My Treadmill Reviews UK

Best Budget Treadmills 2021: Get Fit On A Budget

Last Updated: September 5, 2021

Are you looking for a reliable treadmill for regular use without breaking the bank? Treadmills today are available at a diverse range of price points, so finding one to fit your budget is not difficult. The tricky part is to make sure you choose a piece of equipment that lasts its worth instead of breaking down after a few uses and gathering dust.

Even top treadmill brands like ProForm and Sole have something to suit lower budgets. The secret to their lower prices is sacrificing the bells and whistles incorporated in their more advanced models. Weaker treadmill motors, compact running belts, and simple backlit consoles are usually what you can expect at a nominal price. This doesn’t always mean that a treadmill won’t be able to offer good functionality. You just need to be smart and study the specs closely before making a purchase.

Below we have reviewed some of the best low-budget treadmill models for this year, along with a buying guide for cheap treadmills.

Best Budget Treadmills for 2021 rated by our fitness professionals

Overall Best Budget Treadmill: ProForm Carbon TL

4.35

Meant for light to moderate workouts, this ProForm model is great for those who need a good combination of features without spending a fortune. The earliest and least advanced Carbon series treadmill, it also has the lowest price point, well under the £1000 mark.

While we don’t recommend the Carbon TL if you’re planning on going very fast, the 2.6 CHP motor can suffice for those who need a treadmill for jogging or walking. The speed and incline limits here are good enough for most users – 16 km/h speed and 10% maximum incline. Moreover, the ProShox™ cushioning system effectively absorbs the impact forces from your strides. The tread belt is also a reasonable size, allowing enough leg and elbow room. 

A 5-inch LCD and a tablet holder help you keep up with your workout progress while staying entertained. Besides, it comes with free 1-year iFit Bluetooth access, so you can use the app on your own device and sync it to the treadmill via Bluetooth. This opens up a world of training opportunities, so you’ll never get bored again. 

20 preset workout programs are another nice addition to this model. iPod and mp3 compatibility, dual 2”-inch speakers, and an accessory tray further add to overall convenience. 

Pros:

  • Supports low to moderate intensity workouts
  • iFit Bluetooth compatibility and free 1-year access
  • 135 kg weight capacity
  • Great warranty package
  • Good tread belt size with effective cushioning
  • EasyLift™ folding system

Cons:

  • ProForm needs some improvement to customer service
  • Not suitable for frequent running
  • No workout fan 

Runner-up 1: ProForm 505 CST

The ProForm 505 CST is the more advanced of the two compact folding treadmills in its series currently available in the UK, being sturdy enough to have a 135kg weight capacity. From our observation, it is more or less the same as the Carbon TL, both in terms of price and features. 

It seems like they’ve traded 0.1 CHP motor power of the Carbon TL for an adjustable console fan in the 505 CST and kept the prices identical. The 2.5 CHP motor is made to support jogging and walking, while 16 km/h top speed and 10% maximum are pretty good for the price. The tread belt is a bit narrower than the Carbon TL, and the ReBound Pro™ cushioning technology is not as advanced as ProShox™, but it does have the advantage of being adjustable. 

While the console design is a bit different from the Carbon TL, you get the same 5-inch LCD, tablet holder, and free 1-year iFit access which you can sync to the treadmill via Bluetooth. The pulse sensors integrated into the handlebars are no surprise – that’s what we expect from any good treadmill nowadays. A nice touch, however, is the Bluetooth wireless receiver that makes this treadmill compatible with a chest belt (not included) for heart rate monitoring. 

iPod and mp3 compatibility, dual 2”-inch speakers, a CoolAire workout fan, an accessory tray, and 18 preset workout programs are also worth mentioning. Overall, we would recommend the 505 CST for everyone looking for moderate-intensity workouts, especially in restricted-space homes.

Pros:

  • iFit Bluetooth compatibility with free 1-year access
  • Supports walking and jogging
  • EasyLift folding system
  • Roomy tread belt with adjustable cushioning
  • Bluetooth chest belt compatibility
  • Good warranty package
  • Good extras (workout fan, audio, etc.)
  • Compact footprint
  • 135 kg weight capacity

Cons:

  • Not suitable for heavy use or frequent running
  • No built-in console screen
  • It might get a bit noisy after a few uses

Runner-up 2: NordicTrack S 25i

If you need a foldable, compact treadmill for walking, jogging, and light running, the NordicTrack S 25i is an option worth considering. Staying well under £1500, this is a budget-friendly piece of equipment covering all the necessary features and some extras.

