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This product guide was written by GearHungry Staff

Last Updated February 17, 2022

GearHungry Staff

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So you’ve decided it’s time to get back into shape but you don’t have the time or inclination to slog your way down to the gym several times a week. Nor do you want the expense or the experience of mounting the fitness equipment someone with questionable hygiene practices just dismounted. No, you want to lose that spare tire right in the comfort of your own home, and to do so you’ve decided to look at folding treadmills as a possible solution. We get you – the allure of a folding treadmill can be strong. After all, with a treadmill in your home, you don’t have to get ready and then commute to the gym in order to exercise; likewise, you can jog to your heart’s content even when it’s raining buckets outside. And, a foldable treadmill can fit just about anywhere, so even if you live in a tiny studio apartment, you’re likely to find a compact model that fits your limited space. The only problem is, you don’t really know much about folding treadmills so you’re not sure which features to look for…

Well, fear not, because our product review team has heard your call and is on the case. In this review guide, we’re going to turn our critical eye upon the folding treadmills landscape and highlight the pros and cons of those we consider to be the best. Keep in mind that any opinions expressed here are strictly those of our experts – while our testers and researchers find the models below to be sturdy, stable and great for everyday jogging, it’s still important to do your own research. Without further ado, here are some of the best folding treadmills on the market right now.

The Best Folding Treadmill

horizon 7.8 at folding treadmill

The first thing you’ll notice on the Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill are the two shelves in lieu of an in-console screen. The thought behind this is that you can use your own running program (like the Nike app or Zwift) instead of being locked into just one system. It even integrates with those apps to track and record your stats during workouts. Our tester used it mainly to watch Succession on HBO Max during his runs, though.

It’s also extremely simple to use: there are quick-change buttons on both sides of the console to adjust the speed and incline, plus buttons for controlling your music on the center of the console. It’s got two handles that extend towards the user, plus rollers on the end. The the right roller is used to control the speed, while the left one adjusts the incline. The only issue that our tester had with these is that if he’d get too close to the console, he’d hit the rollers with his flailing hands and bump up the speed or incline. There are also triggers on the handles to drop the incline and speed to zero and metal sensors in the handles if you’re not inclined to wear an HRT. The platform is also extremely cushy (but not as sweet as the nordictrack X32i, but then again, that one’s not foldable), and the 4-hp motor is very quick to make speed and incline adjustments. Overall, this is a fantastic foldable treadmill for home use that’s easy to operate and doesn’t take up much space even though it comes with a large running deck.

Key Features:

22 x 60″ running surface with 3 cushioning zones

RapidSync 4.0 CHP motor delivers 33% faster speed incline changes

Speed range from 0.5 – 12 mph

App integrations Bluetooth connectivity

Easy to store with one-step hydraulic folding

Max user weight is 375 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand HORIZON
  • Model 7.8 AT

Pros

Speed and incline changes are smooth and fast

Rugged, durable frame and cushy deck

Super-easy to use even for beginners

Has all the bells and whistles you could possibly need on a smart treadmill

Cons

Bumping into dials is fairly easy

Too large for small spaces

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As you’d expect from fitness equipment specialists, NordicTrack, their entry into the folding treadmill market has plenty going for it with all the bells and whistles you could want. It’s fitted with a powerful 2.6 CHP motor which allows you to walk, jog and also run, with a top speed of up to 10 mph achievable. That means there is plenty of scope for all levels of fitness and running ability to improve. The motor itself, while robust, is also quiet running with smooth operation so it’s ideal for a home setting.

The treadmill features a large running surface and it does take up a fair amount of space, so it’s not going to be suitable for smaller-sized apartments. It does, however, utilize FlexSelect cushioning technology, so if you are at all concerned about the impact that running can have on the joints, this will help protect them. That said, if you prefer to replicate the sensation of running on firmer ground, you can adjust the settings accordingly. Another standout feature of this particular Nordic Track model is the console. It features an impressive 20 different built-in programs and you can also access iFIT via a paid subscription delivering even more access to motivational training programs. The console itself is also iPod compatible, so you can listen to music through the built-in speakers to spur you along. If you do want to check your heart rate, you can easily do that too by merely gripping the dual CardioGrip ™ sensors on each of the handlebars. You may also like some of these amazing under desk treadmills from our list, so check them out.

