Get a Quality Treadmill at a Budget Price with My (Detailed!) Cheap Running Machine Guide
With so much competition between treadmill makers, you can now find some very good models at a budget price. You need to know what to look for (in terms of features) and where to look to get the best prices. It is possible to get an excellent home running machine with computer display that folds up between uses for around £150. If you budget just a little more (£200 to £250) then you can get some very high quality products.
You’ll find my thoughts on second-hand treadmills in more detail down the page. The summary is that this is (very) hit and miss – and that your savings are often not worth the lack of warranty. If you buy from a reputable dealer (like amazon.co.uk), you will find huge discounts… and get the peace of mind that you can simply send it back!
The table below shows the running machines in the cheaper category which are the best-sellers over the past year. Below this you can find more detail on each of these, and some ideas on what to look for in a cheap treadmill to make sure you get the maximum benefits for a smaller price tag.
Table – Best Cheap Treadmills / Running Machines
Top Pick - Gym Master 12km / Hr
It is easy to see why this one is a best-seller. The spec includes incline, safety bars, a quality console and even a free gym ball. With speeds up to 12km, this model is suitable for all levels from beginner to regular runner. Make sure you check the gallery!
|Product Page Read Review|
Cheaper Treadmill Rec #2 - ZAAP TX 750kw Model
Solid 10km / hour max model from the ZAAP TX. This model folds for easy storage, and has 12 built in fitness programs (solid reviews too!).
Cheaper Treadmill Rec #3 - vFit Motorised
Walking (8km / hour) treadmill which folds away between uses. Popular product which is idea for those taking the first gentle steps towards fitness.
|Product Page Read Review|
Cheaper Treadmill Rec #4 - HomCom Motorised
Popular model, with an equally huge amazon.co.uk discount bringing it from mid-range to budget - has incline + music compatibility. 10km / hr top speed.
|Product Page Read Review|
Quick Note – Manual Running Machines vs. Motorised Ones
At the lowest price point, you will find a lot of treadmills marked either ‘manual’ or ‘self-powered’. You can pick these up brand new for £100 and under. Many people enjoy this type, though if you are new to home running – then you need to be aware of the difference.
With a self-powered / manual treadmill there is no motor to make the belt turn. Instead you push against this with your feet, slowly building up momentum until you are ‘running’ (more likely walking fast or gently jogging!). You do get the extra benefit of having to work harder to get things started with manual treadmills. What you need to keep in mind is that these do not have motors at all.
Quick Note #2 – Cheap Treadmills and Top Speeds
At the budget end of the treadmill ranges you’ll find models with lower top speeds than the mid-priced and up items. Again, this is not necessarily a problem – though it can pay to set your expectation levels right. Here are some guidelines:
8km / hour top speed: These are walking treadmills, and the top speed is a brisk walk / gentle jog for most users. Walking treadmills are popular, though if you want to run these are not the right product.
10km / hour top speed: This is the lowest speed of a running machine. If you are smaller, new to running (or fitness training in general) this will be fine. If you are taller or already into running, then 10km / hour is not enough.
12km / hour top speed: For me this is the benchmark for a running machine as opposed to a jogging one. Even taller and more experienced runners will rarely need to go faster than this.
14km / hour top speed: At 14 km / hour and up you are going pretty fast. This is for experienced runners only. You will need to step up to the more expensive models to get this kind of speed.
Cheap Running Machines – 4 Most Popular Cheap Treadmill Models
These are the best-sellers in the budget priced category over the last year. The discounts on them over at amazon.co.uk do change regularly, you might find the running machine you like is even cheaper than you expected!
Most Popular Cheap Treadmill – The Gym Master 12km / Hr Motorized
This model ticks all the boxes, and comes at a reasonable price when compared to similar spec’d models. It is rare to get a treadmill which folds, has incline, a powerful 1100 Watt motor (bigger motors = quieter machines!), plus a 12km top speed. This top speed is significant. While 10kn / hour is fine for smaller runners and joggers, if you want to push yourself after getting fitter, then those extra 2 kn / hour make a difference. This is especially important for runners who go outside during the warmer weather and use a treadmill for the winter.
