More budget-friendly treadmills like the Horizon Fitness T101 (*Est. $600), Gold's Gym CrossWalk 570 (*Est. $570) and LifeSpan TR200 (*Est. $700) offer many of the same features found on more expensive treadmills. However, the price difference usually translates to lower-quality components and poor durability, reviewers say.
Our Best Reviewed cheap treadmill, the Horizon T101, is a standout machine in this price range. Providing smooth motion for walkers and light joggers on a relatively spacious 20-by-55-inch treadbelt, the T101 has a lifetime frame and motor warranty, and owners say Horizon backs that up with excellent customer service. While the Gold's Gym CrossWalk 570 offers the same size belt, the LifeSpan TR200's measures just 17 by 48 inches. Its small deck size, underpowered 1.5 continuous horsepower (chp) motor, max speed of 6 mph and a tendency to stall abruptly or smell of burning after just 30 minutes keeps the TR200 out of the running here. By comparsion, the 2.25 chp motors in the Gold's Gym and Horizon treadmills are the most powerful of the lot.
The CrossWalk 570 has its own durability problems, however; an expert source warns that it "could end up having maintenance issues and a very brief lifespan." Owners also complain that the Gold's Gym support department is less than helpful.
Even the Horizon T101 isn't perfect. While a display window that shows metrics just two characters at a time draws criticism, it does offer the smoothest, most reliable performance for walkers in this price range. Its 10 mph maximum speed and 10 percent max incline are enough to challenge casual runners, although the frame may vibrate when you run. If something goes wrong with the unit, users say the company offers excellent customer service.
If you can spend just a little more, experts say the ProForm Performance 600 (*Est. $750) is another good choice for walking and light jogging.