Best Treadmill Under $500 in 2021

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I went searching for the best treadmill under $500 at retail sporting goods stores and online sellers.

And in this article I’ll share my evaluations of a handful of models worth considering adding to your home gym, as well as a couple you may want to avoid.

I’ll go over the pros & cons of each of their important features to hopefully help you decide if an affordable treadmill is a piece of exercise equipment worth buying.

And after the reviews I have a guide I put together that goes over the benefits and downsides to buying a cheap treadmill.

 

Affordable treadmills for running or walking at home

All of these models are considered a compact folding treadmill that’s easy to move somewhere and store, which makes getting your daily dose of exercise a very easy thing to accomplish.

Given all of the health dangers that sitting around all the time causes, adding an affordable treadmill to your living room decor might not be such a bad idea.

It can help you lose weight and burn fat conveniently at home, saving you time and (ultimately) money that wasn’t spent on a commercial gym membership.

Here are the models I evaluated for this review:

 

Best Treadmill Under $500

Top pick:

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Best treadmills under $500 honorable mention:

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Cheap treadmills that aren’t the best treadmills

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

 

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Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.

 

Damaged hardwood floor needs a treadmill mat - heydayDo image

Protect Your Investment

Do you need a treadmill mat to protect your floor from your home cardio machine?

A good mat also keeps floor dust or carpet fibers from getting into your treadmill’s moving parts and causing problems.

I wrote a buyer’s guide & article on the better treadmill mats available for both carpet and hardwood floors here.

 

 

Best Treadmill Under $500

Calves and sneakers of a man jogging on his treadmill at home

 

Top Pick:

Xterra Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill

4.4 ⭐   10,000+ total online reviews

Sale
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black
  • Large 16" x 50" walking/running surface accommodates users of many sizes and stride lengths
  • Intuitive 5" LCD display is easy to read and keeps you updated on speed, incline, time, distance, calories and pulse
  • 12 preset programs and 3 manual incline settings offer unmatched variety for your workouts
  • Easy pull knob releases the deck to fold or unfold for convenient storage when not in use
  • Integrated bookrack and accessory holders keep your reading material, remote control, and anything else you want close by, right where you need it

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Review summary

Pretty easy to pick this as the top treadmill in its class based on its outstanding warranty alone, plus it has a handful of thoughtful design features to improve the user’s experience.

 

What I like:

Great warranty – Best in this class of treadmills by far: lifetime on the frame, a year for the motor, ninety days for parts, plus ninety days free labor.

Nice console: Very easy to read, very easy to use. Convenient touch buttons quickly change speed, programs, or workout data.

Good speed range –  from 0.5 – 10 mph.

Heavy gauge steel frame –  plus a cushioned running deck.

Easy to fold

Nice accessories holders and reading rack

Display console of the Xterra TR150 folding treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

* The 16″ wide x 50″ long running surface is a better size than many folding treadmills no doubt, but not by much. Most cheap treadmills have very similar deck dimensions, and these won’t work for a runner who’s tall and has a longer stride than most other people.

* I thought that even the highest incline setting wasn’t much steeper than the lowest, and I read a few owners’ complaints who agreed with my assessment.

* Maximum weight capacity is 250 lb., which again is not low for this category of cheap small treadmills, but it’s not great.

 

Xterra TR150 Tech Specs:

  • Maximum user weight capacity: 250 lb.
  • Warranty: Lifetime for the frame, 1 year motor, 90 days free labor, 90 days parts
  • Motor: 2.25 HP, top speed 10 mph
  • Running surface size: 16″ wide x 50″ long
  • Manual incline adjustment, 3 settings
  • Heart Monitor: hand grips
  • Treadmill weight: 109 lb.

 

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Honorable mention:

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515

4.4 ⭐   3,600+ total online reviews

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill with Auto Incline,...
  • Quick Button Auto Incline
  • 12 levels of incline: 0% to 12% incline
  • 3 countdown modes: Time, Speed and Calories
  • Speed Range: 1 - 8 miles per hour
  • Integrated Body Mass Index Calculator - Reference Only

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Review summary

This is the first of three Sunny Health & Fitness models featured in this review, and I awarded them each runner-up status for “best folding treadmill that’s cheap” behind the Xterra we just looked at.

There aren’t any real huge differences between the three Sunny treadmills in terms of owner satisfaction, size, or motor horsepower.

