One of the main reasons why so many people are reluctant to purchase home exercise equipment is a lack of space. Fortunately, exercise machine manufacturers have tailored their products for residential use. Now, it is possible to purchase machines capable of fitting within the confines of a cramped studio apartment, and that’s one of the many benefits of folding treadmills.
Comparison: Best Folding Treadmills
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What is a Folding Treadmill & Why Would I Need One?
Forget everything you think you know about treadmills. A folding treadmill is not the gargantuan, unwieldy machine you’re accustomed to in the gym. As the name suggests, it is a treadmill that folds up to ensure you can easily store it. Also, the days of cheap, low-grade equipment are gone. Modern manufacturers understand the need for quality, so the best folding treadmills are sturdy, durable and capable of lasting for years.
If you don’t have time to get to the gym, hate the idea of pounding the pavement outdoors, but enjoy running and want to get fit, a folding treadmill is the perfect piece of equipment for you. Take it out of storage, set it up and exercise as and when you want. Now, let’s take a look at the best 3 folding treadmills on the market.
Top 3 Folding Treadmill Reviews
1 – Lifespan TR3000I
While the Lifespan TR3000I is an exceedingly expensive model, you absolutely get what you pay for. It boasts a 2.75 continuous duty horsepower (CHP) motor which is extremely quiet and allows for a smooth ride. It has a total of 15 incline levels and a max speed of 12mph which is more than fast enough for all but the fittest individuals. You can increase or decrease the speed by increments of 0.5 mph.
This Lifespan model uses the company’s Ezfold technology; it utilizes a hydraulic shock system so folding and unfolding the machine is child’s play. To fold it, simply lift it into the incline position and make sure it locks into place. When you’re ready to exercise, just allow the soft drop system to do its thing as it handles all the weight, so there is no chance of sustaining an injury. It also happens to be a relatively light machine at 225 pounds so moving it with the wheels is a simple matter.
The frame is well made despite being so light, and the belt is 20 inches by 56 inches. The only downside is if you are tall because 56 inches might not be long enough. The 2ply belt guarantees a softer landing when you run and also ensures longevity. The excellent shock absorption system has 8 shock absorbers placed across the belt, so your ankles, knees, and joints won’t take a pounding. It has 17 programs, 2 customizable programs and a 5-year warranty for parts and 1 year for labour. Overall, while the TR3000I is expensive, it is a superb folding treadmill for serious runners.
2 – Nautilus T614
The Nautilus T614 has the same power motor (2.75 CHP) and the same top speed (12mph) as the Lifespan model but is almost $500 cheaper. Although it is slightly bulky, it only weighs 200 pounds, so it is one of the easiest folding treadmills to move. We like the 2.5 inch crowned rollers as they help reduce stress on the belt and motor.
There is a total of 22 programs, and NautilusConnect is a built-in system that helps you keep track of your goals. The belt is 20 x 55 inches, but unlike the Lifespan, it only uses a 1ply belt which means it is less durable. The maximum incline on the Nautilus is 12%, and it has a 300-pound weight limit. The shock absorption system consists of the company’s StrikeZone 4 Cell Cushioning system.
The built-in fan is a nice touch, and it has 3 speeds to keep you cool. With a 10-year warranty on the frame and motor along with a host of shorter warranties, you know the Nautilus will remain in good condition for years. It is an excellent alternative to the Lifespan if you need to save some money.
3 – Weslo Cadence G 5.9
We believe the Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is the best budget folded treadmill currently available. As you would expect from the price, the Weslo possesses far fewer programs and gadgets than the two models above, but it has everything you need in a low-cost treadmill. It weighs just 119 pounds and has a surprisingly high max user weight of 275 pounds.
Users are delighted at how easy it is to assemble, and it is remarkably quiet when in use. Advanced runners may want a different model because the Weslo Cadence only has a maximum speed of 10mph. There are 6 Personal Trainer workouts, and it also features a 2-position manual incline which is easy to use.
As it is a lower cost model, it does not have the automatic folding function of the others so folding it up isn’t as straightforward as with expensive machines. Overall, it is a sturdy folding treadmill that is ideal for anyone who wants a machine like this but can’t afford the top-end products.
What to Look For in a Folding Treadmill
In the world of folding treadmills, the best models have large rollers. The purpose of rollers is to reduce the level of wear and tear on the bearings, belt, motors and the rollers themselves. Most treadmills have rollers between 2-3 inches so opt for a machine with 3-inch rollers when possible.
