 196 x 93 x 153cm (LWH); Speed range: 0-20km/h; Incline range: 0-15%; Motor: 3HP continuous, 6HP peak

Buy now from JTX Fitness


4. Opti Folding Treadmill: The best treadmill for walking

Price: £350 | Buy now from Argos

If you mainly want a treadmill for walking, you don’t need such a huge motor powering it, and unless you’re also planning on entering the race-walking world championships, you don’t need an especially high top speed.

On the other hand, you don’t necessarily want to go for the cheapest machine out there either, because comfort and durability are still key concerns. With a top speed of 12km/h, this Opti treadmill has a good-sized running surface and three manual levels of incline so you can increase the intensity without having to rely on ramping up the speed. Plus, it’s got an iPad holder so you can watch TV, movies or listen to music while you exercise. And at the end of your workout, it folds up for easy storage.

Key specs – Size: 123 x 72 x 157cm (HWD); Speed range: 0-12km/h; Incline range: 3 levels; Motor: 1.5HP peak, 0.8HP continuous

Check stock at Argos


5. Life Fitness T3 Go Console: The best treadmill under £3,000

Price: £2,695 | Check stock at Fitness Superstore

You can spend almost any amount of money on a treadmill, but there’s little need to look beyond the T3 unless you’re desperate for a football-pitch size running area or an in-built TV. The Life Fitness T3 is silky smooth to run on, even at the top speed of 12mph, and there are 14 well-developed exercise programmes to try. The 152cm-long track is large enough to allow even tall runners to really open out and sprint, and the FlexDeck cushioning is far gentler on the body than running on the pavement.

The T3 comes with either a “Go” or a “Track” console. The latter is slightly more expensive at £2,490 but boasts wireless connectivity to download more workouts or link with third-party apps such as Apple Health and MyFitnessPal. There’s more than enough motivation to be found in the preset workouts on the Go Console, but if you crave connectivity then the Track might be worth the extra outlay.

Key specs – Size: 202 x 88 x 147cm (LWH); Speed range: 0-19km/h; Incline Range: 0-15%; Motor: 3HP continuous

Check stock at Fitness Superstore


6. MYRUN Technogym Treadmill: The best gym-standard treadmill

Price: £3,250 | Check stock at Technogym

First of all, let’s hand Technogym some kudos for making a treadmill that actually looks good. So good you can leave it out and let visitors admire it, rather than tucking it away in a garage or corner. And the MYRUN treadmill doesn’t just look the part, it’s packing some seriously impressive tech, including Technogym’s Running Rate feature, which aims to improve your running efficiency by coaching you to the right cadence (step rate) for your speed, even picking out music that has the right beat for the step rate you should be aiming to achieve.

Through the MYRUN app, which links easily with the treadmill, you have access to comprehensive training programmes and, excitingly, Zwift – a training app where you run in a virtual world, reducing the risk of boredom with your indoor running. It’s also worth pointing out the fact that the MYRUN treadmill is smart enough to turn itself on automatically when you step on it, not least because it can be quite the shock if you don’t know about the feature in advance.

Key specs – Size: 176 x 78.5 x 126cm (LWH); Speed range: 0-20km/h; Incline range: 0-12%; Motor: 3HP

Check stock at Technogym


7. Technogym Skillmill Go: The best non-motorised treadmill

Price: £10,140 | Check stock at Technogym

This falls into a completely different category to the rest of the treadmills on this list, and not only because of its massive price tag. Curved, non-motorised treadmills are an increasingly common sight in gyms these days and offer a very different style of workout to a standard machine. Jump on and you can run as fast as want instantly, with the belt speeding up when your foot lands higher up the curve. It makes for a very intense workout, usually involving sprint intervals rather than a steady effort, and it burns a lot of calories in a short space of time

If you want your own curved treadmill, your options are limited and the price will be high. The Skillmill Go is a commercial-standard machine that you can use to train in a number of ways. It has 11 levels of resistance and different handles so you can, for example, hold on with your arms while you really drive against the belt with your legs. There’s one last bonus, too – no motor means its running costs are minimal.

Key specs – Size: 191 x 89 x 154cm (LWH); Speed range: Unlimited; Incline range: N/A; Motor: N/A

Check stock at Technogym


8. DKN EnduRun: The best treadmill under £2,000

Price: £1,499 | Buy now from Sweatband

The EnduRun is a top-quality treadmill that would be well worth its full RRP of £2,199. However, it’s almost always available for less than £2,000 on the Sweatband website, and it’s actually under £1,500 at the moment.

All of the key specs on the EnduRun are exceptional. The top speed is a blistering 22km/h, the incline range goes up to 15% and the 2.5CHP motor ensures it runs smoothly, even if you’re a fast enough runner to hold speeds of 20km/h plus for long periods. The running belt is expansive at 53 x 151cm, and the maximum user weight is 150kg.

The cherry on top of all these outstanding specs is that the EnduRun can connect to apps, including Zwift and Kinomap, via Bluetooth. The latter contains guided workouts and video runs in some of the world’s most scenic locations, and watching your avatar run around the visual world of Zwift is a surefire way to make treadmill runs more exciting.

Key specs – Size: 206.5 x 89.5 x 157cm (LWH); Speed range: 0-22km/h; Incline range: 0-15%; Motor: 2.5CHP (4.5 PHP)

Buy now from Sweatband


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