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Updated Apr 6, 2022 1:23 PM

So, you’re in the market for a new home treadmill. You don’t want to break the bank, but you want to get something substantial and durable enough that you won’t just end up using it as an overpriced clothing rack. Good news: You can buy a good quality treadmill for less than you may think. And, contrary to popular belief, many of these treadmills come with powerful components and substantial weight limits, so if you’re not a 100-pound cheerleader, not to worry.

When it comes to options for rugged and reliable treadmills under $500, there is a surprising number to choose from. To help ensure you’re not just getting sucked in by slick marketing and gimmicks, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you and come up with our list of top picks. We’ve also put together an in-depth buying guide that will give you all the ins and outs to get you running in place in no time.

Best Treadmill Under $500 Overall

If you’re looking for the ideal combination of functionality, durability, customizable options, and price tag, our top pick has to be the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill. This treadmill comes with plenty of the bells and whistles you would expect to find on a higher-end model, including Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity so you can listen to music or take phone calls easily. A large, backlit LCD monitor displays time, distance, speed, calories, heart rate, and incline. You can even choose from 12 different levels of customized incline and access your favorite level using the quick-button auto incline option.

Like many of the more expensive treadmills, this model offers a speed range from 1 to 8 mph and a respectable running space of 49.5 inches in length and 16.5 inches wide. The handrail pulse sensors allow you to easily monitor and maintain your ideal heart rate during your workout. The soft-drop hydraulic system allows you to safely unfold the unit keeping your hands free. One drawback to note is that this isn’t the quietest treadmill on the market. It also loses points for some quality control issues, but with a three-year warranty, you should be protected.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Sunny Health & Fitness
  • Model: SF-T7515
  • Weight: 123.5 pounds
PROS

Lots of customizable options

Easy-to-read LCD display

Three-year warranty

CONS

Somewhat noisy

Quality control issues

Treadmills under $500 are already considered a good value item, but if you’re looking to really max out the bang for your buck, consider the OppsDecor Folding Electric Treadmill. This is an uber-affordable option that’s also a great space-saver. In fact, it’s a fave for small space and dormitory living. While it doesn’t come equipped with all the fancy-schmancy options that a lot of the more pricey models come with, it’s a great, straightforward choice that provides a good level of functionality. It comes with a basic five-inch LCD screen that lets you easily monitor your speed, time, distance, heart rate, and calories burned.

This unit also includes convenient and accurate wireless pulse sensors and a built-in safety shut-off emergency lanyard. It offers a max user weight of 220 pounds and a multi-layer composite anti-slipping running belt. The belt is somewhat shorter and narrower than many competing models, though. The adjustable running speed of 0.5 to 6 mph is also nothing to write home about but is still plenty quick for most in-home users. It does fold down quite compactly for easy storage in tight spaces. All in all, it’s a very well-priced, budget-friendly model.

Product Specs
  • Brand: OppsDecor
  • Model:
  • Weight:
PROS

Affordable

Space-saving

Soft-drop hydraulic system for easy folding

CONS

Small running belt area

Lower max speed than some other options

The Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill with Device Holder gets a nod for being a sleek-looking, reliable treadmill that comes with some pretty cool features and an easy-to-swallow price tag. You can place your mobile device in the handy holder and tailor your workout to your favorite fitness app or even get pro tips and lessons from free online training videos offered by certified Sunny Health & Fitness trainers. As with most other treadmills on this list, you can quickly monitor your pulse, speed, time, distance, and calories burned on the well-laid-out, sizable monitor.

This treadmill features a max user weight of 220 pounds. It’s also equipped with pulse rate sensors on the handrail, as well as quick-speed buttons that let you start, stop, or adjust your speed. The manual incline offers three different positions, which isn’t the best if that’s a feature you’re going to use frequently. It does offer an excellent speed range of 0.5 to 9 mph, though, along with nine pre-selected programs. It doesn’t come with Bluetooth connectivity.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Sunny Health & Fitness
  • Model: SF-T4400
  • Weight: 103 pounds
PROS

Large speed range of 0.5 to 9 mph

Convenient device holder for iPads, tablets, and mobile phones

Large, user-friendly display

CONS

Only three levels of incline adjustment

No Bluetooth connectivity

For those who need a solid incline on their treadmill, the obvious choice is the Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Electric Treadmill with Auto Incline. A lot of in-home treadmills offer incline, but few offer 12 levels of automatic incline that lets you achieve a 12 percent increase for under $500. Easy to use handlebar controls allow you to quickly adjust speed and incline without over-stretching. With a speed range of 0.6 to 7.5 mph, it’s not the fastest treadmill on the list, but it’s still a decent speed range for most training needs.

