Skip to content

The 9 Best Treadmills For Walking, To Optimize Your Health & Your Time Indoors

Kelsea Samson
Author: Expert reviewer:
January 6, 2023
Kelsea Samson
Written by
Kelsea Samson
Kelsea Samson is a writer, content manager, certified yoga instructor and founder of The Mindfulness Program for Kids and Yoga for the Blind in Tampa, Florida.
BB Arrington, CPT
Expert review by
BB Arrington, CPT
Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.
treadmill indoors
Image by mbg creative
January 6, 2023
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Turns out, your Zoom meetings can double as the perfect opportunity to squeeze in those daily steps. Finding the best treadmill for walking is key for making the most of your time indoors. Experts have touted the benefits of walking for years—and research backs this simple exercise, showing walking to improve longevity, boost memory, prevent cardiovascular disease1, improve metabolic health2, and even lower inflammation3

To learn more about the best treadmills for walking, we tapped sports and lifestyle chiropractor Sarah Sponaugle. Below, find our picks for the nine best treadmills for walking, along with Sponaugle's advice on how to choose one, the benefits of owning a treadmill, and what to consider as you shop. 

How to choose a treadmill for walking vs. running.

There is a clear distinction between treadmills designed only for walking and those that are built for walking and running. A few of the best treadmill brands, such as NordicTrack and Peloton, support both exercises seamlessly, but these options do often come with a higher price tag. If walking is what you're after, though, you can find some great treadmill options for under $500. 

We can't recommend one treadmill that's best for everyone, but we can help you navigate the many options. If you're wondering how to choose a treadmill for walking versus running, here are some factors to consider:

Horsepower: As we mentioned, some compact treadmills only have the horsepower to support walking and jogging. Walks on a treadmill require 2.0 horsepower, jogs require 2.5 horsepower at the minimum, and avid runners will want well over 3.0 horsepower. We've made sure to include these details for each of our picks below.  

Side rails: If you've ever lost your balance while running on a treadmill, you understand why running treadmills need handrails and side paneling for your feet. These allow you to grab hold or simply step off to the side if the belt is spinning and you need a break. 

A wider belt: To use a treadmill safely, there must be sufficient room to align your stride and keep your running mechanics in check. Otherwise, you could misstep and end up off the edge with an injury.

The benefits of walking.

For starters, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend the average adult gets 150 to 300 minutes of physical activity per week. So, if you can walk at least 30 minutes a day, you'll be in good shape (literally). Sponaugle says in addition to benefiting the heart, brain, and metabolism, "any type of walking, whether outside or on a treadmill, is great for increasing lean body mass as long as you get your heart rate up and sweat." 

"Walking on a treadmill is a good option if you are rehabbing an injury or need help with balance, as there are rails along the sides for support," she adds. Treadmills are useful when you live in a location where walking outside is not an option due to inclement weather. "When the weather is cooperative, I prefer (for myself and my patients) to walk outside with a GPS-based watch. Walking outside allows for more benefits than just the cardiovascular ones (think decreased cortisol from being in nature, circadian rhythm resetting, and having a varying landscape with hills and straightaways for a more varied workout)," Sponaugle elaborates. 

At mindbodygreen, we're big fans of walking. We've written tons of articles on the benefits of walking, walking as exercise, and even the science-backed benefits of walking for anxiety.

Factors to consider when purchasing a treadmill for walking.

As Sponaugle puts it, "There are many great brands of treadmills. It really comes down to space and budget. If you want to purchase a treadmill for walking, you should plan to spend between $300 to $4,000." That said, we've been mindful to select budget-friendly options, too.

Size, of course, is another factor. Designed specifically for walking and jogging, a compact treadmill offers a more affordable alternative. Generally around 22 inches wide and 60 inches long (and often foldable), this piece of workout equipment can boost your health while you work or be your track of choice on unsuitable weather days. 

From there, it's really about finding the right features to suit your needs, such as whether you'll be using the treadmill for light jogs, at inclines, or under your desk.

How we picked:

Features

We sought out treadmills that offer incline for an optional boost in intensity, extra cushioning for joints, and pre-programmed workouts.

Speed

Treadmills for walking tend to have lower speed, but we did include a few that provide an option to hit a runner's pace. If the machine isn't fit to run on, we call it out in the cons.

Reviews

Positive customer feedback helped us vet which treadmills were worth considering and which products didn't make the cut.

