There was a bit of change as we amended this informative treadmill article, including one new addition to our chart.
We removed the older SereneLife Smart Digital folding treadmill and replaced it with the popular T202 from Horizon Fitness, before tweaking some content in our buyer’s guide.
Treadmills can be an outstanding exercise tool for seniors, whether you’re just looking to get back into a health routine or want to develop your endurance and overall fitness.
Table of Contents
This article compiles our picks for some of the best treadmills around for seniors. Each option in our chart below offers a unique blend of safety, comfort and performance.
After evaluating each treadmill individually, we’ll also discuss what features you should look for in a treadmill, and answer a few common questions many seniors have when selecting a new machine to purchase.
Motor: 2.75 CHP
Speed: 0 to 12mph
Incline: 0 to 12% (Motorized)
Belt: 20” x 60”
Features: 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning, Bluetooth connectivity, rapid-charge USB port, quick controls, media shelf, pulse-grip heart rate monitors, preset workout programs, cooling fan, 325lb max capacity
There’s a reason we recommend the T202 from Horizon Fitness on many pages on Fitness Verve – it’s a great treadmill for the price, whether you are walking or running. For seniors, it’s no different!
It offers a strong 2.75 CHP motor which makes both walking and jogging smooth and pretty quiet. It’s also very comfortable on your joints, as a 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning system is laid under the track. This track folds upwards with hydraulic assistance after use, so it’s ideal for apartments and condos.
Finally, there are some modern conveniences to keep your ride comfortable, including a built-in cooling fan and a media shelf for your phone, as well as easy-to-use quick controls and built-in LED screens.
Motor: 1.5 CHP
Speed: 0 to 5mph
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: LCD screen, full-length side rails, advanced tread belt cushioning, low step frame, dash markings on tread belt
The Exerpeutic TF2000 is a treadmill designed from the ground up with seniors in mind. From the long side handles to the dash markings on the tread belt, this machine offers a fitness experience that’s tailored specifically to the needs of seniors.
The TF2000’s 1.5 CHP motor runs up to 5mph. More importantly, it can increase by increments of just 0.1mph – perfect for finding your sweet spot without pushing yourself to keep up.
The easy-to-read LCD screen provides everything you need to know to control your workout at a glance, including a countdown to when the belt starts. As we highlight in the complete TF2000 review, the belt deck features 10 built-in cushions to reduce stress on your joints.
Motor: 2.0 CHP
Speed: 0 to 10mph
Incline: 0 to 10% (Motorized)
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: ProShox cushioning, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers, media shelf, EKG heartrate monitors, 16 preset workout programs
The ProForm Performance 300i is our top pick in our list of treadmills under $500, and it provides value to seniors as well as more traditional treadmill users. The 300i’s top speed of 10mph is more than enough for the walking and light cardio many seniors favor.
The available motorized incline is an added bonus if you’re looking for a more challenging exercise tool. You can dive into our complete 300i review for a more detailed breakdown.
The treadmill’s advanced ProShox air cushioning is outstanding for a unit in this price range. It’s particularly helpful for seniors with knee or joint problems looking for as safe a fitness option as possible.
Motor: 1.5 CHP
Speed: 0 to 4mph
Incline: 0 to 10mph
Belt: 20” x 40”
Features: LCD statistics readout, extended handlebars, heart rate sensors, hydraulic folding mechanism, minimal setup
The affordable ProGear HCXL 4000 offers seniors a solid treadmill experience focused exclusively on walking and jogging. The motor provides 1.5 CHP of power for a top speed of 4mph.
While the treadmill belt is quite wide (20”), it’s also a bit shorter than many others, so it works best for walkers and light joggers. The center console offers an LCD screen displaying your statistics, while extended handlebars house the speed and power controls, as well as heart rate monitors.
A bonus space-saving feature is that the HCXL 4000 folds up with hydraulics when you’re not using it. This treadmill also comes nearly fully assembled in the box. If you’ve ever spent hours poring over an unclear assembly manual, you know how valuable this feature is!
Motor: 0.75 CHP
Speed: 0.4 to 4mph
Belt: 15” x 45.5”
Features: Extended arm rails, LED display screen with walking speed, foot pads, lightweight construc-tion (66lbs), safety tether
Another solid walking treadmill makes our list with the GYMAX Walking Treadmill. This affordable machine is optimized exclusively for walking and is designed to help seniors stay fit.
This model features steel handlebars that run the full length of the treadmill. These are great for added balance when walking, and prevent you from slipping as you work out. The belt measures in at a roomier 45.5” in length. Seniors of all sizes can walk comfortably on this machine.
This treadmill also features a top speed of 4mph – this is great for brisk walking and light jogging to keep you fit. The LED screen displays your walking time, distance, calorie burn, and other crucial information to help you guide your session.
Motor: 2.2 CHP
Speed: 0 to 9mph
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: Bluetooth connectivity, built-in fitness programs, transportation wheels, hydraulic folding mechanism, heart rate sensors on handlebars, safety tether
Like the Smart Digital Folding model above, the SF-T7603 tilts more towards standard running performance than basic walking. This model’s 2.2 CHP motor can reach up to 9mph! While that’s more than many seniors may ever use, the more powerful motor ensures a quiet, smooth treadmill session.
