10 Best Treadmills For Bad Knees

by Harini Natarajan
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If you have bad knees, exercising can be painful. However, the right kind of exercises can help reduce pain and improve balance and stability. Studies show that walking on a treadmill can help reduce pain and enhance the quality of life in people with osteoarthritis (1), (2).

Treadmills for bad knees are designed to help you perform low-impact workouts without aggravating your pain. They have cushioned belts and inclination to decrease the impact of running or walking. These treadmills are also perfect alternatives if you are homebound or do not want to step out. In this article, we have listed the 10 best treadmills for bad knees. Scroll down to check them out!

TOP 10 PRODUCTS
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Nordic Track T 6.5 Si Treadmill
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Bowflex Tread Climber TC20
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Sunny Health And Fitness Walking Treadmill SF-T7857
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Proform Performance 300i Treadmill
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Lifespan Fitness TR3000i Treadmill
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Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill
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Horizon Fit T202 Treadmill
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Horizon Fitness T101
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Exerpeutic TF900 Electrical Treadmill
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Smooth Fitness 5.25 Folding Treadmill
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10 Best Treadmills For Bad Knees

1. Nordic Track T 6.5 Si Treadmill

This Nordic Track T 6.5 Si is budget-friendly and has a special compact cushioned running belt. You can avail one-year free iFit program, which provides live exercising sessions to help keep you motivated. Expert trainers can digitally control the inclination and speed of the treadmill and guide you to perform various workouts.

This treadmill has a FlexSelect deck cushioning that protects your joints while you exercise. It has a  unique 20 preloaded exercise programs to keep you active and fit. The patented, foldable frame design saves space, and the 10- inch HD touch screen displays your heart rate, elevation, and intensity, and other personalized workout data to help you track your progress.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 67.5 x 36 x 73 inches
  • Weight: 207 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
  • Belt Size: 55 x 20 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • 20 preloaded workout programs
  • Easy to fold
  • Built-in speaker
  • On/off track cushioning

Cons

  • May squeak

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2. Bowflex Tread Climber TC20

The Bowflex Tread Climber TC20 minimizes the impact on your knees while running and is best for household use. Its dual treadle system is a combination of a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, and a stair climber. The Goal Oriented Coaching technology helps in tailoring activity and fitness goals based on personal needs.

This three-in-one cardio machine is integrated with a wireless heart rate monitor that helps maximize workout efficiency. It comes with three landmarks and five standard workouts that can be programmed. The backlit LCD enables easy monitoring of the speed, time, calories, heart rate, and distance. The ergonomic console holds a water bottle and books for easy access. This product also features a Bowflex body weight loss plan, an instant Quick Start, transport wheels for easy mobility, a speed range of 0.5 to 4.5 miles per hour, and extra-long foot treadles.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 55 x 31.5 x 55.25 inches
  • Weight: 217 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
  • Belt Size: 51 x 30.5 inches
  • Music Port: No

Pros

  • Wireless heart rate monitor
  • 3-year warranty
  • Extra-long foot treadles
  • Comes with wheels for easy transportation

Cons

  • Not durable

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3. Sunny Health And Fitness Walking Treadmill SF-T7857

This Sunny Health and Fitness Walking Treadmill offers shock absorption for low impact on the knees while walking. It has a speed range of 0.6mph- 5 mph that allows you to go from a slow walk to a quick jog. The quick speed and dedicated mode button let you personalize the training goals. The multi-grip handrails assist in various workouts for the arms, shoulders, back, and lower body.

This treadmill is also equipped with non-slip foam padded handlebars for added support. The user-friendly console with backlit LED screen displays the speed, calories, and distance modules. The low profile deck and front-mounted transportation wheels enable easy storage and movement of this equipment, respectively. You can stop the treadmill instantly when necessary, using the emergency safety key – just pull the magnetic key from the console.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 58 x 29 x 53 inches
  • Weight: 123 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 295 lbs
  • Belt Size: 49 x 19.5 inches
  • Music Port: No

Pros

  • Easy to store
  • Comes with handrails
  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Takes a while to assemble

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4. Proform Performance 300i Treadmill

The Proform Performance 300i Treadmill is equipped with ProShox cushioning that protects your joints while running. It is preloaded with 16 workout programs and offers a one-year free membership of iFit that lets you access various workout programs and live sessions. You can switch between walking, jogging, and running with the single-touch button.

