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A good treadmill can change your fitness outcomes. I learned this the hard way after investing in a budget treadmill, only to have it randomly quit on me in the middle of distance runs (see the end of this article for treadmills to avoid). Talk about a buzz kill! Because of this, I stopped doing the kind of cardio I should have been doing to stay on track with my fitness goals. Don’t let this happen to you!
After my troubles with finding a good treadmill, I decided to do thorough research on my next purchase. This page is a result of this research and my actual spreadsheet used to compare the key features. If you have any experiences to share, please feel free to comment at the bottom.
- 1 The Best Treadmill Under $2000
- 2 The Best Treadmill Under $1000
- 3 The Best Budget Treadmill Under $500
- 4 Best Treadmills for Walking
- 5 Overall Comparison
- 6 Treadmills to Avoid
The Best Treadmill Under $2000
If you want a top of the line treadmill, $2000 is a good budget to find something good. There are a few treadmills I’ve researched for higher price points, but they really don’t add much value. Below you will find my top recommendation as well as a few “runners-up” to consider.
#1 Selection under 2000: Sole F85 Treadmill
The Sole F85 is my favorite – by a long shot – because it has help up without fail for over 2 years (the day I bought it). It’s not super flashy with lots of extravagant features, but it delivers on a few core features very well.
Despite it’s size, it is foldable. Treadmills are difficult to store in any home, let alone apartments and smaller houses. I like that I can fold it up when not in use. For music listeners, there is full high quality speakers and an MP3 port to plug in your device. Overall, the construction is commercial grade and feels quite solid, unlike some of the flimsy knock-offs out there.
One notable attribute of the F85 is the 4.0 CHP motor. Add this to the wider track (60 X 22 inches) and you have a treadmill that can accommodate almost every running style and body type. The track itself has been proven to reduce joint pain by up to 40% when compared to asphalt (this is better than the other treadmills tested in this price range).
Other little features I liked were the larger 9 inch LCD display, the 99.9% accurate heart rate monitor, and the built in fan for cooling.
Best of all, recent price reductions have brought it well under $2000. It’s on sale for 40% off at this listing.
Another Alternative in This Price Range
LifeSpan Fitness TR 3000i Folding Treadmill: The LifeSpan is another close runner-up to the Sole F85 in terms of overall quality and reliability. Like the F85, it’s a folding treadmill which will help conserve space. It’s a little less powerful at 2.75 CHP (rated up to 350 lbs.), but it has ample running space with a 56 X 22 inch platform. The TR3000i also features an LCD display, although it’s a bit smaller than the F85. Overall, it’s just a half step below the Sole F85 in most categories and missing some of the “extras” like a cooling fan. Still, it’s the best alternative I’ve found. Best of all, it’s a few hundred cheaper than the F85, coming in at $1,411 at this listing.
The Best Treadmill Under $1000
Treadmills in this price range are a balance of value and features. You won’t get everything, but you should get a solid treadmill at this price point. After testing out a few different models, I settled on the one below. For folks looking for a different alternative, I’ve recommended one as well.
#1 Selection under 1000: LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill
This is very similar to the TR 3000i which I recommended as an alternative in the $1000-2000 range. The 1200i is the less expensive – but very similar – young cousin.
A 2.5 CHP motor is more than enough for most users (up to 300 lbs.) and the 56 X 20 inch belt is only slightly smaller than the much more expensive TR 3000i. A key selling point is the exportable data tracking where you can plug in a USB to remove data on past workouts to analyze online. This was helpful for me to get a comprehensive “trend” overview of my running performance over a 6 month period. Even my FitBit can’t get this in depth. Additionally, the heart rate monitor was accurate when tested LCD screen – while smaller than some – tracks all the important data.
It’s a small touch, but one thing I like about this model is the little ridge tray on the dashboard which perfectly fits my iPad. This allows me to catch up on the news, watch sports, or even follow a fitness running program on YouTube.
A few small gripes? 1) There is no fan included. 2) LifeSpan’s data tracking requires an additional fee of $69 to activate, if you want to keep track of workouts over time. This isn’t really a concern for me; however, because I have my smartwatch tracking fitness anyway.
While originally listing for around $1500, I found the best price at this listing for $999. That’s about 1/3 off what you will see in retail showrooms.
Another Alternative in This Price Range
Proform Power 995i Treadmill: The ProForm is a VERY close second to the 1200i in my opinion. On paper, it has all of the features to put it a leg up. However, a few minor shortcomings when it comes to difficulty of setup and the relatively limited (and small) screen size hold it back slightly.
The positives are pretty compelling. First, it’s a more powerful machine with a stronger motor (3.0 CHP). Second, you get a cooling fan (not standard on the LifeSpan’s) and a foldable design (folds up). It also comes standard with 30 preset workout apps, which is more than your standard garden variety for treadmills. the 995i also boasts iFit integration, allowing you to tap into Google Maps for “real” simulated routs as well as additional workouts. iFit isn’t without it’s glitches, but it’s a nice feature once you get the hang of it.
The main drawbacks are that the device comes light on documentation. This is both for the initial setup phase and for ongoing maintenance. The other problem I had was that when speaking with customer support for the initial setup, they kept pushing this “extended warranty” which I had no interest in. Finally, the screen is rather small. You’ll see some key metrics, but not nearly as in depth as the LifeSpan treadmills (for example).
A nice upside is that you’ll save some money on this treadmill over the TR 1200i. It’s about $936 at this listing, which is an even better discount than you’ll find on the Proform site itself!
