9 Best Treadmills for Heavy People in 2021

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In this review article I share my product evaluations of several top-quality treadmills designed for a heavy person or for someone who is heavily into running. 

Going with a weight limit of 300 lb. on up through 400 lb., I chose these models from a pool of 30+ treadmills that I was able to “test drive”.

The larger running surface driven by a powerful motor makes each one of the top picks the best heavy duty treadmill in its weight class, and I also tried to include a budget-friendly treadmill in each weight capacity too.

 

green scientific beaker and test tubes green icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.

 

Where are these heavy duty treadmills available?

All nine of these home treadmills are regularly listed on Amazon (assuming they haven’t temporarily sold out).

And later on I’ll show you a couple of models that are only available on their manufacturer’s website — high capacity treadmills built with quality materials backed by outstanding warranties that are worth considering as well.

Here are the treadmills we’ll be looking at, sorted by maximum user weight:

 

300 lb. weight capacity

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

325 lb. weight capacity

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

350 lb. weight capacity

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

400 lb. weight capacity

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

 

High weight capacity treadmill buying tips

There are a few important features to have a good handle on when you’re shopping around comparing heavy duty treadmills to one another.

After the individual treadmill reviews coming up next, I put together an informative guide that discusses what to look for when trying to figure out what is the perfect treadmill for you.

Here is a bullet point summary of it to keep in mind as we get into checking out these treadmills.

 

Important heavy duty treadmill factors

Your budget

How much can you afford? The best treadmills for a heavy person are built with more durability, have bigger motors and much better warranties than cheapo models, so expect to pay for quality.

 

Weight capacity

How much do you weigh? Treadmill experts recommend getting a treadmill that has a max weight capacity fifty pounds higher than your weight, so you may want to consider choosing accordingly.

The reason for their advice is simple: low weight capacity treadmills have small motors that will wear out prematurely under excessive strain.

 

Motor strength

Bottom line: The more CHP the motor in your treadmill has, the better.

CHP (continuous horsepower) is the amount of true steady power a treadmill motor has, and a treadmill with a high weight limit has to have enough continuous power to handle a heavy load, hence the term heavy duty.

Here are some general CHP recommendations from treadmill motor experts:

  • For walking by users over 250 lb.: 2.5 CHP minimum
  • Walking by users over 300 lb.: 3.0 CHP minimum
  • Jogging/running by users over 250 lb.: 3.5 CHP minimum
  • Athletic runners under 200 lb.: 3.0 CHP minimum

 

Running surface size 

Bottom line: Taller and heavier users as well as avid runners need a larger surface than those offered on budget treadmills.

General guidelines (more details on this after the review):

* Look for a minimum treadmill running surface width of 20″ for most people walking or running, with 22″ wide being a good size for competitive runners.

* And go for a minimum running area length of 50″ for slow walkers, 55″ for brisk walkers and shorter runners, & 60″ or more for taller runners & HIIT sprinters.

 

 

NordicTrack Commercial Series 1750 workout console

Need classes, cool distractions, or accurate stats? 

Bottom line: Most inexpensive home gym fitness equipment is built with poor electronics, while the best treadmills have accurate workout consoles that save exercise data and often come with amazing interactive features. Expect to pay a little more for quality electronics.

Highly motivating apps with great visuals are helping a lot of people work out on their exercise equipment nowadays without getting bored.

Many people swear by them, saying the virtual interaction keeps them more engaged which leads to better quality workouts & results.

Other people only want good workout stats and don’t need the guided workout programs, and there are both types of those electronics amongst the treadmills in this review.

 

 

Online Review green - heydayDo icon

Best heavy duty treadmill reviews

Okie dokie, here are the individual product reviews sorted by weight limit, along with tables comparing some of these treadmills’ key features to one another.

 

300 lb. weight capacity

Preview
Top Pick
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family...
Budget
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill
Cheapest
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Series, Bluetooth Enabled, Folding...
Title
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family...
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Series, Bluetooth Enabled, Folding...
Motor Horsepower
3.75 CHP
2.25 CHP
2.5 CHP
Running Surface Size
22" x 60" running surface
20" x 55" running surface
20" x 55" running surface
Warranty
10Y frame, 2Y parts, 30 days labor
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
Top Pick
Preview
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family...
Title
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family...
Motor Horsepower
3.75 CHP
Running Surface Size
22" x 60" running surface
Warranty
10Y frame, 2Y parts, 30 days labor
Prime?
Price
Budget
Preview
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill
Title
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill
Motor Horsepower
2.25 CHP
Running Surface Size
20" x 55" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
Price
Cheapest
Preview
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Series, Bluetooth Enabled, Folding...
Title
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Series, Bluetooth Enabled, Folding...
Motor Horsepower
2.5 CHP
Running Surface Size
20" x 55" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
Price

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Comparing the treadmills:

The NordicTrack Commercial Series 1750 costs over twice as much as the other two inexpensive models, so why is that?

