We made a few tweaks to our chart of the best walking treadmills, bringing it up to date for 2021!
Two new models were added to the list, including the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7857 and the super-compact WalkingPad R1 Pro.
Many people think of treadmills as machines exclusively for runners looking for high-intensity training sessions. However, the best treadmills can be an excellent exercise tool no matter what level of fitness you’re at.
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The machines featured on this page are some of the best treadmills for walking. Because all of the options on this list are designed with walkers in mind, they’re perfect choices for anyone looking to get back into fit-ness or just up their day-to-day step count at home.
Let’s take a closer look at each model to compare their strengths and drawbacks. Further on, we’ll explain what you should look for when buying a walking treadmill and answer some common questions many prospective buyers have.
Motor: 2.75 CHP
Speed: 0 to 12 mph
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
The T202 sits between the T101 and T303 in the Horizon Fitness treadmill catalog, and offers walkers the right blend of performance, features and value. This one excels as a walking treadmill, although has the power and track to cater for so much more.
The 2.75 CHP motor keeps the motion smooth and performance quiet, while you can crank up the incline to 12% to mimic hill walking. The T202 features an easy hydraulic folding system so you can regain some floorspace after your session.
Meanwhile, walking has never been more comfortable with so many convenient features. This includes a media shelf for your smart device, with built-in Bluetooth speakers, a USB charging port and a cooling fan to keep you comfortable. A solid choice!
Motor: 2.5 HP
Speed: 0.6 to 5mph
Belt: 19.5” x 44”
Features: Low-profile shock-absorbing deck, extended padded handlebars, simple control console, LED readouts, floor stabilizers, transportation wheels, 295lb weight capacity
Sunny Health & Fitness knows how to make a good treadmill and with the SF-T7857 the brand puts full focus into walking. This affordable treadmill is popular with walkers, rehabbers and seniors thanks to its safety and speed features.
Starting with speed, it maxes out at 5mph – more than enough for a brisk walk. Under the hood there’s a 2.5 HP motor, which delivers this speed smoothly and quietly. As for safety, you will find support from the padded handlebars that run the entire length of the treadmill, while a safety key will stop the motor in emergencies.
The shock-absorbing deck makes walking a comfortable experience, no matter how far you are going. You can keep up to speed on your progress via the basic but readable LED screens on the central console.
Motor: 2.25 HP
Speed: 0 to 10mph
Incline: Two positions (Manual)
Belt: 16” x 50”
Features: Backlit display screen, thumb heartrate monitor, iFit compatible, six preset programs, storage space, media shelf
NordicTrack is one of the most trusted high-end treadmill manufacturers in the world – so it’s no wonder that their budget T Series 6.5S model was the top value pick in our list of treadmills under $1,000!
This affordable treadmill is an outstanding option for walkers, with a strong performance and plen-ty of high-end amenities for an inexpensive price. A 2.6 CHP motor moves this machine up to 10mph – more than enough for walkers, offering good room for your development.
The motorized incline of up to 10% adds another degree of challenge to your walking. As for fea-tures, the center console sports a 5” backlit LED screen, while hydraulic lift assist makes it easy to fold the treadmill after you finish your walk.
Speed: 0 to 6.2mph
Belt: 17” x 47”
Features: Compact design, aluminum alloy frame, EVA cushioning, anti-slip running belt, telescopic handrail, LED monitor, remote control, 242lb weight capacity
In the past, reaching your step target indoors meant accepting that you need to share your living room, bedroom or office with a full-size treadmill. Thankfully those days are behind us, with the WalkingPad R1 Pro proving a good illustration of a new breed of foldable walking treadmills.
This popular model folds to a tiny footprint (38” x 28” x 6”) that allows you to store it anywhere. You can even throw it in the trunk of your car! When unfolded, the walking experience is pretty good, with a cushioned 17” x 47” belt giving you enough space and telescopic handles providing extra support.