This unit also comes equipped with 12 pre-programmed workouts and a handy body-fat calculator you can use for BMI-targeted workouts. You also get a built-in device holder equipped with a USB charging port for your tablet or mobile phone. Another cool feature of this model is that it is Bluetooth capable, making it one of the higher-tech treadmills under $500 on the list. The max user weight of 220 pounds seems to be pretty standard.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Sunny Health & Fitness
  • Model: ‎ SF-T7909
  • Weight: 114.6 pounds
PROS

12 levels of incremental automatic incline

Bluetooth capable

Three-year warranty

CONS

Lower speed range than some other models

Not as easy to maneuver when folded as some other options

Best Treadmill Under $500 for Small Spaces

For the ultimate in compact portability, it’s tough to beat the SereneLife Folding Treadmill. It weighs a shockingly light 59 pounds and when it’s all folded up, it measures a mere 21.65 inches long, 24.4 inches wide, and 46.4 inches high. This is one of the most space-saving treadmills on the market. This feature isn’t its only selling point, though. This unit comes equipped with 12 pre-set training modes that you can personalize and adjust. It also has a decently sized running belt, considering its small stature, although it certainly isn’t the roomiest on the list.

This model comes with a somewhat small LCD display that lets you monitor your run time, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate. You can also integrate compatible fitness apps and listen to music via Bluetooth connectivity for added variety. It also has a surprisingly generous maximum weight capacity of 265 pounds. The drawbacks: It’s definitely not as sturdy as some other choices and it maxes out at a top speed of 6 mph. It does, however, offer four different levels of manual incline.

Product Specs
  • Brand: SereneLife
  • Model: ‎ SLFTRD26BT
  • Weight: 59 pounds
PROS

Super lightweight and compact

Bluetooth connected

Equipped with four levels of adjustable incline

CONS

Maximum speed of 6 mph

Short running belt length

Best Treadmill Under $500 for Walking

The NewEra Portable Walking Treadmill is our pick if you’re in the market for a sturdy, reliable, and space-saving treadmill that fits easily under most desks and furniture. It weighs under 50 pounds, allowing you to easily maneuver it practically anywhere. As an added bonus, its maximum user weight is an impressive 265 pounds. With a speed range of 0.5 to 5 mph, it’s ideal for people who love to walk.

That said, it’s not a great choice for runners, as it lacks a higher top speed, incline adjustment, and any handlebars to grip for balance while using. A five-layer anti-slip running belt provides excellent shock absorption and a confident grip. Since there are no handlebars, the display is located just in front of the walking belt, which can make it more difficult to read than some others. However, it still shows you speed, time, distance, and calories burned.

Product Specs
  • Brand: NewEra Gym
  • Model:
  • Weight: 40.34 pounds
PROS

Lightweight and compact enough to slide under most furniture

Straightforward, clean design

Highly affordable

CONS

Display can be difficult to see

No handholds for balance

Best Under Desk Treadmill Under $500

The Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill offers you the best of both worlds when it comes to needing a walking under-the-desk option or easily converting to a stable treadmill for running on. It has a surprisingly large speed range of 0.5 to 8 mph, especially considering its lightweight size and compact nature. This model also offers a plush seven-layer non-slip, shock-absorbing belt that is super forgiving for people with knee or ankle issues. The handy remote control allows you easy access and operation while using the treadmill in desk mode.

The LED display allows you to monitor time, speed, calories burned, and distance, but it’s quite a bit smaller and more difficult to read than many other treadmills on this list. It does, however, offer convenient Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to play music or connect to your favorite fitness apps. It also has a generously roomy belt size that measures 40 inches long and 16 inches wide. One of the only drawbacks to this cleverly designed choice is that it lacks any incline adjustment. It’s also not as stable as some other options.

Product Specs
  • Brand: GoPlus
  • Model:
  • Weight: 69.5 pounds
PROS

Lightweight and easy to store

Can use under the desk or as a regular treadmill

Remote control operation

CONS

Not the most sturdy treadmill on the list

No available incline adjustment

Best With Pre-Programmed Training

Preset programs are the name of the game with the Sportneer Folding Treadmill with Incline. This versatile treadmill offers eight different training modes with eight different intensity levels each, giving you a whopping 64 preset programs to choose from. That’s over two months of different daily workouts. This compact foldable treadmill features a roomy belt size of 43 inches long and 16.5 inches wide, making it a great choice for big feet and long strides. It also gives you a speed range of 0.6 to 7.5 mph and a quiet, unobtrusive operating noise level of 60dB.

