Staying fit and in shape is getting harder by the day. Most people work two jobs – they spend hours commuting to work and back. When they get home, they are already too tired to go to the local gym for their daily dose of physical activity.
If you’re one of those people, and if you still want to find a way to stay healthy, getting a treadmill could be the solution you are looking for.
However, if you don’t know anything about gym equipment, finding the right treadmill is easier said than done. You have to figure out all the details that matter, and learn which features are not that important. The many options on the market often confuse people, and some of them just give up because they can’t decide on what to buy.
Well, that is where we jump in with our complete guide to buying the best treadmill on a budget. The guide will explain everything you need to know about treadmills so that you can make the ideal choice for your needs.
Treadmills don’t have to cost thousands of dollars to help you stay in shape. Sure, some features are an absolute must, but there are also some you can do without. Also, remember that buying a treadmill is just the first step towards a healthier life. You will still have to put in the time and develop a habit of working out regularly.
The price range we considered
While treadmills used to be something only the rich could afford, the improving technologies and lower production costs in the past decades have led to the development of a huge market. What used to cost thousands of dollars only a few years ago can now be purchased only for a few hundred dollars.
However, even though you have a lot of choices for as little as 300-400 dollars, there are some things you have to consider to figure out which treadmills provide what you need. Some of them are designed only for walking, while others have a stronger construction that can cope with the extra stress when running.
You can find all kinds of advanced features too. They include heartbeat sensors, adjustable incline, top speeds, a killswitch, and so on.
One of the most surprising facts about treadmills under $1000 is that they come with built-in wifi features that allow you to connect a smartphone or a tablet to get more details about your workout. You can also find affordable models with built-in speakers and other advanced features.
All that sounds great, but you should always check the weight limit before making a purchase.
The power of the motor is another feature you have to double-check. The more HP a treadmill has, the higher the speeds it can provide, and if you’re serious about your running, get the models with the most HP.
What you can expect from low-cost treadmills
If you’re looking to buy your first treadmill to transform your life, you have to do some homework. There are a lot of options on the market, and many of them come with features you don’t really need. You have to make sure that the most important features are there, or you could end up buying something you can’t really use.
High-end treadmills can cost thousands of dollars, but if you look closely enough, you can find models under $1000 that come with similar features. The quality of the materials won’t be the same, but there’s no need to go for the professional equipment if your only goal is to stay in shape.
With that said, here are the most important features to consider:
Every treadmill is powered by an electric motor. The motor affects the quality of the treadmill more than any other feature. Start by figuring out the HP of the motor you need. It should have at least 1.5HP to enable you a steady speed for you to get the exercise you want. However, if you plan on using the treadmill every day, go for a model with 2.5 or 3 CHP (continuous-duty horsepower).
Your weight is also a critical factor in this equation. The more you weigh, the stronger the motor you need. It’s always better to get the more powerful option if you can.
The belt has to be at least 48 x 18 inches for you to have enough room to run. People over 6 feet tall need at least 52-inch belts, 54 would be even better. If the belt is too small, you won’t have room to stretch your legs while running.
The speed of the treadmill is also an important factor. Most models are designed for jogging, but if you want to run at full speed, look for treadmills with speeds exceeding 10 mph.
Treadmills often come with different incline settings. Models with an incline of at least 10 percent are always a better option. Some even come with a decline feature that allows you to simulate outdoor running conditions for the best home workout.
If you ever tried running on a treadmill and you felt the belt move around when your feet landed on it, the treadmill was not very good. The cushioning is very important as it provides stability and allows the bed to absorb shock better when your feet strike it.
Shaky treadmills are no joke. They could lead to injury by tipping over or breaking. Always check if the treadmill is nice and stable. If you can’t do it live, look for products with high ratings on review websites.
The control panel should be simple and easy to use. The built-in features like heartbeat sensors and so on are usually included with most models in every price category.