The machine also features a 10% quick incline control and a grip pulse EKG heart rate monitor. The commercial plus motor stays cool even during the toughest workouts and offers a comfortable experience. This treadmill is Bluetooth enabled with multimedia support for tablets and music players. The easy folding deck and space-saver design keep your house clutter-free.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 64.7 x 28.9 x 55 inches
  • Weight: 149 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
  • Belt Size: 50 x 16 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • EKG heart rate monitor
  • Preloaded workout programs
  • Quick incline control
  • Multimedia support
  • iFit membership
  • Space-saving design

Cons

  • Might be noisy

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5. Lifespan Fitness TR3000i Treadmill

The Lifespan Fitness TR3000i Treadmill has eight compression shock absorbers with responsive cushioning for low-impact training. It is equipped with 21 certified exercise programs that are designed by exercise physiologists. The guided console navigation is user-friendly and keeps track of your exercises.

This treadmill offers 15 inclination levels and a speed range of 0.5 mph – 12 mph for intense and effective training. It also features a 3-speed cooling fan and patented step counting abilities. The Intelli-Guard ensures your safety by stopping belt motion automatically within 20 seconds after you step away from the deck. The EZfold technology with hydraulic shock enables easy folding and unfolding.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 71 x 33 x 56 inches
  • Weight: 220.46 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 350 lbs
  • Belt Size: 56 x 20 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • 3- speed cooling fan
  • Easy to fold and unfold
  • Integrated with fitness apps
  • Patented step counting technology
  • User-friendly
  • Compression shock absorbers

Cons

  • Not sturdy

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6. Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill

This treadmill is best suited for hill training, interval training, and long-distance running. It is equipped with 10 preset workout programs, six standard programs, two heart programs, and two customizable regimens. The console is streamlined and has quick adjustment switches for speed (0.5-12 mph) and 15% inclination. It also features a 7.5 inches LCD display that helps you keep track of the distance, calories burned, speed, and heart rate. This treadmill has an integrated message board, built-in speakers, cooling fans, and a tablet holder.

The Bluetooth connectivity enables you to track progress through various fitness apps. This treadmill also features a low-profile running hood and a large stop switch. The cushion flex whisper deck reduces the impact on your joints by up to 40% and also saves space. The patented gear rack and pinion system come with a safety lock that locks the deck when the treadmill is upright. The treadmill has a folding deck design, wherein you can release the deck and step back to let it unfold itself.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 80 x 33 x 58 inches
  • Weight: 265 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 375 lbs
  • Belt Size: 60 x 22 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • Easy to fold
  • 15% inclination
  • Multimedia support
  • Large LCD display
  • Static-free surface

Cons

  • Not durable

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7. Horizon Fit T202 Treadmill

The Horizon Fit T202 Treadmill maximizes at-home workouts with comfort and convenience. It is equipped with a perfect Flex Plus cushioning system for low-impact training. It offers 12 level inclinations with a speed range of 0.5 mph to 12 mph. This treadmill comes with a 31- day goal training feature and 12 customizable programming options.

The two 4-digit LED consoles, alphanumeric display, and LED brickyard workout profile save workout data and enable quick adjustments. This treadmill features a quiet motor along with Coolfit fitness fan, inbuilt iPod compatible speakers, and pulse and heart rate monitor. The FeatherLIGHT folding lift system with hydraulic shock enables easy set up and storage of this treadmill.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 75 x 34 x 58 inches
  • Weight: 196 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 325 lbs
  • Belt Size: 55 x 20 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • User-friendly console
  • Easy to fold
  • Easy to store
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Quiet operation
  • Durable

Cons

  • Shakes while in use
  • Connectivity issues

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8. Horizon Fitness T101

The Horizon Fitness T101 is an entry-level and budget-friendly treadmill for light to moderate workouts. It has a pulse monitor in the handgrip for effective heart rate monitoring. The trainer has a speed range of 0.5 mph to 10 mph and offers a 10% incline for fast fat burning.

This folding treadmill is preloaded with 30 workout program options, including 10 step-goal workouts, 10 distance-based workouts, and three interval workouts. It features Bluetooth connectivity, a cooling fan, and an interactive console with 5″ green backlit LCD display and three data windows. The feather light lift and two hydraulic shocks enable easy raising and lowering of the deck.

Specifications

Dimensions: 70 x 33 x 55 inches
Weight: 165 lbs
Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
Belt Size: 55 x 20 inches
Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to store
  • Pulse monitor

Cons

  • Short track
  • Not durable

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9. Exerpeutic TF900 Electrical Treadmill

This high capacity treadmill is equipped with a safe, comforting shock absorption technology for a painless running experience. The heavy-duty frame and an extra-large belt ensure safe and effective walking. The machine comes with a touchscreen LCD console that displays the time, speed, distance, and calories, and pulse.

