What’s the Best Treadmill Under £500? Budget Treadmill Review

Today we’re on the hunt for the very best treadmill under £500 on the market in 2020.

This (UK) guide will look at things like build quality, feature set and a ton of other important criteria and find the best machine your money can buy for this price point. There’s some fantastic running machines available at this price bracket so sit back and enjoy the guide!

Top Pick

What’s the best overall machine in this price range: Here’s the fast, ten second version. The best treadmill for under £500 we found was the Branx Fitness Foldable ‘Cardio Pro’ (Amazon). This machine is robust, offers a wide range of programs and is ideal for users of all levels. A brilliant machine.

What we look for when reviewing treadmills

What can you expect to get for your money in the £500 (ish) range?

Having previously reviewed and rated the top treadmills under £200, it was great to be given a higher budget of £500 for our next round of testing. Stepping up to this mid-budget price range gets you  a lot more in terms of quality, stability and features.

Things we’re looking at in this price range:

Treadmill Console

We look in-depth at every running machine we review

  1. Build quality – For around the £500 mark, any compromises in materials and quality should be gone. No wobbling, thin tube construction, shoddy joints or instability.
  2. Running track – At the £500 price range, we looked for a thick running track, at a proper size, where the belt can dish out and take some serious punishment. The £500-ish bracket takes our ideal machine into the market of serious runners, as well as casual runners and walkers.
  3. Size – There’s some shall we say ‘compact’ treadmills on the market. In this guide, we want something serious – a real sturdy, good-sized treadmill, with plenty of space to stretch our legs.
  4. Upper speed – We’re looking for a treadmill with a reasonable upper speed limit – 12km/h ideally.
  5. Folding goodness – Although many people won’t be storing their treadmill at this price range, the majority of treadmills we review do still ‘flip up’ – at least providing a bit of space in your gym for other things. We looked at how easy each treadmill was to fold up and store.
  6. Powered incline – Pushing into the mid-tier treadmills, we expected to find machines with automatic incline – no manually adjusting the slope of the treadmill thank you. A good treadmill in this budget should have buttons on the machine that do this while you’re running and, ideally, be able to set it on the fly during your programme.
  7. Console and display – One thing cheaper treadmills suffer from is very shoddy quality displays. At this price point we looked more closely, with a less-forgiving eye, at the quality of the LCD display. We looked into the info on display, the amount of info on screen at a time, and exactly what was being tracked.

So, what are the best treadmills up to £500?

For this respectable budget, expect a really good machine that will be a trusty training partner and last a long time. Here’s the treadmills we found were actually worth the money, starting with the top pick first.

#1 Branx Fitness Foldable ‘Cardio Pro’

See it on Amazon >

Branx Fitness Foldable

The Branx Fitness Cardio Pro – an excellent treadmill for under £500

A gym quality treadmill for under £500?

Lets cut to the chase: this is what we think is the very best treadmill you can get for just South of the £500 mark. The Branx Cardio Pro is an absolutely brilliant running machine that offers a comparable size and spec to a gym running machine. But why is this one so good?

Solid design and good size

After a quick assembly (should take around 15 minutes) the Branx makes a good first impression; it’s a decent looking machine. More importantly, unlike a lot of treadmills, it’s rock-solid and feels sturdy and comfy to run on.

The running track is wide and long enough for even tall users and there’s a huge 170kg upper weight limit.

Excellent console and display

Often overlooked, the console on the Branx Cardio Pro is really good. It’s a 5.5″ crisp backlit LCD touchscreen. A wealth of info is displayed on screen at the same time and I actually prefer this display to a lot of the gym quality ones I’ve worked with and reviewed.

This is a powerful 6 horsepower machine that will give you a serious workout

You can track everything you’d expect: calories, speed, distance and all the basics. This machine also works out body fat and has 12 ready-to-go programms to get you in shape.

Branx Console

The Branx Machine has a useful and easy-to-read display

Pulse is taken via the sensors on the machine’s arms. Not ideal as you have to weirdly reach down, but it’s standard on a lot of machines and not a huge hassle.

Good for new users or experienced runners

The Branx Cardio pro is suitable for users looking to do nothing but gentle walking, right up to those looking for endurance runs, high intensity work or just something you can jump on and do your own thing.

This is a powerful 6 horsepower machine that will give you a serious workout, if that’s what you’re after. No disclaimers this time that it’s just for casual users!

There’s 15 levels of incline, which can be controlled dynamically by the console, or by the controls on the arms or on the console itself.

Verdict: A solid, heavy-duty running machine that’s built to last. Packed with features and a smooth running experience. Great for new or pro runners, this is a superb home treadmill for just under £500. There’s too many plus points with the Branx Cardio Pro. It’s an easy recommendation and we think you’ll love this machine as much as we do. 

