A low impact treadmill workout is a great form of exercise if you are new to fitness training, or recovering from an injury.
This allows you to maintain your aerobic fitness and flexibility without pain or discomfort.
Buying a low impact treadmill can be a minefield – there are just so many models to choose from, with such a wide range of features.
That’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help!
First, we’ll take a look at the type of treadmill you’ll need for an effective low-impact workout.
Then we’ll tell you about the best models on the market right now, with a closer look at their features and the reasons we recommend them.
Let’s get started!
These are our favorite low impact treadmills:
The 8 Best Low Impact Treadmills in 2023
Features to Look For in a Low Impact Treadmill
Whilst choosing the best low impact treadmills for this guide, we have mainly focussed on those that are ideal for walking rather than running.
This, of course, is because walking is a low-impact activity that’s far less stressful on your joints.
(If you’re looking for a very low-impact machine, you may also want to check out some of our favorite at-home ellipticals).
Here are some other features to consider.
Superior cushioning is essential for a low impact treadmill workout.
Effective shock absorption will protect your joints from stress, making your training session a lot more comfortable and reducing the risk of injury.
The good news is that walking on a treadmill reduces impact quite significantly compared to walking on the road.
This means you will be able to walk comfortably for longer.
Another bonus with a well-cushioned treadmill is that it is likely to run much more quietly—ideal if you like to train when others are sleeping!
If you plan to use your low impact treadmill just for walking, then look for one with a belt at least 50 inches long and between 18 and 20 inches wide.
If you want to use it for running too, then you will need a longer belt to accommodate your stride.
Look for a treadmill with a belt length of at least 55 inches (or 60 inches if you are very tall) and a width of between 20 and 22 inches.
Incline walking is a great way to get your heart rate up without increasing the impact on your joints.
It also calls on a wider range of muscles.
So for a real calorie-burning workout, you might want to look for a model that offers an incline feature (high-end brands have a decline, too, although this can actually be harder on your joints).
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, the incline may have to be adjusted manually, or it may adjust automatically at the touch of a button.
The price affects the incline range, too, with cheaper models generally offering up to 10%. This rises to 20% with more expensive treadmills.
The 9 Best Low Impact Treadmills
Belt Size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Weight capacity: 300 lbs
|Impact-absorbing rubber running deck||Limited warranty|
|12 incline levels||Low console position|
|Easy to store|
With a generous deck size, up to 10% incline, and a max speed that will accommodate anything from walking to running, this is a versatile treadmill suitable for both low and high-impact training.
It comes with a free 30-day trial of the Echelon Premier Membership, giving you access to more than 3,000 fitness classes available 24/7.
But if you prefer not to subscribe once your trial is over, you have 8 programmed workouts to keep you busy, plus a device holder to follow along with 3rd party fitness apps on your tablet.
The main selling point with this model, though, is how compact it is when folded, measuring just over 10 inches high!
The auto-folding feature makes it easy to accomplish this in just 3 steps, whilst the built-in handle and both vertical and horizontal wheels mean you can move it from room to room when you need to.
Deck Size: 49″ x 15.5″, Max Speed: 9 MPH, Weight capacity: 220 lbs
|Soft drop folding mechanism||Low weight capacity|
|9 built-in programs||Cup holders are shallow|
|Easy to set up||Device holder blocks display|
This compact treadmill comes with three manual incline settings, to a maximum of 5%.
Whilst that’s pretty limited, it does give you the opportunity to make your workouts more challenging when you’re ready- and it’s a real bonus at this price point.
The LCD display shows basic metrics like your time, distance, speed, calorie burn, and pulse.
The handrail controls, meanwhile, allow you to start/stop and adjust the speed.
You’ll also find quick speed buttons on the console itself.
Ideal for smaller spaces, this model uses a hydraulic mechanism that makes it both easy and safe to fold and has front-mounted wheels for transportation.
Belt size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Weight capacity: 300 lbs
|Automatic incline||No built-in programs|
|Vibrant 7″ touchscreen|
|Folds for storage|
We were impressed by this high-quality treadmill that feels robust and has some great features, all at a reasonable price.
It uses ISO Flex cushioning to soften the impact of each step and is suitable for low impact walking or gentle runs.
The space-saving design allows you to store it vertically, and it has a pretty small footprint, so it’s ideal if you need something you can push against the wall when your workout is over.
Although there are no programs built-in, you get a 30-day family subscription to iFit included in your purchase.
This gives you access to heaps of live and on-demand workouts, during which your speed and incline are automatically adjusted to suit your terrain or class.
