People have gotten busier than ever, with the average professional working a 60 hour week while most people in informal employment hold multiple jobs. This is according to the American Time Use chart for 2017. With family obligations, part-time schooling, and other extraprofessional activities, most people barely have time for the gym.
This is why more and more people are preferring to get personal exercise equipment to use at home or work so that they can squeeze in some exercise whenever the chance presents itself.
If you’re looking to do the same, one piece of equipment you need is a treadmill. These come in many types and prices. However, if you’re just starting or you have a tight budget, you will need to get a quality treadmill that will not break the bank.
You are unlikely to find useful information about treadmills online because every manufacturer portrays their products in the best possible light. This is why we went the other way and contacted people on Facebook to get feedback on the best budget treadmills.
Here are the best treadmills that can be had for under $500 according to real users.
|Best Treadmills Under $500||USP||Ratings||Buy|
|Accurate heart monitors.||Buy Now|
|High quality build, guaranteed to give you good service for many years.||Buy Now|
|Bluetooth connectivity for wireless heart rate monitoring.||Buy Now|
|Low power consumption.||Buy Now|
|12 fitness programs, more than most others in the category.||Buy Now|
When you hear the words ‘budget’ or ‘cheap’, you might think of cranky equipment that hardly lasts for a few months. While this is true for some models, some manufacturers have put in a lot of effort to create high quality and affordable treadmills.
So, to see what makes the top-rated treadmills better than the rest, here are individual reviews for each. You will see the best features of each, their pros and cons and a data-driven verdict.
#1. ProForm Performance 300i
ProForm is one of the premium manufacturers of exercise equipment. Normally, their products lie in the range of $1000 and above. So it is rare to see a ProForm treadmill in the sub $500 range. Even then, the ProForm 300i is the best in this category.
This treadmill is built to high standards with high-quality materials. The frame is made of high strength steel and comes with a 5-year warranty. It is designed to support up to 300 lbs of weight.
In addition, the ProForm 300i is powered by a 2chp motor that can take it to 10mph of speed. This means that even serious runners will not feel constrained with this treadmill. The speed can be adjusted in levels of 0.1mph.
The belt is of average size, with a running surface of 18” W by 50” L. It is cushioned by ProForm’s ProShox system to absorb foot impacts as you walk, jog or run. This is good for your joints and bones.
If you wish to make your exercise even more intense, you get a 10% incline that can be adjusted however you like in levels of 1%. Both speed and incline can be adjusted easily through the use of one-touch controls.
The ProForm 300i has high accuracy sensors mounted on the handrails. It also has Bluetooth connectivity so that if you have wearable monitors, you can pair them instead. Your data is displayed on a vibrant 16″ display, including your heart rate, calories burned, mileage covered and time spent.
The console comes with iFit already installed powered by Google Maps, together with 16 workout programs to help you achieve different goals. For entertainment, you also get a pair of speakers to which you can connect either through Bluetooth or an auxiliary port on the console.
- Good cushioning courtesy of the ProShox technology.
- Accurate heart monitors.
- The large screen display with iFit is a big plus.
- Premium build quality gives you smooth operation and long service life.
- Inbuilt speakers for entertainment.
- The motor is a bit underpowered.
- The running surface is a bit restricted for tall people.
- iFit requires a separate subscription.
The ProForm 300i is the budget treadmill with the most features that you’re likely to get for under $500. Its performance is superb, and its superior build quality means that it will give a long service life.
Although the price is nearer $500, it is worth it with all the features you get. Get it right away, here on Amazon.
- 2.0 CHP drive system
- 16 x 50 inches tread belt. Maximum weight: 300 pounds
- ProShox Cushioning reduce impact on your joints for a more comfortable workout and faster recovery
- 0-10 MPH QuickSpeed Control, 0-10 percent Quick Incline Control
#2. Sunny Health and Fitness T4400
The Sunny T4400 is the go-to option when it comes to light and moderate-intensity exercises. It is finely designed and built to give optimum performance for a long time.
This treadmill is powered by a smooth-running motor that has a peak power output of 2.2hp. This gives it a maximum speed limit of 9mph, which starts at 0.5mph and can be increased in steps of 0.1mph.
The running surface of the Sunny T4400 measures 15.75″W by 48″, which is the average size by market standards. The board is also supported by a six-point suspension system to help absorb the shock and impact of your feet as you run.
For incline, this treadmill features a two-stage manual incline system. These two levels can give you either a 2% or 4.37% incline.
