best treadmill for bad knees

Running is a high-impact sport that can put a lot of strain on your knee joint, especially when running downhill or on hard surfaces which cannot help by absorbing the shock of running on it. Doing long-distance runs or running consistently enough without proper rest can lead to knee pain. One of the most common conditions a runner may suffer from is the so-called ‘Runners knee’ which is the pain in your kneecap.

With so many things knee injuries that you can get because of running, it is important to have a treadmill with:

  • side handrails to hold your weight
  • safety features such as a pull cord are necessary in the event of severe pain or faintness
  • a soft tread belt that absorbs some impact as you run
  • a tread belt that is not too slow or it could restrict your movement and put more stress on the knees
  • a 3% incline as this is the optimum incline for minimal joint stress when running

Join us as we compare treadmills so you can run with the safety and comfort you deserve.

What is the Best Treadmill For Bad Knees?

It can be difficult to find the best treadmill for bad knees. There are so many options and products available! But don’t worry; we’ve done all of the research so that you don’t have to. After going through most of the products, we have narrowed it down to the absolute top 4 treadmills for bad knees and wrote down why they’re worth your time and money.

We have also compiled a list of key pointers to consider before buying treadmills for someone with knees problems which you can find later on in this article, together with some helpful FAQs. So without further delay, let’s get started with the list of best treadmills for bad knees.

1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill with Auto Incline

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 123.5 Pounds (56 kg)
Size: 64.5 x 50.5 x 28 Inches (163.8 x 128.3 x 71.1 cm)
Speed: 8 miles per hour
Max Horsepower: 2.2 hp
Max Incline: 12 °
Max weight: 240 lbs
Display type: LED Backlit Display
Heart rate monitor: Handlebar Pulse Sensors

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The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 is a medium-impact treadmill with a couple of smart features to improve your daily workout experience. The treadmill has a compact footprint and a folding design for storage, plus a hydraulic Soft Drop System that seamlessly unfolds it for use. The SF-T7515 features a lightweight steel frame that offers good stability with adjustable stabilizers and quiet operation with a 2.2 HP motor. However, some users have observed that the machine may get loud at high speed, and while it has decent build quality, the parts have a short 90-day warranty.

Additionally, the company has unreliable customer service should you need help assembling or replacing the parts. The SF-T7515 is a small treadmill with a 49.5″L x 16.5″W x 10″H running deck, which may not provide enough length for a full stride for tall users. The treadmill comes with a digital console with auto adjustments for speed and inclines while tracking time, distance, heart rate, and calories burned. Plus, it also provides 12 pre-set workout programs and three user profiles for customization.

The SF-T7515 is Bluetooth enabled, which allows you to pair your smartphone with the console speakers to listen to your favorite music. You can also use the audio jack instead and adjust the volume, and select tracks on the console dashboard. I like that the treadmill has a BMI function where you input data that makes calculating the calories you’re burning while working out more accurate.

Pros

  • An affordable option for daily fitness and cardio workouts,
  • Compact footprint with a hydraulic folding design to fit tight spaces,
  • Small motor with low power consumption and quiet operation,
  • Integrated workout programs and user profiles help track your progress,
  • BMI function provides more accurate tracking of workout metrics

Cons

  • Poor after-sales services when you need parts replaced,
  • The short running deck may not provide adequate running space for tall users,
  • May have a short service life

2. NordicTrack T Series 6.5 Treadmill

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 203 Pounds (92.1 kg)
Size: 73.5 x 54 x 36 Inches (186.7 x 137.2 x 91.4 cm)
Speed: 10 miles per hour
Max Horsepower: 2.6 hp
Max Incline: 10 °
Max weight: 300 lbs
Display type: 5” Backlit LCD Display
Heart rate monitor: Dual CardioGrip

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The NordicTrack T Series 6.5S Treadmill is an affordable entry-level treadmill for home applications. While the 6.5S treadmill offers minimal performance specs, it has a high build quality and innovative design that makes it one of the brand’s best-selling models. It features a 2.6 CHP motor that provides smooth incline and speed adjustments to enhance your cardio workout experience.

