Different Types of Treadmills: Compared For Home Use

Purchasing a treadmill for your home gym is one of the most efficient and effective ways to get in shape. Treadmills help to build muscle and burn fat.

Before you purchase your new treadmill, however, you want to understand the various types so you can choose the best option for your home. Our guide will help you narrow down your selection and find the best kind of treadmill for your fitness goals.

There are many different types of treadmills available for homeowners. We break down each type by its features, design, and primary uses. From treadmills based on power sources to treadmills based on usage and design, we have you covered.

Treadmills Based On Power Source

  • Manual Treadmills 
    A manual treadmill is also known as a magnetic treadmill or a non-motorized treadmill. These treadmills do not use a traditional power source. These treadmills are favored by elite athletes and users who prefer a more natural “feel” while running or walking. You have to power the treadmill belt with your body. Each foot strike that you make helps to propel the belt forward. The belt can only go as quickly as you do. There are cheap manual treadmills (under $400-$500but we recommend staying away from these because they tend to be built with inferior materials. Most people who prefer manual treadmills are interested in the more expensive options ($3500 to $10k). These options are made with high-quality materials and come in large sizes for greater strides.
  • Electric Treadmill  
    An electric treadmill, also known as a motorized treadmill, is the most common type of treadmill. These treadmills are what you tend to see at the gym, at the sports store, and in most homeowner's exercise rooms. These treadmills come with a motor, which means that you adjust the speed of your belt by pressing monitor buttons (up to 10/12 mph). You can also increase the angle of the belt to walk uphill at an incline (6-40% of an angle, depending on the specific model). These machines also often come with screens that you can use to customize workouts, choose from pre-programmed workouts, and sometimes even watch TV.
  • Hybrid Treadmills 
    A hybrid treadmill varies depending on the type of hybrid. There are treadmill and elliptical hybrids, treadmill and stationary bike hybrids, and treadmill and stair-climber hybrids. The purpose behind purchasing a hybrid treadmill is to get two machines but for a lower cost because they are bundled together. If you frequently get bored when exercising, then purchasing a hybrid treadmill may be the best way to cut down on that boredom. Two workout options and at a cheaper price point than if you bought both separately. These machines are built for easy transitions, so you won't have to worry about jumping from one workout to the next. Within a minute or two, you’ll be able to jump straight into the new workout routine on the other half of your hybrid machine!
  • Manual Vs Motorized Treadmills 
    Every person has a unique need for working out, and your need will determine whether or not you should choose a manual or motorized treadmill. Most people will choose a motorized treadmill because these treadmills are significantly less expensive than manual treadmills. However, people who prefer the feeling of outdoor walking or outdoor running will prefer a manual treadmill. Elite athletes often prefer manual treadmills because they get a better workout (the belt is muscle-powered), and they like the more organic feel of moving on the device. However, motorized treadmills come with more features and pre-programmed workouts. Motorized treadmills are also more stable and much more affordable.

Treadmills Based On Usage

  • Commercial (Gym Cub) Treadmills  
    A commercial or gym club treadmill was designed to be used by a gym. These treadmills are expensive because they come with higher build materials. They won’t need much maintenance and tend to have additional tech features. They may also have more holding options for tablets or water bottles. Most homeowners choose to purchase a home treadmill, but if you have a big enough budget, then you might appreciate the extra quality that comes with a commercial treadmill. These treadmills are also stronger and come with higher weight limits, so this may be a good option for heavier users or users who want to run with weight vests. The warranties on commercial treadmills also tend to be far greater than those of home treadmills
  • Home Treadmills 
    A home treadmill is a treadmill that was designed for home use. These treadmills are meant to be used by one person or by a small group of people, rather than for hours and hours each day (as a gym treadmill would be used). Home treadmills can do most of the things that a commercial treadmill can do, but they cost significantly less. They are made with slightly lower quality materials, but for most homeowners, this won’t matter. Home treadmills tend to have motors between 1.5 and 2.0 HP, for example, while commercial treadmills can hit up to 7.0 HP. Home treadmills also tend to be smaller so that they can fit better in living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Desk/Under Desk Treadmills 
    A desk treadmill or under desk treadmill is a treadmill that was designed to be used while working. These treadmills are not ideal for homeowners who want to get in an intense workout because it is recommended that you walk on these treadmills (no jogging or running). The treadmill differs from other models in that it doesn't have an upright piece to hold onto, and it doesn't have railings. It also doesn’t have much in the way of a monitor (these treadmills come with small button controls that sit on top of the desk. The idea for these treadmills is that while the user is working, they can walk slowly and increase their daily step count. This is the perfect choice for homeowners who work from home and want to get more steps in throughout the day.
  • Anti-Gravity Treadmill 
    An anti-gravity treadmill is a unique type of treadmill that uses NASA Differential Air Pressure technology to limit the gravitational load on the body while working out. These treadmills are typically seen in facilities for medical issues or athlete training because they allow the body to move with less pain. The body has to be surrounded by an enclosed material so that air pressure can build up inside the material. This material hits at the person’s waist and allows them to move more freely. This type of workout makes it more comfortable for joints and can make the body more flexible. 
  • Medical Treadmills 
    A medical treadmill is a perfect option for homeowners who have severe medical problems that make typical workouts difficult. However, most of the time, a medical treadmill is used by a medical professional to diagnose issues and to work through rehabilitation therapy in person. These treadmills often have additional features such as stress-testing capabilities. These treadmills are costly, and we wouldn't recommend buying one unless you have a long-term disability or medical issue where a specific medical treadmill might help. If you do want to purchase a medical treadmill, we recommend checking with your physical therapist or another medical professional to ensure you get the features you need for your workouts.

