15 Best Treadmills for Bad Knees In 2023
What is the Best Treadmills for Bad Knees? Aerobic exercise is essential for everyone. It improves performance and cardiovascular health, as well as improves your sleep, and helps build stronger bones. These are benefits that everyone needs, especially those that are already prone to health problems, like the elderly.
Sadly, those with poor knees may have problems achieving a substantial level of cardiovascular health without further harming their knees.
Luckily, there is a way to keep your knees healthy while also achieving cardiovascular health. For instance, there are many treadmills that are specifically designed with extra cushioning to be easier for your joints. These treadmills for bad knees are perfect for seniors and others that already have poor knee joints.
15 Best Treadmills for Bad Knees
1. NordicTrack T Series 5-inch Display Treadmill – Best Overall Treadmill for Bad Knees
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NordicTrack makes a wide variety of treadmills, but they are universally known as some of the best treadmills on the market. For this reason, we highly recommend them for just about any purpose, including for those with bad knees.
This particular treadmill comes in two different types: one with a five-inch display and one with a ten-inch display. Unless having one with a huge display is particularly vital to you, then we recommend the cheaper five-inch display option.
This treadmill has a 300-pound user capacity and is protected under a variety of warranties, including a 10-year frame warranty and a 2-year parts warranty.
It has a maximum speed of 10 mph and 10% incline, which can be controlled easily on the screen. It is also compatible with iFit, which is a workout program that allows you to stream live and recorded workouts. A trainer can even connect to your treadmill to control the speed and incline.
The SMART-Response motor adjusts its output to ensure an even speed. The deck itself features plenty of cushioning, which is essential for those that are already struggling with joint problems.
2. NordicTrack T-Series 10-inch Screen Treadmill – Best for Streaming Workouts
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For those that are looking to stream videos and workouts, then you may want the T-Series NordicTrack treadmill with a larger screen. Practically speaking, this doesn’t have many uses – unless you’re constantly streaming workouts. Those with vision problems may also benefit from the larger screen.
However, this treadmill is extremely expensive, largely due to the massive display. Therefore, this is only great for those that are actually going to use this display regularly. Otherwise, it can be a big waste of money.
Beyond the bigger display, this treadmill has many of the same treadmill features as the one with the smaller screen. For instance, it includes a cushioned deck. It also has a maximum speed of 10 MPH and an incline of 10%.
It does come with a 30-day iFit membership. However, since you are paying for the larger screen, it is highly recommended that you continue to pay for the membership or you may not make the most of this treadmill.
3. Rhythm Fun Under Desk Treadmill – Best Under Desk Treadmill
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Under the desk, treadmills can be useful for a variety of reasons. If you have limited space, then they are often very easy to store. Plus, if they can also be used underneath a standing desk, as their name suggests. For those who want to walk while they are working, this can be extremely useful.
This particular treadmill features a sensing light that can tell where your feet are. Therefore, if you slip or fall off, the treadmill will notice and turn off. You can also control the speed of the treadmill simply by speeding up. Once your feet get closer to the sensor, the treadmill belt will speed up as well.
Of course, you can also use the remote to control the speed of the treadmill – just like you would with any other treadmill out there.
Without the handrail attached, this treadmill can be used for walking only (for safety purposes). However, with the handlebar, the machine can go up to 5.5 MPH. While this isn’t as fast as other treadmills out there, it may still work for many participants.
4. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill – Best Folding Treadmill
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Folding treadmills are perfect for those with little space. If you don’t have enough room to dedicate to a permanent treadmill, then you should consider utilizing a folding treadmill instead, which will allow you to easily store it away when you aren’t using it.
This treadmill by XTERRA may be a bit more expensive, but its features make it absolutely worth it for those that will take advantage of them.
With 12 preset workout programs, this treadmill can help you start working out right away. It features a five-inch LCD screen that allows you to easily adjust your workout intensity and view your speed, incline, time, and distance.
You can easily pull the knob on the side of the treadmill to release the deck and fold it back for easy storage.