It also has a 20-inch width running deck that provides a comfortable workout space, and with the FlexSelect cushioning feature, you get to reduce impact injury and fatigue on your joints as you work out.

The 6.5S console features a 5-inch backlit LCD screen to display all your workout metrics with user-friendly control buttons and a tablet rack, while the handles feature the heart rate monitor. The treadmill is compatible with NordicTrack’s iFIT training programs that you can stream on your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. However, it also comes with 20 built-in training programs that are much simpler to use if you are not interested in subscribing to the iFIT programs.

After your workout, the treadmill features a folding design that enables you to fold in the running deck to reduce its footprint for easy storage. Special features include console speakers that many users say have a poor sound quality and two large-sized water bottles on either side of the console.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction to withstand moderate training,
  • Offers flexible training options with 10-degree incline and speed adjustments,
  • Variety of built-in training programs and compatibility with iFIT training,
  • Foldable design with wheels enables easy storage,
  • User-friendly console with backlit screen and control buttons,
  • Features a media rack to accommodate your tablet or smartphone

Cons

  • It has a light-duty motor that does not support intense workouts,
  • Has poor after-sales service for dealing with product issues

3. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 97 Pounds (44 kg)
Size: 63.4 x 51.4 x 28.8 Inches (161 x 130.6 x 73 cm)
Speed: 10 miles per hour
Max Horsepower: 2.25 hp
Max weight: 250 lbs
Display type: 5” LCD Display
Heart rate monitor: Hand Grip Pulse Sensors

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The XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill is a popular medium-range exercise machine that features a foldable design for convenient storage and excellent performance for keeping fit at home. The treadmill comes with a 2.25 HP motor that powers the treadmill with speeds of up to 10 MPH and has a quiet operation for comfort. While it is a smaller motor, unlike other models in its price range, it withstands extended workout sessions without overheating while keeping your energy consumption low.

The TR150 allows a 250-pound maximum weight load and features a slightly longer running belt than the competition to accommodate a variety of users. However, the deck is also narrow at 16 inches, which may limit the intensity of your running exercises for stability. Additionally, while the running deck features an adjustable incline with three levels, you’ll have to make the adjustments manually.

On the upside, the console comes with 12 built-in exercise programs and quick selection speed buttons for interval training. Plus, it features a 5-inch LCD to display six workout metrics, including the heart rate and extras such as integrated stereo speakers, dual water bottle holders, a media rack, and a safety key.

Pros

  • Decent quality and sturdy construction for medium intensity workouts,
  • Ten quick selection speed adjustments enable interval training,
  • Treadmill offers 12 in-built programs to vary your exercise routine,
  • User-friendly console with stereo speakers and media rack for entertainment,
  • Easy to assemble out of the box with a clear instruction manual

Cons

  • Incline levels are manually adjusted,
  • No backlighting on the LCD screen panel,
  • Produces inaccurate heart rate and calories burned metrics

4. XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 213.9 Pounds (97 kg)
Size: 77.2 x 56.1 x 35.5 Inches (196.1 x 142.5 x 90.2 cm)
Speed: 12 miles per hour
Max Horsepower: 3 hp
Max Incline: 12 °
Max weight: 350 lbs
Display type: 6.5” Backlit LCD Display
Heart rate monitor: Hand Pulse Sensors & Telemetry

See it in your local store:

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If you are looking for a high-performance treadmill for home use, the XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill may be a good choice. Although it is expensive for a home workout machine, it offers several training advantages that you would get from a commercial treadmill. It is also solid and well built for intense cardio workouts, endurance training, and weight loss.

The TRX3500 features a heavy-duty steel frame that supports a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds. The frame is foldable and uses a hydraulic mechanism to fold and drop safely, while its integrated transport wheels assist in moving it to storage. While it is a significantly heavy machine, its weight helps keep it stable while running at high speed, plus it comes with front and rear adjustable stabilizers to keep it level. I also like its extra long running deck that accommodates people with a long stride and features multiple cushioning points for impact absorption and a robust 2-ply Duraweave belt with excellent traction.