There are 12 programs in the console – or you can choose to change the speed manually while you run. This is a popular machine, and the comments from previous buyers bear out the ‘value for money’ message.
For the time being at least, you get a free gym ball too!
Check out the picture gallery, and full spec, over on this dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.
Cheap Treadmills #2 – ZAAP TX 750W Treadmill
The ZAAP TX budget treadmill gives you a solid beginners model – which also folds. Perfect for storage, and easy to move (small wheels) to set up when you need it. There are pricier models in the ZAAP TX range, though this one is plenty enough for casual users. The top speed is 10km / hour. This treadmill is suitable for users up to 19 stone.
You’ll get 12 different built in fitness programs with this model. These will keep things varied, and can adapt with you as your fitness improves. Some good feedback in the comments, one 5 star comment was left by someone at 73 years old (so, no excuses for those of us younger than that!).
Check out the feedback, picture gallery and full spec over on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page now.
Cheap Treadmills #3 – Confidence Fitness Power Plus Motorised Treadmill
This model from the respected Confidence Fitness blows the others away when it comes to the total number of units solid. This is also the cheapest treadmill of the ones I am highlighting here, including a giant-sized amazon.co.uk discount (at the time of writing).
You can run up to 10km / hour, which is fine for most home users (and even keen runners who are not too tall). These is a multi-function LED display, which covers your speed, distance travelled and that all-important calories burned number. This cheaper running machine will also fold away between uses. It is suitable for users up to 19 stone (120kg).
Feedback from previous buyers has been positive. The general consensus is that this is a great little treadmill for the money. As long as you do not expect something of ‘commercial gym’ quality at this cheap price, then you might well find yourself delighted.
Check out the pictures and buyer feedback for this budget treadmill for yourself now on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.
Alternatively, you can read my detailed review of the Confidence Fitness Power-Plus here.
Cheap Treadmills #4 – The HomCom Motorised
This model has been in the most popular list for a few years now, and continues to sell well. The secret with this machine is that it is a mid-priced treadmill in spec – and has a big amazon.co.uk discount which brings it into the budget treadmill category.
When you check out the spec compared to other cheap running machines, you’ll see the difference right away. The HomCom Motorized Treadmill includes incline, which you do not normally see at the lower-cost price range. There is also a handrail, you can plug in your music, and the unit folds away between uses. This model has a 10km / hour top speed – ideal for smaller users and those getting fit for the first time (experienced runners should aim for 12km / hour).
Check out the picture gallery for this model – which looks impressive for the price, and read the (largely positive) feedback from previous buyers. You’ll find both on the dedicated amazon.co.uk product page.
Alternatively, you can read my detailed review of the HomCom Motorised Treadmill here.
Cheap Running Machines / Walking Treadmills Feature Checklist
This section covers the different features to expect at the budget end of the spectrum of running machines. I do these sections as a decision-making aid. The idea is that if you can’t immediately decide which cheap treadmill suits both your budget and your needs – then you can do it via a process of elimination.
I recommend you go through this list of features twice. First, read quickly through – making a mental note of the things you can and cannot do without. Second, go through once more and choose your ‘must have’ features. Once you return to the table above (or full list below) then you can quickly eliminate most of the models based on your choices – leaving you a far easier choice.
Speed: I already covered the difference between walking, jogging and running treadmills above. If you are not sure, then 10km / hour is fine for beginners – though taller or fitter users should go for 12km / hour. If you are ok with gentle walking and light jogging, then an 8km / hour walking treadmill will be fine.
Incline: This is something which comes with higher end treadmills. You can find it in some lower priced models. Even a small slope makes a big difference – try it in the gym if you have not felt the ‘burn’ from this yourself.
All models have a safety switch. This is a clip you attach to your clothing. If you fall off, then it pulls out a plastic key, stopping the treadmill. If you require some additional stability, then I recommend a model with arms that come out either side.
