Best Treadmill For Bad Knees – 2024

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Last Updated: September 5, 2023

If you have knee pain or discomfort, or just bad knees in general, and you’re looking for a treadmill – hello and welcome! For those bad knees, I suggest considering the treadmill’s deck cushioning. This is the amount of give the deck has each time your feet land on the belt. Deck cushioning can be seen on many treadmills when someone is running on it. The deck will often rebound with each footfall thus creating a slight bounce feeling underfoot. When it comes to deck cushioning though, not all treadmills are created equal. Different brands and models can feel softer or firmer underfoot. The latter of which might not feel so good on your knees.

Why You Should Trust Us

We’ve used and tested so many treadmills at this point that we’ve lost count. One of the big aspects that we test is shock absorption in each deck of treadmills we set foot on. Treadmill deck cushioning is designed to lessen the impact of running and walking on the joints, but it is the level of cushioning that can really affect your overall comfort, experience, and performance on a treadmill. And if you’re prone to having joint sensitivity or pain when using a treadmill, it can be discouraging to want to keep hopping on the deck for more workouts. That’s where we come in. We know what to expect from specific brands as far as deck cushioning as well as other important treadmill factors like size, storage, motor sounds, and content.

Our Experts’ Picks For The Best Treadmills For Bad Knees

See the details, Pro’s and Con’s and why each treadmill made our best list below.

Sneak Peek Of The Best Treadmills For Bad Knees:


NordicTrack X22i Incline Treadmill


NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill


Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill


ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

The Best Treadmills For Bad Knees For 2024

After testing numerous treadmills, we’ve determined these are the best to consider for bad knees.

1. Best Treadmill For Bad Knees Overall: NordicTrack X22i Incline Treadmill

Best Treadmill For Bad Knees Overall: NordicTrack X22i Incline Treadmill

The NordicTrack X22i Incline Treadmill is one of our top recommendations overall. The X22i is all-around impressive, however, if you have bad knees and/or experience joint pain when using a treadmill this one can help! When it comes to deck cushioning, it is among the most forgiving treadmills we’ve used. That’s why we’ve named it the best treadmill for bad knees overall on this list. The cushioning provides excellent shock absorption that gives you an added spring in your step due to the large amount of give in the deck. So, if you are looking for a soft treadmill to run on, this one is it.

In addition to being very forgiving on the joints, the X22i has very impressive specifications. First, the deck inclines up to 40% which is the highest incline range we’ve seen on treadmills. It also declines to -6%. Using a treadmill at a decline has been shown to help strengthen the muscles around the knees, too.

When you add in the impressive and quiet 4.0 CHP motor and 12 mph max speed range, you get an incredibly versatile and powerful treadmill to use in your home. The NordicTrack X22i is one of our favorite models because it is comfortable and fun. Plus, it has a 22” touch screen that comes enabled with iFit training content to provide you with guided workouts with a subscription. There are also included onboard workouts if you prefer not to use iFit.

With all the training options, features, and the large 22” wide by 60” comfortable deck, the X22i makes for a really interactive and enjoyable walking, jogging, hiking, and running experience for people who have the space for this treadmill in their home.

Read more about the NordicTrack X22i, here.

Pros
  • The deck cushioning is very soft and forgiving underfoot.
  • The 40% incline and -6% decline make for intense training options to get the most out of your workouts and strengthen your knees.
  • The 22” touch screen is interactive with iFit training and auto-adjusting capabilities.
  • The deck is spacious for all strides and abilities.

Cons
  • This treadmill is heavy, large, and non-folding so it requires a designated space to use.
  • The weight limit is only up to 300 lbs.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 22” Touch Screen
  • iFit-Enabled
  • Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity
  • Two Digitally-Amplified Speakers
  • Workout Fans
  • AutoAdjust
  • Active Pulse (with monitor sold separately)
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Non-Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 70” L x 39” W x 72.5” H
  • Motor: 4.0 CHP
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Running Surface: 22” W x 60” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 417 lbs (in box)
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Incline: 40%
  • Max Decline: -6%
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor
The NordicTrack X22i has some of the most forgiving cushioning on the market and has some of the most impressive training capabilities. Check it out if you’re looking for the creme de la creme of treadmills.

2. Best Treadmill For Bad Knees Runner-Up: NordicTrack 1750

Best Treadmill For Bad Knees Runner-Up: NordicTrack 1750

The NordicTrack 1750 is another treadmill that we recommend to most people, including those with bad knees. NordicTrack as a brand has some of the most forgiving treadmill decks, so of course two of their models have to take up the top two spots on this list of the best treadmills for bad knees. As far as how the 1750 feels underfoot, it is softer than other models but not as bouncy as the X22i, which might be more preferable to some.