But this SF-T7515 has a few distinct advantages over the other two that I’ll share down in the What I like section next.

And those improved features are why it has an $80-$100 higher price tag than the two other Sunny Health & Fitness treadmills we’ll be looking at in a bit. 

 

What I like:

Electrically-powered incline & speed – Push button ease to quickly change your walking or running angle on the fly, or your speed.

Wide incline range – all the way up to 12%.

Bluetooth integration – your phone and music can connect with the treadmill, and you can answer your calls while jogging.

Variety of settings –  twelve workout presets.

Features diagram of Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 folding treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

* It costs a penny under $500 as of this moment, so it’s the most expensive of the seven inexpensive treadmills in this review. On the other hand, it does have a number of features the others don’t. Just not certain it is worth it…

* Running surface would be a little short and a bit narrow for me, at 6′ 2″ 180 lb., a common “small treadmill” problem.

* Short ninety-day warranty coverage on the electronics & parts seems a little stingy to me.

 

Sunny Health SF-T7515 Tech Specs:

  • User weight capacity: 240 lb.
  • Warranty: 3 years frame, 90 days for the rest
  • Motor: 2.2 HP, top speed 8 mph
  • Running surface size: 16 1/2″ wide x 49 1/2″ long
  • Manual incline adjustment
  • Heart Monitor: hand rails
  • Treadmill weight: 104 lb.


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Honorable mention:

Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill

4.4⭐   7,000+ total online reviews

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill, Gray (SF-T4400) , 62 2 L x 26 8 W x...
  • 2.20 peak HP drive system provides speeds of 0.5 - 9 MPH along with 3 manual options for adjusting recline levels (0%, 2%, 4.37%)
  • Designed for a max user weight of 220 lbs. with 49 L x 15.5W inches of running surface
  • Easy folding mechanism and soft drop system helps you unfold your treadmill safely and hands free
  • Handrail controls allow you to control speed, start and stop. Pause function - Press the stop button once to stop the belt and pause your run while...
  • 9 Built-in workout programs with large LCD displays time, distance, speed, calories burned and pulse. Convenient smartphone/tablet holder is included...

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Review Summary

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 treadmill has one of the higher owner ratings this category and is one of the best treadmills priced under $500.

It has a small running surface, a small motor, and a pretty low maximum weight capacity, which is why I didn’t put it up there as the top pick — but it is better than many other cheap treadmill models out there.

Low horsepower and a little running surface make it best suited for beginning walkers and smaller, lighter joggers.

 

What I like:

Inexpensive – For a halfway decent model, this Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is cheap at under 400 bucks.

Small floor space – If space is at a premium in your place, this Sunny SF-T4400 won’t take up much room. It’s only 62” x 27” when in use, and it’s easily folded down to just 35” x 27” if you want to park it somewhere.

Monitor is nice – The console is better than many other cheap treadmills. There are 9 preset workout programs to choose from, with a little description provided for each one.

It also keeps track of your distance, speed, time, calories, and your heart rate, and it’s easy to use.

Some nice touches: a tablet holder for your devices; a Soft Drop system that makes unfolding it easy; controls built into the handrails for easy start, stop, pause, & speed changing.

It’s easy to assemble which is always a good thing. Here’s the manual if you’re interested.

Shipping free on Amazon.

 

What’s not so good:

*Short warranty typical of cheap treadmills, not just Sunny Health: 1 year on the frame, and either 180 or 90 days on parts depending on where you’re reading it, and no free repair labor.

*Max user weight capacity is only 220 lb.

*The track size is rather small at 49”L x 16”W, so it is definitely not a running treadmill for everybody. A tall person, a big person, or someone with a long stride won’t be able to run on this naturally at all.

*The incline adjustment is manual, which is to be expected with a cheap treadmill.

What isn’t so great is that the max incline is only 5%, half the usual 10% max you can find on other relatively inexpensive treadmills.

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill SF-T4400 dimensions

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 Treadmill Tech Specs:

  • Warranty: 3 years frame, 180 days (six months) everything else
  • Motor: 2.2 HP
  • Top speed: 9 mph
  • Manual incline – 3 levels
  • User weight capacity: 220 lb.
  • Dimensions: 62”L x 27”W x 50”H
  • Sunny SF T-4400 weight: 103 lb.

