Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: January 28, 2021
Wise Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
A folding treadmill is an amazing alternative to outdoor running, especially if it’s winter, you live in a city with heavy traffic, or you don’t have much time before work in the morning to go out and do your daily run. Treadmills are machines which run on a medium powered to high powered large moving belt that you run on. Treadmills allow you to set the pace, the belt speed, sometimes even the music! What most treadmills lack is the folding option which allows for easy storage – which is something you want with these especially large machines. Our buying guide comprises a wide selection of makes and models, which we’ve rated and examined to make it easier to pick the best folding treadmill.
Since there is such a wide selection of treadmills on the market, our process in designing this list was to approach the manufacturers and verified customers in order to find out and target the folding treadmills with the newest and best features. The reason these features are important – take weight capacity and tread belt size for example – is that they ultimately affect each other, like how the belt size should be long enough to compensate for weight and the size which comes with it. After all, what’s the point of running if the machine can’t handle your size or the length of your strides; how else are you going to slim down? Other important features we considered were each machine’s max speed, built-in programs such as ‘distance tracking’, motor power, and warranty.
Our research into these models included looking at schematics and user-testing data from the manufacturers, as well as hearing the pros and cons from verified customers. Additionally, we compared the features, extras, and scientific designs/implements each machine has into the detailed table. The following buying guide is organized into comprehensive charts – detailing the specifics of each treadmill; including pros and cons – and the following guide, which explains each feature, and gives examples of treadmills which best exhibit this feature. Finally, we’ve answered many frequently asked questions and included our own top three nominations. It’s our hope this will make the buying process much easier when looking for the best folding treadmill.
This is a high-quality space-saving treadmill, meaning you can now do your exercise without taking over your entire living area. This treadmill has the best folding and storage dimensions: 40 L x 35 W x 65 H inches.
Beyond being space-saving, it will also give you a high-quality workout with a possible maximum speed of 12mph and 8 available built-in programs or 2 additional custom programs. The deck runs on a DC 3.0hp continuous motor and is fitted with a large orthopedic belt.
It can incline up to 15%, and speed settings are controlled via one-touch buttons built into handles and combined with the great tracking functions of the LCD screen to create a unique running experience. This is a medium expense machine great for users of every physical form, it’s can hold up to 350lbs, and comes fully assembled to your door! All you need to begin is to attach the LCD screen, plug in the magnetic key, and choose your preferred speed!
The only complaint about this treadmill though is that you need to choose your running shoes carefully since you can slip off the track in some.
Those runners who know that incline training will not only burn more calories but also target specific muscle groups and promote stronger knees, this is the treadmill for you! It’s 2.6 continuous horsepower allows for a constant run while shifting the treadmill’s incline without any pause between belt revolutions.
The incline can be raised up to 10% with the touch of a single button on the 5-inch backlit display board which also shows your speed, time, distance, and even heart rate + calories burned. Additionally, this machine can be linked up to google maps via iFit and will automatically adjust your incline to match natural terrains along any route you choose outside.
The deck itself is designed with FlexSelect cushioning which will reduce all negative impact on your joints. Deck and incline can sustain up to 300lbs of weight. 20 workout apps included with this machine and are designed by certified trainers with respect to all weight types, but some of the programs are pre-set on specific incline percentage and may not suit your goals.
OneTouch controls allow for effortless adjustment while running. You can speed up to 12mph; controls also allow for playback of plugged in devices and playlists through dual 2-inch speakers.
What we liked:
Manual incline adjustments with a turn nob
Great speakers for exercise playlists
Training apps compatible
25-year warranty on motor
What could be better:
May automatically adjust incline during preset routes
Sole F85 offers an industry-leading lifetime warranty on the most important parts – the frame, the motor, and the deck. This machine is designed with an impressive 9-inch LCD display board, two-ply belt, a compatible sound system (but users say the speakers are too quiet), and cooling fans for the machine and the runner.
Its speed range can go from 0.5 and up to 12mph at an impressive maximum 15% incline. The deck is rated to hold 400lbs and provides comfortable and supportive running to all athletes with a Cushion Flex Whisper Deck which reduces the impact on joints up to 40% when compared to asphalt.
