Your budget is a key consideration when choosing a treadmill, but oftentimes it can be difficult to figure out which model is going to give you the most bang for your buck.
Treadmills offer a huge range of different features which significantly impact the price, but that doesn’t mean you you’ll have to make huge sacrifices when shopping on a budget.
At the end of the day, the most important part of owning a treadmill is getting a good workout, and there are many treadmills out there that adequately meet this essential expectation and more without breaking the bank.
The most essential features to look for in a treadmill, no matter the price range, include: a motor that suits your speed and fitness level.
Before I dive in I want to make sure to bring up the importance of a treadmill mat. It can help reduce noise, friction on your flooring and help make your treadmill last.
Check out this article to see which ones are top rated for your specific flooring.
The 5 Best Budget-Friendly Treadmills
The Best Overall Budget-Friendly Treadmills
Features That Support Your Fitness Goals
Budget treadmills are obviously not going to include plush features like web-enabled touch screens and HD digital displays, but you want to make sure it covers the basics that you do need. Below are the common features that most of the budget treadmills will have.
- Built-in workout programs might be an important feature for you if you are a beginner or have very specific goals - like you want to use the treadmill for weight loss or for speed training
- A heart rate monitor may be important if you want to keep a close eye on your fitness progression or must comply with a doctor’s recommendation
- An incline is an important feature if you are training for a race.
- There are also some non-fitness related features to consider, such as length of warranty and whether or not the machine requires assembly.
Below are five options for buying a treadmill on a budget.
All of these treadmills have an array of basic features and are available for purchase on Amazon. While they will all require home assembly, they have all received positive customer reviews.
1. Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill
The quiet and smooth Weslo Cadence G 5.9i treadmill features a 2.25hp motor, which can reach speeds up to 10 miles per hour (in increments of 0.5 mph), can manually incline to two positions (1.5 percent and 6 percent) and you can easily store it when not in use as it folds up.
The running deck area 16″ x 50″ and features a Comfort Cell cushioning system, intended to reduce stress on your joints and increase workout comfort.
It features a built in heart rate monitor, a blue LCD screen which tracks your speed, time, distance, pulse, and calories, and includes six programming options for more aerobic intensity.
For the complete, more in-depth review, check out this article.
- Dimensions: 55.5” H x 29” W x 64.5” D | Folded dimensions: 60” H x 29” D | Belt: 16" W x 50" D
- Weight capacity: 275 pounds
- Activation required: Go activate to redeem your 1 month iFit membership and activate your equipment or simply press and hold the Bluetooth button for 25 secs while the machine is turned on to manually activate it
- If you want to bypass iFit activation press and hold the Bluetooth button for approximately 30 seconds while the machine is turned on.
- Space saver design: Simply fold your machine’s treadmill deck up when you are done working out in 1 easy step
From the reviews, it’s clear to see that people really like this treadmill. Review after review stated how easy it was to assemble, how great of a value it is, how compact it is, and how they enjoy using it.
Reviews came in from people of all sizes and fitness levels, one woman stating that she was self-described “short lazy person” and loved it.
Many reviewers mentioned that it goes faster than they can run despite it being a low horsepower machine - so it’s a great buy for the jogger or medium-speed runner.
You can check out the full review and comparison on slightly smaller (a little cheaper version) the Weslo Cadence G 5.2 here.
From a price point perspective, this treadmill is my #1 choice for a budget friendly treadmill. It's also the most recommended for those running inside apartments and a if those who are looking at a specific price point (under $500).
In our comparison table we shared that the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 was the top choice and the Xterra TR150 was the best value. If you are debating which one might be the best for you, this article might help.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 Treadmill
For the full review of the Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill, go here and read all about it.
This is a basic light duty, no frills compact treadmill suitable for walking, jogging and light running. It is foldable and many reviewers mention that it is quite narrow in comparison to treadmill’s you would typically see at the gym - making it great for small spaces.
The treadmill has a 2.2hp motor which can reach speeds up to 9 miles per hour (in increments of 0.5 mph).
The treadmill can manually incline to three positions (maximum incline angle is 12 degrees).
One thing that I would like to point out is that the Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is a solid machine. I include the NordicTrack T6.5s below as another option. Outside of the price difference that have some similarities. You can read all about the in-depth comparison here.
