7 Best Treadmills Under $300: Reviews For Your Garage Gym

Did you know that jogging burns more calories per hour than any other exercise?

That’s why treadmills are such an essential piece of cardio fitness equipment. If you’re thinking of building your own garage gym to help you shed some pounds for the summer, a treadmill should probably be your first purchase.

That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to choosing the best treadmills under $300. We’ve picked out the best products in this price range on the market and reviewed them in detail to help you find the perfect option for you.

Treadmills Under $300 Compared

Preview

Product Name

Running Surface (LxW)

Motor Size

Max User Weight

Check Price

Merax Electric Folding Treadmill – Easy...

15.7” x 43.3”

1.5 HP

240 lbs.

GYMAX Folding Treadmill, Electric Motorized...

N/A

1 HP

220 lbs.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual...

42” x 13”

N/A

220 lbs.

Best Choice Products 800W Folding Electric...

N/A

1.2 HP

250 lbs.

MaxKare Electric Treadmill Foldable 17' Wide...

43" x 17"

1.5 HP

220 lbs.

ZELUS Folding Treadmill for Home Gym,...

39.3” x 13.4”

N/A

220 lbs.

Fitness Reality TR1000 Manual Treadmill with...

43" x 13 ¼"

N/A

230 lbs.

What to Expect from Treadmills at this Price Point

Sub-$300 treadmills represent the low-end of the market. We're talking about budget treadmills here, so realistically, you're going to have to make some compromises.

You're not going to get a top-of-the-line, premium treadmill with all the bells and whistles in this price range, and a cheap treadmill probably isn’t going to be suitable for professional athletes who need advanced features.

Nonetheless, all the models we've listed below should be more than good enough for most home-gyms and will give you a worthwhile workout.

Here's what kind of features you can expect at this price range:

  • Up to 1HP motors with a maximum speed of around 7mph. Suitable for jogging, but probably not fast sprinting.
  • Reasonably good build quality with folding, space-saving designs.
  • Limited incline options (usually manually adjusted rather than automatic)
  • Reasonably good display screen with speed control and calorie/distance/speed tracking but not much else
  • Good safety features

Choosing Budget Treadmills Under $300

Core Components
  • Motor (Power & Speed) 
    The motor is the mechanical component that drives the treadmill belt and is arguably the most important component in the whole treadmill—generally, the more powerful the motor, the greater the maximum speed. If you plan on sprinting or running very fast on the treadmill, a powerful motor should be your number one priority. Motor power is measured in horsepower units (HP). In the sub-$300 price range, your options are probably going to be limited to the 0.5HP - 1.5HP range, which should translate to top speeds of around 7 to 10mph. For reference, the average jogging speed is around 4-6mph.
  • Incline control
    Incline control allows you to adjust the angle of the belt so that you can run on an incline. Increasing the treadmill’s incline increases the intensity level, adds an element of resistance to the exercise, and helps to build your leg muscles. It’s also been shown to significantly reduce stress on your body’s joints by reducing the impact on your legs.
  • Shock absorption/Deck Cushioning
    Jogging is a high-impact exercise that places a lot of stress on the joints of your knees. As such, it’s essential to look for a treadmill that comes equipped with some shock absorption mechanism to minimize the impact on your legs and reduce the risk of injury. There are several types of shock absorption systems that different manufacturers use, but the two most common types are grommet systems, in which rubber grommets are present under the deck area to provide cushioning and absorb some of the impact, and suspension systems, which work similarly to the suspension on your car.
  • Durability & Stability
    Ideally, you’ll want to choose a treadmill that is very stable and built to last. You don’t want something that breaks a few months down the line or wobbles when you start jogging. To sort the good from the bad, look at the frame structure and overall build quality. If you’re lucky enough to be able to try before you buy, jog at a fast pace and check to see if it moves or if it feels sturdy. If you can’t try it out beforehand, make sure you look at the reviews to see what other users are saying. The weight is usually a good indicator of overall stability. Heavier treadmills tend to be more sturdy. Crossbars and wider bases also help to make the frame more stable.
Size vs. Space

Another consideration you’ll need to make is what size you want the treadmill to be. Think about your available space, and make sure you check out the dimensions of the treadmill before you buy it so that you know it will fit. Many treadmills in this price range are compact by design, which makes them ideal for smaller spaces. 