 

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Honorable mention:

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603

4.4 ⭐   1,500+ total online reviews

Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Treadmills, Motorized Running Machine...
  • STURDY, QUIET & HIGH QUALITY: Solid steel construction with extra shock absorption system makes your indoor run or walk a steady and effective cardio...
  • LCD MONITOR & PULSE GRIP: Monitors the heart and pulse rate, track distance and time, includes 9 workout programs that keep you challenged with your...
  • ADJUSTABLE INCLINE & SHOCK ABSORPTION: Tune up your workout with 3 levels of adjustable incline, less impact on your legs and joints with built-in...
  • COMPACT, PORTABLE & GREAT VALUE: 49L x 16W in tread belt. Easily fold up to 32.5L X 27W X 58H inches in 5 seconds, 2 transportation wheels make it...
  • SPEED RANGE: 0.5 to 9 mph, max user weight limit is 220 lb

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Review summary

Very similar to the model that I just reviewed, Sunny’s SF-T4400. So much so that I’ll just point out the differences here.

  • Today it’s 25 bucks cheaper than the SF-T4400;
  • Running surface is 1/2 an inch longer;
  • it’s 3″ shorter in height;
  • that’s about it.

 

What I like:

same as the Sunny SF-T4400.

 

Size dimensions of Sunny SF-T7603 folding treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

Same as the Sunny SF-T4400.

 

Sunny SF-T7603 Tech Specs:

  • Weight capacity: 220 lb.
  • Warranty: 3 years frame, 180 days for the rest. (Amazon says eight years on frame, that’s wrong.)
  • Motor: 2.2 HP, top speed 9 mph
  • Running surface size: 16″ wide x 49″ long
  • Manual incline – 3 levels of adjustment
  • Heart Monitor: handles
  • Treadmill weight: 104 lb.

 

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GoPlus Folding Treadmill

4.2 ⭐   300+ total online reviews

Goplus 2.25HP Folding Treadmill with Incline, Superfit Electric...
  • 【Heavy Duty Construction & 2.25 HP Impulse Max Motor】Made from high quality steel, the capacity of the Superfit treadmill is up to 250lbs, as far...
  • 【5" Blue-Ray LCD Display & 17" X 47" Rubber Running Belt】Features with 5" blue-ray LCD display, this Superfit treadmill provides better watching...
  • 【Adjustable Incline Level& Speed】The inclination of this treadmill could be manually adjusted in 3 levels, helps you burn more calories, tone more...
  • 【Foldable design & Cushioning Design】Easy folding mechanism and a soft drop system to help you fold and unfold your treadmill safely and with...
  • 【Safety Key & 12 Built-in Workout Programs】Safety Key connect you and the machine, emergency stop button on the handrail, which double protect you...

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Review Summary

Another cheap folding treadmill best suited for walkers and slow, lightweight joggers only.

It has a decent console for the price, and this GoPlus (Black Jaguar III) also has a few convenient features too.

 

What I like:

Nice and (almost) large LCD screen makes it easy to read all the workout data, and it comes with 12 built-in workout programs.

Easy to fold and unfold, though note it does not fold flat (folded size: 33”L x 28”W x 53”H). Has a couple of wheels for easy rolling too.

Easy to change speeds, either on the control panel or handlebars.

Woman jogging on a GoPlus folding treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

*Poor warranty of 1 year on the frame and only 90 days on everything else. IMO, with such a short frame warranty like that the manufacturer must not think much of this product.

If I was looking to buy the “best treadmill under $500”, this warranty alone would be an automatic deal-killer for me.

 

*The running surface is only 47” long x 17” wide, which is too short for me (and anyone else above six feet tall, or someone with a long stride) to run on.

*47” of track (and a 7.5 mph max speed) means no serious running for anyone anyways; this treadmill is built for walking and jogging.

*Also, 17” is a little narrow for me (6’2” 180 lb.) to walk on without having to consciously change where my feet land a little to avoid touching the frame. Larger people take note.

 

GoPlus (Black Jaguar III) Tech Specs:

  • Maximum user weight: 250 lb.
  • Warranty: 1-year frame, 90 days for the rest of the treadmill
  • Motor: 2.25 HP, top speed 7.5 mph
  • Incline: manual adjustment, 3 settings
  • Heart Monitor: hand grips
  • Goplus 2.25HP Folding Treadmill weight: 135 lb.

