If you are having a hard time deciding on which budget treadmill you should get, you have came to the right place.
We have done all of the work for you, and will be reviewing 3 of the best budget treadmills on the market today as well as tell you what to look out for when purchasing a budget treadmill.
For those who are in a rush, here is a quick look at some of the best budget treadmills out right now. In the full reviews below, we will go into much greater detail about each machine.
#1. LifeSpan TR1200i – This is LifeSpan’s #1 selling treadmill and has received tons of great reviews. This machine and all of its features could easily be sold at 2-3X its price. With its powerful motor, high quality build, and sturdiness, this is our choice for the #1 best budget treadmill on the market today. This budget treadmill comes with 6 compression shock absorbers in the deck, a spacious 2 ply belt, a powerful 2.5 CHP motor, EZ fold technology with soft drop, nice display areas with 21 workout programs, inteli-pedometer, and much more.
#2. Proform 505 CST – Proform is a beast in the exercise equipment world. This machine uses many of the same features you can find on their high end treadmills at a fraction of the cost. As with the machine above, this is a great choice for both walkers and runners thanks to its sturdy, high quality build, and its powerful commercial grade motor. This treadmill also comes with Proform’s ProShox cushioning system, a spacious workout surface, a display area with 18 workout programs, spacesaver folding technology, quick controls, heart rate monitor, and more.
#3. Horizon Fitness T101-04 – This is another one of the best budget treadmills out right now. It is very easy to set up and easy to use. It comes with a powerful yet very quiet motor, a variable response cushioned deck, a display area with 30 workout programs, and much more.
When purchasing a budget treadmill, you really need to be careful for several reasons.
The 3 Main Reasons you Need to be Extra Careful When Buying a Budget Treadmill
1. Most budget treadmills are junk – our goal here is not to lie and tell you any budget treadmill is worth the money, because that is not the truth. In fact most are junk and will be a big waste of money. This is why doing your research (which we have done for you in this case) is so important. The last thing you want is a bouncy and flimsy treadmill that feels like it is going to fall apart and has a motor that could wake up the whole block.
On top of that, these treadmills are often made with cheap parts all around, from the deck to the belt to the rollers to the electrical components to the display etc… The problem with this is that these cheap parts usually end up failing and wearing out pretty quick, therefore end up being a waste of money.
2. A lot of budget treadmills lack power – A lot of the time a cheaper price tag comes with a pitiful motor that cannot even handle basic running routines. These cheap motors are often loud, have a low top end speed, and wear out quickly. We definitely do not want you purchasing a machine with a useless motor.
3.They lack key features – You will find that a good number of budget treadmills lack nice features such as incline, a display, quick controls for incline and speed, a deck suspension/shock absorption system, a heart rate monitor etc. However, it is possible to find budget treadmills that come with all of these, and we are going to show you how.
Ok, enough of the bad news, now lets get on with the good news…
The good news is that there are some budget treadmills that are built very well, are high quality, have powerful motors, and come with all of the features you will find on a high end treadmill.
The last thing we want is for someone who is already on a tighter budget to buy a cheap treadmill that ends up being a complete waste of money. This is why we have spent endless hours weeding through the junk and coming up with a solid list of the best budget treadmills out right now.
With that said, lets get into the reviews…
Reviews of 3 of the Best Budget Treadmills you can Purchase Right Now
Lifespan TR1200i Budget Treadmill
Lifespan is a reputable exercise equipment manufacturer and this treadmill is their #1 best selling treadmill.
This treadmill has received tons of great reviews, and is going to be a solid budget treadmill choice for both runners and walkers.
The Lifespan TR1200i is a very well built machine at a fraction of the cost of high end machines. It is a compact machine that folds up and is great for those who are tight on space.
Here are some of the great features the Lifespan TR1200I folding treadmill comes with.
High Performance 2.5 CHP Motor
The motor in this treadmill is built very well, using the highest quality parts on the market. This means it will be able to handle any type of workout, including long periods of running. The motor is the heart of a treadmill, and Lifespan has made sure this motor will last you a very long time by using high end parts.
