Best Treadmill for Home Under 500 in 2021
When shopping for fitness equipment, saving money often means sacrificing durability. If you want to walk or run but don’t want to give your bank account too much of a hit, we have found some of the best affordable treadmills under 500 bucks.
If you’re stuck at home and the weather isn’t cooperating to get outside, walking on a treadmill gives you the same benefits to your heart and health as walking down the sidewalk. Many features that tend to make these machines more expensive are just fancy bells and whistles that you don’t really need to get that heart pumping.
In this guide, we have compiled a list of some of our very favorite treadmills to help you find the best treadmill for home under 500. Keep your body and strong and your bank account full!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
10 Best Affordable Treadmills Under $500
1. XTERRA Fitness TR150
The reason that we placed this design from XTERRA at the top of our list is that it has a lot of useful features that users find to be helpful in their workouts, but it doesn’t pack a shocking price tag. It may be a little bit smaller than most, but it is very good at what it does.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it is foldable. It boasts a 16-inch belt, which isn’t the widest option out there on the market, but it is par for the course when shopping for more affordable designs. When you are finished working out, the base lifts up and lock in place against the dashboard.
We also like that the dashboard is packed with helpful features to keep things interesting and exciting. It boasts 12 preset workout programs that automatically adjust the speed of the belt when you hit certain mile markers. It has 10-speed settings (1-10 miles per hour), and even a heart rate monitor.
If you are in the market for something that is affordable but is also packed with helpful features, this is one of your best options. XTERRA is a brand known to bring quality craftsmanship and design at a price point that you will really appreciate.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness
This option from Sunny Health & Fitness brings a lot of style to your indoor space, but it also has a lot of features to keep you moving when stuck inside. What makes this design unique is that it is offered in a standard black and gray design, but it also comes in a fun pink and white option that doesn’t look like anything else out there on the market.Read more
While it still boasts an affordable price point, it still has a lot of useful features. One of the features that we liked the most of this design is the ability to adjust the pitch of the belt. Belt inline is a feature often found in more expensive models, which is why this design is so unique.
The belt measures to be 15 inches wide, which is a tad on the narrow side. If you simply plan on using your machine for walking, 15 inches is plenty of room. What’s great about this design is that the belt is also equipped with shock absorption cushioning to protect your knees and joints. Plus, it folds up when you are finished!
If you are in the market for something that has a lot of the advanced features of the more expensive models, this option from Sunny Health & Fitness is a great place to start. It may be a tad on the narrow side, but it is perfect for a wide variety of walking or running programs.
3. Intrepid i300 Treadmill
Belt sometimes jerks
If you are willing to approach that higher price cap, this design from Intrepid provides many of the features of more advanced models. It is packed with useful features to help keep your workouts interesting and exciting, as well as features to keep your body comfortable and protected.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that is has a belt that is wider than most. It measures in at 18 inches, which is one of the wider options out there on the market. If you want a machine to use for walking as well as running, 18 inches gives you enough room for a natural gait without clipping the sides of the belt.
The dashboard allows users to adjust the speed of the belt from 1 to 10 miles an hour. This device also comes with 12 pre-programmed settings that adjust the speed of the belt at certain points in your workout to keep things exciting. Users also have the option to manually adjust the pitch of the belt for an added challenge.
If you are in the market for something that comes with quite a few extra features without breaking the bank, this design form Intrepid is worth a look. We love that is has a wider belt than most to allow users to run without the need to adjust their gait to avoid clipping the side of the belt.
Noise reduction belt
This design from MaxKare is super simple and sleek. It has a smaller footprint than most, and it is able to be folded up compactly to free up room in your home when not in use. It boasts a simple dashboard that is designed to get the job done and offers a smooth ride on the well-crafted belt.Read more
The thing that users love most about this design is how compactly it folds up. While some options out there claim to be foldable, the folded frame is somehow bulkier than when flat. This design is super compact when folded, and hosts a pair of wheels that the base to make it easier to pop it in a corner so that it is out of the way.
The belt measures to be just over 15 inches wide, which is a tad on the narrow side. If you intend on using this device simply for walking, the belt should be wide enough for your needs. If you want to go for a jog, you run the risk of clipping the side of the belt if you don’t adjust your natural gait.
