The Zwift app makes treadmill training more fun and removes the boredom of working indoors. You can work with other individuals online or train solo based on your preference. It keeps your body moving, and your mind refreshed as you train with this innovative app.
For this to be possible, you need to own or purchase a Zwift compatible treadmill. Alternatively, you can add a third-party device to make your traditional treadmill compatible with Zwift. This article discusses both the possibilities and lets you know what to expect from each setup.
What Is Zwift Running?
The Zwift app allows you to train, interact, and compete with other fitness enthusiasts in the virtual world from all over the globe. This app is available on PC, Android, and iOS. Since its advent in 2014, its users have grown to more than half a million.
Several professional athletes support this program through the Zwift academy by training aspiring athletes to marathons and triathlons. Its realistic and intense virtual worlds keep you going for hours.
You can customize your avatar, which depicts you in the virtual world. Similarly, the Zwift run program is introduced for training average runners with the help of elite coach-designed programs.
You can prepare for a 5K run or a triathlon using the virtual courses. It allows you to explore the countryside, jungle or inside a volcano.
Does Any Treadmill Work with Zwift?
Only smart treadmills work with Zwift directly. However, you can also make the traditional treadmills work with Zwift by using additional means. Since the smart treadmills connect directly, you get the best experience of the Zwift app with these treadmills.
Most smart treadmills cost a fortune and are not affordable easily. So, you need to find the right balance between your budget and your desire to use the Zwift app. You can check out the 10 well-researched treadmills that offer apt value to their price to fulfill your wish.
The treadmills listed here are not only chosen by the experts but are also approved by several individuals who already used them with Zwift. These machines have great reliability, provide the best experience, and offer accurate calibration.
Above all, they cost less or offer better features at lower costs than their competitors. Meaning you get to find affordable treadmills that either work directly with Zwift or by using a footpod.
As already mentioned, they do not give you the complete experience and have several glitches in pairing and syncing the data. However, if you already own a traditional treadmill and are looking to connect to Zwift, you can use the footpod method.
Else it is not only easier to connect a smart treadmill with a Zwift app, but they also come with several advanced features that further enhance your training.
What Does a Traditional Treadmill Need In Order to Work with Zwift?
When you’re stuck with a traditional treadmill for various reasons, you can still make it work with Zwift by using footpods. You need to buy this device additionally to pair it with your treadmill and the Zwift software as a bridge between your old model treadmill and modern technology.
Footpods are tiny devices that measure your distance, cadence, and speed accurately while you run. Nowadays, they are also equipped with a Bluetooth facility to transfer this data to your smart electronic devices.
This very same feature helps you convert your non-Zwift compatible treadmill into a treadmill that you can use with Zwift once you pair it. However, it is not done as easily as said. You need to calibrate the device accurately, and pairing can be a little difficult.
Sometimes these footpods depend upon the type of shoe and the position it is attached. Though you may use the same shoe all the time, you might fail to attach it in the same position every time you use the footpod.
It is a whole new story if you decide to change your shoes, as you need to re-calibrate it and check for accuracy before you can start again. Footpods work using a battery, and you must remember to recharge and keep them ready for your treadmill workout.
Also, make sure that you’re purchasing the newer version of these footpods that have compatible Bluetooth connectivity to Zwift. It is because all models of footpods are not readily connectable to Zwift and use various Bluetooth technologies that might not be compatible with Zwift.
What Are the Benefits Of Using A Treadmill For Zwift And Gaming
The Zwift app adds an interesting twist to the rather boring treadmill workouts and takes them to a whole new level with the help of the virtual world concept. In this virtual world, you can compete and interact with other players or complete your path individually.
This gaming-based training program removes the monotony of running alone indoors at home and gives you amazing challenges that help you return to the workout routine. It is always better to purchase a smart treadmill if you’re interested in such games.
These treadmills offer you a seamless connection with Zwift or other similar games that keeps your experience smooth. Even the traditional treadmills can be utilized with the support of footpods. Check the benefits of using Zwift for your treadmill.
Since it clubs the advantages of running and fun in playing games, you get to enjoy a useful combination of improving your physical and mental health in a go. It is all done in a fun manner where you will rarely feel bored or make up excuses for being tired.
