6 Best Folding Treadmills
for Your Home Gym

By Jason Parker

A folding treadmill is the perfect addition to a home gym, especially if you don’t have space for an expansive home gym or don’t want a large machine cluttering up the room. The cardiorespiratory benefits unlocked by walking or running on a treadmill paired with two resistance training sessions per week can encourage a healthier lifestyle and provide a great cardio workout.

We’ll help you find the best folding treadmill for your home gym and share our recommendations for the best folding treadmills.

What is a folding treadmill?

A folding treadmill is similar to a non-folding treadmill, but it has a space-saving design that allows exercisers to fold the frame and tuck the equipment away when not in use. Because of its flexible design features, a folding treadmill may be less stable than a regular, non-folding treadmill (this is not always the case, but it’s best to try out the treadmill beforehand to get comfortable with the machine and ensure there are no stability issues).

Benefits of a folding treadmill

The primary benefit of a folding treadmill is that it frees up valuable floor space when not in use. This is particularly beneficial for those that can’t dedicate an entire room to a home gym. A folding treadmill can be stored in a room that doubles as a guest bedroom, an office, or a garage without being too obtrusive. This type of treadmill can also be placed in a living room, den, or media room—a great option for those who like to work out while watching Netflix or viewing a workout video for extra motivation.

Other benefits of a folding treadmill include:

  1. Easy maintenance—Folding up your treadmill allows you to vacuum, sweep, and mop under the treadmill with ease.
  2. Increased mobility—Unlike non-folding treadmills, which are more difficult to move, most folding treadmills (specifically, compact folding treadmills) have transport wheels that allow the user to move the equipment from room to room without any issue.

What to consider before buying a folding treadmill

When searching for a folding treadmill, one of the most important features to look for is a motor-assisted folding mechanism. While manual folding treadmills are typically more affordable, ask yourself if you really want to deadlift a heavy piece of equipment immediately following an intense cardiorespiratory training session. When shopping for a folding treadmill, learn how the folding mechanism works and picture yourself using it in your space.

Here are some other important considerations to note when choosing the best treadmill for your home.

1. Space

A typical treadmill is three feet wide by seven feet long. Most treadmills require a fairly significant amount of space—in addition to the size of the machine, allow for 24–36 inches in front and on both sides of the machine and 72–84 inches behind the machine. The total height required for proper treadmill use will vary by person, so it’s essential that you look at the treadmill measurements before purchase and make sure that you can stand, walk, and run comfortably without hitting your head on the ceiling.

Before you go shopping, measure the dimensions of the room you’ll be placing the treadmill in. This will help you determine if the treadmill will fit in the space when it’s folded or in use. Don’t forget to measure the height of the ceiling since you’ll be raised up several inches on the treadmill—if you’re converting a space with a slanted or sloped ceiling, measure where the ceiling meets the wall.

2. Stability

Cheaper treadmills tend to have flimsier frames and will provide less stable workouts. Give your folding treadmill an in-person test to see how it feels when you walk, jog, and sprint on it. You should notice if any joints hurt when running, as this could mean the treadmill has weak shock absorption.

3. Budget

If you plan to use your folding treadmill regularly, invest in your equipment and don’t skimp on the cost. Be extremely cautious of treadmills that cost less than $1,500, as these could have very weak motors, short tracks, weak shock absorbers, and poor stability. Set your budget within a price range of $1,500–$3,000 if you want a high quality folding treadmill.

4. Deck length

Depending on how tall you are, you’ll need a deck length that can support your stride. If you’re not sure how long your stride is, test the treadmill in person before you buy so you feel comfortable walking, jogging, and running on the equipment.

5. Weight capacity

Check the user weight capacity on each model before buying and ensure that you fall at least 50 pounds below the maximum user weight. If you use a folding treadmill but exceed the recommended weight capacity, the treadmill could be more susceptible to breaking down.

6. Warranty

Arguably one of the most important features to consider when buying a folding treadmill, a treadmill warranty will let a consumer know if a treadmill provider stands behind the quality of the product. A warranty will also provide important information on what is and isn’t covered with your treadmill.

7. Additional features

Determine if you want special features to be included in your treadmill, like multiple workout programs, varying speeds and incline levels, a chest strap for heart rate monitoring, and Bluetooth capability. When investigating folding treadmills, search for a well-designed, ergonomic machine with the features that you desire—at the price you can afford. It never hurts to check out treadmill reviews to ensure you’re considering all of the factors important in making your decision.

