Top 10 Best Low-Impact Treadmills for Bad Knees

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Many individuals these days suffer from joint/knee pain, owing to which exercising might be a painful affair.

In such cases, many people skip workouts or struggle to find a good piece of exercise equipment. How about finding a suitable treadmill that attends to knee problems and, further, helps exercise even when you suffer from joint pain?

Any treadmill that comes with optimal stability and a cushioned belt system offers equivalent advantages to walking, a low-impact but one of the most effective exercises.

When any treadmill comes with shock absorption, it is an additional benefit as such models minimize pressure on the joints when running, walking, or jogging.

Besides bad knees, such treadmills help ease back pain, improve bone density, and above all, straighten and add flexibility to joints. If you are looking for the best low-impact treadmills for bad knees, given below is a list of the top 10 treadmill models that serve your purpose.

Are Treadmills Bad for Your Knees?

Anyone who walks imposes thousands of pounds of pressure with each step, and the pressure level increases even more while running or jogging.

While exercises and competitive training impose high pressure on the knees, treadmills improve healthy joints even more for those recovering from an injury, according to studies. So, treadmills can never be bad for the knees.

But, to safeguard the knees and protect the individual from injury, the treadmill must be used in the right way.

In case exercising on the treadmill proves to be a painful affair, it means that the individual has not been doing it the right way. So, for all those experiencing knee pain while making use of the treadmill, they may be making common mistakes such as walking with the feet touching or likewise.

How To Protect Your Knees While Running On A Treadmill

Some important ways in which we could protect our knees while running on the treadmill include:

  • Always warm-up for at least 7-10 minutes before using the treadmill
  • Remember to work out using good running shoes as these have a great impact on the knees. Making use of the right shoes can lower the impact on the joints and knees
  • Make sure to go step-by-step. Start working out at lower speeds and intensities. Then, gradually increase both speed and intensity levels such that the body becomes used to the pace with time

Even after doing these, if some person experiences pain in the joints, it is better to consult a doctor.

Top 10 Best Low-Impact Treadmills for Bad Knees

NordicTrack T 6.5 Si Treadmill – Best Cushioned Treadmill

The first thing that catches our eye when we look at the NordicTrack T 6.5 Si model is the one-year iFit membership that comes with your purchase.

Using this, get access to numerous workout programs, live fitness sessions, and professional trainers who suggest everything from speed to cushioning—all of this in the background of a serene garden or a tall mountain using Google Maps.

Don’t worry about space, as this machine is a space-saving model (using the SpaceSaver design by NordicTrack) which can be folded.

Make use of the EasyLift Assist technology to fold the machine.

20 built-in exercise programs help individuals weighing up to 300 pounds to use any of them to achieve challenging workout goals.

For all those suffering from knee pain, this NordicTrack model is a boon as the company has integrated the FlexSelect cushioning that helps individuals avoid any trouble to knees/joints.

With additional cushioning, be sure of minimized pressure on the bad knee/joint.

With a maximum speed of up to 10MPH, a 10% incline possibility, secondary accessories such as speakers and cup holders, the treadmill is available at an affordable cost too.

The 10-inch HD touchscreen could be used to monitor workout progress, get fitter, and achieve health goals.

But, this model is not quite suitable for taller individuals. Also, there is no built-in fan to cool down nor a USB port to charge your gadget.

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Schwinn 810 Treadmill – Best Treadmill for Arthritis

Any person in love with fitness would be well-aware of the Schwinn brand that rules the exercise equipment market.

The Schwinn 810 treadmill is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that’s also affordable and serves your purpose.

With an ability to store up to 2 user profiles, make utmost use of the treadmill visiting beaches, waterfalls, and more using the ‘Explore the World’ app.

A 2.6CHP motor adorns the machine, which is an optimal choice for those interested to run on the machine.

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With a Softrak Deck cushioning system, this is one of the best treadmills for joint pain. Such a feature makes it easier for us to run or jog without any disturbance to the mind.

The maximum speed up to which we can exercise is 10 MPH, and the maximum inclination is up to 10%.

Choose from 16 different preset workout options to enjoy challenging workout sessions.

A space-saving model, the machine is easily foldable as it is incorporated with the SoftDrop folding mechanism.

A beginner trainer or an intense trainer, anyone can purchase this piece of equipment as it is suitable for all.

