Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new windows, feel free to check for most up-to-date offers and prices.
1. ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill
ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill is mid-range home treadmill and one of the best in its class. It features 2.0 CHP electric motor, ProShox cushioning system, motorized incline, 16 built-in programs and can support users up to 300 pounds (~136 kg).
Also, ProForm 300i treadmill features maximum speed of 10 mph (16 km/h), supporting users that like to walk, jog and/or run. Incline is motorized with maximum incline of 10%.
Running deck is 50 inches (127 cm) long and 16 inches (40.6 cm) wide, which is more than enough for walking and jogging, while runners with longer strides should pay attention to their running technique while running at maximum speeds.
Treadmill console feature medium-size, easy to read, LCD display. The console display all the required information, including: ¼ Mile Track, Elapsed Time, Distance, Incline, Speed, Calories Burned and Heart Rate.
ProForm 300i is iFit capable unit, but users should provide their own iFit subscription in order to use iFit.
ProForm 300i treadmill is foldable treadmill which comes with EasyLiftTM Assist which helps the user to easily lift and fold the running deck up for easier storage.
ProForm Performance 300i Treadmill is very good, mid-range treadmill, suitable as home treadmill for walkers and joggers up to 300 pounds and for lighter runners.
For most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check ProForm Performance 300i Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill features relatively spacious running deck of 49.5 x 16.5 inches and motorized incline with 12 positions.
Running deck features shock absorption system, decreasing the stress on legs (joints) while jogging and running.
Sunny SF-T7515 is powered by 2.2 HP motor, offering speed range between 1 and 8 mph (1.6 and 12.8 km/h) for users up to 250 pounds (~113 kg).
The backlit LCD Monitor displays: exercise time, covered distance, current speed, burned calories, current incline, and current heart rate.
Also, it comes with integrated speakers, microphone, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity, allowing the user to answer calls and listen to music while exercising.
Sunny SF-T7515 features soft drop system for easy folding and transportation wheels for easy moving around.
Heart rate monitors are positioned in the handles, allowing the user to monitor heart rate during exercise.
Sunny SF-T7515 treadmill is excellent home treadmill for users up to 250 pounds that need treadmill for walking, jogging and light running (up to 8 mph). With 12 programs and 12 automatic incline levels, it can help the user burn a plenty of calories,
For most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7515 Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
3. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill is another mid-range home treadmill, featuring 50x16 inches running deck powered by 2.25 HP motor and supporting the users up to 250 pounds (113 kg).
Speed range is between 0.5 and 10 mph (0.8 and 16 km/h) with three incline levels. However, inline is set manually, requiring the user to either set the incline before the workout session or to stop with walking/running, adjust the incline and then to continue with the cardio exercise.
XTERRA Fitness TR150 features 12 workout programs, offering nice variety for avoiding the boredom during the workouts. Also, the user can choose the manual program.
5” (12.7 cm) LCD display is easy to read even when running. It shows all the necessary information required by the user during exercise like running/walking speed, current incline, time, covered distance, burned calories and pulse.
Console features 'Quick Touch Speed Buttons', which allow the user to quick set desired speeds from 1 mph to 9 mph (1.6 - 15 km/h).
Heart rate sensors are positioned on the handlebars.
For most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check XTERRA Fitness TR150 Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
4. Goplus 2 in 1 Folding/Under Desk Treadmill
As its name suggests, Goplus 2 in 1 Folding/Under Desk Treadmill is 2-in-1 treadmill that may be used as classic treadmill for running/jogging exercises with speed range of 0.6 - 7.5 mph (1-10 km/h) and as under desk treadmill with the speed range of 0.6 - 2.5 mph (1-4 km/h).
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill features folding handrail - when it is folded, unit may be used as under-desk treadmill, and when it is unfolded, unit may be used as classic walking/jogging treadmill.
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill features 40x16 inches running deck which is large enough for walking, but for jogging, it should be somewhat longer.
This unit is powered with 2.25 HP motor and supports users up to 265 pounds (120 kg).
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill doesn't feature adjustable incline and it doesn't come with pre-set exercise programs - user uses remote control to adjust belt speed.
Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill is rather compact unit, easy to use and store and is somewhat different from classic treadmills.
And yes, it comes in blue color, too :)
The LED display is placed just ahead of running deck and it clearly shows exercise time, current speed, covered distance and burned calories.
Unit features Bluetooth connectivity for playing music, while folding handrail features phone holder.
One of the very interesting features of Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill is that it requires no assembly - it is ready for use practically right out of the box.
For most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check Goplus 2 in 1 Folding TreadmillAmazon link (link opens in the new window).
5. Exerpeutic TF1000 Ultra High Capacity Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill
Exerpeutic TF1000 High Capacity Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill is excellent home walk-only treadmill that comes at very affordable price.