- The 2.20-Peak HP drive system provides speeds of 0.5 - 9 MPH along with 3 manual options for adjusting incline levels (0%, 2%, 4.37%)
- Designed for a max user weight of 220 lb. with 49L x 15.5W inches of running surface
- Easy folding mechanism and the 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 keeping your current data and running stats intact
- 9 Built-in workout programs with large LCD displays time, distance, speed, calories burned and pulse. Convenient, smart phone/tablet holder is included to fit different devices
It also features convenient handrail controls that will allow you to control your speed and start/stop the treadmill with one touch, 9 fitness programs, and a smart phone/tablet holder.
The running deck on this treadmill is 15.75″ x 48.8″ and may not be suitable for tall runners with long strides. For this price, an awesome treadmill for home use!
3. Merit Fitness 725T Plus
The Merit 725T features a 2.25-horsepower drive motor that provides smooth power at all speeds.
The treadmill's intuitive console controls let you easily set your workout pace from 0 to 10 miles per hour.
It’s a breeze to monitor your workout progress thanks to the two-window LED display, which tracks your time, distance, speed, calories burned, and more.
One thing that really sets this treadmill apart from others on the list so far is a motorized incline that goes up to 10 percent.
- Home treadmill with top-quality 2.25-horsepower drive motor
- Intuitive console controls with adjustable speed from 0 to 10 miles per hour
- 2-window LED display tracks your time, speed, distance, calories, and more
- Spacious 18-by-50-inch workout area with Aerosoft cushioning system. Water bottle holder present
- Folding frame for easy storage; measures 32 x 52 x 71 inches (W x H x D)
I personally like this feature because I regularly use the incline and like to adjust it throughout my workout.
This task is such a hassle with a manual incline since you have to stop the machine and adjust it yourself every time you want to change the incline.
I highly recommend this treadmill for runners who are training for a race/competition or who like to use the incline regularly for maintaining fitness. The Aerosoft cushioning system below the belt isolates your feet and legs from shock.
Other details include seven preset programs (weight loss, mountain and hill climbs, cardio and endurance challenges, intervals and manual functions), a pulse monitor built into the handgrips, quick speed/incline keys, and a folding frame for easy storage.
For more info on the Merit 725T, here is a full review.
One downfall is that the running deck measures 18” X 50”, making it slightly wider than others listed so far, but the shortest lengthwise.
This shouldn’t be an issue if you are less than 6 ft. tall, but any taller with a considerably long stride might find this running deck too short.
4. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill
NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill features a 2.6 continuous horsepower motor packed with features that make it easier to work out at home and meet your fitness goals.
The roomy 20” X 55” belt features NordicTrack’s own FlexSelect cushioning system that softens the impact of each stride, but you can also set it to simulate the feel of road running.
You can find an in-depth review of the NordicTrack T 6.5 S here.
- This item benefits from an Extended 90 Day Return Window
- Bring Home Interactive Personal Training powered by iFit; 1-month individual membership included; Experience live, studio, and global workouts in the comfort of home; Trainers lead your exercise
- 10 % OneTouch incline control; 10 MPH SMART OneTouch speed control; With iFit, your trainer auto-adjusts your speed and incline through a smart Bluetooth connection
- SMART-Response Motor for effective speed, interval, and endurance training; 20” x 55” tread belt offers plenty of leg and elbow space as you run; FlexSelect deck cushioning protects your joints
- Innovative SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist means your treadmill can fold up after your run for compact, simple storage; Auxiliary music port and dual 2-inch speakers provide entertainment
No need to interrupt your workout by scrolling through settings as the OneTouch controls allow you to adjust your speed anywhere between 0 and 10 mph and your incline between 0 and 10 percent at the touch of a button.
It has an easy-to-read 5” backlit display that tracks speed, distance, time, pulse and calories, and you can follow your run on a replica of a quarter-mile long track.
This treadmill has a ton more bells and whistles that the previously mentioned ones.
As with all NordicTrack machines, this treadmill is compatible with iFit, a program where you can access training routes anywhere in the world via Google maps, receive automatic stats tracking, create personalized workouts, participate in competitions, watch celebrity workout videos and more (requires a separate iFit wireless module and subscription, sold separately).
But even without the iFit module, there are 20 different workout apps using various speeds and inclines to mix up the aerobic intensity and achieve specific goals.
You can connect your iPod or other music device to the T 6.5 S’s integrated sound system to hear your favorite fitness playlist projected through dual 2-inch speakers, and the SpaceSaver Design with EasyLift Assist make it easy to fold up and store.
PLUS it has a lifetime warranty on the body plus a 25 year warranty on the motor (extremely impressive considering other treadmills in the price range come with a two year warranty on the motor).
