Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new windows, feel free to check current prices.
1. Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill and its 'older' brother G 5.9 are on the market for some time and they are very popular models. Main difference between these models is that G 5.9i features Bluetooth connectivity and one-month iFit free membership.
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill features rather spacious running deck for a treadmill under $300 - 50 x 16 inches (~127 x 41 cm) and rather acceptable maximum allowed user weight of 275 pounds (~125 kg).
Like all treadmills in this class, Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill is folding treadmill saving storage area. Also, transport wheels allow user to position the unit where and when required.
Deck is solidly build with decent cushioning system, allowing the users to both run and jog. Although Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill features wide range of speed (0 - 10 mph), despite 2.25 Impulse HP motor, longer running at higher speeds for heavier users are not recommended (other units in this class don't even offer such speeds for 250+ pounds users).
If you are heavier user and you want to run for longer period of time, consider getting more expensive treadmills.
Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill features manual incline with two position and 6 built in programs - again, unit comes with 1 month free iFit membership.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Weslo Cadence G 5.9i Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
2. Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill
Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill features slightly smaller running deck than Weslo Cadence G 5.9i (49 x 16 vs 50 x 16), somewhat weaker motor (2.20 vs 2.25 Peak/Impulse HP), and similar speed range (0.5 - 9 mph vs 0 - 10 mph).
But, Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill support lighter maximum user weight (220 vs 275 pounds), which may be important for some users and it doesn't feature Bluetooth connectivity.
Also, Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill comes with 3 manual incline positions and 9 built-in workout programs.
Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill comes with heart rate sensors built-in in handle grips, while Weslo G 5.9i comes with thumb sensor which is rather awkward to use while running - it cane be done obviously, but it is not as nearly convenient as handle grips heart rate monitors.
Running deck is comfortable with good cushioning system and is rather gentle to users hips, knees and ankles, especially if the user walks or jogs slowly.
Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill price is very close to $300 and sometimes it even costs slightly more than $300 - depending on the store, if it is on sale and similar.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Sunny SF-T4400 Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
3. Merax Folding Treadmill
Merax Folding Treadmill is very compact home treadmill with running deck of 40.6 x 15.7 inches. It is powered by 1.5 HP motor and features speed in 0.62 - 7.5 mph range.
It is design to support users up to 220 pounds (~100 kg) and provide them good walking and slow jogging exercise.
Incline is manual and it offers 3 positions.
Display is easy to read with quick control buttons easily reachable on the console. Heart rate monitors are on the handles, allowing the user to monitor heart rate and adjust the exercise intensity accordingly.
Merax Folding Treadmill comes with 12 built-in programs, which is more than enough to avoid boredom and to prevent the body from adjusting to the exercises.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Merax Folding Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
4. Merax Electric Folding Treadmill
In many ways, Merax Electric Folding Treadmill is very similar to Merax Folding Treadmill - Merax Electric Folding Treadmill has larger running deck (43.3x15.7 vs 40.6x15.7 inches) and larger maximum user weight (240 x 220 pounds).
Also, Merax Electric Folding Treadmill has speed range of 0.5 - 7.5 mph, while Merax Folding Treadmill feature speed range of 0.62 - 7.5 mph.
Both units are rated at 1.5 HP and come with 12 built-in programs.
However, Merax Folding Treadmill feature 3 position manual incline, while Merax Electric Folding Treadmill doesn't come with the system for adjusting the incline.
Since both treadmills are suitable for power walks and perhaps slow jogging, adjustable incline (even manual) is of great help for having great workout that burns calories and increase strength and stamina.
Nonetheless, users with longer strides should go for Merax Electric Folding Treadmill.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Merax Electric Folding Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
5. SereneLife Smart Electric Folding Treadmill - Model SLFTRD20
SereneLife SLFTRD20 Treadmill is an entry level walking and (slow) jogging treadmill.
It features running deck of 39.4 x 15.7 inches (100 x 40 cm) which is, IMHO, large enough for walking and rather slow jogging.
Unit is rated at 1.0 HP and features speed range of 0.6 - 6.0 mph (~1 - 10 km/h) and manual incline with 3 positions.
But, SereneLife SLFTRD20 Treadmill also supports the users up to 265 pounds (120 kg) and comes with 12 built-in exercise programs and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing the user to connect the treadmill with 'FitShow' app on iPhone or Android.
Heart rate sensors are on the handle grips, allowing the user to monitor heart rate without stopping with the exercise.
Running deck is gentle to the runners and especially walkers joints.
Due to it compact size and weight, unit is easily folded requiring very little storage space, while transport wheels enable the user to move the unit around if and when required.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check SereneLife SLFTRD20 Smart Electric Folding Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Of course, there are other cheap and reliable treadmills on the market that fit this category (under $300), but these 5 models are IMHO top 5 models that should fit the needs of most users.