The 1750 is the best treadmill for home use because it folds up, and has a compact deck that’s spacious enough for most stride lengths. You can walk, jog, and run comfortably on this treadmill, but its size and folding feature makes it work better in more homes. The 20” x 60” deck features a lift assist so you can fold it more easily and once unlocked it slowly lowers to the floor on its own. The NordicTrack 1750 also has great training features such as a 12 mph max speed range, 12% incline, and -3% decline. The decline might not seem like much but it can really be beneficial for training the muscles in front of the legs.

The 3.5 CHP motor is quiet and good for heavier use, too. Plus, the 14” touch screen comes with iFit for interactive workout training and automatic adjustability of the treadmill as you train. The AutoAdjust feature makes hands-free training possible, and the quick adjustment buttons are there for easy adjustment when you need them. You can also utilize even more of iFit with the pivoting screen for training on and off the treadmill’s deck.

Our runner-up pick for the best treadmill for bad knees is the NordicTrack 1750 because it has great shock absorption, a space-saving design, an interactive console with optional subscription content, and great training options to keep your workouts comfortable, engaging, and progressive to kick your fitness up a notch, or a few.

Read more about the NordicTrack 1750, here.

Pros
  • The cushioning is comfortable for most people and really helps to lessen the impact of running.
  • The 14” touch screen tilts and pivots for training on and off the treadmill with iFit.
  • The deck supports most stride lengths and folds up when you’re finished.
  • The incline and decline range is good for strengthening all the muscles in the legs.

Cons
  • The deck is a little narrower than other models in its class.
  • The weight limit is only 300 lbs.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 14” Tilt & Pivot Touch Screen
  • iFit Enabled
  • Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity
  • Two Digitally-Amplified Speakers
  • AutoBreeze Fan
  • AutoAdjust
  • Active Pulse (with monitor sold separately)
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 78.5” L x 35.6” W x 64.7” H
  • Motor: 3.5 CHP
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Running Surface: 20” W x 60” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 293 lbs (in box)
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Incline: 12%
  • Max Decline: -3%
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor
The NordicTrack 1750 is an excellent treadmill for most homes. It is a good size to accommodate most runners while offering a folding deck and interactive subscription training content. Plus, it is comfortable underfoot.

3. Best Budget Treadmill For Bad Knees: Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill

Best Budget Treadmill For Bad Knees: Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill

Purchasing a well-cushioned treadmill doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Horizon 7.0 AT Treadmill is just under $1000, yet still offers impressive features that are more commonly found on higher-end models. And as far as cushioning, this one has a more forgiving deck than most entry-level models. So, it should feel comfortable underfoot for those with bad knees. That is why we’ve named it the best budget treadmill for bad knees on this list.

The 7.0 AT is good for walking, jogging, and running. We recommend it for moderate use because of the 3.0 HP motor, but it should handle up to around 4-7ish miles per day. The deck is 20” wide and 60” long, so most users will be able to run comfortably on it. The deck is just wide enough for all abilities but narrow enough for the 7.0 AT to fit better in more homes. The motor offers a 12 mph max speed and 15% incline range, so you have great training options there. Plus, the motor adjusts the speed and incline quickly making it ideal for interval training. There are even roller adjustment buttons that make adjusting a breeze.

If subscription training content isn’t your thing, the Horizon 7.0 AT is one to check out. It comes with straightforward onboard workouts, as well as a rack to place your phone or tablet when you want to watch or read something of your choosing.

This Horizon Treadmill is great for most homes because it folds up and can be moved when needed. There are two front transportation wheels so you just need to tip it back once folded to wheel it around. It weighs around 277 lbs to be substantial and sturdy and handles weights up to 325 lbs, so it’s great for most people, too.

Read more about the Horizon 7.0 AT, here.

Pros
  • This is a great budget treadmill with forgiving deck cushioning.
  • The 3.0 HP motor is quick to adjust and goes up to 12 mph and a 15% incline.
  • The deck is 60” long for most running stride lengths and folds up when you’re done using it.
  • The console includes onboard workout programs and the ability to stream content from your own device.

