It’s no secret that the online workout craze combined with the pandemic has changed the way people exercise. While gyms don’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon, some people love having virtual personal trainers and classes at their fingertips in the comfort of their own home. Despite the many options, Peloton remains a well-known choice thanks to its popular trainers and well-vetted equipment.
While the company’s bikes may be the most notorious (thanks, Mr. Big), the Peloton Tread (which starts at $3,495, excluding a separate $44-a-month membership) has quickly become a well-known high-tech option in the online fitness world — bringing the most Sleek treadmill design combined with a powerful online fitness platform.
I’ve owned the Peloton Tread for over a year now, and here’s everything you need to know before you decide to invest in your own home gym.
The Peloton Tread is a smart choice for the Peloton fan looking to add a treadmill to their home gym. It’s sleek, nice, and compact, with a big old 24″ touchscreen for better visibility of your favorite trainers. But, with prices starting at $3,500 (although you can snag one for $3,300 for vacation prices right now), there are other treadmills that may be a better fit and more affordable.
Many treadmills are bulky and take up most of the room. When it comes to decor, most people don’t like big gray rectangles. The Peloton Tread bucks these trends effortlessly with a sleek, compact design that fits snugly in small rooms.
The 68″(L) x 33″(W) x 62″(H) footprint keeps tread from filling the room without sacrificing running space, and boasts a generous 59″ belt length. Tall runners with longer strides will have no problem with the Tread. Plus, its robust design includes a large touchscreen, bright red and black color scheme, textured running belt, and slim profile.
My Tread is in a fairly small 13′ x 11′ room that doubles as my home office without feeling cramped. I also have plenty of room next to the tread for other activities like weightlifting and yoga.
Ergonomic control knobs and buttons
One of the most thoughtful features of the Peloton Tread is the intuitive control knobs on each side of the machine. Other treadmills have the standard speed and incline buttons on the front, but reaching forward interrupts your running stride—and having to keep doing this for the entire run can be annoying.
By placing the control knobs to your left and right, the Tread lets you increase or decrease incline and speed with just one quick swipe. Additionally, there is a button in the middle of each knob that allows you to jump to the next highest level. For example, pressing the button at a speed of 3.2 will jump the speed to 4.0.
Disappointingly there are no jump buttons for reducing speed and incline. However, the knob is almost always responsive, and I rarely found myself having to slide the knob more than once.
Peloton is known for its personal training ecosystem. There are more than 50 instructors covering many disciplines—cycling, bootcamps, meditation, stretching, running, even boxing, and more—and they’re all professionals in their fields (as well as good and personable entertainers). This ecosystem translates almost perfectly to the tread.
Here are some of my favorite features that help take my home workouts to the next level:
● stacked class: To mix things up, you can create a playlist, or “stack,” that contains different categories that play one after the other. Before working out, you can manually select the classes you want and place them in your “stack”. For example, you can layer a running warm-up session, a HIIT session, and then a post-run stretch. When a lesson is over, you can click an on-screen button to start the next lesson, saving you from wasting time thinking about what to do next.
● Social and Competitive Characteristics: Peloton software includes many ways to keep your workouts motivated. Achievements and monthly challenges provide fun rewards, while class leaderboards unleash your competitiveness. And think it’s not exclusive to Tread, it even comes with a webcam so you can take lessons with your friends.
● physical index: Tread helps you exercise every muscle with Body Activity. Access body metrics without setting anything up. The software will show which muscles you have worked over the past 7 to 30 days. Want to build your glutes but only 10% of your classes target them? You’ll get personalized class recommendations for your glutes. A muscle weakness can quickly become your strength. You can view your physical activity on Tread under your profile overview.
While the Peloton Tread is a good-looking treadmill with one of the most popular and powerful online fitness platforms, the price puts it in competition with some of the highest-end treadmills on the market. However, for its $3,495 price tag, it may lag behind other similarly priced products in terms of performance, depending on the treadmill.
