I have been trading and renting treadmills for a few years now, but I’ve been using treadmills intensively since 2016. These are my thoughts from the point of view of the user, service technician and salesman on buying best affordable treadmill under 600.
At home, a large home treadmill, or a light commercial folding treadmill, weighing from 70 to 130kg, at a price of 1000-2000$ will work best. I have also had cheaper ones, but I’ve tired of them, I also have more expensive ones at my disposal, but in my opinion it’s an excess of form over content. I will describe the commercial and mechanical treadmills in a separate place, here I will focus on the middle shelf of electric home treadmills.
Best Affordable Treadmill – My Personal Picks
Best Affordable Treadmill – All You Need To Know
The most important elements of a good treadmill:
- balanced depreciation
- deck and gear belt
The above should be tailored to your physical parameters and type of training.
Heavy user, e.g. 100kg, needs a powerful engine – 2.5 hp and more.
High, e.g. 190cm, needs a long gear belt – 140cm and more.
Walking on a treadmill puts much more strain on the engine than running and requires a stronger engine. Running requires a longer belt, rehabilitation of a wide belt and comfortable handrails.
All this could be presented in a table that saves me from writing and you from reading, but fitness equipment manufacturers cheat so much on components that I can count the fairly honest ones on the fingers of one hand. The engine power of different companies can be overstated by 300%. Often the engine of a well-known brand, with 2 hp power, is much better and more expensive than what has 4 hp power of another company. The same applies to the worktop, gear belt and other components.
Electronics is a separate chapter. Theoretically, the same components under one housing are soldered to the chip as if they were to participate in an honorary parade. Underneath another, the chip may look as if someone has glued it with glue and simply threw a handful of random parts at it, hoping that it will stick to what is needed where it is needed.
Cushioning in the raceway. Theoretically, it’s supposed to prevent injuries. In practice, cheaper and inferior treadmills are softer. They have a thinner and weaker deck, and all the talk about cushioning is a philosophy made for cheap, lame products. Harder treadmills are safer for health, more solid and usually more expensive.
The history of my treadmills
The fate of a treadmill is usually determined on the day it is designed. One of the three departments in the company is responsible for the design: accounting, marketing or engineering. These departments never work together, so a treadmill can be cheap, cool or solid, but it is never cheap, cool or solid. By cool I mean look, gadgets, accessories, programs, phone integration and all the other things that are not necessary but make a good impression.
Reliability, which in my opinion is the most desirable, is also the most expensive attribute and the most difficult to recognize with the naked eye, without disassembling the equipment into its first parts. It is not the sum of individual components, but also their skilful assembly, the patents applied and, above all, the knowledge of engineers, resulting from years of experience with a given device. That is why I more and more often rely on old, proven companies, where the same devices have been produced invariably for years – Spirit, Sole, Nordic Track and Horizon.
The cost of launching the production of a new model of treadmill oscillates around 100 000USD. This is how much you have to pay for a working prototype and calibrating the production line, regardless of whether you want 1 or 1,000 units. Therefore, good treadmills do not change or withdraw from the offer. Designing new treadmills is too expensive. It is cheaper to improve old models and this is the strategy of the above mentioned companies. Hence the new displays, bluetooth and gadgets are coming into proven equipment, but the vital components: engine, belt, top and rollers remain almost unchanged.
It’s like health. It won’t break down to puki, its quality makes no difference to us. In a good treadmill, it’s forgotten about its existence. Some engines are practically indestructible and you never hear of their faults. The slogan that reassures me is “lifetime warranty” or “10 years warranty”. No company gives such commitments without cover, and although “lifetime” means the life expectancy of a product, it is still a very long one, given that many treadmill models have been manufactured for decades. In other words, as long as a model is manufactured, it is on warranty. With a good engine warranty, the worst possible treadmill repair, we are practically out of the question.
