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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Treadmills Under 500 Dollars

Find which mid-range machine is best for your workouts in our extensive treadmill review.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Treadmills Under 500 Dollars

Find which mid-range machine is best for your workouts in our extensive treadmill review.

by PITeam

by PITeam

A treadmill is something familiar to most of us, whether we are experts in the usage of it or not! It’s a large piece of exercise equipment which allows the user to walk, run, jog or sprint at various speeds and inclines, without traveling.

While treadmills are gym staples, they're also great for at-home exercise too. If you're on the search for an at-home treadmill, but you don’t want to break the bank, we’ve got you! Treadmills can be super pricey, but not all. There are some fantastic treadmills which won’t cost you more than $500, and we’ve found them, studied them and reviewed them for you in this article.

Keep reading to learn all about treadmill benefits, usage and maintenance tips, exercise tips, and the most important part.......reviews of the best treadmills under $500.

Benefits of Treadmill Workouts

  • Cardiovascular fitness: no matter your fitness level, the treadmill can increase your cardiovascular fitness. Brisk walking, jogging, and running makes the heart and lungs work to get oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. Cardio fitness is essential for longevity and disease prevention.
  • Weight management: a treadmill workout will burn calories, helping with weight loss goals. You don't have to run to burn calories on a treadmill; you can do incline walks or even a jog-walk-jog interval plan. There are numerous other health benefits to running on a treadmill, as well.
  • Forget about the weather: treadmills allow you to get your cardio workout or running training done even when it’s miserable outside.
  • Track progress: treadmills can show you your heart rate, average speed, distance traveled, and even calories burned. This helps when working toward a specific fitness goal as it gives you hard and fast numbers to compare.
  • Change it up: variety and progression are important fitness aspects. Most treadmills offer workout programs so you can change your workout whenever you want or need to.

Buyers Guide to Affordable High-Quality Treadmills

Size vs. Space

Measure your space at home to ensure you have enough room to accommodate a treadmill. Be sure of the treadmill measurements before you buy, and take into account room to mount and dismount the machine.

Core Components

Study the motor specs, incline and speed controls, shock absorption, and frame construction to ensure they fit with your preference and needs. These are the key components which will most determine how easy and functional the treadmill is when in use.

Max User Weight

Be sure of the maximum user weight before buying, and take into consideration the weight of anyone who will be using the treadmill in your home.

Deck Length/belt size

Check that the belt size is large enough to accommodate your size and stride. Taller people need a longer belt length.

Durability & Stability

A rickety treadmill is not fun. If you're going to be using your treadmill regularly, look for very sturdy construction and durable belt. Also, consider the base of the machine and how it sits on the ground. Make sure your chosen treadmill has a stable, steady design which can take vigorous and regular usage.

Secondary Features

What other features do you require for a successful treadmill routine which you will maintain? Consider features such as heart rate monitors, console/display quality, mp3 and media compatibility, speakers, Bluetooth compatibility, workout programs, virtual tracks, and fans. Which features will make your workouts easier and more effective? Which are unnecessary to you and will only hike up the price?

Noise

Treadmills can be noisy, depending on how old they are and how they've been maintained, and how loose or tight the belt is. Noise also depends on the shock absorption features or lack thereof. It also depends on your running style. If you live in an apartment or you have sound-sensitive roommates or family members, look for treadmills with noise absorption features.

Price & Warranty

Figure out the extent of your budget so you can find a viable model within your price range. Aim to find the model which provides the very best quality and features for the price range, even if it means going for the upper end of your budget. Make sure you know your rights and restrictions before making a purchase and get to know the warranty options first. 


8 Best Treadmills Under $500 Reviewed

1. XTERRA Fitness TR150

Our #1 Choice

Dimensions (L x W x H)

63.4 x 28.75 x 51.4 inches

Motor Size

2.25 HP

Deck Length/Belt

16 x 50 inches

Max User Weight 

250 LBS

Speed limits

0.5 – 10 mph

Warranty

Frame: lifetime, motor: 1 year, parts and labor: 90 days

The Xterra Fitness TR150 is a fantastic cheaper-range treadmill designed for compact spaces and easy storage. We love that it folds into a smaller unit, and has wheels so you can easily roll the folded treadmill to its storage space.