The LCD board features six standard programs with differing inclines and speeds along with 2 additional custom programs. This unit measures your heart rate – via squeeze monitoring handle device – and lists your speed, distance, calories burned, all while allowing you to control your playlist and music volume for all plugged-in devices. This machine is uniquely chest strap compatible and includes starter chest strap.
What we liked:
6 standard programs & 2 custom programs included
Basic chest strap with purchase
Up to15% incline
Can sustain up to 400 lbs
Cushion flex whisper deck reduces impact on joints
What could be better:
Included speakers aren’t loud enough for some runners
It’s a relatively cheap purchase for any users and will accompany beginning runners until they become expert athletes. But it might get tricky during the assembly. It has a large running surface that gives enough space for various exercise.
The 5-inch LCD screen is easy to read and keeps the runner updated on speed settings, incline, time, distance, calories, and heart rate. This treadmill offers a speed range of 0.5-10mph with a smooth and quiet torque 2.225hp motor.
Additionally, the machine comes with preset speed setting for fast and easy control right from the get-go, along with an XTRASoft technology deck which provides points of support where your feet land for maximum impact absorption.
It comes with 12 pre-set programs which offer a unique range of easy to hard runs with differing speeds and inclines. For any beginner to medium-level runner who can’t get outdoors during the winter, or has less time to go out on runs, this treadmill will come in handy.
With a 60-inch length, this is the ideal treadmill for you runners with long legs or long strides. However, with such an extended length, keep your ceiling heights in mind when folding for storage; folded up and locked, this treadmill has about a 55-inch storage height.
The deck itself is designed with Proshox cushioning technology which will not only cushion each footfall and provide support but is rated for an impressive 325lbs. Even at its maximum 12% incline, all weight types will have a solid and uninterrupted run with zero machine lag.
The magic number for this machine is 12, as this is both the impressive maximum speed and maximum incline! The LCD monitor tracks your speed and distance and even has an algorithm which instantly shows the power output – watts per kilometer you run – of your workout. Quick incline controls built into the handles allow you to control both the slope you’re running up and the speed you’re taking it.
But the thing we loved best is the impressive quantity of running programs – 22 to be exact – that will suit users of all levels of physical training.
For your guaranteed safety, this company tests each and every belt at double the user weight before release! When exercise is over it folds up and locks easily, allowing you to fully reclaim your living space. The one complaint we have – it’s not as easy to assemble as it says to be.
Designed with extra-long safety handles – 2 times the length of regular handles – this treadmill could work great for heavier weight classes and older age-ranges wanting to add regular walking and running to a daily routine. It also features two fairly simple manual inclines and its maximum speed is 4mph; speed adjusts 1/10’s up to the maximum mph.
The LCD display board features your full elapsed time, distance walked, speed, heart rate monitoring – via pulse recording handle grips – and calories burned during your exercise. This treadmill is fantastically rated up to 400lbs and also features a uniquely longer treadmill bel.
This machine is virtually assembled straight out of the box and only requires you to attach the LCD screen before you start exercising. After the workout, it easily folds up and stores nicely in any space, and has a great 5-year motor warranty and 1-year frame warranty which matches up with the initial cost of purchase.
If you have a history of health problems, a lung condition, age-related back and knee problems, etcetera, this treadmill would be an amazing fit for your needs!
What we liked:
Is suited for people with health problems
Easy to fold up
Comes fully assembled
What could be better:
Is not suitable for running
No included programs
Things to Сonsider
The remainder of this buying guide takes all of the features talked about above and explains what these features do – or should do – including which of our models will best suit your needs when it comes to specific functions. For instance: want to know the treadmill with the best sound system? We discuss this and more, with frequently asked questions answered at the end.
Folding treadmill advantages
Folding treadmills, as well as foldable rowing machines, are easily the most transportable and easy-to-store tool of any exercise equipment collection. They lock upward in a horizontal position against the wall and can even be rolled and fitted into large closets or small spaces of your garage. When you’re ready to run again, the system is as easy as unlocking, plugging in, and starting on your jog or sprint. The advantage of owning a folding treadmill, no matter whether it is a treadmill under 2000$ or much less, is that you’ll always be able to run whenever you want, and having exercise equipment around won’t be an annoyance by being an obstacle. Other large exercise machines need their own space and end up dominating a large portion of your house.