If you are in the market for something that is simple, affordable, and compact, this option from MaxKare gets the job done. It is composed of strong and steady materials that hold up well over time and has simple features to help you keep track of your progress.
Easy to use
Heart rate monitor
Difficult to assemble
What we liked most about this option from GYMAX is that it is super simple, small, and effective. It hosts a small LCD screen display that is easy to jump up and get started at just the press of a button and is composed of high-quality materials that hold up well over time.Read more
The belt of this option measures to be 14 inches wide, which is a little more narrow than most. The good news is that this entire unit is able to be folded in half and wheeled into a different section of your home to free up space.
However, based upon the sleek design of this model, you may not want to move it into another room or fold it up at all. It has a steel powder-coated finish that provides a sleek and looks as well as a durable feel. As you run, this unit doesn’t have the annoying wobble as some of the other more affordable options out there on the market.
If you are in the market for something that has a sleek look and is composed of quality materials that come in at an affordable price point, this is an excellent option. We like that is has a unique style and simple features that are easy to use.
6. ProGear 190
Easy to use
Folds up super compactly
No speed adjustments
If you are feeling a little cash poor and have limited space in your home, this powerless design from ProGear 190 is an excellent choice. Instead of being powered by a motorized belt that allows you to adjust the speed (and can be quite noisy and heavy), this manual option is powered by your legs!Read more
It boasts a very simple steel frame that is incredibly sturdy and offers a very small footprint in your home gym. Users have the ability to manually adjust the pit of the belt from 6 degrees to 10 degrees. It is important to note that the belt always needs to be pitched at an angle to generate the inertia to move the belt along the tack.
Due to the fact that you are always cocked at an angle, this design has longer handles that run further back on the machine to enhance your stability. The handles are coated in a thick layer of foam that wicks away sweat so that your hands won’t slip as you start to fatigue.
If you want something that is super simple and easy to use, this design from ProGear is one of your best options. It has a super small footprint that is only matched by its incredibly affordable price tag.
7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M
Easy to use
Very narrow belt
Sunny Health & Fitness graces our list yet again with this powerless model that is a super space-saver. It has a simple frame that is constructed from quality materials that hold up well over time, and you never have to worry about a power surge frying the motor. Plus, it comes from a trusted brand which means it will hold up quite well over time.Read more
Instead of using a motor to power the belt, this design is powered by the powerful force in your legs! The belt is always cocked at an angle to help you generate movement easily. The downside to this design is that users do not have the option to adjust the pitch of the belt for a higher climb.
What it lacks in adjustability it makes up for in additional features, Unlike some of the other manual designs out there on the market, this design from Sunny Health & Fitness has a small and compact dashboard that tracks your speed, time, distance, and calories burned. Plus, it folds up super compactly for quite and easy storage.
If you are in the market for something that is very small and compact that won’t take up that much room in your home, this design from Sunny Health & Fitness is a great choice. It comes from a trusted brand so you know it will hold up well over time, and it is offered at a super affordable price point.
8. Bluefin Fitness TASK 2.0
This design from Bluefin Fitness is a great option for those that want something that is a little more versatile and has advanced features that help you stay at the top of your game. This design can be used without the handlebars to use while you work at your desk, but you can also mount the handlebars (and a tablet) for a bonafide workout in your home gym.Read more
What makes this option unique is that unlike many of the simple designs out there on the market, it is actually Bluetooth compatible. This means that you can connect this treadmill to your smartphone so that you can keep tabs on your progress. It even has Bluetooth integrated speakers!
It boasts a quiet motor that is able to reach top speeds of about 8 miles per hour. When compared to other similar designs out there on the market, this option from Bluefin Fitness is just a little slower than most. What users love about this design is that the belt is super flat, and the handles fold down onto the belt which makes it a cinch to tuck under your bed or sofa.
If space is an option, this is a great choice. It is a cinch to tuck under your bed while not in use, and it is still packed with useful features that help you get the most out of your workouts without breaking the bank.
