You don’t have to break the bank to get a high-quality workout at home.

By Gabrielle Hondorp and Emily Belfiore
Updated March 04, 2021
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Smart Treadmill on Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Whether it’s due to inclement weather or inaccessibility to proper paths, running outside isn’t always possible. Enter: treadmills. If you belong to a gym, pounding the belt on the regular is a no-brainer. And the same could be true for working out at home — that is, of course, once you buy a treadmill. First, however, you need to determine how much to spend (ugh, those notoriously high costs) and which machine to spend it on. But before you starting groaning...

Good news: Buying a treadmill doesn’t always have to put a dent in your wallet, and it is possible to get one while you’re on a strict budget. You just have to know where to look and what to look for.

While higher-end treadmills typically offer a range of fancy features, it’s important to keep in mind that those aren’t always necessary. You can still get in a great cardio session without a built-in fan or a digital touch screen mapping your run, for example — instead, opting for a more basic, no-frills option will save you money and still get the job done. Plus, many affordable treadmills tend to be slimmer and more compact (some are even foldable!), which is particularly wonderful for those tiny city apartments. (Related: This Small-Space Workout Is Perfect for When You're Too Cramped to Do Anything Else.)

When choosing a fitness machine, you’ll also want to consider the type of treadmill. Generally, there are two options: manual (powered by your own running force) or motorized (powered by a motor). Manual treadmills can be more difficult to use at first — they rely on you to set your own pace — but they’re typically much cheaper. Motorized treadmills are more standard and will offer more shock resistance and power, which tend to improve as they increase in price. 

Purchasing a treadmill can seem overwhelming, but staying on budget is easier than you think. Here are the best treadmills under $1,000, including machines from trusted brands like NordicTrack, ProForm, and Nautilus, so you can stay on top of your fitness goals without breaking the bank.

Best Overall: NordicTrack T Series Treadmill

NordicTrack C 700 Folding Treadmill
Credit: Walmart

This NordicTrack is a step above the rest (pun intended). While it sits closer to the top of the $1,000 budget, it's well worth the splurge. It boasts a 10 percent incline capability and a top speed of 10 miles per hour, all while providing a smooth and stable experience. It even comes with a 10-inch digital touchscreen display that connects to iFit, a subscription that brings you interactive, trainer-led workouts. When you’re done, this savvy treadmill can be easily folded up and stored away. If you’re looking for a product that checks all the boxes from luxury to functionality, this is it. (Psst...you might also want to check out this cutting-edge treadmill that matches your pace. Mind. Blown.)

Rave Review: “I usually don't write reviews, but this treadmill absolutely deserves one! I have had this for a little over a month and I am in love... highly recommend if you want a great way to get in shape in your own home. It's very high-quality for an amazing price.”

Easiest to Assemble: Horizon Fitness T101 Go Series Treadmill

Horizon Fitness T101-05 Folding Treadmill
Credit: Amazon

This durable treadmill from Horizon Fitness is praised by customers for its easy assembly and quiet motor. Plus, it's foldable (read: great for easy storage!). Costing just $600, it has extra features you'd expect from pricier models, including Bluetooth capabilities, built-in speakers, a fan, and a tablet tray so you can stay entertained during your run. Most important is the function, which gives you 10 speed and 10 incline options — more than enough to power your workout. (For even more of a push through your workout, hit play on this treadmill tone-up playlist.)

Rave Review: “1. The easiest machine I have ever assembled. 2. Smooth and easy to use. 3. It feels like the gym moved into your house, and sound-proofed the room it took. This is an amazing product.”

Most Powerful: NordicTrack T Series 6.5S Treadmill

NordicTrack Treadmill

NordicTrack is a trusted name in the running world, and while this $600 treadmill may not be its most high-end model (see above for that), it definitely lives up to the quality of the brand. The no-fuss treadmill focuses on power and function, using an impressive motor that keeps the belt flowing fast and effortlessly. A small, 5-inch display allows you to keep track of your pace and timing, while the responsive, shock-absorbing belt feels like running on clouds with each stride. Plus, you’ll get a free month of the training app iFit with your purchase. (Speaking of which... here are the best workout apps to download right now.)