If you’re working with limited space and don’t have room for a permanent upright fixture, a folding treadmill might be more suitable. Folding treadmills fold up so that you can store them out of sight easily when they’re not in use.

Max User Weight

Make sure you also check the maximum load capacity of any treadmill you’re interested in before you buy it so that you know if it’s suitable for you. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a treadmill with a weight capacity that is at least 20% greater than your weight. All the treadmills we’ve included in our list have a max user weight of between 220 lbs and 250 lbs.

Deck Length

The deck length refers to the length of the running belt, and this can vary dramatically between different treadmills.

The length you’ll need depends on how tall you are, the length of your stride, and whether you plan on running or walking. Taller users with longer strides will need a longer deck length (around 50” should do it). Otherwise, your feet might bang against the motor housing as you run.

If you’re shorter, plan on only walking, or have small strides, you might be able to get away with a deck that’s 40” or less.

Safety Features
  • Safety Key 
    A safety key is usually attached to a security tether you wear while using the treadmill. This ensures that if you fall or collapse on the machine, it will remove the key and stop the machine.
  • Handrails
    Handrails aid with stability. Having something to grip onto makes treadmills safer and easier to use.
  • Automatic Slow Start
    Some machines come with automatic slow starts, which increase the belt's speed gradually to give you a chance to get your footing.
Secondary Features
  • Heart rate sensors 
    Some advanced treadmills come with in-built heart rate sensors that monitor your heart rate while you exercise to help you track your cardio performance. Few treadmills in this price range come with heart rate sensors.
  • Monitor Display
    Most treadmills under $300 will come with an electric monitor display, but some are more basic than others. The display allows you to keep track of key workout information like time, distance, speed, and calories burnt. They may also allow you to set the belt speed or change between different pre-set exercise programs.
  • Mp3 Compatibility
    If you want to hook up your MP3 player and listen to music on your treadmill while you workout, make sure you look for one with mp3 compatibility.
  • Bluetooth Compatibility
    Treadmills with Bluetooth compatibility let you pair up your treadmill with your tablet or smartphone and track your performance on your smart devices.
  • Noise Levels
    Some treadmills are noisier than others. If you don’t want to make a racket, look for a treadmill with excellent noise absorption.
Warranty

In this price range, most treadmills will offer rather limited warranty periods. Expect around 90 days of warranty coverage for parts and 1 year for frames. Some treadmills will offer much better warranty periods, and some might offer no warranty at all. Check the small print to find out before you make a purchase.


7 Best Treadmills Under $300 Reviewed

1. Merax

Merax Electric Folding Treadmill – Easy...
  • 【Real Space Saver】Super fast and easy...
  • 【Multi-functional Display with...
  • 【Strong 1.5HP Motor】A smooth and quiet...
  • 【Convenient Shortcut Buttons】Quick...

Best electric treadmill under $300

Running Surface (Belt Size)

15.7” x 43.3”

Motor Size

1.5 HP

Speed range

0.5 - 7.5 Mph

Incline Range

N/A

Max User Weight

240 lbs.

First up, we have the Merax electric folding treadmill. This is hands-down the best treadmill under $300 we’ve seen anywhere.

In all honesty, I’m surprised that it’s this cheap - I didn’t expect to see anything this good in the sub-$300 price range. It’s not all that different from much more expensive commercial treadmills that you’d find in a real gym.

A 1.5HP motor - which is about as good as it gets in this price range -  powers the belt and delivers a max speed of 7.5Mph without making too much noise. The LCD display is great and includes most of the main stats you want to see: speed, distance, calories burnt, and time. You can also use it to switch between 12 pre-set programs, including both high- and low-intensity workouts.

The Merax also comes with built-in speakers, so if you like to blast some motivational running music for inspiration while you workout, it’s a great choice. The speakers aren’t super loud, but unless you want to rattle the windows, they should be good enough! Just note that you’ll need a flash drive to use them as the USB port doesn’t support phones.

The base is sturdy enough, but there may be a slight shake when you’re jogging, especially if you’re close to the maximum weight (240lbs).