Key Features:

22″ x 55″ tread belt with soft cushioning

Superb console with 20 built-in programs

Speed of up to 10 mph with an incline of up to 10%

One-touch controls adjust speed and incline

Heavy-duty drive system with 2.6 horsepower motor

Max user weight 300 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand NordicTrack
  • Model NTL17915
  • Weight 193 Pounds

Pros

Your joints will thank you for the extra-cushy running surface

The large touch screen is easy to use

Quiet operation

Cons

Could benefit from better manual and installation instructions

iFit subscription is required (but thankfully there are ways to bypass it)

weslo cadence g-5.9

The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is another outstanding portable treadmill with 2 position incline and proprietary cushioning to lessen stress on your feet through the stride. The Weslo Cadence also comes with 6 professionally designed workouts programmed in so you can easily access the one that’s right for your fitness level and goals. Best of all? It’s not super expensive and it’s compact, so perfect if you’re looking for a smaller treadmill for your apartment that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Weslo Cadence folding treadmills are sometimes called entry-level folding treadmills (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) but this one provides a range of exercise possibilities to satisfy just about everyone. The treadmill folds away easily but because it’s one of those folding treadmills that fold up vertically rather than horizontally, you’ll need to clear space in the closet for it. Still, it’s a great value that will have that spare tire melting away in short order. Aside from the 6 trainer workouts, it comes with a pulse rate sensor and LCD that tracks all your important metrics, including speed, time, calories burned, and distance. For more great quality fitness gear, check out our guide to the top curved treadmills.

Key Features:

16”x 50” tread belt with Comfort Cell cushioning

2.25 HP Drive System powers the machine, up to 10 mph

Accurate heart rate reading with Easy Pulse sensor

LCD tracks vital statistics and monitors progress

6 training programs and 2 incline levels built-in

Max user weight is 275 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand Weslo
  • Model WLTL29609
  • Weight 130.1 Pounds

Pros

Easy enough for anyone to assemble

2 incline levels to ramp up the difficulty

Folds up easily (and we mean ‘up’) with the removal of a single pin

Cons

The relatively narrow belt leaves little room for missteps

A 3-month warranty is underwhelming

xterra fitness tr150 folding treadmill

The Xterra Fitness TR150 folding treadmill is a versatile little machine that caters to virtually all fitness levels with a top speed of 10mph and three manual incline settings. There are also 12 preset programs so you can vary your workouts for more challenging, dynamic, or fun sessions. There’s a large 5-inch LCD built into the design along with an accessories and tablet holder tray. On the LCD, you can easily monitor all your crucial workout statistics, including speed, incline, time, distance, calories burnt as well as check your pulse.

With a folding deck, it’s pretty easy to assemble and store away and it also benefits from being fitted with wheels for easy transportation. It’s pretty low on electricity consumption, and while the 2.25 HP motor isn’t the most powerful on the market, it should be more than adequate for most recreational users, allowing you to walk, jog or run up to speeds of 10mph. If you suffer at all from joint issues, especially with bad knees, then this is an excellent option as it’s fitted with XtraSoft cushioning which delivers reasonable amounts of shock absorption. The deck provides a smooth running experience and the rubber belt is robust as well as being non-slip. Suitable for all fitness levels, it’s smooth, quiet and the folding deck design is quick and easy to setup. The main complaint from the customers? The machine is on the noisy side. Still a great fold-up treadmill at a budget-friendly price, and amazing addition to your collection of home gym equipment!

Key Features:

16” x 50” running surface with XtraSoft cushioning

Fitted with a reliable 2.25 HP motor, speed up to 10 mph

A simple 5” LCD display tracks important metrics

Convenient folding design with transport wheels

Accessory and tablet holder built into the design

Max. weight capacity is 250 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand XTERRA Fitness
  • Model TR150
  • Weight 114.4 Pounds

Pros

Quick and easy to assemble

Easy to fold and store, so takes up little room

Great features and construction at an even better price

Cons

Relatively noisy operation when running

No light on the dashboard

sunny health fitness sf t7603

The Sunny Health Fitness Electric Powered treadmill will be the centerpiece of your home gym or the single apparatus that helps you improve your cardiovascular health and lose unwanted pounds. While budget-friendly, this fold-away treadmill offers all the necessities for a great at-home cardio workout, and then some. The 2.2 horsepower motor provides plenty of power and if you want or need to put it away after your workout, it folds down nice and tidy.