As an added bonus, this model also comes equipped with three levels of manual incline for an even greater customized workout experience. The LCD display is pretty basic and not flashy, but it’s easy to read and is Bluetooth-capable. Handrail pulse sensors are a nice added feature but could be a bit more sensitive. The rolling wheels that allow you to move this unit around could also be a bit beefier and more substantial.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Sportneer
  • Model:
  • Weight: 90 pounds
PROS

Equipped with 64 preset programs

Features three-level adjustable incline

Quiet operation

CONS

Wheels are a little flimsy

Pulse rate sensors need to be more sensitive

Best Treadmills Under $500 for Muscle Targeting

For those who crave more than just running or walking, the Ksports Treadmill Bundle offers plenty of options and incredible versatility with a very small footprint. This package gives you the ability to perform a full-body workout with the included abs mat, sit-up rack, and dumbbells. The treadmill offers a sizable running surface that measures 40 inches long and 16 inches wide and comes equipped with 12 preset workout programs. You also get three levels of manual incline adjustability and a speed range of 0.6 to 8 mph.

Like many other treadmills on the list, this unit features handlebar heart rate sensors and an easy-to-read LCD display for monitoring your pulse, distance, speed, time, and calories burned. It’s also MP3- and Bluetooth-compatible. It also features a soft-drop hydraulic system for easy and safe folding and storage. One drawback is that the running belt on this unit doesn’t seem to be as cushioned or generously padded as with some other models. The 12-month warranty also isn’t the best in the business, but it’s still better than nothing.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Ksports
  • Model: ‎ AEP1001
  • Weight: 81.6 pounds
PROS

Large speed range of 0.6 to 8 mph

Includes a package that allows you to work out multiple muscle groups

Offers three levels of manual incline

CONS

Running belt is less cushioned than some competing models

Warranty is pretty limited

Why you should trust us

Trust me, I’m a doctor. No, really, I am. I am a licensed chiropractor with almost 20 years of experience under my belt. Who better to help you pick out appropriate exercise equipment than a legitimate expert in the subject of human health and biomechanics? I have written dozens of health-related articles over the years and have successfully helped hundreds of patients overcome health problems. I hosted a full physical rehab suite in my practice, so you can rest assured that I know a thing or two about high-quality exercise equipment.

Types of treadmills under $500

While there are several different types of treadmills available on the market today, you may see a theme in the price range under $500. This budget-conscious zone tends to limit the different types of treadmills you can find, making it that much easier to come to an informed decision than if you’re looking at higher-end commercial-grade treadmills

Manual

Manual treadmills lack a motor. Instead, they run on the user’s momentum causing friction against a belt and roller, a la Fred Flintstone. This type of treadmill is crazy affordable, super quiet, and works in a power outage. The drawback is that you can’t program different settings, and the only way you can alter the difficulty is to put forth more of your own physical exertion. They’re also usually made with lower-end components, and thus, may not last too long. If you do opt for a manual treadmill, it’s a good idea to invest in a fitness tracker to monitor your vitals and gauge the effectiveness of your workout.

Motorized

This is by far the most commonly purchased and widely available treadmill on the market under $500. Most of the best treadmills have some kind of motor. Even as a super budget-conscious choice, you can find a rugged and dependable option to suit your needs. They have many benefits over manual treadmills, including the options to set your own incline, speed, resistance, and more, making them a much more customizable option. Typically, they’re heavier and noisier and require more maintenance than a manual treadmill, but the high-tech benefits usually outweigh any drawbacks.

Foldable

Foldable treadmills can be either manual or motorized. They’re a great option if space is your primary concern. Foldable treadmills can easily fit up against your wall or even underneath furniture when not in use so as not to take up valuable space. The drawback to a foldable treadmill over a more permanently placed one is that often, the handrails and display are of inferior construction and are not as sturdy or reliable as with a more heavy-duty, stationary mode. 

Key features of treadmills under $500

Regardless of the type of treadmill you choose, there are certain features that you will want to make sure you’ve examined in order to ensure you’re getting the one that is best suited to your needs and purposes. 

Speed range

Depending on your intended purposes, you’ll want to look for a treadmill that offers an appropriate speed range. If you’re primarily going to be walking on your treadmill, look for a speed range of 0.5 to 4 or 4.5 mph. This is usually plenty fast enough to walk or perform a light job. If you’re a hardcore runner, look for a treadmill that offers a top speed in the 7.5 to 8 mph range so you can really get after it.