For monitoring your heart rate, there are sensors built into the handrails. This information is displayed on a large backlit LCD screen along with with other metrics such as time elapsed, mileage, calories, and speed.
It comes with 9 workout programs to help you achieve different goals such as fat burning.
If you have limited space, you will be pleased to learn that the Sunny T4400 is foldable. It has a pneumatic gas lift system that makes it easy to fold it into two and front-mounted wheels through which it can be moved from one place to another.
- High top speed makes it ideal for joggers and runners alike.
- It is light and foldable so it is easy to put away when not in use.
- It has heart rate monitors built into the handrails.
- High quality build, guaranteed to give you good service for many years.
- Low weight limit at 220 lbs.
- The walking/running area is undersized, especially for tall people.
This is the best selling treadmill from Sunny Health and Fitness, which is why some descriptions do not even bother to add the model number. It gives you great value for money, and even though it may lack some of the high-level features like a 15-level incline, it a good machine for the price.
Sunny has had several sales discounts for the T4400. If you’re interested, visit Amazon right now and see what deal you can catch.
- 2.20 Peak HP drive system with 49L x 15.5W in running surface. 10MPH MAX SPEED, 3 manual incline levels
- Easy folding mechanism and soft drop system to help you unfold your treadmill safely
- Handrail controls that allow you to control speed, start and stop
#3. Weslo Cadence G5.9
Weslo has been selling quality treadmills since 2012, and the Cadence G5.9 is one of their most popular models. Some people have gone ahead to call it the best budget treadmill, but that is their opinion.
However, from its long service life, the Weslo Cadence G5.9 has proven to be a solid treadmill with flawless performance and minimal maintenance issues. Given that it will cost you way less than $500, this is a great choice if you’re working with a limited budget.
For power, the Cadence G5.9 has a 1.5chp motor capable of delivering up to 2.25hp of peak power. This enables it to run up to a speed of 10mph. This makes it perfect for light to medium running, as well as walking.
This machine is designed to handle up to 275 lbs of weight, although the recommended weight is usually a bit lower than that. So if you’re very heavy, you might have to look for other options.
The running space on this machine is slightly wider than the others. Its width is 16” and it has a length of 50”, which is about the standard dimensions at this price range. It also features Comfort Cell cushioning technology to help reduce the impact your feet make with the board.
For heart rate monitoring, you get a little thumb size sensor on the console on which you place your thumb for a reading. It also has Bluetooth connectivity if you prefer to use your own wearable monitors. Apart from that, it has a digital display (not backlit, unfortunately) that displays other data like mileage, time spent and calories burned.
The Cadence G5.9 is also fitted with some safety features such as a clip that goes on your clothes connected to a pull-out switch. To help guide you through your workout, there are six programs available geared towards achieving different goals.
- Very affordable offers great value for money.
- Quiet and smooth operation.
- Bluetooth connectivity for wireless heart rate monitoring.
- Long service life.
- The display is not backlit, might be a problem in bright light.
- The inbuilt heart rate monitor is hard to use and unreliable.
It would be unfair to expect very much when you pay so little for a treadmill, and the Weslo Cadence delivers exactly what you need. Nothing fancy comes with this machine, but it works like a charm where it matters most.
Better still, it has been going strong for 7 years now and has a lot of satisfied owners. To join the club, just go here to Amazon and order one for yourself. You should know that Amazon is the only certified seller of Weslo products.
- Go to ifit.com/activate to redeem your one month iFit membership and activate your equipment for unlimited workout programs and experiences
- Space saver design: fold it up and walk away in one easy step
#4. EFitment T012 Auto-Incline Electric Treadmill
The Efitment T012 makes it on this list for its useful features and quality build. It is designed for users of light to medium weight, and for light to medium intensity exercises.
Some people would classify this as a walking treadmill, but this is not true. It features a 2.25 peak power motor that can go up to 9mph, which is a brisk run. The catch is that it is rated for users who are up to 220 lbs in weight.
What the motor lacks in power, it makes up for in its smooth and silent operation. You can easily amuse yourself with other things as you work out, such as TV or music.
Speaking of which, this treadmill is fitted with a set of powerful speakers through which you can play your favorite music as your exercise. You can do this through Bluetooth or an auxiliary jack on the console.
The said console is an LCD screen on which you can monitor your distance covered, pulse, speed and incline levels as well as a unique step count feature. The pulse is monitored by sensors mounted on both handles.
