“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Cheap Treadmills
  2. Walking Treadmills, Motorized Treadmills
  3. Folding Treadmills
  4. Treadmill Reviews
  1. Best Cheap Treadmills
  2. Treadmill Deals
  3. Discount Treadmills Features Comparison Table

Cheap Treadmill Buying Guide

Doctors continually cite walking and jogging as important for cardiovascular fitness, so it's no surprise that treadmills are among the most popular pieces of fitness equipment. They are also among the most expensive, with price tags ranging upward of $2,000 for high-end brands such as Sole, Landice, and online-only retailer Smooth Fitness.

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At the same time, cheap treadmills afford budget-conscious consumers the convenience of exercising in their own homes for less than $600.

A serious runner might be disappointed in the performance of a cheap treadmill. If you fall into that category, commenters at Runner's World suggest hitting up Craigslist for used gym equipment. The experts at Treadmill Doctor say if you have a history of consistent exercise, you are likely to continue it at home, which could make a more expensive treadmill worth it. They also suggest looking outside the budget price range if more than one person will be using the equipment, if any user weighs more than 250 pounds, or if the treadmill will be used for more than an hour per day. On the other hand, if you are a novice runner, or intend to primarily walk or jog, a cheap treadmill could be all you need.

The intensity of exercise a treadmill can handle has to do with the power of its motor, as measured in continuous-duty horsepower, or CHP. Look for a motor with a CHP of 1.5 for walking and higher for interval training or jogging. The motor should run quietly; experts say noise indicates friction, which will wear down the components eventually. Also make sure a cheap treadmill's belt is long enough to accommodate your stride. Take note of the weight capacity, which needs to be high enough to accommodate anyone using the machine and can indicate how sturdy it is. Most cheap treadmills have a maximum weight of 250 pounds, although some weight limits are significantly higher. Even cheap treadmills come with a variety of attractive bonus features such as fans and iPod docks. Most discount treadmills have several preset workout programs, although an extensive variety of presets is one thing budget shoppers often have to sacrifice.

Some of the top cheap treadmills are produced by multinational manufacturers Icon Health and Fitness, which owns brands such as ProForm, Gold's Gym, Reebok, and Weslo, and Johnson Tech, the parent company of Horizon Fitness and Merit Fitness. The best budget treadmills we found are the Horizon Fitness T101 (starting at $599) and the ProForm Performance 400 (starting at $599). The Horizon treadmill wins raves for its sturdy build, long deck, and easily changed speeds and inclines. Users like the added features as well, in particular the built-in fan that cools you off as you work out. The ProForm Performance 400 has a solid bed for walkers or light joggers and plenty of extra features.

The Merit Fitness 725T Plus (starting at $400) is also sturdy enough for both walkers and joggers, with preset workouts to vary the routine. The Gold's Gym GG480 (starting at $377) is a solid choice for walkers. It comes with a set of hand weights for exercising the upper body as well. Buyers of the Weslo Cadence G-40 (starting at $350) don't have high expectations at this price and recommend this cheap treadmill for those who are unsure of their commitment to exercise. Users warn that the belt tends to move and is fairly loud.

by Elizabeth Sheer (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Treadmills

Horizon Fitness T101
Gold Medal

Horizon Fitness T101

This basic treadmill promises excellent value for the money, with a sturdy build, a two-ply belt, and a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor. Features such as a hydraulic lift for easy folding are uncommon in this price range.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
ProForm Performance 400
Gold Medal

ProForm Performance 400

This high-tech treadmill is compatible with iFit Live and Nike + iPod to keep users motivated. Itís a leading performer in the budget category, with a strong enough motor to support jogging.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Treadmills

Merit Fitness 725T Plus
Gold Medal

Merit Fitness 725T Plus

This basic treadmill is fine for walkers or the occasional jogger and sturdy enough to support those near the 250-pound weight limit. Seven preset workouts and auto incline help make working out easier and more interesting.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Gold's Gym GG480
Gold Medal

Gold's Gym GG480

This entry-level treadmill is good for walking and rehab. It includes a set of hand weights to add an upper-body workout. Users cite its sturdiness and 300-pound capacity but complain that the console is hard to see in dim light.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Weslo Cadence G-40

This ultra-low-cost option satisfies casual exercisers who don't want to commit to a more expensive machine. Its narrow belt and relatively weak motor make it unsuitable for running, and it comes with only a 90-day warranty.

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