Other features we like are the fast-folding design and transportation wheels, which make it easy to store out of sight and wheel out when you need it. The convenient 'quick buttons' on the handles make it easy to start, stop, and change the machine speed without having to fiddle with the display and the large running surface.

Pros

  • Extensive training programs
  • High max load capacity
  • Durable
  • Great display
  • Built-in speakers

Cons

  • The unit can shake slightly when jogging

2. GYMAX

GYMAX Folding Treadmill, Electric Motorized...
  • 【LCD Monitor & Preset Programs】GYMAX...
  • 【Folding & Portable】GYMAX electric...
  • 【Safety & Considerate】The folding running...
  • 【Heavy Duty】Well made running machine is...

Best treadmill under $300 for home use

Running Surface (Belt Size)

N/A

Motor Size

1 HP

Speed range

0.5 - 6.5 Mph

Incline Range

N/A

Max User Weight

220 lbs.

This machine from Gymax is another top contender for the title of best treadmill under $300 for home use. Like the Merax, it has a very nice LCD display with 12 pre-set programs to choose from and all the performance stats you want to see.

The belt is roomy enough and made with a non-slip layer that aids with grip. The shock absorption is excellent, and it does a great job of minimizing the impact on your knees. Just be aware that it comes at a fairly steep, non-adjustable incline of around 4", so if you prefer to run on a flat surface, it might not be the right choice for you.

Regarding speed, the Merax maxes out at around 6.5Mph, which should be enough for a fast jog but probably won’t be suitable for fast sprinting.

This is a foldable, compact treadmill that features a space-saving design, so it’s ideal for small spaces and garage gyms. It’s also very safe, with an emergency stop key to cut off the power if you fall and protect you from injury.

As someone who never works out without a bottle of water to hand, I also like that it comes with a cup holder. You can keep your water within reach to make it easier to stay hydrated without breaking your stride.

My biggest gripe is that the handrails are relatively low, which can make it tough to hold onto while you walk/jog if you’re a taller user. That being said, unless you have balance issues, it’s usually better to let go of the handrails once you get moving anyway, so this isn’t a huge deal.

Pros

  • Extensive training programs
  • Quiet motor
  • Compact and portable
  • Good display

Cons

  • Low handrails
  • Non-adjustable incline

3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M

On Sale Today
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual...
  • EXCELLENT CARDIO BENEFITS: This treadmill...
  • COMPACT AND ERGONOMIC: This compact,...
  • LCD MONITOR: Create goal-specific workouts...
  • NON-ELECTRIC: The treadmill's non-electric...

Best walking treadmill under $300

Running Surface (Belt Size)

42” x 13”

Motor Size

N/A

Speed range

Manual

Incline Range

13.5% fixed

Max User Weight

220 lbs.

Moving onto probably the best walking treadmill under $300, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M.

Unlike the two treadmills listed above, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M is completely manual, which means it doesn’t have a motor. Instead, you power the belt yourself by the thrust of your legs as you walk. The faster you walk, the faster the belt moves.

Manual treadmills like these are best-suited for walking workouts as it takes more energy to move the belt, and you'll need to press down more firmly. The belt itself is fixed at a fairly steep incline of 13.5% (maybe a little too steep for some people), so it’ll really build those calf muscles.

As it doesn’t run on electricity, it doesn’t need to be placed near an electric outlet, which gives you more choice on where you store it. If you’re building a garage-gym and your garage doesn’t have any outlets, a manual treadmill like this may be the way to go. At just 46.7lbs, it’s super lightweight and easy to move around.

Overall, it’s a great option if you mainly plan on using your treadmill for walking workouts, but probably not a good option if you want to jog/run.

Pros

  • Flexible placement options (non-electric)
  • Great for walking
  • Advanced LCD monitor with ‘scan’ option
  • Compact & durable
  • Ergonomic

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • Not suitable for sprinting

4. Best Choice Products

Best Choice Products 800W Folding Electric...
  • AUTOMATIC/MANUAL SPEED SETTINGS: Quickly...
  • 3 PRESET WORKOUTS: Choose between Beginner,...
  • DIGITAL DISPLAY: Track distance, speed, time,...
  • PORTABLE DESIGN: Easily folds down, and...