Though you are exercising from a single place, you can virtually enjoy running in different parts of the world and met several co-runners. The same is the case with other gaming concepts that work with your treadmill.
As they are huge multiplayer games with people coming from various regions of the world, you get to appreciate the company of different levels of trainers or running enthusiasts who might interest you. You can not only view other users but also challenge them or view their workout schedules.
You get to admire the beauty of the outdoor environment virtually in the safety of your home using Zwift. Few advanced treadmills capable of mimicking the terrain provide an ultimate experience as they modify the incline and decline accordingly.
You are not affected by obstructions such as traffic, weather, or similar unexpected conditions that form an obstacle while you run. There is a facility to choose from various cities and routes to keep this virtual gaming more interesting.
The graphical animations on the screen are very interesting and depict your actions using an avatar that keeps you focused on the game. There will be no other distractions claiming your attention, and it is hard to lose your focus when you have a challenge ahead.
Your treadmill might be equipped with a display or not, but when using Zwift, you can view several fitness statistics such as your running speed, the miles you covered, your cadence, heart rate, and more.
As you can keep track of important numbers related to your fitness without turning your head away from the display, you get to check your running intensity in real-time.
How to Choose the Best Treadmill for Zwift and Gaming with Fully Compatibility
You have several models of treadmills in the market, and not all of them are readily compatible with Zwift. Considering the below factors before you purchase a treadmill to use with Zwift or gaming helps you buy one of the best treadmills for Zwift.
Your treadmill needs to run at a 10 mph or higher speed for running games, and below that is useful for walking games. Since you intend to compete with your fellow runners, you need to have enough speed to catch up with the competition.
Treadmills higher than 2.5 CHP are suitable for supporting your speed continuously. Otherwise, you will see that the treadmill slows down gradually after running for a while, increasing the stress. With proper power, you get to enjoy constant speed.
It is discouraging to deal with complex operation set up and leads to underutilization of a treadmill. When working in combination with Zwift, you need to change options quickly to keep competing well, and if you fail to catch up as you cannot locate some button, then you will feel disappointed.
You should be able to connect with similar Bluetooth technology allowed by Zwift and other gaming apps. This feature also allows you to connect with smartphone apps where you can use other fitness apps as per your requirement.
When the connectivity is well-established, your speed and cadence are transmitted exactly to the Zwift, giving you highly accurate values. Connectivity issues will sometimes contribute to losing as they do not transmit the complete intensity of your running.
When you are looking forward and not towards your belt, you need to have ample space for stretching your legs as you keep up with the competitive speed. Treadmills made for the home gym range are sized for minimizing the space to fit into a small home environment.
So, opting for a large belt dimension among them will give you ample space to run freely without injuring yourself even when you are not looking.
Top 10 Best Smart Treadmills for Zwift and Gaming
SOLE F63 Treadmill – Best Smart Treadmill for Zwift
Sole F63 is an affordable treadmill in the range of smart machines and provides all the basic features necessary by the users. It is well-built, has high durability, and is a reliable machine that has the support of many satisfied customers.
It is apt for individuals who aspire to run but are not willing to invest highly on a smart treadmill. You get impressive features such as wireless compatibility and a console screen with advanced technology.
Its pre-installed workout programs are challenging and support your muscle toning, calorie-burning, and cardio workout goals that help improve your endurance. Get your heart rate up even with your customized plans that you can store in the two available slots.
Even keeping track of your heart rate is easy using the built-in contact pulse monitor. The handlebars have incline and speed adjust buttons making it convenient to adjust these settings. Its 6.5” console screen is back-lit and easily visible even from a distance.
The hydraulic system does all the heavy lifting for you, making the machine easy to fold. You can entertain yourself while working out using the Bluetooth audio speakers and your device. This treadmill comes with a shelf to hold your devices safely.
The USB charging port is capable of charging your media devices while you work out. It is a great budget treadmill with Bluetooth compatibility to support data transmission quickly to your Zwift app.
Nordictrack 1750 -Best Folding Treadmill for Zwift
The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 seems expensive, but it does come with a complete value to its price. Its powerful 3.75 CHP motor provides excellent performance quiet operation. You get a 10-inch smart HD touch screen for selecting various options.
It is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 technology which allows you to connect with the Zwift app. As it is foldable, you can store it easily in a limited space. It comes with an EasyLift™ Assist tech that allows you to fold it effortlessly.