Pros
  • Big, sturdy and good for all levels
  • Fantastic, bright screen
  • Extremely friendly customer service
  • 12 awesome programmes
  • Solid and robust design
  • 6 HP powerful motor
Cons
  • No where to put an iPad / tablet

#2 JLL T350 Digital Folding Treadmill (Amazon UK)

The next treadmill for under £500 that’s absolutely worth your time is one from JLL. We’ve featured a number of their fitness machines here on Home Gym Experts and they’ve built up a brand with a good rep. The JLL T350 is a budget priced treadmill that’s normally found around the £400 mark. It’s got a wealth of good things going for it.

Robust build, with plenty of power

The T350 is a sturdy runner that feels like a premium sort of machine. The 4.5 HP has plenty of punch to it and whether you’re doing some gentle walking, or want something a tad more sweaty, this machine can handle it. With an upper speed around the 18km range, it’s good for all levels.

Good incline levels

There’s 20 levels of automatic incline here and, although you might struggle to tell the difference between level 12 and level 13, it’s a sure fire way to make your training time a bit more taxing and sweat some more calories off.

Brilliant display – in all senses

Another highlight with this machine is the console. A well-sized 5″ display is backlit and you have no problem seeing your distance, calories, speed and time. All thankfully on the screen at once. It’s sharp, easy to read and exactly what we like to see. No dull LCD eye-straining gray mess here.

The 20 preset programs offer plenty of variation to really make light work of any weight you want to lose. They’re easy to use but you can use the quick-speed buttons dotted around the console, if you want to just run.

Friendly on your joints

Your knees deserve some love too, and the JLL T350 has 16 point cushioning which means when you’re running, there’s some absorption of the shocks. This is definitely lacking in lower priced machines but it’s well implemented here.

A narrower track than we’d have liked

The only major down side to this machine is that the running track is on the narrow side. A couple of inches extra would have helped out here. The 16 inch width won’t bother everyone, but it’s worth noting that this is a more slimline, compact-width machine.

Verdict: The JLL T350 is easily one of the best treadmills for under £500 around at the moment. It’s not quite as good as the Branx machine mentioned above, but it’s still packed with features, power and is extremely well made. The track could have used a little more width, especially if you’re a larger runner, but that doesn’t detract from one of the best sub £500 machines around in 2020.

Pros
  • Great, premium feel
  • Incline adds a lot to your running
  • Good for slow or speedy runners
  • Built in Bluetooth speakers
  • Easy to put together
  • Bright, crisp and informative display
Cons
  • Really heavy, not easy to move around
  • Track is more narrow than other machines

#3 Reebok ZR8 Treadmill (Amazon UK)

Reebok ZR8 Treadmill

Who knew Reebok made treadmills, as well as trainers. Well they do. And bloody good ones too. The ZR8 can normally be found on places like Amazon for just under the £400 mark and is definitely worth consideration if you’re hunting for a new treadmill. With extremely high user reviews, we were excited to check out what this machine has to offer.

Sturdy treadmill

With stability being a big problem with some cheaper treadmills, the ZR8 nails it with a sold frame that’s actually guaranteed for a lifetime. Speaking of guarantees, there’s an equally impressive 10 year warranty on the motor and a 2 year parts & labor warranty for everything else.

As well as not feeling like it’s going to drop to bits when you’re going hard, this treadmill has it’s own form of cushioning called ZigTech. That”s Reeboks take on shock absorption, and it does a good job at taking at least some of the strain off your joints.

Powerful enough for all users

Another plus with the ZR8 is it’s 2HP motor, which is capable of getting up to 10mph. If you want more of a challenge, there’s a robust incline system that’s fully powered.

You’ve got 24 varied programs, which are all clearly shown on the main panel so you can pick one that’s for you… or you can choose your own punishment and just do your own thing.

This machine is suitable for heights up to around the 6 foot, 3″ and a good upper weight limit of 120kg. The belt feels sturdy and the running action is one of the smoothest in the under £500 range.

The ZR8 is perfect for new users but definitely powerful enough for anyone looking for some intense sprinting or hill climbs. There’s also handy buttons let you jump into a certain speed, or slope.

What’s the display like?

There’s a discussion to be had about the ZR8’s display. Some will like the retro red LED digits, broken into three separate read outs. And it’s definitely clear to see the important metrics while you’re running. Others might prefer a more compact display, with everything on the same screen.

Regardless, the info is displayed clearly and you can get a quick eyeball on your calories, distance, time, and heart rate. Like the other treadmills in this range, pulse sensors on the extended arms let you make contact and check your current heart rate.

Verdict: If you’re looking for treadmills in the under £500 range, don’t overlook the ZR8. Reebok’s budget running machine is compact yet sturdy and everything works well on this machine. The auto incline works perfectly and this machine will appeal to causal runners or people looking for some intense running.

