Best Folding Treadmills

Updated July 2020
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

29 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
356 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best folding treadmills

Last Updated July 2020

Home exercise equipment offers a world of convenience, but it can also take up a lot of space. For those active enthusiasts who enjoy walking, jogging, and running, a folding treadmill offers both ease of use and a space-saving design.

As the name suggests, folding, foldable, or fold-up treadmills are designed to eliminate the problem of bulky and cumbersome traditional treadmills that take up space when not in use. Most folding treadmills morph into something flatter, which then is easier to store beneath a bed or upright in a closet. Some are significantly more compact when folded than others. Generally, folding treadmills sacrifice some degree of stability and performance in exchange for convenience. Finding this balance can be tricky, and every user has different needs depending on their size, intent, and where they are on their fitness journey.

There are many folding treadmills options available, and they vary in ease of use, capability, size, and power. Our guide and recommendations can help you find the right treadmill for your exercise needs right now.

Set yourself up for workout success by creating a comfortable and convenient environment. Stimulate your senses with music, improve the air quality with an air purifier, and wear the proper attire.

Key considerations

Performance and stability

In general, folding treadmills are relatively less stable than non-folding treadmills. Most, though not all, folding treadmills end up sacrificing some durability and speed in order to offer improved convenience. This may be an issue for high-performance and frequent runners. For more casual runners or those who prefer to walk or jog, a folding treadmill should work well.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell the stability and quality of a folding treadmill just on initial inspection, and any issues may not reveal themselves until you’ve used the machine for a while. Treadmills in the middle to high price range that have a longer warranty and more powerful motor will generally last longer and offer more stability than cheaper models with a short warranty and weaker motor.

Size

It’s important to know the size of the treadmill both when it’s folded and when it’s opened up.

In use: Consider where you will place the treadmill when it’s in use and where it can be stored when it’s not. Keep in mind the height of the ceiling in the room where you want to use the treadmill, so you don’t hit your head when running.

In storage: Note the size of the treadmill when it’s folded and identify the possible storage locations. Make sure you have enough space in the closet, under the bed, or in a less frequently used space like a guest bedroom or basement.

Speeds

Most folding treadmills have a lower maximum speed than traditional treadmills. While some may reach 9 or 10 miles per hour, others top out around 5 or 6 miles per hour. For those runners training for speed and intensity, a folding treadmill may not be the best option. For those seeking regular cardio exercise at a more casual pace, a folding treadmill can be useful.

Weight limit

Be sure to note the weight limit on your folding treadmill before purchase. This limit, often between 250 and 350 pounds, tends to be lower than that of traditional treadmills. If you’re close to the limit but still under, the treadmill may still wear out more quickly than you’d like. What’s more, consider where you are currently on your fitness journey and where you may be in the immediate and long-term future. If you’re planning on gaining muscle or mass or losing weight, the required weight limit of your treadmill may change.

Foldability

Not all folding treadmills are created equal, and some may be more difficult to fold and unfold than others. If possible, test this out before buying. If a treadmill is too stiff, requiring extra exertion to fold, it could cause physical problems in your neck, back, or arms, especially following a lengthy workout. Others can unfold more quickly than desired, which can be dangerous. If the folding and unfolding are problematic, this may negate the convenience of saving space.

EXPERT TIP

Warm up before you exercise and stretch afterward to prevent injury or soreness.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Shock absorption

Treadmills that have better shock absorption will prove gentler on the feet, legs, and joints over time. This is an important feature for those who run frequently or are nursing ailments or tenderness.

Incline

Some folding treadmills come with the option to tilt the running surface to varying degrees to increase the intensity of your running or walking exercise. Doing so can enhance strength and cardiovascular fitness, making for a more rewarding workout. However, with some folding treadmills, the incline needs to be adjusted manually and can’t be changed at the push of a button while working out like on traditional treadmills.

Bluetooth

Select folding treadmills include a built-in Bluetooth speaker to enable you to enjoy your favorite media as you work out. While this adds convenience, chances are the sound quality is less than ideal. A portable Bluetooth speaker that’s designed with optimal audio in mind will offer better overall sound.

