Looking for the best home treadmill for running? If you’re going to be running on your treadmill, you need a bit more in terms of construction quality, cushioning and belt size than if you’re just walking.
Running adds extra wear and tear on your treadmill – so you need a machine that is built for it (and won’t break down on you after the first month).
With that in mind here are 5 must-have features you’ll need to look for when shopping for a runner-friendly treadmill.
At the end of the list, I’ve also included 3 suggested picks for some of the best runner-friendly treadmills this year.
5 Must-Have Features in the Best Home Treadmill For Running:
#1 Extra Long Belt
You’ll need extra room to move on your treadmill if you’ll be running. That’s why you want to look for a belt that’s at least 60 inches long or more.
You don’t want to feel like you’re about to fall off the edge of your treadmill belt when you start to pick up the pace.
#2 Excellent Cushioning
Cushioning helps to absorb the force of impact on your knees, hips, ankles and back. Since running can be a very high-impact exercise, you need to counter this with a great cushioning system.
Most starter treadmills (under $1000) unfortunately don’t have optimal cushioning for runners. But when you get into mid-grade to “commercial-type” units, they usually have strong cushioning.
Some good brands in this area include Nordictrack, Sole and Precor.
#3 High-Powered Motor
Again, you’re working your treadmill harder than if you’re just walking on it. And you’ll be running it at higher speeds.
So you want a motor that can handle without struggling to keep up. Look for a motor size of at least 3.0 HP or higher.
#4 Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring
If you want to monitor your heart rate, you’ll really want a treadmill that can work with a wireless heart rate chest strap.
This is for two reasons. First of all, wireless belts tend to be much more accurate.
Secondly, it’s very hard to run when you’re continually grasping the EKG heart rate sensors at the front of the console. The wireless belt is “hands-off” and much more convenient.
#5 Tracking Tools and Toys
Most runners want to be able to track their progress – and continually challenge themselves to go to the next level.
For this reason, it’s always handy if the treadmill has some way to track and log your results (i.e. with an online program or app).
Also, some treadmills now come with everything from iPod docks (so you can run to your favorite tunes) to web browsers to built-in TVs. These can help make your running time a lot more enjoyable – especially over long workouts.
So those are 5 features to look for when choosing the best home treadmill for running.
Need some suggestions? Here are 3 of what I consider to be the best runners treadmills on the market this year:
#1 Nordictrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill
This is a mid-range runner-friendly treadmill that gives you a super-strong 3.8 HP motor, extra-long 60 inch belt and high-end cushioning (with a free wireless heart rate monitor).
The cushioning on this treadmill is even adjustable – so you can adjust the deck to the firmness that you like. Plus you get up to 15% incline and even 3% decline – which is great for crosstraining.
And the 1750 also come with iFit LIVE – which connects your treadmill to the Internet. You can sync and track your workouts to see how far you’ve come. You can even map out new trails using Googlemaps and watch actual landmarks pass you by in the console as you run.
This is a great runners treadmill that comes in under $1600 – so it’s both affordable and has some amazing features you don’t find elsewhere.
#2 Proform Pro 9000
This is a new 2015 treadmill from Proform. Their “Pro” series is built with higher grade components than their starter models.
The Pro 9000 costs a bit more than the 1750 above (around $1800), but you get a very strong 4.25 HP motor and extra long 60 inch belt.
Plus it has a full-color web browser to surf the net as you run. And the integrated tablet holder also adds some fun to your workouts.
#3 Sole F85
Sole treadmills are not as well known as Proform or Nordictrack. But they do offer excellent cushioning and a strong, stable base.
The F85 runs from $1800-$2000 depending on where you buy it. It gives you a strong 4.0 HP motor with 60 inch running belt.
While it doesn’t have the full-color console of the 2 models above (it’s only dual color), the console is backlit and easy to read. There’s also an iPod dock with speakers on the console to add some music to your workouts.
So those are 3 runner-friendly treadmills that will hold up well under harder, more intense workouts.
No matter what you decide, just keep the 5 features above in mind when you go shopping. That will make it much easier to find the best home treadmill for running for your home gym!