One of the best features of the XTERRA Fitness TR150 is how incredibly simple it is to put together. Many customers remarked that they were using the treadmill within an hour of opening the box.

We like the deck on this machine. It is designed to be quieter and less impactful than other treadmills, reflected in the "Xtrasoft" cushioned deck. However, do be aware that some users have reported that the belt is rather loud. This is a reality with many of the cheaper treadmill models; their construction and materials aren't as well equipped for quiet operation than high-end models.

We are impressed by the workout options, especially the 12 preset programs which allow you to change your workout when you need to. You can maintain your desired intensity level by using the heart rate sensors on the handles.

If you want a treadmill with lots of incline levels for steep running and walking, keep looking, as this model only has 3. The handles have heart rate monitors so you can track and control your workout intensity, great for specific goals. The motor's horsepower is 2.25, which is pretty impressive for an affordable, foldable treadmill.

This is an excellent choice for you if you want preset programs, you don't need high incline, you don't mind a little noise, and you are under 250 pounds in weight.

Pros

  • Cushioned deck
  • Foldable
  • 12 programs
  • Quiet motor
  • Shows stats

Cons

  • Contains harmful chemicals
  • Only 3 incline levels

2. nCient with Smartphone App Control

Best Rated

Dimensions (L x W x H)

59.1 x 26 x 45.7 inches

Motor Size

2.25 HP

Deck Length/Belt

47.2 x 15.7 inches

Max User Weight 

265 LBS

Speed limits

0.5 - 7.5 mph

Warranty

1 year for frame and motor

Next up is another foldable treadmill under $500, the NCIENT folding electric treadmill. This affordable machine packs some pretty impressive features. There are 12 preset exercise programs, speakers, and heart rate sensors. You can also log into the FitShow app (for free) to track your progress and find new workouts via Bluetooth. We think it's pretty cool that you can hook your device up to the speakers (via aux cable) and play your workout music. Not a crucial feature by any means, but a fun one.

This treadmill folds up with a hydraulic system so you can tuck it away to extend your floor space when the machine isn't in use. The "soft drop" system is designed so that the treadmill sits softly on the floor without damaging it. Great for renters who need to keep their floors in good condition.

The machine has a maximum speed of 7.5 mph (12km/ph) which is high enough for a fast run, but maybe not sufficient for sprint intervals for super-fit and fast runners. For this reason, we'd recommend this machine for people wanting to increase fitness and run at a steady pace without going wild with sprints. Like the model above, the incline options are pretty lacking. There are 3 manual incline settings.

This brand claims that this treadmill is really quiet and customers have commented with positive reviews confirming this. The belt is cushioned for quietness, comfort, and less shock to the joints. Great for people who need a quiet machine (i.e., apartment living or babies in the house) and who need a gentle tread.

If you want a treadmill which folds away for easy storage, has media options (for music and programs), heart rate monitors, and reasonably quiet operation, this could be the one. Keep in mind that the incline isn't great, and the belt is too small for really tall people with a long stride.

Pros

  • 12 programs
  • FitShow app compatible
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Built-in speakers
  • Foldable

Cons

  • Only 3 incline levels

3. MaxKare

Best Compact Treadmill Under $500

Dimensions (L x W x H)

53.39 x 26.18 x 45.5 inches

Motor Size

2.5 HP

Deck Length/Belt

43 x 17 inches

Max User Weight 

220 LBS

Speed limits

0.5 - 8.5 mph

Warranty

Frame: lifetime, motor: 1 year, parts: 90 days

Third up is the best compact treadmill under $500, the MaxKare Folding Treadmill. This model has impressive features for the low cost. The 15 preset programs provide workout variety, with a decent-sized LCD screen to show your selection. The LCD screen also shows you the speed, distance, time, calories burned, and heart rate for tracking your fitness goals. There's also a pause button for halting the workout for a moment as required.