It's an impressive warranty.
This is a seriously impressive treadmill for the price and is a great investment if you are a heavy runner who plans on using the treadmill frequently for many years to come. This treadmill is also one of the best under $1000.
5. Xterra TR150 Treadmill
This budget-friendly machine is perfect for those who want to spend less than $500 on a quality treadmill without an overwhelming number of bells and whistles. It is also the highest rated among the treadmills on this list.
At only 108lbs with a folding deck design, this treadmill covers all your basic needs. The quiet 2.25 HP motor and XTRASoft Cushioned Deck make this 16”x50” running surface ultra-smooth.
There are 12 preset programs, a manual program, and 3 manual incline options that bring variety to your training routine.
For a full review that details all of the features, details and info about the Xterra TR150, check out this very in-depth review.
- Large 16" X 50" Walking/running surface
- Large 5 inch LCD display is easy to read and keeps you updated on speed, incline, time, distance, calories, and pulse
- Speed range 0. 5 -10 MPH allows for users of all fitness levels.Pull the knob to release the deck to fold or unfold
- 12 preset programs offer unmatched variety for your workouts
- 3 Manual incline settings allow for maximum variety. Side rails: plastic. Belt: 1 ply, 1. 4mm
The large 5” LCD display tells you your speed, incline, time, distance, calories, and pulse (measured on the handlebars) make sure that you are hitting your goals for every workout.
Maxing out at 10mph, this machine boasts quick access speed buttons that allow you to adjust your pace throughout your run.
For the multi-taskers who enjoy an at-home walk, jog, or run, you’ll be pleased with the integrated media shelf and accessory holder that will hold your tablet, book, mp3 player, water bottle, and other workout necessities.
As you can see, this machine is perfect for someone who wants a basic, entry-level treadmill to accomplish their fitness goals.
Horsepower Makes All the Difference
Most treadmills are between 2.0 and 3.0 horsepower.
The higher the horsepower, the faster the treadmill will go and it is also likely to be more durable.
2.0 treadmills barely get up to jogging speed, as they are meant more for people who want to use a treadmill for walking exercises. 3.0 treadmills are made for runners who are at a high fitness level and run faster than average, or want to periodically do intense speedwork (these are the type of treadmills you’ll often find in the gym).
Everything in between is about as varied as runners themselves. Some charts say 2.0 for walkers, 2.5 for joggers, and 3.0 for runners, but I find that info a little skewed.
I consider myself an average runner, not very fast but not necessarily a jogger either, and I’ve owned a 2.25hp treadmill for years and loved it.
I can comfortably run for 30-40 minutes at the 5 or 6 mph settings and if I bump it all the way up to top speed I’m at a near sprint. I’ve never felt like it couldn’t go fast enough if I wanted to do speedwork.
The amount of horsepower also determines the treadmill’s weight limit. Most sources say that if you weigh more than 200 lbs you should increase the horsepower by .5 no matter what your fitness goals are (for example, it is recommended that you should get a 2.5 hp treadmill even if you’ll only be using it for walking).
I say just check the specs on the treadmill you are interested in before you buy, they will always tell you what the suggested weight limit is and I’ve found that many of them support higher weight limits than 200 lbs.
A Running Deck That is Suitable for Your Stride
Oftentimes, the cheaper the treadmill is the shorter the running deck. If you are able to test your treadmill before buying, then you’ll know pretty quick if the running deck is sufficient.
But if you are ordering online, be aware of the length of the deck, especially if you’re tall.
Size Suitable for Your Home
In order for your treadmill purchase to be a success, it has to fit in your space. While non-folding treadmill models are usually more durable than folding models, you definitely don’t want to skip this detail if you are pressed for space.
As for sound, note that motors employing direct current (or known as DC) cause less noise compared to motors that use alternate current (also known as AC).
As mentioned, all of these treadmills are available on Amazon and I’ve provided the links to each page, but if you have an exercise equipment retailer near you, you can always visit their website or make a phone call to see if they carry these brands (I know that some reviewers mentioned they bought the same treadmill at Walmart, then reviewed the product on Amazon).
Also, it’s not a bad idea to check out sites like Craigslist (we put together a really nifty guide to what to look for when buying craigslist here) or download a buy/sell app (such as OfferUp), especially if you live in a large city.
Treadmills pop up on these sources all the time and you can save a significant amount of money. The treadmill that
Last update on 2021-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API