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Best Treadmill For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Treadmill at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Horizon Fitness T202-03Proform 505 CSTLifeSpan TR 1200i FoldingSmooth Fitness 5.65Horizon Fitness T101-4
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Product Rating
Average Price
Cheap ($800)
Cheap ($583)
Cheap ($1,000)
Cheap ($999)
Cheap ($700)
Frugal5 Score
Features Needed
2.25 Continuous-Duty Horsepower (CHP) Or Better
- 2.5 CHP
- 2.25 CHP
- 2.5 CHP
- 2.75 CHP
- 2.25 CHP
20” Or Wider And 50” Or Longer
- 20" by 55"
- 20" by 50"
- 20" by 56"
- 20" by 55"
- 20" by 55"
Adequate Weight Capacity
- 300 Lbs
- 300 Lbs
- 300 Lbs
- 300 Lbs
- 300 Lbs
Built-In Workout Programs
- 12 program options
- iFit workout Apps
- 14 workout programs
- 30 program options
Joint Cushioning
- FLEX PLUS cushioning
- ProShox cushioning
Min 10 MPH Max Speed
- 12 MPH
- 10 MPH
- 11 MPH
- 10 MPH
- 10 MPH
Min 9% Max Incline
- 12%
- 10%
- 9.4%
- 15%
- 10%
Monitors Heart Rate, Speed, Distance, Time, And Calories
Safety Key
Sturdy Construction
- Lifetime frame and motor; 1 year parts and labor
- 25 year motor
- Lifetime frame and motor; 3 year parts; 1 year labor
- Lifetime frame and motor; 5 year parts; 2 year labor
- Lifetime frame and motor; 1 year parts and labor
Water Bottle Holder
Features Not Needed
Built-In Fan
Built-In Speakers
- Sonic surround speakers
Entertainment Screens And Connectors
- Ipod compatible
- Ipod compatible
- Ipod compatible
- IPod/MP3
Folds For Storage
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

While anyone just starting a new exercise regimen may want to save money by choosing a manual treadmill, anyone looking for serious athletic training or a good indoor running workout will want a motorized treadmill. Although they can cost four times as much as manual machines, motorized treadmills offer the best option for runners with larger running areas, faster speeds and more of the features athletes want. 

Remember that motorized treadmills are very heavy. They can weigh as much as 400 pounds. Anyone who feels uncomfortable assembling a machine of that size and complexity may want to consider paying a service to deliver and set up the machine in the home. Many units require lubrication during set up, which is a challenge for some. If you don’t hire a service, make sure you have a mechanically inclined friend handy to help you lift and assemble the machine. It’s not a one-person job. 

Also, take into account that this large machine will take up as much room as a small couch. Be sure you have the space before you buy. While folding models can help save space, check reviews to be sure the unit is easy to fold and put away; otherwise, you will end up leaving it out anyway. Be aware that even when folded, most machines won’t fit through doorways, being just an inch or two wider than a standard 32” doorway. 

Treadmill Safety

One concern that often arises with motorized treadmills is safety. Small children are curious and can become injured if they lose control while on the running deck. Safety keys ensure safer operation, but parents must be careful to keep them out of reach from small hands to minimize the danger. Always tether the key to your person when using the machine to be certain the belt shuts off should you stumble and fall.

What to Look For in a Motorized Treadmill

Obviously, you want a treadmill that will hold up to the abuse hours of pounding feet will put on the deck. Experts recommend the deck is at least 1/4 thick to accommodate the abuse. You’ll also want to be sure that the deck is large enough to be comfortable while running. For tall users, look for a deck at least 18” wide and 50” long. Average-height runners can get away with a 16” wide deck that is at least 45” long. Finally, make sure it can handle your weight, especially if you currently overweight.

Speed, Incline and Horsepower

Generally, runners need a treadmill with a speed of 10mph. Most treadmills also come with incline features to offer a more intense workout. The motor on a good treadmill must put out at least 2 continuous-duty horsepower. 

Bells and Whistles

Although you don’t need all the features you’ll find on a quality treadmill, you’ll find them included nonetheless. While monitoring heart rate, calories, workout time and distance are the essentials, you’ll find many more features designed to entice buyers. Be sure the basics are included. The rest is just gravy. The best heart monitors are bands you wear on your chest, but most machines monitor heart rate through grip handles. These are less accurate, but the savings on the machine will more than pay for you to buy a separate heart rate monitor. A good one will cost you between $50 and $100.

Pricing and Brands

Expect to pay between $600 to just over $1,000 for a quality treadmill. ProForm, Horizon, and Lifespan are the best brands in this price range, though we were able to find an incredible deal on a Nautilus for just over $1,000.  

Features You Need
2.25 Continuous-Duty Horsepower (CHP) Or Better, 20” Or Wider And 50” Or Longer, Adequate Weight Capacity, Built-In Workout Programs, Joint Cushioning, Min 10 MPH Max Speed, Min 9% Max Incline, Monitors Heart Rate, Speed, Distance, Time, And Calories, Safety Key, Sturdy Construction, Warranty, Water Bottle Holder
Features You Don't Need
Built-In Fan, Built-In Speakers, Entertainment Screens And Connectors, Folds For Storage
What You Should Pay
Between $583.00 - $1,000.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $4,000.00