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Affordable Treadmills for Home Gyms | HIIT Workouts & Running Exercises

Updated on January 28, 2015
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Top Fitness Equipment For Getting Fit At Home in 2014

Many of us have aspirations to be slimmer and fitter but often time constraints and gym fees stop us from achieving our goals. However, having a treadmill at home puts exercise at arms reach and make it a lot more achievable.

Treadmills let you walk, jog or run whilst indoors in the warmth and comfort of your own home, so they are ideal for the colder months when you don't want to jog outside, or perhaps you live somewhere (like I do) where it always seems to be raining! Having a running machine in easy reach all year around means that it's easier to get the motivation to train regularly. And also, the accurate measures on a treadmill mean that you can use it to reach very specific fitness goals.

On this page I have included videos on how to use a treadmill, plus my top recommendations of the best treadmills at different price points and a range of very useful accessories including waterproof music players especially for use in the gym. And I also include lots of tips and buying guides for choosing the right machine for you, and a list of great treadmill workouts including high intensity interval training (HIIT) routines for the most effective way to lose fat and get in shape.

Treadmills are gentler on sensitive knee and hip joints because of their consistent, flat and often padded surface, and are really convenient too. I hope you find this page useful.

Keep Exercise in Easy Reach

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So Which Treadmill Should I Buy?

When choosing a treadmill, there are a wide range of qualities and options to choose from. I would say that the best way to narrow your search down would be first to decide a budget, as the price determines what you can buy.

Manual treadmills are the most budget-friendly option, and are often the smallest and most portable, and best if you don't have much room at home. However, they are obviously not motorized so you can't choose a specific speed to go at, so it's not for serious training, but more for people who just want a method of running or walking in their own home without having any particular target they want to reach. I personally didn't choose a manual treadmill (my budget was under $400) because my motivation levels are low and I need a machine which will force me to move!

Most treadmills are motorized, allowing you to choose the constant speed to run at, and most also have a timer, calorie counter, distance counter and probably a heart rate monitor of sorts. Additional options include incline settings, which are where you can incline the running belt to different angles in order to simulate walking/running up hills of different steepness. On cheaper treadmills, there are either no incline options, or at best one or two. Higher-end treadmills can have around 10 or more setting options, usually peaking at an incline of 15%. Another option to look for is the fold-away option for if you have little space at home or you are planning to store the treadmill away in summer and only use it in the colder months for instance. Some treadmills do fold up and some don't. Be sure to have a look at the space taken up by the treadmill when it is folded, as some fold into a relatively narrow space, whilst others are still very bulky even when folded.

If you can test out a treadmill first, this is recommended, as it's hard to tell how powerful a treadmill feels or how noisy it is just by looking. If you can't try before you buy, reviews are helpful so have a look at what people are saying online about things like noise level, power and sturdiness. You want something well built, not flimsy, with a good level of power for your budget. Best not to go for a particularly large or thick running belt, just have the normal belt width and thickness, as the bigger the belt, the harder the motor must work to move it. The width of the belt is usually very similar throughout all treadmills.

With regards to choosing the power of your treadmill, it's best to try it out first, but have a look around at the power statistics between treadmills in your budget range to get an idea of what you can get for your money first. Sometimes the most powerful is not the best option, just take all of the features into consideration.

When planning to buy a treadmill, carefully use the provided treadmill measurements to check that it will fit into your intended room at home OK, with at least a meter of free space on each side and preferably a couple of meters space at the back. I know that when I got my treadmill home it seemed a lot bigger than I imagined...they're definitely monsters! It's best to have a padded mat underneath the treadmill to protect your flooring, and also to deaden the noise, especially if you have people living below you.

Extra features may be drinks holders, mp3 player holders and other fun and useful things.

How To Use A Treadmill

Manual Fold-Away Treadmill - $175

Manual Foldable Walking Treadmill
Manual Foldable Walking Treadmill

The most inexpensive option for home treadmills is the manual version, and this one has very good reviews and is perfect for casual, general use.

The machine folds away to a narrower size than motorized versions and so is great for easy storage and small home spaces. It’s also more lightweight, portable and simple to use – and if you want to use it outside on you patio you can do because you don’t need to plug it in!

Great value for the price and well built. A little computer attachment is provided which displays time, speed, distance and calories, with batteries included.

The running belt glides smoothly and goes as fast as your feet drive it.

The maximum user weight is 220 lbs.

 

ProForm 6.0 RT Treadmill - $500

ProForm 6.0 RT
ProForm 6.0 RT

Great value treadmill option; at this price, we’re getting to the range of well-built, quality machines, which are simple but have a few extra features provided on top of the basics. This is perfect for people who are taking exercise a bit more seriously and want to use the treadmill to reach their fitness targets.

This product can fold up into an X shape rather than flat and narrow, so is foldable but requires a slightly larger storage area than some fold away designs. Again, this is what you need if you don’t want to leave the treadmill set up all the time.

The machine is sturdy and has very good reviews, plus it’s really easy to put together when you first receive it. And the fact that the treadmill looks solid and smart is a bonus.