Easy to assemble
Speed max 12MPH
What we liked most about this design from Merax is that it offers users many of the bells and whistles that come from expensive commercial models without the commercial price tag. This design has a large, detailed dashboard that allows users to keep track of their progress while also offering great ride on the sturdy frame.Read more
What makes this design stand out from the rest is the textured surface to the belt. Other brands utilize a belt that can become quite slick and slippery. The textured feel of this belt allows your sneakers to really dig into the grooves in the belt for a secure grip that allows you the confidence to pick up the pace.
The dashboard of this design is something that is also worth noting. It has a large central dashboard that allows users to track progress as well as make adjustments to the difficulty. Users can change the speed of the belt up to an impressive 12 miles an hour. Some of the more expensive models max out at 10 miles per hour, so the Merax option really shines in the speed department.
If you are in the market for a design that has all of the bells and whistles of a commercial model at the gym without the high price point, this is an excellent choice. Users found this option is simple to assemble, and really easy to learn how to use to gain the benefits of the various settings.
10. Fitness Reality TR1000
Easy to use
Very narrow belt
No progress display
This powerless option from Fitness Reality is perfect for those on a shoestring budget. In fact, the price tag of this design is slow low it may set you back about the same amount that you spend on a high-end pair of trainers. It boasts a super sturdy frame that is a cinch to use and has a small footprint that won’t take up that much room in your home.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that is has a very low profile. The belt is a little on the short side, which means that you may have to adjust your natural gait to accommodate the shortcomings of this machine. The belt also measures to be just over 13 inches wide, which is one of the more narrow options out there on the market.
What we liked about this design is that it has a super sturdy frame that won’t wobble around on you as you pick up the pace. It boasts comfortable handles that are coated in a thick layer of foam for a surefire grip even when your hands start to sweat. Plus, it folds up compactly for quick and easy storage.
If you are in the market for something that is super affordable and functional, this is a great option from Fitness Reality. It may be a little on the short and narrow side of things, but it is a great tool to get those legs moving without draining your bank account!
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Keeping things simple is important to stay active.
Complicated machines provided quality of life benefits, but they can often be so complicated that you don’t even want to bother lacing up your sneakers to workout. Also, complicated machines often take a long time to put together, These were two things that we kept in mind when selecting products for our list.
To ensure that each product was simple to assemble, we made sure that we combed through hundreds of user reviews to weed out devices that were a nightmare to assemble. If we found that there was an overwhelming number of users that felt that the machines were just too difficult to put together, we moved on to another product.
It is important that these devices are put together correctly for a number of reasons. First of all, it helps to extend the life of your device. If the belt, for instance, fits a little loose, it means that dirt and debris are more likely to collect under the belt.
If the handlebars aren’t tightened correctly, it also means that the entire device may develop an annoying wobble when you start to pick up the pace. Be sure to read the instruction booklet to its entirety and take the time to tighten every single bolt!
If you feel that you just don’t have the skill required to assemble it the right way, many brands offer professional installation to ensure that they are put together correctly. These services come at an additional cost, but may end up saving you more money in the long run!
Of course, value is one of the most important things that we considered when selecting products for this list.
If money is tight, it doesn’t mean that you need to scrimp on the quality of materials used and stability. While we wanted to keep the cost low, we also made sure that the machines that we selected were strong and stable and won’t break down only after a few miles.
One of the ways that we ensured that the machines for our list were of great quality was to stick to tried and trusted name brands. Products that hail from brands such as Merax, XTERRA, and Sunny Health and Fitness are some of the best brands that don’t sacrifice quality for cost.
To keep the value low, it also meant that some of the advanced features found on commercial models were missing. Features such as Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers, fans, and powerful motors are found on more expensive machines. However, these features will not help you burn more calories or build bigger muscles, they only help with the quality of life. If you can live without these features, you can save quite a bit of cash!
To save money, it doesn’t mean that all advanced features have to be omitted!
We wanted to select machines that were functional and durable, but some features don’t have to bite the dust. Below, we wanted to go into a little bit of detail about features that we felt were the most important to keep your fitness goals a reality.
Heart rate monitor: They key to shedding pounds and keeping your heart healthy is to ensure that your heart rate stays within 55-80 percent of your max heart rate. Without a handy heart rate monitor, there is no easy way to tell if you are in that sweet spot. With a built-in monitor, it makes your life just a little bit easier.
