Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: May 26, 2021
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One of the most commonly used pieces of gym equipment is the treadmill. Although running doesn’t technically require any equipment, for many, the advantage of a treadmill is the ability to have a great running experience that is aided by shock absorption technology as well as being able to easily control speed and having access to real-time running stats. Especially since you can train at home, treadmills are becoming increasingly popular as a home gym equipment. With the home gym concept on the rise, there is a growing market for affordable and practical home gym equipment. This article explores the best treadmill under 500 dollars for you to consider purchasing for your home.
The article features in-depth product reviews of 6 products, and also outline the product features as well as pros and cons. The buying guide provides you with a one-stop shop with all the important aspects that you need to consider before purchasing a treadmill under $500. Examples of features discussed are the size of the running surface, the maximum weight of the user, variety in programs, as well as warranty information.
Before purchasing a treadmill, you have to first consider your budget, probably you can afford even a treadmill under 600$, running style, and where you want to fit the treadmill to begin the process. It is important to note that the treadmills reviewed in this article are likely to be different from the ones that you have used at a gym. All of these products are of a lower specification compared to elite level treadmills. What these treadmills provide, however, are practicality and affordability.
The Sunny Health SF-T7718 provides a combination of great quality performance with practical folding capabilities. The low-profile deck on the treadmill provides remarkable stability as the lower center of gravity gives you greater confidence to run at faster speeds of up to 9 MPH.
Since the deck of the SF-T7718 is low to the ground, the experience will make you feel like you are running outdoors. The shock absorbers fitted into the design provides the necessary protection for your joints, giving that great balance of traditional treadmill joint-protection with the feel of outdoor running.
The construction of the SF-T7718 is designed perfectly for homeowners wanting to invest in their own personal gym space. Its sleek, compact, and foldable design—which contrasts the more traditional, bulky treadmills ensures that it can be easily maneuvered into tight spaces.
The running deck of the SF-T7718 is also wide, measuring at 48L X 20W inches, which also ensures more comfortable performance that is less restricting compared to treadmills with narrower running decks.
Crucial to modern treadmills are the added extras that can enhance your running experience. The SF-T7718 has no shortage in added accessories, including a built-in speaker system and media port where you can plug in your phone to listen to your favorite tunes and amplify them all around your gym. In addition, the treadmill also comes with a tablet holder measuring (4.5L X 10H inches) that can easily hold any tablet or mobile device, allowing you to watch your favorite movies while working out.
The Marcy JX-650W is a strong, affordable treadmill that offers runners with a good variety of jogging, running and sprinting programs. The JX-650W is constructed with a high-performing motor that can operate 2 horsepower ensuring speeds of up to 8 MPH.
Runners are able to track their progress through an LED screen which is 5 inches in length. The screen not only provides distance and time but also calories burned and speed, giving you all the essential live information that you will need to know.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of the JX-650W is its customizable qualities which ensure great satisfaction for runners of all abilities. The treadmill comes with a single manual program, 10 preset programs, and 3 user settings facilities to allow you to tailor your own workout to your personal taste and skill level.
The JX-650W is similar to rivals in the affordable treadmill market as it also has a compact and foldable construction design. This perfect for home gym owners, especially those who may be limited for space and wish to store the treadmill when not in use. The JX-650W contains a fold-up that that is fitted with a security pin to ensure convenient storage.
The JX-650W features a wide running area that enables a solid and comfortable running experience. The tread measures at 47.2 inches by 16.5 inches which provides more than enough space for you to enjoy your running experience. The maximum weight that the treadmill can carry is up to 245 pounds.
The Gymax Cardio Folding Exercise Treadmill is a foldable treadmill that offers great storage capability within any gym-loving home. Comprising of a 16.5″W X 50″L running belt which is able to incline anywhere between 0-15%, the Gymax treadmill allows you burn more calories, get increased muscle tone and strengthen your endurance.
Built into the Gymax treadmill design is a quality shock absorption system that provides all the necessary protection for your joints and bones, with absorbers placed on either side of the treadmill belt to give you balanced protection.