Treadmills Based On Their Design

  • Folding Treadmills  
    A folding treadmill is a treadmill that can be folded for easy storage. Most of these models have hinges that allow the running deck to be lifted upward to create more space. This then makes it possible to use the rest of the room. These treadmills are perfect for people who live in small apartments or want to put a treadmill in their living room/main living area. If you do choose a folding treadmill, make sure that you measure the length of the treadmill when it is unfolded (so that you can use it) as well as the length/width when it is folded up (so you know how much space you will be saving).
  • Curved Treadmills 
    A curved treadmill is a treadmill that has a curved base. This means that the belt is run over a curved area. Curved treadmills are not motorized, which means that fitness enthusiasts activate the treadmill by moving it. Each footstrike drives the belt and creates the movement—the faster the footstrike, the faster the belt moves. One of the biggest benefits of using a curved treadmill is that it moves as you do. So, if you slow down, it will slow down. If you speed up, it will speed up. This leads to fewer injuries and can mimic outdoor workouts. These types of treadmills tend to be more expensive, with the prestigious Woodway treadmills costing close to $10,000. Giftedness does have a curved treadmill option for a third of that price.
Types of Treadmills

Benefits Of Using A Treadmill

Using a treadmill comes with numerous health benefits. First, the treadmill is one of the most effective workout machines available on the market. These machines can help you walk, climb, jog, or run for a multipurpose workout.

You can get in easy cardio, HIIT, and sprints. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, working out for just twenty minutes per day, five days a week, can lead to a reduced risk of many health problems, including depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, and premature death.

Treadmills are easy to maintain, only need to be purchased once (no subscription packages), and can be used for many years. If you want to lose weight, prevent disease, build muscle, and boost mood, then a treadmill is a great home exercise machine for you.

Different Types Of Treadmill Workouts

30-Second Split Intervals

This is a simple workout that involves intervals. A 30-second split means that you should walk for 30-seconds, jog for 30-seconds and then repeat. You can do this for as long as you like to create your workout. To make it more challenging, add a third 30-second split that involves sprinting.

Walk The Hills/Run The Flats

If you often get bored and want to mix up your workout, we suggest the walk the hills/run the flats workout. This workout requires choosing a workout program on your treadmill (select one of the hills programs). When you are on the hill component of the workout, set your treadmill at a leisurely walking pace (1.5 to 2.5) and walk. When you are on the flat component of the workout, set your treadmill to running pace (4.0 to 7.0) and run.

HIIT Workouts

One of the more extreme workouts on our list, HIIT workouts is a favorite among high-performing athletes and fitness enthusiasts. A simple HIIT workout (that won’t be easy, challenges abound) is as follows: jog to warm up the muscles for 2-3 minutes, sprint at 90% effort level for 15 seconds, walk for one to two minutes, and then repeat with the 90% sprint. Follow this pattern for 15 to 20 minutes.

Different Types of Treadmills

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What type of treadmills do gyms use?

Most gyms use commercial treadmills. For example, Planet Fitness typically uses Precor commercial treadmills because they have a brand partnership with Precor. Commercial treadmills are built to last and are built for daily, consistent use.

What type of treadmill is best for home use?

The best type of treadmill for home use is the treadmill that fits within your budget, fits within your space, and has the features you need for a great workout. For home use, choose something that can give you variety (lots of workout programs).

What is the best type of treadmill for beginners?

The best type of treadmill for beginners is a motorized treadmill with great, easy-to-use features and a clear LCD screen. Being able to adjust your treadmill for workouts easily and track your activities is important for beginners. 

What are the different types of treadmill belts?

There are three different types of treadmill belts: single-ply, 2-ply, 4-ply/3-ply (most 4-plys count the glue as a layer and 3-plys do not count the glue layer even though they have one, which means they are both the same). The more ply on the belt, the more cushion the belt has and the more comfortable it will be.


Purchasing a treadmill for your home is an excellent way to get in shape and push your body towards a more healthy lifestyle. Consider the space you have available and the type of treadmill you want before making your decision. Our favorite home treadmills guide will show you specific models you can buy.

Last Updated on January 25, 2023

Paul J

Paul J

Paul J is is an ex-professional footballer who has seen a gym or two and is an expert at knowing what is required for home gym setups. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually going for a run in the park or out for coffee.