The Sunny Health Fitness Folding Treadmill comes with a small but easy-to-read digital monitor that displays all the important information, including speed, distance, time, calories burned, pulse, program, and mode. From the wide tread to the powerful 2.2 horsepower motor to the pulse sensors in the handles and the Soft Drop folding system, this is one of those folding treadmills designed to make your jogging experience effective and hassle-free. Here are some of the best-rated elliptical machines you may be interested in, as well. Check them out.

Key Features:

49” x 16” running surface with a shock-absorption system

9 built-in workout programs for all fitness levels

Speeds of up to 9 mph with three manual incline heights

Handrails with built-in speed controls as well as pulse rate

Fitness monitor comes preloaded with nine different programs

Max user weight is 220 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand Sunny Health Fitness
  • Model SF-T7603
  • Weight 103 Pounds

Pros

Start, stop, speed and pulse are all controlled from or monitored from the control panel

Small footprint ideal for use in an apartment

9 preset workouts built-in so there’s always one for your level.

Cons

A bit noisier than some other folding treadmills

The weight capacity is on the lower end of the scale

merax electric folding treadmill

The next excellent foldable treadmill for home on our list is the Merax Electric Folding Treadmill. To begin, we take a look at how this baby is built. The folding treadmill comes with a smooth and quiet 1.5HP motor. It’s not the most intense on the list, but it’s known to be reliable and quite powerful. Assembly on this unit is hassle-free, thanks in no small part to its portable and durable build. You’ll also love the compact footprint and convenient transportation wheels, which will help you to move the treadmill easily.

While it’s small, it might not be the perfect choice for the office. The motor does make a bit of noise, making it well suited for the home but not the office. It’s also worth noting that the connectivity features on the Merax Electric Folding Treadmill are limited. While you can play music through a headphone jack, there’s no Bluetooth capability (perfectly understandable for the price). So, you’ll have to either plug your phone or flash drive-in. Just bear in mind that this could limit your movement. The all-controlling LCD screen is a plus – it shows your vitals and the calories burned per workout. This is the machine to get if you’re looking for a compact foldable treadmill for easy storage. Be sure to also browse our list of the most popular assault bikes for more amazing products like this. 

Key Features:

15.7” x 43.3” running belt with anti-slip texture

Multi-functional display with speakers

Speed range between 0.5 to 7.5 mph

1.5 HP motor with 12 programs and 3 modes

Max weight capacity is 240 pounds

Specification:

  • Brand Merax
  • Weight 64 Pounds

Pros

Quick and easy to assemble

Portable and easy to master

Very compact design, so perfect for small apartments

Cons

Slightly less powerful motor, so not suitable for sprint intervals

A small machine all-around, so not ideal for taller individuals

Why Trust Us

GearHungry’s team of gym junkies and fitness enthusiasts is always on the lookout for the best fitness gear and equipment (including the best folding treadmills) to help you stay in shape. For this guide, we relied on both testing of some folding treadmills and market research, focusing on machines that are not only easy and generally pleasant to use, but that are also compact and easy to fold up and store away when you need that extra space.

Who This Is For

This guide is for anyone wishing to boost their cardio health and stay in shape from the comfort of their home. Whether you’re trying to lose a few pounds, increase your stamina for running, or train for the next marathon, treadmills are a godsend. However, traditional treadmills also come with a large footprint so they’re not ideal for small spaces. That’s where folding, portable treadmills come in. Equipped with pretty much the same features as the standard treadmills, but much more compact and easy to store as they fold right up, folding treadmills are a great solution when every square foot of space matters.

How We Picked

To give you the very best foldable treadmills, we scoured the internet for reasonably priced and efficient best-rated foldable treadmill models. We also talked with our in-house testers who’ve let us know which models to pay attention to and which ones to avoid. Our main focus was on budget-friendly machines, but we did include a couple of pricier models for those looking for all the bells and whistles of modern folding treadmills.