As for the features, the deck is cushioned for a more comfortable run, and the display shows the speed (which ranges from 0 to 10 mph), the distance and time. There is also a heart rate monitor, 4 pre-programmed timed workouts and 4 pre-programmed calorie workouts to choose from, plus a 0-10% incline option for choosing greater resistance whilst running if you wish. And there is a fun extra feature too, with mp3-playing speakers integrated into the treadmill so that you can attach your iPod!

 

Horizon Evolve Compact Treadmill - $600

Horizon Evolve SG Compact Treadmill
Horizon Evolve SG Compact Treadmill

An award-winning treadmill with an exceptionally sleek appearance and excellent space-saving ability – it folds down into a very narrow (10”) width, which you can then store vertically or horizontally. Very compact and a modern looking design, it does not look bulky at all.

This treadmill is an excellent choice for general fitness and well-being, and is sturdy and durable for all your jogging and walking needs. The speed goes up to 6mph, so it’s therefore not the choice for those who want to train for fast running or sprint races. For regular normal use, it’s a great choice.

On receipt of the treadmill there is no need to put any parts together…you can just plug it in and go! It’s relatively light and has robust wheels, so you can move it around easily.

The control panel displays the time, distance, calories burned and speed, and 2 workout programs – weight loss and manual – are available too. There is also a heart rate monitor built-in, plus an audio adapter to hook up your CD or mp3 player and blast your favourite songs out of the speakers!

The top user weight limit is 250 lbs and the motor delivers 1.5 continuous horsepower (CHP) for a strong and smooth belt rotation. Manufacturer’s warranty included.

 

Livestrong LS8.0T Treadmill - $800

Livestrong LS8.0T Treadmill
Livestrong LS8.0T Treadmill

This is the price level where the features grow in number and variety, and this treadmill is no exception, but not only that, the build quality increases too. This is a reliable and strong product for any user including anyone training for a race or aiming to lose weight. Perhaps the only exclusions would be serious training athletes who would require even more features.

Heavy and durable, this running machine has more power in the motor than the cheaper options, with 2.5 CHP and a top speed of 12 mph (which is sprinting flat-out so it’s very unlikely you would ever need a speed higher than this). The treadmill platform is also cushioned for comfort,.

The incline setting can be controlled to any half percent value between 0 and 12% for extra difficulty, and you also get a choice of 9 workout programs so you won’t get bored.

An interesting inclusion with this treadmill is a USB drive which allows you to record your workouts and view and analyse them all on the Livestrong website. There are also free downloads and other activities available online so you can look at your fitness and eating habits more seriously if you wish.

With regards to the basics, this product is foldable, has a heart rate monitor, an LCD display, music speakers and a personal cooling fan. Also included is a warranty (lifetime for the motor).

325 lb is the maximum user weight .

 

LifeSpan 1200i Folding Treadmill 2013 - $1000

LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

A highly-rated and popular machine for a home gym, this award-winning treadmill is reliable and built to last.

The LCD shows time, distance, speed, calories, heart rate, steps and incline level so you can keep excellent track of your activity, especially as you can also save your exercise data to keep a track of your progress online.

The treadmill is foldable for convenience and for ease of cleaning underneath, and there is a wide range of 17 pre-set programs focussing on different aims such as weight loss and sports training, and also features controls on the handles for easier access. A custom heart rate program allows you to choose the parameters you would like your heart rate to stay within, and the treadmill will respond to your heart rate to make that happen - clever!

Powerful 2.5 CHP motor and a spacious deck, this machine aims to provide comfort and efficiency. Enough features are packed into this machine to satisfy anyone looking to keep fit regularly, with countless ways to monitor your fitness and progress. The build is strong and solid, and the machine even runs quietly as an added bonus.

Other details to note are the inclusion of high quality speakers, a step-counting feature, 15 incline level choices, a lifetime motor and frame warranty, 11 mph top speed, a book rack, and 2 water bottle holders. The maximum user weight is 300 lbs.

 

Smooth Fitness 7.35 Folding Treadmill - $1450

Smooth Fitness 7.35 Folding Treadmill
Smooth Fitness 7.35 Folding Treadmill

At this level, the machines are becoming comparable to the high-end treadmills on offer at professional gyms. This particular product can cope with aggressive running due to the long and wide running deck which is larger than most home treadmills can offer.

The commercial grade motor is 3.5 CHP and the warranty on offer is one of the best for this price range. 15 incline levels are provided and the top speed is 11.3 mph.

25 programs are available on this treadmill, including pre-set workouts and heart rate control programs. There is an in-built iPod docking station and sound system for playing your favourite songs whilst you run, and the machine can fold vertically for storage purposes.

A top quality product with a stable and comfortable (shock absorbing) surface and an industrial strength frame. This heavy duty treadmill is made to last for many years, and is easy to use for serious training at home.

Maximum user weight is 350 lbs.

 

Precor 9.33 Premium Series Treadmill - $4500

Precor 9.33 Premium Series Treadmill
Precor 9.33 Premium Series Treadmill

This 5-star rated treadmill is as good as it gets and is everything you could want in a home gym treadmill - it's expensive but it's the best!