The maximum weight is 220 pounds, which is lower than other models, so keep that in mind when choosing. MaxKare recommends this for people between 4.6 and 6.2 feet in height, which rules out super tall people.

The running belt itself is one of the best features, with five layers including a noise reduction layer and a shock absorption layer. This is great news for people with fragile knees, and those who really need a quiet treadmill. The motor itself has been designed to be quiet, and customers have testified that this is true.

This treadmill folds up so you can lean it against a wall and free up your floor space, or tuck it away when it isn't in use for a while.  The incline options are a little lacking (like most at-home treadmills), with 3 levels which need to be adjusted manually.

This is an ideal choice for you if you weigh under 220 pounds, don't exceed too far past 6 feet, and require an at-home treadmill with plenty of workout options. If you want a machine which displays your workout data clearly, and can be folded away for storage, this is a winner. The quietness and soft tread are great for apartment dwellers and people wanting to protect their joints.

Pros

  • Foldable
  • 15 pre-set programs
  • Tracks data
  • LCD display
  • Soft belt

Cons

  • Max user height 6.2ft

4. GoPlus

Best For Incline

Dimensions (L x W x H)

61 x 28 x 52 inches

Motor Size

2.25 HP

Deck Length/Belt

17 x 47 inches

Max User Weight 

250 LBS

Speed limits

0.5 - 7.5 mph

Warranty

3 months

The GoPlus Electric Folding Treadmill is a sturdy choice thanks to 250-pound weight capacity and a durable steel frame. The LCD display shows you the time, distance, program, calories burned, speed, incline level, and heart rate, so you know exactly what's going on with your workout.

One great benefit of this model is the quietness of the operation. It won’t bother you or anyone else as you work out, making it great for small spaces and crowded homes. This is partly due to silicone pads which are included for noise absorption and to steady the machine as you use it.

The belt size is 17 x 47 inches, pretty standard for an at-home, foldable treadmill but perhaps a little too small for really tall people (i.e., taller than 6 foot 2 with a long stride). The foldable design has a soft-drop system, so you don't need to lower the machine yourself; it will lower softly to preserve your floor.

The maximum speed of 7.5 miles per hour might be restrictive for people with super-fast sprint speed. (However, for such advanced training you're likely to be a gym regular anyway). There are 3 manual incline levels, so don't expect too much of a raise.

We recommend this model for people who need something quiet, sturdy, stable, foldable, and comprehensive with preset programs and stat tracking — a solid choice for an at-home treadmill at a low cost.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Foldable
  • 12 pre-set programs
  • Tracks stats
  • Safety key

Cons

  • Low incline

5. Titan Fitness

Best Under Desk treadmill under $500

Dimensions (L x W x H)

65 x 25 x 8 inches

Motor Size

Not Specified

Deck Length/Belt

53 x 18 inches

Max User Weight 

250 LBS

Speed limits

4 mph

Warranty

1 year

Now for something a little different. This model is designed for slipping under a stand-up desk so you can walk on it as you work. Note that it’s not designed for running or jogging, (only walking), as reflected in the 4 mph maximum speed. There is no frame, just a belt.

The console sits on your desk so you can easily adjust the speed, turn the belt off and on, and see how many steps you have walked. It also shows you the overall distance, laps walked, and a rough calorie count.

To prevent embarrassing office mishaps, there is a safety key which connects from the console to a clip which you can attach to your clothes. If you need to stop the treadmill immediately, just whip the key out of the console in a second, and the machine will stop.

There are wheels on the end of the machine so you can move it reasonably easily when you need to. However, if you’re going to add this to your office layout, you would have to commit to it, as it wouldn’t be easy to move it regularly as it is heavy (114 pounds) and reasonably large.

If you work from home or are in a position to customize your space at work, this is an excellent choice for remaining active and avoiding the constant "sit down effect" of work. This machine can help you to stay moving, burn calories, and keep the blood flowing to your lower body muscles. If your fitness level is low and you're just starting out with becoming active, this is a good place to start.