Furthermore, the 3.0 HP motor delivers smooth and quiet performance for extended training and has a top speed of 12 MPH. The console offers a 6.5-inch backlit display with 30 pre-set workout programs and quick selection buttons for 0-12° incline adjustments and speed. The console also enables telemetric heart rate monitoring with chest straps alongside the EKG pulse sensors on the handlebars. It also features a fan, two cup holders, a media rack, integrated stereo speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to sync your workout data with third-party apps such as MyFitnessPal.

Pros

  • Pre-assembled out of the box making set up a quick and effortless task,
  • Heavy-duty construction provides stability for intense training,
  • Convenient speed and incline adjustments on console and handlebars,
  • Offers a variety of pre-programmed workouts for any fitness level,
  • A spacious running surface that accommodates people with long strides,
  • Quick selection speed and incline adjustments on the console and handlebars,
  • Bluetooth enabled to synchronize with various fitness apps

Cons

  • It has only provided two user profiles,
  • Significantly heavy to move and install on upper floors,
  • Does not come with accessories such as the HR chest strap

Verdict

After going through a vast range of treadmills for bad knees, taking into consideration personal experiences with treadmills for someone with knees problems, their key features, as well as opinions of real customers online, our opinion is that the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill with Auto Incline is the best treadmill for bad knees out there.

However, if you’re on a tighter budget you can also consider XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black as an affordable alternative for you.

Now, if you want the best money can buy then you can go for NordicTrack T Series 6.5 Treadmill which is our premium pick.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying Treadmills For Bad Knees

Track Size

Standard treadmills measure between 55 and 65 inches in length for you to walk and run comfortably. If you have shorter legs you could be fine with a shorter track while tall people should try to get a treadmill with a longer running area.

When it comes to width, you should aim for a track that is around 22 inches wide.

Types Of Threadmill

There are two ways to group treadmills, by power and by purpose.

Types of Treadmill by power : manual and motorised

Manual treadmills: Manual treadmills have a simple frame with an area for the user to stand on. The belt, which is either rubber or plastic, then moves underneath them as they walk or run. Manual treadmills are also known as non-powered treadmills since there’s no motor powering it.

Motorised treadmills: Motorised treadmills, as the name suggests, come with a motor which can power up the belt. This means that you can reach greater speeds than you can with a manual version as the motor is the one making the belt go round rather than you. Motorised treadmills also tend to be able to change the incline as you run so you can switch between running on flat ground and running up a hill. They are usually more expensive compared to its non-powered version because of its extra functionality.

Types of Treadmill by purpose : folding, commercial, hybrid and medical. Each type provides a different set of benefits to the user.

Folding: Folding treadmills are great for tight or small spaces. They have a variety of features that can be adjusted to the user’s preferences, and they fold up which makes them take up less space when not in use.

Commercial: Commercial treadmills provide power-packed performance over extended periods of time. They are designed to be run by multiple people for multiple hours in the day. If you are an avid runner who wants a reliable treadmill for home use you could try a semi-commercial treadmill as a full-blown commercial treadmill might be overkill in terms of reliability.

Hybrid: Hybrid treadmills provide a variety of features that are beneficial to the user. They combine both commercial and folding treadmill benefits into one unit, perfect for facilities or homes with space constraints.

Medical: Treadmills designed for medical purposes come in various forms such as gait trainers which help people who have trouble walking due to neurological damage by training their muscles back into shape. Medical treadmills may also be used by the elderly or people with knee problems as they tend to offer extended handrails, lower starting speeds and even slight declines.

Motorized

A motorized treadmill is what first comes to mind when people think about a typical treadmill. It is a treadmill that uses a motor to spin the belt around for you to run on. There are many benefits to using a motorized treadmill. For one, it allows you to reach greater speeds than with a manual machine as the motor does all the work spinning the belt; the faster the belt spins the faster the speed. They also tend to be able to change inclines which is great if you’re training for outdoor running – which is often is not flat.