 

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Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill

4.1 ⭐   3,300+ reviews online

Sale
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Cadence Folding Treadmill, Easy Assembly with...
  • Start Your Complimentary 30-Day iFIT Membership; Stream live & on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Elite...
  • Large LCD Display; follow your workout stats in real time; iFIT-enabled for trainer-led workouts with auto-adjusting settings; integrated device shelf...
  • Adjustable Speed and Incline; Manually Adjustable 2-Position Incline; 0-10 MPH Digital QuickSpeed Controls; Adjust your speed at the touch of a button...
  • 16” x 50” Tread Belt with ComfortCell Cushioning; Folding SpaceSaver Design; Compact and comfortable design allow for a low-impact workout while...
  • 275 Lb. Weight Capacity; Protected with a 1-year motor and 90-day parts and labor warranty; 55.5" x 29" x 64.5" Footprint

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Review Summary

Until recently, the biggest-selling cheap folding treadmill on the market over the past few years was this Weslo Cadence 5.9 Folding Treadmill.

The Weslo 5.9 is an electric treadmill, so you can shift belt speed on the fly, which is a perk.

The model I looked at is their newer 5.9i, which is bluetooth & iFit-compatible, giving you lots more workout tracking options at a price (meaning, iFit’s not free – see below).

It’s not the quietest of the low-budget bunch, so apartment dwellers take note of that.

Weslo also raised the price for this newer 5.9i, which isn’t nice since their warranty is pretty short plus their buyer ratings have declined lately. 

 

About iFit

The Weslo Cadence g 5.9 is iFit-compatible, which means you can track your workouts in all kinds of ways, but you have to sign up for an iFit Coach paid subscription**.

** – iFit isn’t cheap and is a pain-in-the-butt to try and stop the ol’ credit card auto-renewal game, so be aware of that.

Note also that believe it or not, that twelve months of an iFit subscription (@ $39/mo.) will cost you more than the Weslo Cadence g 5.9 will.

 

What I like:

Preset workout programs – the Weslo Cadence 5.9i comes with 6 built-in workout programs, and the console is easy to use.

Reports of longevity? Several owners have gotten more than a year’s use out of the Weslo Cadence G 5.9i, which is always nice to see from a cheap fitness machine.

Some owners have even had theirs in use for multiple years, although several other owners have not had the same good fortune.

The cushioning under the track is pretty decent for a cheap treadmill, making walking or jogging a lot easier on your joints than pavement.

It’s a folding treadmill – Folds up to a tidy 29” long x 31” wide footprint that stands about five feet tall.

Shipping free on Amazon.

Assembly is easy compared to other pieces of gym equipment, it’s mostly nuts & bolts. Depending on how strong you are, you may want a second person to help hold it a couple of times while you’re attaching the bigger pieces.

Smiling woman jogging on a Weslo Cadence G 5.9 folding treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

Small track

The treadmill belt is 50”L x 16”W, which is too narrow and too short for me at 6’2” 180 lb.; I could walk slowly on it I suppose…

But the dimensions of this running surface is pretty much the standard size amongst cheap treadmills…even though some are even shorter & narrower!

Weslo’s own words describe it well: “…users under 6 feet tall will feel right at home on their Weslo tread deck.”

 

Not the quietest of the bunch

As I mentioned earlier, the Weslo Cadence g 5.9’s not as quiet as some of the other cheap treadmills mentioned in this article, and multiple owners online have chimed in on this subject.

This is mainly due to the fact that it’s cheaply built with a relatively thin track, lots of plastic parts, and smaller than optimal rollers. It’s not because it has an electric motor, because this Weslo treadmill has a quiet motor.

 

Limited incline adjustment

The incline adjuster is manual, which is to be expected given the Weslo 5.9i’s price.

I just wondered why they skimped and only provided a 2-setting incline adjuster.

It’s either flat or you change the feet so it goes up about 2 or 3 inches.

Using my hack math skills I think that comes out to only a 5-6% incline.

 

Typical short warranty

*It has ICON Health & Fitness’ usual warranty that they offer on their low-budget fitness machines: one year motor, ninety days parts & labor.

You can pay to extend the labor portion of the warranty, but you could also use that money to simply buy a better treadmill that offered much longer total product protection than that.