Pros

  • Safety key
  • Comprehensive console
  • High weight capacity

Cons

  • Not for running

6. Sunny Health and Fitness 

Best for Running

Dimensions (L x W x H)

63 x 28.5 x 45.5 inches

Motor Size

2.5 HP

Deck Length/Belt

46 x 20 inches

Max User Weight 

250 LBS

Speed limits

0.6 - 9 mph

Warranty

Parts: 90 days, frame: 3 years

Next is another model from Sunny Health and Fitness. This model arrives assembled, so you don't have to fuss with putting it all together. This is great for people who live alone or who don't have the time or desire to assemble machinery.

It’s important to know that this treadmill does not have an incline function, so you’re committing to one level. The other affordable at-home models aren’t exactly offering major inclines, so this isn’t a big deal.

The speed maximum is 9 miles per hour, which is generous and accommodates a fast sprint. There are also 9 preset programs to keep your workouts varied. The control panel is simple, but it shows everything you need: time, distance, speed, heart rate, calories, and steps.

There's a tablet holder above the screen, and a media port so you can watch TV, listen to music or follow an online treadmill program. There are also speakers built-in, so you can blast motivating music if you want.

You can fold the machine up when you need to tuck it away or create more floor space. It folds flat, making it extra discreet.

This is a great affordable treadmill for people who need a higher weight capacity, fast maximum speed, stats tracking, and preset programs. If you don't need an incline, but you do want the option of listening to music or TV when working out, this is a good option for you.

Pros

  • 9 pre-set programs
  • Tablet holder
  • USB port
  • High speed
  • Tracks stats

Cons

  • No incline

7. Exerpeutic TF1000

Great for Home Use

Dimensions (L x W x H)

51.2 x 32 x 63 inches

Motor Size

1.5 HP

Deck Length/Belt

40 x 20 inches

Max User Weight 

400 LBS

Speed limits

4 mph

Warranty

Motor: 5 years, frame: 1 year

Now we get to an at-home treadmill under $500 designed for people who require a high weight allowance and stable construction. This model accommodates up to 400 pounds and has a wide frame with long handles so you can hold on firmly. The machine folds up and has wheels so you can pack it up and stash it away when you don't need it, but you do need the floor space.

Note that this is a walking treadmill with a 1.5 hp motor and a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour. It is not designed for running, but for helping people to get mobile again from a beginner level. There are two incline positions (manually adjusted), so you can get a slightly harder workout on the muscles as you walk.

The LCD display shows you all the essential stats: time, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate. There are safety features such as a "start/stop" button and a safety key so you can stop the machine instantly when required.

This is for you if you require a treadmill with a heavyweight allowance and you want to start your fitness journey with walking only. It's great for people of all sizes, shapes, and ages who want to get fitter in their own home, with a machine to show them their progress as they go. It's cheap enough that once you've reached your goals and you're ready to upgrade to a machine which allows you to jog or lightly run, you can sell it and get another model.

Pros

  • High weight capacity
  • Wide belt
  • Supportive frame
  • Heart rate monitor

Cons

  • Low max. speed

8. Weslo Cadence G 5.9

Popular Brand

Dimensions (L x W x H)

64.5 x 29 x 55.5 inches

Motor Size

2.25 HP

Deck Length/Belt

50.5 inches

Max User Weight 

275 LBS

Speed limits

10 mph

Warranty

Motor: 1 year, parts and labor: 90 days

Last but not least, the best folding treadmill under $500, the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 treadmill. This is a model fit for apartments and for those who need to fold away the machine regularly, for discreet storage. The deck features Comfort Cell Cushioning, which aims to reduce the stress on the joints.

This isn't a treadmill for people with plans for serious, regular, and intense training at home. It just doesn't have the sturdiness and size it requires. It's better for beginners and those with minimal budgets who just need something which they can use for upkeeping fitness and working toward goals. In saying that, it does reach 10mph so you can get a swift sprint going when you wish.