When buying a manual treadmill, you want to make sure that the speed falls within a range that works for you. The average walking pace is around 3mph and for an elderly person of 80, it’s usually 2mph and less. If you find mobility difficult you want the lowest starting speed you can not only to be able to train within a lower range but also to give yourself time to get started.

The average jogging speed of a man is 8mph, 6mph if you are a woman. Anything above that would be sprinting. It’s unlikely that you can train for world record-breaking speeds on the treadmill, seeing as the fastest speed of running on record is 27.78 mph. But 8mph should be enough to tire yourself out and give yourself a finishing sprint, if not then choosing a treadmill that can increase the incline would solve this problem for you so you can challenge yourself.

Manual

A manual treadmill is a great tool for exercise. It has no electricity and can be used anywhere, even in your home because there’s no need to plug it into an outlet! The belt moves when you walk on it rather than being moved by a motor, this easy-to-use machine doesn’t require much space or equipment at all – making it environmentally friendly too.

Even though these devices only go 4 mph max they still offer enough speed to get our heart rate going. Pushing the conveyor around requires extra effort, burning more calories without having to go to high speeds. Being able to burn more calories at a low speed would make it ideal to place under a standing desk so you can walk and work. Running fast means a lot of bouncing up and down. Bouncing up and down is quite jarring and it is difficult to work when you are bouncing up and down. Walking involves less bouncing up and down, so it is easier to walk and work. Walking, however, usually involves low levels of effort, meaning the workout can be unsatisfying. As walking is harder on a manual treadmill, it is ideal if you want to burn lots of calories while working.

Manual treadmills are also good for developing a good running technique. When you run on a motorized treadmill, it’s not unusual to fall into bad form by leaning back. Not running with good form on a manual treadmill would mean that the belt wouldn’t have enough force to propel it around, meaning it would stop.

Hybrid

A hybrid is simply something made to combine different elements. In this way a hybrid treadmill is a treadmill that has multiple elements.

These elements most often refer to either a stepper or elliptical or both. This means that a hybrid treadmill is really good if you need a low impact workout as both a stepper and elliptical are designed for this purpose. A hybrid stepper/elliptical tends to consist of two thin treadmill belts side by side, one for each foot, instead of one large treadmill belt. These treadmill belts move up and down in a fashion similar to an elliptical or stepper. As a consequence of this extra functionality, these treadmills tend to move no faster than a brisk walk – 4 or 5 mph at most. This means that if you want to practice your running skills, it’s not the treadmill for you. However, if you are simply looking to burn calories the extra movement of the hybrid might help.

Some hybrid treadmills might also refer to as hybrid treadmills which can be used for both climbing and running. However, the highest incline of a treadmill is about 40 degrees and the average highest incline of a commercial treadmill is around 15 degrees, so keep it in mind before making a purchase on a treadmill that claims to offer the extra element of ‘climbing’. A hybrid might also refer to the treadmill’s ability to be used as both a manual treadmill and a motorized treadmill – obviously not at the same time though.

Medical

Medical treadmills are designed for rehabilitation purposes. The users these medical treadmills are intended for often have mobility issues in some way, and the treadmill is a good way to exercise/ practice the motion of walking in a controlled, safe environment. In this way, medical treadmills are often designed with a particular focus on safety.

One feature of a medical treadmill that is specialized for safety is the extended handrails. The extended handrails mean that the user can support themselves with their hands throughout the walking motion as their legs may not be strong enough to carry the full weight of their upper body. Medical treadmills often come with extremely low starting speeds to give people with difficultly moving plenty of time to get into the walking motion. Some medical treadmills will allow you to reverse the deck in a way that will give you a slight decline to rehabilitate people who have trouble walking downhill. These treadmills might also rotate both forward and backward, to test/ practice a person’s gait and help them if they have problems walking back.

Medical treadmills also tend to have top-of-the-line shock absorption to make walking as low impact for users as possible, especially as the users likely experience some sort of pain just from walking. Heavier individuals also benefit from quality shock absorption much more than the average weight. There’s also the added benefit that medical treadmills are often designed to rehabilitate people weighing as much as 400 lbs and in some cases 500 lbs.