Don’t forget to check the weight rating before making a purchase. Check the maximum user weight rating and subtract 50 pounds to get the real number.
Folding or Standing
This could be one of the most critical features if you live in a small apartment. Treadmills require a lot of space, and if you don’t have a place for it, a folding model is the best option. You can set it up for a workout and fold it up when you are done. Some models have built-in wheels so you can just roll it away when you don’t need it.
So, now that you know a little more about what to expect, it’s time to take a look at the best treadmill on a budget for your needs.
List of budget treadmill options:
- Horizon Fitness T101-04
- NordicTrack C 700
- ProForm 505 CST
- Weslo Cadence G 5.9i
- Best Choice Products 800W
- LifeSpan TR3000i
- Goplus 1100W Folding Treadmill
- SereneLife Electric Folding Treadmill
- Confidence Power Plus 600W
- ProForm Smart Pro 2000 Treadmill
1. Horizon Fitness T101-04
The first model that made the list for the best treadmill on a budget is the fantastic Horizon Fitness T101-04. It fits right into the under $1000 category, and it comes with all kinds of useful features. It’s super-easy to set up, it comes with a large belt, and it’s foldable, so it saves you space.
However, the T101-04 has so much more to offer. It comes with built-in speakers and a fan that keeps you cool while you jog. The shock absorption is on a high level, and the 2.25 CHP motor doesn’t make a lot of noise while you run. The build quality is fantastic, and the treadmill is very stable when compared to many others in the same price range. You can choose between 30 exercise programs, and the maximum incline is 10%. It’s not the ideal pick for hardcore runners, but it’s ideal for staying in shape at home.
2. NordicTrack C 700
The NordicTrack C 700 is a low-price treadmill designed primarily for walkers. Still, it offers a mix of high-end features and top-quality materials. In fact, it’s one of the most popular walking treadmills on the market today. The most prominent features are a power incline of 10%, two-inch built-in speakers, iPod compatibility, a tablet holder, and a foldable design.
There are 20 workout programs you can choose from. You can set up goals based on heart rate, speed, or calorie burn. The NordicTrack C 700 is also iFit ready, but you will need to get a membership separately. When used together with iFit, you will get access to an endless workout library where you can find the perfect program for your needs. The 55 x 22-inch track makes it suitable for taller walkers as well.
3. ProForm 505 CST
With a motor of 2.5 CST, a top speed of 10 mph, and a large running area of 55 x 20 inches, it’s clear why ProForm 505 CST deserves a place on our list of the best treadmills on a budget. The treadmill comes with some extra features like the ProShox Lite 3 cushioning that provides impeccable joint protection and comfort.
The controls are super-easy to use, and the model has a 6-inch backlit LED display that shows you details about your workout. There are 15 programs you can select, but you can expand your options further with an iFit subscription. Everything about the ProForm 505 looks and feels well made, and it’s one of those treadmills that will last you for years and years.
4. Weslo Cadence G 5.9i
If you’re looking for a reliable treadmill that will satisfy your workout needs, then the Weslo Cadence G 5.9i is an excellent choice. This particular model has a few outstanding features that are not often found on models in the same price range.
The cushioning is great, and the easy-folding system allows you to quickly turn a living room into a gym and vice versa.
The thumb sensors will provide you with accurate heart rate monitoring, and there are six preset programs you can try. The compact treadmill is not ideal for taller users, but its small footprint of 65.5 x 29 inches makes it one of the most popular home treadmills on the market. The 2.25 CHP motor provides a top speed of 10 mph, which is enough for a serious run.
5. Best Choice Products 800W
While some treadmills offer a lot of complicated programs and features, Best Choice Products 800W treadmill likes to keep things simple. With automatic speed settings ranging between 0.5 and 7.5 mph, and 3 preset exercise levels, and foldable design, it’s clear why so many people love it so much.
