Best Budget Friendly Treadmills
Sold all over the world, a treadmill is one of the most common pieces of fitness equipment that you see in fitness centers and home gyms. Not only does the machine produce results, but it is also easy to use for most people. Plus, it offers great weight loss and fitness benefits that everyone can accomplish.
While there are many variations, the price range runs from just a few hundred to several thousand dollars. While many people may consider the cheaper models as low-quality, there are many budget models that still provide the fitness benefits that people are looking for without all the bells and whistles. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the right one for you.
Our Top Picks
Goplus Folding Treadmill
Featuring a 2 1/4 horsepower motor, the Goplus Treadmill offers three incline levels to make sure get a good intensity to your work out. It's easy to fold and store making it perfect for smaller homes with limited space. It is also very portable and features built-in transportation wheels that make it easy to relocate to another spot in your home.
Allowing you to burn more calories and tone your muscles, the three-level incline option allows you to easily simulate the slope on a hill. Using this machine is a great way to build up endurance, plus it comes with an emergency stop switch that is easy to reach on the handrail. This is a key safety feature that ensures you can easily stop the treadmill in case of an emergency.
It has user-friendly control keys and places these built-in handrail keys right at your fingertips so you can adjust your steep, start, and stop as needed. With cushioned design on each side of the treadmill, you can decrease vibrations and reduce noise providing a quiet work out space. With its’ 2 ¼ horsepower motor, you are also guaranteed to get a good work out with speeds that range from 0.5 to 7.5 mph, plus the motor will give you enough power for endurance, interval, and speed training.
The weight limit is 220 pounds. It also comes with a mobile phone holder and an LCD display that helps you to change modes and track calories, distance, speed, and your pulse.
Allowing you to keep track of your daily progress, There are 12 safe and easy to use exercise programs which are effective at burning fat, boosting your health, and improving cardiovascular fitness. They allow you to keep track of your daily progress. The included phone holder also allows you to talk or watch a video as you work out.
Equipped with a large LCD console, the SF-T4400 Treadmill is easy to use and provides information on work out statistics like pulse, calories, distance, and time. With a 2.20 peak horsepower drive system, It has a speed range between 0.5 and 9 mph. The motor drive is designed more for walkers or anyone that is new to exercising, so it is not a great choice for runners.
With a max weight of 220 pounds, this machine is easy to fold and great for homes with limited space. It's easy to fold up and down and a soft drop feature along with transport wheels that make it easy to move around. Plus, handy handrail buttons allow you to manually set the speed and are super user-friendly.
It has a simple to read display, and comes with a bright and large LCD console that offers 9 different exercise programs to use. It also offers three incline levels that allow you to simulate hiking and jogging by just changing the incline percentage. And it comes with a tablet or phone holder that allows you to watch a video or take a phone call as you work out. Keep in mind that this manual treadmill will require some regular maintenance including lubricating it regularly.
With a 400-pound capacity, the Exerpeutic TF1000 is ideal for heavier individuals that are starting an exercise program. It has 1.5-horsepower high-torque motor best used for light jogging. You can easily change the speed in increments of 0.1 miles per hour and there are two manual incline positions to choose from allowing you to simulate the slope on a hill.
Easy to move, this foldable treadmill can be stored when you aren’t using it or it can be placed in a permanent spot. The Exerpeutic TF1000 features transportation wheels that allow you to move it from spot to spot in your home. The frame on the treadmill is reinforced to handle a higher weight capacity and comes with a belt that is as wide as professional fitness club sized treadmills for security and safety.
Featuring safety handles that are extra-long, this machine also comes with an LCD display that displays your pulse, speed, calories burned, distance, and time. On the handles are included heart pulse pads along with speed buttons that allow you to easily hold on the handles that allow you to adjust your speed 0.1 mph increments up to 4 mph. This machine has a good number of features and also comes with a nice warranty.