Price

Our picks run the gamut of no frills, moderate features, and all the bells and whistles—each offering the most bang for your buck at various price points.

Our picks for the best treadmills for walking:

Best folding: Echelon Stride

Pros:

  • Folds automatically for easy storage
  • 8 programmed workouts + live and on-demand classes
  • Smart device holder

Cons:

  • App membership required for live workouts
  • Can shake at high speeds
Surface Size: 69.3” x 31” x 49.2”
Max Speed: 12 mph
Incline: 12 levels
Motor Type: 2.5 Peak HP
Membership Required: Yes (for access to live workouts)

When you think of a folding treadmill, you probably don’t picture high-end features. Well, this option is bound to impress the most dedicated walkers and runners. It has a 4.5-foot deck that allows for a wide stride, with a built-in screen and eight pre-programmed workouts, including nature hikes and walks. This cardio equipment can support up to 12 miles per hour at 12 incline levels, and even has heart rate monitors on the handlebars. 

What’s more, its lightweight design and wheels make storage easy. Either wheel it over to another area, or fold it up and store it in the closet or under the bed.

While this treadmill is loved by walkers, joggers, seniors, and athletes, it’s also one of our top picks for best compact treadmills and comes highly recommended by plenty of reviewers on the company’s website. One reviewer who uses this treadmill for walking writes, “Never thought I could love a treadmill this much! Amazing hiking and walking classes programmed.”

Best for incline walking: NordicTrack EXP 10i

Pros:

  • Smart HD touchscreen with interactive, full body studio workouts
  • Lower impact cushioning
  • Large incline range (with decline options)

Cons:

  • Small screen
Surface Size: 80” x 35” x 59.25”
Max Speed: 12 mph
Incline: 15 levels (12% incline, 3% decline)
Motor Type: 3.5 CHP Plus Motor
Membership Required: Yes (for access to live workouts)

From one the top treadmill brands, this NordicTrack model maximizes durability and intensity with a top speed of 12 miles per hour and an incline up to 12%. Added bonus: running on inclines can amp up your cardio, burn more calories, and activate the lower body muscles. 

A 10-inch HD smart touch screen offers extensive training options with interactive studio workouts ready to stream, plus access to live classes through an optional paid membership. For walkers, the brand has sessions that take you on hikes from national parks like Yosemite to cultural walks in Lisbon, Portugal. Perhaps the coolest feature is the auto-adjust technology that pairs your treadmill’s speed and incline with the program selected. 

Since we’ve selected this as the best treadmill for walking with incline, it’s worth noting that it boasts the unique ability to decline, too, which is great for strengthening leg muscles. If you’re on the fence, its almost-perfect 4.9 out of 5 star average rating on the brand’s website from over 2,000 customers might persuade you.

Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Most compact: ProForm City L6

Pros:

  • Access to interactive training sessions
  • Folds away for convenience

Cons:

  • No screen, but has a built-in tablet holder
Surface Size: 29” x 70.25” x 44.5”
Max Speed: 8 mph
Incline: N/A
Motor Type: 1.6 CHP2 Mach Z™
Membership Required: No

For a high-performing treadmill at a reasonable price point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better compact unit than this. With interactive training from iFit, this is a great compact treadmill for walking that can give you the same tech-savvy training programs as the NordicTrack—you just have to use your own tablet to view them. There’s no built-in screen, but there is a tablet holder. This treadmill also has a strong motor that can handle running and sprinting up to 8 miles per hour. 

Customers rave about how easy the setup is. One writes, “Out of the box and ready to go in about 10 minutes. I love that it’s compact.” Another says, “This machine’s build quality is sturdy and the belt motor is solid.” Bonus: the City L6 has a minimal footprint and the ability to stow away easily.

Best for under the desk: GOYOUTH 2 in 1 Under Desk Electric Treadmill

Pros:

  • Includes Bluetooth speakers
  • Quiet motor

Cons:

  • Low weight capacity (220 pounds)
  • No handlebars
Surface Size: 50.1” x 22.44” x 5.5”
Max Speed: 6 mph
Incline: N/A
Motor Type: 2.25 HP
Membership Required: No

Multitask while you work with this under-desk pick. It’s no frills, budget-friendly, and easy to use. Because the max speed is 6 miles per hour and there’s no ability to add incline, this treadmill is designed for walking or jogging only. But what it lacks in intensity, it makes up for in sleek design. 