Let’s be clear, it’s not a professional grade treadmill, but it’s more than ideal for staying in shape at home. The portable design allows you to fold it down and push it out of the way in seconds. The treadmill also features bottle holders, a media shelf, easy to use controls, and a sizable track. The maximum weight capacity is 250 lbs, and it’s available in black and pink colors.
6. LifeSpan TR3000i
LifeSpan TR3000i proves that an affordable treadmill can have everything you could ever need for a comfortable exercise at home. It combines a portable design with a powerful motor and advanced features like a 3-speed cooling fan, over 20 different preset programs. The 2.75 CHP motor is very quiet even when working at top speed.
Furthermore, the treadmill has a 15% automated incline, and a set of 8 compression shock absorbers that provide the ultimate comfort. But that’s not all. The LifeSpan TR3000i also comes with a built-in heart monitor, easy to use controls, a set of built-in speakers, and everything is made from durable, high-quality materials. The maximum speed is 12 mph, and the weight capacity is an amazing 350 lb, so it’s perfect for shedding some weight and getting back into shape.
7. Goplus 1100W Folding Treadmill
When it comes to affordable, high-quality treadmills that can turn your home into a real gym, the Goplus 1100W Folding Treadmill is always a great choice. It has all the features you need to stay in shape, but without the complicated controls. The multi-function LED display will show you details about your speed, distance, time, and burned calories.
The heart rate is monitored through the pulse grip sensors that work flawlessly. One of the best things about this model is the sturdy design. The steel frame keeps the treadmill nice and sturdy as you run. The weight capacity is 220 lbs, so it’s not made for everyone. The compact design and easy folding system make this treadmill an excellent choice for those who live in small apartments.
8. SereneLife Electric Folding Treadmill
As far as the design goes, the SereneLife Electric Folding Treadmill is one of the best looking on our list. It’s got a low profile and a streamlined design, which means that you can use it without the handles for walking or jogging. Moreover, the entire device weighs only 78.25 lbs, making it the most portable model on the list so far.
The Digital LCD controls will provide you with information like distance, step count, burnt calories, speed, and so on. The state of the art touch controls allows you to change programs on the go. The maximum weight capacity is only 220lbs, but when you consider the low profile design and smaller belt size, it’s clear that it’s not designed for tall or heavy people. Otherwise, it gets the job done perfectly.
9. Confidence Power Plus 600W
The Confidence Power Plus 600W is one of the cheapest options on the market. It comes only with the most basic features you need to stay in shape. They include a 600w motor that provides speeds up to 6.2 mph, and a simple LED display that shows only the most important data.
When compared to other models on our list, this one has the smallest motor, and it can’t provide fast speeds, so it’s designed for walkers and joggers. It might be the best pick if you’re not sure about how often you will use the treadmill because it’s under $200. If you decide to switch back to outdoor running, you can fold it up and keep it under your bed.
10. ProForm Smart Pro 2000 Treadmill
Last but not least, we come to the biggest model in our list for the best treadmill on a budget – ProForm Smart Pro 2000. As expected, it offers a powerful 3.5 CHP motor that provides speeds up to 12 mph. The maximum incline is 15%, and the 7″ backlit LED display is perhaps the best one we’ve seen so far.
The treadmill comes with 32 programs, built-in speakers, a Polar Wireless chest strap, a fan with two speeds, and fantastic controls. It measures 63 x 39.5 x 80 inches, so keep in mind that you need some space for it. The Pro 2000 is foldable, but the base is still quite large, so you won’t be able to hide it under your bed. If you’re looking for a semi-pro treadmill with advanced features, this one is a must.
As you can see, there are a lot of categories of treadmills you can find for under $1000. Some are designed to be compact and lightweight, while others offer a large belt and a number of different programs. You need to figure out your goals and consider what you want to achieve before making the final purchase.
All the models on our list are special in some way – you just have to figure out which one suits your needs best. All that’s left now is to put your running shoes on and start getting back into shape! Good luck!