Best Home Treadmill Under $1000, $500 & $300 – Ultimate Guide
Best Treadmill Under $1000
Nautilus T614 Treadmill
Nautilus considers itself to be a company which produces gym-standard equipment for the home and based on the T614 Treadmill we’d say they had a fair point.
- Outstanding running deck
- Solid motor
- Really clear display
- Interface is a bit cluttered for our taste although it is easy enough to navigate.
- Extra-large high-resolution blue backlit LCD monitor
- Charging USB port and data export to NautilusConnect.com or myfitnesspal.com
- Everything to meet your fitness goals: 0 to 12 MPH, 0 to 12% incline, 2.75 CHP motor, 20-Inch x 55-Inch belt, 22 programs, 2 user profiles and more
- Acoustic chambered speakers for big sound
- 2.5-Inch crowned rollers, SoftDrop folding system, 300 lbs. max user weight
NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill
NordicTrack has been quick to spot the opportunities for technology-enabled exercise and the C 990 Treadmill is likely to have a lot of appeal to more tech-savvy users.
- Running deck and motor are both designed with quiet operation in mind
- Very effective fan
- Ability to experience your “dream runs” courtesy of integration with Google Maps
- You’re either going to love all the high-tech options or just think they’re overload.
LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
LifeSpan are known for producing equipment which hits the sweet spot of quality, price and robustness. The TR1200i Folding Treadmill is a solid, value choice.
- Lifetime warranty on frame and motor
- Decent running deck with plenty of space
- Good selection of exercise programmes
- The LCD screen is readable but its colors may get a bit tiresome after a while.
Reebok Jet 100
Some manufacturers fall flat on their faces when they try to move out of their core offering, even if it’s into a related area, but Reebok has been winning plenty of respect with its range of fitness equipment and the Jet 100 is a very respectable piece of kit.
- In our opinion, by far the most stylish of the options we’ve chosen. We’d be happy to leave this out on display in our homes.
- Reebok makes the running deck a major selling point and its air motion technology does live up to its name.
- Really clear and intuitive console
- No great support for technology or online integration.
ProForm Pro 1000 Treadmill
ProForm is another manufacturer which emphasizes robustness and build quality as well as performance. If you’re looking for a treadmill which can take a real pounding, then the Pro 1000 should be high on your list of options.
- Commercial grade motor backed by a lifetime warranty
- Excellent running deck which is particularly easy to fold away
- iFit Enabled
- Not the easiest treadmill to assemble
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Best Treadmill Under $500
ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill
ProForm builds its treadmills to last and the 300i treadmill is no exception. If you want an affordable treadmill, which can still stand up to plenty of use then the 300i treadmill is well worth a look.
- All components very good standard for price
- Supports speeds of up to 10MPH
- Incline and speed very easy to adjust
- Running deck could be longer, but again this is a mid-range model.
Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill
Weslo isn’t a huge name in fitness equipment, but then they’ve never spent huge money on marketing to become one. They’ve been around for long enough to be taken seriously and their equipment is well-respected.
- Good motor for this price point
- Deck is cell cushioned so easy on the joints
- Console is very clear
- LCD screen does the job but is on the small side compared to more expensive options
ProForm ZT6 Treadmill
We’re not connected with ProForm, it’s just that when you’re putting together a list of best-value treadmills, they’re a natural contender and since mid-range models generally form the bulk of any market, it’s understandable that this is where they focus.
- Solid build quality as evidenced by a lifetime frame warranty, 25-year motor warranty and 1-Year parts & labor warranty
- Media device holder with iPod port
- Quick controls for speed and incline
- We’re not huge fans of the console layout, but it’s clear enough to understand.
Goplus Intelligent Folding Treadmill
We generally prefer to stick with brands which focus purely on fitness equipment, whereas Goplus is a bit of an all-rounder. Having said that, what they do, they tend to do well and overall we think this particular model is certainly worth a look. For clarity, this is the only Goplus model we’re recommending for the time being.
- Good build standards, including a quiet motor
- Running deck is easy to fold and unfold and has decent cushioning
- Console is clear and intuitive
- Maximum speed of 7.5 milesBrand is not a fitness specialist
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7603
Sunny Health and Fitness is another brand which has been around for a while (over a decade) but often slips under the radar due to their limited marketing. They have focused on building partnerships and expanding sales through reviews and word-of-mouth.
- Robust components for this price point
- Very easy to open and close the running deck
- Handrail controls
- Limited range of in-built programs
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Best Treadmill Under $300
Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
Weslo is a brand you can trust at any price point, just remember to set your expectations realistically.
- Decent components for this price point
- Good cushioning on the running deck
- Very compact
- Only 2 incline levels
- 2.25 HP Impulse Motor: Train at your speed with a motor that delivers consistent power to any type of workout - intervals, speed, or endurance...
- 16" x 50" Tread Belt Stretch out your stride on this 16-inch x 50-inch deck. Perfect for users of all heights, you'll be comfortable while you reach...
