Buying the best budget treadmill for running can prove a tricky job because most affordable treadmills are quite junky, particularly if you have limited knowledge of this fitness equipment. It will be a disaster and a waste of time and money if you don’t know what to look for when choosing a cheap treadmill.
I have tried my best to provide you with a brief guide on keeping in mind while buying a budget-friendly treadmill.
Since the number of budget treadmills available in the market can be overwhelming, I have also listed down 8 different treadmills to help you choose a budget-friendly treadmill for running, considering the price, motor, incline, built-in programs, and other features.
Updated list – Best value for the money treadmills:
- XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
- Sunny Health & Fitness T4400 Treadmill
- MaxKare Folding 2.5 HP Treadmill Electric Motorized
In a hurry? Here are my 8 top picks of the best budget treadmill for walking, jogging, and running:
- Sole F63 Treadmill
- Horizon Fitness 7.0 AT Treadmill
- ProForm 905 CST Treadmill
- NordicTrack T 7.5 S Treadmill
- NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill
- Horizon T101 Treadmill
- Nautilus T616 Treadmill
- SereneLife Electric Folding Treadmill—Best Budget Overall
See the overview, pros & cons below.
What to Consider When Buying A Budget Treadmill?
There are several factors that you will have to consider when buying a budget treadmill.
Minor differences in crucial decision-making parameters such as motor power, incline range, and running deck size could have far-reaching consequences.
Given below is a cursory list of factors to consider during the purchase.
#1. Design and Construction
Budget treadmills usually have a simple design with no aesthetically pleasing looks to boast of. People buy them just because they serve the desired purpose quite well.
Nevertheless, a few design factors need to be taken into consideration while buying a budget treadmill. The decisive factor is whether the treadmill can be folded and how compact it is after folding.
Hydraulic assistance while folding is an added advantage. The construction should be as sturdy as possible for the required purpose.
There is hardly anything more irritating than a treadmill that wobbles uncontrollably during workouts.
As expected, the motors of budget treadmills are less powerful than those of their more expensive counterparts. Most budget-friendly treadmills have a power rating of around 1.0 HP that can support speeds up to 6 or 7 mph.
While purchasing your budget-friendly treadmill, it is important to look out for the continuous duty rating rather than the peak duty rating. Motors with a higher continuous duty rating can power intense workouts over longer durations.
You will also need to consider the warranty on the motor. A few budget-friendly treadmills offer a lifetime warranty on the motor and are hence, more desirable.
The budget treadmill’s incline range is another important factor that has to be considered during the purchase.
A greater incline range allows the user to burn more calories in a short time and exercise certain specific muscles. Unfortunately, most budget treadmills do not have a wide incline range.
Some also require manual adjustment of the incline. Look out for those rare budget-friendly treadmills that offer automatic incline adjustment over a wide range.
#4. Running Surface
You must always consider the size of the running surface before you purchase the treadmill. The average deck of a budget treadmill is around 40 inches long and 15 inches wide.
These dimensions are sufficient for short-statured walkers. However, if you are taller than average or if you intend to use the treadmill for jogging or running, the length of the running belt might prove to be inadequate.
In such cases, look specifically for a budget-treadmill that offers a spacious running deck.
Do not forget to consider the durability of the running surface before you decide on a particular treadmill.
Treadmill workouts tend to be quite monotonous, and the chances are high that you will require additional features to keep you engaged during the workout.
Although budget treadmills tend to be low on secondary features, they often offer certain special features to outdo their competitors.
While buying a budget treadmill, check if the treadmill offers Bluetooth connectivity with an audio device. Cushioning to reduce the impact on your joints is another essential requirement.
Most treadmills have EKG pulse rate sensors on the handlebars, but wireless telemetric measurement using a chest strap is an added benefit.
Top 8 Best Budget Treadmill for Running
This budget-friendly Sole F63 treadmill is ideal for beginners. It has a sturdy powder-coated steel frame that comes with a lifetime warranty.
The treadmill has hydraulic shock-assist springs that ensure effortless folding.