Pros
  • Very sturdy
  • 24 useful programmes
  • High user reviews
  • Smooth, cushioned running
  • Powerful, fast motor
  • Incline levels work a treat
  • Easy setup. There ain’t much to do with this one.
Cons
  • No tablet holder
  • Old school LED display might not be to everyone’s taste

#4 Viavito LunaRun Fold Flat Treadmill (Amazon UK)

Best fold-flat treadmill in this price range

One thing you find with a lot of ‘folding’ treadmills is they often don’t exactly fold flat. The running track might flip up a bit, but that’s it. The LunaRun, on the other hand, really does fold up. It’s one of the more compact folded machines that can be neatly put against a wall when not in use.

Design-wise, the machine is both sturdy and robust and has an upper speed of 10kph and a 1.25 HP motor.

Powered incline is good

The Viavito LunaRun comes with 10 levels of powered incline, with a max slope of 10%. What’s more impressive is that it’s very rare to see any powered incline on a fold-flat treadmill at all. Using this makes running and walking on this machine much more taxing, and will develop muscles in your legs you didn’t know you had (ouch!)

Console and display

The LunaRun has a very readable, if slightly smaller display. It’s blue and backlit and it’s easy enough to see specs like speed, time, distance, incline and calories. You can work out your heart rate using the pulse sensors on the arms.

There’s also 12 programs to sink your teeth into, if you don’t want to manually adjust the incline and speed yourself. They’re actually pretty good and are apparently approved by a personal trainer. If nothing else,. they’re there if you want a change from your normal running or walking.

Other little extras

There’s two speakers, with an old school jack, if you want to play your tunes while running (not tested). There are two cup holders, but they aren’t all that deep and look like it wouldn’t take much for your water bottle to fall out!

One thing that is worth noting is the handy tablet holder. Yeah, it’s not the most important thing, but it’s damn handy! Whether you’re using your phone or tablet as part of your training, or just to take your mind of running, it’s always good to have somewhere secure to put it.

Verdict: The LunaWalk is a great little treadmill for under £500 that’s capable of giving your a challenge, while being easy to fold away and store. It might not be suitable for anyone looking to do hardcore running, as the upper limit is around 10kph, but for anyone looking for an unobtrusive machine that does the job, give this one a look.

Pros
  • Folds up to a compact size
  • Tablet holder is handy
  • Powered incline rare on a folding machine
  • Bright, easy-to-read console
  • Mostly pre-assembled, not much work required
Cons
  • The cup-holders aren’t very deep
  • Lower top speed than some treadmills in this price range
  • Max user weight is only 90kg
  • Lower upper speed than we like to see

#5 Sportstech F17 Treadmill (Amazon UK)

Sportstech F17

An interesting, forward-thinking treadmill

Let’s start with a major potential down side to this treadmill: there’s no incline. Non. Nada. Zip. So why on earth is it in our list of recommended treadmills for under £500, you might be asking. Well, bear with us – because the Sportstech F17 is actually a really cool treadmill with some features you might just love.

Futuristic design

As you can see from the images here, and on places like Amazon, this treadmill looks a bit different to other machines. Apart from the Tron-like styling, the most obvious omission are the ‘arm rests’ – which protrude outwards from just about every treadmill.

While this won’t be for everyone (especially if you’re new to running) as they provide support and some assistance when you’re getting used to running on a track, removing them is an interesting idea and does away with much of the ‘clunkiness’ you get on just about every other treadmill.

Better pulse tracking

The loss of the treadmill’s arms mean you can’t take your pulse with the sensors that are normally stored there. Instead, you get an awesome free £35 Bluetooth pulse sensor you wear while running. This is way better and more reliable than touching a metal sensor.

App integration and visual running tracks

Another benefit with this treadmill is that not only does it have a secure place to put a phone or a tablet (yay!) But there’s also an app you can download to accurately track your stats, in a way you just can’t with built in console displays.

You’ll also really like the way you can see see different tracks as your’re running. A bit of a gimmick? Maybe. But it looks cool and offers some variation in your workout. While the included app, in it’s current form, does an OK job, there are others you can download for free that do are fantastic. Check out out the HomeFit app for more info. (There are loads more on both app stores).

Oh – the treadmill is good too…

You’re getting a compact but serviceable 110 cm / 40 cm wide running track. The belt itself is thick, padded and the machine has built in shock absorbers. There’s also a system that makes lubricating the machine a lot easier than other machines.

Speaking of ease, we were impressed that this machine arrives fully assembled.

Power-wise, you’re getting a respectable 2.5 HP motor here that’s pretty quiet, although once you’re running the noise obviously increases. The F17 is foldable in a way a lot of other machine’s aren’t and has a simple fold-flat design. It takes a few seconds to get folded down.

Verdict: Sportstech F17 is a modern, sexy treadmill that’s well worth a look if you’re not bothered about losing your arm supports, and don’t need incline. The app integration and Bluetooth pulse tracker are awesome.