* Main Reason #1: Much stronger motor; that alone is worth a few hundred bucks easily.

* Main Reason #2: The best virtual reality connectivity electronics of all nine treadmills in this review, by a mile.

* Main Reason #3: Superior running deck size compared to the other two, long enough for athletic sprinters and wide enough for everyone.

 

NordicTrack Commercial Series 1750

Sale
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family...
  • 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; Stream live & on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Add up to 5 users;...
  • Immersive 10-inch interactive HD touchscreen streams on-demand iFIT workouts directly to your equipment and provides easy stats tracking;...
  • -3 to 15 % OneTouch incline control; 12 MPH SMART OneTouch speed control; Your iFIT Trainer auto-adjusts your speed and incline to meet trainer...
  • Innovative SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist means your treadmill can fold up after your run for compact, simple storage; 22” x 60” tread...
  • 300-pound user capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty; 62.75” H x 39.25” W x 81.25”...

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes: 

This is my top pick for Best Treadmills for Heavy People in the 300 lb. weight limit class, thanks mostly to its iFit connectivity and the motor with the most power of all seven treadmills rated under 400 lb. of capacity.

Who this would be great for: This treadmill’s iFit program and its full immersion into all of its different workouts with the “Travel the World” option is great.

It’s ideal for someone who’s likely to get bored or unmotivated with their weight loss journey working out on a typical treadmill that has only stats on a screen.

NordicTrack 1750 Owner’s Manual

 

Xterra Fitness TR300

Sale
XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill
  • Large 20" x 55" walking/running surface accommodates users of many sizes and stride lengths
  • Intuitive 5.5" Blue Backlit LCD display is easy to read and keeps you updated on speed, incline, time, distance, calories and pulse
  • 24 preset programs, heart rate control, and manual program offer unmatched variety for your workouts
  • Lift Assist and Safe Drop folding deck technology makes setup and storage safe and easy
  • Handlebar mounted speed and incline controls provide you with a secondary location to change your workout intensity - they are right where you need...

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes: 

An inexpensive folding treadmill that is much better than many of the models priced just a hundred or two less than it, thanks to a very good warranty, a nice sized deck, and a couple dozen workout programs.

Who this would be great for: Someone on a tight treadmill budget. With the smallest motor of the bunch, this TR300 is probably best used as a walking-only treadmill for someone well under 300 lb.

Xterra TR300 Treadmill Owner’s Manual

 

Horizon T101

Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Series, Bluetooth Enabled, Folding...
  • 3-Zone variable response cushioning
  • Feather light folding
  • Bluetooth enabled.Deck Thickness:0.7 inch
  • Built-in speakers, energy saver mode, fan, tablet rack, water bottle holder
  • 10 speed keys & 10 incline keys, quick program keys, Durable, 2.5 CHP motor runs at lower RPMs to minimize noise and increase efficiency

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes:

Another budget folding treadmill that is miles ahead of similarly-priced competitors, I think the Horizon T101 is slightly better than the Xterra.

I’m basing that on its slightly stronger motor (2.5 CHP vs. 2.25), and the fact that it has Bluetooth and workout feedback from the console that’s a bit better. And it’s cheaper by about $60 at this time too.

Who this would be great for: Someone on a tight treadmill budget. This could work as a jogging treadmill if you’re under 250 lb. or so, and as a walking treadmill if you’re 250 – 275 lb.

 

green silhouette icon of girl running on treadmill

 

325 lb. maximum weight capacity

Preview
Top Pick
SOLE F63 Treadmill
Budget
Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced Running Treadmill, Black
Title
SOLE F63 Treadmill
Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced Running Treadmill, Black
Motor Horsepower
3.0 CHP
2.75 CHP
Running Surface Size
20" x 60" running surface
20" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime deck, frame, motor; 3Y parts, 1Y labor
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
-
Top Pick
Preview
SOLE F63 Treadmill
Title
SOLE F63 Treadmill
Motor Horsepower
3.0 CHP
Running Surface Size
20" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime deck, frame, motor; 3Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
Price
Budget
Preview
Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced Running Treadmill, Black
Title
Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced Running Treadmill, Black
Motor Horsepower
2.75 CHP
Running Surface Size
20" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 1Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
Price

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Comparing the treadmills:

If you clicked on those “Check Price” buttons, you’d see that the Sole F63 is being sold on Amazon for close to $1500, as of today anyway, and appears to be a lot more expensive than the Horizon T202.

