There’s nothing that quite beats the excitement of investing in health and fitness products or services. They’re great motivators to help us stay on track, open us up to being able to do more comprehensive workouts and in all they are just a fun way to keep fit and healthy.
If you’ve taken a look online for a treadmill, you’ll know that there are a tonne of different brands to choose from as well as types of treadmills. For example, would you know whether to choose between a manual or electric treadmill — or a higher-end model with both options?
To make things a little less stressful, we’ve taken a look at vast majority of Australia’s leading treadmill brands and their top products to help you decide which model is best for you.
In this article we’ll help you with how to:
Choose a type of treadmill that’s best suited to your workout style.
Find a treadmill that’s the best overall when quality, features and reliability are concerned.
Understand a few important key factors to look at before buying a treadmill for yourself.
As you’ll already know, it’s important for your longevity to get your daily minimum of 30 minutes exercise in and there’s arguably no easier way to do that than with a treadmill. It’s sitting in your home gym waiting for you at all times of the day so there’s not really any excuse not to make use of it.
All that said, it can be a challenge to find a treadmill that’s the best for you and your budget, so we’ve done all of the research for you below. Whether you’re looking for a treadmill for running, walking or recovery we have some information below.
What is a Treadmill?
Essentially a treadmill is a fitness product designed to allow you to run or walk indoors without pacing your home gym’s floor. There’s a belt that loops the core of the treadmill that allows you to run or walk on it at your chosen speed, and there’s often a choice between models with and without arm rests to hang on to as you walk.
As the belt moves, either electronically or manually, you’re forced to keep up with it at your selected pace — making it a great way to keep up with your daily exercise goals.
When it comes to home fitness products, we’re your one stop shop so take a look on our website for some information on other at-home workout products and machines.
The Different Treadmill Types
Electric and Manual Treadmills or Motorised and Magnetic Treadmills
If you’ve noticed online two very different styles of treadmills and not too sure what these are, we’re glad to say that the difference isn’t too complicated to understand.
There are two categories of treadmill, either your motorised/electric models and the manual/magnetic models. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages so you’ll have to be sure which one is right for you before investing in one. More on this below.
The model that requires no power, aside from elbow grease (or knee grease, rather), is the manual treadmill. These are powered entirely by your muscles as you run and push the belt around the treadmill, making it a great option if your home gym doesn’t have any power outlets or you’re looking for an alternative to an electric treadmill.
The downside to the manual treadmills is that there are generally no displays present, so there won’t be any built-in workout plans to follow as you run. However, with an iPad or an iPhone you can quickly and easily throw a workout video on your display to keep you motivated as you run.
These models on the other hand are powered by an electric motor in the core of the treadmill which will move the belt for you. You’ll then just have to walk along the belt at your chosen pace. These models do have a few more features like adjustable speeds and the displays and workout programmes like the ones we mentioned above.
It’s good to note that a few of the features like displays and dynamic workout programs are only available on more high-end models, though budget options will still feature multiple pace options and sometimes incline control too.
For Runners or Athletes
If you’re a runner or competitive athlete looking to keep up your training at home, the manual treadmill with a curved belt is your top option here. Flatbed manual treadmills aren’t able to offer enough stride distance, so you’ll be severely limited when it comes to cadence control and stride length.
All other runners, walkers and casual fitness enthusiasts should be okay with flatbed manual options or an electric treadmill.
If you’re just here to get the best treadmill in Australia and not too concerned with understanding how these models affect your fitness programme, take a look at our final list below.
Manual | Assault Fitness AirRunner Manual Treadmill — 158.8 kg max
Electric | Lifespan Pursuit Treadmill 2 — 130kg max
Electric | Endurance Bondi Treadmill — 120kg max
Electric | Freeform Cardio F60 Treadmill — 150kg max
Electric | Freeform Cardio F40 Treadmill — 140kg max
Electric | Freeform Cardio F4000 Treadmill — 260kg max
Electric | Freeform Cardio F80 Treadmill — 260kg max
All of these treadmills we’ve outlined above are ideal for runners of all strengths, with the Endurance Bondi Treadmill being the most ideal for seniors with a slow 8km/h top speed and the Freeform Cardio F4000 Treadmill being the more high-end option with a 20km/h top speed for avid runners.