As you can see in this video, this treadmill is pretty small, and the man running as a demonstration does look slightly cramped. If you're really tall with a long stride, you'd feel pretty crowded when running on this. Larger people may feel a bit unstable on this machine as the cheap construction naturally doesn't accommodate heavy weight, high speed, or hard impact.

If you need something with a decent incline, don’t choose this model. It has 2 incline settings, and they’re not exactly sky-high. There are 6 preset programs to choose from, which isn’t as extensive as other models, but you can’t expect a lot more from such an affordable model.

Pros

  • Programs
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Tracks stats
  • Cushioned deck

Cons

  • Insufficient incline

Treadmills or Other Exercise Equipment

Treadmills Vs. Stationary Bikes for Fitness

Stationary bikes are easier on the joints (knees, ankles, hips) than treadmills due to the lack of hard impact. Stationary bikes are better for getting a hard lower body workout, especially with a high resistance setting. Treadmills are thought to burn more calories in general but do have a higher risk of injury. Both machines offer variety in terms of speed and resistance.

Treadmills Vs. Ellipticals for Fitness

Elliptical machines are better than treadmills for people who have difficult knees and ankles, as the feet remain connected to the elliptical at all times. Treadmills require the feet to lift and collide with the belt, which can cause painful shock and impact for people with injured or sore joints.

In saying that, the impact of running on a treadmill will strengthen the bones and increase bone density more so than the elliptical. The elliptical works the upper body more so than the treadmill. Treadmills are better for running training.

Treadmills Vs. Rowing Machines for Fitness

Rowing machines are generally more challenging to master in terms of form and technique. Rowing machines work the lower body, upper body, and core, while treadmills work mostly the lower body. Rowing machines give you a cardio workout as well as strengthening the muscles, burning more calories after the workout.

The rowing machine is gentler on the ankles, knees, and hips, but it is a little bulkier and less versatile. On a treadmill, you can go for a light walk or intense sprint.


Price Range of Treadmills

If you're planning on using a treadmill daily, and intensely so, with hardcore training in mind, it's best to increase your budget. Save up and get a more expensive treadmill (i.e., under $1.000) with a sturdier construction, more longevity, and more features to help you progress your training.

This can save money in the long run if you wear out a cheaper treadmill, requiring repairs or replacement. For less intense training, or simple fitness upkeep at home, an under $500 treadmill should be fine.


What to Expect from this Price Range

Under $500 treadmills can be surprisingly comprehensive, with fancy consoles, preset programs, stats, and shock-bearing belts. However, you can expect a more straightforward, smaller frame which may not support heavier weights or intense long-term training.

Under $500 treadmills are often designed for compact spaces and easy storage, hence the sparser frames. You may also find weaker motors and lower quality parts, meaning more maintenance and repair requirements over time. You won't find high incline levels, and very tall people may struggle to find a long enough belt.


Tips for Treadmill Running

  • Keep the arms free: don’t lean on the handles, keep the arms relaxed by your sides
  • Stay upright: don’t slouch or you’ll risk injury. Keep the body upright.
  • Feet under the body: don't extend the feet out too far forward or you'll cause jarring and shock. Place the feet under the body, landing midfoot
  • Try “quiet running”: focus on having your feet fall softly on the treadmill. This reduces impact and also engages more muscles
  • Brace the core: keep the core braced to maintain proper alignment, keep the hips straight, protect the back and get a stronger core
  • Get your stride assessed: go to a specialized sports shoe store and get your stride and gait evaluated so you can see if you have any issues to work on to avoid injury
  • Get the right shoes: use your gait assessment to get the right shoes to support you properly to avoid injury and pain

Care & Maintenance for Treadmills

To keep your treadmill in good shape clean it regularly, and lubricate the belt when needed. Wipe away sweat after each workout to prevent rusting. Give the display screen, buttons, and small parts a quick dust every week to prevent dust and lint from clogging the parts.