There are similar cheaper treadmills, but TF1000 comes with more than enough features and very high maximum allowed weight.
Exerpeutic TF1000 is optimized for walking and hence has running deck 40 inches long and 20 inched wide. It is powered by 1.5 HP motor, with maximum speed of 4 mph (6.4 km/h) and supports the users up to 400 pounds (~182 kg) - people of such size and weight shouldn't run anyway ;)
Incline is manual and has 2 possible heights. Similarly, there are no pre-set programs - it is up to the user to set desired speed and slowly, but safely burn calories.
Handles are extra-long (18 inches, ~46 cm) and improve the safety of the treadmill. Also, handles feature Heart Pulse Pads and Speed Control Buttons.
Console is very simple, but it does its job well. LCD display monitors exercise time, covered distance, calories burned, speed, and trainee's pulse.
TF1000 treadmill comes with 5-year motor warranty, 1 year frame warranty and 90 days warranty on parts and labor.
Exerpeutic TF1000 walking treadmill is excellent choice for people wanting to burn extra calories by working out at home - power walks burn large amount of calories, but they are easy on the joints and don't stress muscles much, allowing the user to workout more often for longer periods of time.
If you are looking for strong and durable walk-only treadmill, Exerpeutic TF1000 is excellent choice even if you much lighter than 400 pounds.
For most up-to-date offers and prices, feel free to check Exerpeutic TF1000 Walking Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Under $500 Treadmills - Features and Specifications
A good home treadmills under $500 should be folding treadmill with transport wheels. This way, when in use, it can be positioned on the best possible spot and when the workout is done, it can be moved away. However, having the treadmill positioned on the permanent position is the best option - when willing to exercise, just unfolded it and walk, jog or run. When done, just fold it to preserve space and that's it.
Deck size of running treadmills in this class is usually 50 inches long and 16 inches wide, while walking treadmills have somewhat shorter running/walking decks, usually in the 40 inches range.
Maximum user weight depends on the type and construction, but good home treadmill of this class should support the users of at least 220 pounds, preferably users of at least 250 pounds. In fact, 250 pounds is perhaps minimum for the 'maximum user allowed weight' in this class, but there are very good affordable treadmills that support users up to (only) 220 pounds, and such treadmills are excellent choice for lighter users.
300 pounds maximum user limit is not often found for a running treadmill in this class, but there are models that support even such users.
Walking treadmills have weaker and cheaper motors, allowing the manufacturers to make stronger and durable walking treadmills with maximum user limit up to 400 pounds, while keeping the price in check.
These treadmills generally use stronger motors than treadmills in 'under $300 range', but some manufacturers still use 'Peak HP' or 'Impulse HP' instead of 'Continuous HP' labels. Any way, one can expect 2.0 - 2.5 HP motors in running treadmills and 1.0 - 2.0 HP motors in motorized walking treadmills. Of course, manual walking treadmills don't have electric motors at all.
Maximum speed of running treadmills under $500 is usually around 10 mph, while walking treadmills have maximum speed between 4 and 6 mph.
Most of the treadmills have manual incline with 2-3 positions, however, there are treadmills in this price range that are closer to $500, but offer motorized incline change, usually between 0 and 10%. Such systems allow the user to change incline without interruptions during workouts, which is, of course, great.
Number of programs vary significantly from just 4-6 programs to up to 15 or even more workout programs. Also, certain models can have connection to Google Maps and simulate real terrain, simulating the workout on the real terrain. Of course, quality of simulation depends on the price of the treadmill, but it is very interesting feature for treadmills under $500.
Having different user profiles and saving previous workout sessions is great option for situations where several users train on the same treadmill. However, most of the units in this price range don't have different user profiles.
Treadmill console allows the user to track parameters of the exercise like burned calories, covered distance, speed, duration and similar. Consoles in this price range mostly don't have built-in speakers, MP3 players, USB charging ports, cooling fans etc.
Also, heart rate monitors are mostly in the form of contact sensors on the handles, although some models support wireless heart rate monitors, but they don't come with heart chest strap monitors.
Maintenance is very simple - lubricate the belt and other parts of the treadmill after certain amount of time (depending on the usage) and adjust belt, if required. Note that it is vital to maintain the treadmill as instructed by the manufacturer - read the manual/instructions before assembly and first use and act accordingly.
Warranty terms vary significantly - some models come with the most basic 90 or 180-days warranty on motor and parts, while some models come with 1- or 2-year warranty on most stressed parts like motor, belts and similar.
Long Story Short - home treadmills under $500 are very good cardio exercise machines. Certain models offer features that were recently reserved only to more expensive models, at budget friendly prices. However, be sure to check every aspect of your potentially new treadmill: size, running deck size, motor power, speed, workout programs etc. Some advanced treadmills, when on sale, cost less than $500 and are excellent opportunity not only for beginners.