Unlike most other budget-friendly treadmills, the Sole F63 does not wobble even at the maximum speed of 12 mph. The treadmill has a 3.0 CHP motor that can support running, jogging, and walking workouts at speeds ranging from 0.5 mph to 12 mph.
The heavy-duty flywheels keep the motor cool and minimize the vibrations, contributing to greater durability.
The track is 60″ long and 20″ wide, which is impressive given that this is a foldable treadmill. The treadmill deck is well-cushioned to reduce the impact on your joints by as much as 40%.
For more intense workouts, you can incline the treadmill deck up to 15%. The treadmill has advanced features for heart rate monitoring.
It has not only to contact pulse sensors but also wireless chest straps to keep track of the heart rate.
- Powerful and quiet 3.0 CHP motor
- Spacious running surface
- Wireless heart rate monitoring
- Bluetooth audio speakers
- Well-cushioned deck
- The acceleration is too slow
- The side rails are short
- Lacks an interactive display
The Horizon Fitness 7.0 AT Zwift-certificated treadmill has gained popularity among heavy users who wish to buy a budget-friendly treadmill.
The treadmill can handle user weights of up to 325 pounds. It has a powerful 3.0 CHP motor that makes it suitable for jogging as well as running. The motor operates noiselessly and requires little maintenance.
The Horizon Fitness 7.0 AT folding treadmill comes equipped with a special three-zone cushioning system that can work with your natural stride while preventing any damage to your joints.
The running deck is 60″ long and 20″ wide, making it a great choice for tall users with long strides. The speed and incline can be raised to 12mph and 15%, respectively, to ensure challenging workouts.
The Bluetooth connectivity feature allows you to connect your Apple or Android device to the treadmill. The treadmill has Bluetooth speakers, with a direct streaming facility from Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Its 7″ LCD screen has an alphanumeric LED display and a contact hand grip pulse monitor.
Also, the warranty coverage is decent with a lifetime warranty on the motor and frame, a three-year warranty on the parts, and a one-year warranty on labor.
- The treadmill has a sturdy steel frame and is good for running
- The 3.0 CHP motor is powerful but quiet
- The running deck is sufficiently long for tall users
- The warranty coverage is decent
- The speed range is suitable for walkers, joggers, and runners
- The 7″ display is too small and is not a touchscreen
- No built-in workout programs
- No advanced technological features
If you are seeking a commercial-grade treadmill that has a powerful motor and a high weight capacity for heavy users, the ProForm 905 CST treadmill is the perfect choice for you.
The treadmill has a 3.0 CHP motor that can support long-duration running workouts without overheating.
It offers a wide range of speeds ranging from 0.5 mph to 12 mph.
Although the motor occasionally makes a slight buzzing noise, it comes with a flywheel to minimize the vibrations and provide you with a smooth workout experience.
You can also adjust the intensity of your workout by using the 0-12% incline feature.
The ProForm 905 CST high-end treadmill is quite technologically advanced. It has EKG-based monitors and a Bluetooth HR chest strap to measure the heart rate, an audio jack input with two large speakers for listening to music, and a cooling fan to ensure maximum comfort during the workout session.
The 5″ display is on the smaller side but comes equipped with a blue backlight and large digits for enhanced readability. The 60″ X 20″ running belt is spacious enough for users as tall as 6’5″.
- A choice of 30 workout programs
- High maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs
- Lifetime warranty on the motor and frame
- EKG pulse-sensors and HR chest strap for heart rate monitoring
- Sufficient running space
- The display is too small and unimpressive.
- No Bluetooth audio support
- Users have to activate iFit before using the treadmill
The NordicTrack T 7.5 S Treadmill offers plenty of features at an affordable price. It has a commercial motor with a 3.0 CHP power rating, rare among treadmills in its price range.
The powerful motor can support workouts of all intensities.
The treadmill is quite sturdy, with a decent weight capacity of 300 lbs. The 7″ HD touchscreen might be a bit too small but is extremely responsive even when touched with sweaty hands.
