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Update: We updated this article in July 2020 with a new selection of heavy-duty treadmills.
Purchasing a treadmill might just be one of the best decisions that you ever make. Sure, there is something special about running outside, but there are many benefits to running inside too. If the weather does not suit you, you can still run. If you need to stop, you are already home. If you have a small child who needs to be supervised, you can run while doing so. There are many benefits to a treadmill, and your improved health will always be number one.
There are many things to think about when you are buying a treadmill and, if your size matches your larger than life personality, then you need to think about some additional features. Heavier people need more durable and sturdy treadmills for home use.
Thankfully, we have all the information you need to purchase the perfect treadmill.
The Best Treadmills By Weight Capacity
Buying the right treadmill is critical when it comes to weight loss and improved health. If you follow our brief guide above, you will have no problem purchasing a heavy-duty and high-capacity treadmill.
The Best 265 lb Weight Capacity Treadmill
NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Series
Working out is about more than just buying a piece of exercise equipment and using it. It is about knowing what you are doing and having motivation too. This treadmill gives you that. With a 10-inch smart screen integrated into the controls and a free one-year iFit membership, you have everything that you need to take control of your workout routine.
You can access a variety of live and recorded workouts, including incline and cross-training, boot camps, yoga, calorie burn sessions, and full-body workouts. This is more than just a treadmill, and you never need to get stuck in a routine or become bored with the same old workouts again.
Along with all of that, you also have daily workouts, Google Maps, stat tracking, multiple users options, and free membership perks.
The 3.75 CHP commercial motor is powerful, and the motor limits noise while self-cooling for those intense workouts. The flex cushioning also protects your joints and simulates real running instead of feeling like you are in the gym. You can reach speeds of up to 12 mph and inclines from 3% to 12%.
The belt is spacious but does fold up with an easy lifting mechanism to save space when it is not in use. A perfect treadmill for anyone who has found themselves bored with doing the same thing over and over.
The Best 300 lb Weight Capacity Treadmill
Start with walking, move onto jogging, and work up to running; this treadmill does it all. You can also move the incline down to -3% to simulate downhill running, and up to 15% to practice big hills before you tackle them in real life.
If you don’t want to get out there, you can always replicate real-life by running scenic routes through Google Maps. There is space for a smart device to sit above the controls, and you can choose from predetermined routes, or create your own. The iFit coach technology also gives you close to unlimited workouts to take advantage of, ensuring that you can keep your routines fresh.
The 3.5 CHP motor will get you up to speeds of 12 mph, and the belt is a generous 22” x 60” with non-stretch tread, ensuring that your platform is always solid and steady. Precision engineering also ensures that the motor and deck work silently, so, if you are taking a calm walk through a scenic mountain range, you can fully immerse yourself without any distractions.
With a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds and a 7” backlit LCD screen, this is a treadmill that is built to be durable with easy to use controls. A perfect treadmill for a workout like no other.
The Best 350 lb Weight Capacity Treadmill
A treadmill that can handle 350 pounds should be durable, and this one certainly is. The 3.25 horsepower DC motor will take all that you can throw at it, and continue to run so that you never need to slow down. You can reach speeds of up to 12 mph, with many increments between 0 and 12, and there are also multiple increments of incline, with 2 levels of decline also.
The robotically-welded frame is crafted entirely from steel and precision-engineered to replicate real-world running as accurately as possible. The 20” x 60” running surface gives you lots of room to maneuver, allowing for multiple forms of exercise, and the 8 compression shocks protect your joints, especially your knees and lower back.
The 7” full-color touchscreen allows you to easily control your workout while viewing your stats. Take advantage of the graph, gauge, and track views to see exactly how you are performing. Add in some physical buttons for easy in-workout adjustments, and you have full and easy control over everything.
The integrated Bluetooth speakers allow you to immerse yourself in your workout. Want to stream podcasts from your smartphone or watch a movie on your tablet? You can do that while you workout. You can also charge your device while it is hooked up to the treadmill via the USB port. The treadmill comes with compatibility from almost any companion app, allowing you to better track your progress when you are on or off the treadmill.
When you are not using the treadmill, the EZfold technology allows you to completely fold the treadmill for easy storage.
The Best 375 lb Weight Capacity Treadmill
Sole Fitness F85 Folding Treadmill
This is a heavy-duty treadmill for a serious workout. The treadmill starts with a powder-coated, all-steel welded frame, allowing for a lot of weight on the belt, and steady inclines when engaged. The 3.5 horsepower motor is one of the most powerful out there, and the steel zinc-coated flywheel is going to generate a lot of power without wearing down. You can put this treadmill under a lot of stress, and only have to worry about when your next workout is. If you are ready, this machine is too.
Because of the durable build, you get motion similar to what you would expect in a top gym. You can reach speeds of up to 12 mph, and the speed will fluidly rise as you increase it. The same goes for the incline. As you shift up to the 15% incline, the belt will raise smoothly, and lower gently when you are done. The cushion-flex deck not only limits the amount of unnecessary noise when you are walking or running but also protects your joints too. You can limit the number of injuries caused by running and be more comfortable as you exercise by using this treadmill when compared to running on asphalt.
The 9” LCD screen makes it easy to track your workout, showing you your speed, incline, time, distance, calories, pulse, and pace. You can also view some of this information in graph form to track how your workout changes over time. Plug your smart device into the treadmill to stream your favorite motivational music, or watch the integrated message board to see how your overall workout developed.
At 22” x 60”, the belt is one of the biggest that you will find, giving you more room to workout than many other treadmills. And, like most larger treadmills, this one folds for easy storage. So, if you are looking for something substantial but compact, this is the treadmill for you.