Cons
  • This isn’t best for heavy training.
  • The fan and speakers are weak.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 7.25” High Contrast LCD Screen
  • 4 Hi Contrast LED Windows
  • Onboard Workout Programs
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Bluetooth Connectivity to apps like Peloton & Zwift
  • Fan
  • Device Rack
  • Charging Port
  • Included Heart Rate Chest Strap
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 76” L x 35” W x 66” H
  • Motor: 3.0 CHP
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
  • Running Surface: 20” W x 60” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 277 lbs
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Incline: 15%
  • No Decline
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame & motor, 3-years parts, and 1-year labor
The Horizon 7.0 AT is an affordable treadmill with nice features, great training options, and a comfortable running deck. If you’re looking to save but still take home a well-cushioned treadmill, check this one out.

4. Best Running Treadmill For Bad Knees: ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

Best Running Treadmill For Bad Knees: ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a comfortable treadmill that’s good for jogging and running. It has similar features as NordicTrack Treadmills with nice deck cushioning that feels a little firmer than higher-end models, but softer than most midrange and entry-level machines. So, if you’re looking for a comfortable treadmill to run on with bad knees, check out the ProForm Pro 2000.

This folding treadmill has a 20” wide and 60” long deck. This makes the Pro 2000 accommodating to most people, yet compact for more homes. The folding deck offers assistance when lifting the backend to fold it up, and once unlocked the deck lowers to the floor for you. The 3.25 CHP motor is good for moderate training. The Pro 2000 offers a 12% incline and -3% decline so you can train for uphill and downhill work, and it goes up to 12 mph so you can vary your speed as well.

The ProForm Pro 2000 has a 10” touch screen that offers subscription training from iFit. The 10” touch screen is centered on the console for good visibility for most heights. With iFit you have access to thousands of trainer-led workout videos as well as auto-adjustability of the treadmill. You can also create your own running routes using Google Maps with iFit. Don’t worry though, if subscription content isn’t what you’re interested in, there are onboard workouts on the Pro 2000, too.

Check out the ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill if you’re looking for high-end features for a mid-range price on a compact frame.

Read more about the ProForm Pro 2000, here.

Pros
  • The deck is comfortable and compact, yet ideal for most runners.
  • The 3.25 CHP motor is great for moderate running and offers incline and decline.
  • The 10” touch screen offers streaming from iFit with a subscription.
  • The deck is 20” wide and 60” long and folds up to save space.

Cons
  • This isn’t best for long-distance running.
  • Only supports users up to 300 lbs.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 10” Touch Screen
  • iFit Enabled
  • Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity
  • Dual 2” Speakers
  • CoolAire Fan
  • AutoAdjust
  • Active Pulse (with monitor sold separately)
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 77.3” L x 35.3” W x 59.6” H
  • Motor: 3.25 CHP
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Running Surface: 20” W x 60” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 262 lbs (in box)
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Incline: 12%
  • Max Decline: -3%
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor
We’ve given the ProForm Pro 2000 the award as the best running treadmill for bad knees on this list because it has a forgiving deck that supports most running strides, yet it is convenient to use in most homes.

5. Best Non-Subscription Treadmill For Bad Knees: Sole F80 Treadmill

Best Non-Subscription Treadmill For Bad Knees: Sole F80 Treadmill

Sole manufactures well-constructed treadmills with solid and spacious running decks. The Sole F80 provides plenty of room for most people with 22” of width and 60” of length in the deck. The F80 does have a firmer deck to run on than others on this list, but it still provides shock absorption to help lessen the impact on your joints. It feels the most similar to running on concrete outside, so if you’re an outdoor runner with bad knees looking to simulate that experience but have some shock absorption, then check out the F80. Concrete offers no shock absorption in comparison.

The Sole F80 is a sizable treadmill that handles users up to 350 lbs and weighs 274 lbs itself. The deck folds and unfolds. It also has a sleek design, so it isn’t an unsightly treadmill by any means. The F80 has great tech features such as a 10” touch screen, onboard workout programs, fitness tests, as well as preloaded streaming apps.

One aspect we love about Sole Treadmills is that they don’t require subscription fees to access all of the content on the screen. So, you can stream from apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube by simply using your existing logins for each app. You can also screen mirror from your phone and there’s a wireless charging pad built into the console so you don’t have to worry about your device running out of battery.

We consider the Sole F80 Treadmill to be the best non-subscription treadmill for bad knees because of all of its features it includes.

Read more about the Sole F80, here.

Pros
  • The 10” screen offers onboard workout programs, fitness tests, and 12 preloaded streaming apps without an additional subscription fee.
  • The large deck features firm cushioning while still providing shock absorption, unlike concrete outside.
  • The 3.5 HP motor is quiet and offers a 12 mph max speed and 15 levels of incline.
  • The deck folds up and there are 4 transport wheels to push it around fairly easily.

