“Running is cheap!” they told you. “Just a good pair of shoes and you’re good to go,” they told you. Then, like every runner, you realized that running in the rain and cold is no fun, so you went treadmill shopping just to see some prices. After picking your jaw up off the floor, you had to wonder: surely there must be a way to run indoors for less than that? We understand! Some of the high-end treadmills can be expensive, although they’re most often quite worth the price.
If price is what’s been holding you back from getting a treadmill, you’re in luck! Today we’re reviewing the best treadmills for under $500. Thankfully, you can find some hidden gems that don’t cost a fortune and will help you supercharge your training.
Our top pick is the XTERRA Fitness TR150. It comes with 12 preset programs, so you can hop on and begin with little to no setup. You can choose 3 incline settings to challenge yourself a little. It also folds up nicely to be stored out of the way.
Keep reading for more options! Whatever your requirements, we should have something on this list for you.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Treadmill
Merax L510C Treadmill
Efitment T012 Auto Incline Folding Treadmill w/Bluetooth
1. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Treadmill
If you’re looking for the best treadmill under $500, here it is: the XTERRA wins our top spot. The most noticeable thing about it is that it has a generous running surface of 16″ x 50″, which should be quite suitable for most runner’s strides.
The motor is decent for walking and light running, at 2.25 HP. You’ll be able to select one of 12 built-in programs to start working out, or set your own speed and incline (three levels) and go for it. With a max speed of 10mph, you can do a decent running workout on this treadmill. Maybe it’s not speed day at the home gym, but a 6:00 pace can work most of us over pretty good.
For an affordable treadmill, the running surface is well-cushioned, with XTRASoft Cushioned Deck technology. You’ll find other useful features that standard treadmills usually come with, like an integrated book/device shelf, pulse sensors on the handlebars, and the ability to fold up and be stored out of the way.
- Spacious running surface
- Foldable and easy to store
- 12 preset programs
- 2.25 HP motor
- LCD screen may be too small for some to see comfortably
Best Budget Treadmill
2. Merax L510C Treadmill
Every treadmill on this list is a solid budget option, but we’ve chosen the Merax L510C as our best budget treadmill. The belt is slightly smaller than our top choice, at 43.3″ x 15.7″. But it should be all good for most runners, provided you can run in a fairly straight line!
Speaking of the running surface, it’s nicely cushioned and has a lawn-like texture that’s dense and sturdy. It’s also non-slip, so you’ll be perfectly safe on it.
It has a maximum weight capacity of 240lbs, which is a little less than some others. The 1.5 HP motor may be too small for those with serious training aspirations, but it would be great for those who simply want to get more steps in their day and enjoy a brisk walk or run.
It features a USB port that takes a flash drive, and an auxiliary port for connecting your phone. Dual speakers allow you to listen to your tunes while you run without having earphone cables flapping around.
It’s also super easy to fold and unfold, and becomes fairly compact so you can store it easily in a corner or cupboard.
- Anti-slip running mat
- USB port for playing music
- Dual speakers
- Fast and easy folding
- Speed range of up to 7.5 mph may be too little for serious runners
- No incline functions
Top Incline Treadmill
3. Efitment T012 Auto Incline Folding Treadmill w/Bluetooth
Raining on hill day? Not to fear. You’ve got the Efitment T012. Interval training can be far more effective at blasting away fat than steady-state cardio, but not all lower-end treadmills will come with an incline function. This one, however, has 2 adjustable incline levels so you can get a more challenging workout.
It has 9 built-in workout programs that all make use of interval training to help you torch fat. The maximum speed you’ll be able to hit is 7.5 mph, which may be a little slow for speedy runners but it’s great for short intervals.
Another feature we enjoyed was the retractable device holder, which secures your device firmly in place so there’s no chance of it falling off with the movement of the treadmill while you’re running.
Sync your phone to the machine via Bluetooth to have instant access to your music. Fold it up with ease when you’re done, and when you’re ready to train again, the soft-drop tech makes unfolding it safe and breezy.
- Retractable device holder
- Soft-drop unfolding mechanism
- 9 built-in interval programs
- Sync to your phone with Bluetooth
- Maximum user weight is only 220lbs, lower than many others
Best Tablet-Friendly Treadmill
4. ProForm Performance 300i
Many treadmills fall short in one particular area – that is, having a dedicated tablet area that doesn’t block the main screen. It can be frustrating trying to sneak a look at your stats while you’re running, but they’re hidden behind your tablet.
The ProForm Performance 300i solves this problem. It has a dedicated tablet shelf at the top of the console, which is fantastic as it’s also roundabout eye-level, so you don’t have to run looking downwards.
ProShox cushioning tech keeps your joints as protected as possible, and the 50” x 16” running belt ensures a decent stride for runners of most heights.
