Home Treadmills What’s the Best Treadmill Under (or close to!) £500? Budget Treadmill Review

What’s the Best Treadmill Under (or close to!) £500? Budget Treadmill Review

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Today we’re on the hunt for the very best treadmill under £500 on the market in 2024.

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 are some fantastic running machines available at this price bracket so sit back and enjoy the guide!

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 good quality 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 are 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 treadmills at this price range, the majority of treadmills we review do still ‘flip up’ – at least provide a bit of space in your gym for other things. We looked at how easy each treadmill was to fold up and store.
  6. Incline – Pushing into the mid-tier treadmills, we expected to find machines with some form of adjustable incline – automatic if possible, but we’ll take manual too. Remember that setting your treadmill to even 1% or 2% incline will simulate the experience and workload of running outdoors.
  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.


£500 Treadmill Buyer’s Guide

AKA how not to get stuck with a treadmill you HATE

Those product pics all look amazing on the retailer’s 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 a good place to pick a really good treadmill.

Reebok ZR8 Treadmill
Above: Reebok ZR8 Treadmill – Amazon UK

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

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 an 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 as 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 are 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 to 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.