Nihango!

The Treadmill Sensei gets a lot of questions about cheap treadmills. I get asked about the best treadmill under $1000. I get asked about the best treadmill under $800. I even get asked about the best treadmill under $400! The problem with the lower end treadmills, especially as you get down in to the $500 and $400 treadmill range (and definitely once you get below $400) is that the quality just isn’t there. Most of those treadmills just turn in to a huge waste of money as you begin to pile clothing on the unused machine, or as you begin to plan a yard sale just to get rid of the thing.

I would love to be able to tell you the name of a treadmill that is going to hold up as well as the higher priced once and still cost only a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately, such miracle treadmills do not exist. As with anything, you get what you pay for. If you’re just looking to spend as little as possible in order to get a treadmill, then it’s not going to be something you’ll actually use. When you put such a low price on something that you are supposedly buying to improve your health and lifestyle, then it’s not something you are actually putting any effort in to and your results will echo that. You get what you pay for with a cheap treadmill and you’d be better off investing in some good shoes to go walking in.

On the bright side, when you move your price point up just a little bit, there are some decent options in the $599 range. One such product is the HealthTrainer HT502T by Keys. Now, in spite of their bad reputation amoung retailers (they tend to be a bit difficult to deal with) they do make some pretty darn equipment in the under $1000 fitness equipment arena. The HealthTrainer HT502T treadmill is no exception.

The reviews on these lower end units tend to be a bit difficult to right because I have to keep in mind what else is available for this price and what the features are in comparison to them…but I also need to rate the HealthTrainer HT502T honestly as a 20+ year service tech.

Let’s start with the Pros:

The price on the HealthTrainer can’t be beat. They run for about $599 with free shipping from most online retailers. For the features, this is definitely one of the most robust treadmills at this price point.

The Keys HealthTrainer HT502T is actually very sturdy as well. It weighs in at just under 200 pounds and have a 250 pound maximum weight capacity. The HT502T treadmills will hold up to moderate works up fairly well. If you do a lot of walking or light jogging, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Keys HealthTrainer.

The 2 horsepower motor is an average one for a low end treadmill. It’s a tad too small and runs a tad high in the RPM department (meaning it runs hot and can be prone to more breakdowns than a larger, lower RPM treadmill), but, it has good power and you shouldn’t have much in the way of slippage or unexpected speeds changes as long as you keep your workouts from getting too heavy.

The HealthTrainer HT502T treadmill has a top speed of 10 MPH and a 10 degree incline. It’s also got a decent 9 different programs and includes heart rate monitor…something not found often in these lower priced units.

And now the Cons:

Even tho it is good for the price, the motor on the Keys HealthTrainer HT502T really is too small and too over accelerated. If they get a larger motor running at a lower RPM then the treadmill would last a lot longer. As it is, I’d estimate the average lifespan of a HealthTrainer HT502T motor to be around 3 years.

The belt size on the HT502t Treadmill is also a bit small (again, it’s around average for this price range) at 51×18. It’s going to be decent for walking or light jogging but, unless you work at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you’re not going to be able to run on it.

Going along with the belt, the roller size is pretty small at 1.8 inches. This will lead to a shortened life for both the treadmill’s belt and deck.

Finally, the warranty. The 1 year parts, 90 days labor warranty is just plain sad. If you do buy a Keys HealthTrainer HT502T treadmill, I’d suggested getting an extended warranty to help keep the machine running for as long as possible. A 3 year warranty from most retailers will run you another $100 and might be worth looking in to.

Final thoughts on the HealthTrainer HT502T treadmill from Keys are: it’s not a miracle machine that is going to solve all of your workout problems, but it is a solid machine that is worth the price. It shines at a price point where everything else tends to stink. For not completely sucking, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Keys HealthTrainer HT502T treadmill 3 golden buddahs out of 5.

Yay! The HealthTrainer HT502T is a $600 treadmill that doesn't blow chunks!
The HealthTrainer HT502T gets a 3 out of 5 gold buddahs.

HealthTrainer Treadmill HT502t Specifications
Horsepower: 2.0
Motor Rating: Continuous Duty
Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 lbs.
Folding: Yes: shock assisted
Maximum Speed: 10 mph
Maximum Incline: 10%
Heart Rate Monitoring: Yes
Programs: 9; 3 pre-set, 6 custom
Display Type: 4-window LCD
Display Readouts: Incline, calories, distance, time, interval time, speed
Grade: Residential
Roller Size: 1.8″
Running Area: 51″x18″

-The Treadmill Sensei
http://www.treadmillsensei.com