This treadmill also offers a roomier 16” x 49” running surface, while it’s equipped with cushioning to protect your joints from cumulative stress.
The LCD display shows your speed and other statistics. A series of handy preset speed buttons allows you to set the treadmill to run at 2, 4, or 6 mph with just one click. The nine preset programs are another great way to work on your fitness without needing to concentrate on the details of the specific session.
Incline: Three positions (Manual)
Belt: 16” x 45”
Features: Dual flywheels, 8 levels of magnetic resistance, LCD display, heart rate monitor, smartphone storage, transportation wheels
Unlike the other models on this list, the Fitness Reality TR3000 is a manual treadmill. This means it has no motor, relying instead on the runner to move the belt themselves. In some cases, this can burn more calories than motorized treadmill running. It also saves electricity and prevents you from having to find a space in the wall outlet!
Although this unit isn’t flawless – it can’t go any flatter than a fixed eight-degree incline, after all – the manual treadmill approach works perfectly for many active seniors.
The extended handlebars and simple layout are other great features. The belt deck is quite short, but long enough to jog on. However, you risk injury if you’re tall and you want to sprint.
Unlike runners looking for a fast, intense treadmill workout, seniors often need to keep different priorities in mind. When evaluating what makes a treadmill good for seniors, it’s important to consider factors like speed, belt size and design.
Seniors also tend to place more importance on aspects such as belt cushioning and safety rails than other users.
If you’re a senior looking for a new treadmill – or buying for a senior – but you’re not sure what you need, here are a few basic features to look out for:
Many running treadmills are built to take lots of punishment from avid sprinters. As a result, they tend to be heavy and extremely bulky. This is the exact opposite of what seniors need in a treadmill.
If you plan on walking or jogging on your treadmill, look for a lighter frame that’s a bit more manageable to move around. Wheels are a big plus, since it can often be difficult for seniors to pick up the entire weight of a treadmill.
A folding treadmill can also be convenient if you are trying to save space in a smaller home or apartment. If it does fold, look for a lightweight design or something with hydraulic assistance to make the process of folding and unfolding easier.
Remember that ‘light’ doesn’t have to mean ‘flimsy’ – many treadmills today use durable steel frames yet still weigh under 100lbs. These are optimal for seniors.
Extended side rails are another important design component for seniors. Standard treadmills often feature short handlebars that won’t help you in the event of a slip and can’t provide balance even when you walk normally.
If you’re worried about slipping or falling on your treadmill and want to prevent accidents, look for models that include extended side rails. Many treadmills built specifically for seniors feature handlebars that run the entire length of the tread belt.
For seniors using their treadmills for walking and brisk jogging, a strong motor isn’t crucial. Unlike the motors found on treadmills designed for running, which often reach 3.5 or 4 CHP, a motor sitting anywhere between 1 and 2 CHP will suffice for a walking treadmill.
The noise level is the key thing to watch out for here. Underpowered motors tend to be noisier and can make for an annoying workout. While you may not see a noticeable top speed increase, buying a unit with a stronger motor can alleviate any noise issues.
For many seniors, 4mph will be a big enough top speed. This offers plenty of different walking speeds and can move fast enough for jogging. If you want to go faster on your treadmill, look for a unit with a more powerful motor. Anything between 2 and 3 CHP should be able to reach 7 mph, which is plenty of speed for runners.
Beyond the design and power, belt cushioning is probably the most important feature to consider for seniors looking to purchase a treadmill. Proper cushioning is essential to protect your joints and prevent swelling and stress injuries.
Seniors are especially susceptible to the effects of walking without cushioning – the harder surface is far less forgiving and can break down your joints and bones over time.
The amount of belt cushioning included on each treadmill varies depending on your budget. Higher-end models often feature air cushioning systems, while less expensive treadmills offer less support. Trying out any treadmill before you purchase it can help you evaluate the cushioning firsthand.
Walkers and joggers don’t need to worry as much about belt size on their treadmill, but, depending on your height, it can still be an important factor to consider.
Walking treadmills generally offer belts ranging from 40” to 50” in length. Belts shorter than 40” prevent many users from striding normally for fear of slipping off the treadmill. If you’re over six feet tall or take long strides, look for a model with a belt at least 45” long.
Belt width is another important consideration. While this is more a matter of personal preference, some people may feel cramped or squished on narrower surfaces. Most tread belts fall between 15” and 20” wide; these sizes are all perfectly suitable for walking. Many seniors may even prefer the narrower belts because they provide easier access to side rails and handlebars.
Safety features are a crucial part of any treadmill for seniors. Make sure any treadmill you consider comes equipped with an easily-accessible stop button and safety tether at the very least.
These features may seem minor, but they’re incredibly helpful if you fall while walking or begin to slip off the treadmill.
With the safety tether attached to your clothing, the belt will automatically stop if you fall down or can’t keep up with the pace. This can prevent the belt from injuring you or throwing you off the back of the machine.