Don’t believe those numbers (I explain down below in the Sole F63 individual review). 

 

For years, Sole has been selling their F63 for $999 – and as a result it has been awarded the Best Treadmill under $1000 by Consumer Reports and other review sites.

On their website when I checked today, Sole is still selling the F63 for that same price of $999, and you can check that here: Sole’s Treadmills Page.

Horizon’s currently selling the T202 for $900 on their site, and its Amazon price bounces around a lot, depending on who’s selling it there.

 

What makes Sole a little more expensive?

Using both of their own website’s prices, Sole’s price is $99 higher; why is that?

  • Stronger motor (3.0 CHP vs. 2.75);
  • Much larger rollers, which extends the life of the belt (2.5″ vs. 1.8″);
  • Better warranty (deck & electronics 3 years vs. 1 year).

 

Horizon has slightly better app connectivity

The Horizon has an app that’ll send your workout data to popular workout apps that can store and track your progress, like MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, etc.; the Sole F63 does not.

Sole has just a simple though very well-made workout console that has 10 workout programs providing you with typical workout stats…and it comes with a chest strap heart monitor too.

 

Horizon Fitness T202

Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced Running Treadmill, Black
  • Includes free app to control your workout and push data to favorite fitness Apps, plus device holder and rapid-charge USB port
  • Assembled Dimensions: 75" L x 34" W x 58" H | Folded Dimensions: 47" L x 34" W x 65" H | Running Area: 20" x 60" | Weight: 187 lbs
  • Max User Weight: 325 lbs
  • Quickly shift speed and incline with one-touch keys, quick-rotating Dial and handle bar controls
  • Powerful, 2. 75 chap motor

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes:

The Horizon T202 is the big brother of the Horizon T101 we just looked at, and its main upgrades are:

  • bigger motor (2.75 CHP vs. 2.5);
  • faster maximum speed of 12 mph vs. 10;
  • longer deck (60″ vs. 55″), better for runners;
  • better max incline: 12% vs 10%;
  • higher capacity 325 lb. vs. 300:
  • and better electronics.

It too is a folding treadmill, and after folding has basically the same footprint as the T101.

Who this would be great for: I think the T202 could be considered a decent heavy duty walking treadmill for someone in the 275 – 300 lb. range, and a good running treadmill for someone under 200 lb.

 

 

Sole Fitness F63

 

Sole F63 Treadmill

 

My notes:

The Sole F63 has been named best in its price range by a handful of treadmill experts, and Consumer Reports had it as a “Top Pick” under $1000 for years as well.

They never really overhauled the electronics as the “fitness classes via app” technology came on, but the other pick in this weight class (the Horizon T202) doesn’t have that stuff either.

The F63 shines because it’s really well-built, has a great warranty, and is backed by a company that totally stands behind their product.

 

Who it would be great for: With a 3.0 CHP motor and big rollers making life easy for the tread belt, I think the Sole F63 is a very good walking treadmill for someone who weighs up to 300 lb., and a very good low-priced running treadmill for active runners who’re under 200 lb.

 

Important note about Sole Fitness and Amazon

The Sole Fitness F63 is an award-winning treadmill though the Amazon ratings don’t reflect that fact. Why not?

Because Sole Fitness has not sold their own treadmills on Amazon for quite some time, and the models people are buying there are sold by 3rd-party resellers.

This means a few unfortunate things for someone who buys a Sole Fitness treadmill on Amazon:

 

You’re not buying a Sole treadmill from Sole

Sole Fitness pulled all of their inventory off Amazon awhile ago, so who knows how old or in what condition any Sole treadmill you see there is.

I’m currently looking right at the website address of the F63 for sale on Amazon, and it actually has the word “DISCONTINUED” in it, as well as the dates “2009” and “2010”:

Sole F63 showing discontinued on Amazon URL

 

You don’t get the Sole Fitness warranty

Only a licensed retailer can pass along Sole’s excellent warranty protection — not some third party reseller — since the warranty only applies to the original buyer unless the retailer has a license agreement with Sole Fitness.

And Sole says so right in the owner’s manual of all their products, take a look:

Sole Fitness Warranty Exclusions

 

You’re paying way too much

Those third-party resellers of Sole’s treadmills on Amazon are overcharging buyers by hundreds of dollars compared to what Sole is selling them for on their own site.

This goes for the F63 here and the TT8 reviewed later, down in the 400 lb. capacity section.

Compare the price you see for the Sole F63 on Amazon — currently just under $1500 — to what it’s selling for on Sole’s website here: Sole F63 page.