The motor can go from .5mph-11mph and comes with a lifetime warranty, making this a great running treadmill.
Sturdy Deck with 6 Compression Shock Absorbers
This machine is welded, not bolted together. This provides a much more sturdy and well built feel as you exercise on this machine. This deck has been labeled as super soft and comfortable to walk or run on by tons of its owners.
The shock absorption system that includes 6 strategically placed compression shocks makes working out on this treadmill a dream. This provides you with a well cushioned and responsive deck that will dramatically protect your ankles, knees, back, bones, and tendons from injury, especially in the long run.
The deck also has 15 incline levels to imitate hills and increase calorie burn.
20” X 56” Running Surface with a 2 Ply Belt
For a budget treadmill, this is a nice size deck/running surface. This size belt/deck is going to provide you with plenty of space to walk or run without the handrails or display area making you feel cramped up.
This size running surface is also good for those who might be on the heavier side, as well as for those who are taller and have a longer stride.
This deck is also equipped with a 2 ply belt. This is great for added comfort and means the belt will last a lot longer and not wear out nearly as quick as a 1 ply belt.
EZ Fold Technology with Soft Drop
This is a folding treadmill, and this feature makes folding and unfolding this treadmill easier than ever. This technology uses a hydraulic shock system to make folding the deck up when you are done working out easy enough that you can do it with 1 finger.
The soft drop technology uses this system to automatically drop the deck from its folded position with no work on your part. It will slowly lower the deck until it is completely down and ready for you to hop on.
Multi Color LCD Display Area with 21 Programmable Workouts
This treadmill comes with a nice little display area that includes a multi color LCD screen, built in speakers, headphone plug in, hear rate monitor, and tons of workout programs.
The LCD display shows you things like time, distance, calories burned, steps, heart rate, speed, and incline. It also comes with a USB port in which you can insert a USB drive and it will store your workout statistics so that you can save them to your LifeSpan Club account and keep track of your progress.
The display area also contains large soft touch buttons as well as quick set buttons to increase speed and incline as well as start and stop the machine.
The workout programs contain a variety of workouts including heart rate programs, weight management programs, sports training programs, healthy living programs, and 2 customizable programs that you can program yourself.
This built in feature simply acts like a pedometer and counts every step you take while working out. This is a nice feature if you like to count your step and if you have a wearable pedometer, you can check your steps with the treadmills count to ensure accuracy.
Very well built and built to last
High end features at a fraction of the cost
Decent size deck for spacious workout area
High end motor great for walkers or runners
Frame is welded, not bolted together which means very sturdy beneath you
Very soft and cushioned deck with shock absorption to prevent injury
Display area with tons of options and workouts
Excellent warranties (Frame- lifetime / Motor – lifetime / Parts – 3 year / Labor – 1 year)
Quick set buttons for speed only goes to 6mph (anything higher you need to keep pressing the increase button to increase speed)
Quick set buttons for incline only goes up to 10 (if you want to incline higher than 10, you need to press the increase button)
Contact sensors for heart rate can sometimes be inaccurate (it is recommended that you put aloe on your hands if using the contact sensors so that they work more accurately)
At high speeds, the machine can get a little loud
Display area feels a little cheap, but after all this is a budget treadmill that does at least have a display area with a decent amount of functionality.
The Verdict on the LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill
Overall this is a pretty good treadmill that is well built and comes with a nice amount of features for a budget treadmill. This treadmill does come with a handful of “high end” options that indeed are found on treadmills that cost 3-5 times the price of this one.
This will be a great choice for those who need a well built, compact treadmill for tight spaces. With its high quality, powerful motor, this is a good choice for both walkers and runners. This machine also comes with a very good warranty program.
Here are a few reviews from owners of this treadmill…
Proform 505 CST Budget Treadmill
Proform is one of the most popular and best exercise equipment manufacturers out there. This is a high quality budget treadmill that comes with a 2.5 CHP commercial grade motor, an extremely gracious price tag, and much more.
The 505 CST comes with Proform’s space saving technology, which means it can be folded up for storage after you are finished with your exercise routine.