The NordicTrack T 7.5 S Treadmill comes with 50 in-built workout programs that provide you with various workout options to select from.
You will also get a free iFit Coach membership upon purchasing the treadmill.
The treadmill also has FlexSelect cushioning that absorbs the impact on your body during exercise.
The cushioning option can be adjusted, and you can make the deck firmer if you wish to simulate an outdoor running experience.
The treadmill also offers a wide incline range from 0% to 12% to enable you to choose the ideal intensity for your workout.
- The 3.0 CHP motor is quite powerful
- An impressive FlexSelect cushioning system
- Commercial belt with high durability
- EasyLift Assist technology for easy folding
- Lifetime warranty on frame and motor
- The 7″ display is too small
- No chest strap for heart rate monitoring
You may adjust the incline to any value between 0% to 10% to exercise your hamstrings and gluteus muscles.
You also have the option of choosing between a cushioned deck and a firm deck, depending on your desired landing impact.
The treadmill has a reasonable 300 lbs user weight capacity. It has a 5-inch backlit display that shows the speed, workout duration, number of calories burnt, and inclination.
You can also listen to your favorite music by connecting your phone to the two speakers using an AUX cable.
The NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill, however, lacks iFit integration. You will require a separate viewing device to make use of the benefits offered by the fitness app.
Although the machine lacks a wireless pulse monitor, it has contact sensors on the handle to monitor the heart rate.
The treadmill might not be as sturdy as the NordicTrack T 7.5 S Treadmill, but it still comes with an impressive 25-year warranty on the motor and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
- An impressive collection of 20 onboard workout routines
- Cushioning that can be turned on or off
- Does not wobble at high speeds
- Can be easily folded and stored
- Lacks iFit integration
- No Bluetooth connectivity for the speakers
The Horizon T101 compact treadmill is a low-cost treadmill tailor-made for beginners who require a treadmill at home for light or moderate workouts.
Despite its low price, the treadmill has Bluetooth speakers, 30 built-in workout programs, and a device holder for your phone or tablet.
The machine has a special 3-zone cushioning system that ensures that users can walk or jog without any pain. The cushioning helps prevent injuries to the joints and the spine while reducing fatigue during exercise.
There are dual-grip EKG sensors on the handlebar for heart-rate monitoring.
The Horizon T101 has a running deck that measures 55″ long and 20″ wide. It offers a reasonably wide range of speeds between 0-10 mph and inclinations between 0-10%.
The 2.5 HP motor operates quietly and is suitable for walking or jogging. The speed and incline adjustments are perfectly smooth and ensure a satisfying experience for the user.
Horizon offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor and a 1-year warranty on this machine’s parts and labor. All in all, the treadmill has several great features at a very reasonable price.
- The easily readable and navigable console layout
- Respectable lifetime warranty on motor and frame
- Advanced Bluetooth speakers
- 3-zone cushioning for impact-free workouts
- Can be effortlessly folded
- It cannot be used for running
- The running deck length is insufficient for tall users
- Limited technological features
The Nautilus T616 Treadmill is a top-notch residential treadmill that can be used for all kinds of workouts, including walking, jogging, and running.
It has a powerful motor with a rating of 3.0 CHP that can power workouts up to a maximum speed of 12 mph. The incline can be varied from a perfectly flat deck at 0% to an inclination of 15%.
The running deck measures 20″ x 60″ and is spacious enough for tall runners as well. For greater comfort during exercise, the model comes with a StrikeZone cushioning system to absorb the landing and kick-off impact.
The machine can measure your heart rate through contact grips and the Bluetooth chest strap.
The Nautilus T616 Treadmill has a thick two-ply belt that is extremely durable. It has a dual high-resolution LCD with a blue backlight for easy readability.
You can connect your smartphone or mp3 device to the input port and listen to music from the built-in speakers as you work out.
There are 26 onboard programs to choose from, out of which 4 are customizable programs that you can use to personalize your workout.