Other features that make for a good experience are the 16 onboard workouts, a 10% digital incline, a maximum user weight of 300lbs, and the ability to fold it up for easy storing. Pairing the treadmill with an optional iFit account ups both the virtual running experience and the price. But don’t worry; you don’t need iFit to get a great workout out of this machine.
- Tablet shelf at top of console
- 0 – 10% digital incline
- 50” x 16” running deck
- 16 on-board workouts
- Don’t be fooled into thinking the treadmill is locked unless you by an iFit subscription – you can unlock it by holding down the bluetooth button for 30 seconds
5. Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
The Weslo Cadence has a decently sized running area and can support 275lbs. It has an integrated tablet holder, which is useful for watching stuff while you run.
With 6 workout presets, 2 manual incline settings, and a thumb-pulse sensor, it’s minimalist but more than adequate.
You’ll get a free month’s access to iFit when you buy this treadmill. You can personalize your runs, stats, and training experience, join in-studio classes, and take part in interactive runs in exotic locations, with your treadmill automatically adjusting inclines to match the virtual terrain.
You may find after your free month that you don’t want to do without it!
- Three inclines, up to 4%
- Free 1-month trial of iFit
- Weight capacity 275lbs
- Integrated tablet holder
- There’s plenty of confusion over whether or not you HAVE to activate the iFit subscription in order for it to work. You don’t. Hold the button for 25 seconds to bypass. Still, this info could be more clearly stated.
Best Preset Workout Programs
6. MaxKare 801 Folding Treadmill
Being able to adjust the speed and incline yourself is a good thing on a treadmill, but having quality onboard workout programs is a huge bonus. You can set up and go without having to set up your own workouts. After all, that’s how it works on the road, right?
You’ll find 15 programs to choose from on this treadmill, so there’s something for every day. The 17” wide surface is ideal for comfortable running, as you can be more free with your stride.
- 15 preset programs
- 17” wide running surface belt
- Anti-shock system
- Easy to fold and move
- Can’t use manual speeds on preset programs, so they may be too slow for some
- Taller runners report not having enough running space
Highest Weight Capacity
7. Exerpeutic TF1000 Treadmill
Weight is most certainly not the best indicator of fitness. Even if it were, exercise equipment needs to accommodate bodies of all shapes and sizes. So it can be frustrating when treadmills max out at 275 lbs, 250 lbs, 225 lbs, or even less. Those machines exclude a lot of eager exercisers. The Exerpeutic TF1000 can safely and easily be used by people up to 400 lbs. The increased weight capacity means it sacrifices power and speed a little, featuring a compact 1.5 HP motor that goes up to only 4 mph.
This is, clearly, a walking treadmill. It’s a great, simple machine for if you’re looking for slower-pace options. The 20” wide belt and extra-length safety handles are really nice features that increase the safety of the treadmill by quite a bit.
The warranty is also one of the better ones, with 5 years on the motor and 1 year on the frame.
- 20” wide treadmill belt
- Extra-long safety handles
- Weight capacity of 400lbs
- 5-year motor and 1-year frame warranty
- Can only go up to 4mph speed
Best Foldable Treadmill
8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7643 Treadmill
This is one of the more solid, sturdy treadmills in its price category. It’s well-built and strong, with a weight capacity of 350lbs and a 2.5 HP motor.
The 13” tablet holder fits most devices comfortably. The digital monitor will allow you to spot your time, distance, and calories at a quick glance.
While this treadmill comes with no frills, if you’re looking for something sturdy and easy to fold up and store, this one is a good choice.
- Large tablet holder
- 2.5 HP motor
- Sturdily built
- Weight capacity of 350lbs
- With a top speed of 6mph, this is not suited to hard training
- Heavy, and may need 2 people to assemble and fold/unfold
Top Manual Treadmill
9. Sunny Health & Fitness ASUNA 7700 Trainer
Manual treadmills are a great option, especially for a more affordable treadmill. The idea behind one of these is that they’re not run by electricity – they’re powered entirely by you (kind of like a human hamster wheel!).
It sports two large flywheels at the front of the machine, and looks very sleek due to the absence of an electrical console. There’s a simple but effective tablet holder in the front, and non-slip handlebars.
The large running surface is suitable for most people. You’ll also be able to adjust to one of 8 resistance levels, and change the incline.
The beauty of this treadmill is that there’s no motor and no maximum speed. You’re the one powering it, so it goes as fast as you do!
- Stylish open design
- 51” x 17.75” running deck
- 8 resistance levels
- Weight capacity of 400lbs
- May be heavy to move
Best Quiet Treadmill
10. Goplus Folding Treadmill
If you live with others, have fussy neighbors, or don’t want to use earphones when you run, a quiet treadmill is a must. The Goplus has been chosen as the quietest treadmill under $500.