How We Tested

One of our in-house testers has been using the Horizon 7.8 AT for months, so he let us know about the pros and (very few) cons of this particular machine. The rest of the treadmills were not tested but each one was vetted for safety, performance, and ease of use.

exercising on a treadmill

Features To Look For In Folding Treadmills

Finding the perfect folding treadmill for your needs need not be challenging or overwhelming if you first consider a couple of key factors. We’re quickly going to run you through our recommendations on what to look out for before you invest in a new treadmill.

Purpose - Do you want to run or just walk, gently jog, or do sprint interval training? Be careful not to purchase a treadmill that ends up being too limiting for your ongoing fitness needs. Budget treadmills may well be perfectly adequate if you just want to walk or jog at home to keep yourself mobile but if you have any specific or advanced training needs, carefully consider the features, especially the speed, that your treadmill can support.

Budget - Always an important consideration. Try not to get too carried away and remember that what’s most important is that you invest in a treadmill that’s right for your needs specifically. If you buy something too sophisticated and overly complicated you may end up never using it and certainly not making the most of those bells and whistles features that you paid for.

Space available - Next, ask yourself where you’re going to be positioning your treadmill and the physical amount of space and footprint at your disposal. Treadmills can be huge to accommodate for a longer stride length, or more compact in design. So take into account your own height and physicality, as well as your fitness level and the space available to place your treadmill. If it's not going to be used daily and needs to be stored away, consider where you’ll be storing it (under a bed, in a closet) and make sure that it folds appropriately.

Running surface area - The longer the running deck, the bigger the machine will be overall but the better suited it will be to someone with a longer stride pattern. You will be surprised just how much of an impact it can have on your running style and enjoyment having just a few extra inches of deck to play with.

Motor size - The more powerful the motor, the more durable the treadmill will be and the better it will perform at those higher speeds. If you want to run and sprint rather than leisurely jog, pay attention to the performance of the motor.

Technology and connectivity - Do you want access to training apps via Bluetooth so that you can track, monitor and share your workouts? What size screen do you require and how sophisticated do the controls and information it displays have to be? You can get everything from a large touchscreen with integrated USB ports and heart rate monitoring to a basic small screen that simply records distance and time. The level of technology you require will be a personal preference.

Construction quality - It goes without saying that you should invest in something that will stand the test of time and has been durably constructed with high-quality moving and stationary parts. Look for a treadmill that has a functional weight capacity, requires minimal maintenance and comes with a good manufacturer’s warranty.

woman training on treadmill

Folding Treadmill FAQ

Q: Why invest in a treadmill?

A: By having access to a treadmill at home, you can avoid the cost and the overcrowding that frequently happens at popular gyms and avoid having to run outside in all sorts of inclement weather. Treadmills are more versatile than you might first have imagined and can be used to switch up your workouts going from a gentle warm-up to using them as part of high interval training with sprint bursts. There’s nothing that quite gets the heart pumping better than a session on a cardio machine and a treadmill is an excellent example of a piece of fitness equipment that’s fun, challenging, safe, and also offers plenty of progression and versatility.

Q: How do I fold my treadmill?

A: You will need to refer to your manufacturer's guidelines. Generally speaking, there are two styles of folding treadmills available - horizontal or vertical. Decide whether you’d prefer one that you can store upright in a closet or conveniently slide under your bed. While each will have slightly different operating mechanisms, they are for the large part straightforward and somewhat self-explanatory. If at all in doubt, consult your instruction booklet which should provide you with comprehensive instructions.

Q: How should I maintain my treadmill?

A: We recommend that you get into a good habit of routinely maintaining your treadmill, especially if you use it frequently. We’d suggest that you keep the conveyor belt free of dust and debris to ensure that it always runs smoothly. It may require periodically lubricating to keep it in optimal working order.

Each time you use your treadmill, it’s a good idea to wipe it over with a damp cloth, to remove any sweat that might subsequently lead to corrosion. Also, clean up any sweat that might have dripped onto the belt which might lead to injuries caused by slipping.

Weekly, give your entire treadmill a thorough clean with a damp, clean cloth, paying attention also to the electronic display and all the surfaces to ensure that they are dust and debris-free.

Monthly maintenance is also recommendable which should include unplugging and powering down your machine so that you can check that all the moving parts are still in good working order and that no dust or dirt has accumulated inside your motor.

Sources:

  1. Three Reasons To Try The Treadmill – Winchester Hospital
  2. How To Choose And Use A Treadmill – Arthritis Foundation

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