Last I checked there was around a $500 difference in price.

 

Bottom line: If this treadmill fits what you’re looking for, check the price on Sole’s website before you buy it anywhere else, because that’s likely the cheapest place to get it.

 

green silhouette icon of girl running on treadmill

 

350 lb. weight capacity

350 lb. 

Preview
Top Pick
Horizon Fitness Advanced Training Studio Treadmill
Budget
XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill , Silver
Title
Horizon Fitness Advanced Training Studio Treadmill
XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill , Silver
Motor Horsepower
3.5 CHP
3.0 CHP
Running surface size
22" x 60" running surface
20" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 5Y parts, 2Y labor
Lifetime frame & motor, 2Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
-
Top Pick
Preview
Horizon Fitness Advanced Training Studio Treadmill
Title
Horizon Fitness Advanced Training Studio Treadmill
Motor Horsepower
3.5 CHP
Running surface size
22" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 5Y parts, 2Y labor
Prime?
-
Price
Budget
Preview
XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill , Silver
Title
XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill , Silver
Motor Horsepower
3.0 CHP
Running surface size
20" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 2Y parts, 1Y labor
Prime?
Price

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Comparing the treadmills:

The Horizon Fitness 7.4 (Advanced Training Studio) is currently running $500-600 more than the Xterra TRX3500, so why is that?

* Main Reason #1: 20% stronger motor (3.5 CHP vs. 3.0); as we’ve seen before, that is worth a few hundred dollars.

* Main Reason #2: Better warranty: 1.5 times better on the parts (5 years vs. 2) and twice as good on labor (2 years vs. 1).

* Main Reason #3: Better running deck width (22″ vs. 20″); 22″ is considered a very good width for big people and dedicated runners alike.

* Main Reason #4: Much better electronics console & workout programs: the Horizon 7.4 has streaming app connectivity features, Bluetooth, a heart rate strap, etc., while the Xterra TRX3500 does not.

I think all of those higher quality features easily shows why the Horizon 7.4 treadmill costs more.

 

Horizon Fitness Advanced Studio 7.4

Horizon Fitness Advanced Training Studio Treadmill
  • Connect to your training apps like Zwift or run with streaming fitness classes from Peloton Digital with advanced Bluetooth connectivity and HR...
  • Easily keep pace with your favorite running classes with QuickDial controls and interval keys
  • Powerful, 3.5 CHP Rapid Sync motor has 33% faster speed and incline changes, perfect for interval training
  • Rugged frame built for performance and durability with 22x60" 3-Zone cushioned deck
  • Lifetime frame and motor warranty

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes:

Coincidentally this Horizon Advanced Studio 7.4 model also costs around $600 more than the Horizon T202 treadmill I just reviewed up in the 325 lb. weight capacity section.

Horizon’s Advanced Studio series of treadmills are a definite step up from their “inexpensive but with quality” treadmill line that includes the T202 and T101.

The T101 & T202 is listed by Horizon as their “Get On And Go” treadmills, while the line that the 7.4 is in (with the 7.0 & 7.8) is billed as “Engineered for Streaming Classes”.

I think it’s useful to compare the T202 to this Advanced Studio 7.4, so you can see what Horizon’s building into this treadmill that makes it roughly $600 more expensive.

 

Compared to the Horizon T202, the Advanced Studio 7.4 has:

  • a much stronger motor (3.5 CHP vs. 2.75);
  • streaming classes capability;
  • superior electronics console & better workout programs;
  • double the warranty length for parts & labor;
  • a wider deck (22″ vs. 20″), which is better for runners;
  • better max incline: 15% vs 12%;
  • higher capacity 350 lb. vs. 325.

The 7.4 is also a partially folding treadmill, and after folding has basically the same footprint as the T202.

 

Who this would be great for: The deck and the motor make this a great choice for runners and walkers up to 300 lb., and the warranty is solid enough to possibly take that user capacity up a few pounds as well. The streaming app capability makes the Horizon 7.4 a very good choice for someone who wants the extra motivation and distractions that classes can offer.

 

Xterra Fitness TRX3500

Sale
XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill , Silver
  • Smooth and powerful XTERRA high torque 3.0 HP motor
  • Reader-friendly 6.5” bright blue backlit LCD display – clearly shows program profile, time, speed, pace, distance, calories, incline, and pulse
  • Motivating programs include 30 pre-set, 2 custom, 1 heart rate control, and manual options
  • Handlebar mounted speed and incline controls
  • Built-in Bluetooth connects to FTMS-enabled third party apps like Zwift, Kinomap, Tacx, and more

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes:

Though they both have the same maximum weight capacity of 350 lb., I think it’s pretty easy to see that the Horizon Advanced Studio 7.4 is in a higher class than this Xterra TRX 3500.

