RW Test: Home Treadmills

Stay on your feet no matter what the British climate brings - we've tested five treadmills help you find your perfect winter running companion.

Three keys to treadmill training

Go fast
A good rule of thumb for setting the pace and length of speedwork sessions: aim to run your longer intervals (three to eight minutes) just shy of your 10K pace, and your shorter efforts (one to three minutes) closer to your 5K pace. Indoor running means wind drag doesn't slow you down as it would outside, so your treadmill times will probably be faster.

Climb Higher
Most runners use less oxygen and have a lower heart rate when training on a treadmill than when they run on the roads, so consider tackling a steeper incline (and even going faster) during your indoor hill workouts. Don't go overboard though: climbing a steep incline of 11 to 15 per cent is more of a strength-training workout than a running one.

Target Heart Rate
Heart-rate zone programs are ideal for recovery runs because they force you to maintain a steady effort level by automatically speeding up or slowing down the belt when your heart rate gets too low or high.

Bremshey Treadmill Pacer

Price £1,199 
Belt Size 150 x 52cm
Dimensions (h) 137 (w) 87 (l) 195cm
Maximum speed/incline 20kph (12.4mph)/12%
Programs  13

The layout of the console is very easy to get to grips with. There are six mini screens showing different information - speed, distance, calories and so on - so you can see everything you need at a glance.

The handles have a heart-rate measurement function (compatible with a Bremshey heart-rate monitor) giving this a real gym-machine appearance.

However, the bottle holders are a bizarrely useless design, and the platform is a touch narrow and feels flimsy when running for a prolonged period at high speed, so this is probably suited to smaller, lighter runners.

Horizon 507 Elite

Price £1,399 
Belt Size 150 x 50cm
Dimensions (h) 132 (w) 86 (l) 197cm
Maximum speed/incline 19kph (11.8mph)/12%
Programs 14

The platform was the smoothest on test, thanks to the cushioned orthopaedic belt designed to protect joints. It feels plush and wide to run on and the compact rails give a feeling of security.

There are four different ways to adjust your speed and there's an excess of buttons in general - but the two different sets of heart-rate handles in front and to the sides are a thoughtful touch, meaning most should find a comfortable way to take their heart rate on the run.

Nordic Track T9si

Price £999.99
Belt Size
140 x 51cm
Dimensions (h)
140 (w) 88 (l) 187cm
Maximum speed/incline
20kph (12.4mph)/12%
Programs  20

There's enough technology packed into this treadmill for the makers to charge double the price. Thankfully they haven't.

The folding platform has a pneumatic soft-drop function and variable cushioning, which you can change manually depending on whether you prefer a hard or soft ride.

There are 20 programme options, and you can also buy an iFit workout card, which when inserted in to the console gives you a number of voice coaching workout sessions varying in intensity.

There is a fan to keep you cool and an MP3 jack that connects to two speakers.

Reebok i-run

Price £349.99
Belt Size 120 x 40cm
Dimensions (h) 131 (w) 80 (l) 161cm
Maximum speed/incline 14kph (8.6mph)/3%
Programs  6

This is the best choice for those with limited space and budget. It comes 99 per cent built in the box and can be folded down to just under 50cm in height so you can store it under the bed.

As befits the price, it's a fairly simple model: there are six standard programs and only four buttons with which to operate the screen.
The one incline option (three per cent) is operated manually by dropping the wheels down at the back.

For such a lightweight machine it felt sturdy, even when running at a high speed, but running on the narrow platform requires concentration and some may feel exposed by the lack of side handles.

Tunturi T40

Price £1,599 
Belt Size 150 x 51cm
Dimensions (h) 181 (w) 91 (l) 193 cm
Maximum speed/incline 20kph (12.4mph)/12%
Programs  13

The attention to detail on this machine is impressive. The folding platform has a pneumatically assisted soft-drop function and there are two speed-control functions: one a large dial in the centre of the console, and also up and down buttons with tortoise and hare icons.

There are three user profiles so three people can store their data on it. Particularly impressive is the Position Speed Control where you can use the signal of your heart strap to adjust speed by simply moving to the front or back of the platform - which itself is reassuringly long, sturdy and bouncy.