5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Walking Treadmill – Best Compact Treadmill
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This smaller treadmill is a good idea for those fighting with smaller spaces. It is much smaller than many of the other options on this list, which really makes it better for those only looking to walk. The surface is not very side at the least, which means that it really isn’t suitable for running.
This LCD screen provides information about your fitness metrics, such as the distance traveled and the calories burned.
This treadmill is completely manual, which means that it does not require electricity to work. However, it also is a bit harder to walk on than an electric treadmill, since the belt relies on the strength of your stride to move the belt.
The surface is completely non-slip to allow for easier use.
6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 – Best Treadmill for Inclining
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This treadmill is a slightly fancier option of Sunny Health’s other treadmills. It is completely automatic and features 12 different incline levels, which is more than most other treadmills at this price point. If you want to increase your workout intensity, then all of these incline levels may be a great decision for you.
The speed range is 1 – 8 miles per hour, which should fit most user’s needs. It has three countdown modes as well, including time, speed, and calories. Therefore, if you are trying to reach a specific level of any of these metrics.
This treadmill does have Bluetooth connectivity, though it can also be used alongside a cord. It easily folds for storage with transportation wheels for easy transport.
7. Best Choice Products Folding Treadmill with Manual Incline – Best Budget Electric Treadmill
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If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side, you may want to check out this treadmill. It is completely electric, unlike most budget treadmills.
This treadmill also comes with multiple incline levels, though setting these levels is completely manual. In this way, you can easily adjust the difficulty as necessary.
With wireless speakers and a device holder, you can play your favorite music while exercising. An LCD screen also allows you to view your workout metrics while you’re exercising. You can also select from 12 present workout programs, which are most suitable for those that are new to exercising.
The running belt is designed to be shock-absorbing, allowing you to save your bad knees and workout quietly. Plus, the whole thing is foldable and can be stored away very easily.
8.NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill – Best High-End Treadmill
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For those with a bit of extra money to spend, you may be interested in this premium treadmill by NordicTrack. It is quite more expensive than other options out there. However, if you’re truly looking for a high-end treadmill, then this extra cost may be more than worth it.
This treadmill comes with a relatively large screen, where you can stream workout programs and keep track of all your exercise metrics. For streaming purposes, this treadmill comes with a 30-day iFit membership, which allows you to stream studio classes and global workouts.
Plus, this treadmill can also be inclined from -3 to 15%, allowing it to increase and decrease in workout intensity as necessary. With a 300-pound weight capacity and 10-year frame warranty, this treadmill just has more when compared to other treadmills.And we recommend this and think it is best treadmill for heavy people.
9. NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Treadmill – Best High Weight Capacity
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With a higher weight capacity than most other treadmills on the market, this one may be a great option for those with bad knees that also happen to weigh a bit more. You don’t want to use a treadmill that is not designed to support you. If you do, there is a higher possibility of shortening its lifespan and making maintenance more time-consuming and expensive.
This treadmill has a weight capacity of 300-pounds. It also features things like an 22″ touchscreen display, which allows you to be immersed in-studio class and workout programs. The motor is designed to respond to your weight and speed changes, allowing it to maintain a steady speed throughout your workout.
It folds up and can be stored in a decently small area. It also includes a specially designed belt that is extremely cushioned and designed to reduce joint impact.
This treadmill is protected by a 10-year warranty on the frame, as well as a 2-year warranty on parts and a 1-year warranty for labor.
10. Advenor Treadmill – Best for Workout Programs
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Compared to other treadmills, this one has many different workout programs. In fact, it has 64 different programs in all, as well as 8 different modes and 8 different intensities.
This treadmill is designed to provide prolonged speeds of up to 14 km/h without much notice. However, it can go as slow as 1 km/h. Therefore, it is a good option for those with varying exercise abilities.
There are shock cushions underneath the deck, preventing joint damage while you’re working out.
The foldable design is perfect for smaller spaces and situations that don’t allow for the permanent installation of a treadmill.
11.XTERRA Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill – Best Treadmill with Powerful Motor
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With a 3.0 HP motor, this treadmill has a more powerful motor than most of the treadmills out there. Therefore, it is a better option for those that need a more powerful motor for one reason or another.