After all, the 7.4 is several hundred dollars more expensive.

However this Xterra model is a good inexpensive heavy duty treadmill in its own right. And I also think it makes more sense to compare it to the Horizon T202 because they cost about the same — in the $900-950 range depending on where you’re looking.

 

Xterra TRX3500 vs. Horizon T202

Compared to the T202, this Xterra has:

  • same size running area (20″ x 60″);
  • same footprint in use and when folded:
  • a stronger motor (3.0 CHP vs. 2.75);
  • double the warranty length for the deck & parts (2 years vs. 1);
  • a lot more workout programs;
  • doesn’t have the data export the T202 does;
  • doesn’t have Bluetooth like the T202 does.

(Remember, the T202 doesn’t have any streaming fitness app capability on that Bluetooth, it’s just for stuff like your music or whatever on your devices.)

 

Other minor stuff

* It is another high weight capacity folding treadmill, though none of these fold all the way down like the budget treadmills do. This Xterra TRX3500 actually has a slightly larger folded footprint than the Horizon 7.4 (51″ length vs. 42″).

* Weighs 80 lb. or so less than the 7.4, and 27 lb. more than the T202.

 

Who this would be great for: This is a good inexpensive heavy duty walking treadmill choice for a 300 lb. user, and a good budget choice for runners under 200 lb. as well.

 

red heavy duty treadmill icon

Two other high-quality 350 lb. capacity treadmill options

Besides Sole Fitness, there’s another well-respected and honest fitness equipment manufacturer who has also stopped selling their treadmills on Amazon.

And that is the Salt Lake City, Utah-based company known as LifeSpan Fitness.

They build a high quality commercial treadmill model or two that you see in gyms that last forever, but they also have a few home treadmill models too.

The two home models I’m mentioning here — both with 350 lb. maximum weight capacity — have excellent warranties that include lifetime protection for both frame and motor, 5 years on parts, and either 2 years of in-home labor (for the 5500i) or 1 years’ worth (their 3000i).

 

LifeSpan Fitness Treadmills - heydayDo image copy

 

Here’s a link to LifeSpan’s treadmills page; check out the 5500i or 3000i if you’re interested.

Lifespan 3000i

LifeSpan 3000i folding treadmill - heydayDo image copy

 

 

LifeSpan 5500i Folding Treadmill

LifeSpan Fitness TR5500i Treadmill - heydayDo image copy

 

They typically run a nice sale at least once a year, though I’m not sure if they’re still doing it here post-COVID given some of the fitness equipment shortages that have occurred.

Regarding their sales: besides knocking their treadmills’ prices down a few hundred bucks they’ve also given away extra years of warranty protection for their treadmills’ parts.

 

 

green silhouette icon of girl running on treadmill

 

400 lb. maximum weight capacity

400 lb.

Preview
Top Pick
3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill - Runner’s Marathon Treadmill -...
Silver Medal
SOLE TT8 Light Commercial Non-Folding Treadmill with Incline & Decline...
Title
3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill - Runner’s Marathon Treadmill -...
SOLE TT8 Light Commercial Non-Folding Treadmill with Incline & Decline...
Motor Horsepower
4.0 CHP
4.0 CHP
Running Surface Size
22" x 62" running surface
22" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 10Y parts, 2Y labor
Lifetime frame, deck, & motor; 5Y parts, 2Y labor
Prime?
-
Top Pick
Preview
3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill - Runner’s Marathon Treadmill -...
Title
3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill - Runner’s Marathon Treadmill -...
Motor Horsepower
4.0 CHP
Running Surface Size
22" x 62" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame & motor, 10Y parts, 2Y labor
Prime?
Price
Silver Medal
Preview
SOLE TT8 Light Commercial Non-Folding Treadmill with Incline & Decline...
Title
SOLE TT8 Light Commercial Non-Folding Treadmill with Incline & Decline...
Motor Horsepower
4.0 CHP
Running Surface Size
22" x 60" running surface
Warranty
Lifetime frame, deck, & motor; 5Y parts, 2Y labor
Prime?
-
Price

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Comparing the treadmills:

400 lb. is about the highest weight limit you’ll come across when looking at “home gym”, non-commercial treadmills.

(Sole did introduce a model a few years back with a 450 lb. capacity designed for home use, but they pulled it off the market.)

The 3g Cardio Elite Runner is the most expensive treadmill out of the nine in this review, by several hundred dollars too.