The Gymax foldable treadmill is fitted with a large multi-function LCD display which provides you with all the essential information that you need to know when working out, including heart rate, speed, time, distance and calories burned. The most advanced feature of the Gymax treadmill is the G-FIT Bluetooth connection. This means that you connect any fitness application to the treadmill via Bluetooth connection to ensure your personal trainer can be kept up to date with your progress as well as be able to keep you track with your own health report and fitness goals.
The treadmill is fitted with 2.5 horsepower motor which can produce speeds between 0.5-9 MPH. The horsepower is also more than sufficient to be able to deliver speed, interval and endurance training. There are also 12 different programs to choose from offering a decent variety to runners. The Gymax foldable treadmill is really ideal for runners who wish to explore all types of training.
For those who a very compact treadmill that is really easy to store inside your home, the TRE2500 by Fitness Reality is a perfect choice. Fitted with great accessories such as foldable accessory holders and an LCD display, the TRE2500 has been designed to give a great user experience and easy storage.
Many treadmills are very large and clunky and are simply too large to fit inside your home. The TRE2500 contains transportation wheels to aid transportation. This combined with a thin running deck, enables it to be easily fitted into small spaces in rooms.
The speed options are quite limited on the TRE2500 ranging from 2-5 MPH. This may seem inadequate for higher speed-runners, but for those more interested in slow endurance running or speed walking, these speed options will be fine. There are four ‘quick speed’ buttons on the display which can be customized to your own preferred pace.
A great feature of the TRE2500 is the quiet drive. As the speed options are not explosive, the sound of the drive when rotating is minimal. This is perfect when in a room with a television or radio as the sound won’t be interrupted by the treadmill. Perfect for those who want to exercise without making too much noise.
Measuring at 13 inches wide, the TRE2500 is much thinner than other treadmills in the below $500 market. The maximum weight it can bear is 220 pounds, which is a decent weight and inclusive of the majority of running enthusiasts.
The TR150 treadmill by XTERRA provides a great combination of high-quality performance with practicality as it can be easily folded up and stored. The TR150 is at the premium end of the below $500 treadmill market and certainly contains some advanced specifications that mark it out.
The TR150 comes fitted with a variety of add-ons including a bookrack and various accessory holders that can fit your tablet, books and remote controls. These facilities are perfect if you want to watch the TV while working out.
The TR150 has a long-running surface measuring at 16″ x 50″. This added length is perfect for those who have long running strides. Although the width is not as wide as rival treadmills, it should feel wide enough for most runners to be comfortable. Should you require extra stability, the TR150 comes fitted with handlebars which contain hand grip pulse sensors to measure your heart rate.
The TR150 is ideal for speed merchants. Ranging up to 10 MPH, you can certainly travel at a rapid pace on this treadmill which is powered by a 2.25 horsepower motor. This in combination with customizable ‘quick speed’ touch buttons is great for runners interested in interval training as it ensures a quick transition between speeds.
For those who struggle with joint pain, the TR150 is one of the best affordable treadmills to protect the wearing joints. Fitted with XTRASoft Cushioned Deck technology, the TR150 shock absorption far exceeds rivals, ensuring a safe and injury-free running experience.
The SF-T4400 treadmill by Sunny Health & Fitness is a foldable treadmill that can be easily transported and stored in small spaces in a house. Fitted with all the classic features such as an LCD screen, transportation wheels and handrail controls, this treadmill is perfect for runners looking at affordable options for a home treadmill workout.
The SF-T4400 is constructed with a 2.2 horsepower drive system that can generate speeds between 0.5-9 MPH. In addition, there are 3 running levels to choose from. 0% is the flat running option with 2% and 4.37% providing a good level of incline for runners to burn more calories and strengthen their endurance. The SF-T4400 comes with 9 built-in workout programs to give you a sufficient variety of choice if you prefer completing a preselected workout.
One of the best features of the SF-T4400 is the handrail controls which allows you to easily control the speed. The pause function is particularly useful as you can momentarily stop your workout and keep you running stats intact before returning. There is nothing worse than accidentally deleting your stats, the SF-T4400 ensures that is will not happen. Running stats are displayed on the LCD screen and include time, distance, heart rate, pulse and calories burned.
The treadmill can easily manage up to 220 lbs weight and the running belt is 48.8L x 15.75W which is great for runners with long strides. Those who prefer wider running surfaces may find the SF-T4400 too slim fit.