Manual / Auto: The cheapest treadmills do not have motors at all. These are a bit of an ‘acquired taste’. If you like the sound of this then I recommend reading the feedback from previous buyers. A popular model is the Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill (this link goes to the amazon.co.uk product page).
Console: Basic treadmills do have electronic consoles. These can display stats on distance covered, calories burned, speed, and total time spent running. As you get to the better models you will find pre-set programs – for example for endurance, cardio or fat burn. These change the speed of the belt while you run.
Monitors: Some treadmills at the budget end of the spectrum do include pulse rate monitors. These are normally found in the handlebars.
Music Compatibility / Speakers: This is more common in the mid-range and up. There are treadmills you can plug your phone in, and others which tie-in with apps.
Belt Width: Some of the cheaper running machines are smaller, and have narrower belts than others. If you feel you need more room to move, then check the feedback from previous buyers on this.
Assembly: Treadmills are the right shape to transport, and require minimal assembly compared to other machines (elliptical cross trainers for example).
Fold-Away: Most of the cheap treadmill models are fold-away. Most also have small wheels that you can move them into place with. As you climb up the prices, fewer models fold.
You can find an even more detailed list of treadmill features on the main Treadmill Reviews page here.
Cheap Treadmills – My Thoughts About Second Hand Treadmills
As I mentioned in the introduction, second hand treadmills are a bit of a minefield. Sure, there are some bargains out there – though for me there are also some risks.
Instead of warning against buying a cheap second hand treadmill altogether – I have listed the pros and cons below. It comes down to how much you could save vs. the risks. Each person will have their own idea about where the sweet spot is!
- Save money
- Better model than you might have got already
- Get to see and try the treadmill (usually!)
- No warranty against defects (new models have 12 months)
- Is it really a bargain (amazon.co.uk discount might be and even bigger saving!)
- Transport your own responsibility
Bargain / Cheap Running Machines – List of Treadmill Reviews
This list of reviews covers the treadmills at £300 and under. You can see even more models in the same place on my main treadmill reviews page.
vFit Start Treadmill: This model is squarely aimed at beginners. It has a top speed of 8km / hour, which is a brisk walk for some and a jog for others. If you are looking to get active, though not thinking about running a marathon any time soon, then this model will give you that gentle introduction. It has a solid spec, and safety features as standard. Read my vFit Start Treadmill Review here.
Homcom Treadmill: A popular choice; this is a basic treadmill, which attracts buyers with a decent spec and keen price point. The top speed of 10km / hour is enough for the whole family. While you won’t get a gym-type machine for this money, the Homcom Treadmill ticks all the right boxes. You can find out more in my detailed Homcom Treadmill Review here.
Gym Master 12 km / Hour Treadmill: Spec and speed-wise this is a top pick for a cheap home treadmill… not just my top pick, it is a popular favourite over at amazon.co.uk too. The addition of a gym ball to the package is an odd idea! Fortunately, the treadmill is more than worth the money with or without this. Check out my Gym Master Treadmill Review.
Confidence Power Plus Motorised Treadmill: Another model aimed at those getting started with fitness. This is a solid machine, able to cope with people up to 21 stone. The top speed is 10km / hour, though keep in mind that the increments are jumps of 1km / hour each time. See my Confidence Power Pro Treadmill Review here.
Confidence GTR Power Pro Treadmill: A definite step up from the power plus. This treadmill reaches 12km / hour, has hand grips and a lot more options via the console. This model is one of the best sellers at amazon.co.uk. It has a lot of fans according to the feedback / comments from previous buyers. Check out my Review of the Confidence Fitness GTR Power Pro Treadmill here.
Confidence Fitness Manual Treadmill: This one does not need to plug into the mains. Instead you use your own running power to get it moving. While this is not everyone’s idea of how treadmills should work, some people like the simplicity. I would recommend you try out the manual treadmill concept before you buy. If you like them, then this model is excellent value. Check my Confidence Fitness Manual Treadmill Review here.