This treadmill also features extra-large safety handles with the EKG grip for improved security and balance. The heart rate monitors and speed controls are installed in the handle bars for convenience and easy access during workouts. The 1.5 HP motor ensures long-lasting performance and comes with a five-year warranty. It folds and moves easily with space-saving design and built-in wheels, respectively.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 47 x 29 x 51 inches
  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 350 lbs
  • Deck Size: 36 x 16 inches
  • Music Port: No

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to fold
  • 5-year warranty
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Cheap construction

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10. Smooth Fitness 5.25 Folding Treadmill

The Smooth Fitness 5.25 Folding Treadmill offers a great speed range and with six preset workouts, including interval speed, interval incline, weight loss, 5K quick learning, and heart rate control. The interactive LCD console tracks and displays the time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse.

The patented swing arm suspension system ensures there is less impact on the joints while walking or running. This treadmill features a 2.5 HP motor, a speed range of 0.5 to 10 mph, two-inch commercial grade rollers, and a hand grip pulse monitor that is located at the front of the console. The dual-stage, soft drop folding and unfolding mechanism enable easy usage and storage.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 73 x 36 x 60 inches
  • Weight: 195 lbs
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs
  • Belt Size: 53 x 20 inches
  • Music Port: Yes

Pros

  • Easy to fold
  • Handgrip pulse monitor
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Triple-laminated phenolic deck

Cons

  • Not durable

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People who have bad knees tend to stay away from any physical activities, fearing it will worsen their condition. Treadmills not only provide an even surface to walk or jog but also absorb the shock to lower the impact on the knees. However, consider the following points while using a treadmill.

How To Protect Your Knees While Running On ATreadmill

  • Use good running shoes that minimize the impact on the knees and joints.
  • Start your routine with 7-10 minutes of warm-up exercises.
  • Begin by setting the machine at the lowest speeds and inclination. Start slow and progress gradually so that your body can adapt.

Note: Consult a physician if you feel any pain.

You should also consider the following points before choosing a treadmill.

How To Choose A Treadmill For Bad Knees

  • Running Surface Area: The running surface area should match your gait, width, and stride length. A narrow surface area will force you to alter your walking style, putting more stress on your knees.
  • Incline: The inclination shows the uphill and downhill movement and helps burn 40% more fat than flat trainers. However, check with your doctor to know how much inclination you can expose your knees to. Look at the degrees of inclination offered by the treadmill. It might be possible that even level-1 inclination is unsuitable for your knees.
  • Speed: The speed of a treadmill varies from 0.5 mph to 12 mph, deciding the intensity of your walking or running. Check the minimum speed count variation with each press. It must match your strides length and walking speed.
  • Deck Size: Check the footprint of the treadmill and how easily it can be stored. A small deck size also means that it is easily portable.
  • Cushioning: Cushioning absorbs most of the knee shocks. It ensures that knees and joints do not experience the impact of walking and running on a treadmill.
  • Control Panel: A user-friendly control panel offers easy adjustments, preset workout programs, fitness data, and multimedia support. The latest treadmills offer interactive touchscreen control panels for a better experience.
  • Ease Of Storage: Foldable treadmills are suitable for use in apartments, small homes, and even within the room of a knee patient. Ensure that folding is easy, effortless, and does not need the user to sit down as bad knees may not support much motion.
  • Ease Of Use: It is important that you understand the controls and adjustments of the machine thoroughly. Right from the assembly, maintenance to regular usage, it should be easy to understand.
  • Weight Capacity: Most treadmills support users weighing up to 300-350 lbs. The machine should also withstand heavy load for a long duration.

Numerous people have taken advantage of treadmill training to improve their bad knees and alleviate pain. However, it is important to keep the following points in mind while using a treadmill if you have bad knees and joints.

Safety Tips For Using A Treadmill For Arthritis, Bad Knees, And Joints

  • Use good shoes as they absorb shock while running.
  • Learn the controls thoroughly, especially the fast-stop button.
  • Always hold on to the side rails.
  • Understand the safety key feature in the treadmill.
  • Ensure to stay centered in the running deck to avoid accidental falls.
  • Start the treadmill and then step on to the running deck to understand the speed.
  • Do not ignore any kind of strain during the training, as it can lead to inflammation.
  • Do low-impact activities without twisting your knees and hips.
  • Start steadily as overworking on treadmills can stress the anterior cruciate ligament, leading to further complications of the lower limbs.
  • Use the lowest incline angle as you begin and increase gradually.
  • Maintain good posture across the workout routine to avoid stress on joints.

When you have bad knees, it is difficult to exercise and involve in any physical activity. But these treadmills will keep your knees healthy and help you to stay active. Order the best-suited treadmill from our list and sweat it out painlessly.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are the differences in a normal treadmill belt and a multi-ply one?

A multi-ply treadmill belt lasts longer and provides better stability during running or walking than a normal treadmill belt.

Are there any foldable treadmills in this list?

All the listed products are foldable and enable easy storage.

Is running on the treadmills bad for knees?

With proper precaution and knowledge, running on treadmills can improve your knees’ condition, making them stable and fit.

2 sources

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Harini Natarajan

As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.
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