(Remember, don’t believe the price you see on Amazon for the Sole Fitness TT8; that third party reseller over there is overcharging you for it by around $700.)

Currently, the 3g Cardio Elite Runner is going for $3400 on Amazon and $3500 on its own website, while the Sole TT8 is currently selling on the Sole Fitness website for $2500.

So what does the 3g Cardio Elite Runner provide you for that extra $900-$1000 in cost over the price of Sole’s TT8? Let’s see…

 

Compared to the TT8, the 3g Cardio Elite Runner has:

  • a longer running area (62″ vs. 60″);
  • the same motor (4.0 CHP);
  • same max weight capacity (400 lb.);
  • same running deck width (22″);
  • same max incline (15%);
  • same lifetime frame & motor warranty;
  • same 2 years of in-home labor warranty;
  • longer parts warranty (10 years vs. 5);
  • shorter deck warranty (1o years vs. TT8’s lifetime);
  • no decline options compared to 6 on the TT8 (-1% to -6%);
  • no Bluetooth fitness app capability like the TT8 has;
  • less workout programs (8 vs. 10);
  • a much smaller console screen vs. the 10″ screen on the TT8;
  • a longer & higher reputation among runners.

 

3g Cardio Elite Runner

3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill - Runner’s Marathon Treadmill -...
  • 3G Cardio, an Arizona-based company with a combined 50 years of experience in the fitness industry, provides commercial-level quality and superior...
  • Full commercial grade, high-end components equal to what is found on most $6000 treadmills. An oversized 22" x 62" running platform with our Ortho...
  • A heavy-duty, club-rated, high torque 4.0 HP motor powers the 386lb treadmill (84" L x 35.5" W x 58" H). Max user weight 400 lbs. Quick belt speed...
  • All the necessary built-in programs with numerous pre-programmed courses, fitness tests, 1-touch speed (.5 to 12 MPH) and elevation settings (up to...
  • NO MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED with our equipment! Enjoy all your music through the built-in speakers and cool down with our multi-speed fan! Connect to your...

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

My notes:

The high price tag buys you unmatched durability with 400 lb. of user capacity, backed by a best-in-class warranty and reputable company.

It also gets you touch controls to easily change speeds or incline on the fly, and this treadmill does that very smoothly.

It doesn’t however, buy you the ability to stream classes within its console. If you want to connect to a streaming app you’ll have to use your phone or tablet for that.

 

Note: This is not a folding treadmill, since this treadmill is as close to “commercial gym quality” as you’re going to get.

Here is the 3g Cardio Elite Runner promo video:

 

 

Sole Fitness TT8

Sole Fitness TT8 heavy duty treadmill

 

My notes:

I think this is a beast of a treadmill for its price, plus as you’ve seen it goes toe to toe with the industry-leading 3g Cardio Elite Runner.

And the TT8 actually outshines that crowd favorite in a number of areas.

Like the Elite Runner from 3g Cardio, this Sole TT8 costs what it does because:

  • it’s a 400 lb. capacity treadmill built with Grade-A materials & design know-how;
  • it’s backed by a world-class warranty & a proven industry leader in Sole Fitness.

It doesn’t have the streaming classes built into its console because that’s not Sole’s business model like it is for Peloton or NordicTrack’s iFit ($40 per month subscription for that).

Sole put their money into the durability of the TT8 so that it would perform for the heavy user athletes, and for the heavy person who wants to take their fitness & health to a better spot.

 

 

Purple magic book acting as a buyer's guide for heavy duty treadmills

A quick heavy duty treadmill buyer’s guide

Expanding on the points touched on earlier…here’s a short list of what I think are the most important features for you to consider when comparing high weight capacity treadmills against one another.

 

How much can you afford on a heavy duty treadmill?

The best treadmills are much more expensive than cheap treadmills — probably no surprise there — so you should expect to pay for:

  • durability thanks to above average manufacturing;
  • a powerful motor that can handle years of use from a heavy person, or from someone who uses it heavily;
  • an excellent warranty that covers you for years.

Those are all pretty mandatory, since without them you’ll soon be stuck with a crapped-out treadmill that’s outside its short warranty period.

These next two features may not be as critical, but they’re important to many people too:

  • advanced workout program features like Bluetooth connectivity to classes;
  • accurate exercise data from your treadmill’s console.

So keep in mind that great and/or accurate electronics cost a little more than your run-of-the-mill fitness equipment monitors.

 

Treadmill weight capacity

It’s worth repeating the treadmill experts’ advice regarding a user’s weight and the weight limit of any treadmill they’re thinking of buying:

To avoid the likelihood of your treadmill’s motor burning out, look for a treadmill with a maximum weight capacity that is 50 lb. or more higher than your current weight.