You’ll be able to track calories burned, steps, time, and distance on the LED display, plus you can even listen to your favorite music or podcast via Bluetooth speakers. Best of all, this machine is quiet and steady. Your coworkers won’t even realize you’re exercising during that Zoom call. 

With over 1,000 ratings on Amazon, this under the desk treadmill has an average rating of 4.4 stars. Reviewers rave about this product’s ease of use and discreteness. One customer writes, “This treadmill is so sturdy and not loud at all. I've asked my coworkers if they can hear it on Teams meetings or on the phone and no one could hear it. It’s the easiest treadmill to put together–it basically comes ready to go. Just plug in and walk!”

Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Best budget: Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Multiple colorways
  • Two modes for walking and running
  • Easy to move and store

Cons:

  • No incline
  • Low max speed
Surface Size: 49” x 27”
Max Speed: 7.5 mph
Incline: None
Motor Type: 2.25 HP
Membership Required: No

Instead of sitting at your desk all day (which can take a toll on your health), take a walk on this treadmill which fits perfectly underneath it and comes outfitted with Bluetooth speakers. When you're ready to expel some energy, simply lift the handrail to engage running mode, which will take your speed up to 7.5 miles per hour and give you a proper place to position your phone. Note, this speed is likely not going to impress the most intense sprinters, but is great to have for casual runners and joggers.

Beyond its five-layered non-slip, shock-absorbing belt, what makes this model stand out from the pack is that it comes in seven fun colors, to compliment any aesthetic. 

Almost 10,000 people have rated this budget-friendly treadmill, and it’s earned a 4.1 out of 5 star average rating. One remote worker writes, “I wish I’d bought this sooner! This treadmill fits perfectly under my standup desk, is relatively quiet, and super easy to set up! Upon opening the box, it was assembled and ready to use. The Bluetooth speaker is nice. This is a great little treadmill and has helped me to get more steps in every day since arriving.”

Most cushioned: REDLIRO Foldable Treadmill with Incline

Pros:

  • Shock absorbing belt with 5 layers of resistance
  • Foldable & portable

Cons:

  • Belt may be too small/narrow for some
Surface Size: 50" x 25.5" x 46"
Max Speed: 7 mph
Incline: 3 levels
Motor Type: 2.25 HP
Membership Required: No

If you have joint issues or shin splints that flare up from taking long walks, you might want to test out this pick. The Amazon-favorite checks all the boxes for a great treadmill for walking, with five layers of shock-absorbing material, a low-noise motor, and a space-saving design. It also comes with 12 pre-set training programs for the most efficient workout sessions, plus fitness tracking. 

The reviews on Amazon are quite stellar—we’re talking 4.2 out of 5 stars and over 1,000 ratings. One reviewer exclaims, “This is a great walking treadmill. I couldn't ever buy a treadmill because I never had room for one, but this product makes it possible because of how compact it is! The deck is also cushioned well. I get shin splints often and I haven't gotten them since I've been using this. Even my mom, who has knee problems, went for a walk on it and she didn't hurt the next day.”

Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Best for seniors: XTERRA Fitness TRX4500 Treadmill

Pros:

  • Sturdy-yet-foldable frame
  • 30 pre-set programs with blue backlit LCD display

Cons:

  • Assembly required
  • Some reviewers say the cooling fan is weak
Surface Size: Unfolded: 77.2” x 35.5” x 56.1” | Folded: 51.2” x 35.5” x 65.8”
Max Speed: 12 mph
Incline: 15 levels
Motor Type: 3.25 HP
Membership Required: No

A sturdy frame and a large, backlit, easy-to-use interface make this a great choice for seniors. This treadmill has all the must-have features, like 30 pre-programmed workouts, a fitness app for tracking, a magnetic safety tether, and a built-in fan to keep you cool (though, some reviewers say it’s not very powerful). When you’re done with your walk or run, the Lift Assist and wheels help you store the machine away without fuss. 

While the reviews for this treadmill are stellar, most stress that paying for assembly is very worth it. Otherwise, it can be an hour or two of mild frustration. One reviewer shares, “I am super happy with this treadmill. The best decision we made was paying for the assembly. The delivery team was incredible. They carried it downstairs and assembled it exactly where I wanted it. They were on time and super efficient.” You should know that the treadmill weighs 200 pounds, so if you’re not up for the exercise in weight lifting, definitely consider the set-up service.