Engine quality and power are two different things. Everywhere it is said that a good engine should have at least 2 horsepower. That’s true, if it’s a well done, UNUSTAINABLE engine on high quality components. One that does its job with ease and a certain amount of spare. The opposite of this is a cheap, worn out unit which, yes, generates a lot of power but wears out quickly and can be replaced after a few thousand kilometres. It makes little sense to replace the engine and I will come back to this topic, but it is worth noting that in the technical data of the treadmill only the engine power is given and in home conditions we are not able to assess the quality of the engine. We also do not measure the declared power, so the real power is different from the one on the label and it is always smaller than the manufacturer’s stated. That is why the technical data can be put between the fairy tales, I give them less and less often in my reviews and I pay less and less attention to them myself. On paper, machines are getting stronger and stronger, but strangely they break down faster and faster. This is a frustrating situation, because the only way I can evaluate the treadmill engine is by the failure rate of each model I know. In addition, you can also be guided by the fact that the biggest manufacturers, the world looks at their hands the most and they cheat the least, so I go back to Spirits, Sole, Nordic Track and Horizon (the factories producing these brands are Dyaco, Icon and Johnson). In these companies we will also find the best guarantees for components.
The real power of engines in home raceways varies from 0.75 HP to 3 HP and I don’t know of a home raceway that would have a stronger engine. Commercial treadmills have power units from 3 hp to 5 hp, the strongest I’ve seen had 4.5 hp.
The real 2hp engine is able to provide many years of training for the demanding user. It will also draw you up to 140kg and can handle walking training that puts more strain on the drive trainer. Walking generally wears the raceway more than running. A real 3KM is a virtually indestructible motorcycle that can work many hours a day, every day with users over 140kg, if properly cared for. The lifetime of the engine is largely due to good service and maintenance.
I mean everything from the engine control module to the console, display and gear shift buttons. And there are sensors, windmills and other vital extras. The brain of the treadmill is responsible for the quality of training, but also for the life of the engine!
Although you can’t see it with the naked eye, the treadmill engine runs unevenly. As we run at a constant pace, the engine slows down and accelerates in turns. As we fall with our foot on the gear belt, the engine slows down for a fraction of a second, under the influence of the resistance we put up. A speed sensor analyzes this and sends more power to the engine, increasing speed. All this happens so fast that the human brain does not record it. The opposite process occurs when we tear our foot off the treadmill and float for a fraction of a second, without contact with the treadmill. The control unit then sends less power to the engine so that the treadmill does not start moving too fast.
Most often, when buying a good device, we have a combination of good mechanical components with good electronic ones, but when buying a cheaper one, it is worth bearing in mind that cheaper chip will affect the life of other components, such as the engine. If you have a chance, pay attention to whether the chips are in order. Whether it is even, everything is soldered well, whether the components do not contact each other where they should not, etc.
Other electronic add-ons like speakers or bluetooth are not very useful and in my opinion they are not worth paying for. Applications like Kinomap, iFit etc. are still very primitive and using them does not introduce anything positive to regular training.
The same applies to training programs uploaded to the treadmill computer. I am a fan of one program – forwards and one option – faster. If this treadmill is to make me a slide show with Google Maps, it doesn’t bother me, but it doesn’t help either.
Electronic add-ons are invented by marketers, they look nice on photos and promotional videos, but they bring nothing of value for 2017.
How to choose a treadmill for your home
Choosing a home electric treadmill seems to be a very simple matter. We usually take into account the following factors: brand, insight, technical parameters – horsepower, belt dimensions, speed, angle of inclination, maximum weight of the user and possible elastomers or other cushioning. Home treadmills start at about 1 thousand PLN and end at about 10 thousand PLN. With more money we can afford to buy a commercial treadmill, but today we are focusing on household machines.
Before buying, it is good to think about what we really need a treadmill for, how often we will use it and how many people will use it. The treadmill is designed for running and this is rather obvious. The treadmill is not designed for walking! Which is less obvious. If you think you’re just going to walk on the treadmill, it’s best if you read the newspaper, then get ready for expenses, because walking on the treadmill puts a lot more strain on it than running. The treadmill wears out faster than walking and generally not everyone is suitable for this. Recently it has become very fashionable to walk up a hill quickly on an electric treadmill and I personally consider it a great exercise because not only is it very safe but also effective. So whether you’re slimming, working on your performance or going through rehabilitation after an injury to your musculoskeletal system, if you’re buying a treadmill to walk on, not run, prepare yourself to buy at least a middle class machine.
