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
Cheaper Treadmill Rec #1 - 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|
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|
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 – 3 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!
Cheap Treadmills #1 – 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 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 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.
Safety: 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.
(*** Please add all treadmills from the master list under £300 with a snippet on each here)
More Detailed Buyers Guides: