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Best Budget Treadmills in 2021

 

You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent treadmill!

In this article, we’ve reviewed the best budget treadmills that offer high-end features and would suit most runners.

We’ve chosen the Horizon T101 as our top pick. It has 30 built-in programs, features variable deck cushioning, and has a 10 percent incline.

There are ten excellent options on this list, so keep reading to find a budget treadmill that’s right for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Horizon T101

 

  • Featherlight folding system
  • Variable cushioning
  • One-touch keys
Check Price

 

XTERRA Fitness TR150 Treadmill

 

  • XTRASoft cushioned deck technology
  • 3 manual incline settings
  • 0.5-10 miles per hour
Check Price

 

Merax Electric Folding Treadmill

 

  • Shortcut buttons on handlebars
  • 12 preset programs
  • Anti-slip running belt
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Horizon T101

The Horizon T101 is an excellent mix of affordability and functionality.

The 2.5 CHP Johnson Drive System motor is efficient but quiet, allowing you to run at any time of day or night without disturbing anybody.

You can get a challenging workout by following one of the 30 built-in programs. Or, use the incline function, which goes up to 10 percent. One-touch keys make it easy to change your speed or incline to increase the intensity of your workout.

This budget treadmill features a variable cushioning system with distinct zones of different cushioning. Firmer cushioning in the toe-off zone and softer cushioning in the impact zone offer both comfort and responsiveness.

The console features three simple LED windows that display your workout data. It has built-in speakers, as well as a USB port, HDMI input, and an audio jack for earphones.

The treadmill itself weighs 180 pounds, but it can support a weight of up to 300 pounds. It has a Featherlight folding system that anybody can use safely, and folds down to 47 inches x 34 inches x 65 inches.

But it’s important to note from the start that it may not suit taller runners due to a smaller deck size—20 x 55 inches—or competitive runners, as its top speed only reaches 10mph (6:00 pace).

PROS:

  • Featherlight folding system
  • Variable cushioning
  • Compatible with Peloton, STUDIO and iFit apps
  • One-touch keys

CONS:

  • Taller runners may find the deck size too short for their stride length
  • The treadmill only has a top speed of 10mph
 

Top Runner-Up

2. LifeSpan TR1200i

The LifeSpan TR1200i is affordable and durable. A 2.5 CHP motor provides a range of speeds up to a maximum of 11mph.

Advanced runners who want to go all-out may find that it doesn’t offer enough speed, but it’s perfectly adequate for most.

A 20-inch x 56-inch running deck will suit runners of average height, and a weight capacity of 300 pounds means it should be suitable for the whole family to use. The deck is also well-cushioned, having a two-ply construction and 8 impact-absorbing compression shocks beneath it.

You can select one of 21 built-in programs—7 sports modes, 5 Healthy Living programs, 5 weight loss programs, 2 heart rate control programs, and 2 custom user programs. You can also choose from 15 incline levels and three intensity settings for the program you choose to do. If you are a member of the LifeSpan Fitness Club, you will have access to customized, downloadable workouts.

You can view your workout information on the full-color, 7-inch display screen. It also automatically saves your data and if you’re a Lifespan member, you can view your exercise data online.

Other great features include high-quality speakers, an earphone jack, Intelli-Step step counter, handlebar controls, and heart rate chest strap compatibility—chest strap not included.

EZfold technology makes it simple to lift and lower, and it has wheels at both the front and rear so you can wheel it any way you wish. When folded, it takes up just 39 inches x 33 inches.

When purchasing this treadmill, you will get a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor. The parts warranty is three years, and labor is one year.

PROS:

  • EZfold technology
  • 15 incline levels
  • 21 exercise programs
  • Handlebar controls

CONS:

  • To use LifeSpan’s data tracking you need to pay a subscription after a month of free usage
 

Most Cushioned

3. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Treadmill

If you’re looking for an affordable treadmill that will go easy on your joints, the XTERRA Fitness TR150 could be the right one for you.

It features XTERRA XTRASoft cushioning on the deck, which uses six shock-absorbers to reduce impact from each foot strike.

This treadmill is more affordable than most. For your money, you will get a 16-inch x 50-inch running surface, which may not be large enough for tall runners to get their full stride. The top speed of 10mph will be more than enough for most runners unless you are looking to do hard training at a high pace.

It has three incline settings—0.5°, 1° and 2°—but you need to adjust them manually, and they cannot be changed while you are in the middle of a workout. The folding mechanism is also manual, using a pull knob to hold the deck up and release it.

A 5-inch LCD screen shows your workout metrics. It only displays in miles and miles per hour, so you won’t be able to change it to kilometers. You also won’t be able to connect to Bluetooth or to external heart rate monitors. But you will be able to see your statistics at a glance and choose one of the 13 built-in exercise programs.

You will get a lifetime warranty on the frame and a one-year warranty on the motor. If you are exercising late at night or in low-light conditions, you may find it difficult to see the screen properly, as it doesn’t have a backlight.