Best folding treadmill under $300

Running Surface (Belt Size)

N/A

Motor Size

1.2 HP

Speed range

0.5 - 7.5 Mph

Incline Range

N/A

Max User Weight

250 lbs.

Next up, we have an 800W Portable Folding Electric Motorized Treadmill Machine from Best Choice Products, and one of the best folding treadmills under $300 on the market right now.

It’s surprisingly compact and portable for a motorized treadmill. The designers have done a great job in creating a treadmill that’s easy to move around and doesn’t waste any space. It works well in limited space and folds down easily, with sturdy built-in wheels that make it easy to move from A to B.

The belt is pretty much flat, with no adjustable incline, and it has an impressive max speed of 7.5Mph. IT also has the highest max user weight of any treadmill on this list with a 250 lbs load capacity, making it suitable for big and tall users.

“This treadmill surpassed my expectations and has many extras! Price was reasonable. Loved the email with the funny video showing how easy it was to put together. That video and the treadmill sold me on this company!” 

- BCP reviewer

I also liked how convenient it is to use. The handrails are at just the right height, and it comes with not one but two cup holders plus a media shelf to hold your smartphone or tablet.

It comes in two colors: black and pink. The pink option is very feminine, so if you’re a girly-girl, you’ll love it. If you want something a little more restrained, go for the black option.

If I had to change one thing, it’d be the belt. It can slide around a little after use, and you may need to manually adjust it back to the right spot from time to time, which can be a bit of a pain. But still, it’s more of a minor inconvenience than anything else. Overall, it’s an excellent product.

Pros

  • Two color options
  • Compact and portable
  • High max weight
  • Good speed range
  • Folds neatly

Cons

  • The belt tends to slide

5. MaxKare

MaxKare Electric Treadmill Foldable 17" Wide...
  • ✅ The MaxKare Treadmill is equipped with a...
  • ✅ This MaxKare treadmill offers a super...
  • ✅ The multi-level tread belt is 43"L x 17"...
  • ✅ Its foldable design not only helps you...

Best rated running treadmill under $300

Running Surface (Belt Size)

43"L x 17" W

Motor Size

1.5 HP

Speed range

0.5 - 7.5Mph

Incline Range

1-3 degrees

Max User Weight

220 lbs.

The MaxKare Electric foldable treadmill is the best-rated running treadmill under $300 that we’ve come across. Users on Amazon consistently give this product top marks (4.5 stars based on hundreds of reviews) - and it’s easy to see why.

It boasts a powerful 1.5HP motor and both adjustable speed and incline range. The max speed gets up to 7.5Mph, so it’s suitable for both walking and running. The parts come neatly packaged, and assembly is a breeze; you can have it up and running in under half an hour.

Where the MaxKare really stands out, though, is when we look at the belt. At 17” wide, it’s the widest running surface on this list. All that extra room makes a big difference and makes it feel much more natural and safe to use as you don’t have to worry about keeping your stride narrow.

The only thing I’d say is to be mindful of the weight limit. While the hard weight limit is 220lbs, the suggested max weight is actually 186 lbs. As such, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this treadmill for big and tall users.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • Very wide running belt
  • Good reviews
  • High max speed

Cons

  • Low suggested weight limit

6. ZELUS

ZELUS Folding Treadmill for Home Gym,...
480 Reviews
ZELUS Folding Treadmill for Home Gym,...
  • ENDURA-RUN DESIGN: Built to last a lifetime,...
  • ADVANCED SAFETY FEATURES: Our anti-skid mat...
  • LED DISPLAY + DUAL SPEAKERS: A clean and...
  • RUN SMARTER: Get detailed health reports and...

Best treadmill under $300 with Bluetooth

Running Surface (Belt Size)

39.3” x 13.4”

Motor Size

N/A

Speed range

0.6 - 6 Mph

Incline Range

N/A

Max User Weight

220 lbs.

There’s a lot to love about this motorized folding treadmill from Zelus. It has many advanced features that you wouldn't usually see at this price range, including Bluetooth connectivity, integrated dual speakers, advanced safety features (anti-skid mat, safety key, emergency stop button, etc.), quick start buttons, a crisp LCD display, and more.