Built to last for decades, this professional-quality piece of equipment has an amazing feature where the belt speed adjusts to and mimics your stride, and the overall feel is smooth and natural.

This treadmill has all the features you would want, with a quiet 3 CHP motor, 12 mph top speed, up to 15% incline, and heart rate monitoring. The pre-set programs offer 5k and 10k courses for race training, plus 14 more options, and the platform cushioning and shock absorption is top notch - perfect for people who get sore knees when exercising.

The warranty is reassuring, and this durable product is bound to be a worthwhile investment in your health and fitness.

 

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk Addition

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk - Walking and Standing Desk for Treadmill - Perfect Treadmill Workstation
TrekDesk Treadmill Desk - Walking and Standing Desk for Treadmill - Perfect Treadmill Workstation

If you work at home like me, and/or you work long hours and don’t have time to get to the gym, this is an excellent option. I always feel like a couch potato just sitting working at the computer all day, so this is an ideal and healthy solution.

You can attach the desk to almost any treadmill, and it means that you can walk whilst answering e-mails on your laptop and using the telephone! The fantastic thing about this is that you can multi-task so you don’t feel like you are wasting time when you are spending hours on the treadmill without the desk attachment, and exercising is proven to increase your concentration and productivity levels.

This particular workstation is sturdy and includes a paper holder, a file tray, a telephone stand and 2 cup holders, and the height is adjustable. A 2 year warranty is also included, and a video tutorial is available to show you how to properly construct the desk when you receive it.

The construction is made to last, the desk is foldable for easy storage, and overall the concept of working whilst you exercise is one that is bound to positively affect your mood, stress levels and general well-being.

 

Treadmill Desks, Floor Mat, Music Player & Phone Holder

Here are a couple more treadmill desk options, plus the all-important foam mat which is vital for protecting your flooring - whether it's wood or carpet. For adding (often much-needed!) distractions to your workout I've also listed a phone holder and a music player specifically designed for use during exercise:

My Treadmill Experience, Plus Tips & Guides

I had never used a treadmill before I bought one for my home, and it certainly scared me a bit to start with, especially at higher speeds. And I felt dizzy the first few times I tried it because when I suddenly stopped running, the room kept on moving (I get motion sickness really easy!) However, this went away after a few runs and I really love my treadmill now. I am fitter than I have ever been in my adult life and I've only had the machine for a few months! I truly recommend them as a) a cheaper alternative (at least it was for me) than going to the gym, and b) as a way of avoiding running in the cold, wind or rain, which I hate - and there is nowhere safe near me due to high-speed roads with no pavements.

If you're a complete beginner, the best tips are to start slowly and increase the speed gradually over time. My balance is a bit wonky so it was hard to stay centred on the belt to start with, but I found that staring at a fixed point straight in front of the treadmill helped me a lot. Persistence is key with the treadmill, and I also need a bit of a distraction whilst jogging, so I usually listen to music or the radio, or watch the TV I have in front of me.

Treadmills are ideal for training yourself to reach specific targets, due to the fact you can set the speed so precisely and monitor your progress easily. If you only want to walk, treadmills set the pace and mean you don't have to leave the house to do so (so good if you live in rainy England!) Daily walking is fantastic for a healthy lifestyle, and treadmills make it so easy. And the machines don't need to cost the Earth either as they are available in a range of price points from around $150 upwards.

Using a treadmill is very simple, with a start button (which starts at a very low speed), a stop button (which stops the belt slowly), an emergency stop safety feature, and up and down keys to change the speed. More expensive treadmills may have extra buttons, but those are the basics. I also have the option to choose from 4 different programmes on mine (most treadmills provides pre-programmed options) which change the speeds for you. Each one is spread over a different length of time, from 10 to 30 minutes and during the cycle the speed goes up and down at certain points and you have to keep up. I tried the 15 minutes one as soon as I bought it and when it jumped up to a high speed I wasn't expecting, it freaked me out, so be careful with them!

Here are some links for what to look for when buying a treadmill, plus starter tips:

Universal Treadmill Book Holder

Source One LLC Universal Treadmill Book Holder 9 x 11 Inches for Elliptical, Rowers (TBH-U)
Source One LLC Universal Treadmill Book Holder 9 x 11 Inches for Elliptical, Rowers (TBH-U)

If you like to read and often get bored when working out, this simple but effective book (or Kindle) holder is the perfect choice for you, as you can immerse yourself into the story and not even notice you’re exercising!

Made for rowing machines, ellipticals, exercise bikes and on treadmills (when walking), the holder measures 7”x10”x1”.

 

HIIT Treadmill Workout

Athletic Running Shoes, Moisture Wicking Top & Heart-Rate Monitor Watch

Running shoes are very important for giving your feet support and comfort during your workouts, and below are few top-rated men's and women's shoes to choose from.

I've also included a useful watch which monitors your heart rate, plus an item of moisture wicking clothing, which is made of a fabric that wicks the sweat away from your skin quickly to help your body cool down efficiently.

Do you own a treadmill?

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