There's a lot to consider when searching for the best treadmill under 500 dollars or pounds, especially because you may not know what sort of quality you're getting for your cash.
Fortunately, we've compiled a list of our top picks based on user reviews, price, and any features that make these budget treadmills stand out from the crowd to help kick off your search in the best way possible.
While adding one of the best exercise bikes to a home gym setup is often the go-to option for many, we'd argue that a treadmill offers just as good of an option to improve your cardio as a stationary bike.
In fact, research by Zeni et al. found more energy was used by participants using a treadmill compared to when they used a skiing simulator, rowing ergometer, and stair stepper. So, if you're looking to burn calories, a top running machine might be the best option for you.
With that in mind, if you're searching for something for office use, like this CITYSPORTS Treadmill, to save space, or you're simply after one of the best treadmills on the market in this XTERRA Fitness TR150, then we've got you covered.
Stick around too because we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions about treadmills to help you come to an informed decision on which machine is best for you.
Best treadmill under 500
Best treadmill under 500 for home gyms - XTERRA Fitness TR150
For instance, the machine comes with a large 16" x 50" workout surface designed to accommodate all users, and a speed range of 1 to 16kph, allowing you to change the difficulty level from low to high intensity at your discretion.
You can also choose from 12 preset programmes and 3 manual incline settings to create a variety of exercises and training sessions.
It's also worth noting that this treadmill is foldable, so, if you're looking to save space in your home or garage gym, this could be the machine for you.
Best folding treadmill under 500 - FYC Treadmill
Again, if you're limited to space, but want to upgrade your home gym with some cardio equipment, then we feel this FYC Treadmill is well worth considering.
Its unique foldable design has 2 exercise modes - one with the handrail raised, allowing you to run up to 7.5mph, and the other where the handrail is folded, allowing you to walk on it up to 4mph.
Furthermore, FYC boasts its treadmill has been designed for home use by incorporating a quiet 2.5HP motor that shouldn't disturb your neighbours or you whilst listing to your favourite tunes through your running headphones whilst you exercise.
Like some of the best foldable exercise bikes, this treadmill looks to be a great device to save space as it should be easy to store when not in use.
Best treadmill under 500 for beginners - Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M
A manual treadmill, like this Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M, has the benefit of not requiring electricity, meaning it can be placed anywhere and still be of use.
It can also be a great starting point for beginners who want to walk or complete a light jog to get their fitness journey underway.
To help track your progress, it comes with an LCD screen that displays time, speed, distance, and calories burned to give you an idea of how hard your training is.
Moreover, you should also find it's fairly lightweight and, therefore, easier to move when not in use. So, if you're limited in space, this could be the machine for you.
Best office treadmill under 500 - CITYSPORTS Treadmill
If you're looking for a machine that's compact and can even be used in an office, then CITYSPORTS Treadmill could be your answer.
Its handrail-less design means it should fit under your desk, whether that's at home or at work, and the low-intensity speeds mean it shouldn't be a hindrance to your tasks.
Moreover, CITYSPORTS states its treadmill features a powerful 'mute motor', designed to keep the noise to a minimum when you're exercising in order to avoid distracting your colleagues.
All in all, we feel this compact bit of kit offers a great way of getting your steps in if you work in an office-based job and, therefore, could be considered one of the best exercise machines for weight loss.
Best treadmill under 500 for variety - Reebok ZR8
To maintain your motivation to exercise, it's important to keep your workouts varied and challenging.
Thankfully, this Reebok ZR8 comes with 24 varied fitness programs to take you from a gentle jog to a mountainous hill climb depending on how difficult you want to make things.
To help you reach your fitness goals, Reebok also boasts its treadmill features a phone port so you can play your favourite tunes through the speakers to keep your energy levels high.
With a max speed of 10mph and 12 levels of electronic incline, this should definitely be one to consider if you're looking to mix up your indoor runs.
Best smart treadmill under 500 - OMA 5108EB
The OMA 5108EB looks to be a great treadmill for home use thanks to its powerful yet quiet 2.25HP motor, the ideal combination if you've got neighbours.
However, what we like most about this machine is some of the useful features that come with it like the 36 preset programmes and 3 custom workouts to diversify your running routine.
Moreover, you can track your speed, distance, pulse, time, and calories via the display, plus adjust your speed at a touch of a button to ensure you continue to make progress.
Overall, we feel the OMA 5108EB is well worth considering if you're after a treadmill packed with technology to upgrade your home gym.
Frequently asked questions about treadmills
When it comes to picking the best treadmill, you may have a few questions. Don't worry though, as we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.
Is a treadmill worth it?
Running, jogging, or walking are some of the easiest forms of cardio to perform for most people, but when it starts to get cold in the winter months, it can be difficult to gather the motivation to venture outdoors.
Using a treadmill allows you to complete these exercises from the comfort of your home, making them a worthwhile investment in our books if you want to get your steps in all year round.
It's also worth noting that you don't have to spend loads to get a solid machine. As shown by this list, you can find some good quality treadmills to upgrade your home gym for under 500 dollars or pounds.
What should you look for from a treadmill under 500?