- Large running deck
- SoftDrop folding mechanism for convenient storage
- Wide choice of in-built programs
- Bluetooth connectivity
- The console is fully loaded
- Limited 10-year warranty on the frame and motor
- Relatively low weight capacity of 300 lbs
The SereneLife Electric Folding Treadmill is a portable and compact treadmill that is a good choice for beginners who wish to work out at home.
The treadmill can be easily assembled within an hour. It has a limited motor power of 1.0 HP and can support a maximum workout speed of 6 mph. There are only three incline levels that have to be adjusted manually.
The treadmill comes with a safety key that can automatically halt the belt when stretched beyond a certain limit. The treadmill’s console has a digital LCD with large digits and a blue backlight.
There are sensors on the handlebars that can detect your pulse rate and display it on the LCD screen.
You can take advantage of the 12 preset workout programs that can help meet different fitness goals.
Users also have the option of connecting the treadmill to their smartphones or smart televisions through Bluetooth to view or share various training statistics.
- The treadmill has a compact footprint
- Twelve preset workout programs
- The motor operates noiselessly
- Can be accessed via Bluetooth from a smartphone
- The incline has to be manually adjusted
- The weight limit of 265lbs might be insufficient for heavy users
- Limited deck space
- Limited speed range
There is no clear-cut best budget treadmill that can satisfy the needs of all kinds of users.
The best budget treadmill for you will depend on your specific workout requirements, height, weight, and the entertainment features you require.
Remember not to get too carried away with the outward appearance or any high-tech features.
You should firmly focus on the essential features such as motor power, track size, incline, and the manufacturer’s warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When’s the Best Time to Buy a Treadmill?
January is the best time to buy a treadmill as it is when people rush to buy fitness equipment to fulfill their New Year resolutions.
Since the demand is invariably higher than the rest of the year, manufacturers offer the best discounts. With the onset of summer, people prefer outdoor workouts, leading to a slump in fitness equipment.
No wonder June is the second-best time to buy a treadmill at a low price as retailers try to clear their inventory.
Every year, on Amazon Prime Day, you will find treadmills at attractive prices on Amazon.
So, look out for this one-day bonanza this year to purchase your dream treadmill.
The period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is also a great time to find the best treadmill deals online.
Should I Buy a Cheap Treadmill?
Buying a cheap treadmill undoubtedly has numerous advantages. As long as you do not have grandiose expectations from your new treadmill, there is no reason to think twice before buying a budget-friendly treadmill.
Used treadmills for domestic use tend to have features that you might never require. Buying a cheap treadmill will ensure that you do not have to pay for such unnecessary features.
Cheap treadmills also tend to be more compact and can easily be folded to save space.
However, you might consider saving a few hundred dollars more to buy a treadmill that offers the perfect balance between comfort and affordability.
Are Expensive Treadmills Worth It?
Of course, expensive treadmills provide numerous benefits. They usually have greater motor power, offer higher speeds, and come with longer warranties.
Expensive treadmills are also technologically more advanced. They provide numerous diversions during a workout, such as Bluetooth connectivity with your music device, iFit Coach training videos, in-built workout programs, and wireless heart rate monitoring.
However, if you are a beginner or if you require a treadmill only for walking or jogging, there is no reason why you should buy a costly treadmill that supports extended running workouts.
Similarly, if you are not too heavy, you need not look for a treadmill with a high maximum weight capacity. The perfect solution lies in finding the treadmill that is tailor-made for your needs.
Should I Buy a Budget Folding Treadmill?
If you wish to buy a treadmill for residential use, a budget folding treadmill is the best option, especially if you are already cramped for space.
Once the treadmill is folded up, it can be placed between the cabinet and the wall or even under your table. Even if you have ample space in your home, buying a budget folding treadmill can do you no harm.
You will always have the option of folding up the treadmill if you require extra space while receiving guests. Foldable treadmills can also be transported easily.
However, they tend to have stability issues and can put children and pets’ safety at risk.
So, before you buy your budget folding treadmill, you should check whether the folding process is easy and safe.