Your weight. This is one of the most important factors determining the quality of your planned purchase. Unfortunately, those who need a treadmill most will have the most expensive. The more you weigh, the better machine you have to make. With a weight of up to 70 kg, you are in a good position, because even less robust equipment should withstand your workouts. Over 100 kg you have to buy at least a solid machine. Over 130 kg I recommend buying a very good treadmill or semi-commercial machine. Attention! The values of the maximum weight of the user in the descriptions of different treadmills are very often stretched! Equipment distributors know that you buy “in stock” and unceremoniously use this fact by overstating the values! Just because it is written that a treadmill can carry a user weighing 150kg does not mean that it is in any way better than the one with a maximum weight of 110kg in its description. It all depends on the fairness of the distributor of the treadmill.
Running is not for everyone and a treadmill costs a lot, that is why people decide to buy such equipment, usually with a specific plan. If you assume that the treadmill will be used 3-4 times a week after 30 minutes, you can afford to buy a lower class of equipment. If it will be used 5 – 6 times a week after 50 minutes or more, aim at the middle class. If you take your training seriously you won’t be practicing alone, then aim at the goods from the upper or middle class.
Track brand – does not matter much. You will pay more for a branded treadmill, e.g. Kettler or York, than for the same less known company. However, it is worth taking into account the fact that well-known brands try to keep up the level both in the quality of workmanship and in providing real technical data. Large companies also care about access to spare parts and good service, while less known brands make up for the price.
Appearance – the treadmill should be massive, preferably folded, with a relatively wide belt.
Power – good power is 1.5 km and more, unfortunately importers have recently overstated the amount of power and it is becoming easier and easier to find a manufacturer who gives dishonest data. It comes to the point that more power usually means better treadmill and a bit more power consumption. This can be seen on electricity bills.
Track cushioning and joint protection. This is a separate chapter, and contrary to popular belief, a rigid treadmill is usually more robust and safer for the joints. The toughest treadmill is still softer than running on concrete or asphalt. Look for hard or medium treadmills, but not soft ones, because these will lead to injuries in the long run. If the marketing of soft running appeals to you more than I do, consider a set of stiff treadmills + soft boots. It will be cheaper, healthier and more solid.
It would be good to be able to run quickly at least 16 km/h on the treadmill. The adjustable angle of inclination is also very useful.
The pulse meter in your hands will probably not work properly, and even if it does, who is running with your hands? A good addition is the connection to the telemetry belt, which will read the pulse.
Magnetic or electric treadmill?
When autumn and winter come, most people give up on morning or evening jogging, mainly due to lower temperatures and a faster day ending. There is no pleasure in running in the dark and in the cold. However, it is not necessary to give up running. Currently there are different types of running tracks available. This can be an electric treadmill, magnetic treadmill, pressure treadmill or other. We can use a raceway at the gym or buy our own. It is also important to know how to run on a treadmill correctly.
what is the difference between a magnetic and electric treadmill?
Both the magnetic and the electric treadmill will produce the right results when practicing on them. Both types of treadmills differ in their power mechanism. As the name suggests, an electric treadmill is powered by electricity. It has a built-in motor with adequate power. The magnetic treadmill, on the other hand, has no power supply. It starts to work under the influence of our muscles. Exercise on a magnetic treadmill requires not only starting our leg muscles, but also starting the treadmill tape. Therefore, it is recommended for more professional runners.
The different mechanism of both treadmills also affects the price of both exercise equipment. Sometimes it is very important for people deciding to buy a treadmill.