Medical treadmills are investments and are likely to be used by a wide range of people throughout the day, as such they are made to be durable. Of course, they do not need to withstand the same levels of wear as a commercial treadmill, but you can expect a medical treadmill to cost a lot (many thousands), last a long time (many years), and be protected by a long warranty.

Commercial

Commercial treadmills as the name suggests are for use for commerical purposes in shared gyms. These treadmills are often seen as an investment for gyms and as such often have extensive functionality and are highly reliable. They are made to be used 12 hours a day many days a week by many different people. As commercial treadmills often come with a warranty extending years, it is in the manufacturer’s interest to ensure that their products are as durable as possible. They are for use in the gyms, they are likely to have a large feature set with a variety of speeds, inclines as well as heart rate monitoring, preset workouts, televisions, touch displays, and high impact absorbance.

Commercial treadmills might seem a little excessive for the average user, especially if you only expect to be using a treadmill for 1 or 2 hours a day. But perhaps you or your household might be using the treadmill for 4 to 7 hours a day and want high levels of reliability? Well in this instance a commercial treadmill might be excessive and a semi-commercial treadmill might be a better fit for you. Semi-commercial treadmills often have a large feature set and warranty, the difference is that they are not made to withstand the amount of use per day as a commercial treadmill.

Treadmill Features

Some of the features to consider before buying a treadmill include:

emergency stop button and string – safety first!

incline – is it possible immitate walking or running uphill,

speed – you should be able to regulate your pace on a treadmill,

heart rate monitor – to see how well you’re doing,

calorie counter – to monitor your progress,

workout programs – choice of varying pace workouts, like HIIT, to make it more interesting,

treadmill desk – in case you’d like to work while working out,

others – each treadmill brand has their own unique features.

Console

Treadmills console is where you can find all essential information about your workout as well as controls to set the type and intensity of your workout. Most of the modern treadmills nowadays will be equipment in an LCD screen. Regularly they also include USB connectivity and auxiliary input allowing for external connectivity.

Few things to consider:

Control and Font Size – If you struggle with reading bear in mind that you cannot take your reading glasses onto the treadmill. All information and figures that are important to you, you need to be able to read even as you jog. Small diagrams are often much easier to make sense of than small text so it is best to buy a treadmill with a console that keeps that in mind.

Operating a touchscreen while running – This can often be hard though as many touch screens have difficulty registering sweaty fingers. Touch screens are often at risk of the user pressing the wrong button, this is because a physical button gives more resistance to commit to and is often bigger and easier to hit.

Unnecessary features – For less tech-savvy people, it might be a waste of money to pick treadmills models with extensive console features.

Running Deck

The running deck is the piece of board underneath the belt. The ideal running deck is ultra-smooth so it can give the least possible resistance to the turning of the belt around the deck. A smooth rotation means that more power dedicated to turning the treadmill goes to your workout as opposed to puny forces such as friction. Friction sometimes does have the last laugh though. Extended periods of use can cause major wear onto the running deck, especially at the front and center of the belt where most of your weight is directed to. One of the best things to look out for when buying a treadmill is a reversible deck. A reversible deck allows you to easily flip the deck and belt you give you a clean slate… or a clean deck.

Heart Monitor

There are a couple of things you need to consider when it comes to heart monitors on treadmills

-Is it in an easy place for you to reach? If you struggle to maintain a steady and constant pace then you may not be able to the pulse sensor at the front, perhaps needing a pulse sensor further back along the handrail – especially if the handrail is extended.

-Are the figures given by the treadmill easy to read? Running can often cause a certain element of bouncing up and down, this can make reading small text difficult. Plus, you don’t want to be getting out your glasses in the middle of a workout!

-Does it save and track your heart rate over multiple sessions? Seeing how a thing like your resting heart rate has gone down over time can be just as satisfying as metrics like weight.

Questions and Answers About Treadmills For Bad Knees

Are treadmills bad for your knees?

