When my wife and I went in search of some quarantine-era home workout devices to enable us to sustain our physical health during the pandemic, a treadmill ranked highly on our list of potential purchases. Treadmills are attractive for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that treadmill walking is among the most effective forms of absentminded cardio, obligating you to devote minimum attention to what your feet are doing, and enabling you to place the majority of your focus where it rightly belongs — on the Netflix selection of your choice.
And yet, there are some natural concerns linked with making a purchase that’s genuinely large in multiple respects, including the size of the item being brought into your abode, and the expense of the product being purchased. First of all, the sizes, capabilities and prices of treadmills tend to move in lockstep with one another, so if you’re looking for the Gold’s Gym industrial-grade treadmill model, you’re undeniably going to be shelling out some serious cash, and allocating some irretrievable space to the new monster you just purchased. Meanwhile, a smaller treadmill unit almost always equates with access to fewer performance features. So working within a tight budget often means picking and choosing performance features, and deciding which of them are okay to sacrifice.
To that end, let’s say that your budget has a hard cutoff at $500. Exactly how much tread does this sum of cash secure for you to mill around on? More importantly, what product features should you be prioritizing as you’re trying to conserve as many essential treadmill features as your money will permit?
Three Things That Make a Budget Treadmill Worth a Million Bucks
1) Safety: As you begin to strip away features of a treadmill to get within your budgetary constraints, you start to nibble away at things like the tread lengths, the guardrails and the instant safety stop measures. It’s nice to have money in your bank account, but if your scaled-down treadmill results in you having an unfortunate accident, you may end up spending the money you saved on medical treatment instead.
2) Stability: The best treadmills have significant weight and heft to them. This girth isn’t there simply because the delivery men enjoy lifting massive boxes through the doorway to your home; it actually goes a long way toward preventing the treadmill from slipping and sliding away, and enduring the constant pummeling from hundreds of pounds of humanity. Compromising in stability might result in you inadvertently limiting your confidence in the very machine you’re training upon.
3) Sufficiency: It would be heartbreaking for you to excitedly unbox your new treadmill and engage in your initial workout with it, only to find yourself reboxing it just 15 minutes later. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, and you may learn the hard way that features like handrails, inclines, shock absorption, phone holders, cup holders or even adequate length were all critical to your appreciation of treadmills.
Okay, now it’s off to the proverbial races with the best treadmills available for under $500.
Best Budget Treadmill: XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
Why You Should Buy It as Fast as You Can: The XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill enables you to run at speeds of up to nine miles per hour, and also has a full 50 inches of treadmill length for those who aren’t as precise with their foot placement and require a forgiving training surface. It provides three manual incline levels, which can’t compete with the many automatic incline levels of the big boys, but that’s what happens when you buy treadmills on a tight budget. Also, it has more of a substantive guardrail than many of the treadmills that follow.
Why You Should Run for the Hills: The maximum weight it’s designed to support is just 250 pounds. That’s a downer, because there are plenty of well-meaning individuals who weigh more than 250 pounds that could benefit from having something like this in their homes.
The Final Verdict: There’s a reason why this is the best selling treadmill on Amazon. It folds up for relatively convenient storage. It inclines. You can comfortably run on it. And it even has accessory holders. There are far worse places you could walk while watching your NCAA Tournament bracket go bust.
Best Multipurpose Budget Treadmill: Ksports Treadmill Bundle Comprising of Electric Folding Treadmill
Why You Should Buy It as Fast as You Can: Not only is this a treadmill; it’s a multifunctional training space. It comes equipped with foot holders and a mat so that you can comfortably train your abdominals on the very same surface that you run on. On top of that, the Ksports Treadmill Bundle Comprising of Electric Folding Treadmill possesses a heart-rate monitor, three levels of manual incline, the all-important drink holder, a safety-key attachment in case you slip off and dumbbells to add to the multi-use nature of the device.
Why You Should Run for the Hills: Remember that safety-key attachment? It’s going to be very reassuring when you’re running on a surface that’s only 40 inches in length. More importantly, the weight ceiling on this treadmill is 220 pounds, which means even a lot of muscular people who are objectively fit would never be cleared to use it. Moreover, the maximum speed is eight miles an hour, so any speeds approaching the sprint level you’d want for HIIT workouts are out of the question. And those dumbbells? Super light.
The Final Verdict: This is absolutely an ideal training device for elderly people who are already within a fairly healthy weight range, and who wish to purchase only one training device to manage all of their fitness needs.
Best Remote Control Foldable Budget Treadmill: BiFanuo 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill
Why You Should Buy It as Fast as You Can: The tiny size of the BiFanuo 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill makes it relatively unobtrusive to your dwelling, and it’s easy to move and store. The railing can be folded down while it’s still operable, making it possible for you to train on it with no bar in the way. It’s also operable via remote control, enabling you to train fully hands-free if you so choose. Finally, it has a weight ceiling of 265 pounds, landing it toward the higher end of the maximum weight allotment for budget treadmills.
Why You Should Run for the Hills: The BiFanuo 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill doesn’t have a drink holder, it doesn’t incline and its treadmill surface length is only 40 inches. That last point may prove to be somewhat irrelevant, because with a maximum speed of 7.5 miles per hour, and the minimal safety measures, it may be a walk-only model for a lot of users.
The Final Verdict: If you’re looking for a space to walk on with minimal minimization to your surrounding space, the BiFanuo 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill will provide you with exactly that, along with having the decency to slide completely out of your way when you’re finished with it.
Best Super Budget Treadmill: Aceshin Folding Treadmill
Why You Should Buy It as Fast as You Can: At under $300, the Aceshin Folding Treadmill proves that you can secure a decent treadmill for well within your budget. It possesses most of the standard features you’re looking for, and even provides you with a safety clip, an LCD display screen and a heart-rate-monitoring hand grip.
Why You Should Run for the Hills: Don’t be under the illusion that you’re not getting what you pay for in several respects. The maximum speed is only six miles per hour, and it’s powered by a 1.5 horsepower motor that’s substantially weaker than the typical 2.25 horsepower motors contained within most of the other models. Also, it doesn’t incline, and the maximum weight allowable is 220 pounds, which means that most people who are classifiable as overweight can’t use it.
The Final Verdict: If your budget for a treadmill is $500, the Aceshin Folding Treadmill provides you with sufficient leeway to score some weights, resistance bands or other training instruments to accompany it.
Best 3.25 Horsepower Budget Treadmill: Sytiry’s Treadmills for Home
Why You Should Buy It as Fast as You Can: As far as the budget models go, this thing is a beast, capable of bearing 300 pounds of a trainee’s weight. It also has substantially more horsepower at its disposal than the other models, and its 47 inches of treadmill length and nine mile per hour speed maximum are toward the high end of budget treadmill models. Finally, it has a built-in, multifunctional HD LCD touchscreen and built-in bluetooth speakers.
Why You Should Run for the Hills: Sytiry’s Treadmills for Home may fold, but it doesn’t fold enough to be fully ushered out of your way in the fashion some other treadmills on this list can. Your visitors are definitely going to know that there’s a treadmill in the room. Also, it’s dogged by the same problem as the others here — i.e., it remains a non-HIIT-friendly piece of training equipment with its speed ceiling of nine miles per hour.
The Final Verdict: Of the treadmills above, it’s the only one that easily extends into $400 territory, and it’s fairly easy to see why. Its interactive screen and speaker definitely provide it with a high-end vibe.