If a machine has larger rollers, it means they rotate a lot less than they would on a smaller version. As you might imagine, fewer revolutions lead to a greater life expectancy for your folding treadmill. As well as promoting less wear and tear, larger rollers ensure the belt operates at a lower temperature as the bigger surface area from the rollers soaks up more heat from the belt. The bearings inside the rollers are also larger which leads to an increased load capacity of 30-50%.
Overall, the best folding treadmills tend to have rollers of at least 2.5 inches. We recommend seeking these machines out if you want to get the best value for money.
The vast majority of folding treadmills for residential use have motors with 2-4 continuous duty horsepower (CHP). If you intend to use the machine for hard running, look for one with a motor of 2.5-4 CHP. A continuous duty motor is an essential component of a folding treadmill as it enables the motor to run at a far lower temperature than a typical HP motor. The result is a longer lasting motor with less maintenance and trouble.
Shock Absorption System
The purpose of a shock absorption system is to soak up the impact from you striking down on the machine. It ensures you enjoy a much smoother and more enjoyable run plus it reduces the risk of damage to your bones, joints, ankles, and knees. You can quickly tell if a folding treadmill has a high-quality system because the difference is clear. You will know when you use a machine with a low-grade version because every stride will feel like a thud. Over time, the damage to your joints and ligaments will be significant.
Folding treadmills don’t have a frame that is anywhere near as durable as its larger counterpart. When choosing the best folding treadmill for your needs, look for a machine with its frame welded together. You’ll notice the difference as it will feel strong and stable beneath you. In contrast, a frame that is bolted together will feel cheap and unsteady from the get-go.
The Folding System
The majority of folding treadmill manufacturers has their own unique system. The best models ensure you don’t have to do any work whatsoever as its special mechanism does everything for you. You should be able to stand aside and watch as the machine folds itself up and unfolds when you’re ready to exercise. Please note that most folding treadmills only fold to around 80 degrees so don’t expect a 90-degree fold. A flat folding treadmill is your best option if space is limited.
Belt & Deck Size
This relates to the surface area you will run or walk on and most folding treadmills are 16-22 inches wide and 55-60 inches long. If you are a taller or an overweight user, we recommend choosing a belt that is at least 20 inches wide and 58 inches long. No user should settle for a belt that is less than 18 inches long and 55 inches wide. Remember, the deck size is the amount of room you have to manoeuvre so don’t cut corners.
Programs & Display
No matter what your budget is, we recommend that you buy a folding treadmill that has at least some kind of display. Half the fun of exercising is setting targets and beating them! The best folding treadmills on the market will show you information such as calories burned; distance traveled, speed, heart rate and time at the very least.
Higher-end models have 15+ preset workout programs and at least 5 customizable programs. As well as changing the speed during your training sessions, these programs will alter the incline and decline to give you a challenging workout. If you are statistics orientated, pay a little extra for a machine with a detailed display and multiple programs.
Pros of Folding Treadmills
Whether you have a small home gym or a lack of space to work with, a folding treadmill can be stored away neatly. They are easy to fold up and move because they come with transport wheels.
Easy Cleaning of the Home
If you have a standard treadmill, it is a major pain to try and clean the floor. With a folding treadmill, all you have to do is fold up the machine and clean the space.
If you have a typical treadmill, it will remain rooted to its spot unless you hire a removals company to help you take it away. With a folding treadmill, you can pack it up and take it with you on vacation. It is relatively light, and you can load it into a truck or even on the roof rack of your car depending on the size of the model.
Whether you’re a beginner to the world of treadmills or an old hand, you’ll enjoy using your machine because it is as easy as switching it on and pressing ‘start.’ While there are a variety of different programs and resistance levels on the top-rated models, you can begin by running on zero incline for whatever length of time you choose. As you grow more accustomed to the machine, you’ll be able to use the programs efficiently and learn about important metrics such as calories burned and heart rate.
Cons of Folding Treadmills
Relative Lack of Stability
Just to be clear, folding treadmills are stable units but are less so than their larger, heavier and sturdier counterparts. If you choose poorly, you’ll end up with a machine that wobbles when you run on it. Not only is this irritating, but it is also dangerous.
Beware Weak Frames
Folding treadmills don’t have the kind of frame capable of withstanding severe pressure. If you are an intense trainer, a folding treadmill might not cope with the strain leading to a reduced life expectancy for the machine.
You Have to Choose Carefully
While there are some excellent machines on the market, there are still plenty of low-quality models from yesteryear so be sure to shop around not only to get a good deal, but also to find a top notch piece of equipment.
If you love running and don’t want to pound the pavement or take a trip to the gym, invest in a folding treadmill. It is easy to use, simple to store and takes up little or no space. Best of all, you can use it as and when you need to.