- 2-Position Adjustable Incline Featuring a convenient two-position incline, this treadmill helps you personalize your workout for better results....
- Integrated Tablet Holder Train with the latest technology at your fingertips. This device shelf keeps your tablet secure and conveniently close so you...
- 0-10 MPH QuickSpeed Boost your speed incrementally up to 10 mph and get the intensity you need for any performance workout. 6 Workout Apps Work toward...
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 Treadmill
Sunny Health and Fitness pack a lot into an affordable treadmill, although the console may not be to everyone’s taste.
- Handrail controls are a distinct plus at this price point
- Very easy to open and close the running deck
- Three levels of incline
- The console looks a bit like a child’s toy but it does the job.
Merax has grasped the fact that there are quite a few people about who just want a treadmill on which to run. Advanced functions such as iFit compatibility mean nothing to them, but great value does.
- Very compact and easy to fold
- Motor is impressively quiet for this price point
- Easy to assemble and easy to work
- Probably better for walking or jogging than regular running, or else keep it as a back up for when you can’t get to the gym.
Exerpeutic is targeting this treadmill fairly and squarely at people who want to walk for fitness, basically this is either you or it isn’t, but if it is, then the TF900 could be a great choice.
- Long handles
- Very quiet motor
- Wheels make it easy to move the treadmill from room to room
- Only for walking
- In-home treadmill designed for fitness walking, 4 MPH maximum speed
- 1.5 HP motor for reliable performance; ground-level walking surface and wide side rails
- LCD displays time, distance, calories burned and speed for easy reference
- Folds for space-saving storage and moves easily on built-in wheels
- 350-Pound maximum user weight, 1-year warranty for frame and 5 years for motor
Confidence Fitness Confidence Power Trac Treadmill
If you just want a basic treadmill for light use and ease of storage is more important to you than advanced features then the Confidence Power Trac Treadmill could be the one for you, particularly if you’re mainly interested in walking rather than running.
- The most compact design we’ve found
- Basic design means that console is very clear and simple to use
- Motor is low-powered but quiet
- Assembly instructions could be much improved.
Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of equipment in gyms, in fact there are some people who go to the gym mainly, if not solely, for the treadmills. If treadmills play a major role in your fitness regime then you may find that your best option is to buy one for your own home. That way you’ll always have access to it whenever you want. The good news is that competition in the treadmill market has seen some great options become available at really affordable prices.
The bad news is that any significant market will attract its fair share of freeloading manufacturers, who just want to shift products in bulk without bothering about little details like safety, reliability or quality. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. We want to educate people about treadmills and, for convenience, we’ll add a list of our top picks with an explanation as to why. We stress our top picks are just our opinion, other people may differ and that’s fine with us.back to menu ↑
The basics of treadmills
There are three key components to any treadmill, they are the running deck, the motor and the console. None is more important than the other, they all need to work together effectively for your treadmill to be safe, reliable and comfortable. Let’s look at them one by one.
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The running deck
Even an entry-level treadmill will be kinder on your joints than running on asphalt. As you go up the quality scale, you’ll find that manufacturers put more and more care into the overall quality of the running deck, in fact it can become a major point of competition between different brands. Most treadmills allow for the running deck to be folded up when the treadmill is not in use, which means that effectively they take up far less space than you might think.
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The motor is what drives the running deck and as such plays a crucial role in the overall performance of the treadmill. In an ideal world, the motor should be neither seen nor heard. In the real world, the quality and quietness of the motor is another major point of competition between brands.back to menu ↑
In our opinion, one of the defining marks of a high-quality treadmill is the ease with which you can navigate the console. As a minimum, the console is the place you set speed and incline and is also where you enter your safety key, which will be used to shut off the treadmill if you fall. As you go up the price points, consoles will start to include higher levels of functionality, such as fans, speakers for your music and Bluetooth connectivity and they need to do this in a way which is still easy for the user to manage.
For the record, we’d like to make it clear that there’s a fairly big difference between a console which works well and a console which looks good. Obviously it’s nice if it can do both, but in reality having a console which works well is far more important. If you read our recommendations at the end of this article, you’ll see we’ve recommended some treadmills where we weren’t huge fans of how the console looked, but we were happy that it did the job.
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What to expect at each price point
Frankly, looking at the market as a whole it’s easy to see how people can get confused about what’s a good buy and what’s not. Some manufacturers at the lower end of the market try to imply that they offer the same sort of functionality as the more expensive brands, they just offer their products at a cheaper price because they know how to keep their costs down. In actual fact, what many of them are doing is preying on people’s ignorance by offering features which sound impressive while cutting back in core components such as the motor.
So let’s rephrase. Assuming you are in the market for a decent treadmill from a reputable brand, what should you expect at each price point?