Merit Fitness Plus
With intuitive controls, the Merit Fitness Plus Treadmill comes with a two-window LED display that will keep track of calories, distance, speed, and time. Using a 2.25-horsepower drive motor, it comes with seven work out programs that include endurance, cardio, and weight loss challenges. Weighing 250 pounds, it's on the heavy side, especially since it only has a 200-pound weight capacity.
Offering a speed range between 0 and 10 mph, the Merit Fitness Plus tells you how many calories you have burned, your heart rate, speed, distance, time, and resistance levels. It also has a built-in pulse motor in the handgrips as well as easy to access incline and speed keys. This is an easy to store treadmill that features a space-saving design making it perfect for smaller homes.
Get ready for hikes with the incline feature on the Merit Fitness Plus. With the motorized system, you can adjust the system between 0 and 10 percent to go from jogging to steep hiking or marathon exercises. It also comes with a cushioning system that prevents your legs and feet from feeling shock. This is a great choice for anyone with a small area to work out in that wants the diversity of seven work out programs to get into shape.
Featuring sturdy construction, the Xterra TR150 is equipped with a manual incline and has speeds that range up to 10 mph. This light-capacity treadmill comes with a durable frame constructed of steel while the console dashboard, motor cover, and side rail covers are made with ABS parts. Designed with a max capacity of 260 pounds, it can easily be folded up and down to retain a small footprint.
Equipped with a paint finish that offers corrosion-resistant protection, the Xterra TR150 also comes with transport wheels on the front base to make moving this 108-pound treadmill easier. Using a manual incline system, it uses rear stabilizers that are adjustable to achieve a deck incline. Once chosen, the incline is easy to lock in thanks to the pop-pin at three increments of 2, 1, and 0.5 degrees of incline.
The included 2 1/4 hp motor is great for either running or jogging, and it includes a flywheel, which can stabilize the rotation that you feel to make the work out feel smoother. While it does not come with Bluetooth, you can use this treadmill with any online fitness application. Plus, it has a large LCD display that is simple to read and can track pulse, calories, speed, distance, and time.
Versatile and durable, the Horizon T101 is also super affordable. This budget-friendly treadmill comes with a decent warranty and is pretty durable for the price. Compact and easy to fold, it will work in any home work out space, plus it is easy to transport thanks to its foldable design and included transport wheels.
Ideal for moderate to light work outs, the Horizon T101 includes nine onboard work out options, a 10 percent incline, and a three-zone cushioning response system that helps to reduce the impact on your joints as you work out. The 20 x 55-inch track and 2 ½ CHP motor make it a gentle treadmill for joggers and a great match for a walker.
Offering a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame it also has a one year warranty on labor and parts. This also includes a USB charging station, a tablet or phone holder, a cooling fan, and Bluetooth speakers.
NordicTrack T 6.5 S
Offering interactive training, the NordicTrack T 6.5 S uses iFit, an innovative training platform that you use along with an iFit-enabled treadmill. Providing an immersive experience, the work out you get is similar to working with a personal trainer right in your home. This is an affordable option for training, especially when you consider all the treadmills on the market.
Offering streaming and live work outs, the NordicTrack T 6.5 S includes a 10” HD touchscreen along with a one-year subscription for your family to the service. This service allows you to access a large library of live and on-demand work outs taught by expert trainers both off and on the treadmill. You can even map out a running trail on Google Maps, step off the machine for a yoga session, or walk through various exotic locations around the world.
The speed and incline on the NordicTrack T 6.5 S will automatically change depending on the landscape or trainer you are using. With its 2.6 CHP motor, this is a great choice for walkers with its 10 percent incline. It also is easy to fold up and store and comes with an aux port allowing you to listen to music through built-in speakers.
ProForm 505 CST
High-quality and compact, the ProForm 505 CST is durable and handy. You can easily fold this machine up and then store it away in between work outs. Offering an impressive array of features, it also has cushioning that reduces the impact on your joints.
