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The 6 Best Treadmills Under $500 For Walking, Running & Incline Workouts

Nicole LaMarco
Author: Expert reviewer:
January 16, 2023
Nicole LaMarco
Contributor
By Nicole LaMarco
Contributor
Nicole LaMarco is a freelance writer with 19 years of experience.
BB Arrington, CPT
Expert review by
BB Arrington, CPT
Personal trainer & holistic nutritionist
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.
best treadmills under $500
Image by mbg creative
January 16, 2023
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

A high-quality treadmill can help you meet your cardio goals and give you the opportunity to get your steps in, no matter the weather. Many modern treadmills are even sleek enough to slip under your desk, providing a healthier work-from-home environment. While there are, of course, plenty of splurge-worthy options from top treadmill brands, the best treadmills under $500 will make less of a dent in your bank account but still help you reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.

To learn more about what makes a great treadmill, we spoke with Ryan Koziol, NASM-certified personal trainer and founder of RYKO Fitness. Keep reading to find our picks for the best treadmills under $500, plus what Koziol says about each of them.

How we picked:

Quality

Just because you're spending less money doesn't mean you want a flimsy design. We searched for affordable treadmills that will still hold up over time.

Features

Treadmills have different specifications and capabilities. We prioritized machines with a variety of features to match every lifestyle and need.

Expert insight

Each treadmill was chosen with our expert's insight in mind. We've included Koziol's input on each product within the description.

Price

While many treadmill brands are well over $1,000, we kept every pick on this list below $500.

Our picks for the best treadmills under $500:

Best for incline: SereneLife Smart Digital Folding Treadmill

Pros:

  • 4 incline settings
  • Fitness program options
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons:

  • Short running belt
  • 6 mph maximum speed
Warranty: None mentioned
Max speed: 6 mph
Max incline: 4
Weight limit: 265 pounds

This slim and compact foldable treadmill is excellent for small spaces. However, don't let its sleek design fool you. While many foldable treadmills only support walking speeds, this pick features a 1.0 horsepower motor, with a maximum speed of 6.0mph. It's tricky to find an incline treadmill for under $500, but this one stands out with four incline levels. Psst: walking on an incline is a great way to increase the difficulty and amp up the benefits of your walk.

A multi-layer running belt provides a durable and smooth surface. The belt is fairly wide, but taller individuals should note that it’s slightly shorter than standard treadmills. An easy-to-read LCD display tracks metrics including speed, incline, duration, and distance. Plus, there are pre-programmed workouts ready to stream. A built-in stereo speaker works with USB flash or SD cards. 

Customers love the convenience of this machine, saying that it's easy to set up, maneuver, use, and store. If you have a small office space, this could be a game changer for your health.

Koziol loves this treadmill's sleek design and easy setup. "With this treadmill, you can easily increase your daily step count," he says. "A short 20-minute walk can help you rack up between 2,000-3,000 steps."

Best folding: FYC Folding Treadmill

Pros:

  • Folds, rolls, and is compact
  • Quiet
  • 12 training plan programs

Cons:

  • Narrow running belt
  • Display is very bright
  • Low weight limit
Warranty: 1-year limited
Max speed: 6.5 mph
Max incline: n/a
Weight limit: 220 pounds

This ultra-lightweight treadmill folds down so small you can easily tuck it away in a corner, or under your bed or couch. Its wheel-equipped frame allows you to maneuver it into place whenever you’re craving some movement. A five-layer running belt provides a durable and safe surface, while a 1.5 horsepower motor supports speeds up to 6.5 miles per hour. The machine’s console is complete with cupholders and an LCD screen. Though the shock-absorbing belt comes in two widths, larger-bodied individuals may still find it too narrow. 

Treadmills don't get much more apartment-friendly than this. Reviewers rave that it's quiet, lightweight, and a cinch to store or move. 

“This is a great option for beginners who want to get more active without going outside or having to leave the comfort of their home," Koziol confirms. "The running belt on this treadmill is narrow, which would make it more suitable as a ‘walking treadmill,’ rather than a ‘running treadmill.’ Taller individuals or those with larger feet might find the treadmill belt too narrow on this treadmill."

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Best under desk: Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill

Pros:

  • Can be used with or without console and handrails
  • 7.5 max speed
  • Complete fold for under-bed storage

Cons:

  • Requires remote for operation
  • No incline
Warranty: 3-month
Max speed: 7.5 mph
Max incline: n/a
Weight limit: 265 pounds

Sometimes a gentle walk is the best way to ease stress throughout your work day. Other days, you may need a heart-pumping jog to clear your head. The good news is this under-desk treadmill opens up the possibility for both. Use the riser, handrails, and console for jogging or running at speeds up to 7.5 miles per hour. Or take down the handrails and riser and use this as a sleek under-desk walking treadmill. The machine comes with a remote that allows you to cycle through speeds effortlessly. Unfortunately, this model has no display, meaning you’ll need the remote to operate it. The folded treadmill can be stored horizontally under a bed or couch when not in use. 

Those looking to break up the monotony of a workday will likely enjoy this under-desk treadmill. It's great for the occasional run, but it truly shines as a walking or jogging tread. 

“I like this unique treadmill because you can easily convert it into a desk treadmill for racking up steps during the workday," Koziol says. He adds that it's easy to fold and store away, and is a "simple option for anyone who just wants to get moving at home." The only downside he points out is that there are no incline capabilities, which he says typically are the best way to mimic outdoor terrain.