The motor is little, at 1 HP, which makes it unsuitable for running. But it is very quiet in operation. If you’re looking for a walking option that’s not noisy, this one would be a-okay.
You can choose from 12 workout programs, and it supports a weight capacity of up to 220lbs.
- Sleek, minimalist design
- Folds up incredibly compact
- 12 built-in programs
- Auto or manual modes
- Hand rails are too low for those over 5’6”
Top Under-Desk Treadmill
11. RHYTHM FUN Treadmill Under Desk
If you struggle to find time to get away from work to run on the treadmill, an under-desk treadmill could be the best choice for you!
Desk treadmills as a type are not designed to be run on ( I mean, you trying running and typing at the same time), and the RHYTHM FUN is no different. But with a top speed of 6 miles per hour, you’ll get a very brisk walk at the same time as you’re getting stuff done on your laptop.
The 18” wide deck is suitable for walkers of most sizes, although the weight limit is 220 pounds. The platform is made up of 7 levels, and is anti-skid, to maximize safety.
When you’re done, just slide it under the closest bed or sofa. Or desk.
- 18” wide running belt
- Shock-absorbing surface
- Thin enough to slide under a sofa or bed
- 7-level anti-skid platform
- Some customers report that the app is non-existent on their app store, and some that were able to find it state that it doesn’t work
Hesitating to take that next indoor step? Here are answers to some of the questions you may be asking about finding a treadmill that doesn’t empty your bank account.
What Are The Main Differences Between An Under-$500 Treadmill And More Expensive Models?
It’s a foible of human nature to believe “You get what you pay for” when you are selling something, but not when you’re buying something. Expensive treadmills aren’t expensive because the companies are greedy. They really are excellent, well-designed, durable machines. The question is: do you need all that jazz? Really? Not all treadmills are created equal, but no matter whether you pay $100 or $1000 for yours, it will serve its purpose – to allow you to run.
The high-end models tend to come with fancier features, some of which increase the effectiveness and safety of the machine. But many of the features are simply nice to have, and definitely not necessary to get a good workout. A 7:00 mile on a $3,000 treadmill is, after all, just the same as a 7:00 mile on a $400 machine. So what really is the difference?
Here are a few things that may be different depending on the price of the treadmill you choose:
An expensive treadmill is likely to have put some effort (and money) into making their running surface as cushioned and easy on the feet, ankles, and knees as possible.
While this is super, the lower-end treadmills are still more cushioned than the road. There’s no need to feel like you’re bouncing on a cloud with each step. Treadmills under $500 won’t have as much cushioning as the higher-end ones, but that’s not necessarily a con.
There’s an infamous video out there of Ryan Hall, the States’ only sub-2:05:00 marathoner, breaking a high-end treadmill during a world-record-pace workout. So no amount of money guarantees your machine against disaster if you go after it hard enough. If you’re planning on doing sprints or running a marathon on your treadmill, a more expensive one may be the better choice, simply for the quality and power of its motor.
Treadmills under $500 are likely to have a less powerful motor, which means lower speeds and probably a shorter lifespan.
Strangely, this is also related to the motor, but the less powerful motor (or less modern motors) tend to be quite a bit noisier than those on expensive treadmills.
This shouldn’t be a problem at all if you prefer to run with headphones or live alone. It could become an issue if your buzzing treadmill motor is waking up the neighbors!
Speed, Incline, & Program Choice
Treadmills under $500 will have less choice when it comes to variations of speed, incline, and preset programs.
This isn’t necessarily a problem if you aren’t planning on doing intervals, or switching between programs on a regular basis. If you just want to run, you’ll be good to go, and you’ll still have some programs to choose from.
Many high-end treadmills also come with the ability to pair your phone and integrate with third-party apps, which an under-$500 treadmill isn’t likely to have.
More expensive treadmills tend to be sturdier than the lower-priced ones. If you’re a smaller person with a chilled running style, this may not be an issue! If you’re a wild runner or a large person, you may be uncomfortable with the treadmill’s frame being less solid.
Many warranties for lower-end treadmills only cover 90 days. More expensive treadmills will offer a longer warranty.
What Should I Look For When Buying A Treadmill For Under $500?
This really depends on you, but there are some staples you should be keeping an eye out for when shopping for the best treadmills for under $500.
- Different preset programs (even if only a few)
- Adjustable incline
- An adequate motor (minimum 2.0 HP for walking, 3.0 HP for running)
- A running surface that’s comfortably wide
- Speeds up to 10 mph for running
- Make sure the weight capacity is sufficient for you
- Auto-stop feature