Tips for beginners
If you’re planning on using a treadmill for the first time, consider starting out at a slower pace or with a very basic exercise program and then increasing your speed and workout regimen day by day or even week by week. The first week some might even want to consider using a predominantly walking treadmill such as the Exerpeutic TF-1000, though this does also have excellent running settings for later on. Always stretch and do warmups before you go running! Drink plenty of water before and after exercising, and typically eat a meal within 2-3 hours beforehand and then 3-4 hours afterward.
Beginners should know about assembling each unit as this will be very new territory for the inexperienced starter. Make sure you have a good ratchet set on hand because most of the included hex keys are less than satisfactory; everything should be screwed in nice and tight. Remember that this machine will be moving and you’ll be jogging up and down repeatedly on it, therefore if parts aren’t tightly ratcheted they’ll easily jar loose and fall apart. Follow all directions carefully and remember that not all treadmills are built the same. Like all exercise equipment, remember that the treadmill won’t work until you put the magnetic key in
Science has always backed running for your health, mainly for six short reasons, the first being that it really does make you happier. Physical exercise is a guarantee of getting the endorphines out, which would make your mood rise and your thought become clearer. The second and third reasons: running helps lose or maintain weight with ‘afterburn’ of calories and running strengthens bones and joints. Additionally, reasons fourth and fifth, running increases memory function against age-related mental illnesses as well as reduces your risk of cancer. Finally, running really does add years to your life: studies show that exercising 30 minutes at least 5 times per week can help any person gain 4-5 extra years.
Features to consider while choosing a folding treadmill
Many of the following features are very important, where only some of the following features are just convenient and fun – such as speakers, heart rate monitors, and extra high-speed settings. First and the most important features to consider before choosing a treadmill are the running surface and impact absorption as they will create and alleviate the tension against your feet and legs, the speed range which will ultimately determine your exercise regimen and weight loss, and the weight and mobility which will dictate where it can be moved and who can best use it.
If you’re specifically looking at folding treadmills in order to control the amount of space you’ve previously lost in your house from other machines, make sure to measure your space – floor to ceiling – before making a final purchase. Ensure that the treadmill you choose will fold up and lock in place with ease; it should also fit very comfortably when drawn down. One of the most space-conscious treadmill designs on our list belongs to the 3G Cardio Pro Runner. However, if space which is taken by the treadmill is not the main feature you are interested in, you should look through other models of not folding treadmills with a wide range of great features. Or if you are short of money you may choose something from the list of budget-friendly models.
For runners with a long walking or running stride, compensate your lengthy stretch with a treadmill that’s equally as long. If you have to take a natural stride and have a friend measure the length from shoe to shoe, do so! Additionally, if you take a very short stride or are only going to be walking, feel free to consider treadmills with smaller deck lengths. For your convenience, our list’s longest deck length is found with the Sole F85 and the ProForm Performance 600i. Our lists shortest deck length belongs to the Exerpeutic TF1000.
High-intensity interval training is a type of running which requires bursts of speed in between slower jogging and even walking – it burns more calories during and after a run than just a regular jog or sprint. If you’re interested in this type of interval training, always pick a treadmill which will interval between 2 and 10mph. Most of the models on our list reach a maximum speed of 12mph, easily suited for most runners’ needs.
If you’re predominantly only a sprinter, choose a treadmill which has the 12mph max but can also remain at a 0% incline while you sprint. Hill/incline settings at high speeds are better for distance runners, and some inclines may actually damage the knees of sprint runners.
Our treadmill with the slowest maximum speed range – great if you’re suffering an age-related decline in bones and joints – is the Exerpeutic TF1000.
Many runners feel a love/hate relationship when it comes to hills, but they know that inclines are necessary for building bone and joint strength along with your legs and even for strengthening your major back muscle groups. Distance runners should especially consider machines which allow incline adjustments because inclines will build endurance. Most of the machines on our list go up to a maximum 12% incline, though the Sole F85 treadmill has an amazing 15% incline. Additionally, inclines are also a great alternative to walk up in between intense intervals of running.