Best affordable: Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Incline Treadmill

Pros:

  • Feature-rich
  • 9 mph max speed
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Heavier
  • Complicated to assemble
Warranty: 1-year limited
Max speed: 9 mph
Max incline: 4.3
Weight limit: 220 pounds

A great option for beginners, this treadmill supports walking, running, and incline workouts. It has a decently-sized running deck with great shock absorption, supports a 9 miles per hour max speed, and is relatively quiet compared with other options. 

The handrails have buttons for easy speed and incline adjustments during your workout. There are also nine built-in workout programs, which is a great bonus for a budget pick. This treadmill even has sensors on the handrails to measure your heart rate, which it displays with other standard metrics on the LCD screen. The machine does fold and roll, but reviewers mention that it's a bit heavy. 

Amazon reviewers agree that this treadmill is a great value for your buck, especially if you want a machine that supports higher running speeds, too.

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Best manual: Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill

Pros:

  • 16 self-powered resistance levels
  • Multi-grip handrails
  • Max weight of 300lbs

Cons:

  • Belt prone to shifting
  • Cannot run without holding rails
Warranty: Frame: 3-year; Parts: 180 days
Max speed: manual
Max incline: 13.5
Weight limit: 300 pounds

Manual treadmills are a great option that doesn’t require electricity. With 16 levels of magnetic resistance, this model gives you full control over your workout intensity. The multi-grip, sweat-resistant handrails allow you to push against the tread and vary your running or walking position. While this won't allow you the traditional running arm swing, it still is a great workout. The machine is easy to maneuver and store, with transportation wheels and a foldable design. Just remember, no electricity means no display, connectivity, built-in workouts, or music. 

Reviewers enjoy the versatility of this treadmill, saying it provides them with a smooth and challenging workout. Individuals looking for a portable, lightweight, and completely manual treadmill will likely find that this machine suits their needs. 

Koziol says this is “a great option for anyone wanting to walk backward to strengthen and stabilize their knee joints,” due to the fact that it operates on a fixed incline. He goes on to note that “walking backward may help increase knee extension range of motion (great for injury recovery and prevention), and can increase energy expenditure by 40% (compared to walking forward).” On the con side, Koziol says the treadmill has a bit of a “shifty belt.”

Best electric: Xterra Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill

Pros:

  • Large tread surface
  • Max speed 10.0 mph
  • 3 incline settings

Cons:

  • Display can lag
  • Incline is manual
Warranty: Frame: Lifetime; Motor: 1-year; Deck & in-home labor: 90 days
Max speed: 10 mph
Max incline: n/a
Weight limit: 250 pounds

Runners on a budget will love this affordable electric treadmill. It boasts a 2.25 horsepower motor that can support speeds up to 10.0 miles per hour.

While the console doesn't have as large a display as other options, it still offers 12 preset programs and plenty of tracking statistics. This model has three incline settings, which must be implemented manually. It folds and rolls for easy storage—though we're betting you’ll want it out more often than not after your first run. 

Reviewers are delighted with this treadmill's bulked-up design and say it offers impressive durability at a reasonable price. 

“This may be the best treadmill on the list,” Koziol raves. “It has a large tread surface (great for taller individuals) and incline capabilities, and its top speed of 10 miles per hour is sufficient for a majority of people wanting to walk, jog, or run. With 12 different pre-set programs, you have a wide variety of challenging workouts to explore. For $360, this treadmill is a steal!”

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How to choose.

When investing in any gym equipment, take time to choose the right option. There are a few factors to consider to find the perfect treadmill for your home gym or office. 

Budget. Obviously, we limited this treadmill roundup to models under $500. However, there's still a range of prices within that cap. Pick a machine that fits your personal budget and has the features you want. 

Intention. Do you want to walk while you work? Build up your running endurance? Considering how (and when) you plan to use your treadmill is essential. Certain machines are better suited to specific activities. If you plan to run on your tread, be sure to think about the power of the motor, the maximum speed, and the size of the deck (or belt). Usually, these features are less important if you only plan to walk or jog. 

Size. Think about the size of your treadmill compared to the available space. Many of these treadmills fold, but that doesn't always mean they're compact enough to store under a bed or in a closet. Size also affects the deck. A shorter deck can be uncomfortable for taller individuals. 

Features. For some, bells and whistles are less important. Others depend on rich displays and connectivity. Before committing to a specific machine, consider what you want in a treadmill, such as Bluetooth capability, incline, or preprogrammed workouts. 

Reading reviews, researching, and comparing options can be very beneficial when looking for the best treadmill for your needs. Sometimes, you can even test a treadmill in-store before you make a purchase.

FAQ

How much should you spend on a treadmill?

Of course, it's wise to only shop within your budget. However, treadmill prices vary greatly. Walking and jogging treadmills tend to be less expensive, as they tend to use lower horsepower motors and less complex materials. Most basic walking treadmills hover around $500 or less. For a true running treadmill, the minimum price for a quality machine usually starts around $1,000—but that doesn't mean there aren't more affordable options out there! 

What is the average lifespan of a treadmill?

Treadmills should last anywhere from 7-12 years, with an average lifespan of 10 years. However, their durability is strongly linked to the quality of materials used, the company's warranty, and how well the user follows the recommended maintenance routine.

The takeaway.

Treadmills are an excellent way to keep up your cardio goals while at home, whether working and walking or getting in a preprogrammed running workout. These budget-friendly options are a great way to make your living or working space more conducive to movement throughout the day. If you're looking for something a little more durable, check out the best treadmill brands of 2023, with expert advice from running coaches and trainers.

Meet The Experts

Nicole LaMarco is a freelance writer with 19 years of experience.
BB Arrington is NASM-certified personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and sustainability advocate.