The best treadmills under $500

Get a great quality treadmill for less investment than you might think.

Best Overall

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill

Sunny Health u0026 Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill

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Best Value

OppsDecor Folding Electric Treadmill

OppsDecor Folding Electric Treadmill

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Editor’s Choice

Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill with Device Holder

Sunny Health u0026 Fitness Folding Treadmill with Device Holder

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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

Sunny Health u0026 Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill

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Best Value

OppsDecor Folding Electric Treadmill

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Editor’s Choice

Sunny Health u0026 Fitness Folding Treadmill with Device Holder

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Best Incline Treadmill Under $500

Sunny Health u0026 Fitness Folding Electric Treadmill with Auto Incline

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Best Treadmill Under $500 for Small Spaces

SereneLife Folding Treadmill

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Best Treadmill Under $500 for Walking

NewEra Portable Walking Treadmill

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Best Under Desk Treadmill Under $500

Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill

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Best With Pre-Programmed Training

Sportneer Folding Treadmill with Incline

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Best Treadmills Under $500 for Muscle Targeting

Ksports Treadmill Bundle

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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.