Under-desk

Some folding treadmills can be used without the handles, grips, and interface — essentially a flat surface that is safe for walking. This option is frequently referred to as an under-desk treadmill because it can be used in conjunction with a tall desk while working or doing anything where you’re standing in place for a lengthy period of time.

Presets

Folding treadmills have some sort of interactive console: it may be simple and small or large and complex. The latter may include an array of preset workout programs, so you don’t have to punch in duration, incline, or speed each time.

You can place pads or other cushioning under your treadmill to dampen any noise while also preventing it from shifting.

Accessories

Fitness tracker: Fitbit Versa 2
A fitness tracker is a useful way to log and analyze your steps, heart rate, and calories burned while exercising. Fitbit is one of the most trusted and popular brands, and the Versa 2 is a comprehensive tracker that also connects to your smartphone and social media accounts.

Water bottle: Simple Modern Wave Bottle
Stay hydrated when working out. We love this double-insulated, convenient, and durable option from Simple Modern that also comes in a variety of colors.

Ankle weights: Healthy Model Life Ankle Weight Set
Add a little resistance to your treadmill workout with ankle weights. This comfortable pair from Healthy Model Life can help tone your legs and glutes.

Foam roller: TriggerPoint Performance GRID Roller
A foam roller is a convenient and safe way to help stretch and massage your muscles before and after working out. This one from TriggerPoint is durable yet comfortable, designed to ease tension and improve flexibility.

EXPERT TIP

Invest in a yoga mat on which you can not only stretch but also work on core strength and balance.


Staff  | BestReviews

Folding treadmill prices

Inexpensive: You can find folding treadmills that cost under $250. These are geared toward convenience and mobility and likely aren’t stable enough for intense, frequent running.

Mid-range: Spend between $250 and $350 and you can find a quality folding treadmill that may come with any number of features, including Bluetooth compatibility and exercise presets.

Expensive: The most stable and durable folding treadmills cost $350 to over $500. These folding treadmills are geared for high performance, though more stability may mean that folding and storing become more complicated.

Tips

  • Assemble the treadmill where you’ll use it. Put your new treadmill together in the space where it will be used most often. While it’s easier to move when it’s folded, you don’t want to be carrying it up and down stairs or through hallways.
  • Wear proper footwear. Even running indoors on a machine can cause problems for your body if you’re not prepared. Use comfortable, cushioned footwear to keep your joints happy and healthy.
  • Test the treadmill first. The best way to know if a folding treadmill will work for you is to test it out in person. Check its stability while you run and how easy it is to fold and unfold.
  • Set up a workout schedule. Creating a reasonable exercise schedule is an important first step in staying fit. Make sure it’s challenging but not so daunting that you’re soon discouraged
Regardless of your fitness level, spend a few minutes walking to warm up before you run and cool down afterward.

FAQ

Q. What does chp mean when looking at folding treadmill specifications?
A.
Continuous horsepower (chp) is the power of the treadmills during regular usage. Horsepower (hp) indicates peak power, but treadmills, which are used continuously over time, are better served by describing continuous horsepower. The two are not equal: if you see the same number next to both acronyms, the continuous horsepower is more powerful because it’s describing power over time instead of just peak power. Runners should seek out more power, around 3.0 continuous horsepower, while walkers will be satisfied with around 2.0 continuous horsepower.
 

Q. What maintenance is required on a folding treadmill?
A.
Regular maintenance will help maximize longevity and effectiveness of your folding treadmill. Some simple checks and fixes you can do at home include checking the belt to make sure it stays on its tracks and maintains proper friction. Treadmill lubricant can prevent the belt from prematurely wearing down. You should also always wipe down the machine after use to remove water or sweat, and regularly vacuum or clean off any dust or debris. Your folding treadmill should come with a manual that details any brand-specific maintenance. The parts and motor will likely also come with a warranty.
 

Q. Where should I set up my folding treadmill?
A.
Convenience is the main appeal of a folding treadmill, so it’s best to set up and use it in the same room or area where it will be stored. Make sure it’s on a level surface and that the ceiling is high enough that you won’t hit your head. You should also use it in a well-ventilated room. If you plan to use it in a basement, make sure it’s stored in a place that’s cool and dry to keep it running smoothly.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey