Best Folding Treadmill 2020: Treadmills for Small Spaces & Home Use

#1 Pick

Best Overall Folding Treadmill

Horizon 7.8 AT folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

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  • Exceptional motor (4.0 CHP with Rapid Sync Technology)
  • Handy QuickDial controls for speed and incline
  • Fast response – perfect for HIIT workouts
  • Syncs with training programs on various fitness apps

Best Treadmill for Long Runs

NordicTrack Commercial 1750

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

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  • Quiet powerful motor (3.75 CHP)
  • 10 inch full HD touchscreen
  • 15% incline and -3% decline
  • Cushion Flex Whisper Deck tread belt

Great Value for Money

LifeSpan TR3000i folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

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  • Easy setup
  • Known company with good customer service
  • Great warranty cover
  • Compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit
  • 38 Treadmill Workouts

Exercising at home is one of the biggest trends of the year. Avoiding bad weather, steering clear of crowds, and working out in your pajamas are just a few of the reasons to get fit. Plus, with the coronavirus pandemic these days, it might be wise to take a break from the gym. While a mat and some weights are sufficient for light toning, there is nothing like a sweat-inducing and heart-pumping cardio session to burn calories, lose weight, and improve your overall health.

Enter the most popular home exercise equipment – the treadmill. Treadmills are great for squeezing in a walk or a run from the comfort of your home. A more recent invention is the folding treadmill. Perfect for those living in small homes, a good folding treadmill gives you all the perks of a regular treadmill while taking up less space. It is easily folded and tucked away after use.

There are a few factors to think about when purchasing a folding treadmill. In this article, a brief buying guide takes you through these elements. Before that, let’s start by looking at some of the most popular folding treadmills, starting with basic entry-level models and going on to more serious fitness-focused treadmills.

Side-by-side product comparison - specifications & features

ImageProductPriceRatingWeight CapacityMotor PowerConsoleMax SpeedRunning DeckWarranty
Horizon 7.8 folding treadmillHorizon 7.8 AT$$$$$4.75350 lbs4.0 CHPFull color 9.3" LED display12 mph22" x 60"Frame and motor: lifetime warranty
Parts: 5 years Labor: 2 years
Nordictrack 1750 folding treadmillNordicTrack Commercial 1750$$$$4.75300 lbs3.8 CHP 10" HD touchscreen12 mph22" x 60"Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years Labor: 1 year
LifeSpan TR3000i folding treadmillLifeSpan TR3000i$$$4.5350 lbs2.75 CHP7” full-color touchscreen12 mph20" x 56"Frame & motor: lifetime warranty
Parts: 5 years Labor: 2 years
Sole Fitness F80 folding deskSole F80 Treadmill$$$$4.5375 lbs3.5 CHP 9.0" LCD display12 mph22" x 60"Frame, motor, deck: lifetime warranty
Parts: 5 years Labor: 2 years
ProForm Pro 2000 folding treadmillProForm Smart Pro 2000$$$4.5300 lbs3.5 CHP 7" Smart HD touchscreen12 mph22" x 60"Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years Labor: 1 year
Nordictrack 6.5S folding treadmillNordic Track 6.5S$$4.25300 lbs2.6 CHP 5" Backlit Display10 mph22" x 55"Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years Labor: 1 year
XTerra TR150 folding treadmillXTERRA Fitness TR150$4250 lbs2.25 HP 5" LCD display10 mph16" x 50"Motor: 1 year
Deck, Parts, Labor: 90 days

A list of the best folding treadmills

#1

Best Overall Folding Treadmill

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Horizon 7.8 AT folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

For fitness enthusiasts who are seeking a powerful folding treadmill, the Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill is an excellent choice. This is a treadmill designed for running and interval training. It is powered by a 4.0 CHP motor that gives you a smooth running experience at speeds of up to 12 mph.