On most models, there are metal plates positioned on the short handlebars that detect your heart rate and display it on the LCD screen. It is important to keep in mind that on more affordable designs, the monitor isn’t an exact science. Sometimes it’s read a little high, sometimes it reads a little low. As long as you have a general idea, it works well enough to monitor your progress.
Incline: For most models, there are incline options available. When you adjust the pitch of the belt, it targets specific muscle groups that wouldn’t light up when walking on a flat surface. ON the more affordable models, incline adjustment is done by hand and has a max peak of around 10 degrees.
Size is an important thing to consider for a few reasons.
There are a few things to consider when opting for a smaller model. Smaller options often save space by crafting a belt that is a little more narrow and shallow that full-size options. While this will save you quite a bit of space, it has a few drawbacks.
Belts that measure to be under 16 inches wide will impact your natural gait. If you are small and petite, this may not affect you at all. For those that have a larger frame, you may need to make some adjustments. When you walk, you may notice that your feet clip the sides of the belt as you run. You may feel that you need to change up your stride to accommodate the belt, which make feel awkward at first.
If you intend on using these machines for walking only, the width of the belt won’t be as much of an issue compared to those using it for running. If you want to jog, we suggest selecting a design that has a belt that measures over 16 inches wide, especially if you have a larger frame.
There are a few important features to keep an eye on that makes for a comfortable ride.
Walking on a hard belt doesn’t have to feel like walking on an unforgiving sidewalk. Some of the designs out there on the market offer smart features to make your travels just slightly more comfortable.
Shock absorbers: This feature is typically only found in the higher-end models, but there are some more affordable options that also utilize this technology. IT works by creating a bit of a spring to the belt with each and every step. It is important to note that this feature often costs a little bit more, and it makes your deck heavier and bulky when compared to some of the other designs.
Padded belt: If you like the idea of shock absorption but don’t want the extra bulk and cost of springy docks, innovations in the belt are your next best options. Many of the brands out there on the market offer belts that are layered with materials such as EVA foam that provide a smooth and comfortable ride that is a little easier on your joints and lower back.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Working out from home can be tough, we know. It’s hard to muster the motivation to fit in a good workout when there is no one around to motivate you. Plus, the voice in your head to binge another show often has a louder and more convincing tone than the one trying to get you to workout. That’s why the simple act of lacing up your sneakers can actually be enough to shift your focus into workout mode. If you just aren’t feeling a workout today, try putting on your workout shoes and seeing how you feel after that.
Many of the more affordable machines are often stripped of some of the important tools to keep you motivated. However, spending a little extra money on wearable tech designed to track your movements is a great way to stay motivated and keep tabs on your progress. Gear such as FitBits can track distance traveled, steps, heart rate, and even calories burned throughout the course of the entire day, not just the time spent on the machine.
Some may tell you that running burned more calories than running. While that may be true, there is an argument to be made for walking instead of running. If you walk for just 30 minutes a day, it actually helps to strengthen your heart, boost your metabolism, and boost your mood. Sure, running burns more calories and works up quite a sweat, but it can be very taxing on your joints over time. If your body feels like it is wrung out, take a day off and just go for a nice, leisurely walk!
Other Factors to Consider
Many brands offer motorized units or powerless options. As always, each model comes with its distinct advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, it all boils down to a matter of personal preference. We wanted to go into some of the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed choice as to what works best for your needs.
Motorized units allow the user to adjust the speed of the belt with the press of a button. Many of these designs host a large LCD screen that keeps tabs on all of your progress such as heart rate, calories burned, speed, and distance traveled.
The downside to motorized options is that they are often big and bulky, and take up a lot more room in your home gym. While some designs allow the option to be folded, they are still quite heavy to move around, and most users opt not to utilize the foldable feature at all due to the weight of the unit.
Powerless options do not offer users the speed that powered designs provide. However, they are often a lot more small and compact and won’t take up that much room in your home. They are also very lightweight, so moving them from room to room is a cinch. Plus, powerless designs are a fraction of the price of their powered counterparts, and often only cost the same amount as a pair of good trainers.