The Best Budget Treadmill Under $500
These treadmills might seem a bit “bare bones”, but they are very affordable. Fitness doesn’t have to be expensive. These treadmills might not have the latest bells and whistles, but they should provide a solid running experience. I looked at durability and reliability as the key metrics here. If I’m not going to have the “extras” then the foundation better be solid!
#1 Selection under 500: Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
$500 is not a lot to work with, but you can still find a good treadmill. One of these is the Weslo Cadence G 5.9. This treadmill offers you all the basics that you need for light to medium workouts. For hard sprinters, you might want something a bit more durable. Most people will find it more than adequate, however.
The 2.25 CHP motor is good enough and can get you up to 10 MPH. It’s easy to figure out, without the steep learning curve that comes with many treadmills. The display screen is smaller, but displays the key information. There’s a two position manual incline and 6 built-in workouts to choose from. It’s a reliable, if simple treadmill.
The downsides are that it has a 250 pound weight limit, which might not work for some, particularly taller individuals. Secondly, it’s a noisy little machine. You get used to it with time, but it’s still something that stands out. The running deck is also a bit small so this also could present problems for some runners.
Overall, this is an excellent treadmill for beginners. For price conscious shoppers, the $287 price tag at this listing will not disappoint.
Not everyone is a runner. In fact, the most common use for treadmills is actually light to moderate aerobic walking. The thing is, treadmills aren’t all created for each user type.
You can read my complete guide to finding the right walking treadmill, but here’s my #1 pick overall:
Put simply, the Pro Form Performance 400i available here, is the best walking treadmill I’ve evaluated.
The compact design means that you can easily fold it away when you don’t need it. It also comes standard with 18 different workout programs specifically for burning calories while walking.
Another Alternative in this Price Range
Confidence GTR Power Pro Motorized Treadmill: The Confidence GTR is an import from Europe, but it is another excellent budget starter treadmill. It’s a lightweight product, weighing only 68 lbs in total. This – combined with the foldable design – makes it incredibly easy to move around, if needed. There’s a simple LCD display, like the Weslo Cadence. Unlike the Cadence, it’s a quite operator. If you are concerned about the noise levels on the Weslo, this is a good alternative. You’ll only be able to get up to 7.5 MPH, so it’s not really ideal for sprinters. It’s also one of the easiest treadmills to set up, from start to finish. The GTR Power Pro is priced at $299 here, which is a very attractive price point for entry level users.
As you can see below, we’ve taken the liberty of contrasting all the treadmills discussed in this guide below. This is a good “at a glance” comparison metric (in case we’ve overwhelmed you with information!).
|Model||Dimensions (inches)||Running Deck (inches)||Power||Foldable||Cooling Fans||Warranty||Price|
|Sole F85||35 X 58 X 80||60 X 22||4.0 CHP: 0.5-12 MPH / 400 lbs.||Yes||Yes||Lifetime on frame, motor, deck. 5 year on electronics and labor. 2 years on in-home labor||Check Here|
|TR 1200i||33 X 66 X 33||56 X 20||2.5 CHP: 05-12 MPH / 300 lbs.||Yes||No||Lifetime on frame and motor. 3 years on parts. 1 year on labor.||Check Here|
|Weslo Cadence G 5.9||63 X 31 X 10||50 X 16||2.25 CHP: 0-10 MPH / 275 lbs.||Yes||No||1 year motor warranty and 90 days parts and labor.||Check Here|
|Confidence GTR Power Pro||52 X 25 x 52||43 X 15||1.5 CHP: 0-7.5 MPH / 265 lbs.||Yes||No||None provided||Check Here|
|LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i||35 X 52 x 75||56 X 22||2.75 CHP: 0.5-12 MPH / 350 lbs.||Yes||No||Lifetime on frame and motor. 5 year on parts. 1 year on labor.||Check Here|
|ProForm Power 995i||60 X 37 X 81||60 X 20||3.0 CHP: 05-12 MPH / 350 lbs.||Yes||Yes||Lifetime on frame and motor. 3 years on parts. 1 year labor.||Check Here|
Other Treadmills to Consider:
- Lifespan TR4000i Treadmill Review – For Great Workouts Anywhere!
- The Full Proform ZT4 Treadmill Review – Will This Be the Treadmill for You?
- Schwinn 870 Review – Does This Treadmill Offer Enough?
Treadmills to Avoid
After my bad experience with my first treadmill, I also wanted to include some brands/models to avoid.
HealthRider H50 Crosswalk SL Treadmill: Where do I begin? You have to unplug after every use. Why, I do not know. Do you unplug your TV after use as well? This fault could be ignored; however, if the quality of the machine itself wasn’t suspect. This treadmill straight up DIDN’T WORK just a few weeks after purchase. The motor would turn out, but the belt would not turn. Pairing this with the burning odor emitted and this became a true hazard to own. Other gripes I have: treadmill heart rate monitors are not always accurate, but the HealthRider is MUCH more inaccurate than I’m accustomed to. The LCD screen is very hard to see when working out. The unit can’t fold (as advertised). This wasn’t a featured I really needed, but still. Worst of all, the setup manual is woefully inadequate. Imagine my frustration putting this together – with limited instructions – only to have it not work after a few short weeks! The Good News? They have a 10-year warranty on the motor and a 90-day parts/labor warranty. So, if you really want to experience this treadmill for yourself, you can get your money back…..but not your time.