The S 25i’s console has a 7-inch LCD to display your workout stats and connect to iFit via Bluetooth. The free 1-year membership to the app is a promising feature if you get bored during treadmill use. The frame is also quite sturdy, with a 135 kg weight capacity and lifetime warranty.

While the S 25i is made to speed up to 22 km/h, we recommend against overspeeding and using this for high-intensity, heavy workouts. Although 2.75 CHP is not too weak to handle the occasional sprint, it’s better if you avoid overloading the treadmill with extended running sessions. There’s also an incline option of up to 12% to challenge yourself with uphill walking.

Like other NordicTrack treadmills, comfort is not a problem with this one, thanks to the spacious tread belt with its optional cushioning feature. A workout fan, dual speakers, and an excellent warranty package all add to the value of this sturdy model.

Pros:

  • Supports walking, jogging, and light running
  • iFit Bluetooth compatibility with free 1-year access
  • 135 kg weight capacity
  • Excellent warranty package
  • Roomy belt with optional cushioning
  • EasyLift folding system
  • Good extras

Cons:

  • Not ideal for heavy running
  • No iFit-ready screen; you need a separate device for the app

Runner-Up 3: NordicTrack C700

The NordicTrack C700 has similar specifications to the S 25i, with its lower price compensating for its slightly lesser speed, incline, and weight capacity. The 2.75 CHP motor on this foldable model is meant for casual home use, allowing light to moderate workouts. 

As with most top-of-the-line budget treadmills by ProForm and NordicTrack, you get iFit Bluetooth compatibility with free 1-year access to the app. There are also 20 workout programs in case you need options other than iFit. The 20 km/h speed limit and 10% maximum incline enable further workout variety.

The tread belt on the C700 is a good size for both walking and jogging; even our tallest team members didn’t feel short on space when they tested it out. NordicTrack’s FlexSelect™ cushioning feature doesn’t disappoint either. We can always feel the difference in our strides with this brand, thanks to their effective shock-absorbing technology. 

This one also has great extras, like a workout fan and dual 2-inch speakers. It’s compatible with Bluetooth chest straps (not included) as well, providing a wireless option for heart rate monitoring besides the EKG handgrips. Overall, this one is a great budget buy if you’re looking for a decent cardio machine to get in shape.

Pros:

  • Best for walking, jogging, and light interval running
  • Good belt size with cushioning
  • iFit Bluetooth compatibility with free 1-year access
  • Dual heart rate monitoring options if you have a Bluetooth chest strap
  • 125 kg weight capacity
  • Great warranty package
  • Good extras (fan, tablet holder, speakers)

Cons:

  • iFit usage requires your own device due to the lack of a compatible console screen
  • NordicTrack’s customer support is quite slow
  • Not made for heavy use

Honourable Mention: NordicTrack S 45i (When on Offer)

This feature-packed treadmill, especially when on discount, is your best bet if you need a budget treadmill for running. The 3.0 CHP motor would also work well for users over 90 kg who are looking for a walking or jogging treadmill. However, it’s better to spend a bit more on an even stronger motor if you need something durable for marathon-level training or are a heavyweight runner.

Besides the stronger motor, we love the S 45i because its 10-inch HD touchscreen comes ready with the console for iFit use. You also get a year’s membership to the app free of cost and 50+ video workouts that come included with the touchscreen. 

We like how the S 45i offers a 22 km/h top speed, up to 12% incline, and a reasonable tread belt size. NordicTrack’s FlexSelect™ cushioning feature further enables joint protection as you run. Dual 20-inch speakers, a workout fan, and Bluetooth chest belt compatibility are also nice to have on this model. 

Pros:

  • Great value when on discount
  • Suitable for walking, jogging, and running
  • Free 1-year iFit and 50+ integrated workouts
  • 10-inch iFit-ready HD touchscreen 
  • Effective cushioning technology under spacious running belt
  • EasyLift folding system
  • Good extras 
  • Excellent warranty package

Cons:

  • Not for heavyweight athletes
  • NordicTrack’s customer support isn’t great

A Guide to Buying the Best Budget Treadmill (2021)

Are you ready to go treadmill shopping? Check out our buying guide first! Below are the most important factors to consider before you select a budget treadmill. If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to buying the best treadmill for yourself, scroll past the reviews in our Best Treadmills article for a detailed description of specifications and which ones are favourable for you.