Pros
  • Arm-free, futuristic design looks fab
  • Integrates with free app, and other 3rd party ones
  • Good motor with 12 mph top speed
  • Folds flat
  • Zero assembly required
  • Solid build quality
Cons
  • Some won’t like the arm-free design
  • No incline – manual or powered
  • Tablet can press buttons on the console if not careful

£500 Treadmill Buyer’s Guide

AKA how not to get stuck with a treadmill you HATE

Those product pics all look amazing on the retailers websites. But how do you know you’re not getting something that SUCKS in real life? This quick guide will arm you with everything you need to know in order to NOT get stuck with a lemon, and find the best running machine for under £500.

Check all these important specs before buying, and you’ll be in good place to pick a really good treadmill.

First up: the warranty

Buying a running machine for your home isn’t like ordering a smaller item online. They can be pretty big and returning them no small feat. The things we recommend you delve into before you hit that ‘buy’ button are:

  1. What is the warranty? – how long is it for? A good warranty can be one, two or even three years. Some treadmills even guarantee parts like the frame, or the motor for a lifetime.
  2. If something goes wrong, how does it get sent back? Shipping fees on a whopping treadmill can run into silly money, so check who is responsible for return shipping.
  3. Is there any home service? Our absolute favourite kind of warranty is the one where the company comes out to your home and fixes any problems. Places like JTX Fitness offer this, and it’s way better than having to send anything back, or wait for a new part to be delivered!

TO make matters more complicated, a warranty might have different warranty lengths for:

  1. Parts & labor
  2. The motor
  3. The frame

Motor power: Get your horsepower sorted

Horsepower, or HP for short, is one of the specs you’ll definitely want to cast an eye over. The bigger the HP number, the more power your motor will have. Look for something over 3 HP (most in the £500 zone will be way over this anyway).

Measure up the running track

Treadmills have a number of measurements you’ll want to look into, the regular width, height and length dimensions of course, but there’s another equally important measurement to check: the running track. You’ll need to look for the width and length of the running track and pick one that’s right for you.

  • Too narrow: you might struggle to stay in position on the track.
  • Too short: you won’t have enough room for your stride.

While the running track might seem like an issue for taller runners, more room to train in is important for any sized user. Bigger is generally better, although you’ll have to weigh that up with how large your treadmill can be for the space you have.

Generally speaking, unless you’re looking for a SUPER compact treadmill, look for a running track width over 40cm and a track length over 120cm. Commercial treadmills have a track that measures around 50 cm x 150 cm. The closer you can get up to those measurements, the better.

Branx Fitness Foldable 'Cardio Pro' Touchscreen Console Treadmill - 17km/h - 6hp - 0-15 Level Auto Incline - Body Fat Readout - Soft Drop System - Smart Deck Suspension Points

Above: Some treadmills fold up, where as some fold completely flat Branx Fitness Foldable – Amazon UK

Treadmill folded

Some treadmills fold up, where as some fold completely flat

Check the user weight

Treadmills are a bit like hot tubs or swimming pools on a hot summer’s day. If you’ve got one at home, you might just find you’ve got lots of new friends. Think about who might end up using the treadmill and pick one that supports each user’s weight. The Max user weight, measured in kgs, is where you’ll need to look.

Shock absorption isn’t just for cars

Both your knees and the people you share a home with will thank you for checking this one. There’s no getting around the fact that running puts extra impact on your joints. So make it kind on your knees and find a treadmill that has some decent shock absorbing tech.

Some treadmills (often the budget ones) overlook this and can end up being a bit ‘thuddy’, for want of a better word. At just under £500 you should be able to find a treadmill with some cushioning, to reduce the impact while you’re running.

What’s a soft drop system?

One thing you might read in the treadmill descriptions is ‘soft drop’. This is only found on folding treadmills and it’s a cushioned way of lowering the running track from it’s folded position. Once released, it gently drops into place.

Why is this important? It makes for safer unfolding of your treadmill (no-one wants to get whacked on the head with their lovely new treadmill). And it also helps your back as there’s no bending involved.

Running machines that have a soft-drop system are usually easier to fold up was well, with the mechanism doing the heavy lifting for you.

The nice little extras

A couple of super-basic things we like to see on treadmills, that aren’t especially vital – but are handy:

  1. Somewhere to put your bottle. Even better if there’s two cup holders as the other one can always be used to stash phones, keys and other bits ‘n’ bobs.
  2. A tablet holder. It’s amazing that otherwise excellent treadmills can often neglect make space for a tablet. A little shelf is always appreciated.

Tell us about your treadmill

Got a cool running machine you want to shout about? Please let us know in the comments if you’ve found a good treadmill that’s not mentioned here, or about any of your own experiences with these popular fitness machines.

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