This treadmill comes with 50 preloaded programs that are trainer certified workouts, including interval training, heart rate monitoring, calorie-burning, and many more such exercises. It is possible to download and access the iFit coach directly if you have a subscription.
It is highly enjoyable to use it with the Zwift application as this treadmill is capable of adjusting the incline or decline based on the virtual terrain. You get to appreciate an accurate feel of the location that mimics the place through this setup.
Nordictrack 1750 is also one of the best treadmills for people with knee problems because it provides you with low impact workout as it features flex cushioning that keeps your joints safe by reducing the chance of injury and providing a soft surface to land. However, if you want your treadmill to simulate the outdoor environment, you need to turn off its flex cushioning option.
Its 3-inch Bluetooth speakers provide you entertainment when you connect them to digital media, such as a tablet that can be safely placed in a holder.
Sole F80 Zwift Treadmill
From light runners to joggers, every fitness enthusiast will find Sole F80 useful. Though it doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, it does come with all the required features. It is durable and simple but delivers high-quality performance.
Though it is foldable, it comes with a stable base that keeps it sturdy. The 15% incline I love you too enjoy challenging workouts to train your glutes and hamstrings. Even when you run at the top speed of 12 MPH, this treadmill remains stable.
The big 9 inch LCD console screen is backlit and easily readable as it displays large numbers. You can view the distance run, speed, incline, workout time, and calories burnt. It’s 8 preprogrammed workouts, and the 2 custom workout storable slots are impressive.
It comes with EasyAssist folding technology that features 4 rollers instead of the usual 2 rollers. Also, the Cushion Flex deck produces a 40% lesser impact on your joints. Though it is a simple machine, it does come with the most important chest strap facility.
This chest strap connects to the treadmill through Bluetooth and displays your heart rate accurately on the LCD screen. It is budget-friendly. As already mentioned, this treadmill has Bluetooth connectivity, making it possible to connect to the Zwift app.
If you buy this machine, you do not need any other accessories to connect with Zwift. The built-in speakers and USB charge ability are the other mention-worthy features.
Xterra TRX3500 Treadmill
The XTERRA TRX3500 comes with an incline of 12% that offers an excellent challenge to perform various workouts. This treadmill is capable of attaining 12MPH top speed, making it suitable for both runners and walkers at different intensities.
The 3.0 CPH motor power is responsible for attaining such high speed for versatile uses. Its animated racetrack graphic display your progress on the backlit screen of 6.5 inches. It also shows other fitness data on the screen while you work out.
The up and down buttons found on the handlebar are useful in adjusting the speed and incline. Its heart rate monitoring feature is supported by the stainless-steel sensors present on the crossbar.
To measure your heart rate, you just need to place your hands on it for 10 seconds, and the machine reads out the heart rate aloud while you’re training. The 30 plus preset programs allow automatic control of incline and speed conveniently without the need to change the settings each time.
The 2 custom workout saving facility helps you to create and save your program to use it later. As it comes with hydraulic assist and a self-folding frame, folding and unfolding this treadmill is a breeze.
You can share or transmit data such as calories burnt, distance covered, and so on to the Zwift app or your preferred fitness apps using Bluetooth. According to its users, this is one of the best smart treadmills for Zwift.
Xterra TRX4500 Treadmill – Best Smart Zwift Treadmill
Xterra TRX4500 treadmill is an affordable treadmill in comparison to its counterparts. It is an attractive option for individuals looking for a reliable and durable trainer. It provides standard features required for a cardio machine.
It comes with a 3.25 CHP motor power and is suitable for both power walkers and runners. It delivers consistent performance for several years and helps you achieve various intensity levels during this time.
The 15% power incline allows you to angle the deck that ensures the toning of your glutes and hamstrings. Get the most out of your run using the 30 preset programs or by adjusting the incline manually as per your preference.
It comes with a foldable frame supported with a hydraulic assist that folds and unfolds the treadmill quickly. The process is gentle and risk-free as the treadmill unfolds while it gets closer to the floor.
The track comes bordered with aluminum rails which usually come in plastic. You can adjust or create custom programs using the 7.5 inches console screen that comes backlit.
