The motor is the heart of your treadmill. So you want to strong motor that can power the belt with ease. The harder you’re planning on working your treadmill, the stronger your motor needs to be.
Look for at least a 3.0 HP motor or more here – and make sure it’s covered by a good motor warranty (25 years up to a lifetime).
User Weight Capacity
The User Weight Capacity can tell you a lot about the stability of a treadmill. For example, cheaper treadmills usually come with a 250 – 275 pound user weight capacity.
While that sounds pretty good, I personally wouldn’t recommend these treadmills for a 250 or even 200 pound person. They can still be pretty flimsy since these are the lowest user weight capacities you usually find on the market.
If you’re 200 pounds or more, you really should be looking for a 350 – 400 lb user weight capacity (400 pounds is ideal). That means that it’s a lot more solid and stable than the 250 pound user weight capacity treadmill. It’s built to take more stress on the belt and deck without giving you any problems.
If you’re over 300 pounds, you’ll probably want to look at a treadmill with a 500 pound user weight capacity. These are harder to find – but you can usually find a health club brand like a Star Trac or Landice which can suit you.
There are different treadmill brands for different markets. For example, some brands are known for making economy, starter treadmills that should only be used for occasional walking.
Other brands focus on making runner-grade, solid, built-like-a-truck treadmills that are excellent for heavier users.
These also have the kind of cushioning you’ll need to protect your joints as you walk.
What are some good brands?
I like some of the higher end Nordictrack models – especially their “Commercial” series like the 2950 or the 2450 or their incline trainers like the X11 or X9i (not their starter models under $1000).
The Sole F85 is also a decent treadmill with tough construction and a beefy motor.
Any of the Precor and Lifefitness treadmills are also great in this category as well – although these are more commercial and can be quite expensive ($3000 and up).
And again, if you’re over 300 pounds, you may want to look at a Commercial Star Trac or Landice.
So to summarize, if you’re looking for the best treadmill for heavy people, you want a treadmill with a super-strong motor, high 400 lb user weight capacity and a solid brand behind you.
Take your time, don’t let any salesperson rush you and go with a model you really like. The great thing about all of your options today is that you are in the driver’s seat.