The backlit screen is 6.5-inches long and can keep track of a variety of metrics, including time, speed, pace, and distance. It also comes with 30 different programs so that you can start working out right away. It also comes with a heart rate control and many manual options.
The built-in Bluetooth connects to a variety of third-party apps, allowing you to use it alongside your favorite programs.
12. Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill – Best 2-in-1 Treadmill
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If you need a treadmill that can perform multiple functions, you may want to take a look at this one. It can be used without the handles as a walking treadmill, making it a great option for those that need something to put underneath their desk. When used in this manner, you can easily adjust the speed to the appropriate setting with the remote control and app.
However, you can also attach the handlebars, which increases the treadmill’s top speed by quite a bit. Therefore, it can also be used as a jogging treadmill.
We easily consider this to be the best treadmill for bad knees if you’re looking for something that can be used for both walking and jogging.
The motor is pretty powerful at 2.25 HP. It is extremely quiet, though, making it a suitable option for home and office use.
The running belt is non-slip and padded. Compared to other options out there, the running belt is also larger.
13. OMA Treadmills for Home 5108EB – Best for Beginners
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For those that are new to treadmills, you may want to consider using this one. It has 36 separate workout programs that are a great option for those that don’t really know where to start. These programs should allow you to start working out right away, even if you have no previous knowledge or experience.
There are three different LCD screens that allow you to run these programs and keep track of important metrics.
The motor can last for at least an hour of constant running, which is far more than the recommended duration for using a treadmill. The treadmill is also made of commercial steel, allowing it to last for a very long time. It can support up to 300 pounds easily.
14. UREVO Foldable Treadmill for Home – best Compact Treadmill
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Not everyone has lots of space in their home for a treadmill. Therefore, you sometimes need a compact treadmill that will fit into smaller areas. If this describes you, then this treadmill is easily one of your better options.
It comes with 12 different set programs, allowing you to start working out as soon as you receive it. It comes with a 2.5 HP motor, which is more than powerful enough for the vast majority of uses out there.
This treadmill belt is larger than most, but it isn’t exactly the largest either. You couldn’t make it terribly large, or you’d ruin the point of having a smaller treadmill. The belt is anti-slip and padded, making it a good option for those with bad knees.
The speed range is between 0.5 to 7.5 MPH. It is also designed to hold at least 260 pounds. The folding simple is pretty easy and straightforward, allowing you to easily put it away as necessary.
15. RHYTHM Fun 4.0 HP Electric Treadmill – Best Screen
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If you’re looking for a treadmill with a large screen, then you can’t really beat this one. The screen is the size of the treadmill itself, making it a great option for those that like to stream workouts.
The belt is made up of seven layers, making it much softer and cushioned when compared to other treadmills available. The durable steel frame can hold up to 265 pounds, while the shock suspension system keeps everything quiet.
The wide belt is suitable for jogging and running, though it isn’t best treadmill for taller people. If you are taller than 6′, then you likely need a longer treadmill to withstand your stride.
It has a speed range of 0.6 to 9.3 mph, making it a good option for beginners and experienced users alike.
It comes with a heart rate sensor on the handrail and Bluetooth speakers, which allows you to listen to music as you work out. The handrails are foldable for storage and provide some added safety.
Buyer’s Guide And How To Choose Best Treadmills for Bad Knees
There is a lot that goes into choosing the right treadmill for you, especially if you have bad knees. You want a treadmill that is able to support your workouts while also being gentle on your joints.
Often, it is difficult to find a treadmill that fits all of these boxes. Luckily, though, we’ve put together this guide to help you figure out exactly what you need from your treadmill.
We’ll go over the most important features and differences between treadmills and help you determine which treadmills are most suitable for your needs.
Electric vs. Manual Treadmills
The vast majority of treadmills on the market today are electric. Electric treadmills are typically what most treadmill users have. However, you can still find many different manual treadmills as well, which are a little bit different. Which option you choose largely depends on your goals and what you’re comfortable with.