In terms of speed, you can reach up to 6.2mph, which will also cater for joggers, although this sleek treadmill is at its best at slower speeds.
Incline: Slight fixed incline
Belt: 13” x 42”
Features: Manual flywheel system, LCD display with running statistics, transportation wheels, light-weight frame
This Manual Walking Treadmill from Sunny Health and Fitness is a compact motor-free option that comes in at a low price. Unlike the rest of our picks, this treadmill runs without any power – you have to put in all of the effort yourself. This translates to increased calorie burn when compared to a motorized treadmill.
While there’s technically no top speed, the treadmill’s walking belt measures just 13” wide by 42” long. That’s small for many walking strides, let alone jogging or running. There’s no feature-rich console either, just a small LCD display showing standard running statistics.
However, if you need a compact and lightweight treadmill for walking, it’s a great option. It can even fold up, while deck wheels make transportation and storage simple.
If you’re in the market for a walking treadmill, you’ll need a different set of features than many running-focused treadmills provide. With so many different choices, it can be hard to narrow down the list of options!
No matter what your specific goals or budget, these are some of the most important criteria with which you can evaluate walking treadmills.
Pay attention to these key factors to make a purchase you won’t regret:
Walking treadmills – more so than treadmills for running – come in a wide variety of sizes and designs.
Are you looking for a treadmill to walk on in your home, or one that you can use while at work? Do you need a large, sturdy frame for balance, or do you prefer a sleeker machine? Your answers to these questions will help you select the best option for you.
If you’re looking for a treadmill to use in the office, consider one of the flat ‘frameless’ models, designed to slide underneath a desk. These treadmills allow you to integrate walking into your work routine without rearranging or changing your desk altogether.
However, flat treadmills offer little to no added stability while you’re using them. If you’re just get-ting back into a regular exercise routine, you may need a bit of extra balance support over the course of long walking sessions.
In these cases, a treadmill with a sturdier frame and extended handrails can help you progress.
Like treadmills built for seniors, walking treadmills aren’t overly dependent on the power of their motors; most models offer engines within the same narrow range of power anyway. You’ll find the vast majority of walking treadmills utilize a motor between 1.0 and 1.5 CHP – and this is usually enough.
This nearly always translates to a top speed between 3.5 and 5mph. These top speeds are well within walking range, and they’re perfect for pushing yourself a bit without overexerting.
If you need a treadmill that can also accommodate jogging, look for a top speed in the range of 6.5 to 8mph. This provides plenty of power for more strenuous activity; the extra headroom is also appropriate if you’re looking to work your way up to the extra speed.
Noise is another factor largely controlled by the motor. More powerful motors tend to run much more quietly than their weaker cousins.
The lower speeds of walking treadmills help to compensate somewhat for that noise, but if you prioritize a silent treadmill you should look for models that feature motors with 1.5 CHP of power or more.
Walking treadmills vary widely in terms of belt size. Most treadmills fall somewhere between 15” and 18” wide, with the majority ranging from 45” to 55” long.
If you’re familiar with running treadmills, you might notice that these measurements are much smaller than what you’d find on those machines. Because walkers need less space than runners, walking treadmills can afford to use smaller, more compact belts.
When searching for a walking treadmill, it can be hard to figure out the minimum length and width that you need. While some of this is personal preference, buying a treadmill with a tiny belt can cramp your stride and prevent you from walking naturally as you use it.
If you’re under 6ft tall, you should be able to use the vast majority of walking treadmills without any problems. If you’re taller, make sure you consider a few different models before pulling the trigger.
Depending on your budget, you’ll find that many walking treadmills offer vastly different consoles and entertainment features. When you shop for a new treadmill, you’ll need to evaluate whether or not these features are important to have on your machine.
Less expensive walking treadmills often feature an LCD screen that displays your walking statistics – speed, distance, time and calories burned are standard.