 

red treadmill icon

Motor strength measured in CHP

The power of a treadmill motor is best measured in continuous horsepower (aka CHP), not peak horsepower as some manufacturers show you.

Peak HP is always a higher number than continuous horsepower so it looks impressive on paper, but it isn’t a true indicator of a treadmill’s motor strength.

The amount of CHP a heavy duty treadmill has matters because that tells you what its constant power output is.

Since it’s usually heavily used for long periods of time &/or used by a heavy person as well, a treadmill qualifying as a true heavy duty treadmill will certainly have a powerful motor with enough CHP to justify its weight capacity.

Here are those CHP recommendations again:

  • For walking by users over 250 lb.: 2.5 CHP minimum
  • Walking by users over 300 lb.: 3.0 CHP minimum
  • Jogging/running by users over 250 lb.: 3.5 CHP minimum
  • Athletic runners under 200 lb.: 3.0 CHP minimum

 

Calves and sneakers of a man jogging on his home treadmill

Running surface size

(Also listed in manufacturer specs as the running deck or running area.)

Bottom line:

In general for runners (particularly anyone over 5’8″ or so) and for heavy people: the larger the running area is, the more natural your strides will be.

This is obviously a very important factor to insure, since thousands & thousands of unnatural strides per workout add up and can easily lead to one type of repetitive motion injury or another.

 

Broad guidelines on choosing the size of your running surface:

Width

* A minimum width of 20″ is recommended for walking, in particular for a heavy person.

Cheap treadmills almost always have a running/walking area that is much too narrow for a large person to walk normally and should be avoided; track down a solid heavy duty walking treadmill instead.

* 22″ is the ideal running area width for avid competitive runners, but 20″ ought to work for everybody else who’s into running or walking.

 

Length for walkers

* If you are only going to use the treadmill for walking or real slow jogging, 50″ should work as your minimum length.

* If you are tall with a long stride and plan on taking your walking speed up to a brisk level, 55″ is the recommended minimum length for your running surface.

 

Length for runners

Key points to consider:

* Do you plan to run on your treadmill at all, or just use it for walking or slow jogging?

* The running surface length is extremely important for any runner — regardless of their height — if they intend to use a heavy duty treadmill for any sprinting, like in a HIIT/sprint interval training workout or similar.

* If you plan to use your treadmill for running, 55″ ought to be a good length if you are under six feet tall by an inch or two (depending on your top speed stride of course).

* Tall and/or long-striding sprinters need a running surface length of 60″ or more.

 

 

Excellent warranty

Warranty information for the LifeSpan heavy duty treadmills

You will find that all of the best heavy duty treadmills have warranties that are way better, way more customer-friendly than all of the cheaply-made treadmills you’ll come across.

Compare that impressive warranty above for the LifeSpan 5500i mentioned earlier in this article with the warranty of any one of the dozens of inexpensive treadmills for sale on Amazon.

Most of them do not offer lifetime on the frame, and only provide coverage measured in days (usually ninety to one hundred eighty) for everything else, and forget about getting free in-home repairs like LifeSpan offers.

 

In fact, reading a treadmill’s warranty is a great way to instantly know just how much its manufacturer believes in that treadmill’s build quality and chances for longevity.

On the warranty of a high-quality, durable treadmill, you will almost always see the coverage length listed separately for these four areas:

  • frame;
  • motor;
  • parts;
  • and labor.

Sometimes you see where the deck is listed separately; this is sometimes written into the top-quality warranties, where the treadmill company extends your protection of the deck longer than the warranty length for the treadmill’s parts.

And sometimes electronics are listed separately but in reality, they’re just one of the treadmill’s parts too.

 

Roller size: bigger is better

The longevity of the treadmill belt you’ll be walking or running on is based on a few things, and one of them is the size of the rollers used when they built the treadmill.

The rollers under your running surface are what the motor uses to move the belt around and around as you’re using it.

The bigger the rollers are the better, and this is because rollers with a larger diameter don’t spin as much as they would if they were smaller — and this means less wear and tear for your treadmill belt.

 

Tread belt thickness matters too

Like with the rollers, the thicker the tread belt is, the longer it’s likely to last, all else being equal.

 

Heavy duty treadmills FAQ

Here are answers to a few of the more commonly asked questions regarding high weight capacity treadmills.

 

Do I need a treadmill mat?

A well-made exercise equipment mat can protect your floor from your treadmill workouts in a few important ways.

One is by capturing all of the sweat you create during intense workouts, preventing the sweat from landing onto (& working its way into) your carpet or wood floor.