Electric treadmills use electricity to move the treadmill belt. Then, you walk or run on the treadmill to keep up with the turning treadmill belt. This machine must be plugged into an appropriate outlet to work. They’re typically what you think of when you conjure a treadmill into your mind.
With that said, manual treadmills are a little bit different. These treadmills rely on your stride to move the belt. Therefore, they are a little bit more work than other treadmills out there, since there is no electricity involved. They also require a bit more confidence, since the belt doesn’t start moving until you start walking.
Therefore, you need to consider your confidence level when using a treadmill, as well as the level of difficulty you’re looking for.
There are also some small differences. For instance, increasing the incline on an electric treadmill increases the difficulty. However, on a manual treadmill, it makes the belt easier to move and, therefore, makes it easier to use the treadmill as well.
Treadmills should have a variety of safety features. While most features matter mostly on what you’re looking for, safety is something that everyone can get behind. There are many ways that treadmills can attempt to stay safe.
One common way is by featuring a safety key. Basically, this safety key plugs into the treadmill and attaches to your clothes. If you fall, the safety key will be pulled out of the treadmill and the machine will stop, effectively preventing further injuries.
With that said, there are also other safety features that treadmills might include. Many feature handlebars of some sort, which allow you to grab on if necessary (though you should never walk or run while holding onto the handlebars, as it messes with your balance). Some even have light sensors that can detect where your body is in space, allowing them to turn off if you fall down or slip.
Either way, safety features are an absolutely essential feature for any treadmill. Otherwise, the odds of getting into an accident go up substantially.
Max User Weight
All treadmills have a maximum weight that they can safely support. Some treadmills can support as little as 225 pounds, while others can support up to 400. In the end, which weight limit you choose depends largely on what you weigh.
You obviously want something that can support your weight easily, so we recommend selecting a treadmill that can support at least ten pounds over your current weight.
While using a treadmill that technically can’t support your weight won’t lead to it instantly breaking, it will lead to more wear-and-tear overtime, which can significantly reduce the lifespan of the treadmill.
Compatibility with Fitness Apps
Many high-end treadmills come with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to connect your phone to the machine during your workout session. Many of these machines are also compatible with a variety of fitness apps, allowing you to integrate your favorite apps with your training session on the treadmill.
If you don’t currently have any apps you use, this isn’t a huge deal. However, if you use an app or two primarily for your weight loss or fitness goals, then you may want to select a treadmill that can be used alongside those apps with ease.
Most treadmills have speed controls of some sort. You will need a specific speed for brisk walking, for instance, and different speeds for jogging. If you’re new to fitness on a treadmill, then you probably want to go slow – at least until you get the hang of it.
Luckily, most treadmills are pretty easy to control using the control panel provided on the machine. Some also come with a remote control, which allows you to change the speed without reaching down and pressing buttons. Many treadmill brands also have their own app, which allows you to control the treadmill similarly to the remote.
You want a machine that is easy to control since difficult machines can lead to injuries. No one wants to be scouring for the correct pause button while running on a treadmill. Therefore, the control panel should be easy to reach and straightforward to use.
Furthermore, you also want a machine that has plenty of different speed options, especially if you’re just starting out. If you’ve already used a treadmill before and tend to stay within a small speed range, then finding something within that small speed range is the only vital factor. However, for those that are new, you don’t really know what speed you’ll like to use, so the more speed options you have, the better.
Of course, you should preferably adjust your speed to meet your cardiovascular fitness goals and achieve a proper workout.
While not all treadmills have incline options, most do. Flat treadmills are often very budget-oriented options. If you need to save as much money as possible, you may want to consider utilizing a flat treadmill. Otherwise, we recommend one with incline controls.
Treadmills with different inclines allow you to achieve intense training without actually going faster. The more inclined the running surface is, the more difficult the workout will be (for an electric treadmill, at least).
With that said, you do not want to rely too much on inclines when you have bad knees or knee injuries, as extreme inclines can lead to joint pain. Instead, aim to use an almost-flat running deck.
