We often forget: One of the simplest, easiest and and safest forms of exercise is one we do every day — walking. Granted, stepping out to get the mail won’t burn fat quite like cycling, running, strength training, or other popular forms of exercise. But studies show that even 30 minutes of brisk walking can burn more than 100 calories, even more if you add weight, opt for tougher terrain and increase your speed. Taking a stroll provides numerous other benefits, too, like a healthier heart, decreased blood sugar and enhanced creativity.
Aside from being a form of exercise, walking is kind of just part of being a healthy, active adult. Older studies told us that 10,000 steps was the magic number to hit every day, though more recent research reveals that might be more marketing gimmick than actual science. Either way, walking every day is key.
And while those aforementioned forms of exercise might be effective at burning calories, high-impact running and heavy weightlifting also come with injury risks.
So if you’re a casual athlete or someone with mobility or joint issues, walking provides exercise in a safe, low-intensity environment. Sometimes, though, taking a walk outside isn’t ideal. If you live in an area with cold winters or humid, sweltering summers, your seasonal window for comfortable walking might be small. That’s where walking treadmills come in.
Though you can definitely hop on a regular running treadmill to get a good walking workout in, the best walking treadmills don’t require the size or intense motors of a standard treadmill, and for that reason are generally smaller, more portable, slower and cheaper. These aren’t bad things — they just represent the different features needed for walking vs. running. Most running treadmills, for example, max out around 12 MPH, while it’s common for a walking treadmill to stop between 4-7 MPH. If you’re looking for a more all-purpose treadmill, we just reviewed the best treadmills of 2021. And if you want a treadmill that’s specifically designed for the workplace (as so many folks do) we’ve also covered the best treadmill desks as well. Many of the best walking treadmills listed below will work great under your desk, for what it’s worth.
When shopping for walking treadmills, you’ll primarily want to consider price and features. Are you looking to make a serious investment here or just try your hand (or feet, technically) at walking on a treadmill? Do you want something incredibly simple, or do you like fitness products with all kinds of gadgets and tech integration? It’s also important to consider the warranty on each product, as some are kinder than others. Lastly, make sure you’re taking good care of your walking treadmill. All treadmills should be lubricated every few months to ensure they’re (literally and figuratively) running smoothly.
1. Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
This walking treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness pretty much checks all the boxes. It’s portable, with wheels and a folding design that makes it easy to move and store. It has some of the key features of a regular treadmill, like an emergency stop clip, handrails, device holder and LCD. The speed ranges from 0.5 to 9 MPH and has adjustable incline capabilities for increased difficulty. Sunny Health & Fitness offers a three-year warranty on the structural frame and 180 days on the other components. This walking treadmill even comes in pink, if that’s your thing.
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
2. Rhythm Fun Walking Treadmill
This walking treadmill does without the handrails and eye-level displays. If you want the support of those handrails or like seeing your stats up close, RHYTHM FUN’s treadmill might not be for you. But from a pure design perspective, eliminating those bulky handrails and display units makes this treadmill a whole hell of a lot sleeker and stylish. It still features an LED display but instead places it at your feet. Need to control the functions or speed (which tops out at 3.7 MPH, by the way)? No problem. It comes with a remote control and a Bluetooth app. It’s compact and portable, making it easy to store and the perfect design to place under a standing desk. All in all, it’s a more contemporary look, one that wouldn’t be an eyesore at home.
Rhythm Fun Walking Treadmill
3. Goplus Folding Walking Treadmill
Sometimes you want the best of both worlds. This two-in-one treadmill has a retractable riser, which you can engage for the functions of a standard treadmill or remove for a true walking treadmill experience. The treadmill’s speed function reinforces this, as it won’t let you go past a certain speed when the bar is down (walking mode). And while we’re talking about speed, reviewers note that this treadmill’s speed increments aren’t consistent with those you’d see on your treadmill at a gym. The max speed feels like about 4.5 MPH, according to one reviewer. We should note, too, that the riser isn’t collapsable. To attach or remove, you actually have to reinstall the piece each time. This is a versatile option, but not a convenient one, but the built-in Bluetooth speaker at least gives you something to listen to while switching out the handrail.
Golpus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill
4. LifeSpanFitness Treadmill Desk (Base Only)
BEST TREADMILL DESK
Since walking treadmills are so often used as mid-work exercise tools, tucked beneath standing desks, we might as well mention the best one you can buy — LifeSpanFitness’s treadmill desk. You can actually purchase the treadmill base without the desk component, though, meaning LifeSpan’s excellent option deserves a place on this list. The various options are constructed and priced based on how much you walk. We’ve linked to the base option below, which has a weight limit of 215 pounds and a daily use cap of three hours. Aside from the sleek design, LifeSpan’s treadmills are built for offices, so they’re quiet as can be.
LifeSpan Treadmill Desk Base
5. Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
No motor? No problem. Sunny Health & Fitness cracks our list of the best walking treadmills again, this time with a completely manual option. Instead of using a motor to spin the treadmill belt, this one simply moves as you walk. This makes the design much more compact and lightweight and cuts down on price as well. The incline is fixed, but this walking treadmill does boast an LED monitor, which displays time, speed, distance and calories. It’s a no-frills choice and is a great low-cost first step in your walking treadmill journey.
Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
6. NordicTrack Commercial 2950
Alright, as long as we’re talking treadmills, we might as well bring in one standard treadmill as well. The NordicTrack Commercial 2950, a SPY favorite, is one of the best on the market. It does have all the bells and whistles of a high-end treadmill — including a 22″ HD touchscreen, WiFi capabilities and Bluetooth headphone connectivity — but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a walking treadmill. With a speed range of 0-12 MPH, you can definitely still get a great walking workout in. And like most NordicTrack products, the 2950 comes with a one-month free subscription to iFIT, a popular digital fitness training app. The price tag is steep, but thankfully NordicTrack offers financing options.
NordicTrack Commercial 2950
7. UMAY Portable Treadmill
At 64 pounds, this is one of the lightest walking treadmills out there, and its 54-inch length makes it easy and convenient to store under a sofa when you’re done. Like other options, it features a minimalist LED display for time, distance, speed and calories. The speed maxes out at 4 MPH, which you can control with a handheld remote or with UMAY’s SPAX fitness app.
UMAY Portable Treadmill
8. UREVO Foldable Treadmill
UREVO’s treadmill is another great option on the walking treadmill market. We love the powder-coated steel design, which adds some sweet industrial flare. Aside from the aesthetics, though, this walking treadmill has all the features you need — a compact and foldable design, speeds up to 7.5 MPH and a simple and easy-to-use LED display. It also includes 12 built-in training programs to mirror natural terrain, so you can still get a dynamic workout in the comfort of your own home.