You can even hook it up to the included Fit Show app to get access to detailed post-workout health reports and data that’ll help you to analyze your performance. This alone makes it great for anyone who takes running seriously.

The speed range is 0.6 - 6Mph, which is a little lower than many of the other treadmills on this list and might not be enough for sprinting, but it should still be sufficient for light jogging.

The 5-layer running belt includes a compression layer, noise-absorbing layer, shock-absorbing layer, noise-insulation layer, and a non-skin layer. These layers work together to create a running surface that’s super-low impact and super quiet.

The built-in speakers sound pretty good when plugged in, and the overall look of the treadmill is very stylish. My biggest issue with the Zelus is the size of the belt. It’s definitely on the smaller side and doesn’t give you much legroom to work with. You might have to adjust your stride slightly to stay on the belt.

Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Integrated speakers
  • Fitness app included
  • Low-impact belt
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Small belt
  • No warranty

7. Fitness Reality TR1000

Fitness Reality TR1000 Manual Treadmill with...
  • 230 lbs of user weight capacity. Steel frame...
  • Incline adjustments feature quick and easy 2...
  • Treadmill belt size 43"l x 13 1/4" w. Twin...
  • Computer has an LCD display featuring elapsed...

Cheapest option

Running Surface (Belt Size)

43 x 13 ¼ Inches

Motor Size

N/A

Speed range

N/A

Incline Range

6-10 degrees

Max User Weight

230 lbs.

And last but not least, we have the Fitness Reality TR1000. At under $200, this is the cheapest option on this entire list, so if you’re working with a tighter budget, this might be the right choice for you.

As you’d expect, given the price, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that some of the other treadmills on this list have, but it does 'simple' really well. It’s very small and compact, manually operated (no motor), and holds up to 230 lbs.

You can adjust the belt's incline between 6 and 10 degrees, depending on how strenuous you want your exercise to be. The top incline level is very steep and will give your legs a good workout.

Despite being a very small treadmill, it’s very robust. The build quality is excellent, and it feels very steady to use thanks to the durable steel frame and wide rails. It’s a breeze to use, with a simple 'on and off' switch.

The LCD display is small but includes all the main stats you’ll want to see, including elapsed time, calories burned, speed, and distance walked.

Pros

  • 1-year warranty
  • Good build quality
  • Affordable
  • Small and compact

Cons

  • Small running belt
  • Only 2 incline options
  • Limited display & safety features

Different Types Of Treadmills Explained

Motorized Vs. Manual

Motorized treadmills use an electric motor to move the belt automatically. You set the belt speed and then match your running/walking speed to that speed.

Manual treadmills work differently. They don’t use a motor to power the belt. Instead, you power the belt manually with the thrust of your legs. As you walk/run and push off the belt, the magnetic resistance causes the belt to slide backward. It can feel a little disconcerting at first if you’re not used to it and can also be more tiring as you need to push your feet into the belt with a little more force.

Unlike electric treadmills, manual treadmills are mainly designed for walking exercises - they’re not suitable for fast running. On the plus side, they’re usually cheaper and more portable than their motorized counterparts.

Folding Vs. Curved

Treadmills also differ in their shape. Some treadmills are flat, whereas others are curved. Curved treadmills are usually manual and feature a curved, slatted running surface that activates more of the muscle groups in your legs, burns more calories, and puts less impact on your joints compared to flat models.

You can also find 'folding' treadmills designed to be folded up when not in use as a neat space-saving feature.

Cheap Vs. Commercial

Price makes a big difference when it comes to treadmills. Commercial treadmills are the kind you find in big gyms and have hefty price tags that are usually unaffordable for home users. They’ll typically have advanced features like in-built exercise programs, touchscreen displays, live TV and live-streamed classes, advanced tracking features, heart rate monitors, and more.

Treadmills under $300 are in the budget category. These cheaper models usually lack these more advanced features and have lower maximum speeds than commercial treadmills.