With all of its features and its quality build, this treadmill could easily sell for 2-3X its current selling price.
Lets dive in and take a look at some of the key features that makes this one of the best budget treadmills on the market today.
2.5CHP Commercial Motor
The motor on this budget treadmill is a 2.5 Mach Z continuous duty horsepower commercial motor. Continuous duty motors work in a much more efficient manner, meaning that they run at a much cooler temperature, take on much less wear and tear, can handle a lot of heavy use, and are much better than regular HP motors.
This motor is built using the highest quality components, runs quietly, and has a top end speed of 10mph.
The motor also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is an added bonus.
Roomy Deck with ProShox Cushioning and 20” x 55” Belt
This budget treadmill comes with a sturdy deck that has a good cushioning/shock absorption system. The deck comes with Proform’s proprietary ProShox cushioning system that provides shock absorption and cushioning across the entire deck area.
This is the same cushioning system that they use in their high end $3500 treadmills. The ProShox system will provide you with a comfortable exercising experience with every stride, and will prevent wear and injury to your bones, tendons, and muscles.
The belt is 20” x 55” which is a decent size and will allow you to workout freely without being all jammed up. Proform’s treadbelts are top notch and are tested for 1 million cycles at double the max weight capacity of the treadmill to ensure the belt will last you for a long time without the need of replacement every year. The belt runs over 1.9” balances rollers which decrease the amount of wear on the belt.
The deck also has incline capabilities and can be inclined up to 10%. The incline is powered with automatic adjust-ability with the touch of the quick set buttons. Exercising on an incline allows for increased heart rate as well as increased calorie burn and is a great option that you should definitely include into your routine.
Proform’s Space Saver Design
This treadmill comes with folding capabilities so that you can fold it up and store it away after use. This is great for those with limited space, or those who like to keep a clutter free house.
It is important to note that the folding feature on this treadmill does not sacrifice its sturdy and quality feel while running or walking on it. Often, a folding treadmill can feel cheap and flimsy underneath you while exercising, that is not the case with the 505 CST.
Display with 18 Workout Programs
The 505 CST comes with a display area so that you can keep track of your speed, mileage, calories, time, heart rate, and more.
There are also 18 preset workout programs. These are professional training programs that have been created by certified personal trainers and they are challenging and effective. You can start one of the 18 workout programs with a simple touch of a button.
The workout programs include speed, intensity, calorie burn, and incline workouts and will automatically adjust your speed and incline as you move through the workout.
The display area also contains an iPod/MP3 compatible audio port so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while working out.
Convenient Quick Controls and EKG Heart Rate Monitor
The quick set controls allow you to increase your speed to a specific MPH with just one touch of a button, rather than having to continuously press increase until you get to your desired MPH.
This feature also exists for incline, allowing you to quickly adjust your incline % with one touch. The incline option goes from 0% – 10%.
The EKG hear rate monitor is built into the hand rails. All you need to do is grab a hold of the hand rails and you will see your heart rate on the display. While exercising is it important to keep your heart rate elevated the entire time, and this is a great way to check and make sure you are keeping your heart rate elevated and within your target range.
PROS of the Proform 505 CST
High quality Mach Z continuous duty commercial motor
Stable and sturdy feel under your feet
Folding capable for easy storage after use
Contains premium features found in Proform’s high end treadmills
ProShox cushioning for comfort and reduces stress on your body
Roomy deck and workout surface
Quickset buttons for instant speed and incline adjustment
18 workout apps created by certified personal trainers
Clean and easy to use display area
Smooth and pretty quiet ride
The CONS of the 505 CST
Time consuming to put together
Heart rate monitor not always accurate
When folded up, it still takes up a decent amount of space
Some have noted some vibration while running and at higher speeds
Frame – Lifetime
Motor – 25 years
Parts and Labor – 1 year
Verdict on the Proform 505 CST Budget Treadmill
This is a budget treadmill that comes equipped with many features and options that Proform uses in their high end treadmills, making it one of the best budget treadmills for your money.
With its powerful and efficient commercial grade motor, this treadmill will be able to handle any amount of exercising you throw at it, whether you just like to walk on your treadmill, jog long distances, or sprint for interval training.
