Short on space, but still want a treadmill? You’re in luck; a folding treadmill is a space-savvy solution.
Folding treadmills are pared-down versions of regular treadmills that can be tucked beneath furniture or inside closets. These portable machines often have wheels or handles to make moving them even easier. As an added perk, folding treadmills tend to be more affordable than full-size machines.
Need help finding a folding treadmill? Take a look at our buying guide to get started. We’re also sharing our favorite folding treadmills at the end, including NordicTrack T Series Treadmill, which has easy, one-touch incline control.
What to know before you buy a folding treadmill
Folding treadmill sizes
Folding treadmills take up much less space than regular treadmills, both during use and in storage.
When in use, folding treadmills have an average footprint of approximately 30 by 75 inches. They aren’t as high off the ground as regular treadmills, but you’ll still need to account for a few inches of overhead clearance.
Folding treadmills are designed to fit beneath or behind furniture. Many models fold into compact configurations that measure 8 inches or less in width. However, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule among folding treadmills and you’ll find several models that are thinner or thicker when folded.
Folding treadmill speeds
Affordable and mid-range folding treadmills typically have top speeds of 6 mph. In contrast, more expensive models peak at 10-12 mph.
Folding treadmills are often geared toward people interested in casual or low-impact exercise. If you’re looking for an intense cardio workout, a regular treadmill will better serve you.
Folding treadmill weight limits
Folding treadmills are built differently than regular treadmills. Their pared-down designs also mean they tend to have lower weight capacities. Some entry-level folding treadmills can accommodate 220 pounds, and more expensive models peak at 300 pounds.
Folding treadmill portability
All folding treadmills are designed to be portable but some are easier to move than others. Most have handlebars or side rails that seamlessly fold into the walking platform. Specific models have one-touch mechanisms that make folding quick and easy. Also, many folding treadmills have wheels or handles.
What to look for in a quality folding treadmill
A few folding treadmills are designed with enhanced shock absorption to be gentler on joints. These models often have cushioned walking platforms that are covered in shock-absorbent materials like neoprene or rubber. As a bonus, these materials contribute to quieter operation.
Basic folding treadmills lack incline, which means they only offer one level for walking. You’ll need to look to mid-range and premium machines if you prefer incline controls. Some folding treadmills offer a couple incline levels, whereas others offer customizable inclines up to 10% grade.
If you’d like to stream media or workouts, invest in a folding treadmill with built-in Bluetooth speakers. Keep in mind these speakers won’t offer the rich sound offered by standalone speakers or soundbars. For that reason, many consumers opt for separate speakers, headphones or earbuds for better sound quality during their workouts.
Most mid-range and premium folding treadmills are equipped with presets or programs. These settings streamline your workouts by eliminating the need to manually adjust incline, duration or speed. A few models also have quick-training programs in which users can enjoy optimized 15- or 20-minute workouts.
How much you can expect to spend on a folding treadmill
Lightweight folding treadmills geared toward casual walking cost $300 or less. Mid-range models with unique features like Bluetooth or incline controls run closer to $400. The most expensive folding treadmills, geared toward performance use, run as high as $500-$900.
Folding treadmill FAQ
Do folding treadmills have warranties?
A. Folding treadmill warranties range from 90 days to 10 years. Most manufacturers offer separate warranties on the frame, parts and labor, which are detailed in the user manual. Some treadmills are eligible for extended warranties when you purchase additional coverage.
Do I need to buy a folding treadmill with side rails?
A. It’s not necessary, but some users appreciate the rails for stability and balance. Rails can also help some users find their footing when they step onto the walking platform. Other people simply enjoy having a side rail so they can hang a towel over them.
What’s the best folding treadmill to buy?
Top folding treadmill
What you need to know: This well-built machine from a trusted brand is equipped with many premium features seen in regular treadmills.
What you’ll love: Easy, one-touch incline control. Has an auxiliary port and dual speakers so you can enjoy media. Comes with an introductory iFit membership with access to engaging training programs.
What you should consider: Weight limit is 300 pounds. One of the more expensive options on the market.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top folding treadmill for the money
What you need to know: An affordable option that earns praise for its modern-minded dashboard design.
What you’ll love: Large, backlit LCD displays are easy to read. Dashboard has a user-friendly design and a device dock. Soft-drop folding mechanism makes the treadmill easy to move.
What you should consider: Fairly low weight capacity at 220 pounds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The trim design of this folding treadmill makes it a favorite for apartment or dorm living.
What you’ll love: Built-in Bluetooth speaker streams media. Has a simple LCD display and a device dock. Operates more quietly than other folding treadmills. Running platform has an anti-skid design.
What you should consider: Doesn’t have side rails.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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