Considering and Elliptical vs Treadmill
To keep things short, treadmill and ellipticals work incredibly similarly in that they are both designed to mimic the movement and stride of runners when out in the ‘real world.’ There is a different mechanism at play here, which means a treadmill may be better for some, and elliptical better for others.
We would suggest an elliptical well above a treadmill if you’re in rehab from an injury, particularly in the lower legs. An elliptical is a lower-impact machine, which means in each stride you’re less likely to re-injure and more able to rehab the damaged muscles.
Ellipticals are also good for dynamic workouts too, as they’re able to target the upper body at the same time as the lower. That said, if you’re looking to hit more than just your legs in a workout, an elliptical might be for you.
In comparison, treadmills are your ‘set and forget’ type of machine. You can just switch it on, get right on and start going. There’s not really a learning curve here, nor is there a difficulty in understanding how the machine works.
If you’re a distance runner or a sprinter, for example, there’s nothing that beats a treadmill for training. You’re able to slowly increase your speed, adjust the incline to prepare for those hills on your runs and work on upping your intensity in time — something that is a lot harder to do on an elliptical.
Here’s How We Chose the Best Treadmill
And how you can too.
Some Quick Keywords:
- Programs – workouts included with the treadmill
- Display – the control panel or LCD space at the front of the treadmill
- Incline – the angle of the belt
Manual – the treadmill powered by your movement
- Motorised – the treadmill powered by an electric motor
- Belt – the conveyor or surface you walk or run on
Brand Considerations — and New or Used
To start our comparisons we looked at the best treadmill brands in Australia and determined which offered the most comprehensive solution. On top of this, reliability and durable reviews should also be factored in when selecting a treadmill brand, so we took a look at customer mentions online to figure out how well a treadmill worked out in real life testing.
You could also go the pre-owned route, though just remember to understand what you’re getting into. It’s good to know the entire history and use case of the machine as well as look for any left over warranties or guarantees. You don’t want to be stuck down the line with a treadmill that’s become unusable in a few weeks.
The Top Considerations
To start things off, we would suggest having an idea in your mind about how powerful you’ll want your treadmill to be. The higher the horsepower, the larger the engine and the more dynamic your workouts can be.
When it comes time to add sprints into your runs, or to finish off a solid jog with a fast-paced run, you’ll want to be able to rest assured that your treadmill has your back with enough horsepower to really get you there.
As many runners will know, all of our stride sizes are different — even if we’re similar in height. This has to be a big factor in choosing your treadmill as you’ll want the freedom to actually ‘run’ on your treadmill rather than suffer through a restricted half jog/sprint that leaves you with sore hips and muscle strains.
Mentioned above, a curved belt manual treadmill is a good idea if you’re looking to really get into running and keep your performance at a high.
In all, shorter customers should be fine with a small belt so long as your stride is small too, however, taller runners or those with large stride lengths should absolutely choose a treadmill that’s designed for their length of stride.
Extra Programs and Motivation
If you have the budget for a higher end model, programs and motivational content is a must-have. A vast majority of treadmills that come with displays will feature some sort of workout program selection included, so be sure to head this route if that’s something you’re looking for.
On top of this, treadmills that do feature these programs will also offer a more dynamic machine. For example, incline control, stride length measurements and other additions might be included to help you succeed in the HIIT workouts included with the treadmill.
Again, if you own an iPad or an iPhone (as we’re sure you do) you can offset this feature with some workout subscriptions on YouTube, Apple Fitness+ or the App Store.
A minor feature, though one that should certainly be considered if you’re prone to peroneal injuries or tibulous strains is shock absorption in the belt of the treadmill. If you’re running hard and fast without a good shock absorbing shoe you’re forcing a lot of weight and pressure into your calves and ankles — a recipe for injury.
With a shock absorbing belt, you’re able to relieve some of this strain and run on a more routine basis without risk of overuse injuries.