Depending on your preference you may or may not want to use preset programs – meaning you should judge the importance of this feature before you make your purchase! Some machines, like the 3G Cardio Pro Runner and Sole F85, allow you to design your own custom programs – meaning speed intervals and inclines during a 30-minute to an hour-long run. The ProForm Performance 600i treadmill comes with the most programs of any machine we’ve seen available on the current market.
Most treadmills are technologically designed and tested to absorb the impact of each step; these are especially important for runners who tend to have a heavier tread that can negatively impact their knees. While perusing our list of the best folding treadmills, consider manufacturers which have listed the impact absorption techniques and technologies for their products. For instance, the XTERRA Fitness TR150 treadmill utilizes a patented impact absorption technology that lends support and comfort to all run lengths, speeds, and incline training. One of the reasons you’re running indoors might be because the city asphalt hurts so much; impact absorption treadmills are a great choice for avoiding the damage of hard city streets.
Every treadmill is weight tested and rated! In this buying guide, we have listed these weight limits and restrictions for you, with the most weight-friendly treadmill being the Sole F85 which is not only rated at 400lb maximum but also has a great range of speed and incline settings. Our advice is to judge based on weight capacity and your own figure before judging a purchase on the price and extra features.
Weight and mobility
The listed weight of your machine in addition to its listed dimensions will make up the general range of its mobility. All the machines on this list are on wheels/wheel-capable (most wheels are located in the front parallel to the screen) and can be moved while down or in an upright locked position. For the health and safety of your back, choose a model with a weight you can handle and always lift with your legs.
What materials are the most trustworthy?
Materials mostly matter to your deck – this generally means the frame, rollers, and belt. Manufacturers don’t normally provide too much information about their materials used, so you’ll have to do your research for any treadmills, not on this list! The belt components should be made coated in strong but springy phenolic resin – a plastic material – and cushioning technology is always a plus! The frame and other deck components will generally be medium density fiberboard with duo phenolic coating. Additionally, the belt should clearly have a raised and bumpy looking surface – look at the pictures – because these raised portions create necessary traction.
Condition monitoring systems
Part of the LCD screen and its capabilities, these additional features can track and report your speed, overall distance, calories burned based on imputed weight, and some will even tell you your heart rate by using technology which measures your pulse via squeezing the treadmill handles. This is great informative technology to have and is great to use when setting specific goals, recording your own physical data, and building a regular exercise regimen. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S has a phenomenal condition monitoring system.
Motors and running belts can be noisy, as can the fall of each step while running. The quietest treadmill on our list is the XTERRA Fitness TR150.
Is LCD display a necessity?
It isn’t a necessity per se, but LCD displays usually do allow you to track all facets of your progress and health, as well as playing music, showing your speed and distance, and other useful functions. None LCD smaller screens list some of these options, but they’re often too dim and too small to constantly read while you’re running. LCD screens are nice to have and they make the process more rewarding. Exercise should be fun!
Choose a warranty which will suit the period you think you’ll need to test your device for any unlikely manufacturing errors. After all, you don’t want to buy a treadmill without a warranty only to have it die two months into your new workout. A good warranty makes for good purchase security.
If you have children up to 10 years old do not let them use or play with your treadmill without your supervision. Younger kids are too little for treadmills and can be seriously injured and even belt-burned (from falling) while trying to use one. Other health concerns are for older age groups (60-70+); make sure you choose a speed and incline which you can manage without hurting yourself. If you have asthma or other respiratory health concern, the speed and incline of your walk, jog, or run, are also a major consideration.
Based on their weight capacity, folding capabilities, speed & incline, plus other impressive technologies and added features, these are our top three candidates for the best folding treadmill:
3G Cardio Pro Runner. Our Editors Choice for the Best-all-Around folding treadmill, this is easily the most compact and easy to store machine on the market! It also has an impressive maximum speed, 8 preset exercise programs, and additional 2 customizable programs. Runners will love this machine!
NordicTrack T 6.5 S. This is easily the best folding treadmill for both interval training and incline training! It will build your long-distance endurance over time, it will strengthen your knees, and it comes with a lifetime warranty on its motor, frame, and deck components!
XTERRA Fitness TR150. Our budget-choice for this buying guide, it’s not only within your price range but it also has one of the longest decks – for runners with impressive strides – is rated for 325lbs, and is designed with excellent cushioning and impact absorption technology.