Pros

  • Exceptional motor (4.0 CHP with Rapid Sync Technology)
  • Handy QuickDial controls for speed and incline
  • Fast response – perfect for HIIT workouts
  • Syncs with training programs on various fitness apps

Cons

  • High price
  • Lacks a decline feature (only has incline)

The incline ranges from 0 to 15%. To change speed and incline, the treadmill is fitted with two QuickDial controls. These controls are on the left and right of the treadmill, are easy to reach and even easier to adjust without looking as you run. The right control can be rolled forward and backwards to adjust speed, while the left control adjusts the incline.

Many treadmills take time to change speeds. While that is fine for beginners, for serious interval training, the lag can be frustrating. The Horizon 7.8 circumvents this by using Rapid Sync Technology in its motor, enabling it to respond to changes in settings 33% faster than other treadmills. The 3-Zoned cushioned running track measures 22″ x 60″, more than adequate for sprinting.

The 9.3-inch full-color display screen shows all relevant stats such as heart rate, speed, distance, and a timer. To measure heart rate, a Bluetooth enabled wireless chest strap comes with the treadmill. One drawback is that the display screen cannot be used to play the training programs on fitness apps. As a substitute, there is a tablet holder above the screen. You can choose from training programs on apps like Studio, Peloton, and AFG, play the session on your smartphone or tablet and prop it up on the tablet holder.

All that power comes at a price. This is the most expensive treadmill on this list. If you are looking for a treadmill for walking or light jogging, this is probably overkill. However, if physical fitness is a big part of your life and you are willing to invest in a high-quality folding treadmill to get in some serious HIIT workouts, the Horizon 7.8 AT is the treadmill for you.

#2

Best Treadmill for Long Runs

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NordicTrack Commercial 1750

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

If you like the sturdiness of the Sole F80, but desire a folding treadmill that is a bit more fun to use, look no further than the NordicTrack Commercial 1750.
Dimension-wise, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 and Sole F80 are quite similar. Both have running belt measurements of 22” by 60”. The Nordic Track has an improved CHP of 3.75, making it perfect for long (and quiet!) runs.

Pros

  • Quiet powerful motor (3.75 CHP)
  • 10 inch full HD touchscreen
  • 15% incline and -3% decline
  • Cushion Flex Whisper Deck tread belt

Cons

  • Heavy, making assembly tricky

To be gentle on your knees, NordicTrack fitted the running deck with its Cushion Flex Whisper Deck. The cushioned running belt is enough to support both the inclines and declines of -3 to 15% offered by the Commercial 1750. When you are done with your run, this treadmill can be folded up and put away in about 10 seconds, thanks to its patented EasyLift Assist.

The tech features is where the Nordic Track Cushion Flex Commercial 1750 outshines the Sole F80. Starting with the LCD display, the Nordic track sports a 10 inch full HD touchscreen display. This console offers runners advanced entertainment options, so you won’t get bored while racking up the miles.

Not only that, the Cushion Flex Commercial 1750 works with the iFit app. This gives you access to countless high quality treadmill workouts. The iFit has a cool feature that allows you to choose a route on Google Maps before simulating the inclines and declines of that terrain on the treadmill. When used together with Google Street View on the HD console, you can experience running virtually anywhere in the world.

One disadvantage is that the treadmill is heavy. The shipping weight is 346 pounds and the treadmill itself weighs 306 pounds. Once it is assembled, you won’t notice the weight but the challenge is the assembly itself. Some reviews have mentioned how difficult it is to get it out of the box. It’s best to unpack it in the room you have designated for the treadmill.

Overall, the Nordic Track Cushion Flex Commercial 1750 is very similar to the Sole F80. If you are a runner who enjoys using technology to make your treadmill workouts more interesting, you can’t go wrong with the Nordic Track Cushion Flex Commercial 1750. You can easily monitor your progress and use iFit to bring more excitement into your indoor runs.