Advantages and disadvantages of electric treadmills
The advantage of the electric treadmill is the possibility to adjust the speed of the treadmill to the speed indicated by us. In this way it is harder to give up the exercise when the strength decreases, because the belt is still moving at the same pace. This forces you to run for longer and results in better training results. The electrically powered treadmill has also other options. You can also set the total training time on the treadmill or the distance you will travel while running.
However, treadmills available in shops are quite expensive. The more options and exercise programs available on the treadmill, the higher the price. However, if you decide to buy a treadmill, it is better to spend a little more money on it and buy an electric treadmill than to bother with a magnetic treadmill, which can discourage you from exercising over time.
Buying an electric treadmill
When buying an electric treadmill, however, you should pay attention to a few details. First of all, the weight that the treadmill can carry. Especially if it will be designed for exercise for obese people. It may happen that the treadmill cannot bear too much load and will be damaged. It is also important to choose the motor power of the electric treadmill, as well as the range of possible speeds on the treadmill. There are also options for treadle inclination, which are worth paying attention to when buying. The most important thing is that the treadmill has all the options you need to exercise. If the treadmill you buy will be used at home, it is important how you fold it and how much space it takes after folding. Most often we would like the treadmill to be able to fold it freely and hide it in a locker or wardrobe. If a treadmill is purchased as equipment for a gym or home mini gym, this aspect is no longer so important as the treadmill is mainly unfolded all the time.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT TREADMILL?
You want to buy a treadmill, but don’t know which one to choose? Here are some tips to help you choose the tread that will meet your expectations and give you the best possible treadmill experience.
BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE, FIND OUT THAT A TREADMILL IS WORTH INVESTING IN
The biggest advantage is that you can run…in your home and at your own pace!
It’s a sustainable, long-term investment
It is a robust equipment that anyone can use to exercise in complete safety, also recommended for rehabilitation
Provides better shock absorption than off-road running
Certain criteria should be considered when selecting a treadmill.
Firstly, certain personal factors must be taken into account, which are of decisive importance when selecting a treadmill:
It is necessary to determine at what level we are going to play the sport: are we beginners or advanced?
It is important to define your training goals: is the treadmill to be used for cardiological rehabilitation? Recovering your form? Slim down? As a complement to other sports? For occasional, regular or intensive exercise?
WHAT TREADMILL FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
A treadmill offers the possibility to train in any weather and at any time. It provides maximum safety and comfort for your joints. Define the way you use the treadmill adapted to your needs.
FOR OCCASIONAL EXERCISE
This is primarily about recovery or rehabilitation. The results achieved are not the most important criterion here, and engine power is not a priority.
The Walk’in treadmill from Domyos is ideal for occasional cardio exercises. It is designed for daily 30 minutes of jogging, for active or moderate marching.
FOR REGULAR EXERCISE
We mean people who run occasionally or regularly and who want to do cardio training at home. In such a case it is worth choosing a treadmill that allows 45 minutes of running per day, such as the TC 2 treadmill. The engine power of such a treadmill is already comfortable and the user can choose different training programs and treadmill angle up to 10%, which increases the efficiency of leg muscles.
FOR INTENSIVE EXERCISE
For those at an advanced level and those who care about results, for regular exercise, it is worth choosing a treadmill that matches the surface of each step. For long workouts with speeds of up to 16 km/h it is best to choose the most versatile treadmill, such as the TC 4, which is equipped with the best technology, is powerful, has numerous training programmes and has a treadmill angle adjustment system of up to 10%.
A TREADMILL FOR WALKING OR RUNNING?
At speeds from 1 to 8 km/h we talk about walking (from slow march to sports march). Above 8 km/h is about jogging and then running.
A treadmill is smaller than a running raceway. There are two types of treadmills: with and without engine.
In a treadmill without an engine, the belt is driven by foot pressure. Therefore, the gear belt is inclined to facilitate movement. This treadmill is light, but it is not possible to walk on a flat track, and its smoothness is quite low, depending on the model (which means more load on the joints).
In the case of a treadmill with an engine, it is the engine that drives the gear belt, which therefore travels at a constant speed, determined by the user according to his needs (from 1 km/h). This has the dual advantage of being able to walk on the flat and optimum comfort for the joints.