Secondary accessories such as built-in speakers, a water bottle holder, and a USB charging port make the Schwinn 810 treadmill more attractive. Even the heart rate could be monitored using the handgrips, but the only downside is that the speed and incline settings are not too great.

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MaxKare Electric Folding Treadmill – Best Folding Treadmill for Joint Pain

For anyone who is hunting for an electronic and space-saving treadmill, the MaxKare treadmill should be an apt choice as the model comes with detachable wheels, and the machine is foldable.

All these make it easy to store and use in any room.

15 different workout programs help in achieving fitness goals. With a 2.5 HP motor, the machine offers decent power and doesn’t suffocate from prolonged use.

Even for those with bad knees, the MaxKare model is a good choice as the company has incorporated a high-density lawn-like feel that mainly acts as a rear shock absorber. This minimizes the impact on the knees or joints, helping even those with joint-related problems to exercise every day.

The high-density feel offers maximum grip, thereby assuring the utmost safety of the individual using the treadmill.

Combine exercise with entertainment as it is possible to connect your smartphone and use the USB drive on the treadmill.

Another major attraction is the treadmill’s reasonable pricing, even though it comes fitted with a multi-functional console and speakers.

Easy to assemble, offering a one-click speed-changing ability, and coming with a safety key, this is an all-in-one treadmill model that combines many features available in high-end treadmills into an inexpensive piece of equipment that’s functional and effective.

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XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill – Best Budget Treadmill for Bad Knees

For those on the lookout for a treadmill that assures protection of bad knees while exercising as well as being a budget-friendly model, the XTERRA Fitness TR150 machine is an excellent choice.

The XTRASoft cushioning system reduces the impact on the knees by as much as 20%, making it easy for those with problematic joints to work out on the machine.

Also, the 2.25 CHP motor is ideal for any of your exercising needs, and the maximum speed possible up to 10 MPH makes it ideal for challenging fitness goals.

Coming with a folding design, the treadmill is also easily portable as the manufacturer has provided transport wheels using which the machine could be fit in any room of your choice.

The machine weighs only 108 lbs but can accommodate individuals weighing up to 250lbs easily.

Are you looking for some inclination? Don’t worry, as there are three manual incline options (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 degrees) to choose from.

Use these inclination levels and combine them with any of the 12 pre-set exercise possibilities to achieve various fitness targets, including weight loss, cardio, muscle toning, and more.

Each of the 12 programs is set for 30 minutes/day, and important metric values could be observed on the LCD.

The downside is that there is no provisioning for a fan, speakers, or a USB cable.

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Horizon Fitness T303 Treadmill – Best Cushioned Treadmill for Bad Knees


Coming with a lifetime warranty and a 3.0 CHP monitor, the Horizon Fitness T303 model doesn’t need further elaboration to vouch for its durability and performance. Such a powerful motor makes this model an ideal pick for HIIT training and suitable for any level of individuals—beginners, intermediate, or advanced.

With a maximum speed of up to 12 MPH, this Horizon treadmill also has an amazing inclination possibility of up to 12%. Such inclinations might be normal generally, but as we are speaking about treadmill models for those suffering from joint pain, a 12% inclination is a good bargain.

Monitor all the information needed using the backlit LCD console that comes with accurate speed, inclination, calories burned, and time details.

Foldable, this model is a space-saving design that’s useful for those suffering from space crunch.

The powerful motor generates no noise, and hence, it is possible to work out any time of the day without disturbing others.

Still, the T303 model is a basic one that doesn’t boast of iFit features or advanced technology.

The several exercise programs available help break the monotony and achieve fitness goals.

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NordicTrack 1750 Commercial Treadmill

Coming with a durable frame and construction, the NordicTrack 1750 is a suitable model for cardio training. The 3.75 CHP motor offers utmost power to the treadmill enabling it to withstand long workout durations.

It’s not surprising that this model is one of the best folding treadmills annually, given its WhisperQuiet deck. Also, the 10-inch HD console is super smart loaded with enriching features.

The manufacturer has managed to provide power incline/decline levels (15% inclination as well as 3% decline level), thereby making the 1750 model an excellent choice for iFit workouts that enhance exercise experience as well as help achieve health-related goals steadily.

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Many individuals think of setting up a home gym due to space crunch but don’t think twice to get this machine as it is foldable. The EasyLift Assist technology helps in handling the machine easily and storing it away when not in use.