This certainly makes workouts fun and can be very motivating, but will require a monthly subscription going forward.
Belt size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Weight capacity: 300 lbs
|Automatic incline||No touchscreen|
|Ultra-quiet operation||Fan is weak|
|5 built-in programs||Speakers are quiet|
This is one of Horizon’s best-selling treadmills, and that’s probably because it’s just so easy to use!
Sure, it’s lacking a lot of the bells and whistles of pricier models, with no touchscreen or particularly sophisticated tech.
But it does have integrated speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and a device holder, so it’s easy to stream workouts when you want to make your walks more fun!
You can adjust the incline up to 10% with the one-touch buttons, and the entire unit feels sturdy and quiet, which is great if you’re in an apartment or training early in the morning.
Above all, this low impact treadmill is comfortable to use and features Horizon’s 3-Zone variable response cushioning, giving just the right amount of flex and support where needed.
Belt size: 60″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Weight capacity: 300 lbs
|Rotatable 14″ touchscreen||Expensive|
|Incline and decline||Tough to assemble|
|ActivePulse and GoogleMaps technology||Needs a dedicated space|
The pivoting screen on this model is great, as it allows you to follow along with streamed low-impact workouts both on and off the treadmill!
With the high-quality look and feel you expect from NordicTrack, it also has all the cool tech you need to make exercising fun!
This includes ActivePulse, which makes automatic adjustments to speed and incline to maintain your optimal heart rate zone – and compatibility with iFit.
You can also plan your own walking or running routes using Google Maps – a great feature that means you’ll never get bored!
The Flex tread deck is well-cushioned to protect your joints, and you get a -3% decline to a 15% incline, so this a versatile all-round machine for more challenging workouts or to share with other family members.
Belt size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Weight capacity: 275 lbs
|10% motorized incline||No Bluetooth connectivity|
|Folds easily for storage||Max weight lower than other models|
|16 built-in programs|
In a nutshell, you won’t find many treadmills as good as this for under $1,000!
Made by well-known American brand Schwinn Fitness, it has a good size running belt suitable for most users, featuring SoftTrak deck cushioning to take the impact out of every step.
The SoftDrop folding technology is easy to use as it allows the deck to descend slowly, and when you’re done for the day the entire unit is easy to roll out of the way.
You also get integrated heart rate contact grips to monitor your performance, a USB port to keep your devices charged, and an easy-to-read blue backlit LCD display.
Something we really love is that you can place a tablet in the device holder without covering the display – a simple bonus but one that makes a big difference mid-workout!
Belt size: 60″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Weight capacity: 350 lbs
|Powerful motor||No touchscreen|
|Rapid speed/incline changes||Large footprint|
|Includes heart rate chest strap||Heavy to move|
With the highest weight limit of all the treadmills in our guide, this model from Horizon has a full-size deck and a sturdy frame that feels very stable, even at high speeds.
It features 3-Zone Variable cushioning in the deck that makes walking so much more comfortable, yielding on impact to reduce stress but firm enough for a solid toe-off.
This isn’t a treadmill that’s easy to move from room to room, but the deck folds vertically to save space and uses a hydraulic release system to lower it gently when needed.
There are 10 built-in programs to try and a great incline range of up to 15%, so you can make your low-impact walks a lot more challenging.
The 7.4 AT also syncs with a wide range of apps, including Peloton and Zwift for fitness, plus Netflix and Spotify for streaming media.
Belt size: 60″ x 20″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Weight capacity: 325 lbs
|High weight capacity||Very basic tech|
|Excellent cushioning system||Weak, poorly positioned fan|
|Heart rate monitoring strap included|
The Sole F63 is consistently voted the best in its class, and that’s because it’s a well-built, no-frills machine that gets the job done!
Providing plenty of space for taller users, it has an impressive incline of 15% to increase your calorie burn when walking and a quiet motor suitable for jogs and recreational runs, too.
The F63 also features Sole’s patented Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, which feels noticeably comfortable as you train.
The console is basic but easy to use, with old-fashioned tactile buttons to adjust programs, speed, and incline, plus an adjustable device holder that will work well with almost all phones and tablets.
With 10 built-in programs and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can listen to your cardio playlist, you’ll have all you need for a challenging and varied workout!
The Best Low Impact Treadmills: Key Takeaways
A low impact treadmill workout is something that everyone can do and is a great way to maintain fitness, even after an injury.
Using the right treadmill also allows you to adjust your workouts as your fitness progresses, increasing your calorie burn and strengthening your muscles.
We hope you have found this guide useful in selecting the right model and that you are soon enjoying some gentle but effective workouts at home.