There are several things to consider when searching for a treadmill. Firstly, make sure you get the belt size right. For running, you should find a treadmill with at least a 48" long and 18" wide belt.
To make things harder and to continue to progress, you may want to consider a treadmill with an incline. Anything up to 10% or higher should be more than suitable to make your workouts more challenging.
Keep an eye out for the stated top speed and maximum weight recommendation as well to ensure you're getting the right bit of kit to suit your needs.
Finally, it's worth considering the control panel and display. For instance, you may want to find a machine that measures your workout metrics to help you keep track of each workout and your pace during your session.
How long should you use a treadmill?
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you should run for 150 minutes each week at a moderate level of intensity or 75 minutes each week at a vigorous intensity level.
Using this as a guide, we'd recommend running somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes on a treadmill 3-5 days a week depending on your fitness levels.
At this rate, you should see your fitness improving week after week without overdoing it and increasing your risk of injury.
Should you use a treadmill every day?
This depends on the intensity of each workout.
Taking a short walk on a treadmill every day shouldn't be detrimental; however, we'd recommend adding at least one rest due if you run, sprint, or jog to avoid overtraining.
Your muscles will need time to adequately repair and restore as well as your joints and energy stores. In turn, this should also minimise your risk of injury.
This is perhaps even more important in the case of treadmills because if you land flat-footed, you can cause yourself to lose balance and strain muscles through your legs, hips, and even your back.
NordicTrack recommends running around three or four times a week to ensure you're making progress with its machines without overexerting yourself. On rest days, consider working out muscles you don't use whilst running or relaxing all together - the choice is yours.
Can you lose weight using a treadmill?
As a form of cardio, a treadmill can offer an excellent way of burning calories which, in turn, can help you lose weight if paired with the right diet.
In fact, a 2017 study into the effects of HIIT training found treadmills to be effective for burning calories, reducing body fat, and improving cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time.
The idea behind this is to exert high effort for short periods of rest in between which, ultimately, should help contribute to weight loss.
Another key benefit of running on a treadmill is that it is extremely accessible and, for the most part, great for beginners as almost everybody has some idea of how to run.
Is running on a treadmill better than running outdoors?
While running on a treadmill isn't easy, it is actually slightly less taxing on your body compared to running outdoors.
While indoors on a treadmill, you avoid a number of extraneous variables like the wind, uneven paths, and obstacles which can all slow you down and be physically challenging to avoid at times.
Unpredictable surfaces can also have an adverse effect on your joints, particularly in your lower body, as differing amounts of shock will be transferred through your legs during each stride.
Ultimately, a treadmill means you can just continuously run in a straight line on the spot and not have to worry about your surroundings.
A treadmill can also be highly effective for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which, in a 2017 study into the effects of HIIT training, is found to be effective for burning calories, reducing body fat, and improving cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time.
Is a treadmill better than a rowing machine?
While both are excellent forms of cardio, they differ slightly in the overall impact on your fitness.
A study conducted by the University of Roehampton compared running on a treadmill to rowing on a machine and found the participants on a treadmill burnt 350 calories in 20 minutes, while those on the rowing machine expended 300 calories.
The results also showed, however, that rowing activated more muscle groups than running which may be unsurprising given the pulling motion required to row.
Ultimately, choosing which one is better will come down to your own personal preference and what you're looking to get out of your exercise machine.
If you want to find out more, then check out our comparison of treadmills and rowing machines here.
How accurate is a treadmill?
While some cardio machines are more accurate than others, none of them will be 100% accurate at counting calories, tracking your pace, and estimating your distance covered.
VeryWellFit estimates that cardio machines overestimate your calories burnt by 15-20% as they can't account for all the influencing factors.
With that being said, it's worth keeping in mind a treadmill will only track calories burned during your time on the machine rather than the calories burnt, plus whatever you would normally burn anyway, so you may be using up more calories than you think.
Distance-wise, you should find most treadmills to be fairly accurate as they tend to use the revolutions of the belt to calculate how far you've run. As the belt is a set distance, it's hard for this to be too far off your true distance.
How do you clean a treadmill?
It's important to regularly wipe down your treadmill after training to remove any potential sweat and bacteria that may have built up during your workout.
However, we'd also recommend cleaning your treadmill belt from time to time to ensure your machine has the longest lifespan possible.
Simply use an anti-static duster to remove any dust both on top or under the belt, then use a cloth to wipe away any remaining dirt.
For more information, check out our guide to cleaning a treadmill belt right here.
Should you warm up before using a treadmill?
Like with all forms of exercise, it's important to warm up prior to using a treadmill to prime the connections between your nervous system and muscles ready for you to exercise.
In turn, this should minimise your risk of injury as you're preparing your body and muscles for the increased strain that you're about to place on them.
Moreover, warming up gives your body a chance to increase in temperature and blood flow so you're not going in cold. With an increase in heart rate, more oxygen should be travelling to your muscles prior to running so you're ready to work out to the best of your ability.
However, it's important to warm up gradually and not overexert yourself too early. If you do, you may find yourself fatiguing earlier than anticipated during your run.