Monday, December 11, 2017

Running outside is a grand way to spend your time, but it comes with downsides. In the UK, those downsides are often related to the rain, and come October you’ll also be faced with six months of running in the dark if you can’t get out in the morning or at lunchtime.

Some people retreat to their local gym when conditions outside are unfavourable, but if your only sport is running, then buying your own treadmill can be a sensible choice – especially when you consider how pricy gyms can be nowadays.

There is a huge variety of consumer treadmills to consider, at a range of prices that stretch from £200 up to, well, pretty much any number you can think of. To keep things reasonable, we’re not going to go above £3,000 in this round-up.

Here are the best budget, mid-range and high-end treadmills for 2017.

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The Best Budget Treadmills (Under £500)

Naturally there are going to be limitations to treadmills that cost less than £500. Generally this will be a low top speed and a short track length, making budget treadmills best suited to walkers and joggers, rather than serious runners. Shop around to find a good warranty at this price point, because build quality can be lacking.

Confidence GTR Power Pro Motorised Treadmill

Coming in under £200 this is the best option for those on a very tight budget. The speed range peaks at 12km/h, and even then the weak motor might struggle if you stay at this speed for too long, and there are only three incline settings which you have to set manually (as in, get off and do it yourself). However, it is motorised, which is better than a self-powered machine. If you’re just looking for a machine to walk or run very slowly on, this will do the job. £199, buy on amazon.co.uk

JLL S300 Digital Folding Treadmill

This treadmill packs in an excellent array of features, including 20 levels of incline and a speed range that goes up to 16km/h. It also has 15 running programmes built in and a heart rate sensor in the handles. The catch is a short track length, which means taller runners might find their stride hampered at higher speeds. On the plus side the short track and folding design means this treadmill will fit in almost any home. £382.99, buy on amazon.co.uk

York Fitness Active 120 Treadmill

Another solid budget option, the York Fitness Active 120 has an incline range of 1-12% and a top speed of 16km/h. It’s robust and secure when you’re running on it, but folds up neatly to save space. There are 13 built-in workout programmes and a clear console that displays your running stats. Once again a short and slim track might hamper long-legged users, but beginner runners will get on fine. £450.48, buy on amazon.co.uk

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The Best Mid-Range Treadmills (£500-£1,500)

This is the sweet spot for most home treadmill users – you can pick up some excellent machines around the £1,000 mark. Expect a wider range of speeds, inclines and workout programmes than with budget options, as well as larger running tracks and bigger motors so the machine will run smoothly and quietly at higher speeds.

JTX Sprint-7

If your max budget for a home treadmill is £1,000, this excellent machine is almost certainly going to be your best bet. The speed range is equivalent to commercial machines, running at up to 20km/h, and the incline goes up to 15%. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles you get on more expensive treadmills, like Bluetooth connectivity, but the Sprint-7 will serve all your running needs very well. £899, buy on jtxfitness.com, check price on amazon.co.uk

NordicTrack T10.0 Folding Treadmill

One killer feature on this treadmill is the ability to adjust the level of cushioning on the track, so you can soften it if you’re worried about the impact on your joints, or make it firmer to mimic the feel of the road. There’s also a tablet holder to help stave off boredom and a 7in (178mm) display to show all your running stats. The incline range runs up to 12%, while the speed tops out at 22km/h. £1,119, buy on nordictrack.co.uk

The Best High-End Treadmills (£1,500 and up)

We’re now firmly in the category of commercial-standard trainers that wouldn’t look out of place in your local gym. That means even more options in incline, connectivity and workout programmes, as well as larger tracks and sturdier builds designed to handle multiple uses every day.

NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer

If you are an incline obsessive looking to train for the hellish climbs common in fell and trail running, you will probably need to buy a specialised treadmill, since even very expensive standard options won’t hit the steep gradients you’re looking for. This incline trainer from NordicTrack not only goes up to an eye-watering 40%, it also has downhill options down to -6% so you can practise those too. The speed goes up to 20km/h, not that you’ll need it at a 40% gradient. £1,999, buy on nordictrack.co.uk

Life Fitness T3 Track Console

There are two console options on the Life Fitness T3: Track or Go. The former offers greater connectivity, which allows you to download workouts and link with apps like Apple Health. It’s £200 more than the Go console, which also offers plenty of built-in workouts. The T3 is silky smooth at any speed, and LifeFitness claim the FlexDeck surface is 30% easier on your joints than other treadmills. The T3 has room for four profiles on the console and it remembers your preferred running speeds so you can get straight into your run at the click of a button. £2,295, buy on johnlewis.com

MYRUN Technogym Treadmill

This treadmill doesn’t just want you to run, it wants you to improve with a series of personalised training programmes and the RUNNING RATE feature that encourages you to maintain your speed while taking more steps, increasing your efficiency. Using the MYRUN App, it will also pick music with a beat that matches your step rate, start up automatically when you step on the track (watch out for this first time out) and reproduce your favourite outdoor runs once you’ve recorded them with the app. As a nice bonus, it’s one of the smartest-looking machines on the market too. £2,649.55, buy on johnlewis.com