PROS:

  • XTRASoft cushioned deck technology
  • 3 manual incline settings
  • Speed range 0.5-10 miles per hour
  • 16-inch x 50-inch running surface

CONS:

  • Some people may find the LED screen difficult to read as it doesn’t have a backlight
 

Best With Fitness App

4. NordicTrack T 6.5 S

If you’re looking for a budget treadmill that comes with a built-in fitness app, the NordicTrack T6.5S may be the best treadmill for you. The model is no longer being manufactured, but you can still buy them in various places while in stock.

The treadmill comes with a free 1-month iFit membership when you purchase it. You will need your own tablet to use it, as the console can’t display the steamed workouts. If you choose to invest in a full membership after the first month, you will have access to trainer-led workouts that you can follow.

If you choose not to continue with iFit, you will still have 20 built-in workouts. This treadmill has a 2.6 CHP motor and can go up to 10mph. OneTouch speed controls make it easy to change your pace quickly. You’ll have an incline of up to 10%, which adds extra resistance to your workout and can also take pressure off your joints.

Most users will be able to walk or jog comfortably on the 20-inch x 55-inch deck, which can handle up to 300 pounds of weight. Taller runners may need to test the treadmill at a full run to make sure they can get a full stride length in.

The deck features FlexSelect cushioning, which you can switch on or off. When it’s on, impact-absorbers reduce shock. When you switch it off, you’ll have a firmer surface that feels more like the road or a track.

EasyLift hydraulic technology allows you to fold and unfold the treadmill safely, and simply move it out of the way using the handy wheels.

PROS:

  • Choose to use or switch off FlexSelect cushioning
  • EasyLift hydraulics
  • Incline with tilt up to 10%
  • iFit training app

CONS:

  • You need a tablet that can support iFit
 

Best Value

5. Merax Electric Folding Treadmill

This is a minimalistic treadmill that will provide a sufficient workout for runners who would like to walk or jog lightly. If you want to run fast or do interval training, this treadmill may not be the best choice for you.

That being said, it’s a great entry-level machine with a variety of useful features for its price point. The deck size is slightly smaller than others in this price range—15 inches x 43 inches—and is lawn-textured and non-slip. The 1.5 CHP motor allows the user a top speed of 7.5miles per hour.

It has a simple LCD screen to show your running data. A USB port allows you to connect a flash drive to play music, with the built-in speakers offering crisp sound. You won’t be able to play music from your phone.

12 user programs offer a versatile range of workouts. You can control your speed using the shortcut buttons on the handlebars, and a device shelf and two accessory holders ensure that all you need is within reach.

PROS:

  • Shortcut buttons on handlebars
  • 12 preset programs
  • Anti-slip, lawn-textured running belt
  • Accessory compartments

CONS:

  • Maximum speed of 7.5mph may not be fast enough for many runners
 

Top Treadmill With Wide Belt

6. MaxKare 2.5HP Treadmill

Runners who prefer more space on either side when running may appreciate the wider belt on the MaxKare. The 17-inch by 43-inch deck surface provides ample side room, although it may not be long enough for runners with a long stride length.

The blue backlit LCD display can be easily seen so you can view your running data at any time, including speed, distance, time, calories, and heart rate.

15 preset programs offer enough versatility to provide challenge and alleviate boredom. There are 3 incline levels to challenge you further, but they can only be adjusted manually and not during a workout. A maximum speed of 8.5mph will provide a good walk or jog, but might not be fast enough for competitive runners.

The treadmill uses an anti-shock system to protect the joints. Runners of up to 220 pounds can comfortably use the treadmill, and it can easily fold up when not in use.

PROS:

  • Deck of 17 inches x 43 inches
  • 15 pre-set programs
  • 3 manual incline levels
  • Blue backlit LCD screen

CONS:

  • Maximum speed of 8.5mph may not be fast enough for serious/advanced runners
 

Best Compact/ Foldable

7. UREVO Foldable Treadmill

If you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment, this compact, foldable treadmill may be the right choice. It has a unique, space-saving design that allows it to be stored easily underneath a bed, behind a door, or in any other small space.

Unlike other treadmills that have a large, bulky console with space for a variety of accessories, this one has a flat console similar to a desk. A small LCD displays Start and Stop buttons, as well as speed, mode and program buttons.

This design makes it extremely easy to fold into a compact size and wheel it anywhere. It does have a space to hold a device, so you can still listen to music or watch a video while you’re running.

With 12 programs designed to mimic natural terrain, you can get a good workout if you aim to walk or jog. A maximum speed of 7.5mph allows for a brisk pace, while the multi-layered EVA belt is non-slip and cushioned to minimize impact on joints.

PROS:

  • Multi-layer, anti-slip tread belt
  • Foldable and compact
  • Energy-efficient motor
  • 12 pre-set training programs

CONS:

  • Some people may find that the treadmill feels unstable when walking or jogging at a higher speed
 

Top Budget Incline Treadmill

8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515

The SF-T7515 has 12 incline levels. It also features 12 preset programs, so you have plenty of choices. Some other helpful features include a Body Mass Index calculator and Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to connect your phone and listen to music.

An innovative feature that no other treadmills appears to have is the inclusion of both speakers and a built-in microphone, which means you can answer phone calls without having to touch your phone or pause your run.