With the latest design and technological incorporations, the NordicTrack 1750 assures good quality, reliability, and performance.

A great asset for the price paid, it is possible to monitor heart rate and is a good pick for those wanting to get into shape. But, the machine is not portable, and also customer care response is quite slow owing to the large customer base of NordicTrack.

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Sunny Health And Fitness Walking Treadmill SF-T7857

Ensembled with a shock absorption feature, the SF-T7857 is the best shock absorption treadmill that minimizes the impact on the knees when walking or jogging.

So, why isn’t walking included here? It’s mainly because the machine offers a speed range of only between 0.6mph and 5 mph that’s suitable for walking and fast jogging.

For easy handling, the machine comes fitted with quick speed and dedicated mode buttons that help customize all desired training goals.

There are multi-grip handrails present on either side of the treadmill that enables individuals to work out their shoulders, arms, back, and entire body, especially lower body work out.

The handlebars come fitted with good grip foam and increase the support even when walking at higher speeds.

Monitor details such as speed, calories burned, and distance using the easy-to-use backlit LED console, whose information helps us boost energy levels to do an intense workout and reap greater benefits.

Moving the treadmill to any room is easy as the manufacturer has fitted a pair of front-mounted wheels.

Set the goal, start working out, and in case of emergency, press the magnetic safety key from the console to stop the machine immediately. Hence, this is one of the safest models to use.

Though lightweight (123 lbs), the machine can withstand up to 295 lbs of user weight, the machine is quite difficult to assemble.

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Horizon Fitness T101 – Best Shock Absorption Treadmill

If you are looking for a light or mid-level workout, the T101 model from Horizon Fitness should be an apt choice as it is an inexpensive piece of machine that’s full of interesting features.

The treadmill not only offers a speed range of 0.5-10 MPH and an inclination of up to 10% but also comes loaded with 30 built-in workout programs that assist in rapid fat burn and fulfill different fitness goals.

There are 10 different step-goal and distance-based workouts and three interval training programs.

Using the 5-inch green LCD that’s backlit for easy reading of information, get all the data needed using the three data windows.

Raise or lower the deck as and when using it with the help of two hydraulic shocks and feather-light lifts.

Secondary features that attract customers include a cooling fan and Bluetooth connectivity that keep us comfortable and engaged. Also, monitor heart rate using the pulse monitor handgrip. The only downside is that the machine is not so durable and has a short running deck.

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Horizon Fitness T202 Treadmill

For anyone wishing to set up a great home gym that’s comfortable and inviting to work out every day, don’t miss out on the Horizon Fit T202 treadmill.

Coming with a Flex Plus cushioning system, the manufacturer guarantees that this machine offers minimal impact on the joints/knees.

Choose from any of the 12 inclination levels and a speed range between 0.5 MPH and 12 MPH.

Many individuals start working out, setting goals in mind, and for such people, this machine offers a 31-day goal training feature and 12 different workout programs to choose from.

Make use of the two LED consoles that offer alphanumeric displays and profiles that help save workout information.

Another big advantage of this machine is that it comes fitted with quiet motors that allow individuals to use it any time of the day without disturbing others.

Secondary features such as inbuilt iPod speakers, a Coolfit fitness fan, and a heart rate monitor are a sure-shot attraction to all.

Use the T202 model in any room as the FeatherLIGHT folding system helps lift and set it up anywhere.

Though durable, there are some complaints that the machine shales while in use.

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Exerpeutic TF900 Electrical Treadmill

Enjoy exercising at any speed between 0 and 4 MPH even when suffering from joint pain, as the shock absorption technology guarantees the perfect platform for experiencing a painful exercise session.

Built with a heavy-duty frame and coming with an extra-large belt, the treadmill provides the perfect platform for a safe exercising experience.

Use the touchscreen console to note the information on time, distance, speed, calories, and pulse.

Safety-wise, there are big safety handles and EKG grip for security and balance.

With the speed controls and heart rate monitor in the handlebars, easy access to speed levels during the workout is an added advantage.

The 1.5HP motor is optimal and has a five-year warranty offered. Again, this is a foldable machine which makes it a good buy for those needing a space-saving design.

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The built-in wheels help in easy transportation of the treadmill to any room without trouble.