Entry level (under $300)
At this price point, you should simply expect the essentials to be covered to a reasonable level. In other words, you should expect a running deck with some cushioning, a reliable motor and a simple console with basic functionality. Entry level treadmills tend to be more suitable for walking and jogging than serious running, although they can be handy as a back-up for when you can’t get to the gym or go out on a road run.
On the plus side, the fact that entry-level treadmills are so basic means that they tend to be light and compact. You could even store them under a bed or in a cupboard when they are out of use. They also tend to be fairly quiet since they usually have fairly low-powered motors.
Mid-range level (under $500)
This is where life starts to get more interesting, for which you can read complicated. When you get to this price range, there are basically two ways manufacturers can go. They can start to improve the quality of the components or they can start to add functionality. Generally, when you enter the mid-range you can expect to see better components and then, as you head closer towards the upper end of the price range, you will see more functionality.
For better components read larger running decks with more cushioning, more powerful motors capable of supporting higher speeds and more levels of incline and a console which allows for automatic adjustment of speed and incline (without you having to get off first). For more functionality read a greater range of pre-defined programs for starters and then move on to entertainment options such as Bluetooth.
Mid-range treadmills tend to be noticeably heftier than their entry-level counterparts, so you will probably want to keep them in the same place, although generally speaking the running deck will lift up out to make them more compact when out of use. They can also be a lot noisier due to the more powerful motors, although some manufacturers have been working hard on this as they know that quiet motors can be a major selling point for some people.
If you’re planning on running regularly, then realistically you should be looking at a mid-range treadmill or better.
Upper-range treadmills (under $1000)
This is the point where you can look at gym-standard equipment in your own home. Rather like the move from entry-level to mid-range, as you move into the upper-range level you can expect better components, basically equipment which can take the sort of beating you can expect in a gym. Then you start to get all sorts of added functionality, often including the ability to link your treadmill with a fitness app such as iFit and then really high quality entertainment options.
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An explanation of folding treadmills
As a basic rule of thumb, we tend to look at whether or not a treadmill has wheels to see if it fits our definition of “folding treadmill”. Basically, ever treadmill we personally have ever seen has had the ability to fold up the running deck, but to us that doesn’t make it a folding treadmill. In our view a folding treadmill is one which can fold up so small you can easily take it between rooms and store it in the usual sorts of places between uses.
Realistically if having the utmost in “foldability” is of key importance to you then you’re looking at an entry-level treadmill because the higher-level treadmills need to be bigger and heavier to hold the more robust components and support the increased functionality. Think carefully about this though because many of the mid-level treadmills are actually very compact out of use and they can offer so much more functionality for a very small amount of permanent floor space.
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The difference between running on treadmills and running on the road
Ultimately the difference between running on treadmills and running on the road boils down to one, single, fact – you’re in total control. Let’s go through what that means in practice.
You have a high level of personal security.
It’s a harsh thing to say but running outdoors on your own does carry security risks even in the safest of areas. Even without this, you still have to deal with whatever life can throw at you from the weather to drivers, cyclists, walkers and dogs.
It can be much less stressful.
The idea of destressing with an outdoor run is great in theory and it can work in practice, but running outdoors can also wind up getting you more stressed than you were when you left. Basically just as driving on a wide open highway is very different to driving in a city during rush hour so running in an empty park in perfect weather is very different to fighting your way through crowded streets. Using a treadmill can be so much less hassle.
It reduces joint strain and the risk of injury
Running decks are made for running. They are smooth and level (in the sense that they don’t have any cracks or holes to trap your foot) and, most importantly of all, cushioned. Treadmills are therefore massively easier on your joints than any hard surface and hence your risk of injury is much lower. In fact, bluntly speaking, if you’re in a job where injury could lead to a loss of income, we’d say treadmills were the only way to go.
You can focus on the actual mechanics of running
When you’re in the great outdoors, you have a whole lot to think about. When you’re on a treadmill, all you have to think about is managing your running. That means you can focus on getting your running action exactly right, which can be a whole lot harder than it sounds until you’ve reached the point where it is an ingrained habit.
In particular, if you are planning to do any serious running, you absolutely must learn to strike the ground with your toes rather than your heels and it can take a lot of practice to get to the point where you do this without even thinking about it. The cushioned and forgiving surface of a treadmill’s running deck is the ideal safe environment on which to work on this.
You can do the exact runs you want to do
When you run out of doors you have to work with (or around) the terrain. When you run on a treadmill, the terrain is exactly what you decide it is. You can run on the flat or on hills and you decide how long and steep those hills are and, frankly, if you change your mind, you can just change the relevant setting on your treadmill.
You can run for fun or prepare to race
If all you want to do is put in some cardio for fitness then a treadmill is a great choice, just put on your favorite music and run to the beat – literally. Alternatively, if you want to race, your treadmill can provide most of the training you need. With a mid-range treadmill or better, you can program in your chosen course and practice it until you know it inside out. You will still need to do some outdoor training to toughen your muscles and get used to running in the elements, but your treadmill could give your training a huge boost.
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