Compare the prices:
With their prices so similar, it is kind of hard decide which one is 'the best', so be sure to choose according to your own needs and preferences.
Note: regardless if the treadmill costs $250 or $2500, it is up to the user to stand on the treadmill and walk, jog or run :)
If features of these models are kind of short for your own requirements, slightly more expensive may be the perfect fit for you - in that case, be sure to check our Best Treadmills Under $500 article.
Under $300 Treadmills - General Features and Specifications
There are several important features which good treadmill, even under $300, must have. Some of them are:
- Folding or not: In order to decrease required footprint when stored, these treadmills are practically all folding treadmills. To help with folding and unfolding, simple hydraulic or pneumatic pistons are used. Even further, to help with the storage, all these treadmills come with transport wheels, which help the user more around the treadmill, as required. However, it is always recommended to place the unit on permanent location (if possible, of course) and use it whenever one has spare time, even for 'just' walking.
- Size: When unfolded and ready to use, maximum length depends on the running deck length. Treadmills optimized for walking can have shorter running/walking decks, while jogging/running decks should be longer. Typical maximum length of these treadmills is less than 60 inches (~152 cm), making them suitable even for smaller home gyms, homes or apartments. When folded, these treadmills are much shorter.
- Running Deck Size: Typical walking deck length is usually in the range of 40-45 inches, while typical running deck is 45-50 inches long. If you are runner with long strides and 45-50 inches is not long enough, you will need more expensive treadmill.
- Maximum User Weight: running treadmills in this price range have maximum allowed user weight between 220 and 250 pounds, while walking treadmills go up to 300 pounds. Walking treadmills require smaller and cheaper motors or they are manual treadmills, allowing the manufacturers to make stronger frames for the same amount of money. Again, if you are lighter person, treadmills in this range can handle your weight. However, if you weigh 200 or more pounds and need good running treadmill for a regular use, stronger and more durable treadmills are recommended.
- Electric Motor: Good running treadmills for 200 pounds runners require, IMHO, at least 1.5 CHP (Continous HP) motors. 2 - 2.5 Peak HP motors are good for light jogging and for periodic HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. Heavier athletes who exercise on a daily basis require 2.0 - 2.5 CHP or even stronger motors.
Walking treadmills can be even manual treadmills, with one or two flywheels ensuring smooth exercise. However, even walking treadmills benefit from 500-600W electric motors, with the user limit of 300 pounds. For 400 pounds walking treadmill user limit, at least 1000W electric motors are required, but such treadmills cost more.
- Speed Range: Due to weaker motors, these treadmills are not suitable for faster running. Typical maximum speed of running treadmill under $300 is around 9-10 mph, walking motorized treadmill ~6 mph (making slow jugging possible), while walking manual treadmills' maximum speed is limited by the user, not treadmill.
- Incline: When incline is increased on running treadmill, workout gets harder. When incline is increases on manual treadmill, workout is easier. In both cases, these treadmills usually come with 2-3 possible incline settings, but the incline change is manual - it must be changed by the user. Motorized incline change is reserved for more expensive vacuums :)
- Workout Programs: different workout programs help the user to stress the body in different way every time, avoiding the boredom and not letting the body get accustomed to the same exercise over and over. These vacuums usually come with 3-9 workout programs. Also, they can be used in manual mode.
- User Profiles: when the treadmill is used by several trainees, having different user profiles stored on onboard computer is of great help. But, affordable treadmills in this price range mostly have only one user profile - users have to manually write down or memorize parameters of their previous exercises if they wish to compare them at all.
- Console: when compared with consoles found on more expensive treadmills, consoles of cheap treadmills often lack USB charging ports, cooling fans, built-in speakers, etc. Also, their displays are often smaller, showing limited amount of workout data at any given moment.
- Maintenance: There is no maintenance free treadmill, regardless of its initial price. Actual maintenance tasks can differ from the model to model, making it highly recommended to thoroughly read the manual, before the assembly and the first use. Typical maintenance tasks include lubricating the treadmill belt, tensioning and positioning the belt, checking the motor and rollers, keeping the unit clean and moist free etc. Again, check the manual of your exact treadmill model.
- Warranty is often rather limited, and typically it is 90 days for motor and parts and one year for frame. Sturdier and stronger treadmills, with better warranty conditions, cost more.
Long Story Short - Treadmills under $300 are basic, very affordable home treadmills that allow the user to have walking/jogging/running workout at home. Such treadmills are rather limited in terms of maximum user weight, maximum speed and such, but if they fit your needs, the warranty period is the only reason why should you go for more expensive treadmills.