There are many treadmill models. Each tread pattern is designed to guarantee comfort within a specific speed range, thanks to the appropriate parameters of the various tread components, such as the dimensions of the gear belt, engine power or design. These elements have a direct impact on the dimensions of the tread pattern and … its price.
WHAT PARAMETERS I NEED TO LOOK FOR?
The faster we march / run, the bigger steps we take. The size of the runway should therefore be adjusted to our training. For marching at a speed of 1 km/h to 6 km/h an area of 100 cm x 40 cm is completely sufficient. The treadmill for walking is therefore as suitable as possible. With a jogging or jogging pace of 6 km/h to 8 km/h, an area of 120 cm x 40 cm will be comfortable. Finally, for running at speeds of over 10 km/h, you should choose a gear belt measuring 130 cm x 45 cm or more. It is best to see for yourself and try out the treadmill live.
The engine is a guarantee of speed, and its power depends on what you want to use the treadmill for. The faster we run, the more power the engine needs.
The engine power is also related to the maximum weight of the user specified on the product. 100 kg? 130 kg? Requirements will vary. An engine with the right power for the job will allow you to use the treadmill longer. First of all, it is necessary to check what is the constant engine power (the power that the engine achieves continuously). The second element is maximum power (peak power, achieved only during acceleration).
Another benefit of the treadmill is that running on it is more comfortable! Good treadmills are usually equipped with a suspension system, the quality of which depends on the model. The cushioning system reduces shocks to the knees and all joints. The cushioning should be tailored to your needs: on march, the greater cushioning will provide comfort for your joints and give you a good “kick” feeling. Less cushioning while running will ensure proper dynamics and maximum rebound and reduce energy loss.
The treadmill slope system is perfect for increasing the workout of leg muscles and allows you to diversify your training by simulating an uphill run. Lower body muscles (buttocks, thighs) and abdominal muscles (when approaching) are forced to work more intensively, which makes calorie burning faster (e.g. up to 4 x at 20% slope!). There are two types of treadmills with slope: a manual treadmill that requires you to stop the treadmill to adjust the slope and an automatic treadmill that you can use during training.
The console gives basic training data: speed, distance travelled, training time, average number of calories burned. We distinguish between simple and intuitive models to march and more technologically advanced models.
Focus on the measuring instruments and the various programs available to assess your performance and progress, compatibility e.g. with a (coach or MP3 player) and easy reading of information (screen size, backlighting). Some models also allow heart rate measurement (the most accurate measurement is guaranteed by the cardio bar).
MAXIMUM USER WEIGHT
Various models are designed for people weighing less than 100 kg up to 150 kg. The design of each treadmill, its dimensions and the motor ensure safe and long-lasting use by a person of a certain weight.
The gear stability depends on the weight of the raceway. The heavier the tread, the more stable it is, which guarantees smooth and comfortable running. The base dimensions are also important for the robustness of the unit.
Folding / unfolding system: most of the treadmills allow you to fold the runway after training. A special mechanism makes it easy to reassemble the treadmill.
Some treadmills also offer other solutions: the low height of the Domyos Walk’In treadmill allows it to be hidden under the bed for maximum space saving!
Sliding system: most treadmills have wheels for sliding. However, you should be aware that some treadmills are easier to move than others (in this case the weight and grip of the important components play an important role).
Most treadmills require between 30 minutes and 1 hour to install. There are also treadmills that do not require fitting, such as the new Domyos “ready to run” model.
Best Affordable Treadmill – Bottom Line
In this guide we’ve covered all the information you need when choosing best affordable treadmill. A middle-class treadmill for an average person is a cost of three to seven hundred dollars. If you weigh more, or if you plan intensive trainings, it is worth adding an additional two or three hundred. On the other hand, if you are going to exercise recreationally or you weigh less than 70 kg, a treadmill for less than five hundred dollars may be enough for you.
Last update on 2021-06-24 at 05:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API