Besides being able to corrode the surfaces it lands on, sweat has bacteria in it that if left to dry on your floor can start to smell funky over time.

A top quality treadmill mat also protects your floor by reducing the effects of your body weight pressing your treadmill’s feet down into your flooring on every step or stride you take.

And a good mat can protect your treadmill too, by keeping carpet fibers or floor dust from getting up into your equipment’s moving parts and causing potentially expensive problems.

I wrote a buyer’s guide and article on the better quality treadmill mats available for both carpet and hardwood floors you can read on heydayDo here.

 

What is the best treadmill for a 300 lb. person?

A good treadmill for a person who weighs three hundred pounds will have a weight capacity of at least 350 lb.

It is important for the longevity of the treadmill’s motor and other moving parts that its capacity is at least 50 lb. higher than the weight of the person using it.

With this extra capacity in mind, excellent treadmill choices for a 300 lb. person include the Horizon Fitness AT7 and the LifeSpan Fitness 5500i, both shown below.

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Man running on LifeSpan Fitness 5500i treadmill

 

Can I use a treadmill if I’m over the weight capacity?

Regular use of a treadmill that has a maximum weight capacity less than the user’s weight could wear out or damage the treadmill.

When a treadmill is assigned a weight limit, it is based in part by the strength of its motor and frame. The strain of excessive weight above its capacity could break it since the person is simply too heavy for that treadmill.

 

What is the weight limit on most treadmills?

The maximum weight capacity on treadmills built for home use varies quite a bit.

A cheap folding treadmill such as those under $500 may have a max weight capacity of as little as 220 lb., while on the upper end a few of those smaller, cheaper treadmills have user weight limits of 300 lb.

The maximum user weight on a well-built heavy duty treadmill can range from 300 lb. up through 400 lb. for models that are designed for someone’s home gym, not for use as a commercial treadmill.

 

Can a treadmill reduce belly fat?

According to a study in the journal “Obesity Research,” treadmill walking can help you lose belly fat, especially if it’s done regularly for at least a couple of hours per week total.

In the study, researchers had participants perform treadmill exercise for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity level of 3 miles per hour on four days out of each week.

They also compared their progress to a group who did abdominal exercises instead of treadmill walking.

When the study concluded, the treadmill exercisers had lost more belly fat overall and reduced more fat around their waists than the ab exercising group.

 

How to lose weight on a treadmill?

Losing weight — belly fat and all — is definitely doable with a home treadmill exercise routine, but there a couple of important things to add to it to really kickstart your results.

It has been suggested by many leading health authorities to supplement your treadmill exercise time with a strength training routine like weight lifting a couple of times per week. (3)

Another suggestion from medical experts is to increase the amount of time each day you’re moving around, by simply sitting around less. (4)

 

 

green silhouette icon of girl running on treadmill

How long should I be on the treadmill to lose weight?

Thirty minutes a day five days a week adds up to 150 minutes for the week, which is the minimum amount of moderate level exercise recommended by the US Dept. of Health and echoed by the American Heart Association.

They also recommend that you lift weights a couple of times per week and try to sit around less than you normally do.

And perhaps obviously, a clean diet that consumes less calories than those you burn each day is mandatory in order to achieve any level of weight loss success.

 

Is walking on the treadmill 30 minutes a day good enough?

One research trial studying losing weight had two groups of inactive overweight people, each exercising a different amount on workout days.

Researchers found that their group that exercised 30 minutes a day lost more weight than the group that exercised 60 minutes per day. (1)

They felt the 30-minute group lost more because they worked harder, due to the shorter amount of exercise time not seeming intimidating. (2)

 

Is it better to walk or run on a treadmill?

While running burns about two times as many calories as walking, that does not mean it is necessarily a better exercise choice for you.

Moderate exercise like brisk walking several times a week can bring important health benefits your way, even if you don’t lose weight as fast as you would if you were running all that time instead.

 

Are treadmills bad for your knees?

A study by Philip Riches, a bio-mechanical researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, determined that the knee could suffer strains or injury if the person was walking or running on the treadmill with no incline. (4)

The solution for avoiding this situation and its discomfort is to set the treadmill on a 2% incline, which he says better mimics the outdoor terrain during normal walking and running.

 

girl on treadmill silhouette icon

 

Wrapping up

Related article here on heydayDo

Heavy Duty Exercise Bikes to 500 lb. Capacity

 

I hope you found this review on high capacity treadmills useful, and that the buyer’s guide on how to find the best heavy duty treadmill for you is helpful too.

I wish you well on your fitness journey.

 

– greg

July 2021

 

 

About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.