There are several different types of incline treadmills used. A manual incline system must be adjusted manually before your workout sessions. These take a bit more time to use and you cannot adjust them while you’re in the middle of a workout session. Automatic and electric inclines allow the treadmill to move by itself as necessary and are much easier to use, but they are usually only found on more expensive treadmills.
The cushioning system a treadmill uses is essential when you have bad knees. The best treadmills for bad knees will have some sort of quality treadmill cushioning system that will prevent joint pain and further injuries. There are several different cushioning systems out there, as each brand pretty much some up with their own.
For instance, some of the treadmills on this list have the FlexSelect cushioning system, but this isn’t terribly different from a generic cushioning system.
One is not necessarily better than the other, as they are all pretty similar practically speaking. However, it is still essential that your treadmill has one, to begin with.
On top of having an appropriate cushioning system, it is also vital that it has some sort of shock absorption. When you run on any surface, the shock from your stride is going to mess with your bad knees. Therefore, a shock absorption system on your treadmill is vital to prevent any further injuries.
The main takeaway from this section is that those with bad knees need more than a normal treadmill belt. Instead, they should utilize a cushioned running surface to ensure that they do not further injure their knees.
Depending on how much space you have, you may need to utilize a space-saving treadmill. Usually, these have some sort of folding system that allows them to take up very little room when you aren’t using them. If you don’t have permanent space to dedicate to your treadmill, this can be a vital feature.
Many folding treadmills are completely manual in this regard. You have to fold them yourself and then lock them into place. Sometimes, the treadmill console and handles have to be removed, which can sometimes be time-consuming and complicated. Therefore, just because a treadmill says it is “folding” doesn’t mean that it folds easily or efficiently.
Others have a soft drop folding system, which helps slow down the running deck when you unfold it. If you drop the running surface on the ground too much, it can cause damage to the internal components. Therefore, having hydraulics or something similar in place is essential to ensuring that the treadmill doesn’t break unnecessarily.
While many treadmills are simply designed to fold up and then stay in place, others have transport wheels that allow them to be moved around. You can use the transport wheels to put them up against a nearby wall, for instance.
Configured Workout Programs
If you already know exactly what you want your workout sessions to look like, then you don’t need any pre-set programs. However, if you’re new to working out or just want something that will do all of the planning for you, then you may want to get a treadmill with plenty of pre-set programs.
These programs will help you achieve intense workouts right away. Many can even be adjusted to your usual running speed.
Many higher-end treadmills have these programs. For instance, a NordicTrack T series treadmill usually has programs of some sort.
Of course, not all of these programs are made equal. Some of them are far more generic and not all that helpful. Others are quite aware of the workout process and are really all that you need to be successful. The best treadmills will have a few different programs for you to take advantage of, though most do not have more than 12 or so.
Using a Treadmill with Bad Knees
Even if you choose the absolute best treadmill for bad knees, it is vital that you use the treadmill correctly to avoid unnecessary strain on your bad knees.
While the treadmill itself is obviously an essential part of the equation, your form and technique matter just as much (if not more so).
Here are a few guidelines you should follow to ensure that you keep your bad knees as protected as possible while also having a proper workout.
- Walk. Walking does not put much strain on your bad knees in the least. Conversely, running and jogging do. Therefore, you should only walk on a treadmill if at all possible. You only need to walk for about 20 minutes to reach the minimum exercise requirements set by the CDC.
- Select the right shoes. When it comes to knee pain, the correct shoes for treadmill are vital. They should fit well and be plenty cushioned to provide extra arch support. You should ensure that the shoe fits your foot well along the width as well as the length. If you see a doctor for your knee pain, you may want to ask them about the proper footwear for you.
- Shorten your stride length. How long your stride is matters. In many cases, you may want to shorten your stride length. Overstepping may help you walk faster on a treadmill, but it can also throw off your balance. Over time, this can cause extra wear on your bad knees. When walking on a treadmill, ensure that you’re using a comfortable and natural stride.
- Use good posture. Your body is made to stand in a particular way for a reason. If you have improper posture, you may be putting too much strain on your knees, which can make your bad knees worse over time. The same is true when you are walking on a treadmill. If you hold onto the handles or lean forward, then you may put a strain on inappropriate places, which can lead to joint pain.