All that considered, the Nordic Track tends to cost slightly more than the Sole F80. Apart from the console, the two treadmills are very similar. If all you need is a sturdy workhorse folding treadmill and aren’t too keen on the tech aspects, the Sole F80 could be the wiser choice.

#3

Great Value for Money

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LifeSpan TR3000i folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

LifeSpan is a well-known brand in the treadmill industry. They offer plenty of different models and are renowned for their build quality and value for money.

The TR3000i is no different.

Its easy setup, good build quality, and specs that match some much pricier products make it a really good value-for-money folding treadmill.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Known company with good customer service
  • Great warranty cover
  • Compatible with Apple Health and Google Fit
  • 38 Treadmill Workouts

Cons

  • Only one user setup
  • Slightly shorter running belt not as suitable for taller people

The TR3000i has many notable features that make it one of our favorite folding treadmills.

Not quite as bulky as some of the other treadmills in our list, the LifeSpan TR3000i has a more stripped-down look with a smaller console area. It also has a 56″ long treadmill deck making it marginally shorter than other products.

When it comes to tight spaces and at-home use, these small design changes make it that much more convenient.

Additionally, it has four small mounted wheels, two at the front and two at the back, which make it great for moving around and more convenient storage.

It comes almost fully constructed with only a few screws and bolts necessary to have it up and running!

One thing that really stood out more than anything during the research though had nothing to do with the product itself. LifeSpan fitness has been given rave reviews as a company, with people praising their warranty periods, quick response time, and customer service.

When you’re buying a folding treadmill I certainly would give this factor a lot of thought.

Lastly, in terms of usability I really liked the Quickset buttons. It has 5 for speed and 5 for incline, making it really easy to set up your own HIIT workouts.

Fumbling around to change settings when you’re running is annoying – with these programmable buttons there is no need.

One slight drawback of this treadmill is the deck length. Although it makes it slightly more compact and good for at-home use, it does limit the stride length during your run.

If you’re under 6-foot tall then this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s only past 6 feet that a 56″ belt and deck might leave you a bit “short” and forced to cut your stride.

#4

Best Folding Treadmill for Heavier People

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Sole F80 folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

For a folding treadmill that can handle heavy impact, the Sole F80 folding treadmill is a good choice. This treadmill has a maximum weight capacity of a whopping 375 lbs, perfect for heavier folks. To keep it portable, Sole has installed EasyAssist tech into the folding mechanism. The Sole F80 hits that sweet spot between being stable while running, but still space saving when not in use. Unfolding is straightforward, just toggle a switch.

Pros

  • High user weight capacity (375 lbs)
  • Cushioned tread belt that is proven to reduce impact
  • Premium build and durability
  • Wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring

Cons

  • Siderails may be short for taller people
  • Lacking in tech features
  • Basic LCD display

Especially if you are of a bigger build and carry extra weight, knee pain can be a concern with repetitive activities like running. To reduce impact on your knees and other joints, the running surface uses Cushion Flex Whisper Deck technology. According to the manufacturer listing, this running deck feature can reduce the impact on joints up to 40%.

The powerful 3.5 HP motor is enough to support fast running and it is quiet. You can work up a sweat in relative comfort with the two cooling fans to keep things breezy. Not only that, , just in case you desire a more structured approach to your home exercise, Sole has added built-in 10 preset workout programs to this treadmill. To monitor heart rate, there are pulse sensors integrated into the handrails and the treadmill comes with an included wireless chest strap.

Tech-wise, the Sole F80 has the basics. The audio speakers have Bluetooth connectivity and there are USB chargers to keep your devices from running out of juice while you get your workout. The Bluetooth also connects to the Sole Fitness mobile app to help you keep track of your fitness progress. There is an LCD display to track your workout, but it is not touchscreen enabled. Another potential drawback of this treadmill is the side rails. Some tall people have found them to be on the shorter side and complained of having to slouch to reach the side rails.