Very low-budget treadmills may only display the current belt speed. If you’re interested in tracking your workout performance and setting exercise goals, it’s a good idea to purchase a treadmill that shows a few more stats.
Entertainment consoles are a rare find on treadmills designed exclusively for walking. So, if you prioritize a treadmill with a built-in console and speakers, you’ll probably need to look in the under-$1,500 price range. The advanced entertainment options on these units are a great way to make a dull walk more enjoyable.
You should also note that most treadmills with advanced entertainment are optimized for running in addition to walking. This may be an advantage if you’re looking for a treadmill that offers you room to grow, but if you just need a walking treadmill for now, these larger running units may not be cost-effective.
Rather than purchasing a treadmill with entertainment built in, some walkers prefer to set the ma-chine up near a TV or other speakers.
This strategy can be a good compromise if you’d like more entertainment than you generally find on walking treadmills, but don’t have the budget for a higher-end model.
When you’re searching for a walking treadmill, you’ll inevitably realize that some features take top priority over others. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the other aspects of each model entirely.
While these secondary features may not get top billing when you’re looking for a new treadmill, you should certainly take them into consideration as you narrow down your list of options.
For example, you probably won’t start out using incline and decline settings on any treadmill you buy. But having these options available is ideal for when you have a bit more walking experience under your belt and want a little extra challenge.
Adding an incline portion into your walk shortens your stride and exercises different muscles than walking on a flat treadmill does. Plus, while it’s more difficult than walking on flat ground, incline walking is still much easier than running!
We have already discussed console and entertainment options, but what if you’re looking for more engaging exercise content while you walk? Certain treadmills on our list come with a sub-scription to iFit included in their price.
iFit and services like it allow you to access a vast library of workout programs, ranging from walking to running (if you’re eventually looking for an extra challenge). If some of your friends have iFit-equipped treadmills, you can also compare your exercise routines with them – a little friendly competition never hurt a fitness goal!
While it’s not flawless software, many users love iFit because it helps motivate them to exercise and shakes up the monotony of a daily walking routine.
Finally, be aware that treadmills take up a significant amount of space. If your living room is already crowded enough, you’ll want to look at a treadmill that can fold up and roll away.
Many different models are built on wheels for easy transportation. Certain treadmills on our list also fold up entirely, allowing you to reclaim your precious floor area whenever you’re not walking.
The debate between manual and electric treadmills is complex, and there’s no simple yes or no answer. The best way to determine which one is better for you is to look at the details.
One of the oft-touted benefits of manual treadmills is their extra calorie-burning potential. Proponents of manual treadmills often say that you can burn up to 30% more calories by walking on a manual treadmill than you would by walking for the same time on an electric machine.
This is because the motor in electric treadmills moves the tread belt for you, making it easier to sustain your pace with less effort. Manual treadmills, on the other hand, require you to move the belt by walking without any motorized assistance.
Depending on your goals, this can be a good or a bad thing. Manual treadmills are certainly a great pick for the more serious walker; since they don’t have a top speed (they can go as fast as you can push them), they offer more room to grow than motorized treadmills designed exclusively for walking.
On the other hand, electric treadmills provide a more user-friendly experience if you’re look-ing to ease yourself back into an exercise routine. With the aid of a motor, you can slowly build your way up to longer sessions without tiring out too quickly.
In addition, while motorized treadmills have top speeds, many also offer motorized incline set-tings. You can use these to make your workout a bit more intense down the line rather than just running faster.
One of the most popular new types of walking treadmills is the under-desk treadmill. These machines lie completely flat and allow you to get in a walking session while you work. Some people swear by them, while others prefer a more traditional setup. To get the full picture, it’s best to look at the pros and cons.
If you’re always on the run and struggle to find time to walk on a regular treadmill, an under-desk model might be just what you need. Walking at your desk allows you to get your exercise in without having to carve any extra time out of your day.
You also have the flexibility to walk for shorter, more intense sessions or spread your walking out over a longer period so you never feel tired yet reap the same rewards.
