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The pandemic made us realize how great a home gym can be. Now some of us are looking to kick things up a notch with a treadmill. And investing in a treadmill is a great idea – whether you just started running or you’re training for a marathon. But the size of most treadmills can be a dealbreaker. They usually have a large footprint, sometimes requiring over 30 square feet of totally empty floor space. For many of us in small homes or living with families, that’s just not doable. But there is a solution: folding treadmills.
The best folding treadmills hinge where the running deck meets the vertical frame. This lets you fold up the running deck (the most space-consuming piece of any treadmill) and stash the whole machine when not in use.
What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality and features for foldability. The best folding treadmills give any fixed treadmill a run for their money (pun intended), meaning you’ll still get a great workout with a well-made machine. Even if you can squeeze a fixed treadmill, we recommend considering some of the best folding treadmills before making a purchase. Check out some of the best folding treadmills below.
Folding Treadmill Buying Guide
Treadmills – whether folding or fixed – are a big-ticket purchase for any home gym. Here are a few things to look for while choosing the right one for you.
Size: Before shopping, decide where your treadmill will be used and measure the space. Also, keep in mind that there should be five to six feet of open space behind a treadmill as well. Then, be sure to look at both the folded and unfolded size of the treadmill you like. Even among the most compact folding treadmills, there’s a range sizes in both categories.
Running Area: The best treadmills have a large running belt that supports sprinting and runners with long gaits. The running surface, as it’s usually called, should be at least 48 inches long. If you’re six foot or taller, you’ll need at least a 54-inch-long surface. If you want to sprint, look for a running area of about 60 inches.
Intensity: Higher speeds and inclines are usually desirable – especially if you plan on going hard. Top-of-the-line models usually have an adjustable incline up to 15%, and a couple of our picks can even offer a slight decline. Also, be sure a treadmill has a top speed of at least 10 to 12 miles per hour.
Weight Capacity: Always be sure a treadmill can support your weight – and take the listed max weight with a grain of salt. Although a treadmill will support the given max weight, it might shake around or break down after several uses. As a general rule of thumb, subtract 50 pounds from the listed max weight for a realistic weight capacity.
Interface: The best treadmills feature state-of-the-art interfaces that can display metrics, lessons and entertainment. A better interface means you’ll be able to easily adjust the treadmill mid-workout. Some treadmills also have the option to connect to a heart rate monitor or to your phone to show stats.
The Best Folding Treadmills
The best folding treadmills let you get in a full workout from your home, office or garage before folding up and tucking easily into a closet or under your bed when you want to get on with your day. Here are our top picks for folding treadmills to buy online.
1. Echelon Stride
The Echelon Stride is our favorite treadmill for anyone tight on space. The machine is compact when unfolded at about 70 inches long, 31 inches wide and 50 inches tall. But the treadmill’s real showstopper is a unique design that lets you fold it up to become just 10.25 inches deep. Thanks to roller wheels, it can then be easily stashed out of the way.
But don’t let the size fool you: the treadmill can still offer intense workouts with a top speed of 12 miles per hour and a solid incline of up to 10 percent. The running surface is very respectable (especially considering the size) at 55 inches long.
Like all of Echelon’s products, you get access to a high-tech interface that shows metrics and connects to tablets or smartphones. Once connected to a smart device, you can access Echelon’s classes and community features (this requires Echelon’s membership service which costs $40 per month or $400 per year).
2. Bowflex Treadmill 10
If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit more space for a lot more features, check out the Bowflex T10. The name references the treadmill’s sleek 10-inch touchscreen display, which shows everything from data to workout plans to entertainment from Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix and Disney+. To access all these features you will need a membership to Bowflex’s JRNY subscription service. JRNY features a huge range of classes and adaptive workout programs, among other workout-improving services (membership comes free for two months and costs $149 per year or $19.99 per month after that).
The T10 machine itself is also very high-quality. With a large 60-inch running area, you can work on a longer gait and, with a top speed of 12 miles per hour, practice sprints too. If you want even more of a challenge, the T10 can adjust the angle of the running belt anywhere from a -5% decline to a 15% incline. All of this is easy to adjust mid-workout thanks to speed and incline knobs.
As mentioned, the Bowflex T10 is a bit bigger with an unfolded footprint of 85 by 39.6 inches. When folded, the length condenses by about half that to 44.5 inches. Along with the aforementioned features, this extra size also has the upside of a high weight capacity of 400 pounds.
3. NordicTrack Commercial 1750
Another high-end folding treadmill that comes packed with features is this NordicTrack Commercial 1750. While in use, the machine has an 81.25-inch length, a 39.25-inch width and a 62.75-inch height. When you’re done running, the machine folds up for a depth of just 37.25 inches. Packing it away is especially easy thanks to NordicTrack’s EasyLift Assist which automatically folds the machine in under 10 seconds.
In terms of mechanical features, the NordicTrack boasts everything you’d expect from a high-end treadmill. The running belt is quite large with 60 inches of space for long gaits and faster running. Plus, a top speed of 12 miles per hour and a variable incline between -3% and 15% ensures a tough run – no matter your fitness level.
Like all of NordicTrack’s products, the 1750 offers access to iFit through the treadmill’s large 10-inch touchscreen display. iFit provides a massive catalog of on-demand and live classes taught by professionals, as well as a virtual community feature. Your trainers can even adjust your machine during the workout so you can focus on pushing yourself harder. Purchase of the treadmill comes with a free one-year trial of iFit.
4. Sole F85 Treadmill
The Sole F85 is lauded for its premium construction, power and abundant adjustability. Possibly the most impressive feature of the F85 is its motor, which clocks in at 4.0 CHP (Continuous Horsepower) to produce a very smooth run, even at the treadmill’s top speed of 12 miles per hour. And, despite its power, the treadmill is also whisper-quiet thanks to large track rollers. This comes in handy if you plan on using your treadmill around housemates or family members.
With the F85’s variable incline up to 15% and ample running space of 60 inches (as well as the smooth speed) workouts can get as tough as needed to train and lose weight. Workout data is tracked and displayed on the treadmill’s 10-inch display. The treadmill comes pre-loaded with an array of programs, but you can also customize your own runs. Plus, two users can create and quickly access separate accounts with their own workouts.
In terms of space-consumption, the F85 does OK. When in use it has a footprint of 82 by 37 inches. When you’re done running, the treadmill folds up (with the help of a hydraulic assist) to a depth of 44 inches.
5. Proform Carbon T7
If you’re new to running or don’t plan on doing intense workouts, the Proform Carbon T7 treadmill is a great choice. It features a top speed of 10 miles per hour, an incline up to 10% and a 2.6 CHP motor. This means you can jog and walk without a problem, but sprinters might be disappointed.
One of our favorite things about the Carbon T7 is its size. When unfolded it measures a relatively average 73.5 by 35.2 inches, but an elegant folding design cuts down the length significantly for easy storage. Running space is decent too at 55 inches.
Another attractive feature with the Proform treadmill is all its built-in tech. For starters, you get a free one-year membership to iFit. Using the built-in seven-inch touchscreen, you can access professionally-led live classes and a massive library of on-demand workouts. While running, you have the option to listen to audio through built-in speakers, which is great if you’re tired of using headphones. The treadmill also has adjustable fans to keep you cool during hard runs.