What stands out?
What cons did we manage to find?
Thin running deck
Things to Consider
This buying guide will go through a variety of important factors you should consider before purchasing the best affordable treadmill for your running needs.
What to Expect from Cheap Treadmill
Before you can purchase a cheap treadmill and save yourself some coins, here are some of its strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths of cheap treadmills
Cheap treadmills do have the following selling points that manufacturers want you to know;
The most obvious one is that it is affordable because of its low price.
Cheap treadmills are usually foldable and/or compact.
Some of the cheap treadmills that are foldable can be stored easily as the can be very small in size and you can keep them under the bed.
Weaknesses of cheap treadmills
Before you buy a cheap treadmill, the following are some of the compromises that you should be willing to make:
So, if after reading all the pros and cons you decided to refuse from buying a treadmill, try
at the same price, which probably you will like more.
Minimum comfort and track size: In order to cut costs, manufacturers of cheap treadmills reduces the track’s width and length. The normal workout surface for a standard treadmill is at minimum 50 inches long and 20 inches wide. The cheaper treadmills are normally shorter and narrower making it uncomfortable and impossible for most tall trainers to use. Also, they do not have enough cushioning to reduce the impact on sensitive ligaments and joints.
Weak motor power: Standard runners’ treadmill do have a 3.0 horsepower(HP) while a walkers’ treadmill does have 2.5 HP. Since motor power affects the price of treadmills, cheaper ones do have 2.25 horsepower or less. They also breakdown more often, noisier and are not smooth when running.
Absent or faulty consoles and workout programs: Cheap treadmills do not have workout programs and consoles, or if they do have them, they give inaccurate readings according to customer reviews especially the calculation of calorie burn and heart rate readings.
Safety Tips for Treadmill Users
For you to comfortably use a treadmill to achieve your exercise goals, the following are some of the tips that might help you:
Look forward. Most people exercising on the treadmill for the first few times will often look down on their feet on the side. This may cause them to fall or lose balance while training to lead to injury. When exercising on the treadmill, there is a feeling that the ground is moving. This may lead to dizziness especially to people who have just started using a treadmill to exercise. It is advisable to hold on to something until the dizziness reduces.
Do not get used to the handrails. Handrails are a good source of support when you are getting used to the treadmill. However, using it more often can strain your elbows and shoulders. Handrails can also cause imbalances while walking or running leading to foot and leg injuries. You will not be burning enough calories when using the handrails because you are not engaging the core muscles, therefore, moving your arm freely will burn more calories.
Straddle the deck first. When starting to work out on the treadmill, it is important not to put your feet on the belt but straddle the deck first. In as much as there is a safety feature for the treadmill to start slowly, sometimes it can malfunction and move fast causing injury if your feet are already on the belt.
Increase either the speed or the incline. It can be difficult to maintain a fast pace when running on an incline. It is important to increase the incline first to a level that is comfortable to you then slowly increase the speed to avoid slipping and falling.
Do not walk or run barefoot. Using the treadmill barefoot will lead to blisters, scrapes and burns because the moving belt has friction and heat. Wear good fitting shoes for exercising to reduce the shock and minimize the stress in your joints. Running barefoot can lead to fungal infections as germs can easily move to your foot.
Do not step off a moving treadmill. It is dangerous to step off a moving treadmill even if you are injured or your towel is accidentally stuck on the treadmill. Use the emergency stop button for the treadmill to stop completely and then you can get off.
Keep the treadmill away from children. Children are very curious and can put their arms on the belt, which can cause serious injuries or turn the treadmill on while on it. Therefore, store the treadmill away from them or make sure that your children are supervised when you are using the treadmill.
Create enough space. Even if you are an experienced treadmill user, falling down can happen, so make sure you have enough space behind the treadmill. And that there is nothing that can hurt your head when you fall in case the treadmill moves faster and you lose balance.
Know your limits. Do not push too hard at the beginning. Take it slow until your body is used to the treadmill. It is a good idea to know your heart rate and try not to exceed 80% of it when using the treadmill as it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. And do remember that is better to train your body in complex, so try looking through our list of power towers which are not expensive, but very efficient exercisers.