Weight Capacity

Many budget treadmills aren’t built to handle a lot of weight. While those from reputed brands can still handle at least 100 kg, you should always check this feature, especially if you’re on the heavier side of the weight spectrum. If you’re too close to a treadmill’s weight limit and still use it, you could be placing a huge load on its motor and controller, heating the system. This can cause abrupt failure of the motor during use. Of course, those who come under the average weight range don’t have much to worry about, being able to get away with using any treadmill.

Intended Use and Motor Power

Most cheap treadmills compromise motor power, which is not necessarily bad, especially if you just need one for walking. Seniors or those recovering from injuries like hip fractures may need one for slow walks to increase mobility. In such cases, even a 2.0 CHP motor is a decent option. The issue arises when you need a treadmill on which you can speed up. Our experts recommend ensuring at least a 2.5 CHP motor for jogging and 3.0 CHP for running. In case of treadmill users being over 90 kg, add 0.5 CHP to these recommendations to ensure the best performance.

High motor power doesn’t always make a treadmill superior to its lower-powered counterpart. For instance, if you’re of average weight and need casual home workouts, anything above 3.5 CHP could be excessive for you. You don’t need the extra CHP because you won’t be using your treadmill at that kind of intensity; it will just add a few hundred pounds more to your expense. A 3.0 CHP to 3.5 CHP motor should be enough to keep your options open, allowing you to walk, jog, run, and increase your speed and stamina over time. Only professional athletes, heavyweight marathon runners, or multiple users like in a gym can make the most of an over-powered treadmill.

Entertainment Options

Compromising on entertainment features like a console screen, speakers, and Bluetooth headphone compatibility can help you stay within a tight budget during treadmill shopping. While these definitely add to your workout experience, especially if you find treadmill use boring, you can easily use your own Smartphone, tablet, or iPod instead.

Workout Options

Nowadays, fitness app compatibility is an attractive feature many treadmills offer. For instance, NordicTrack and ProForm treadmills feature iFit Coach compatibility, with the cheaper models offering support via Bluetooth and the advanced ones having iFit-ready screens. As of now, almost all models we’ve reviewed come with free access to the app for a year. We’re huge fans of iFit since it opens up a world of fitness fun for us. There’s so much to keep you occupied from live personal trainers to virtual running locations, races, marathons, and stat tracking. Plus, there’s always the library of 17,000 or so workout videos to start streaming.

Models from brands like Sole have their own fitness app that isn’t as cool as iFit but is still helpful for tracking your workout. Most treadmills also have preset workout programs that are goal-oriented with specific speed, incline, and duration settings. 

Warranty Package 

Don’t get tricked into buying a cheap treadmill without a reasonable warranty package! Good brands often offer a minimum 10-year warranty on frame, with most offering lifetime. The motor warranty should ideally be 5 years or more, and parts, electronics, and labour should be covered for at least 2 years. Less warranty is also often an indication of low quality, so bear this in mind before you overlook the warranty package. 

Extras

You can expect even a budget treadmill to have a heart-rate monitoring option, although not a hands-free one. Most will only have pulse sensors integrated into the handlebars, which should be good enough if they’re cheap. However, treadmills like the ProForm 205 CST and 505 CST are great options well under £1000 that have a wireless Bluetooth receiver as well. This can be useful if you have your own chest belt.

Other extra features to look for are accessory trays, bottle holders, cooling fans, and tablet holders. The importance of having each depends on your own workout habits. For instance, if you’re planning on using your tablet or smartphone while you work out, a tablet holder is essential for you. Some treadmills offer a simple ledge over the console against which you can place your device. Others may have adjustable or pivoting holders to offer more clarity.

Conclusion

Now that you know all about good but cheap treadmills, you can confidently purchase the best one. While the ProForm Carbon TL currently offers the best value, the other treadmills we’ve discussed are not far behind, each with a few differences in their specifications. If you’re a serious runner, you might have to expand your budget to get something that can better support high-intensity workouts for long durations. For that, you’ll need a treadmill with a stronger motor at a higher price point, such as the NordicTrack Commercial 1750, our all-time favourite!