Rave Review: “It performs flawlessly and does everything you could ask of a treadmill. I especially love the smooth automatic incline that gives me the "hill" resistance I need to train. Folds up easily for storage between workouts. As to VALUE... it's worth way more than the asking price! Get it.”

Most Durable: ProForm Performance 600i Treadmill

Smart Treadmill on Amazon
Credit: Amazon

With a 300-pound weight capacity, this super durable option from ProForm comes with a large 18-by-55-inch running belt. This treadmill is sturdier and more powerful than other options in its price range, and it’s built to last. Aside from its reliable construction, it also has a built-in heart rate monitor, 50 preset workouts, and a 10-percent incline capability. The only con? It's a bit difficult to assemble solo, so the $20 expert assembly add-on package is worth it, according to a few customers.

Rave Review: “Great treadmill for the price and quality! Sturdy and maybe a tad bit loud, but with music or following one of many awesome workouts provided, this ProFormpro form makes working out fun and challenging.”

Best Space-Saving Treadmill: Sunny Health & Fitness Asuna Space Saving Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
Credit: Amazon

Small enough to be folded up and stored under a bed, this compact treadmill is a minimalist's dream. Its sleek, modern design is basic yet efficient, and it can be easily moved from room to room thanks to the attached wheels and lightweight construction. This is a great option for beginner runners or those who don’t have a lot of space to commit to workout equipment. If you’re a more experienced runner, however, this buy may not be the best choice because the speed tops out at 8 miles per hour. (Whatever your athletic level, steer clear of these treadmill mistakes.) 

Rave Review: "Great product! I canceled my gym membership the same day it arrived. I live in Michigan and work full time and getting out to the gym during the winter months at 5 AM has become impossible. I also live in a #TinyHome renovation — so a traditional treadmill was never an option. This is easily stored underneath my bed and I can easily get up and run a few miles before work! Solid purchase!"

Best Treadmill for Walking: Exerpeutic TF1000 Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill

Asuna Space Saving Treadmill
Credit: Amazon

Treadmills are just as much for walking as they are for running. Walking is a vital component of cardiovascular fitness and overall health, and treadmills are a great way to log more steps throughout the day, no matter the pace. This affordable option from Exerpeutic is specifically designed for clocking steps: It has a large belt, long side handles, and maxes out at 4 miles per hour. The extended handles also make it a great option for older walkers who need a bit more stability or anyone who wishes to set up a walking desk. The lightweight design is also easily foldable and can be stored upright and out of the way between uses. 

Rave Review: “I did a good deal of research about which machine would be right for me. I needed a wider walkway and a machine that was quiet and made for walking. This fits the bill perfectly. Assembly was minimal and the machine was up and running in no time. The program is very simple, and perfect for someone who just is looking for a way to get walking to improve stamina.”

Best for Experienced Runners: Schwinn 830 Treadmill

Schwinn 830 Treadmill
Credit: Walmart

While Schwinn is a trusted brand known mainly for its home exercise bikes, it also manufactures other top-quality gym equipment. And this Schwinn treadmill is no exception, thanks to a sturdy build, powerful motor, and useful add-on features like cupholders, a USB charging port, and an LCD display. It has 22 built-in exercise programs, which users can personalize with their weight and exercise goals, making this the best option for experienced runners. With a 12-percent incline and 12 miles-per-hour capacity, this reliable treadmill will give even the most serious runners an intense workout. (Related: 5 Unique Ways to Make the Most of Your Treadmill)

Rave Review: "I absolutely love this thing... I had it set up completely in a half-hour, by myself. I got on it immediately and ran for 20 minutes, it's quiet. The motor is barely audible and the footsteps can be easily overcome. I am a 200-pound man that runs 3 miles daily, and 6 on Sunday. I was a bit skeptical at first about buying a treadmill because I love running outdoors with my dogs, [but] recent attacks by off-leash animals sent me in search of this. So happy I found it!”