 

Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill Tech Specs:

  • Weight Capacity: 275 lb.
  • Motor: 2.25HP
  • Incline: Manual, 2 settings
  • Heart Monitor: It uses your thumb on a sensor.
  • Weslo Cadence G 5.9i weight: 119 lb.

 

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ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill Review

3.9 ⭐  350+ online reviews

ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill
  • Discover Trainer-Led Workouts at Home; A 30-day iFit trial membership gives you access to interactive training sessions, on-demand studio & global...
  • Large LCD Display; Track distance, cadence, and estimated calorie burn; Stream interactive iFit workouts to your own tablet or smartphone to stay...
  • 10 MPH Digital QuickSpeed Controls; 10% Digital Quick Incline Controls; Adjust your speed and incline with the touch of a button or let your iFit...
  • 16” x 50” Belt; Recommended for runners under 6-feet tall; ProShox cushioning for a more comfortable workout; Folding SpaceSaver design for...
  • 300-pound user weight capacity; Protected with a 5-year frame warranty and a 90-day parts & labor warranty; 59” H x 29” W x 55” L

Last update on 2021-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Note: ProForm recently hiked the price of this treadmill above 500 bucks — taking advantage of the high demand for fitness equipment. 

That had to be the reason since they sure didn’t improve the quality of it, and buyer ratings have been in decline lately.

Next thing that happened is that they stopped stocking it at Amazon, Walmart, and other online sellers.

 

Review Summary

It used to be a decent beginner’s treadmill, in that it is quiet and folds up easily.

It is iFit -compatible and comes with 16 preset workout programs and the ProForm name. iFit is not for everyone, as I’ll explain below.

Unfortunately they cut a few corners on this 300i model compared to their more expensive ProForm models, and so the 300i’s overall quality – and how long some of its parts will last – is a question mark.

 

What I like:

It’s a compact treadmill (70”L x 33” W) that folds up to take up even less space (34”L x 33”W).

It’s pretty quiet while in walking speeds (provided it’s been assembled correctly and lubricated). Quiet enough for apartment neighbors I’d guess. If you’re watching TV while walking on it you may have to bump up the TV volume a number or two.

16 workout programs come pre-installed in the ProForm 300i, created by a fitness trainer.

Bluetooth-enabled, so it can connect you to the iFit app which has a ton of workout ideas for you to check out & use (some parts of iFit I think you have to pay a subscription for though).

Has a tablet/device holder, so you can watch any of your app or online workout programs while you’re walking/jogging.

Powered incline adjustment is a perk with a cheap treadmill. Plus this one goes up to a 10% grade, which is a great spot to boost your treadmill cardio workout.

Max speed of 10mph is a plus for a cheap treadmill. Also, changing speeds (& incline) on the fly is easy as the 1-touch buttons are right in front of you within reach.

Shipping free on Amazon

5-year warranty on the drive motor & frame is nice.

Has a couple of small speakers with an audio input jack if you want to plug in your phone or mp3 player. Their sound quality isn’t as good as decent earbuds of course…

Woman jogging on a ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill

 

What’s not so good:

*Assembly was a bit of a pain for some owners – probably due to poor parts manufacturing/machining – since the manual looks pretty straightforward to me. Here ’tis.

*Typical of cheap treadmills, the ProForm 300i has only a 90 day warranty on parts & labor.

*The 16” x 50” track is a little narrow and short for me @ 6’2” 180 lb.

*Also, after trucking on it for a bit…and I’m just guessing…but I don’t think this treadmill can handle anyone over 200 lb. running on it for very long (as in, a few months).

A big person walking on it is probably OK.

But IMHO, the pounding of a heavier person running on it, coupled with its fairly weak 2 HP motor and plastic parts…I wonder how long it’ll last.

 

ProForm 300i Treadmill Tech Specs:

  • Max Capacity: 300 lb.
  • Motor: 2 HP
  • ProForm Performance 300i treadmill weight: 149 lb.
  • Dimensions: 70”L x 33”W x 53”H
  • Heart Monitor: hand grip sensors (tho’ I question the accuracy of these types of pulse monitors on cheap treadmills)

 

silhouette icon of girl running on treadmill

Cheap folding treadmill buyer’s guide

As you can see, there are quite a few buying options when it comes to an inexpensive home treadmill.

I only mentioned seven of them here in this review, and there are at least a dozen or more inexpensive models on Amazon besides these. I excluded those others for various reasons: excessive buyer complaints, fake 5-star reviews, poor manufacturing standards, poor warranty, etc.