Best folding treadmills for your home gym

1. NordicTrack C990: best overall space-saving treadmill

NordicTrack makes a variety of treadmill products, including commercial-grade treadmills and treadmill desks for office use. We love the NordicTrack C-Series—it contains some of the best treadmills designed for use in a home gym thanks to the space-saving storage feature that NordicTrack built into all C-Series models. NordicTrack C-Series models also have adjustable speeds up to 12 mph, varying incline levels, and custom, programmable workouts.

In addition to the space-saving, motor-assisted design, the NordicTrack C990 folding treadmill has a 3.0 horsepower motor and a 7-inch, web-enabled touchscreen monitor. The total clearance required for storing the C990 in the folded position is 71.2 inches (for height) and 42.4 inches by 35.8 inches (for base width). Shipping and assembly options range from $99–$249. The C990 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor and a three-year parts warranty.

2. Sole Fitness F85: best folding treadmill on the market

Sole doesn’t skimp on production or exercise quality—the F-Series from this company consists of well-designed folding treadmills that provide excellent cardiorespiratory workouts. The Sole F85 is one of the best folding treadmills on the market. The folding deck comes with premium, crowned rollers, is simple to unfold, and locks securely into place when stored in its upright position.

With a competitive 4.0 horsepower motor, the F85 has 15 incline levels and reaches a maximum speed of 12 mph. The console has a 10.1-inch LCD display with six standard programs, two custom programs, two heart rate programs, and Bluetooth compatibility. The running surface is 37 inches wide by 83 inches long which will fit most user strides. Sole provides free shipping on the F85 model.

The F85 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, motor, and deck, a five-year warranty on electronics and other parts, and a 2-year labor warranty.

3. ProForm Power 1295i: best folding treadmill for runners

Complete with a heart rate monitor, 7-inch smart HD touchscreen display, and wireless connectivity, the Power 1295i has a maximum speed of 12 mph and quickly adjusts to inclines from 1%–15%. The 1295i also folds easily and allows for a quick storage option to clear the room, making it one of the best treadmills for small spaces.

The Power 1295i is a complete machine for those with serious training goals, offering 34 programs and ready-for-subscription fitness services. The 3.5 horsepower motor is the same motor that runs in ProForm’s commercial-grade series. The running deck is 60 inches long and equipped with cushioning for a comfortable running stride.

ProForm offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor with a five-year warranty on parts and a two-year warranty on labor—one of the best warranties among treadmill manufacturers.

4. NordicTrack C1650: best folding treadmill for custom workouts

The C1650 is NordicTrack’s folding treadmill model and comes with a 3.5 horsepower motor and a 10-inch, web-enabled touchscreen monitor. The maximum speed included with the treadmill is 12 mph and the incline adjusts to 12%. The C1650 provides a variety of programmed workouts and a custom workout feature. Shipping and assembly options range from $99–$249. The space-saving storage feature is well-loved.

5. Bowflex BXT216: best premium folding treadmill

The BXT216 is Bowflex’s premium treadmill option and features a mechanized space-saving feature that drops the treadmill softly into place with the click of an easily accessible button. The treadmill comes with 4.0 horsepower, a 15% adjustable incline, and 11 programmed workouts. The BXT216 is also Bluetooth-compatible with a durable and surprisingly quiet motor. This model comes with a one-year warranty. Expect to spend $249–$348 for shipping and assembly.

6. ProForm Performance 400i: best budget folding treadmill

For those seeking a no-frills, affordable treadmill, the ProForm Performance 400i is the best choice. The 400i has a maximum speed of 10 mph, an incline of up to 10%, and a simple LED display. The programmable workouts are easy to understand—endurance, tempo, or peak—and the machine easily triggers an interval workout using the “Work” button.

The tread belt is a bit smaller than other models, at 55 inches, so for those with a really long stride, it might not be the most comfortable. The 400i also folds using ProForm’s space-saving design and includes a lifetime warranty for the frame, 25-year motor warranty, and one-year labor warranty. Though lacking Bluetooth and wireless capability, the 400i does provide an auxiliary port to plug into a tablet, phone, or mp3 player, and offers two built-in speakers.

Want to learn more about treadmills and determine which one is right for you and your home? Check out our complete list of treadmill reviews.

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