Folding treadmills come in a range of sizes when they’re in use and when they’re in storage. It’s important to know how much space yours will take up ahead of time, especially if you don’t have a lot of room to spare. “Be sure to measure your space, and check the dimensions of the treadmill on the product listing,” Sydney Eaton, a NASM-certified personal trainer and lead in-house fitness instructor at Sunny Health & Fitness in California, tells SELF. “You’ll want to know both the dimensions of the treadmill when it’s fully set up and when it’s folded to make sure it’s a good fit for both spaces,” she explains. She adds that checking how much your treadmill of choice weighs and seeing whether it has wheels can give you an even better idea of what it’s like to move it around too: “Heavy lifting or complicated maneuvering is just one more barrier to getting your workout in, so checking for something as silly and simple as wheels can really improve your at-home experience.”
And then there’s the shape of your treadmill—you may need to put aside more room than you think, depending on how your machine folds up. “Very few modern treadmills fold completely up—they will be more of a V shape when folded,” Garret Seacat, CSCS, head coach of Absolute Endurance in Manhattan, Kansas, tells SELF.
Many folding treadmills have rather low maximum user weight limitations compared to nonfolding treadmills, so be sure to check that the treadmill can accommodate your weight. In general, treadmills typically have weight limits between 200 and 300 pounds.
The next key folding-treadmill feature to look at is its incline capabilities. Some machines have a manual incline—meaning you’ll have to physically get off the treadmill and adjust the degree of the incline—while others have automatic adjustments. Many folding treadmills for small spaces don’t offer a range of incline levels, but if you’re looking for a more challenging home workout, it can be worth it to spend more on this option.
Then there are other features to consider too. “Some treadmills come with additional features that can make exercising more engaging, which can include live streaming fitness classes via a mobile app or directly onto your treadmill screen, leaderboards, or a fitness community that can improve accountability and social engagement,” Dr. Penwall says. If these features are important to you, the additional cost will pay off later on.
Your budget will determine what you can buy. Keep in mind that when it comes to exercise equipment, you often get what you pay for, so it can be worth it to spend a bit more up front. When buying a folding treadmill for a small space, heed Eaton’s advice: “At the end of the day, pick the treadmill that’s right for you. There are tons of options out there, but keep your space and ideal workout experience in mind, and you have a recipe for success!”
The best folding treadmills
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from a folding treadmill—and which features might be more important for your individual goals—take a look at the best options from top brands and retailers like Amazon, NordicTrack, Horizon, and more, according to fitness experts.
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