This article presents a showcase of the best treadmills for people with bad knees (e.g. arhtritic knees etc.) -- where they each have been engineered & manufactured with specially designed technologies & structure fittings to help provide high quality support support as well as cushioning mechanisms for your knees (& other joints) in order to minimize impact (note: this obviously does tend to make them more expensive than that of a standard treadmill). Hopefully, from the selection below you will find the right treadmill for you or at the very least get a better idea as to what you are wanting.

The TR 1200i Foldable Treadmill by LifeSpan

The way the TR 1200i accommodates for those with bad knees & general joint problems is with its structured deck cushion support system which has 6 integrated biomechanical elastomers along the running deck. This basically reduces the harsh impact that flows through to your joints that is caused when running on hard surfaces -- allowing much greater support & comfort for your knees (& you should also experience increased recovery too caused by the active 'springing system' you will experience when releasing for each stride).

LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill
Amazon Price: $1,499.99 $899.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)

Moreover, as a treadmill, 'overall' it is excellent -- it has been awarded with numerous accolades (such as best treadmill under $1000 for 2013 from Treadmill Professor etc.) -- and in my eyes it is basically the complete treadmill (offering everything you want from a treadmill & more) -- in all great bang for your buck.

To give a brief overview: it offers a 2.5 HP motor this allows you to walk/jog/run up to speeds from 0.5 mph to 11 mph (on a 'extra large' running deck 2o" x 56", supporting those who weigh up to 300 lbs) -- with varied incline levels (up to 15%). Moreover, you are provided with all the standard vitals & fitness programs (e.g. controlled heart zone, particularly good for those who are looking to run for longer & generally improve cardio health) through the centralised LCD console panel. I believe this should be the first treadmill you take a look at and compare other models to. And if you are generally really quite unsure as to which treadmill to go for, you certainly won't be going far wrong with opting for this model.

The F80 Folding Treadmill by Sole Fitness

The cushioning technology implemented in the F80 "reduces impact on your joints by up to 40% compared to running on asphalt" (described in an independent study) is  called 'Cushion flex Whisper Deck technology' - which basically, as the name describes, will reduce the force felt on your knees through flexing round each landed stride you make on the treadmill. So another great treadmill for those who have knee problems.

Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill
Amazon Price: $2,499.99 $1,499.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)

The F80 treadmill is slightly more accomplished than the TR 1200i model mentioned above allowing you to go faster (speeds up to 12 Mph) as well as a range of additional features such as the 'easy' folding deck rack to help you save on space as well as the 'high torque motor with flywheels' to allow for the work out to be practically silent. Also, with it being precision welded it is completely solid, hence no vibrations (and extra strains) can be felt even when running flat out. 

At the center piece is a unique Sole 7.5" LCD display that clearly details all the necessary information through an integrated message board -- calories burned, distance travelled etc. as well as providing a summary analysis of the workout you've just had. I would say, this treadmill is for those who are wanting that bit 'extra' in terms of support for their knees, solidity as well as features from the actual treadmill compared to the LifeSpan TR1200i model.

The TR4000i Folding Treadmill by LifeSpan

This is a model that I believe supersedes both models mentioned above -- whereby instead of 6 elastomers (with the TR1200i), this offers 8 elastomers-- obviously providing a fairly extensive extra amount of cushioning (& general greater support &  more advanced suspension fitted throughout the treadmill) in tandem with an extra 1/4 inch deck thickness (& being 4 inches longer) -- all contributing to a better experience for working out with a bad knee -- but does come at fairly significant increased cost.

LifeSpan TR4000i Folding Treadmill
Amazon Price: $2,499.99 $1,799.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)

It does, provide a few additional improved features on the TR1200i as well - such as the drive motor has been improved to 3.25 HP allowing it to reach up to 12 mph along with being able to accommodate a heavier user (up to 350 lbs). You also get the chest strap included & extended home warranty to 5 years on parts. But apart from that there aren't too many differences, like I mentioned above, what you are really paying for is the increased reduction of impact caused on your joints whilst running -- this is the main trade off you have to consider really between getting either the TR1200i & TR4000i.

The 9.33 Premium Series Treadmill by Precor

To extend on that notion -- of the best structure & technology in place to support your knee -- I want to mention the Precor 9.33  (granted it is very expensive-- but it is of the highest professional quality) which is quite literally the best treadmill you can get on the market, for providing protection for your knee. It utilises several unique & patented technologies to keep impact at an absolute minimum such as the the 'integrated foot plant technology' (automatically adjusting belt 'runnings' to your foot speed & impact as well as allowing adaptations & can adjust to complement your running strides) & the highly rated and unique 'Ground Effects Impact Control System' (regarded as one of leading innovations to provide supportive cushioning, "increase comfort" and improve running endurance).

Precor 9.33 Premium Series Treadmill
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)

It also hosts numerous 'state-of-the-art' features too -- just to take the control panel for example, the diagnostics it provides are precise (& aren't general estimates, that you get with most treadmills) whereby it registers your set weight, height, age, sex etc. and in turn can tell you with decent accuracy how many calories you have burned (fat % lost) etc. It also hosts fitness programs that have been designed by health & fitness professionals to maximise -- the health aim you are trying to achieve (as well as enabling you to set up custom workouts as well).

A particular highlight though is the heart rate monitoring which has a Bio-feedback center with Smart Rate - whereby you are provided with a chest strap (so you don't have to keep gripping on to the sensors that with most models are on the side panels) that allows you to run freely and have constant tabs on your BPM etc. Granted, this is a very expensive machine, but what you get in return is obviously a world class treadmill -- which essentially provides some of the best protection for your knee a treadmill can offer.

Which treadmill will you choose & why?

Also, if you have any concerns, remarks or questions regarding either the article: best treadmills for bad knees or about any of the models mentioned above, then please be sure to make them in the comments section just below and we will be sure to get back to you as soon as possible.

One Last Thing!

ProImpact Treadmill Mat
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)
Be sure that you invest in a protective treadmill mat too -- so you don't damage either your flooring or your actual treadmill (they have been proven to last longer without break downs with such mats). I recommend the ProImpact in particular which is used widely across health centers & gyms. Moreover, also invest in specialised treadmill belt lubricant to keep your Treadmill in tip top shape.