For example, when I compared the Peloton Tread to the $3,499 NordicTrack Commercial X22i treadmill, the NordicTrack has many of the same features as the Tread. However, the Commercial X22i controls the Tread with a -6 percent to 40 percent incline compared to the Peloton’s 0 to 12.5 percent. The NordicTrack treadmill also features integrated push bars and sled handles for more workout options, as well as two built-in fans to keep you cool during your workout—neither of which is included with the Peloton Tread. Plus, an iFit subscription is less expensive than an All-Access Peloton membership (though that’s also due to the lack of celebrity trainers).
If you’re only going to run on the Peloton Tread, rotating the screen probably isn’t a big deal. However, it can get in the way when trying other classes like strength, stretching, yoga, and bootcamp.
In most situations, the large 23.8-inch screen will be perfectly visible if you’re standing on the pedal or standing next to it. However, sometimes the arms of the treadmill block the screen when I’m on the floor. Sometimes I have to get up multiple times to check what the coaches are doing because I don’t understand their instructions.
If you have a TV near your Tread, you can cast your workout to the TV for a bigger screen (one of the Tread’s best features). But if you don’t, either the Tread’s screen is blocked at times, or the workout is transferred to the Peloton app on your phone or tablet, which can take time.
The Peloton Bike+ has a swivel touchscreen that allows you to drop off seamlessly during other courses. Hopefully this feature will be implemented in a future version of Tread.
As much as I love the Peloton software on the Tread, there were still some connectivity issues to work out.
First of all, some Bluetooth headsets have problems connecting. While the most popular brands, AirPods and Galaxy Buds, connect almost flawlessly, lesser-known brands can be finicky. For example, my JBL Endurance Peak 2 earbuds sometimes connected without issue, and other times it took a few minutes for the Tread to recognize them.
Second, Tread can only connect directly to one smartwatch and one fitness app: Apple Watch and Strava. You can sync your workout stats to other smartwatches and apps like the Galaxy Watch and Samsung Health, but only if your watch and your preferred fitness app can sync with Strava. For such a popular and expensive machine, the lack of a direct connection to the Tread is disappointing.
The Peloton Tread is an excellent treadmill in its own right. However, if the Tread’s price tag isn’t attractive, you may have better options.
If you still want to be part of the Peloton ecosystem without paying luxury prices, the Horizon 7.8 is for you. The Horizon, which costs $2,000, has a powerful speaker, QuickDial controls similar to the Peloton Tread, the same running belt length, and a Bluetooth option for heart rate tracking. This tread is specifically designed to work with Peloton or similar streaming apps at a much lower price.
If you don’t care about the Peloton ecosystem, but still want interactive fitness, the Bowflex T22 starts at $2,300. The Tread includes a 1-year JRNY Fitness membership and has the same size screen and belt length as the Peloton Tread. You can even watch Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime while exercising on the Bowflex.
There are also foldable treadmills, like the Horizon T101, that save as much space as you can imagine. They’re also much cheaper, some as low as $350. Just don’t expect foldable quality or an extensive feature list. In this way, the Peloton Tread is a good compromise between cutting-edge interactive fitness and a sleek, space-saving design.
But what about other home online fitness platforms? Peloton’s software is most often compared to the Tonal ($3,495) and Lululemon Studio Mirror ($1,495). While neither offers running workouts, it’s clear that they all offer a range of classes, from strength training to HIIT workouts. Plus, both hang on the wall, saving more space than the Peloton Tread. Both platforms also cost about the same per month as Peloton’s All-Access Membership ($44): $49 for Tonal and $39 for Mirror.
When Peloton hit the market in 2012, it set out to redefine how people exercise. When we were forced to stay at home during the lockdown, it became a lifeline for many sports enthusiasts and beginners.
The Peloton Tread continues that tradition with a compact, sleek design and industry-leading software that truly pushes people to be their best selves. However, this comes at a price. If you just need a basic treadmill and don’t care about the Peloton ecosystem, you might want to look elsewhere. The high price may not be affordable for those who only need to run indoors, and the Tread’s feature list is narrower than other treadmills at this price point.
However, my wife is an avid runner and has used the Tread several times to train for half marathons. And not wanting to break my daily record, I found myself taking at least one class a day. Since getting the Tread, it’s really put exercise in our minds and in our daily lives.