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No matter the season, investing in a treadmill seems like the easiest way to ensure we still get our steps in. Think about it. No freezing your lungs in the winter and no drowning in a waterfall of your own sweat in the summer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it being too dark or too late. There’s just one problem, though: Many treadmills are so big and bulky, they’d dwarf the rest of our already-full living space. Or so we thought—until we did some research on folding treadmills. They’re just as convenient as regular treadmills, but the deck can be folded up and out of the way when you’re done working out. Plus, they typically have wheels, making them a lot more portable than a traditional model. We spoke with two personal trainers to get the low-down on what to look for when shopping and their personal picks. From our best overall selection, the Sole F63 Treadmill ($1,100), to the portable WalkingPad R2 Treadmill ($899) and the affordable SereneLife SLFTRD18 Smart Treadmill ($284), these 11 best folding treadmills offer something for everyone, whether you’re a serious athlete or casual walker.
The Best Folding Treadmills at a Glance
Meet the Experts
How We Chose the Best Folding Treadmills
To select the best folding treadmills, we asked the experts about specific brands and models they recommend and features they would consider. We used that as a launch pad to guide our search, also considering insights from PureWow editors Abby Hepworth, a RRCA-certified running coach, and Catrina Yohay, a former Division 1 athlete and PN1 certified nutrition coach.
“A good mid-range choice is the Sole F63,” Castleberry says. This one goes all the way up to 12 MPH to challenge even the fastest of runners. Plus, it offers 15 different incline settings for additional resistance. The belt also has special cushioning to minimize impact on the joints, which is especially important for runners who are prone to injury. Between all of that, with the touchscreen display, USB port for charging devices and heart rate grips, we’re totally sold.
“For portability, the WalkingPad R2 is a great option with its folding design, and ability to fit under a standing desk,” Castleberry notes. It’s most ideal for those looking to get some steps in at work, with a maximum speed of 7.45mph. The brushless motor ensures quiet operation, while the four-layer track promises good shock absorption and noise reduction. When you’re ready to store it away, it folds almost completely flat and is incredibly compact, making it easy to slip right under the bed.
Castleberry recommends the Horizon 7.4 Smart Treadmill for runners, citing its larger surface and powerful motor. With a maximum speed of 12mph and a 3.5hp motor, it’s an ideal pick for those who want a serious workout. The treadmill has plenty of features, including a tablet holder, energy saver mode and Bluetooth speakers. Plus, the Bluetooth connection allows you to sync the treadmill with your exercise subscriptions and apps, like Peloton and STUDIO. And when you’re done, putting it away is a breeze with the one-step hydraulic folding mechanism.
York praises the Matrix series of treadmills for their quick-response motors, which he says makes them ideal for athletes. The Matrix T75 offers a powerful AC and quick-response motor, ideal for athletes. Solid and durable, it also offers a variety of entertainment and workout choices. It’s also ideal for those who need a distraction (or guidance) while exercising. The touchscreen console will connect you to apps like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, social media and web browsing. You can also connect your phone (and your exercise subscriptions) to the screen. The treadmill comes with a 30-day trial of Matrix’s iFIT membership and is easy to fold up and store—simply roll it away.
This 49-inch-long model has earned more than 5,600 five-star reviews from happy customers. “[I] figured after three years of use with usually anywhere [from] four to five 30-plus-minute workouts weekly it’s worth the review,” writes one devoted user. “Works great still!” The treadmill speed ranges from 0.5 to 9mph and it has three different incline settings to help diversify your workouts. It also features an LCD display that shows your time, distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate. But our favorite component has to be the built-in device holder that’s perfect for resting your phone on while you exercise.
At under $300, you might think this folding treadmill is going to fall apart after a few months or wobble with every step. But according to buyers, this wallet-friendly pick is actually pretty sturdy. “This treadmill is compact, light and easy to move, but at the same time sturdy,” explains one user. And the 39.3-inch-long base won’t take up much space in your home. Reviewers say it’s super easy to assemble (it takes 30 minutes or less) and really quiet when in use. What more could you ask for?
Dreading having to actually fold your treadmill up after a tiring workout? With this one, you don’t have to worry about that. Just get the handlebars and console into the right position, press the lever and this deck will lift up and out of the way on its own. And once it’s folded, the entire machine is only ten inches deep and 31 inches wide, so you might even be able to wheel it into the closet. But what really sets this model apart is its sleek, sophisticated display and compatibility with Echelon’s membership service, which allows you to stream live and on-demand workout classes.
Let’s be honest, setting your treadmill to one speed and one incline for 30 minutes can get really boring. But who wants to do the work of researching treadmill workouts to try? Not us, so this piece of equipment seems like a great solution. It has 12 built-in workouts with varied speed and incline increases to add some variety to your routine. Reviewers say it’s quiet, easy-to-use and has a good amount of speed and incline options.
With more than 22,700 five-star ratings on Amazon, this is by far the most popular folding treadmill we’ve come across. What’s so great about it, you ask? Well, users say this NordicTrack is incredibly sturdy, has a great sound system with Bluetooth connectivity and the belt runs really smoothly. And the EasyLift Assist function makes folding up the 75.3-inch-long deck a breeze. Just keep in mind that this model is heavy, so carrying it in and assembling it is definitely a two-person job.
“I have two left hands when it comes to assembling, but this honestly couldn’t be any easier,” writes one reviewer. “You just have to unbox [it], screw four or six screws and oil the belt.” Other buyers agree, saying it comes basically already assembled. Choose from ten speeds, 15 inclines and 15 built-in workouts depending on what you’re in the mood for. Then when you’re done, just fold up the deck and wheel it against the wall (or wherever you plan to store it).
If you want an absolute beast of a treadmill, look no further than the Bowflex 22. For starters, it has a 4hp motor—the highest of any pick on this list. That, and the incline range goes from –5 to 20 percent, plus it can accommodate up to 400 pounds. The treadmill is equipped with a 22-inch HD touchscreen that you can use to follow custom, adaptive workouts and trainer-led programs. Subscriptions to the JRNY fitness app are more affordable than comparable programs like Peloton and NordicTrack. The treadmill also connects to Prime Video and Netflix if you need entertainment while burning calories.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Folding Treadmill?
“When looking for a folding treadmill, key features to consider include the compact and foldable design, size when folded and unfolded, weight capacity, motor power, speed range, running surface size, console features and weight of the treadmill itself,” Castleberry advises.
Before pressing “add to cart,” you’ll want to measure the space you plan to put your treadmill in and check the dimensions of each model you look at to make sure it’ll fit. Then, think about what type of workouts you want to do on your machine. For example, if you plan to sprint on your folding treadmill, keep an eye out for models that are sturdy and runner-approved (that means models with high mph and weight limits). Think about other features like handrails, digital displays and easy-to-use buttons, too, if those are important to you.
When it comes to the motor, Castleberry explains that the power will determine the treadmill’s durability and ability to handle intense workouts, like running or HIIT training. “Motors of at least 2.25hp are recommended for walking, while 3.5+hp enables true running workouts. The speed range should reach at least 7mph for jogging capabilities.” Depending on your workout goals, she also suggests an incline range of up to 15 percent and 300-pound weight capacity.
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PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.