Durability of Frame
A treadmill is more than just it’s belt, of course, and it’s imperative to choose a durable and higher-end build to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Some of the features we suggest you be on the lookout for are powder coating, chip-resistance and more.
Keep in mind that a durable frame is going to look better for longer, and this means that you’re going to have a better chance at resale should you choose to sell your treadmill down the line.
A Heart Rate Sensor
If you’re not equipped with an Apple Watch, a heart rate sensor is another must-have. This will give you some direct insight into how you’re faring from a fitness level standpoint. If you’re looking to run at 70% of your heart rate, for example, a heart rate sensor is the easiest way to gauge this to improve your aerobic performance.
All treadmills should have these features, however, we will still mention them to make sure you’re buying into a safe model.
An imperative factor is making sure the belt stops should something happen, and you do this with an emergency key stop. These keys are attached to the treadmill as you run, and if pulled out the emergency stop kicks in.
The Overall Footprint of the Treadmill
It’s not a good idea to choose a treadmill that’s too big for your home gym, so be sure to take a look at the size guide on the website of the treadmill you’re looking to buy and measure it against the room you’re looking to place it in.
Keep in mind that a lot of space around the treadmill is a must as well. You don’t want to be happily jogging along and then find there’s no space to extend your arms as you run.
Better to Run Outside or on a Treadmill?
Before we get into the best treadmills, we want to take a short look at the differences between running on a treadmill and outside. As you will agree, outside running is a lot more interactive and stimulating, but is it any better for you?
In a sense, yes. Running in the great outdoors will burn more calories in that you’re activating more muscle and through such a diverse set of inclines and declines, you’re always kept on your toes.
However, a treadmill is still a fantastic way to build your cardiovascular endurance and keep up your fitness level should you not wish to head out for a cross country run.
The Best Treadmills in Australia
Now you’ve got a good idea about the perks of a treadmill and what it can bring to your home gym, we have a great look at all of the best treadmills available in Australia in 2020.
Take a look below.
The Assault Fitness AirRunner
Kicking off the list, our all-round winner is The Assault Fitness AirRunner for it’s fantastic manual operation.
It’s a treadmill designed to help you get the most out of your run and burn the most calories per workout, and you can adjust the speed (or the resistance) of the belt as you please so you can really give yourself a great workout.
Designed for high intensity workouts, the Assault Fitness AirRunner is a great companion for those looking to get into their HIIT workouts and keep their heart rate as high as possible for as long as possible.
Stats show us that you’re able to burn upwards of 30 per cent more calories on this treadmill than a motorised counterpart.
When it comes to quality, the AirRunner is designed with top quality materials and is sure to last for years to come without showing any sign of wear and tear.
Beginners vs Athletes
We’re glad to say this treadmill is well-suited to both beginners and athletes as these boast an ease of control that enables low resistance and high resistance. If you want a more difficult run, or to push your aerobic capacity, there’s an option for you. However, when a more relaxed recovery run is on the cards, you’re covered too.
Beginners may find a minor learning curve if you’re not too used to running on a manual belt, though it shouldn’t take too long to get the hang of it.
- Powder-coated Frame
- Corrosion Resistant
- Non-slip Belt
- Rated for 241,000km
- Designed for HIIT Workouts
- Supports Good Form and Stride Length
The Freeform Cardio F4000
With a fantastic design, the motorised Freeform Cardio F4000 is coming in clutch with an 8 horsepower motor — which offers far more grunt than you’ll likely ever need. However, it’s good to have when you’re getting the end of a run and really want to burn off that last bit of energy.
If you have the space, we’re happy to say that the Freeform Cardio might be the best electric treadmill available for Australians today. It’s got a running area that’s designed to be oversized to ensure proper form, has a massive 18-level incline range and an 18 inch display to make sure you’re kept updated with your workout.
You’ll find 28 programs here too, so staying motivated and getting a real sweat on won’t be too difficult at all.
Of course the F4000 is a fantastic treadmill for our beginner readers, however, our athletes and competitive runners will be glad to note that it’s an amazing option for them too. It’s got some serious grunt, a great running surface and a motor that’s ultra-quiet to keep you focused more on running and less on who you’re annoying in the house.