The downside to powerless designs is that they are powered by your legs, and nothing more. They are cocked at a slight angle to allow for easy movement, and the belt only moves as fast as your legs can move it. They also do not come equipped with an LCD screen to track your progress and calories burned.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are some of the benefits of owning a treadmill?
To keep your heart healthy and your muscles active, walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you achieve these goals. Sometimes, hitting those step goals is incredibly difficult for a myriad of reasons.
If you are stuck indoors and cannot get out to do your daily errands, you lose steps. If your gym is undergoing maintenance and you can’t work out, you lose steps. If it is raining cats and dogs and you don’t own an umbrella, you lose steps.
By investing in an affordable treadmill, you can ensure that you hit your daily step count for the day even when it seems like the universe is doing everything in its power to keep you parked on the sofa! Plus, with so many affordable options available there is no reason you cannot add one of these machines to your home to ensure that you stay active while the world idles.
q: Can I still get a great workout without a motor?
There are two different designs out there on the market: those with a motor and those without. So, how can you burn calories and build muscle without the help of a motor to adjust the speed?
When you are out running on the road, do you have motorized sneakers that help you adjust your speed? No, you don’t! The same principle applies to non-motorized options. Your legs become the motor for these machines, which means you can only run as fast as your legs will allow you to run.
So, to answer your question: yes. You can burn just as many calories without a motor as you could with a motor. It’s just important to keep in mind that non-powered models are always cocked at a slight angle to make it easier to keep that belt moving. This means that it will feel like you are always walking up a slight incline.
q: Do I still need to wear shoes?
Plenty of runners hit the trails without shoes, so you can too, right? Wrong! Running barefoot may seem appealing, especially when you are at home, but it is important that you resist the urge. Wearing shoes has way more benefits than simply avoiding stepping on pointy rocks out on the road.
A good pair of trainers provides your foot with excellent arch support as well as shock absorption that comforts your joints. This is important now more than ever because many of these machines offer very little shock absorption on the belt. This means that the surface you are running in is incredibly hard and unforgiving, much like a sidewalk.
By lacing up those sneakers before going for a run or walk will not only get you in the right headspace for a workout, but they also help to keep your joints comfortable and your feet supported.
q: How often do I need to clean it?
The answer to this question depends upon the guidelines set out in your machine’s instruction booklet. Some require to be cleaned monthly, while others only need to be cleaned a few times a year.
We like to err on the side of caution. Although these machines are the more affordable bunch, they still require maintenance to reduce the risk of them breaking down on you. One of the most common problems that we see with these machines is that the belt slowly loses the will to live and starts to make noise and get a little jerky.
The reason that your belt starts to misbehave over time is that you haven’t taken the time to remove it from the stand and clean debris that collects under the belt. Sure, it’s important to wipe down the top of the belt from time to time, but under the belt is way more important.
Cleaning under the belt is a little time consuming, and requires the use of tools to loosen the belt from the base. Once it is loosened, simply wipe the underside down with a wet cloth to clear away any debris. If you do this a few times a year, your machine is sure to run just as smoothly on year 3 as it did on day 1.
q: Can I still use it if I’m recovering from an injury?
Yes! Although, depending upon your injury be sure to consult with your doctor first. The good news here is that simply walking and building your strength after an injury is one of the best things you can do to expedite the process and get your back to your fighting best!
For most injuries, rest is beneficial for the first few days as your body starts to repair. However, after those first few days of rest, it is important to get back up on your feet! Low impact exercises such as walking and swimming are some of the best things you can do to recover from an injury.
Pools are expensive, and so are gym memberships that include access to the club pool. However, as you have seen, there are quite a few quality treadmills on the market that are incredibly affordable and won’t take up that much room in your home.
q: How can I stay motivated?
We know that it’s hard to stay motivated to work out when you are home alone or don’t have any accountability partners to keep you on track. There are a few options, however, to ensure that you stick to your workout plan even on the days where it sounds like the worst thing in the world.
Downloading a workout app to your phone not only tracks your progress as you workout so you can where you are succeeding and failing, but it also helps you stay connected. Apps such as iFit put you in contact with a personal trainer to develop workout programs just for you.
Apps such as MapMyRun use your social media accounts to track the progress of your friends as well. Once you finish a workout, be sure to log in and see how you compare to some of your other friends that are staying active as well!
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