Incline 

Many home-use treadmills come with a customizable incline. In this price range, expect primarily to find manual inclines, meaning you have to physically adjust a lever on the base of the treadmill prior to starting your workout. Higher-end models do come with automatically adjustable inclines, which are great for those who like to vary the incline during their workouts. Some treadmills don’t offer adjustable inclines at all, so be sure to double-check prior to purchase if this is something that you really need.

Belt size

Belt size becomes important the taller you are or the longer your stride. Many compact, space-saving home-use treadmills have a smaller and more narrow belt than commercial-grade treadmills like you see at the gym. If you’re on the shorter side and have a smaller stride, you may be able to get away with a belt size of 39 inches long and 14.5 inches wide. Most adults, however, should look for a belt size with a length between 40 and 50 inches and a width that measures between 16 and 17 inches just to be on the safe side.

Bluetooth compatibility

Many of today’s budget-friendly treadmills come with high-tech features, like heart rate sensors on the handrails, device holders, USB chargers, and Bluetooth compatibility so that you can easily listen to music or answer calls without having to touch your phone or tablet. These usually come at a slightly higher price point, but it’s surprisingly lower than you may expect.

Benefits of treadmills under $500

In case you’ve been living under a rock your whole life and are unsure of what the benefits of a treadmill are over just popping out your front door and going for a walk or run, we’ve got just a few perks to using a treadmill listed for you.

Saves your joints

Because you’re running or walking on a cushioned, even belt, using a treadmill is much safer and easier on your joints than running or walking outside. There are no potholes or uneven curbs or debris in the road to watch out for with a treadmill. Also, the belt is much more cushioned and provides a softer landing surface than hard pavement or uneven gravel. This protects your joints from extra damage over time. Another great piece of exercise equipment for joint health is the elliptical machine.

Weather independent

Rain, snow, sleet, hail, or crazy winds are no problem if you’re running indoors on a treadmill. No need to bundle up like that kid from A Christmas Story if you’re not going to be running or walking outside. 

Safety

When walking or running outside, you need to be constantly on guard, watching for oncoming traffic that may or may not see you. The risk of being hit by an oncoming vehicle is zero when using a treadmill. Likewise, you don’t need to worry about whether it’s too dark to get on your treadmill or if you’re wearing bright enough clothing to be seen by passersby. Because you need to listen less for traffic, you can crank the tunes and relax while you’re using your treadmill.

How we chose our top picks

Since there are a surprising number of options when it comes to buying a treadmill for under $500, we decided to narrow our picks based on a few factors. First, we only picked treadmills with a solid reputation for being a reliable product with stellar customer service. We also wanted to offer choices that got plenty of love from existing users and had minimal mechanical failures or malfunctions. We looked for treadmills that come backed by solid warranties, with the low end being one year and even on up to three years. 

Next, we found treadmills that were space-saving and easy to maneuver, or even foldable, since most users will be in their homes. We also wanted a variety of different features to suit different tastes, including available incline adjustments, Bluetooth compatibility, heart rate monitoring, and more, since we know treadmills are definitely not a one-size-fits-all item. 

FAQs on treadmills under $500

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: Which treadmill is the most reliable?

A: In this budget-friendly price range, one of the most reliable brands of treadmills is Sunny Health & Fitness. This company offers a sizable range of treadmills that cost under $500. It gets a lot of positive feedback and offers one of the best warranties in the industry.

Q: What is the best time of year to buy a treadmill?

A: There are several times each year when treadmills tend to go on sale: Black Friday and Cyber Monday often have excellent deals on athletic equipment. Also, January will often be a good month to purchase a treadmill, as they usually go on sale after Christmas. As the weather turns nicer, the springtime can also be a good time to find treadmills on sale, since so many people are coming out of hibernation and beginning to get back outside, versus working out in their homes like they do in the winter months.

Q: Is a cheap treadmill worth it?

A: If you’re a die-hard indoor walker or runner, a cheaper treadmill may not meet your needs. However, there are many durable and reliable treadmills to be found for under $500 that are ideal for light to moderate use or as a way to keep moving while working from home. Just be sure to get one that comes backed by a decent warranty to protect your investment in the event of any unforeseen manufacturer’s defects or malfunctions.

Q: Does a treadmill reduce belly fat?

A: There are several studies that show that regular exercise on a treadmill can reduce belly fat. Depending on how long and often you use the treadmill, your results will vary. Reduction in belly fat can also be enhanced by watching what you eat and reducing your fat and sugar intake.

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