The ProForm 505 CST also comes with a 10 percent incline grade along with 18 programs built-in. It is also iFit ready that easily connects to your tablet allowing you to take advantage of iFit work outs. When you connect to an iFit work out, the treadmill will automatically adjust the machine’s incline.
Thanks to the 2.5 CHP motor, the ProForm 505 CST is a great choice for walkers instead of runners. This space-saving machine comes with non-flexible, balanced rollers and has a compact 20 x 55-inch track.
Affordable and featuring a long track, the Horizon T202 is ideal for taller individuals and comes with a ton of features. Measuring 20 x 60-inches it features a 2.75 CHP motor, which can support an automated incline at 12 percent. It also comes with cushioning to protect your joints and nine work out programs that are built-in, which can be surprising to see in a lower priced treadmill.
The Horizon T202 includes Bluetooth speakers and an audio jack, so you can listen to music, and a tablet and fan holder to make you more comfortable during your workout. It also comes with a great warranty that comes with a year of coverage on labor and parts and lifetime coverage on the motor and frame. With its impressive variety of preset features, this is definitely worth checking out.
Budget-friendly and well-built, the Lifespan 1200I includes a ton of features and some pretty good preset work outs, which can help you keep your exercise routine exciting and fresh. Featured in the 21 included work out programs are two heart-rate exercises, five healthy living exercises, seven sports training exercises, five weight loss programs, and two programs you can customize. Easy to fold, this machine has a compact design that makes it easy to store in between work outs.
With a 2.5 CHP motor, the LifeSpan TR1200i is a great machine for jogging and walking. It comes with 15 incline levels as well as a two-ply belt that moves along wide rollers and includes cushioning and shock absorbers.
Ideal for moderate and light work outs, you will appreciate the Bluetooth technology built into the machine allowing you to sync up your work out stats on the LifeSpan app. This affordable machine also has a nice lifetime warranty on the frame, a five-year warranty on the motor, a two-year warranty on parts, and a one-year labor warranty.
Considerations When Choosing an Affordable Treadmill
It’s important to have a decent running surface size. This tells you how much usable space is on the belt for you to walk or run as you use the machine. Typically, it is measured in inches indicating the length and width.
Remember that bigger is better when considering the running surface on a treadmill. The larger your running surface, the more room you will have as you work out. No one wants to feel cramped as they try to run.
Taller individuals can have an issue if the running surface is too short. This can make them have to shorten their strides as they run, particularly when running at high speeds. This makes their run super uncomfortable.
The width of the belt isn’t as important, but you don’t want it to be too narrow, which can also be uncomfortable. In case you sway a little bit, you want to make sure you won’t fall off the machine.
A typical running surface measures 20 x 60-inches. This is large enough to be comfortable without making anyone have to shorten their strides. A small running surface is a hallmark sign of a low-quality budget treadmill.
The strength of the motor is also super important. The stronger the motor the better, especially if you want to run on your treadmill. Remember that a weak motor is another indication of a low quality.
Typically, a treadmill designed for home use will have a motor somewhere between 2.0 and 4.0 CHP. The CHP means continuous horsepower, which tells you how much power the motor is able to sustain and is a better indication of the performance of the motor than its HP.
When you have a strong motor, it won’t have to work as hard when you work out. This gives you a smooth feel. Obviously, you don’t want to feel the motor as it struggles to keep up with your pace. Plus, if it’s not working as hard to keep up a specific speed, it will last longer as well.
Typically, you want to look for a minimum of a 3.0 CHP motor, particularly if you want to use it for running. If you only want to do light jogging or walking, then a weaker motor should work for you.
Roller size is also important since that is the part of the machine that is making contact with the belt causing it to propel the deck along. You usually want a machine that has a larger roller since they will have more surface contact and provide a smoother work out experience while putting less stress on the machine’s motor.
