Best Folding Treadmills
Last Updated: February 18, 2021
A folding treadmill may seem like an obvious choice if you’re short on space or generally have a habit of keeping things tucked away. With the plethora of folding models available from top manufacturers, it is indeed possible to find a good space-saving machine that fits your budget.
However, many compact treadmills may not be reliable enough to make them a worthwhile purchase. Here are some top folding treadmill models we recommend along with some pro tips on how to select the right one for you.
1. NordicTrack Commercial 1750
This classic treadmill model by NordicTrack may not be one of their latest or most innovative machines, but it certainly is a combination of all the basic features for comfort, durability, and convenience.
The latest upgrade of this budget-friendly treadmill offers a powerful 3.75 CHP motor, 10-inch HD touchscreen, optional cushioning, 15 levels of incline, iFit-readiness along with free membership of the app for a year, built-in workouts, a great audio system, and so much more. The Commercial 1750 runs smoothly and folds with hydraulic technology to save you the trouble.
2. Sole F80
This one is another solid choice for a folding treadmill, having a 3.5 CHP motor that is built to last along with a great running deck cushioning system for comfortable workouts. Its 15 levels of incline, 9-inch touchscreen, customized workout options, Bluetooth speakers, and great value make it a reasonable purchase that can give you years of good use.
The folding option on the F80 is automatic, needing just the flip of a switch for the deck to fold upwards.
3. Horizon 7.8 AT
The Horizon 7.8 AT is one of the latest models offered by its manufacturer, being launched only in October 2019. Its full-color 9.3-inch display is one of its major attractions, as are the efficient HIIT-friendly features incorporated into it.
The treadmill also includes a Bluetooth wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring. It is able to conveniently fold up too, but unlike the previous two models, you might find it a bit pricier, considering the somewhat limited features it offers.
Choosing the Best Folding Treadmill for You & Your Needs
Of course, not one treadmill can suit everybody. There’s the amount of space to consider, your budget, and all the features you expect your machine to have. All of this can vary from person to person.
Folding treadmills are available at a range of different prices starting from below $1000 to over $3000. We recommend you to start your search from those costing at least $800 since that’s where we start to see better quality machines.
Treadmills vary in durability, strength, noiselessness, dimensions, and a host of other features. If you’re going for a low-budget treadmill, it’s likely that you will have to compromise on some qualities. To start with, you should set your priorities about the features you value most in a treadmill so that you can choose the best one for yourself.
A few of the most important considerations:
Is It Portable?
Treadmills are solid structures, so you can’t just expect one to be easy to transport or even relocate around the house. While most folding treadmills do have wheels, the fact remains that they weigh around 250 to 300 pounds, and sometimes even more.
Checking out a treadmill’s weight and dimensions from reviews or from the manufacturer is recommended before you buy one. You will need some inches of extra space in the area you have allotted for your machine to ensure safe and comfortable workouts. About 8 inches of clearance, especially at the back of the treadmill is necessary. Keep that in mind.
Is It Built to Last?
Folding treadmills vary in durability, similar to regular non-folding ones. The differences in the quality of their parts and structure can determine how long they can go without causing you problems.
Here are some useful indicators of predicting the durability of a treadmill:
- A parts warranty can tell you a lot about what to expect from a machine. Lifetime warranty on frame and motor is common in folding treadmills, but one year or less on parts often implies treadmills that aren’t too durable.
- The maximum user weight can also hint towards durability. A 250 pounds or less weight limit usually comes with lower quality treadmills while solid ones may allow as much as 400 pounds.
- The roller size is another indicator of durability. Rollers of greater diameter (around 3 inches) are much better at preventing wear and tear of the tread belt than smaller rollers of 1.5 inches or so. Some manufacturers incorporate smaller rollers in folding treadmills to add to their compact design, but we don’t support this compromise.
Is the Motor Powerful Enough?
This varies according to your own workout plans, i.e. whether your treadmill will be used for walking, jogging or running. Home treadmill motors range from 2.25 CHP to 4 CHP or even higher. While a 2.5 CHP model can work fine if you don’t plan on speeding up, we recommend at least 3.0 CHP or above for a motor that can support running as well.
Cheap motors with lower CHP values may cause a lot of problems like rough functioning especially when you switch between speeds, overheating, emitting a burning smell, or ceasing to work at all.
Is It too Noisy?
Nobody loves a treadmill that thuds at every step. Home treadmills should be quiet, especially if you are living in a shared space and also for your own peace when working out. There are many machines available with noise-reducing technology, but be prepared to pay extra bucks for those!
Here are some indicators of how quiet a treadmill might actually be:
- The belt thickness can affect the noisiness of a treadmill to a considerable degree. It affects how quietly the belt moves with each step. Thin one-ply tread belts are noisier than the two-ply, thicker ones present on higher-quality machines.
- The roller size – bigger roller diameter equals less noise.
- Cushioning system – eg. shock-absorption technology contributes to minimizing sound. You should value this feature also for joint health and impact reduction on your back.
Any Additional Workout Features?
There shouldn’t be much of a difference between the workout options on folding and non-folding treadmills unless the folding treadmill you are considering is a particularly cheap one. The more you spend on a reputable branded treadmill, the more features there will be for you to enjoy.
Top-of-the-line treadmills may offer large console screens with internet browsers and iFit compatibility. Mid-range treadmills may have smaller screens that come iFit-ready but need a tablet for you to browse the internet as you work out. Many may just offer a simple LCD display of your workout stats. There are a lot of possibilities and combinations of these features available at different prices.
Built-in workout routines are also part of certain treadmills, as are incline levels on many from 10% to 20%, maximizing calorie burn while providing lower-body resistance training at the same time.
Features of convenience and comfort to look out for include charging ports, accessory trays, Bluetooth speakers, heart rate monitoring, and cooling fans.
Now that you know what to expect from a good quality folding treadmill, you can make a suitable purchase confidently. They don’t come cheap anyway, so a little research can go a long way in giving you some healthy, problem-free years ahead!