Running can be bad for your knees if you do not practise proper warm up techniques. First, there’s the impact on them every time you land with each stride when you run outside or indoors on a treadmill. The shock of that repeated pounding can damage the cartilage in your knee joint which could lead to arthritis down the track if not managed correctly by getting medical advice about how often to run, and what can be done for extra support (more supportive shoes).
A lot of the time, the terrain, speed, and incline will have a big effect on how much strain is put on your knees. Running down a steep hill is one of the worse things to do to your knees as the momentum of your body from both gravity and forwards force is considerable.
In this way, a treadmill is considerably better for your knees than outdoor running. You can control your incline, plus most treadmills will not go up to an incline steep enough to cause considerable harm to your knee joints. You can also control the speed so you can control how hard you’re running. Running on concrete means that there is considerable impact on your knees because the ground does nothing to cushion your landing. A running belt is considerably less impactful than running on a road.
Treadmills sometimes come with extra shock absorbance, so if you are concerned about your knees that might be a feature to look out for.

Is treadmill good for weight loss?

Running is a good way to lose those extra pounds because it helps burn excess fat and exchange builds muscle and burns calories. This means that although you may not notice any difference in the short term, your clothes will fit better and you’ll feel more toned than before. Running also helps with mental health as well as physical fitness – regular exercise releases endorphins which can help improve moods.
Treadmills make running more convenient which in turn means that you are likely to run. Having a treadmill in front of the TV can mean that you can run whilst keeping up with your favourite netflix shows. Many people don’t like running because of how boring they perceive it to be and having to head outside to fight the cold or heat. Having a programme running may help make running more enjoyable and also gives people something to concentrate on other than the physical strain on the body. This means that people are more likely to run and for longer periods, meaning more gradual and consistent healthy weight loss.

Can treadmill reduce belly fat?

Running is a great exercise to lose weight. It burns fat and calories, which helps you become leaner as well as stronger. Running may also suppress appetite; many people find that eating less makes it easier to lose excess weight without feeling hungry or deprived.
Treadmills help make running more convenient and enjoyable by providing a comfortable and conducive place you are familiar with where you can run when you want to the tunes that you want. Treadmills can only assist in making it easier to run they cannot assist in the weight loss itself. So if you’re buying a treadmill the best way to make sure that you lose weight is to use it frequently and weekly. Even if you just do a slow workout just to get the heart rate up a bit it’ll be enough to initiate some weight loss, assuming a good diet. So the best way to lose weight with a treadmill is simply to use it a lot.

What is a hybrid treadmill?

A hybrid treadmill is simply a treadmill that is designed to serve at least one other purpose.
A treadmill is one of the most popular cardio exercise machines which provides users with numerous benefits like improved cardiovascular health, toned muscles, and increased fat burn.
An elliptical is a cardio machine that has two foot-pedals and handles for users to hold onto while they work out on the device. A stepper is another popular workout equipment that simulates stair climbing without excessive strain on the joints. A manual treadmill is a piece of workout equipment that requires you to manually push the machine in order for it to move.
A hybrid treadmill is usually a treadmill that is also a stepper or elliptical, sometimes both. A hybrid treadmill may also refer to a treadmill that is both motorized and can run as a manual treadmill or a treadmill that could double up as a desk so you can walk as you work. In this way, it is important to make sure what kind of hybrid you are buying so you don’t end up with a treadmill that isn’t as you would expect.

What is a good size treadmill?

Treadmill size should match your needs. If you are putting it in a small space, go for something collapsible and possibly smaller than the usual large treadmill sizes. For bigger spaces, ensure that it will fit your stride length so that you can get the full benefits of exercising on it while not having to limit yourself to a smaller stride.
Limiting yourself to a smaller stride isn’t in itself detrimental to your run and could lead to you spending less effort going the same distance and even avoiding overstretching. But the faster you go the larger your stride. This means that limiting your stride might mean that you need to limit your speed.
Also if you are a heavier individual then you may need a wider treadmill so that you can run will the full range of motion. Not doing so could be uncomfortable for you or even lead to injury.

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