Which Treadmills Have The Best Cushioning?
By Simon Gould
The great thing about treadmills compared to exercising outside. They have a lovely, comfortable and spongy, cushioned deck. Typical injuries you may get running outside you don't get on a treadmill. They are far kinder on your joints especially the knees. Here I've gone through the best treadmills for cushioning and organized them by price.
A quick word about cushioning in treadmills
Generally, the more expensive the treadmill, the better the cushioning. The more advanced technology is in the deck. Some models have many cells along the belt and deck which offer superior shock absorption and suspension. The money goes into the features as well as the deck in the treadmill and you'll feel it when you use it.
As well as the cost, modern treadmills tend to have better cushioning. The research and development will have been used to offer a better product and this counts in the deck too. Some treadmills from the same make may cost the same but you're better off choosing the latest model. As this will have newer technology and the cushioning will be better as a result.
Best cushioned treadmill under $1,000
This is the best treadmill under a thousand. You can get cheaper treadmills but I wouldn't recommend any. If you want one with good statistics and will last then this is the cheapest I would go for. Cheaper treadmills have shorter warranties and have cut corners in order to make the item reach a lower cost. However, I've reviewed my favorite at under a thousand here:
Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill* - Price: $999
The 7.0 AT is part of the studio series of treadmills by Horizon and are part of their new range. You're getting a very recent treadmill for the money and a sturdy one too. It has a large weight capacity of 325 lbs so it can take a large person and the deck surface is large and wide. You'll be able to exercise with confidence when you get on the 7.0 AT.
- Motor Power: 3.0 CHP
- Folding: Yes
- Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
- Cushioning: 3 Zone Variable Response
The deck has Horizon's own technology for the cushioning and is based on how the walker or runner lands and pushes off as they stride. The first zone is at the front and is designed to give you a soft landing. You then enter the second zone where you move to the back of the treadmill. This is a transition where your foot stays on the deck.
The third zone at the back is designed to help you push off as you take another stride. The response from the deck varies depending which part you're on. It's all very clever and only Horizon Fitness has this. Treadmills are far kinder than exercising outside and this is the case with this 7.0 AT. It has free shipping and a warranty you can depend upon.
What will appeal especially is the workout apps. One I want to mention is called Zwift and is free. This has you exercising on a choice of hundreds of different courses with other people around the world. It's connected via Bluetooth and takes this treadmill to the next level. You'll enjoy your exercise routines again thanks to this popular new technology.
Best cushioned treadmill under $1,500
At this price you're looking at a far better treadmill. Some have touchscreens and these are advanced technology which are now just coming down in price. Good makers of treadmills all have a range for a price of around $1,500 and I've chosen ones that has good cushioning and all round good features.
Nordictrack T Series Treadmills* - Price: $1,499
The whole T series by Nordictrack are excellent and the range deserves recognition. There are 4 treadmills in this series and they differ in price. Normally it's the screen which is bigger as you go up in model. The price goes up too but they are very well worth investigating and are popular for very good reasons.
- Motor Power: 3.0+ CHP
- Folding: Yes
- Weight Capacity: 300+ lbs
- Cushioning: FlexSelect
The cushioning is better once you reach the number 7 in the series. The picture shows there are 3 cells within the deck whereas the lowest model has 2. Nordictrack are well known for their absorbent and easy to use decks and that's why I've featured them in this list. FlexSelect is Nordictrack's own technology and found no where else.
The features on Nordictrack treadmills are exceptional, this is especially the case with the motors. They are very powerful and the price still remains reasonable. They have a lot of treadmills for sale but the ones I've featured I think are the best of the bunch. They are great for in home workouts and that's what they're made for.
Best cushioned treadmill under $2,000
If and when I need a new treadmill, this is the one I would go for. I believe you pay for what you get and this is what I would spend my money on. They represent a good investment and can last years if looked after. The one I've gone for here is by a fantastic make and is under $2,000. You will do well to consider this machine.
Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill* - Price: $1,899
I like Bowflex, they update their equipment regularly so you always know you're getting the latest technology. The BXT216 is their best yet and a mammoth machine. It has a maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs which is the biggest you'll find. The motor too is very powerful at 4.0 CHP giving you more than you need.
- Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
- Folding: Yes
- Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
- Cushioning: 5 Cell Comfort Tech
The cushioning is especially good and why I've featured it here. The model below has 3 cells in the deck, this one has 5. You can see them in the picture on the side of the treadmill. These are designed to absorb the shock along the entire deck and enable you to push off for a comfortable exercise experience. That's exactly what you'll feel.
As well as being bouncy, the deck is long and wide too. If you have long strides or are not confident on a smaller surface you can relax here. I like the warranty which is 2 years of labor and 15 years on the frame and drive motor. Bowflex clearly have faith in the build quality of it's parts and components. Overall the BXT216 is an impressive treadmill.
Best cushioned treadmill over $2,000
At present I don't think you need to spend over $2,000 to get a good treadmill for the home with good cushioning. But if you have the money then there are many treadmills that are over this amount. Some run into the many thousands by companies like Technogym. But I've chosen one that could still be within your budget and is a good treadmill in it's own right.
Sole TT8 Treadmill - Price: $2,499
Sole have stuck with the same selection of treadmills for many years. They've upgraded their features regularly when new technology allows. Their foldable models below this one are very popular and fit in the right price range. This is non folding and a bit expensive for some. The deck is large and wide and is copied by many treadmill manufacturers but Sole was the first.
- Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
- Folding: No
- Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
- Cushioning: Flex Whisper Deck
Sole says the special cushioning reduces joint strain and impact issues by 40%. That's a big claim and I think many treadmills have the same benefits. They are so much kinder than running outside. The Sole TT8 deck has been specially designed to give you the ease of exercising because it's soft. You get a good workout with the TT8.
Sole treadmills don't have fancy features like touchscreens and studio sessions. They stay simple and elegant with machines that will get your whole family fit and healthy. There's free shipping and even a money back guarantee where they'll pay the return shipping. Sole are very confident in their treadmills and the benefits show this.
Cushioning is a great feature to think about but don't make all your decisions on that alone. While some treadmills have better deck technology than others, they all make exercise easier on your limbs. The treadmills I've featured here are all worth the money, I've only shown the ones that I think are worth buying and that includes the cushioning technology.
I can understand if you're elderly, recently injured or overweight then cushioning is an important consideration. Don't forget to also consider the weight capacity, if it's high then the treadmill is strong and sturdy. I always like to look at that and the warranty. You want a treadmill to last and they are signs that it will.
Treadmills are so much easier on the joints and I know that from experience. When I run outside I start to get injuries because I'm in my 40's, I just don't get that on my treadmill. I can exercise for longer and at a better intensity. Whether you exercise to lose weight, the health benefits or just to feel good, a treadmill is a great choice and you'll do well with one here.