Heavy duty treadmills cater to certain weight brackets. When you’re investing £500 to £2000 into a treadmill, it’s worth getting something sturdy.
Depending on your budget, cheap running machines that are poor quality may not be the best option.
If you’re overweight, you may find yourself in a dilemma when it comes to running.
Most obese or heavy people are motivated to run but often get tripped up by common issues and fears such as:
- Feeling judged or laughed at while running outside
- Poor weather – too cold, too hot or too dark
- Personal safety concerns especially at night and early mornings
- The need to buy the ‘right’ workout clothes to wear
- Time pressures from life, kids, friends, and work demands
This makes a daily run the first thing to go when the pressures mount up. The truth of the matter is that you will not make any progress until you deal with these issues and limitations.
That’s why for many beginners it’s either a choice of getting a treadmill or end up feeling worse about yourself, getting lazy, and piling on even more weight.
Comparison Table (Quick View)
Benefits of Using a Treadmill
One of the many benefits of a treadmill is that, once you start shedding the extra weight gradually, you will be motivated to increase your treadmill sessions, giving you the confidence in time to add a few outdoor sessions slowly.
Most treadmills for heavy people are motorised and come with computer functions meaning it is easy and motivating to help you track how far you have gone and stay motivated and achieve your long term weight loss goals. A treadmill also provides other benefits such as:
Statistics & Reporting: Comes with features that help you measure time, distance, speed, calories burnt, and even heart rate.
Financial: It’s cheaper to get a heavy duty treadmill than register for the membership of a gym. Usually with a payback in less than 2 years.
Convenience Factor: It’s easier to make a habit out of using a treadmill for larger people, because it’s more convenient than going out to the gym, and saves on travel time.
Flexibility: You can be flexible with workout times, grabbing 20-30 minute intervals during the day when you have the time.
Comfort Factor: You can stay warm and comfortable while using the treadmill at home, and no fancy workout clothes required!
Multitasking Possible: You can read a book, watch TV or even interact with your family members while you are on a treadmill rather than out running. The treadmill is a family device, that can be used by your spouse, kids, spouse and even relatives and friends when they visit. This is great if you want to get the whole family fit.
Features to Consider in Selecting a Treadmill
There are several specific factors to consider before choosing a treadmill for heavy people. These include the following:
- Build Quality: Lower end models are typically light-weight and use cheaper materials. An excellent way to tell is to look for the assembled weight. A poor quality treadmill will weigh less than 25 kg. A good quality and heavy duty treadmill will be closer to 100 kg in assembled weight.
- Storable: Some people have enough space to be able to leave their treadmill set up in a spare room. If not you’ll want a foldable treadmill that can be easily moved and stored when not in use. Look for the best compact treadmill to suit your needs.
- User Weight Limit: The runner weight limit or how many stones the user weighs is closely tied to build quality. User weight limits typically range from 100kgs in stone (15.7 Stone) to 160kg (25 Stone). If you’re only going to walk initially you can use a treadmill with a user weight of up to 200 kgs.
- Running Area Size: The bigger the running deck surface area the better. This is often where manufacturers try to save costs so make sure the running track is both wide and long enough to fit your stride. Running areas can be as little as 80cm x 28cm – too small for most tall or overweight runners. Better options are 100cm x 40cm or more.
- Shock Absorption: This is a feature that ensures that the treadmill absorbs much of the impact of your foot striking the ‘ground’. A good suspension system will not only reduce the forces on your joints but also helps reduce treadmill noise.
- Motor Size/Running Speed: This is another area manufacturers skimp on with their low-cost models. Some have no motors at all – referred to as ‘manual’ or ‘magnetic’ treadmills. These are almost always the very low-end cheap models that are not suitable for overweight runners. Look for a with at least 2 HP motors and 10 km/hr+ speeds (more if you want to do sprint intervals).
- Extra Features: Extra features such as reset programs, a large LCD screen, heart rate function, built-in speakers, incline settings and the ability to fold away the heavy weight treadmill may be important to you based on your preferences.
We’ve put together a helpful guide: Treadmill Buying Guide for Beginners: 5 Things you Need to Know, check it out for more top tips!
So, if you feel it’s time to invest in yourself, below I’ve recommended three heavy duty treadmills – one in each price bracket including the best treadmills for under £400.
I’ve picked these best treadmills for heavier people based on the above key features and my personal testing of all three models:
Supports a maximum weight of 120kg, top speed of 16 kph, and a reasonable running deck size of 158 x 70 cm. This is the same weight limit as the Sportstech but you get an improved build quality. If you’re 120-150kg range for user weight and plan to just walk initially you could choose this model. Read my review. You should go to the commercial-grade treadmill for overweight if you want to walk and you’re in the 160kg to 200kg weight limit range.
Branx Fitness Foldable ‘Elite Runner Pro’ (check price)
Maximum weight limit of 160 kg, top speed of 23 km/h, and too many commercial-grade features to list – this is a great heavy duty treadmill. If you can afford the investment, you won’t regret it. Read my review.
Reebok ZR8 Treadmill (check price)
I’ve included this as a bonus pick because Reebok have had inventory/stock issues in recent months (it’s really popular). Maximum weight limit of 110 kg, top speed of 18 km/h. Read my review.
Choose the model that’s right for your user weight and budget and make 2023 the year you want it to be for your health and fitness!
Can you use a treadmill if you are over the weight limit?
A treadmill’s weight capacity is an essential consideration if you want it to be an investment for the long term and the user’s safety. While it might be possible to stand on a treadmill if you exceed its weight capacity and possibly even do a workout without the treadmill collapsing, the chances are that it will eventually break down after prolonged use.
If the running deck surface area cannot hold the intense workout beyond the weight limit, it can collapse, causing severe injuries to the user. Not to mention, the damage caused to the motor and belt causes the treadmill to experience extreme drag and finally wear down. Plus, it gets slower, and the treadmill becomes less effective than you’d have wanted it to be.
Why does my treadmill smell hot?
First and foremost, turn off the treadmill and unplug the power cord if you sense a burning smell emerging from the model. Heat tends to build up inside a treadmill’s motor as you use it and eventually burn out if it overruns the motor’s duty cycle.
Alternatively, the friction between the running deck and back or a wiring fault can cause a burning smell to emerge from the machine. Regularly maintain and lubricate the belt to avoid damaging the treadmill.
Does a new treadmill need lubrication?
Yes. It’s best to apply a lubricant to the treadmill before using it initially. Most manufacturers lubricate the treadmill before sending it to retail stores or warehouses. However, you may not know how long the product sat in the store/warehouse before you made the purchase.
The lubricant may have dried out, becoming sticky and less effective. Apply the lubricant from the first day and regularly repeat the process after every three months. Or depending on the daily usage. Check out our helpful guide for Where to Buy Treadmill Lubricant.
Are treadmills bad for your knees?
For beginners, treadmills are a viable option. But as you begin to ramp up the intensity of your workout, increasing the treadmill’s speed, there might be unnatural movement patterns in your legs. Such patterns make the ankles move less, and the knees end up receiving more stress and pressure. This might cause some pain around the knee joints.
However, this shouldn’t cause any concern or limit you from using the treadmill. Most treadmills have pre-programmed inclined settings, usually from 0.5% to 12%. Working out at a slight incline, preferably 3%, alleviates pressure from your knees that may have caused pain and irritation on the knee joint.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Amazon Product Advertising API