How to Safely Use a Treadmill

  • Adopt good posture
    Keep your head facing forward and avoid looking down or to the size to keep your balance. Run with good form to minimize the risk of strain
  • Limit handrail use
    The handrails are there to help you keep your balance as you get used to the machine's movement, but once you feel steady, try to let go and move your arms freely. Using the handrails for too long will put unnecessary strain on your elbows and shoulders and throw off your balance.
  • Start Slow
    Begin by straddling the deck as you start the machine. If using a motorized treadmill, take advantage of the automatic slow start feature to make sure that the belt begins moving slowly and gradually increases the pace from there.
  • Never step off a moving treadmill
    Make sure you let the machine belt come to a stop gradually by decreasing the belt speed in incremental steps. Do not step off it while the belt is still moving.
  • Always stretch first, warm-up, and cool down
    Start by stretching out your leg muscles and slowly walking on the treadmill to warm your muscles up. This will reduce the risk of injury. Once your workout is finished, cool down with a slow walk and stretch again.
  • Know your limits
    Exercise is about pushing yourself, but avoid pushing yourself too hard. Make sure you stay well-hydrated and try not to exceed 80% of your target heart rate. It’s okay to work out on a treadmill every day if it makes sense for your diet and exercise plan, but only if you're used to it. Everyone is different, so ease into it and listen to your body. 

Recommended Treadmill Exercises & Workouts

If you thought treadmills were only good for burning calories, think again. They’re not just great for weight loss; they can also help you to build muscle mass and leg strength, improve your cardiovascular endurance, tone up different muscle groups, and more. 

Below are a few ideas of different treadmill workouts you might want to try depending on your fitness goals:

Basic beginner workout (endurance training)

Note: Your comfortable pace is a speed that you can maintain for around half an hour.

  • 5-min warm-up (walk or slow jog)
  • 1-min run (1mph above your comfortable pace)
  • 1-min jog at your comfortable pace
  • 2-min run (1mph above your comfortable pace)
  • 2-min jog at your comfortable pace
  • 3-min run (1mph above your comfortable pace)
  • 3-min jog at your comfortable pace

Continue repeating this cycle until you reach fatigue, then cool down for 5 minutes (walk or slow jog).

Strength training workout

Looking to build those glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves? Try out this 20-minute treadmill strength workout

  • 5-min warm-up
  • 30-seconds squats off the treadmill
  • 1-minute 3mph walk
  • 1-minute 3mph walking lunges
  • 30 seconds sprint at max speed
  • repeat cycle from squats 2-3 times
  • 5-min incline walk to cool down
HIIT workout
  • 5-minute warm-up (walk or slow jog)
  • 1-minute jogging at a comfortable pace for you
  • 1-minute sprint (2mph faster than your comfortable jogging pace) then return to a jog
  • Repeat these  1-minute intervals 5-10 times
  • 5-minute cooldown (walk or slow jog)

Here’s a progressive interval home treadmill workout from IBX running that you can follow along with at home too.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long do budget treadmills under $300 typically last?

Budget treadmills under $300 can last anywhere from 5-10 years or more, depending on the build quality and how well you take care of it. Practice good home treadmill maintenance and use/store it safely, and it should last many years. 

What happens if you exceed the weight limit on a treadmill?

Exceeding your treadmill’s weight limit can cause the motor to burn out and damage your machine. It can also provide too much resistance and cause the belt to pulse or move more slowly.

How do I know if my treadmill speed is accurate?

You can check the speed display is accurate by calibrating the treadmill speed yourself using tape, a tape measure, a stopwatch, and a calculator. See this guide to find out how.

How many calories are burned on a treadmill?

The number of calories you burn on a treadmill per hour depends on your running speed, incline gradient, and weight. You can use this treadmill calorie calculator to input those metrics and find out for yourself.

What are the top-rated treadmill brands under $300?

Some of the top-rated treadmill brands in this price range include Merax, GYMAX, ZELUS, and Best Choice Products. We’ve included products from these brands and others in our list of the best treadmills under $300 above.

Can I buy these online even though they are large in size?

Yes, you can buy treadmills to be delivered to your home on websites like Amazon. Some sellers offer free shipping, and most products will be shipped in packages with their component parts - you may need to assemble it yourself at home.


Conclusion

That concludes this guide to the 7 best treadmills under $300. We hope you found the perfect machine for your needs and budget!

Overall, the Merax electric folding treadmill gets our vote for the best inexpensive treadmill on the market. It’s a great all-round machine that offers excellent value for money.