Essentially, the Sole F80 is a well-made premium folding treadmill that can take on a lot of weight while remaining durable. It may not have much in the way of fancy touchscreens, but it does what it says on the box very reliably.

#5

Best Treadmill for trainer-led workouts

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ProForm Smart Pro 2000 treadmill

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

After walking on a treadmill for a while, endurance builds up and your body might start craving for a more challenging workout. Trainer-led workouts are amazing for providing that challenge in a safe and structured way. With the ProForm Smart 2000 Treadmill, you can enjoy trainer-led workouts even while exercising at home.

Pros

  • Stable with sturdy build
  • 7″ Smart HD touchscreen
  • Includes 1-year iFit membership
  • Exciting live trainer-led workouts

Cons

  • Only hand grip pulse sensors, no wireless chest strap
  • Large size – may not fit small areas

First, let’s get the basic parameters out of the way. This treadmill is equipped with a solid 3.5 CHP3 Mach Z™ Commercial Pro motor, 22” x 60” tread belt with ProShox Cushioning for a comfortable run, Digital QuickSpeed® Control that goes up to 12 mph, and incline/decline of -3 to 15%. It supports user weights up to a generous 300 pounds and is made foldable with EasyLift Assist.

The chief draw of the Proform Pro 2000 is its beautiful 7” Smart HD touchscreen display console. Through the console, you can load trainer-led workouts that take you walking or running through beautiful scenic locations around the world. Not only that, the ProForm Smart Pro 2000 comes bundled with 1 year of iFit membership which gives you access to thousands of different workouts.

In fact, you can use the Google Maps Scenic Motivation feature to choose your workout route on Google Maps and use iFit to send the route to your treadmill. The ProForm 2000 then automatically adjusts the incline and decline to match that route. One of the drawbacks of running on a treadmill (versus outside) is the lack of variety in incline, making the workout more repetitive and somewhat less challenging. Even if you manually set an incline, it is still somewhat unrealistic compared to running on a trail. Being able to automate the incline to simulate the great outdoors is an excellent advantage to have in a treadmill. This makes the Proform Smart Pro 2000 folding treadmill suitable for runners training for outdoor marathons or trail runs.

If you decide to switch off the personal trainer feature and do your own thing, do not worry about feeling bored. You can still set up your own entertainment. The treadmill comes with Bluetooth enabled dual speakers, an audio auxiliary port, as well as a tablet holder.

One disadvantage of the Proform Smart 2000 is the lack of a chest strap for proper heart rate monitoring. It comes with handlebar hand grip pulse sensors to measure heart rate. In comparison, many other treadmills within this price range include wireless chest strap with the treadmill.

The Proform Smart Pro 2000 is also a large treadmill. The size does make it an exceptionally stable folding treadmill, but do note that the full footprint is 39.15” wide x 79” deep x 71.4” tall. It could easily overwhelm small rooms. Before you commit, measure the space to ensure that it will fit.

#6

Best for Walking or Light Jogging

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NordicTrack 6.5S folding treadmill

Our Score: 4.25 / 5

Another popular treadmill manufacturing company that has a reputation for churning out high-quality treadmills is Nordic Track. The NordicTrack 6.5S is their entry-level folding treadmill. With a 2.6 CHP motor and average tread belt dimensions of 22 inches by 55 inches; this folding treadmill is great for a jog. Accordingly, there is a 10-degree incline and a maximum speed of 10 mph, sufficient for the average jogger. For variety, there are 20 workouts of different levels to choose from.

Pros

  • Acceptable motor power (2.6 CHP)
  • FlexSelect tread belt cushioning
  • Adequately sized running deck (22″ X 55″)
  • Robust warranty

Cons

  • Needs iFit to be activated
  • Speakers are not great

It is simple to set up and comes with a helpful assembly manual. It is also easy to use with intuitive and understandable buttons, perfect for first-time treadmill owners. Heart rate monitoring is possible through sensors (CardioGrip) on the two handlebars. While these sensors are adequate for the average walker or beginner runner, they are not as accurate as a chest strap. If you need truly accurate heart rate monitoring, especially for medical reasons, consider other alternatives that are compatible with wireless chest strap heart rate monitoring.