Workout Tips for Treadmill Running at Home
The following are some of the workout tips for working out using a treadmill:
Walk on an incline to increase the resistance.
Change your shoes every 4 to 6 months.
If you are watching TV while using the treadmill, make sure the machine is directly in front of the screen to prevent a stiff neck situation.
Before starting and ending each workout, walk for 3-5 minutes at an easy pace and don’t forget to stretch as well.
Features to Consider While Buying the Best Treadmill under $500
Before you can purchase the best treadmill under $500 there is, consider the following features first:
Number of users
Know the number of people who will be using the treadmill and the amount of time that will be spent on the treadmill per week.
Nowadays, home treadmills have inbuilt programs for working out that control speed and incline. Some have short routines while others have a large number of routines. Some treadmills have console gadgets installed in them such as speakers, LCT TV, and fans. Ensure that the treadmill you buy has well-designed controls and displays such as heart rate, speed and time. The SF-T4400 has the best controls of the products reviewed, including a ‘pause’ workout button.
Running surface and incline levels
It is important to buy a treadmill with a running surface that accommodates your full stride length when running. This is to make sure that you don’t artificially shorten your strides but be able to perform a full exertion. A good incline level is 15%, but it is essential that you purchase a treadmill which you can adjust electronically to either increase or decrease the incline level to suit your preferences.
Horsepower and speed
Most people will prefer using a treadmill with a motor power of 2.0 and 10 miles per hour at most. However, motor power and speed are adjustable.
Most treadmills frames are made of aluminum but it is advisable to buy one made of steel because it is durable and can withstand more weight as per the customer reviews.
Make sure that the treadmill has an auto-stop feature especially if you have kids and pets. The auto-stop is controlled by a key attached to your body with a lanyard so that when you fall it detaches itself from the treadmill stopping it.
Most treadmills handle the weight between 250 and 400 pounds such as the SF-T7718 reviewed in this article. It is recommended to buy one that can hold 50 pounds more than your weight to avoid straining the motor.
This reduces the impact on the joints hence reducing injuries while promoting stamina, therefore an important factor to consider. The XTERRA Fitness TR150 has the best track cushioning of all the products reviewed.
Make sure you have enough space to keep your treadmill at home. A normal home treadmill is 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. You can look through our list of folding treadmills if you are looking specifically for the compact one.
Frames and motors normally have a lifetime warranty while the parts will come with a 90-day warranty.
Treadmill Maintenance Tips at home
Here are a few things you need to do at home in order to maintain your treadmill at home:
After every use, wipe it down.
Make sure the walking belt is always aligned and centered.
Have a treadmill mat under the machine.
If you have pets, vacuum it regularly to remove pet hair.
Make sure that you lubricate your treadmill with a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer.
Daily maintenance tasks
Wipe it down.
Keep an eye for any developing problems.
Weekly maintenance tasks
Check the deck and walking belt for any tear and wear.
Vacuum the space around and under the treadmill to prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris.
Monthly maintenance tasks
Check the frame bolts and nuts to ensure they are secure and tightened.
Yearly maintenance tasks
Vacuum the compartments of the motor.
It is recommended to lubricate the treadmill once per year at a minimum depending on the frequency of usage.
Instead of simply wondering about your treadmill, here are the answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions about a treadmill:
Whether you use an expensive treadmill or a cheaper one, it is advisable to be careful as any can cause injury. However, the expensive ones do have advanced features and can be automatically controlled.
Treadmills are not risky for anyone but it all depends on the health of a person and the type of treadmill. However, if an individual is overweight, regardless of age, they should avoid using the treadmill until they have control over their weight.
If you’ve skipped over the entire guide, here is a quick recap of our choices for the top three treadmills under $500:
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7718 finishes first-place for all-around performance as well giving the feel of outdoor running due to the low running deck.
The Marcy JX-650W comes in second place because of its customizable features as well as being sensitive to heavier weighted runners.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with all the relevant information about affordable treadmills that you need to know before purchasing one for yourself. It is important that you take time to do research and read online product reviews before purchasing an affordable. The process of selecting the best treadmill under $500 can be difficult and complicated. Give yourself every chance of selecting the most suitable and best value treadmill for your running needs.