Built-in shock absorption and soft-drop hydraulic folding make it a safe option for all users.

PROS:

  • 12 incline levels
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Quick speed buttons
  • Soft-drop hydraulic mechanism

CONS:

  • The treadmill is heavy and may not be easy to move
 

Best 2-In-1 For Walking And Running

9. Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill

Runners who wish to be able to walk and jog on the treadmill may like the Goplus 2-in-1 treadmill. It has an innovative design that makes it suitable for use as a normal treadmill, but also as an under-desk walking machine.

The 2.25 HP motor offers two modes; walking at a speed of up to 3mph, and jogging, which can go up to 7.5mph. Your foot and ankle joints will be well-cushioned with a 5-layered, non-slip running surface. The belt is on the smaller side, though, just 40 inches by 16 inches.

When in walking mode, the console folds downwards and you’ll adjust the treadmill settings with remote control.

PROS:

  • Walk or run settings
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Remote control
  • 5-layer non-slip belt

CONS:

  • The remote control may not always make good contact with the treadmill
 

Top For Beginners

10. SereneLife Smart Folding Treadmill SLFTRD20

If you’re very new to running and you need a treadmill to ease you into it, the SereneLife Smart Folding Treadmill SLFTRD20 is an excellent choice.

It has a 1.0 CHP motor and a top speed of 6mph, which is sufficient for beginners who are starting with walking and aim to start light jogging.

This treadmill offers 12 preset programs to help you build cardiovascular strength and endurance. It will also help you to build muscle, with 3 levels of manual incline.

Download the FitShow app to view your exercise data. When you’re finished, simply fold it up and slide it out of the way.

PROS:

  • 3 levels of manual incline
  • 12 preset training modes
  • FitShow app
  • BPM pulse monitoring

CONS:

  • The 1.0 HP motor may not be strong enough to deliver consistent power for running
 

FAQs

Is it worth having a treadmill at home?

We’ve all had moments where we’ve planned to go to the gym and then life happens. Before you know it, you haven’t seen the inside of the gym in a week! Having a treadmill at home is a great investment and has many benefits.

When the weather has changed and it’s too cold or wet to run outside, you don’t have to worry about missing a workout. You’re able to train in the privacy of your own home, where you can run to a live-streamed class or catch up on your favorite series or read while running.

Having the treadmill at home is convenient, as you can structure your exercise routine around work and family. You can run early in the morning or later in the evening without worrying about making it to the gym before it closes, getting stuck in traffic, low light or working around the children’s schedules.

Gym fees can range up to $130 per month or more, depending on the location and type of gym. If you divide the cost of a budget treadmill by 12 months, it works out to between $40 and $45 per month. With a treadmill at home, not only does the family get to use it for cardiovascular fitness, increasing endurance and strength, but it will pay for itself within a few months.

What should you look for when buying a budget treadmill?

There are a few factors to take into consideration when buying a budget treadmill, as they can have an impact on your workout. Depending on the type of workout you want to do, consider the following:

Motor

Check the power of the motor on the treadmill. If it’s going to be used frequently and you’re planning on doing HIIT, interval training or sprinting, then the motor needs to be able to keep up with your workout. In this case, it would be better to consider a treadmill with a motor of 2.5 to 3.0 CHP—continuous horsepower.

If you’re just going to be using the treadmill for walking or jogging, you may only need a motor of 1.5 to 2.0 CHP. The motor also needs to be strong enough to support the weight of all the users, so if you’re getting a treadmill for the family then choose a motor that will be able to support the weight of the heaviest user. This will help also to extend the lifespan of your motor.

Deck size

Deck sizes vary on budget treadmills, and they often have smaller decks. Depending on the budget treadmill you’re looking at, the belt can range from 20 x 55 inches to 17 x 43 inches.

To be comfortable, make sure that the belt will accommodate both your running and walking stride. You also need to consider your height. If you’re over 6 feet tall, you’ll need to add at least 6 inches to your normal stride length to get an estimate of the appropriate length of the belt.

Warranty

Check the warranty on the budget treadmills as they do vary, and some budget treadmills can be lower in quality. You need to make sure that the frame and motor are covered by a generous warranty, like 10 years to a lifetime. Most will give a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

What are the benefits of using a treadmill?

Exercising on the treadmill has numerous benefits and will place less stress on your joints than when you walk or run on the pavement or road. When you’re exercising on the treadmill, it will increase your heart rate. This will get the heart working harder to circulate blood throughout the body—increased blood circulation—which reduces cholesterol and strengthens and tones muscles.

Running on the treadmill is also a weight-bearing exercise, which helps to improve bone density and improves joint flexibility with less stress on the joints. This makes running on the treadmill a great option for muscle recovery after a long run outdoors.

When you’re running on a treadmill, you’re in control! You can adjust the pace, incline, and distance. The higher the intensity of the workout, the more calories once can burn, which will help with weight loss.

It reduces your stress levels as endorphins are released, which reduces cortisol levels—stress hormones—which can lead to one getting a better night’s sleep. You’ll also find that with increased cardiovascular fitness, that you’ll be able to perform better with cross-training activities.

The Wired Runner