With a solid build quality, running on this treadmill gives a secure feeling. For cushioning, NordicTrack has used its FlexSelect tech on the running track to reduce any pressure on your joints. Do note that the 6.5S model does not include iFit built-in. The console is a basic 5″ backlit display. However, the treadmill itself is compatible with the iFit app. To activate the treadmill, you would have to sign up on iFit.com or through the app.

Many resellers offer the NordicTrack treadmill with an iFit subscription included. Otherwise, it costs an extra $180 a year to subscribe to iFit. There is a free trial period for iFit, so you can sign up, test it out, and if iFit does not suit your needs, there is the option to cancel. To cancel iFit, click on Settings, go to ‘Membership Plan’, and then click on ‘End Benefits’ at the bottom.

One other drawback of the Nordic Track 6.5S is the speakers. Certain reviews have mentioned that sound quality on the built-in speakers is less than ideal. As a workaround, you can plug in earphones. Otherwise, the Nordic Track 6.5S is an ideal treadmill for light jogging. It is durable, comes with a robust warranty, and is highly usable.

#7

Best Cheap Folding Treadmill

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XTerra Fitness TR150 folding treadmill

Our Score: 4 / 5

One of the most affordable entry-level treadmills on the market is the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill.

If you are new to treadmills and not quite sure whether it is the right exercise equipment for you, the Xterra TR150 is a good first treadmill. It’s simple to operate and lightweight. Best of all, it doesn’t cost much for a treadmill as it is typically sold for under $400.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple to use
  • Lightweight and easily folded away

Cons

  • Small tread belt (16″ X 50″)
  • Short warranty period

Looking at the specs, the TR150 has an HP of 2.25, making it suitable for walking and light jogging. Longevity could be an issue as there is no CHP rating provided. However, since this is a beginner treadmill, you might find yourself looking for an upgrade anyway as you improve your fitness.

To keep workouts challenging, there are 3 manual incline settings as well as 12 preset programs to choose from. A 5″ LCD console displays your stats as you walk or jog. It comes with heart rate monitoring, with hand grip pulse sensors on either side of the handlebars.  Hand grip sensors are often inaccurate, but at this price point, the sensors are an added perk.

The Xterra TR150 has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. In regards to the folding aspect, this treadmill can be folded up easily to be stored between exercise sessions. Another plus is that it does not take up a lot of space; when folded, its dimensions are 28.5” x 28.75” x 61”. The treadmill itself is uncomplicated to set up as it weighs a light 109 pounds. Reviews consistently praise the toughness of the steel build and many appreciate the simplicity of use.

The tread belt on the Xterra TR150 is rather narrow at 16 inches, and measures only 50 inches in length. A 50-inch long treadmill is fine for an average-sized person to walk on, but if you are a tall person, this treadmill might be too short for you. The warranty is minimal with a 1-year motor warranty as well as a 90-day warranty for parts and labor.

Overall, the Xterra Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill is acceptable for the price. There are some drawbacks, but for an average person on a tight budget who is trying out a treadmill walking routine, it does the job just fine.

The best folding treadmill: buying guide, tips & tricks

Firstly, what is a folding treadmill?

Put simply – it is a treadmill with a folding deck (the part you run on). It allows you to lift the section up vertically, making them much more compact when not in use. The image below shows exactly what one of these looks like when folded.

folding treadmill

Deciding on a folding treadmill can be a mind-boggling decision. There are so many on the market! To begin, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Am I a walker, a jogger or a runner? Will I be doing interval training or intense workouts?
  • How much space do I have? Where will I keep the folding treadmill?
  • What is my budget? Am I willing to pay extra for training programs?
  • Am I heavier or taller than most people? Or am I about average in build?
  • Do I need heart rate monitoring?
  • Do I enjoy techy stuff like HD touchscreens? Or do I prefer simple buttons?
  • Am I tracking my exercise and fitness stats on a smartphone app?