Look for 2 ½-inch rollers for a home treadmill although it’s not uncommon to see smaller rollers on a cheap treadmill. If it comes down to a choice between two machines, go for the one that uses larger rollers.
Warranties are also very important. When it has a good warranty, it also tells you that the manufacturer feels confident standing behind the machine. A treadmill warranty usually covers labor, parts, the motor, and the frame.
Motor and frame warranties should be the longest since these are the parts that you would want to last longest. A good quality model will give you a lifetime warranty on these two parts, and you shouldn’t have a problem finding budget treadmills with this type of warranty.
A parts warranty can vary, but typically will be somewhere between two and five years long. A low-quality model may only offer a year warranty on parts. A labor warranty is usually the shortest and tends to only be a year-long although more expensive models may carry two-year warranties.
Typically, the warranty will tell you about the machine’s quality, particularly since a short warranty can mean that the manufacturer knows that the machine is made cheaply and doesn’t expect the unit to last. With a long warranty, the manufacturer is telling you that the machine is well made. So, if it’s a choice between two machines, go for the one that has a better warranty, even if the other machine has more hi-tech features.
Typically, a budget treadmill isn’t going to have a lot of hi-tech or fancy features like a high-end model will. This is obviously how they can make them affordable. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t see a few. Here are a few of the nice quality budget features you may find on an inexpensive treadmill.
Built-in work outs - Normally consoles will be simpler and features fewer work out options. That doesn’t mean you still won’t find some budget models that have 20 or more work outs built into them.
Displays – You may also not find large displays with touchscreens on less inexpensive models. But just because they are smaller, doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective, just less sophisticated.
Bluetooth technology – Bluetooth connectivity can be found. This is helpful for those that want to track their work out data or wirelessly connect to the unit’s Bluetooth built-in speakers.
Heart rate tracker – Some good quality treadmills in the budget price range may be compatible with heart rate monitors and may even include a monitor with the purchase of the machine.
Folding decks – Typically, a home treadmill will have a folding deck feature. This is great for those with limited area to work out in since you can fold these units up in between work out to save on floor space.
Shock absorbing – An inexpensive, but quality treadmill may come with a type of shock system that will help to lessen stress and shock on your joints.
USB ports – USB ports are found on lots of different things these days, and budget treadmills are no exception. Available to charge smart devices, you can also plug in a smart device to listen to music through the built-in speakers or connect to track fitness data.
Quick touch buttons – With these buttons, you can quickly choose a preset incline or speed button. Ideal for interval training, this feature is becoming more common on good quality affordable treadmills.
As you compare models, always consider the warranty, motor, and running surface. Depending on your preferences, there are a few more features to consider as you shop including:
Many machines can reach speeds of 12 miles an hour. At a minimum, you want a machine that will go at least 10 miles an hour, but if your preferences require faster speeds, make sure the machine you are considering will reach them.
Typically, they will have at least a 10 to 15-degree incline, which will let you burn enough calories to match what you would burn if you were running on a horizontal track. If you prefer to change the incline of your run to increase your work out's intensity, look for a model that comes with easy to access buttons that will change your running incline position.
The ability of the track to absorb the impact of the runner’s steps is called cushioning. If a machine has effective cushioning, it will help to protect your back, knees, hips, and joints. With adequate track cushioning, you can reduce your body’s impact between 15 and 40 percent. Remember that the best way to determine the amount of cushioning a machine has is to read reviews.
The console of your treadmill should be backlit. The window should be large and easy to read. At a minimum, it should provide feedback on your time, speed, and calories burned.
The average treadmill weight capacity will range between 200 and 400 pounds. Always look for a model that has a weight capacity limit that is at least 50 pounds more than your body weight.
Most people leave their treadmills in one spot, but if you plan to move yours from room to room, look for one that comes with wheels or folds easily.
When it comes to choosing a budget treadmill, you really have to consider your preferences and the features you want to have. With all the affordable models on the market, you should be able to find something in your price range as long as you take your time to shop and do your research carefully.