Most home treadmills cost at least $1,000 but others compete for budgets under $500. Shoppers should know that even the best low budget treadmills are low quality and many treadmills under $500 probably won’t last for more than a few months before breaking down. The reason is simple: If they were built from higher-quality parts, the manufacturers wouldn’t profit. Treadmills that sell for just a few hundred dollars more are superior in virtually every way.
Nonetheless, by popular demand here are summaries of the three best-selling treadmills under $500. Our introductions emphasize each product’s best features, but do read the full treadmill reviews before buying! Each review will let you know what corners were cut to hit that low price.
Cheap Treadmill Tricks: How Factories Cut Costs
Low price doesn't always equal excellent value. So, while we'll acknowledge the strengths cheap treadmills ($500 and under), we also must caution you about common weaknesses.
Strengths of Cheap Treadmills
Manufacturers of particularly cheap treadmills generally have a few strong selling points their side. Low price
is the most obvious attraction. Besides that, these treadmills tend to be compact
. Sometimes ultra-cheap folding treadmills are even small enough to slip under a bed for storage.
Low price and convenient size are appealing, but overall low quality explains why these products tend to carry mere 90-day parts warranties...
Weaknesses of Cheap Treadmills
Building a very low budget treadmill involves making many compromises. Here are just a few of the signs that manufacturers cut corners.
1) Track Size and Comfort is Minimal
A common cost-cutting strategy is to minimize the treadmill track's length and width. On a standard treadmill for home or club use, the workout surface is usually 20 inches wide and at least 55 inches long. On very low budget treadmills, the workout surface could be several inches narrower and more than a foot
shorter! The reduced surface area can reduce any user's comfort, but tall trainees might find these treadmills impossible or impractical to use.
Beyond that, the main advantage of treadmill walking over outdoor walking is the reduced impact on sensitive joints and ligaments. Sadly the cheapest treadmills lack cushioning, eliminating this perk of treadmill exercise.
2) Motor Power Is Weak
Motor capacity shapes treadmill price significantly. For a standard home treadmill, the industry minimum is about 2.5 horsepower (HP) for walkers' treadmills
and 3.0 HP for runners' treadmills
. In contrast, cheap treadmills tend to have motors with 2.25 HP or less.
Besides being weaker, these motors tend to be lower quality overall. They are noisier, don't run as smoothly and breakdown regularly.
3) Consoles and Workout Programs are Absent or Faulty
Consoles and workout programs are often absent from low budget treadmills. In contrast, higher quality home treadmills have their data monitors built into consoles that house various training programs, beverage holders, cooling fans, MP3 speakers, web browsers, and other amenities.
Exercise statistics on low-end treadmills are often criticized as inaccurate in customer reviews. One common problem is that when heart rate monitors are included on cheap treadmills
, they tend to give inaccurate readouts. Another issue is that the calorie burn calculation assumes a default weight and is rarely accurate.
Best Treadmills Under $500: The Rundown
Better Budget Treadmill Values
If you're able to upgrade from $500 treadmills to the next tier, you certainly won't regret it. The best treadmills under $1,000
last longer without breaking down. This fact is reflected in their parts warranties, which often last 4x longer than those of $500 treadmills. More importantly, the best alternatives under $1,000 deliver more comfortable, enjoyable, and effective workouts. The treadmills featured here work best as temporary solutions for exercise needs. If your treadmill needs to be a permanent fixture in your home, you'll need to spend more. Sad, but true.