Best Folding Treadmills

Compact and reliable are two traits that don’t always go hand-in-hand when it comes to folding treadmills, but we have chosen durable models that are designed with innovative folding features and a reliable, sturdy frame. These treadmills are ideal for in-home use where space is a concern, and you won’t compromise reliability for convenience.


NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Review

The new 1750 model is not only super convenient with it's easy space saving design; it's also designed with an impressive 7-inch smart HD touchscreen display, 38 built-in workout programs and… Read More

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Sole F80 Review

Roomy and powerful are two words to describe Sole’s new F80 folding treadmill. With a spacious 60" x 22" running area and 3.5 CHP motor, this model offers a very comfortable… Read More

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ProForm PRO 2000 Review

While other models might compromise functionality for convenience, this model does not. Despite a folding frame design, this treadmill still features an impressive 15% incline and -3% decline option. Also featured… Read More

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Tips for Choosing a Folding Treadmill

Folding treadmills are priced from under $1,000 to more than $3,000. They vary widely in quality. The cheapest folding treadmills tend to be risky buys, but those priced at $799 and up can provide their money's worth in workout sessions. Ask yourself this question: Is it most important that the treadmill be portable, long-lasting, powerful, quiet or feature-rich? In higher price categories you can "have it all," but with cheaper folding treadmills you'll need to find an area of compromise. Here are some qualities to consider.

Portability

Almost all folding treadmills have wheels, but some machines are more portable than others. This is mainly because of weight. Some of the highest quality folding treadmills weigh more than 200 pounds, so they're not exactly grab-and-go fitness equipment. For many shoppers the best folding treadmill can be used and stored in the same room. Treadmill weights and dimensions are provided on manufacturers' websites and in our treadmill reviews. When calculating whether a cardio machine will fit your workout area, remember to add several inches of clearance on the sides and about 8" or more at the back.

Durability

Just like non-folding home treadmills, modern folding treadmills are built to a wide range of durability standards. Here are a few tips about judging a folding treadmill's likelihood of lasting a long time.
  • Usually the parts warranty is a good indicator of durability. While most folding treadmills have lifetime frame and motor warranties, the not-so-durable models have just one-year (or shorter) parts warranties.
  • The machine's user weight capacity is a clue about durability. The less durable folding treadmills tend to have maximum weight capacities of about 225 or 250 pounds. Others are akin to club-quality treadmills and can safely support up to 400 pounds.
  • The diameter of the treadmill's track rollers contributes a good deal to durability too. Some brands reduce roller size to make folding treadmills more compact, and we don't like the trade-off! The smaller the rollers, the more quickly the tread belt will show signs of wear. Roller size ranges from about 1.5" on super-cheap treadmills to 3" and larger on club-quality treadmills.

Horsepower

Motor power is a common area of compromise for cheaper folding treadmills. We recommend choosing a treadmill with at least 2.5 CHP for walking. If you want a folding treadmill for running, then opt for one with at least 3.0 CHP. Motors with lower power might not perform smoothly, particularly when you change speeds during a workout. Horsepower is a factor in treadmill durability too; cheap motors are prone to getting hot, emitting the smell of wiring being toasted, and then not working at all.

Quiet Operation

Most shoppers would of course prefer a quiet treadmill over a noisy treadmill. Generally the noise is reduced as the price goes up. Some treadmills are even accurately described as "whisper quiet." Here are a few qualities that influence quiet operation.
  • Track roller size is a key contributor to a treadmill's noise level. When rollers are larger, treadmill belts can run more quietly.
  • A treadmill belt's material and thickness influence how quietly it moves with exercise. Treadmill belts or tracks are made from a variety of materials such as rubber, PVC and silicone. Some folding treadmills have belts comprised of cheap material and are rather thin, just one-ply. Others are made of high quality materials and are two-ply.
  • Deck cushioning deflects shock from exercise. Besides absorbing impact from each landing, the deck can absorb sound to help keep the peace at home. The best folding treadmills have the same sound absorbing capacity as non-folding treadmills.

Workout Programming and Special Features

The best folding treadmills today are equipped with the same workout programming and special features as their non-folding counterparts. Very cheap folding treadmills in contrast sometimes fall short. Here are some key points to keep in mind while shopping.
  • Depending on the brand and price tier, a good folding treadmill can run anywhere from several workout programs to infinite workout routines. Infinite programming is a benefit of cardio machines with iFit.
  • A favorite among the non-essential treadmill features is an incline. Training on an incline or ramp adds challenge to exercise and helps simulate outdoor routes. A typical maximum incline setting for a folding treadmill is 10 percent to 15 percent. For extra-steep inclines up to 40 percent, shoppers choose incline trainers instead. These alternatives to treadmills aren't necessarily foldable but they're relatively compact.
  • Other features you can expect on mid-level and better folding treadmills are iPod compatibility, tablet computer holders, water bottle holders and cooling fans.

Best Folding Treadmills: The Rundown

ModelRatingPriceLowest Price
NordicTrack Commercial 1750 5-starsUnder $1,500See best price »
Sole F80 5-starsUnder $1,500See best price »
ProForm PRO 2000 5-starsUnder $1,500See best price »

The Takeaway

Shoppers for folding treadmills need to know that manufacturers sometimes make compromises when producing compact fitness machines, but good values are available at all quality levels. Read through some treadmill reviews and be sure to know the specs and customer protections for a particular treadmill model before you buy.
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