Under-desk treadmills also take up much less space than regular treadmills because of their sleek design. Whether you work at home or in a corporate office, an under-desk treadmill is an easy way to find space for a treadmill without sacrificing your living room area.
However, walking on a treadmill throughout the course of the day has the potential to disrupt your workflow. If you prefer to sit down, or struggle to concentrate when walking, it might be wise to opt for a more traditional treadmill design instead.
Depending on your office setup, it may also be difficult to convert your current desk into a standing desk. Flat treadmills are generally less expensive than their traditional counterparts, but if you have to buy a new convertible desk to work while standing, the cost benefits become a lot less appealing.
Incline walking is one of the great advantages of treadmills. Incline walking makes it easy to burn a few more calories without pushing yourself for longer or faster sessions.
Whether or not you should start out walking on an incline depends on your fitness level. If you’ve taken a break from regular exercise, or if you don’t have prior history with treadmills, you should hold off on incline walking until you have a bit more experience under your belt.
However, if you want a treadmill that offers you room to grow as you become fitter, you should look for a model with incline settings.
Once you’ve been walking on flat ground and can handle longer sessions, add in a bit of incline to work different muscles and amp up your calorie burn. Incline walking can deliver additional ben-efits without forcing you into flat-out running.
Before you make a firm decision on incline walking, you should know that incline is only really a feature on slightly more expensive treadmills. If you’re sticking to a tight budget for now, you most likely won’t find a treadmill that can handle incline.
Some models feature manual incline settings, which mean that you have to adjust the tread belt to your desired incline setting each time you walk. While this is much more of a hassle than a motorized incline machine, it’s also much cheaper.
Thankfully for walkers, it’s easier to find a good walking treadmill on a tight budget than it is a running treadmill.
That’s because walking treadmills can use less powerful motors and smaller belts than running treadmills. Plus, because you’re not putting as much force into the treadmill, manufacturers don’t need to use as heavy a frame or build in as much belt cushioning.
You should have no problem finding a high-quality walking treadmill for less than $1,000. Frameless treadmills you can put underneath your desk may cost even less.
If you’re content to purchase a treadmill solely for walking, any models much more expensive than $1,000 will offer only increased amenities and not significant boosts to walking performance.
If features like a touchscreen, internet access or onboard speakers are important to you, you should take a look at treadmills that cost under $1,500. However, remember that you can just as easily place a treadmill without these bells and whistles in a room that has a TV.
Many walkers anticipate eventually making the jump to jogging or running and prefer to pur-chase a treadmill that has some added capabilities from the start. Rather than buying a second running treadmill once you improve, it’s more cost-efficient to buy a running treadmill now and walk on it until you feel comfortable to increase the speeds.
Some examples of running treadmills that are great for walking show up on the chart above. You can also find a high-quality do-it-all treadmill in the under-$1,500 range, though you may find more amenities or higher top speeds by looking in the sub-$2,000 range.
Before you make the leap and buy a running treadmill to walk on now in the hope that you’ll run later, make sure you’re committed to treadmill exercise!
Ultimately a cheaper under-desk treadmill can be a smart buy if you’ve never walked on a treadmill before and don’t know how you’ll like it. There’s nothing worse than taking a big plunge only to end up with an unwieldy, heavy coat rack dominating your living room.
After comparing all of our different picks, we selected the Horizon Fitness T202 as our top walking treadmill. Its sturdy frame, powerful motor and midrange price tag make it a viable option for walkers of all abilities, and will have you well on your way to your 10,000-plus daily steps. The extra features were another big plus!
With that being said, the models listed here offer a wide range of different features that appeal to different walking styles. Whether you’re just looking to walk at work or want a treadmill that can grow with you as you get back into regular exercise, these picks are your best bet.
When you shop, compare multiple options to determine which one makes the most sense for you. Try them out if you can, and make sure to always keep our advice on features to look for in mind.