The Best 400 lb Weight Capacity Treadmill
3G Cardio Elite Runner
For a treadmill that is as sturdy as they come, this machine is the ultimate beast. The treadmill can handle up to 400 pounds of weight with ease, comes with an extra-generous 22” x 62” running belt, and boasts a 4.0 horsepower motor. If your motto is: go big or go home, then this is the treadmill for you.
This is a durable and tough treadmill, but still has the elegance and style that will aid you in your workouts. The elite runner console comes with manual and pre-programmed running courses, fitness tests, one-touch speed and incline settings, heart-rate controls, and tons of customization options. There is so much that you can tinker with that you will never become bored with your workouts.
Inclines provide an additional workout and this treadmill moves to a maximum 15% with the belt inclining 1% every 1.5 seconds. That belt comes with a commercial-grade Ortho Flex Shock suspension, providing you with the ultimate in cushioning. The belt is also thicker, adding an extra layer of comfort to each workout.
The built-in speakers allow you to enjoy your favorite music or podcasts as you run, or you can connect a tablet or other smart device to watch your favorite shows and movies in surround sound.
If you need the toughest treadmill out there, this is going to be the one that will cope with everything that you have to throw at it.
What To Know Before Buying a Heavy-Duty Treadmill
A heavy-duty treadmill needs to have the capacity to take the impact of the person running or walking on it. It needs to be able to deal with whatever is thrown at it, while still having the features you associate with a regular treadmill. This is a weight-loss journey, and you need, nay expect, a treadmill which can make the journey with you.
Let’s take a closer look.
Treadmill Weight Capacity
If you have ever been to a gym, then you have probably jumped onto a treadmill without thinking about it (and, when we say ‘jumped on,’ we mean carefully stepped on). Most gyms opt for treadmills which can accommodate anyone, so there is never any reason to check the weight capacity of the machine.
When it comes to purchasing a treadmill, the capacity is vital. This should be the first thing that you check. Make sure that you know your own weight, and then buy a treadmill based on that. If it cannot hold you, do not buy it. We would also recommend buying one which is rated for at least 20% more than you weigh, even though there are variances already taken into account.
A reliable and sturdy treadmill will feel better when you are walking and running and will last longer too.
Construction Quality And Durability
How long do you want your treadmill to last? Forever, I hear you say. Well, you had better buy one which is well constructed and durable. A treadmill for heavy persons will take more strain than one used by a lighter person (which you will eventually be), so you need to make sure that it can take this strain.
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The weight capacity of the machine will give you an indication of the construction quality, with a higher-capacity machine being more robust, but there are other indicators. A treadmill which comes with an extended warranty means that the manufacturer has confidence in their treadmills and that should indicate that the machine is well-built.
The more power that you have in the motor, the longer the motor will last, and the more speed you will get from it (generally speaking).
You will find that most treadmills come installed with two motors; one will control the speed of the belt, and the other will control the incline. The motor is one of the most critical parts in a treadmill, so you need to make sure that you are investing in quality.
You want a motor which is rated at 2-3 horsepower. This will be fine for light workouts but will also handle tougher workouts too. When you are starting, most motors will be fine, but you want to invest in one which will work as your fitness improves and you are going harder and harder.
Running Surface Area
Once you have a powerful motor, you need an excellent surface for you to run on. You want a treadmill for home use to be fun and enjoyable, and the running surface plays a large part in that.
The surface area depends a lot on your height and stride. If you are taller, then you want to go for a larger running area. A large deck means a more significant treadmill, so you also need to think of your space. We recommend going as big as you can. A larger area is a lot more fun to run on than one where you are restricted.
You have your motor and running area, but what technology is bringing everything together? You want to think about the functions and the features which you want, against the functions and features of the machine. You should also be thinking about the user interface, and the way the functionality of the treadmill is presented. There are going to be times when you are running and need to use the controls, so they should be straightforward and intuitive but powerful at the same time.
Along with basic functionality, most treadmills also have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, USB ports, heart-rate monitors, and safety features. If you are worried about not being able to stop the treadmill, then look for an emergency stop button or a connector which will stop the machine if you fall or slip.
Having an incline can be beneficial if you want to start out with walking, or if you want to add some challenge to your runs. The one thing which you need to look at when you are deciding on your treadmill is how much incline you want. The more incline you have, the more flexibility you have for your workout at home.
Most treadmills can go up to a 20% incline, and this will be sufficient for almost all users. However, not all incline is created equally. We recommend looking for a machine which has automatic incline versus a manual incline.
An automatic incline will allow you to change the incline as you run, while a manual incline may need you to stop running to change the incline.
Tread Belt Cushioning
If you are running for weight loss, then your knees and ankles may be taking a lot of stress and strain. When you are outside, you can run on soft surfaces like grass. When you are inside, you need the treadmill to have a cushioning system.
A cushioning system will reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. This means less fatigue and longer workout sessions. It also means fewer injuries. The heavier you are, the more cushioning you want in the treadmill.
Foldable or Non-Foldable Design
An often overlooked factor when buying a treadmill is where it is going to go. The amount of space will determine if you need a compact treadmill, one which folds, or you can accommodate any size. If you can have the platform down all of the time, then you do not need to worry about any space issues.
If you have space issues, then a folding treadmill is the perfect addition to your home. With a folding treadmill, the running platform folds up, and there are some which are on wheels and can be moved into storage when not in use.
With every significant purchase, there is going to be money involved, so you should always start with a budget. There are two things to remember here.
- You should never forget that you get what you pay for, so ensure that you budget enough to pay for a treadmill which will last.
- You should also stick to tour budget once you have set it, and do not be afraid to buy nearer the top end of your budget.
Cheap treadmills can go for as little as $200, but they are not going to last, and they may not even be able to accommodate your weight. For $1,000 you can get a quality treadmill which will last and save you money in the long run.