The Efitment T012 comes with a 15-step incline system that goes up to 10%. This can be adjusted easily by the use of buttons on the console without having to stop your routine.
The belt is of average dimensions, measuring 15.7″W by 47″L. It lies on a solid steel board, cushioned by silicone shock absorbers to reduce the impact on your feet.
- Good entertainment system with speakers and tablet holder.
- Smooth, silent operation.
- Low power consumption.
- Easy adjust, automatic incline system to make your routines more intense.
- Low weight limit, at 220 lbs max weight.
- Small running surface especially for tall people.
The Efitment T012 is a great treadmill for light and medium intensity exercises. However, it is not a heavy-duty machine and tends to struggle as you approach the weight limit.
However, if you’re just starting on your fitness journey or are looking for something to just help you keep in shape, then it comes highly recommended. Order it here from Amazon.
EFITMENT Auto Incline Bluetooth Electric Treadmill Machine w/Speakers & Folding for Running, Jogging, Walking, 220 LB Max Weight, LCD &...
- RUNNING SPACE - With a compact 47L x 15.6W running surface, you'll have plenty of space to walk or run for all types of users yet keep it slimline and compact in your home gym. Its foldable design, transportation wheels, and soft drop hydraulic system makes this treadmill easy to store.
#5. XTERRA Fitness TR150
The XTERRA Fitness TR150 is a relatively new model from Xterra, designed to give optimum functionality at an affordable price. In other words, you get what you need, and nothing more.
What makes this a particularly good option is the value for the money that it gives. It has even earned an Amazon’s Choice badge. In terms of build, it is designed for light and medium exercises.
For power, you have a 2.25 peak power motor capable of providing up to 10mph of speed. This not only makes it ideal for walking and jogging but also light running.
The running space consists of a 16″W by 50″L belt, which is standard for this price range. For tall people, it might present some problems when running but it is great for everything else. It also features XtraSoft cushioning which the manufacturer claims reduces up to 20% of the impact from the feet.
This treadmill features a digital display on the console for things such as mileage, time, speed and pulse rate. Heart rate monitors are located on both handlebars where they are easily accessible.
It comes with a 3-stage manual incline that only goes up to 2%, which is not much. Once again, this is a budget treadmill so something like that is to be expected.
All in all, this is a machine of solid construction and it can handle users of up to 250 lbs (113 kg).
- 10mph maximum speed is ideal for jogging and light running.
- Solid construction.
- Great value for money.
- 12 fitness programs, more than most others in the category.
- This treadmill can be noisy at high-intensity workouts.
- Some users report error messages that have to do with the safety key.
This is a solid piece of equipment if you do not set your expectations too high. Sure, it does not come with fancy features, but it works well and will do so for a long time if you take good care of it.
The Xterra Fitness TR150 is guaranteed to give you great value for money. It has a lot of satisfied customers a few years down the line, so do not be afraid to buy it. You can order it now on Amazon.
- 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
Buying Guide For Treadmills Under $500
Whenever you’re buying something with a limited budget, the internal debate you have is usually around what you’re willing to sacrifice. You know that you can’t have it all, but you’re not willing to let go of some features.
This is the same thing that happens when looking for budget treadmills. For under $500, you can be sure that you will not be getting a lot of fancy features. Which begs the question: What do you look for?
- Build quality – This should be the first thing you consider. Build quality involves a lot of things such as quality of materials used, quality of joints, finish, etc. The period of warranty given is a good pointer.
- Motor power – Even though you should not expect the most powerful motors in this category, you should still go for the most powerful one possible. This translates directly to the performance and durability of the treadmill.
- Speed and incline – These are bound to vary widely between different models. If you want high-intensity workouts, go for the fastest and biggest incline treadmills you can get.
- Console – The console harbors all the controls and data displays, so it should be decent. This also translates to the pulse rate sensors. Most are unreliable, but you can find a few gems with good monitors.
- Cushioning – It is important to have effective cushioning for the sake of your joints.
In short, what you need to look for is the basics of the machine as compared to your needs. If you need a good incline, go for it. If you don’t, let it go. You will soon discover that budget treadmills excel in one area at the expense of another. You will need to prioritize what you need most.
When you want to buy an entry-level treadmill, it is easy to get lost among all the models available. There are even some which can be had for less than $200. However, you need to be aware of what you need for a treadmill and not simply decide based on pricing.
With data from other users who have been using budget treadmills for some time, you can be able to tell which ones are good for you. Now you can go out confidently and get the treadmill that will give you the best value for your money.