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Best Cushioned & Low-Impact Treadmills

for Bad Knees Problem

of 2022

Horizon T101

Short Review

The T101 is Horizon’s entry-level treadmill that is best for walkers and joggers. It is compact, sturdy, quiet in operation, and has Horizon’s proprietary 3-Zone cushioning in the deck to protect your spine and joints. This is a great treadmill option for those who want gentle training and conditioning.

Horizon T303

Short Review

The T303 treadmill has all the hallmarks of Horizon’s much-loved fitness equipment. Its 3.0 CHP motor is quite powerful, not to mention steady and quiet, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Much like other models in the range, Horizon touts this motor as one of the best in the market for interval training, as it quicker to respond to speed changes than most of its competitors (especially those anywhere near its affordable retail price). The speed goes up to 12 mph, while the incline upper limit is 12%. While its speed is fairly standard, its 12% incline is a few degrees off of the industry standard. Whether you’re a walker, jogger, or runner, adding incline to your routine helps ramp up that calorie burn. That said, those looking for a lower impact workout and those recovering from (or coping with) joint issues or injuries are unlikely to be using their treadmill at full incline anyway, so this shortcoming will be less relevant.

Horizon 7.8 AT

Short Review

The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT is Horizon’s highest grade treadmill in their Studio Series lineup. It has a full 22” wide and 60” long deck which is compatible with other high-end folding treadmills. This provides plenty of space for walking, jogging, or running and should offer enough kickback for even tall runners. Crush your fitness goals with Horizon’s most powerful treadmill, the Horizon 7.8AT. Connect directly to your favorite workout apps, such as Zwift or Peloton, or use the integrated Sprint 8 HIIT programming.

Bowflex T22

Short Review

The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is a high-quality treadmill that can easily satisfy everyone including the most hardcore of runners with serious training programs. This heavy-duty model has a sturdy build, 400-pound weight limit, and highly effective Comfort Tech cushioning. The 60″ x 22″ tread surface is huge, and the 12 mph top speed and -5% decline to 20% incline allow for some proper hill workouts. A 22-inch HD touchscreen allows you to easily navigate the JRNY app and view workouts while you run. JRNY also provides the option to stream your favorite entertainment through the screen, and it works with third-party apps like Zwift through your own device.

NordicTrack 1750

Short Review

NordicTrack earns an enthusiastic review for the updated Commercial 1750 treadmill with iFit. This popular model is even better than before, now enhanced with Bluetooth audio to help keep you motivated. The 1750 is normally the cheapest option in NordicTrack’s Commercial Series, but it’s hardly entry level. This cardio trainer is a luxurious option that can satisfy most runners as well as power walkers, and we consider it as one of this year’s best buys.

Buying Guide: What To Look For In Treadmills For Bad Knees

If you suffer from occasional or chronic knee pain, the last thing you want is a treadmill that will aggravate your joints even more. Never fear! We’re here to help you make the right decision by equipping you with useful information you need to know. Let’s get started:


The No. 1 thing you should look for when purchasing a new treadmill (if you have knee pain) is heavy cushioning on the running deck. Pay close attention to the information about the machine’s belt. Is it 2-3 ply? Is the PVC belt at least .8mm thick? Is there any information about additional cushioning considerations the brand has made when designing the deck? These are all things to consider before hastily choosing a treadmill.

Incline And Decline

Depending on if you plan to use incline or decline, this may not be much of a concern for you. I don’t personally suffer from knee pain, but I do have issues with my reconstructed ankle and I do not enjoy using high inclines because it hurts. If this is similar to you with your knees, you may be able to get a cheaper treadmill that doesn’t have incline and decline training options.

However, studies have shown that regularly walking backwards downhill can actually help strengthen knees. If you’re feeling up to it, give it a try.

Soft Drop Feature

If you have bad knees, you likely don’t want to struggle to fold and unfold your new treadmill and risk hurting yourself further. If this is the case, make sure the machine you chose has some sort of soft drop feature or hydraulics that allow the deck to slowly come down on its own.

Trust me, I don’t even have bad knees and it is a struggle when you’re unfolding a heavy treadmill that doesn’t have a gas shock. You end up having to squat with the machine as it comes down to avoid it slamming on the floor and potentially straining your knees.

Deck Size

Whether you enjoy walking or running, you’ll likely want a sizable deck for your new treadmill. The industry standard on a deck for running is 22 inches by 60 inches, but most budget treadmill options are quite a bit smaller. Hey, they have to cut costs somewhere.

However, if you’re someone with knee problems, the more walking or running space you have, the better. I feel like you shouldn’t have to think too hard about the steps or stride length you’re taking, so the larger the deck for those with knee problems, the better.

Control Panel

Personally, I always want all of the controls to be easy to use and intuitive for any user that steps on the treadmill. Who wants to constantly be fumbling around to figure out how to increase their speed or change the preset workout program? Certainly not me. Especially if you have an injury, like bad knee, making your experience on a treadmill as streamlined as possible is key.

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.

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.

Are Treadmills Good To Use If You Have Bad Knees?

According to a study, “treadmill walking exercises have positive effects on balance ability and skeletal muscle strength.” However, you and your doctor know your individual body best. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before starting any new exercise programs with a knee injury present.

What Are Some Low-Impact Exercises I Can Do If I Have Bad Knees?

Well well well, I’m glad you asked. We’ve actually compiled a whole article full of low-impact exercise ideas for post-injury training. Whether you like using ellipticals, are looking to get a stronger cardiovascular system, or are on a weight-loss journey, low-impact exercises are for you!

How Can I Run On A Treadmill Without Hurting My Knees?

I can’t provide any magical advice that will suddenly make running on a treadmill feel like floating on Willy Wonka’s chocolate lake if it usually feels like a near-death experience. However, I can suggest things like warming up properly, using a treadmill with a well-cushioned deck, and stopping when your body tells you it’s had enough.