Certain models also include additional safety features, like the dashed tread belt found on the Exerpeutic TF2000. While these aren’t strictly necessary, they can be helpful for seniors who like the visual reminder of how fast the tread belt is moving at any given time.
Though the components listed above are the most important things to emphasize when searching for a new treadmill, secondary features can separate one model from the rest of the pack. LCD screens, heart rate sensors and more are all common features in senior treadmills.
An LCD console can be used to control the treadmill and display running statistics. These screens are simpler than the touchscreens found on many high-end treadmills, but they provide all of the essential information you could ask for.
Certain treadmills feature heart rate sensors embedded into the side rails. These can be used to more accurately measure your exertion levels – the data runs from the rails up to the central console.
While it’s not an essential feature, heart rate monitoring can be very helpful for planning your workouts and monitoring your stress.
When you’re done with your walk, chances are you’ll want to move the treadmill somewhere out of the way. Some models here offer wheels to roll on, while others fold up in their place with hydraulic lifts. Either way, these extras are crucial if you plan on moving your machine around.
Many seniors question the logic of walking on a treadmill rather than in the outside world. Why spend money on a heavy, expensive machine when you can just walk outside of the house for free?
Though the comparison might seem accurate at first, the true strengths of treadmill walking lie in the details. Natural exercise can fulfill many of the functions of a treadmill, but an indoor device will simply best classic walking in certain key areas.
For example, treadmills provide much more joint cushioning than hard road surfaces. This is particularly important for seniors, whose bones and cartilage have already tolerated years of wear and tear.
Walking on a cushioned treadmill belt can help stop that damage from accruing, while walking on hard road surfaces can only accelerate it.
In a similar vein, treadmills offer much more advanced safety features to protect seniors while walking. The extended guard rails and safety tethers found on treadmills are designed to prevent fall accidents and keep seniors on their feet.
Outside, in contrast, it is easy to trip over a raised edge of the pavement and not have any way to break your fall. While these accidents may be relatively rare, treadmills can prevent serious injury.
However fast you choose to walk on a treadmill is up to you. You should aim to push yourself, or else you’ll never improve your fitness and overall health. However, don’t just turn your treadmill up as fast as it can go and hope for the best!
The best speed to walk at is a speed where you’re out of your comfort zone, but not so fast that you’re struggling to keep up with the treadmill.
The ideal pace also depends on your workout time – it’s easier to move at a brisker speed if you’re only planning on a 20-minute walk rather than an hourlong session, for example.
If you’re not sure of the right speed, start at the slowest speeds and slowly work your way up to your full capabilities. There’s no shame in holding yourself at a speed lower than your max – you can still build up your endurance and cardio fitness without constantly moving at your top speed.
People have been debating whether or not treadmills are bad for your joints for nearly as long as treadmills have been around. And like many tough questions, the answer to this one isn’t a simple yes or no.
Each individual treadmill has a different impact on your joints. While most treadmills offer some form of cushioning – more than you’ll get by walking outdoors on concrete – the specific amount of cushioning can vary widely between different models.
In general, treadmills with more cushioning will be better for your joints, while treadmills without it have more potential to cause harm. The amount and quality of cushioning increases as you move up in price; you’ll find more effective cushioning systems on high-end treadmills than you will on budget ones.
The effects of treadmill walking on your joints also depend on how you use your treadmill. Lower-impact users can worry less about joint problems from their treadmill. If, like most seniors, you prefer to walk or jog, you won’t need as much cushioning.
Joint health only becomes a serious concern if you spend hours each day on the treadmill or if you’re running at high speeds on a treadmill with subpar cushioning.
Your ideal price range for a new treadmill depends on a few key factors. Many seniors can actually find a treadmill that fits their needs for a lower price than intense sprinters or long-distance runners.
If you plan to mostly walk on your treadmill, a model designed specifically for walking will provide all the performance you need at a lower price than a running treadmill. Walking treadmills run on less powerful motors – this keeps the cost down, yet still provides more than enough top speed for relaxed users.
Quality walking treadmills can be found for under $1,000 and even less in some cases. Walking treadmills also include features designed for seniors, like extended side rails.
However, these often provide fewer amenities than higher-end treadmills. If a touchscreen is important to you, or if you’d love to play music while you walk on your treadmill, it may be best to look for a model in the under-$1,500 range.
Of course, setting up the treadmill in a room with a TV may override the need for a high-tech console. Determining your essential ‘needs’ and separating them from your ‘wants’ can help you narrow down a tighter price range.
After a thorough review of the best treadmills on the market for seniors, we chose the Horizon Fitness T202 as our top pick. The powerful motor, useful features and affordable price made it a worthwhile winner.
However, there’s plenty of choice to be had in this category, whatever your budget. Any one of the treadmills featured here will deliver a great walking experience with key safety upgrades to make the treadmill better for seniors.
Remember our guidelines when looking for a new treadmill and you’ll end up with a model that can cover all of your fitness needs without skimping on safety or amenities!