FAQs About Best Treadmills for Bad Knees
We get a lot of questions about the best treadmill for bad knees. Usually, those who are looking for a treadmill for bad knees find themselves in a conundrum. On the one hand, they have to take care of their knees to avoid further strain and damage. On the other hand, they also need to consider their cardiovascular health.
In this section, we’ll answer some of the most common questions we receive to hopefully help you figure out which treadmill will be best for you.
Are Treadmills Good for Bad Knees?
Those that are attempting to increase their fitness often wonder if treadmills are better for their knees than natural running.
They can be. The best treadmills for bad knees will have all sorts of padding and cushioning, which is better than running on concrete. However, some people do not run correctly on these treadmills, and the improper technique can damage your knees.
Therefore, it has a lot to do with the exact treadmill you purchase and using that treadmill correctly. It is always a good idea to have a professional show you how to use a treadmill properly before you begin to ensure that you aren’t accidentally damaging your knees.
You should also ensure that you purchase the best treadmill for bad knees that works for your needs. Otherwise, the treadmill may not have the shock-absorbing features that you need.
Is Walking on a Treadmill Good for Osteoarthritis of the Knee?
Osteoarthritis is a detrimental and painful condition that often strikes in advanced age. Because it is a condition that can affect the knee joint, you might imagine that walking would be a big no-no for those affected.
However, exercise should be one of the major components of treating knee OA according to the American College of Rheumatology. While you can walk outside, a treadmill can be utilized in all conditions and throughout the year. You don’t have to deal with that pesky cold, which can make your knees feel even worse.
Therefore, a treadmill that is designed for bad knees can actually be one of the more important treatment options for those affected by this condition.
Is a Bike or Treadmill Better for my Knees?
The answer to this question does depend on the exact treadmill and bike that you are referring to. There are some treadmills out there that hardly have any padding at all, which makes them very bad for your knees. In these cases, it doesn’t take a lot for the bike to win out.
However, if you purchase the best treadmill for bad knees, then you probably don’t have to worry about much. This treadmill would be specifically designed to prevent significant problems for those with bad knees, which would make them much more accommodating.
With that said, biking is still a great option in most cases. It leads to much less impact force on your knees than walking. However, the chance of injuries on a bike is higher than it is when walking, which is something that you have to consider.
Plus, walking is much more accessible in most cases than biking, making it an easy option for many.
Is Running a Treadmill Better for Knees than Running Outside?
Yes and no. Once again, it depends on the exact treadmill that you have. If you happen to have the best treadmill for bad knees (or, at least, one of the best treadmills for bad knees), then your knees are likely enjoying plenty of padding.
On the other hand, if you have a worse treadmill, then you’ll probably end up exuberating any knee problems. Not all treadmills are designed for bad knees, after all.
It also depends on the ground you’re running on outside. For instance, running on pavement is much different than running on grass. Therefore, all outdoor running is not the same.
Based on this information treadmills can absolutely be better than running around on the pavement. However, a low-quality treadmill is probably not better than running around on the grass.
No one ever imagines that they will have bad knees. However, it happens all the time, especially if you injure them directly or are older.
With that said, it is still essential that you exercise properly, especially if you want to lower the possibility of secondary problems, like cardiovascular issues. Therefore, it is essential to choose treadmills that are designed to support bad knees. Often, these treadmills have extra cushioning and similar features.
Of course, there is no one “best treadmill for bad knees.” Instead, it all largely depends on your own preferences. Certain treadmills will be better for different people. Therefore, you should choose a treadmill for bad knees that best fits your needs.
In our article, we’ve included several reviews to help you see what is available on the market. We also included a guide to help you figure out what you need in your treadmill, as well as a guide to using your new treadmill correctly. Often, how you use your treadmill matters just as much as the treadmill that you purchase.
We highly recommend taking your time to choose the best treadmill for bad knees that works for you. These purchases are often expensive, and you don’t want to waste money by buying the wrong one.