A budget-friendly model, the only downside is that the machine comes with cheap construction.

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How to Choose a Cushioned Treadmill for Bad Knees?

There are a couple of important criteria to consider when we are looking for a treadmill model for bad knees. Those include:

Running Surface AreaThe width and length of the running surface is integral for minimizing the impact on the knee.

Ensure that the area is optimal for your stride length, gait, and width. Else having to adjust with the available running surface puts additional stress on the knees due to additional force imposed on it to match the surface’s available area.

Incline: An inclination is always good at any time as it enhances the challenges faced and also makes the workout interesting. There are incline and decline levels that increase fat burn by an additional 40% compared to zero inclination training.

But, before deciding upon a treadmill based on inclination, it is essential to check with the physician whether any inclination is ok for the knee.

That’s because, for some individuals, even a 1-degree incline affects the knees badly.

Speed: Treadmills have speed ranges between 0.5 MPH and 12 MPH. The higher the speed selected, the greater is the exercise intensity. Choose any speed that goes well with the stride length and walking speed without imposing pressure on the joints.

Deck Size: Most individuals prefer to have a compact treadmill owing to space restrictions. Check the treadmill’s footprint and weigh the ease with which it can be stored. Smaller deck sizes mean that the machine can be moved around easily.

Cushioning: For anyone suffering from knee problems or joint pain, the primary feature that must concern the treadmill model chosen is cushioning.

Best cushioned treadmills for bad knees can absorb maximum shock imposed on the knees. With optimal cushioning, the knees and joints are put to minimal impact when running, jogging, or walking.

Control Panel: An optimal control panel comes filled with features such as built-in workout programs, easy-to-use buttons for adjustments, data related to workout, and multimedia support.

Some hi-tech treadmills also come fitted with interactive touchscreen control panels that enhance the overall fitness experience.

Storage Easiness: Any foldable treadmill is a good bargain as they fit inside small homes and the rooms of a patient with knee pain.

Such treadmills must also be easy to fold without putting increased pressure on the bad knees failing which additional damage could be done to the joints.

Simple to Use: The controls and adjustment options aren’t many in a treadmill. But, it becomes easier when you understand these controls completely.

Any treadmill that’s chosen must be easy to assemble, maintain, and simple to use.

Maximum Weight Capacity: Many treadmills support maximum user weight up to 300-350lbs. Also, the machines must be able to function for longer hours with a heavy load.

How to Safely Use a Treadmill for Arthritis, Bad Knees, and Joints

There are aplenty individuals in this world who have reaped utmost benefits for their knee and joints using a treadmill.

But, if you are one of those individuals who is looking out for the best treadmill for arthritis, remember the following pointers:

  • Stay safe holding onto the side rails
  • Familiarize yourself with the control options, specifically the quick-stop button
  • The right shoes help absorb maximum shock while exercising
  • Getting to know the safety key feature is a must and would help stop the treadmill immediately when needed
  • Switch on the treadmill and then hop onto the running deck to deal with the speed options
  • Stop immediately, observe, and deal with any kind of strain that happens while training on the treadmill. Otherwise, there could be dangers of inflammation
  • Always stay at the center of the deck to avoid any falls accidentally
  • Stick to doing low-impact exercises that don’t overstrain knees and hips
  • Start slowly and then pick up the pace gradually as overworking the knees can add stress to the anterior cruciate ligament, increasing complications even more to the lower limbs
  • Never add inclination suddenly. Choose the lowest incline setting and then increase gradually
  • Posture is a very important criterion when working out on the treadmill. Always maintain a good posture to avoid stress on the joints.

Exercising when suffering from bad knees might be tricky, but using a treadmill to work out eases such problems, helps in keeping the knees healthy, and also aids in maintaining an active lifestyle.

Final Words: Which Are the Best Treadmills for Arthritis, Bad Knees, and Bad Joints?

So, given above is a long list of treadmills that are suitable for bad knees. But, if there are individuals who love to pick a model based on certain constraints, there is a simple solution.

If budget is the constraint, the XTERRA Fitness TR150 model is the best budget treadmill, while the NordicTrack T 6.5 is the most cost-effective model.

For those wanting to use a versatile machine, the NordicTrack 1750 must be the ultimate choice. In general, go for a machine that’s well-cushioned and abides by the important features mentioned above to provide relief against arthritis and bad.

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