Once you have thoroughly identified your needs, start evaluating the nitty-gritty details of different treadmills. Here are some of the specs you should look closely at.

1. Motor power

Motor quality matters. High-quality motors last longer and produce less noise than cheaper motors. In treadmills, manufacturers most frequently use two measures to describe the power of the motor, continuous horsepower (CHP) and horsepower (HP). The two measurements are slightly different.

Continuous horsepower (CHP) represents the amount of power a motor can continuously produce over a long period of time, whereas horsepower (HP) refers to the power ability of a motor at its peak. The HP of a motor will decline quickly as the motor is used, but the CHP is the power you will get for many years. Therefore, for a long-lasting and reliable treadmill, look at the CHP rating.

The higher the CHP, the more the treadmill can handle; both in terms of body weight and exercise intensity. For example, if you intend to run on the treadmill, select a model with CHP of at least 3.0. For walking, 2.0 CHP would suffice and a little more at 2.5 CHP is suitable for jogging. If you are overweight or have a big build, add on a further 0.5 CHP. Treadmills with higher CHP ratings will also speed up and slow down more quickly.

2. Stability

Stability is an important factor in regular treadmills, but in folding treadmills, stability is even more crucial. Because of the folding design of compact treadmills, some manufacturers may compromise on stability to achieve space savings.

If possible, try out the treadmill in person before you make a purchase. Don’t just stand or walk on it, go for a proper run, sprint or even jump around on the running deck. It should not wobble in the slightest. Generally speaking, heavier treadmills are more stable. However, these are also more difficult to assemble.

On that note, find a treadmill that is easy to both fold and unfold. You should be able to safely unfold the treadmill without causing undue stress to your back and shoulders. Make sure there is no danger of it suddenly slamming down and hitting your feet. Accordingly, after using the treadmill, it should be just as easy to comfortably fold it back up.

3. Running deck

The running deck or the tread belt is one of the most important parts of a treadmill. Check that it is made of durable material. High-quality treadmill running decks usually consist of more than one layer. Some treadmills come with extra cushioning to reduce impact, always a worthy consideration if you are prone to joint pain. When you try on the folding treadmill for stability, ensure that it is comfortable to run on, especially if you prefer to run barefoot.

Size is another major factor. Generally, width does not vary much between treadmills as most running decks are about 20” to 22” inches in width. Length, however, is something to look at closely when selecting a treadmill. If you intend to run on the treadmill, or if you are a tall person with a wide stride, a belt length of minimum 58” is recommended.

For the average-sized person who needs a treadmill for slower jogs or walks, you could be comfortable with shorter tread belts of less than 54”.

4. Warranty

Most folding treadmills are not cheap buys. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in a quality product. One of the chief indicators of quality is the warranty. Low-end treadmills that tend to burn out quickly have correspondingly short warranties. On the other hand, premium or high-quality treadmills come with impressive warranties.

Final verdict

Exercise is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. With indoor exercise equipment widely available, it’s easier than ever before to be physically active. Treadmills are especially great, because walking is the simplest form of exercise.

If you lack space, a folding treadmill is the way to go. There are other types of treadmills too, under desk treadmills being a popular alternative. Either way, choose the treadmill that fits your needs the best. That way, you will be motivated to use it every day.

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Dr. Praveena Asokan
Dr. Praveena Asokan

Dr. Praveena Asokan, MBChB has a background in medicine, having graduated from the University of Leicester before working in various hospitals. Her additional experience as a medical researcher helped her transition to a career as a writer, and she now enjoys researching and writing on a number of health-related topics.

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