- An Oversized Running Surface
- OrthoTred Belt to Reduced Impact-related Injuries
- An 18.5” Touch Display
- Built-in YouTube
- A Freemix Acoustics Sound System
- Emergency Brake Clip
The Freeform Cardio F80
Another model from the Freeform brad, the Cardio F80 is the ideal treadmill for those in apartments with a spare bedroom or a smaller home. They’re the more compact of the bunch and fold up when not in use, great for space saving storage.
There’s a powerful motor here pushing the maximum speed of the treadmill toward that 20km/h sweet spot and, again, folding 90 degrees is a big plus.
To push the F80 even further, it’s a top treadmill loved by many that also just so happens to be designed explicitly for use in the home. That said, if you’re still undecided or worried about whether a treadmill will compromise on features for a reduced size, the F80 will leave you surprised.
With a large running area and a 3 horsepower motor and a few preset programs to choose from, it’s really the perfect all-rounder for smaller rooms.
- The OrthoTread Belt for Reduced Impact
- FreeFlex Cushioning to Improve Running Performance
- Self-assisted Folding Tech to Store Easier
- Built-in Sound System
- Commercial-grade 3 Horsepower Engine
Freeform Cardio F60
A small step down from the more feature-packed F80, the Freeform Cardio F60 is the winner if you’re looking for a no-frills and manoeuvrable treadmill with wheels that can be stored ultra-easily.
You can get your cardio in and pack it up in a few minutes if you don’t have a dedicated home workout space, which a lot of Aussies don’t have the luck of having. Like the F80 there’s near-vertical storage when you fold up the F60 so you’re not losing too much floor space with the treadmill.
A winning perk here is the treadmill’s great 2.5 horsepower engine and 18km/h top speed, which is fantastic for a treadmill so small. There’s also the famous OrthoTred belt here as well as insulation for reduced noise.
- A 2.5HP Motor
- Speeds up to 18km/h
- The Famous 2ply OrthoTred Belt for Reduced Impact
- A Foldable Design for Easy Storage
- A Device Holder for Workout Motivation and a Sound System
Freeform Cardio F40 Treadmill
Two steps down from the F80, the F40 is again a great starter treadmill for anyone looking to get the absolute most out of their small home workout spaces.
Suppose you’re a serious runner, just a casual jogger, or not sure yet. In either case, the Freeform Cardio F40 is an ideal solution for you as the treadmill still features an excellent 2.25 horsepower motor along with wide enough belt to get stride length just right.
We will say that the compact size of this treadmill is encroaching on function just a tad, with the thinner belt being the bottleneck here.
In all, if you’re looking for a way to keep fit at home without needing to take to the footpath, the F40 is the winner. It’s affordable, compact, engineered for both casual and serious runners alike and its 16km/h max speed is ideal for all runners.
- 2.25 HP Motor
- A 16km/h Max Speed
- Well-insulated Motor for Reduced Noise
- The OrthoTred Belt to Reduce Impact
- A Folding Design for Easy Storage
Quick Mention — Endurance Bondi Treadmill
With the Freefrom treadmills and the Assault Fitness AirRunner out of the way, our honourable mention goes to the Endurance Bondi Treadmill for its affordability and ultra-simple feature set and design.
For the starter runner or anyone who wants a backup machine for those days when running outdoors isn’t an option, the Bondi Treadmill has your back. It’s an ultra-compact treadmill, hits a maximum speed of 8km/h and is ideal for slower jogs, and recovery runs as well as rehabbing injuries.
The design is slim enough to slide under a bed or stand up in a wad rive and doesn’t need to be assembled. It’s ready right out of the box.
As you can see above, treadmills are a fantastic way to keep fit and healthy from the comfort of your own home. A lot has changed from treadmills of a decade or two ago, and there are more injury-prevention technologies and features to keep you motivated when working out.
Whether you’re looking to start your day off with a jog or warm up in your living before hitting the riverside trails, a treadmill is the ultimate fitness partner when it comes to increasing your cardiovascular endurance and keeping fit.
And best of all, there’s no excuse when it’s sitting right there in your home gym or living room waiting for you.