Use your vacuum cleaner brush attachment to remove dust from around the treadmill, under the belt and around the frame. Dust can hinder the smooth running of the machine. You can even remove the motor cover and gently dust the inner parts (unplug the machine first). Make sure the belt is aligned evenly on the deck, and tighten the screws if it becomes loose.

Lubricate your treadmill belt when it starts to feel as though it’s catching or struggling to move smoothly. It’s just a matter of lifting the belt, applying a lubrication fluid and walking on the treadmill to spread the lubrication out evenly.

Here’s a helpful video for how to lubricate a treadmill:


Treadmill Exercise Routines

Interval running: getting your heart rate to rise and fall is a great way to lose weight and strengthen cardio fitness. Interval training is when you "go hard" for a small bout of time (for example 45 seconds) then you recover (for example 30 seconds) then repeat. The aim is to go as hard as you can for the intense intervals. If you are a beginner, try a very slow jog for 1 minute, then a brisk walk for 1 minute, repeat 5 times. Build up speed over time.

Here are four more great exercise routines to try out on a treadmill.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my treadmill speed is accurate? How do I calibrate my treadmill speed?

There are a few easy steps that you can take at home to check your treadmill speed. To begin, you will need a piece of colored tape, a tape measurer, a stopwatch, and a calculator. This helpful video will walk you through the process. You may want to try this test both while on the treadmill and while off the treadmill to make sure that the readings are the same while in use and not in use.

Unfortunately, if you find that your treadmill speed is not accurate, there is really no way to fix this issue on many models. You will just have to go off of your new calculations. For the most part though, you can trust your treadmill to be very close in speed to what it says it is.

How many calories are burned on a treadmill? How to calculate the calories burned on a treadmill?

It really does depend on your weight and the intensity of your exercise. This site here has a useful calculator which provides calculations for all kinds of different activities, including treadmills. Many treadmills do give a calorie count as you work out, but this is often not very accurate. In saying that, you can torch a decent chunk of calories with intense intervals and steady cardio. 

What is a good run speed on a treadmill?

It all depends on your personal fitness and progress. Not everyone is a natural runner, and a good run speed for a non-runner may be 9.5km/6miles per hour. Others might maintain 12km/7.5miles per hour after lots of training and regular outdoor running (and a natural runner’s physique and style). In general, most people will run at a speed of at least 8km/5 miles.

What is a Treadmill stress test?

A treadmill stress test is when you walk on the treadmill, monitored by a doctor, with electrodes connected to your chest. The difficulty will increase (i.e., increased incline), with your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing patterns being monitored by both the electrodes and by questions from the doctor.

The test shows the strength, fitness, and overall condition of your heart and how well it responds to exercise. The test will show if there are any issues with your heart, such as odd heartbeat rhythms.

Are there any health restrictions for using treadmills?

If you’ve got sore or fragile knees, ankles, hips or back, running on the treadmill may be detrimental to recovery. The impact can cause injury and pain. If you are prone to fainting, the treadmill can be dangerous if you overdo it and don’t dismount the machine in time.

Note: always ask your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regime if you have health issues.

How do I measure and determine my stride length?

The simple way is to measure out a short distance and count how many steps you take to get from A to B with your natural stride. Divide the distance traveled by the number of steps taken. This is your stride. You can also go to a sports shoe store which has a gait analysis system. They can tell you your stride length as well as how your foot naturally strikes the ground when you run or walk.

Can I buy these online even though they are large in size?

Yes, definitely. You can purchase all of the models in this review article from Amazon, and they will be shipped to you.


Conclusion

You're now clued-up on the ins and outs of the best treadmills under $500. Our top pick is The Xterra Fitness TR150 because of the cushioned deck, preset program options, and foldable construction. Figure out your requirements for an at-home treadmill before you make a purchase. 

Will you be using it all the time for long, hard workouts? Maybe go for a slightly pricier option. Do you need it for light exercise and keeping the blood flowing at home? An under $500 could be ideal. Assess the features, warranty, weight restrictions, and deck size to ensure you get the experience you need from your treadmill.

Good luck!


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