In an effort to help make your decision easier, I came up with a few things you may want to consider while shopping around for the best budget treadmill for your home gym.

 

The reality of a cheap folding treadmill

It’s important to keep in mind that the low-priced machines featured in this review are best suited as a light jogging or walking treadmill.

They are not built to be used aggressively by workout warriors or athletically-fit people for programs like HIIT; the treadmills would likely crap out in no time.

The best treadmills on the market usually cost between $2,000 and $8,000, and they’re the ones built for high intensity cardio workouts. They are top-quality treadmills designed for hours of daily use in popular gyms, fire stations, physical rehab facilities & so on.

The low-budget treadmills for home use reviewed in this article are not built anywhere near as well as those commercial treadmills designed for heavy use.

 

Its warranty tells you something

And the real short warranties that most of the inexpensive treadmills have tells us something about the quality of the parts that were used to build it too.

That’s why I was so surprised that the Xterra treadmill I reviewed had such a good warranty.

So all of that explains why they cost $500 or less: they simply won’t last as long as the higher-quality, more expensive treadmills will.

As long as you’re OK with that likelihood, you’re all good.

 

purple girl on treadmill silhouette

Running Surface

Besides the power of the treadmill’s motor, I think that the running area is one of the top things you want to be aware of on an inexpensive treadmill.

You want to find a running surface that has enough length for your stride, and is wide enough for your body so that your legs can move naturally. Repeating an unnatural running motion thousands of times per workout session spells pain and discomfort down the road.

If you opt for a treadmill that is less “compact”, then you can usually find one with a larger tread belt.

 

Speed Range and Control

A discount motorized treadmill tends to max out around 8-10MPH.

You won’t be working with the same kind of powerful motor as you’d find on a premium model, but you’ll still want a treadmill that gives you full control over the running speed (and displays the speed on the monitor).

Also, keep your eyes out for a discount treadmill with more speed settings and pre-set workouts.

Many treadmills mentioned in this review come with preset workout programs, some featuring well over 10 programs. A workout program is a great way to let the machine do the speed adjustments work for you.

 

Incline Settings

Typically, your incline options will be majorly limited on a budget treadmill.

Many budget treadmills don’t have any incline adjustability at all, though all of the models in this article have at least some.

With cheap treadmills like these, you’ll usually come across manual incline adjustment, usually three levels’ worth.

Of course, manual adjustments won’t allow you to adjust the incline while you are using the treadmill. That’s the advantage (and extra cost) of auto-electric incline adjustment found on more expensive models.

Look out for how many incline settings are available, and the amount of incline on offer.

Most budget treadmills max out at about 10% incline. If you can find one that goes a bit higher, that’s a bonus. And if you can find a discount treadmill with automatic incline, that’s an even bigger bonus.

 

LCD screen & electronics

As is the running theme of this section, the quality of the workout console and the LCD screen on a cheap treadmill will be limited by the price.

You want to find a console that displays the most relevant information, such as Speed, Distance Travelled, Calories Burned, Incline, etc.

The more detail, the better, but you also want to be sure that the information is accurate and precise. A quality console or screen will make it much easier to track your progress.

Some discount treadmills are BlueTooth compatible, which allows integration with popular fitness apps that do a more comprehensive job tracking your progress.

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Wrapping up this best budget treadmill review

Whether your goal is to lose weight, get your heart & lungs into better shape, or just simply move your body more, a home workout routine on your inexpensive treadmill is a pretty easy way to get there.

Folding treadmills are much smaller than the giant treadmills you see at the gym, so they don’t take up as much space in your home.

Plus most of these cheap treadmills are quiet enough to use while watching TV if that’s your thing, and they’re easy to pack up and store too if need be.

There’s no need to hassle with going to a gym, wondering if all the treadmills will be taken by the time you get there.

And if by chance you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy working out, a well-placed running machine in a prominent spot in your home might make you less inclined to avoid exercising.

Related articles here on heydayDo

If you’re interested in reading about the best treadmills built for longevity & consistent use, I product-tested a few and shared my evaluations in the article Best Heavy Duty Treadmills.

And for more on space-saving treadmills, check out my Best Under Desk Treadmills guide.

I hope that this product evaluation of cheap treadmills is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.

 

– greg

July 2021

 


About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.