Most Affordable Treadmill: Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
Credit: Amazon

There are a lot of things that you can buy for under-$500, but you probably never thought a treadmill would be one of them. This affordable option from Sunny Health & Fitness is here to prove you wrong. And while it may not be as much of a strain on your wallet compared to the other machines, this treadmill will still make put in some work. With speeds up to 10 miles per hour, it’s more than fast enough for most runners. Along with nine built-in workout programs shown on its LCD display, this treadmill also has three incline positions, though they have to be adjusted manually. (Psst, if you're on a budget, check out these under-$500 treadmill options.)

Rave Review: “After a ton of research I purchased this treadmill in 2015. I am a long-distance runner on a small budget. The price tag and the reviews were great so I decided to go for it. The manual incline is what it is but otherwise, this treadmill is rock solid. I have owned this treadmill for 5 years now and have logged thousands of miles on it. I have trained for multiple half marathons, 4 full marathons, and an ultra-marathon with the help of this machine. It’s rugged, the shock absorption is great, can handle challenging speed workouts, has great tablet/phone/water bottle holders, and is easy to fold/unfold and move. I am thoroughly impressed and quite honestly really proud of this treadmill! We have spent a lot of quality time together. The only maintenance I do is to clean and lubricate the belt every few months.”

Best Folding Treadmill: Goplus Folding Treadmill

Smart Treadmill on Amazon
Credit: Amazon

While all of these options are under $1,000, this under-$500 treadmill is as affordable as they come. While it may not be as fancy or fast as pricier models, reviewers say it does its job efficiently. It has two sport modes and a five-layer, non-slip and shock-absorbing running belt, making it a great choice for beginner runners and casual joggers. Thanks to the soft-drop system that makes folding and unfolding a breeze, it’s also super lightweight and easy to store. Plus, it comes with a phone holder and Bluetooth functionality so you can listen to your favorite tunes while getting your heart pumping. (Tight on space? Shop even more folding treadmills here.)

Rave Review: “I had been thinking for months to get a small indoor treadmill, ever since my office moved and I lost my ‘gym in the building’ convenience factor, which really hits you hard in the winter. I mean, who wants to leave their warm house and sofa to get in the car to drive to the gym during a snow storm? I didn't execute on the idea, though, until it became clear that we were all going to be confined to our homes for weeks on end [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]. And am I happy I bought this. So far it's performing well.”

Best Shock Absorption: MaxKare Electric Treadmill

Smart Treadmill on Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Whether you prefer to run on a treadmill or in the great outdoors, it’s no secret that running can wreak havoc on your joints and muscles and potentially cause common injuries like shin splints. But that's where the MaxKare treadmill comes in: This treadmill is designed to prevent and relieve these ailments with a multi-layer rubber-silicone running belt that helps absorb shock and vibration. The result? Less impact on the knees, ankles, and joints, and a lower risk of pain and injury. Along with three manual inclines settings, it also has a powerful motor, a soft-drop folding system, and an adjustable LCD screen that doubles as a holder for your phone and tablet. 

Rave Review: “Great treadmill for the price. Checked all my requirements and at a reasonable price. It's easy to assemble, small enough for my condo, and quiet enough for me to use at night when my kids are sleeping. I would recommend it to someone looking for a treadmill with a budget.”

Best for Intervals: Sunny Health SF-T7515 Smart Treadmill

Smart Treadmill on Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Equipped with quick speed and intervals buttons and 12 levels of incline, this Sunny Health treadmill makes interval training a breeze for any runner — even beginners. To get you into beast mode, it also has Bluetooth connectivity so you can blast your favorite cardio playlist while you run. Plus, its shock-absorbing tread deck, multifunctional display monitor, and soft drop folding system aren’t too bad either. (Related: The Complete Buyer's Guide to Peloton Treadmills)

Rave Review: “After doing my homework on a couple of different treadmills for my home... I chose this one (keeping in mind a few important points: cost, size, incline capability, sturdiness, and of course reviews). I believe this was the best one in my $500-or-less budget and it has been great so far. Pretty cool that you can plug in your phone via an aux port and have your music playing through the speakers... and the handle controls are super convenient! I’ve been using it for about two months now.... and so far so good! I am 5’4 and 180lbs and it works perfectly! I do mostly fast-paced walking but I also jog on it... and it feels sturdy enough when I do run a little harder.”

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