The wireless chest strap monitors your heart rate accurately and provides you continuous training data to use it with cardio workouts pre-installed in the machine. Its Bluetooth capability is also useful to connect with the Zwift app, where your fitness data is synced and utilized as necessary.
The Zwift application makes your treadmill work out more interesting by allowing you to enjoy the virtual locations from the comfort of your home.
Xterra 150 Treadmill – Best Budget Zwift-Certificated Treadmill
XTERRA 150 treadmill is designed specifically for home gym and comes with the foldable feature for saving space. It comes at an amicable budget with 12 preinstalled programs but cannot connect directly to smartphone apps.
You need to buy third-party devices such as Fitbit, footpods, or Apple Watch to enjoy gaming activities such as Zwift while training. These devices help in connecting your treadmill data to the Zwift app.
You get three incline options to choose from with this treadmill. The 5-inch LCD screen displays your fitness data. You can work at the top speed of 10MPH with the help of the 2.5 HP motor. As it weighs only 108 pounds, you can easily move it for storing after folding.
It is capable of 250 lb. weight capacity that allows several home users to use it without any worries. It might be a step behind the smart treadmills since it does not come with Bluetooth or USB port facility.
However, this deficit is fulfilled using external devices that allow you to take advantage of both price and better functionality with a little addition. This low-profile treadmill is very sturdy and highly durable. Its low deck height and noiseless operating make it a great treadmill for low-ceiling rooms and apartments.
It comes with clear assembly instructions that help you assemble the treadmill easily. This simple treadmill allows you to enjoy the uncomplicated operation yet connect to advanced technology with a little support.
Horizon Fitness 7.4 AT Treadmill – Best Quiet Treadmill for Zwift and Gaming
Horizon Fitness 7.4 AT treadmill is of high quality and comes in a mid-range. This Horizon treadmill offers moderate to light workouts and is suitable for beginners who want to start running. Its hydraulic folding option is handy when you want to fold this treadmill.
It folds into a compact machine, and it is a good option for people with space shortages. This treadmill is capable of enduring an impressive weight capacity of 310 pounds, making it one of the best Zwift treadmills. The 15% incline offers ample challenge to strengthen and tone your muscles.
It comes with a 3.5 CHP motor power that allows this treadmill to achieve a 12 MPH top speed suitable for both walkers and runners. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to enjoy the Zwift app connection, which takes your training to a whole next level.
This virtual gaming trainer displays an avatar that responds similarly to your activity on the treadmill while you run through the various terrains. It allows you to enjoy both audio and video with quick access to the virtual world using a single button.
The audio in and out Jack also allows you to connect to your smartphone while you place it on the holder provided to entertain yourself. It comes with a fan to cool yourself after a tiresome workout.
The water bottle holder helps in keeping the liquids handy to replenish yourself in between your workouts. You also get a reading shelf where you can place your reading material to read while you train.
NordicTrack 2950 High-End Treadmill for Zwift Game
NordicTrack 2950 treadmill has a large HD screen of 22 inches with touchscreen capability. You can use it with your iFit subscription or watch movies on this big TV-like screen while you run. The 40 built-in programs allow you to focus on various fitness goals.
Also, you can enjoy only music sometimes if you do not want to watch anything but still want to keep yourself entertained while training. The fan integrated into the dashboard runs according to your speed and provides you the required cool breeze.
The large deck area is ample enough for running and walking comfortably without injuring yourself. It operates quietly and also has less friction while you step on the belt. The cushioning adapts to your needs as it is capable of acting as a soft or hard surface as you choose.
If you do not use the treadmill often or cannot afford a permanent place for it, then purchasing this foldable treadmill allows you to store it when not in use. Though this treadmill is directly not compatible with the Zwift app, you can use footpods to connect it.
It comes with plenty of other advanced features, and if you wish to add the additional support of Zwift compatibility, you can simply do it using this small device. Once you enjoy the virtual world on this premium treadmill, you will love the experience.
BOWFLEX BXT116 Treadmill – Best Treadmill for Zwift with Fully Compatibility
The BXT116 model by Bowflex is an impressive treadmill with a sleek design and stylish look. This fitness machine comes with a 7.5” screen and offers you an excellent cardio workout. This foldable framed treadmill is powerful enough to get your heart racing.