Best for walking and running: TrueForm Trainer

Pros:

  • No electricity needed
  • Gentle curve promotes good form
  • Promotes more balanced movement
  • Supports users up to 400 lbs

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it feels "choppy"
Surface Size: 17" x 54”
Max Speed: N/A
Incline: N/A
Motor Type: Non-motorized
Membership Required: No

This manual treadmill pick is the top choice from our expert, Sponaugle, who uses TrueForm as the track of choice in her home gym and in her professional fitness studio in Tampa, Florida. The proprietary Responsive Belt Technology® makes walking and running on a TrueForm a superior experience. By this we mean, your balance, posture, hip position, and foot strike will react more closely to the way they would on outdoor terrain. What’s more, the manual belt is designed to help you improve core strength as you walk and run. Just keep in mind, Kathleen Leninger, P.T., DPT, physical therapist and RRCA coach at Custom Performance, previously told mindbodygreen you should never run long distances on a curved treadmill. So, if you do plan on running, keep it to shorter sprints.

With a design that’s definitely unique, the brand has a cult following. One reviewer writes, “This treadmill is one of the best I've ever used for running and walking. My body feels incredibly supported while using it. I immediately feel when my posture’s not right and can correct myself. I feel a difference on and off the treadmill. It takes a minute to get used to, but it's worth the learning curve.”

Advertisement
This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Best splurge: Peloton Tread

Pros:

  • 23.8” HD touch screen + studio-quality surround sound to stream thousands of live classes
  • Customizable treadmill workouts and programs beyond tread
  • Pairs with Apple Watch and Strava to synch workout stats
  • Large 59” running belt

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it’s noisy at high speeds
  • Not foldable, larger footprint than other options
Surface Size: 5.5’ x 2.75′
Max Speed: 12.5 mph
Incline: 12.5
Motor Type: 3.0 HP

Calling all power walkers, hikers, joggers, runners, and boot campers, whether you’re in multi-task mode or in a fun-run mood, the Peloton Tread makes every step count. It offers real-time tracking of speed, mileage, pace splits, heart rate zones, elevation, and more that’ll help you stay motivated as you build your own custom workout routine. The brand offers classes for just about every kind of training, including on-tread programs such as walking, hiking, and running, plus off-tread courses like boxing, strength training, and barre. 

The speed and incline knobs easily adjust controls without breaking your stride. If you’re taking a class, simply adjust your settings to auto-incline and the machine will automatically follow your instructor’s cues, no manual adjustments necessary. Its impressive 23.8-inch HD touch screen and sleek body give this treadmill modern appeal—and its most unique feature is the Body Scan which shows you the muscles you’ve targeted in your sessions. 

While this machine is applause-worthy, the reviews lay it bare: the treadmill itself is not the only reason people choose to buy Peloton. It’s for the classes and community. One reviewer writes, “This treadmill is one of the best I've ever used. My body feels incredibly supported while using it. Not only is it a high quality treadmill, but when paired with the workouts from Peloton, it's a wonderful way to keep up with my miles over the winter and even throughout the year. I love the extra motivation from the instructors.”

FAQ

Is walking on the treadmill 30 minutes a day enough?

This depends on your fitness goals. According to the World Health Organization, one should get a total of at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Sponaugle explains that using a treadmill allows you to not miss these minutes because of weather or schedule inconveniences. Just keep in mind, WHO describes moderate-intensity as to elevate the heart rate and break a sweat, so you'll want to push your pace a bit if you're trying to meet those guidelines.

Which treadmill would you recommend for home use?

"There are many great brands of treadmills. It really comes down to space and budget," Sponaugle says. "We use the Trueform Runner non-motorized treadmill in our facility." She also recommends consulting with your doctor before drastically switching up your exercise program.

Are walking treadmills worth it?

Sponaugle confirms that having a treadmill for walking at home can be a great asset if you are rehabbing an injury, need help with balance, or live in a location where the weather is seasonally unsuitable for outdoor workouts. 

Are treadmills expensive?

It depends on the brand, features, motor, and quality. We sought out the best treadmills for walking for many budgets and found a range of great choices from $350 to $3,500.

The takeaway.

Whether you want to get your steps in during the workday or keep yourself active during the gloomy weather months, these treadmills for walking are definitely worth considering. If you're interested in finding the perfect shoes for walking to help increase your comfort level and performance, check out our 2023 roundup of the best walking shoes, according to podiatrist guidelines.

Meet The Experts

Kelsea Samson is a writer, content manager, certified yoga instructor and founder of The Mindfulness Program for Kids and Yoga for the Blind in Tampa, Florida.
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.