The 505 CST is Proform’s most popular budget treadmill, and it has received great praise from both runners and walkers, making this a good choice for many.
Here are some comments from those who own this treadmill….
Horizon Fitness T101-04 Budget Treadmill
The Horizon Fitness T101 is another one of the best budget treadmills on the market, and it has won several awards for its quality and reliability.
The T101 is Horizon’s most popular treadmill and it was built with simplicity, comfort, and quality in mind.
This treadmill provides great comfort for those with foot, knee, or back issues with its variable response cushioning deck. This treadmill is super easy to fold, with its hydraulic folding system, and is a powerful machine with its 2.25 continuous duty horsepower motor that comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Lets take a closer look at some of the top features that makes the Horizon Fitness T101-04 treadmill one of the best budget treadmills you can buy.
2.25 CHP Motor with Lifetime Warranty
The motor in this treadmill is powerful enough to handle any type of workout, and has received a high amount of praise for how quiet it is.
The motor can go from speeds of .5mph – 10mph and is a continuous duty motor, meaning it runs much cooler than a standard motor and will take on a lot less wear and tear.
The motor is also very responsive, meaning it will switch speeds seamlessly and immediately.
This is a solid motor in which you could find in a higher end treadmill that is 2x the cost of this one.
Variable Response Cushioned Deck with 20” x 55” Treadbelt
The deck comes with a 3 zone variable response cushioning system that greatly lessens the impact of every strike. This is extremely important, especially with long term usage.
This is an excellent feature for those who have foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back issues, or for those who just like a comfortable surface to run or walk on.
The workout surface comes equipped with a nice size 20” wide by 55” long belt, which is pretty spacious for a budget treadmill.
Although this is a folding treadmill, Horizon built this machine and deck to feel like a stationary treadmill while running or walking on it. This means little to no bounce and a nice sturdy and stable feel underneath your feet.
The deck on this machine can incline up to 10% for greater calorie burn.
As mentioned, this is a folding treadmill which means you can fold it up and store it away after use. The FeatherLight folding system uses hydraulics to make folding and unfolding easier than ever.
To fold, you just begin lifting the deck up and the FeatherLight system will kick in, doing most of the work for you. When you are ready to unfold, you simply move the lever, and the deck will slowly float down to the ground without any assistance on your behalf.
4.5” LCD Display with 30 Workout Programs
The easy to use display area comes with a 4.5” LCD display that shows you all of the important statistics like speed, incline, calories, distance, and time.
The 30 workout programs include calorie burning, distance, interval training, step, and manual workouts. These are great for those who want to switch up their workout routine often as well as for those who easily get bored with just walking or running for a set distance.
Extra Features on the Horizon T101-04 Budget Treadmill
This treadmill also comes with built in speakers so that you can listen to music while working out. It also has an energy saver mode for those who are conscious about energy consumption.
It comes with a built in fan, a bottle holder, foam hand grips, and a tablet rack to hold your tablet or phone.
Frame – Lifetime
Motor – Lifetime
Parts – 2 years
Labor – 1 year
Cushioning – 1 year
PROS of the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill
Powerful but quiet
Easy to set up
Easy to use
Good cushioning system on deck
Spacious workout surface for budget treadmill
Clean display with 30 workout programs
FeatherLight folding for easy fold and unfold
Very good customer service
Fan for cooling
CONS of the Horizon Fitness T101-04
Speakers are not very loud
Belt might need adjusted once a year
Loud beeping sound when you turn machine on
Good idea to lubricate the belt here and there
Treadmill is pretty heavy to move around
Verdict on this Budget Treadmill
Overall this is a good, simplistic budget treadmill that has won awards such as “best buy” and “best value buy”. This is a great starter treadmill for walkers and runners who want a treadmill, but do not want to dish out thousands of dollars getting one.
The machine comes with a great warranty package, and has all the necessary features to be a solid workout machine to add to your home.
Here are what a few owners of the Horizon Fitness T101-04 have said …
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our review of the 5 best treadmills for home use here.