The budget treadmill market can be a dangerous place to go. It is littered with inferior quality machines that are ineffective, inefficient and often downright dangerous. That’s why it pays to do your homework. We’ve done ours and found a budget priced treadmill that stands out from the crowd – the Weslo Cadence R 5.2.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 home gym treadmill is a decent beginner / intermediate use machine. It is more powerful than you generally find at this price point and features good underfoot cushioning. However, it is limited by its short running bed length, maximum speed of 10 mph and light design. As a result, it is not recommended for people who are wanting to do high-intensity interval training or who are experienced runners.
Before you invest in the 5.2, we suggest checking out the Weslo Cadence 5.9. This machine pretty matches the 5.2 feature for feature yet comes in at a considerably cheaper price point.
Weslo Cadence 5.2 Pros
- Six built-in workout programs
- Comfort cell cushioning
- 2.5 CHP motor
- Foldable design
- Quickspeed control
Weslo Cadence 5.2 Cons
- Limited running track
- Lack of overall rigidity
- Manual incline with just 2 settings
Comfort Cell Cushioning
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 features Weslo’s patented comfort sell cushioning. This technology provides extra cushioning to absorb the impact of every step that you take on the running belt. That makes this a smart choice for people who have concerns with their ankle, hip or knee joints. It also allows you to run longer without suffering from any joint pain.
6 Workout Programs
You don’t generally find a lot of pre-programmed workout programs on treadmills that run under five hundred dollars. So, the fact that the Weslo Cadence 5.2 offers six of them is pretty impressive. You get three weight loss and three intensity training programs. The workouts range in length from twenty to forty minutes. So, if you take one day off a week, you’ve got a different program for every training day, which is a great way to keep you from getting bored.
2.5 CHP Motor
The majority of treadmills in the under $500 range lack the power to provide you with anything approaching a decent workout. The Weslo Cadence 5.2 comes with a 2.5 CHP motor, which is larger than you find on most competing models. It allows you to achieve a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour, which is sufficient to provide most people with a satisfying workout.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 features a quick-speed control which allows you to move to your desired speed with the single touch of a button. This is a great feature for people who are adjusting speeds throughout the workout and not something that you would expect to find on a treadmill in the budget range.
The console on the 5.2 provides you with an easy to view readouts of your vital training diagnostics. These include your speed, time, distance, calories burned and heart rate. The console is easy to use and responsive. However, as with the vast majority of treadmills in the budget category, the heart rate monitor, which uses a hand sensor, is quite unreliable.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 has a foldable design that allows you to easily pack it up for convenient storage when you’re not using it. This machine is also relatively easy to assemble (you should be able to do it in less than an hour).
What’s Not So Impressive
Limited Running Track
The running track on the Weslo Cadence 5.2 measures 50 inches. This is pretty standard in the budget market but is quite limiting. More expensive models will provide you with at least an extra ten inches. That makes the cadence 5.2 problematic for taller people who probably won’t be able to achieve a full and natural stride length.
The width of the running bed is also a bit of a problem. At just 16 inches this does not provide you with very much room for lateral movement. As a result, you may feel a little constricted in your natural walking or running gait.
The 5.2 does provide you with incline options but you can only adjust it to two positions. In addition, there is no auto incline function. This means that you have to manually adjust the incline, which requires you to get off the treadmill and make the adjustment. The actual adjustment is pretty simple but you really don’t want to have to interrupt your workout to make the change.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 is not the sturdiest of treadmills that we have seen in the budget category. It has a 250-pound maximum user capacity which is not too bad. However, if you try to increase your running pace beyond around 7 miles per hour, you will experience some shaking and lateral movement that could be a little disconcerting.
Icon Fitness and Health provide you with a pretty standard warranty that you would expect on a budget treadmill. You get one year on the motor and 90 days on both parts and labor.
Who is Weslo?
You may not be familiar with the Weslo brand. They are one of a bunch of fitness brands that come under the umbrella of Icon Fitness and Health. Other brands in this stable include Weider Health and Fitness, ProForm, NordicTrack and Healthrider. Icon is an established fitness marketplace leader, being in business since 1977. The company’s mission statement is to be ‘first in fitness’ and they are especially known for producing high-quality home gym gear at budget prices.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 is a good choice for beginners or intermediate users who are looking for a light cardio workout. It’s not for tall users or those who are wanting to do some high intensity interval training. We are impressed that it comes with six built-in workout programs but not so much by the manual incline, short running track and lack of overall stability.
Weslo Cadence 5.2 Competitors
Merit Fitness 715T Plus
The Merit Fitness 715T Plus is another budget home use treadmill that offers some features that you wouldn’t expect in this price range. It has a 2.5 THP motor, which equates to 1.5 CHP. This is not as powerful as the Weslo Cadence 5.2, however it does provide the same top speed of 10 miles per hour.
The frame of the Merit Fitness 715T Plus is more sturdy that you get with the Cadence 5.2. It feels more solid when you use the machine at top speed. It has the same maximum user weight of 250 pounds and can be easily moved round with its transportation wheels.
The Merit 715T Plus features the company’s Aero Soft cushioning system which provides you with an underfoot cushioning effect which matches the comfort cell cushioning thst you get from Weslo.
The running belt on the Merit 715T Plus has dimensions of 18 x 47 inches. This is a little wider but not quite as long as the belt that you get with the Weslo Cadence 5.2. Considering that the 5.2 is going to be challenging for taller people, the length on this machine’s running belt is a bit of a problem.
You get four pre-set programs with this treadmill. That is two less than you get with the Cadence 5.2. The incline allows for three positions, which is one more than the Weslo Cadence 5.2. However, it still requires manual setting that requires that you get off the running track.
While still an impressive machine for the price, the Merit 715T Plus is too limiting in terms of its running track length for serious use. The extra two programs and one xtra CHP motor power are extra reasons to opt for Weslo.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-T4400 Treadmill
The Sunny SF-T4400 is a stylish, sturdy machine that is designed for lighter home use. It provides you with a 2.2 HP motor that allows for a max speed of 9 miles per hour, which is a mile less than the Cadence 5.2. Speed increments ae provided in lots of 0.1 km.
The SF-T4400 provides you with a 3-angle incline, with the top angle at 4 degrees. However, you still need to manually adjust the incline, just like virtually every other budget treadmill out there. You can control the speed on the handrails.
The running belt dimensions are 15.75 inches wide by 48.8inches in length. This is the major drawback with this treadmill. It is simply too narrow and too short to allow most people to get a natural stride length, especially when they are stepping up the pace.
The SF-T4400 has an easy to read display console. It gives you 9 pre-set workout programs, which is very impressive for a treadmill at this price range. The readout will allow you to constantly monitor your speed, distance, time, calories and heart rate.
This machine features a soft drop mechanism that allows you to safely and easily fold up the machine for easy storage. Built-in transportation wheels make it easy to move the treadmill around.
Even though the SF-T440 provides you with more programs and more incline options than the Weslo Cadence 5.2, its lack of space on the running belt is a major problem. For that reason, we recommend that you go with Weslo.
The Weslo Cadence 5.2 is an impressive budget treadmill that is ideal for light home use. It has a bigger running belt than the others we have considered and provides six workout programs. However, Weslo also put out the Cadence 5.9 which matches the 5.2 precisely, apart from the fact that its motor is 2.25 CHP compared to 2.5 CHP. Because the 5.9 is considerably less expensive, we recommend that you go with this option.