Cons
  • The screen is non-adjustable so it’s harder to navigate while running.
  • The cushioning might feel too firm for some folks.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 10.1” Touch Screen
  • Onboard Workout Programs
  • Fitness Tests
  • 12 Preloaded Streaming Apps
  • Screen Mirroring
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Device Rack
  • Wireless Charging Pad
  • 2 Cooling Fans
  • Connects To Garmin Watch
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 4 Transport Wheels
  • Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 82.5” L x 38” W x 66” H
  • Motor: 3.5 HP
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Running Surface: 22” W x 60” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 274 lbs
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Incline: 15 levels
  • No Decline
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame & motor, 3-years parts, and 1-year labor
The Sole F80 Treadmill is good for most people and homes. It has a folding deck, a large motor for heavy training, and great content options. It features shock absorption in the deck that feels firm underfoot, similar to running outside.

6. Best Manual Treadmill For Bad Knees: AssaultRunner Elite

Best Manual Treadmill For Bad Knees: AssaultRunner Elite

A manual treadmill consists of a curved, rubber slat belt, and motorless design. Instead of worrying about keeping up with the pace of the belt, you set it. Therefore, a curved, manual treadmill, like the AssaultRunner Elite, can go as fast as you can; there is no max speed. So, if you want to sprint, or run at a faster pace than what motorized treadmills offer, you can on this one.

Running on a curved slat belt has benefits for your body and running positioning, too. The curve helps to create proper running mechanics and the rubber slats help absorb shock and lessen the impact on your joints. The AssaultRunner Elite still feels firm and incredibly stable to run on, but it provides some nice benefits for those with bad knees. That is why we’ve given it the award as the best manual treadmill for bad knees.

The AssaultRunner Elite has a 17” wide belt that is 65” long. All running strides have plenty of length and this narrow width helps keep your body in better alignment while running. Since the Elite doesn’t contain a motor, it doesn’t require being plugged in so you can use it in your garage or roll it outside in your driveway. The console is battery-powered to turn on when the belt moves. It also tracks your vital metrics like speed, distance, and time.

Check out the AssaultRunner Elite if you’re looking for a manual treadmill.

Read more about the AssaultRunner Elite, here.

Pros
  • This treadmill is motorless and allows you to run as fast as you can.
  • The curved rubber slat belt helps support proper running mechanics.
  • The belt is 17” wide and 65” long to support all strides and users up to 400 lbs.
  • It doesn’t require electricity to use.

Cons
  • It can take some getting used to as far as controlling the pace of the belt.
  • It isn’t best for those who like to zone out on treadmills.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • Battery-Powered LCD Display
  • Included Interval Workout Settings
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 2 Cupholders
  • Small Phone Rack
  • Heart Rate Monitor Connectivity
  • 2 Transportation Wheels
  • Non-Folding
  • Footprint: 70” L x 31.7” W x 64.4” H
  • No Motor
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Running Surface: 17” W x 65” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 289 lbs
  • No Max Speed
  • No Incline or Decline
  • Warranty: Lifetime belt, 10-year frame, 3-year non-wear parts, and 1-year labor
The AssaultRunner Elite is a well-constructed, heavy-duty manual treadmill. Check it out if you’re looking for something with no max speed that is durable to last.

7. Best Walking Treadmill For Bad Knees: Horizon T101 Treadmill

Best Walking Treadmill For Bad Knees: Horizon T101 Treadmill

If you’re looking for the best walking treadmill for bad knees, you’re in luck! The Horizon T101 Treadmill is one of our favorite treadmills for walking and light jogging because of its price, quality, quiet motor, and nicely cushioned deck. This entry-level treadmill is a steal of a price at well under $1000 and it offers a more forgiving deck than some midrange and premium models.

The deck is 20” wide and 55” long to support all walking strides. Those with shorter running strides should be able to jog and potentially run on the deck, too. The 2.5 CHP motor is quiet, quick to adjust, and good for light to moderate amounts of walking and jogging. The T101 also features great training options with a 10 mph max speed and 10% incline range.

For a budget treadmill, the Horizon T101 has nice construction that allows it to be folded up with lifting assistance in the deck so you don’t have to lift the entire deck’s weight. And when unfolded it lowers to the floor on its own. This treadmill is substantial in size for walking but is a little lighter than others on this list at 180 lbs with a 300 lb weight limit. The console has less tech than others but there are onboard workout programs, as well as a manual mode to provide you with everything you need for a great walking workout.