You get a top speed of 12 MPH due to its high-performance motor with 3.75 CHP. It is useful for users who are training for marathons, serious fitness enthusiasts, and runners. As the buttons are located on the front handlebar, it is convenient to control incline and speed.
The motorized incline is very easy to operate and allows you to up your game whenever you feel like you need a challenge. The chest strap provides an accurate heart rate while you run on the treadmill.
The USB charging port found at the back of the console allows you to charge your devices, meaning you can use them without worrying about running out of charge. Since it comes with Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility, you can connect to Zwift without any issues.
The data is shared flawlessly, allowing you to enjoy the virtual running without any interruption. Even the registration process is a breeze as it can connect instantly without any issues.
Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill
The BXT216 is a healthy treadmill capable of giving you an amazing experience with its unique cardio training that gets you fit in no time. It is powerful and comes with excellent features that both beginners and elite athletes appreciate.
Its impressive 4.0 CHP motor power handles heavy-duty without complaining, even if you do multiple sessions in a day. It is rated as one of the best treadmills for Zwift running and is ideal for individuals training for the events such as marathons or triathlons.
The 9-inch screen is backlit and colorful. The calorie burn rate function is handy in calculating how many calories are burnt in a minute. This feature helps you to estimate how hard you are working in real-time.
The heart rate monitoring is done using the chest strap, which is more accurate than other measuring methods. The 11 preinstalled programs come built-in with this treadmill, allowing you to focus on specific goals.
You get to choose from programs based on speed performance, weight loss, cardio, or you can also create customized programs. The power incline feature is easy to operate and gives you the benefit of muscle strengthening along with losing bodyweight.
Due to its Bluetooth compatibility, it is capable of connecting with the Zwift app that makes running exciting and challenging. You can export your statistics to the Zwift app to take part in various challenges. The foldable frame comes with shock-assist technology.
How to Keep Safe When Using a Treadmill for Zwift and Gaming?
While enjoying the Zwift app or gaming on a treadmill, you might get immersed in the wonderful experience. However, your safety is also very important. Check out the below safety tips.
As you constantly check your virtual character while working out, the screen should be placed such that you have a proper view even while training. This screen may be a TV, monitor, or smartphone.
You should place it such that it is in the opposite direction of the treadmill, and you need to look forward to viewing it. On the contrary, if you place it on the side, it will be uncomfortable to view, and you might go sideways, leading to balance loss.
Always keep your eyes fixed forward while training. You cannot keep looking down constantly at your feet to check your position on the deck, as you might lose the action displayed in the game. Since the line of your vision acts as your guide to stepping, it is important that you look straight.
Sometimes the situation gets out of hand, and you might slip from the treadmill. Still, you can avoid injuries by making use of treadmill safety features such as the emergency stop button or the safety clip when required.
Wearing exercise shoes on a treadmill helps you place your feet steadily on the belt and avoids slipping. It is also important to wear shoes while using the footpod as it is securely placed on the shoe, making it easy to interact with the Zwift app.
Is There a Significant Difference in Training With Zwift If I Buy a Basic Older Treadmill vs. A Smart Treadmill?
Yes, there is a significant difference between the older treadmill and the modern treadmill training, especially when using Zwift. However, if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly option, then you can settle for a traditional treadmill and add additional functionalities using third-party devices.
Though it is not guaranteed that these third-party devices work as flawlessly as a smart treadmill does, but they still work. You might face challenges when connecting the devices or when syncing the data, which makes your experience a little unpleasant.
On the other hand, the smart treadmill pairs automatically with the Zwift app and transmit accurate readings. You will rarely have issues with data syncing and find the experience to be much better than a traditional treadmill, as it can do additional actions such as playing the music.
The best Zwift-certificated treadmills offer seamless performance as they are approved to use with Zwift. So, opting for such models with certification is also a good idea.
Is the Treadmill the Most Fun Equipment to Use With Zwift?
Several users find using Zwift along with the treadmill beneficial as it helps them to improve their fitness and running capabilities in a fun manner. Most of them believe that it would not have been possible if they were training alone.
The existing users quote it as a fun experience, and the virtual reality it offers makes you look forward to the training, meaning it keeps you motivated. Since the Zwift works with walking running, and cycling activities, you can enjoy an amazing training experience if you are into these activities.