We recommend looking into the Horizon T101 if walking on a treadmill in your home is your goal.

Read more about the Horizon T101, here.

Pros
  • The deck is great for walking and provides nice shock absorption underfoot.
  • The 2.5 CHP motor is quiet and great for light to moderate walking and jogging.
  • The 55” long deck supports all walkers and folds up when finished.
  • This is a good budget treadmill with nice features.

Cons
  • This isn’t best for heavy training.
  • Wireless heart rate tracking isn’t possible on this treadmill.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 3 Blue LED Windows
  • Included Onboard Workout Programs
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Fan
  • Device Rack
  • USB Charging Port
  • 2 Cupholders
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Folding Deck
  • Footprint: 71” L x 34” W x 57” H
  • Motor: 2.5 CHP
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Running Surface: 20” W x 55” L
  • Treadmill Weight: 180 lbs
  • Max Speed: 10 mph
  • Max Incline: 10%
  • No Decline
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame & motor, and 1-year for parts & labor
The Horizon T101 is a great folding treadmill that’s good for walking and features forgiving deck cushioning. Check this one out if you’re looking to primarily walk and save money on a treadmill.

Things To Consider When Looking For A Treadmill For Bad Knees

Here are some factors to keep in mind when looking for the best treadmill for bad knees.

Deck Cushioning

Most treadmills offer shock absorption that helps to lessen the impact on your joints when running. In comparison, concrete outside offers no shock absorption. When running on a treadmill, this translates as give in the deck under each footfall. Some treadmill decks have more give than others, therefore, some feel softer underfoot while others feel firmer. For those with joint discomfort or sensitivity, or if you just have bad knees, we suggest looking into a treadmill with more cushioning that is going to feel softer to run on.

Of course, how soft or firm the deck feels is entirely up to your preference, but whatever you prefer, we suggest checking out the treadmill’s deck cushioning to make sure it will work for you. We include this in our full treadmill reviews.

Your Home Space

Another important aspect is where you’ll be using the treadmill. We recommend taking the size of your space as well as ceiling height into consideration prior to purchasing. You’ll also want to factor in noise and the treadmill’s weight, especially if you live in a shared space like an apartment or condo.

If you need a folding treadmill or a compact option, we’ve included multiple options on our list of the best treadmills for bad knees above. And if you have a large space for a non-folding treadmill, we have an option on our list for you, too. The bottom line with considering your home space is to make sure that whichever treadmill you purchase can be used safely in it.

Your Training Goals

Your goals are another important factor. Some treadmills go up to higher speeds than others, and some allow for heavier training than others. When determining if a treadmill aligns with your training goals, you’ll want to look at the deck size, motor size, speed range, and incline options. 60” long decks are best for most running strides, while 55” is best for most walkers. If you have a longer stride length, we recommend 60” but if you have a shorter stride you might be able to run on 55” long decks.

When it comes to motor sizes, we consider 3.5-4.0 HP motors to be heavier-duty and capable of handling long-distance use. 2.5-3.0 HP motors are best for lighter to moderate use. Most treadmills go up to 12 mph, while some tap out at 10 mph. Many treadmills offer incline in the deck, but some offer decline, too. All of this is important to consider to make sure you take home a treadmill that will keep up and push your fitness level.

You might also want to consider the training content available. Some treadmills have LCD screens with onboard workouts while others come with touch screens to offer subscription training content. Some have a rack to place your device for streaming, while others keep you more locked into their streaming content. Whatever your preference may be, you want to try to pick a treadmill that will match what you like to do while walking and running on the deck.

Budget

Buying a high-quality treadmill doesn’t have to put a dent in your wallet. That said, a treadmill is a big investment so you want to make sure you find one that fits your price range. We’ve included a wide variety above ranging from over $2000 to under $1000 to better appeal to more people and budgets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are treadmills good for people with bad knees?

Most treadmills have shock absorption in the deck that outdoor surfaces like concrete, don’t offer. The shock or give in the deck can help create a softer surface to walk and run on which can be helpful for those with bad knees.

Is a treadmill easier on the knees?

Treadmills with deck cushioning put less stress on the knees than concrete and asphalt outside. Therefore, a treadmill can feel easier to run on and less firm on the joints.

Is walking on an incline treadmill bad for the knees?

Walking on a treadmill at an incline will recruit more posterior muscle engagement, thus firing up your glutes, hamstrings, and calves which can take off the pressure on the knees. So, if you have bad knees you could benefit from walking on a treadmill with a slight incline.

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