Do you love running when the weather is nice, but hate it when it’s cold or raining? Do you find it difficult to get to the gym to enjoy a good cardio workout? The solution to these problems is simple if you’re considering getting the best folding treadmill you can afford.
With this running machine, you don’t have to miss any exercise in inclement weather, and you don’t have to go out of your way to get to the gym. Besides, you can easily store it away in the summer when you can run outside again, seeing as these models are really compact when folded.
But how can you get a reliable foldable running machine? What are the main things to take into account? How can you objectively judge the differences between similarly-priced models? Luckily for you, we’re here with answers to all those questions, as well as with some great products on today’s market.
What to look for in a foldable treadmill
Getting a fold-away running machine involves taking into account these characteristics below:
How Foldable It Is
This is a very important issue if saving space takes precedence when you’re buying a treadmill. So if you don’t have a lot of space in your home, make sure you can actually fold the treadmill flat.
There are plenty of treadmills that don’t fold completely, leaving a bit of incline that can prove very inconvenient for cramped spaces. Just remember that even when you fold it completely, it won’t fit in a box or something very small, it’s still about 120 – 150 cm in height and 40 – 50 cm in width and length.
You might be into running, but if you’re also into running uphill, you need more incline levels than the average Joe. If you’re just a beginner or love running on flat ground, a 4% incline is the industry-recommended one and it’s also great for protecting your joints.
Otherwise, you should also consider how you can adjust this incline. Ideally, you could do it without stopping once you’re more warmed up, even if it’s a manual adjustment. But if stopping for a bit doesn’t bother you, this can allow you to get a more affordable treadmill.
Programs and Stats
Ask yourself this: what do you need this treadmill for? Is it for having a bit of fun and losing some weight in the process, or is it to maximize your workouts with perfect planning? Let’s say you pick the second option.
If you want to make the most of your workouts, you need a treadmill that shows stats like speed, distance, time and burnt calories. Having one with a built-in pulse sensor is a real perk, giving you a more accurate understanding of how hard you’re working out and if you’ve reached the optimal heart zone.
Another way to make your workouts more effective is by having multiple pre-set programs to choose from until you find a suitable one. You also want at least one customizable program to make sure you can adjust it according to your needs. If you can keep track of all your stats in the long term and use an app to plan your workouts, that would be ideal.
But if you just want to enjoy yourself with a quick run before going to school or to work, you need just a basic machine. Besides, the advantage of a basic model is that it costs less.
Max Speed and Weight
How fast are you running or think you can run? 12 to 14 kph is the usual range for indoor at-home treadmills, but some of the higher-priced can easily offer a bigger max speed. Still, if you’re not Usain Bolt, you probably don’t need more than that. A lower max speed has its advantages too, protecting your joints and probably coming with a significant price decrease.
Take into account the maximum weight limit too. Most of these foldable treadmills offer a max weight of 100 – 110 kg. A bigger upper limit renders the running machine sturdier and more reliable, but it adds to its overall weight and dimensions too.
Having a comfortable running deck is really important both in terms of stability and safety. However, a deck that’s too big may pose some problems regarding the space needed to accommodate the treadmill.
The obvious disadvantage is when you’re folding the treadmill, as you can’t actually fold the running deck. Besides, you also need to consider the weight increase associated with a bigger running deck, which makes the treadmill less portable, albeit more resistant.
The extras are really important too, shaping a better user experience. For instance, the display has to be wide enough to read your stats comfortably. An auto-lube is perfect for easy maintenance and a comfortable running experience, while a magnetic safety key or another emergency stopping mechanism is great in terms of safety.
You can likewise consider your entertainment options, like built-in speakers or a phone holder. If you hate stopping for water breaks, bottle holders are amazing, and it’s always nice to have a towel holder for high-impact workouts.
The Best Folding Treadmills
The products below are among the best foldable treadmills. We’ve analysed their main official specs in terms of their best use, so you can get a machine that fits your needs.
Weight: 30 kg
Dimensions: 135 x 65 x 140 cm
Specifications: 1100 W motor; 12 kph max speed; 3 levels incline; 110 x 40 cm running surface; auto lube; 13 programs; quick speed buttons; magnetic safety key; built-in speakers; heart rate sensors; 110 kg max user weight
Main purpose: Endurance workouts
The XM PROIII is the newest 2018 model, with all the bells and whistles that will assist you in great lower body endurance workouts if you’re under 110 kg.
This treadmill is compact and light, though that’s probably because there are more plastic parts here. That sort of construction can be correlated with decreased stability and durability
However, we love the included extras which show real user-friendliness. You’ll get resistance bands that work the upper body and core too, a fruit infusion bottle to stay hydrated and three ebooks related to fitness and healthy eating. And this treadmill comes equipped with built-in speakers.
There are other great built-in gadgets too, like a drinks holder, hand controls, and a towel rail. The heart rate sensors are a wonderful addition, though they don’t have medical precision. But knowing your heart rate and your burnt calories can help you plan your workouts and diet better.
The magnetic safety key included is a real bonus, just like the auto lube option for easy maintenance. And when it comes to its foldability, the transport wheels work like a charm.
With that in mind, the running surface is pretty big, 110 x 40 cm. The 12 kph max speed is on par with the 14 kph offered by its more expensive competitor, just like the 12 auto programs and the custom one. However, you’ll only be getting three different incline levels that can be manually adjusted, which is great for a basic foldable treadmill.
Confidence Gtr Power Pro Motorised Treadmill
Weight: 34 kg
Dimensions: 132 x 64 x 132 cm
Specifications: 1 – 12 kph speed; heart rate sensor; LED display; 3 incline levels; emergency stop clip; 120 kg max user weight
Main purpose: Walking
With a similar price range as that of the XM-PRO III, this folding running machine has many similar characteristics too. For instance, the max speed is 12 kph, but you can go anywhere from 1 kph and above, so you can simply start with a slow-paced walk if you don’t have a good fitness level.
There’s a heart rate sensor here too, but remember it’s not as precise as a piece of medical equipment, and you can only use it for lower speeds to prevent falling. Still, there are plenty of other cool stats you can read on the wide LED display, like your speed, calories, time, and distance.
And just like the XM-PRO III, there are three different incline levels to challenge your resistance and to increase the running difficulty. With the emergency stop clip included too, you might wonder what makes this treadmill different. Well, we love that the max user weight allowed is bigger, in this case, reaching 120 kg, and that’s really easy to assemble in less than 10 minutes.
The first downside is that it’s a pretty basic machine, so you won’t get a lot of settings, programs or other accessories, and it mostly works for light exercise. That’s because it’s pretty noisy, and it’s also not incredibly stable to endure a lot of rugged workouts.
Reebok ZR8 Compact Treadmill
Weight: 67 kg
Dimensions: 165 x 74 x 143 cm
Specifications: 30 programs; 15 incline levels; 1 – 16 kph speed; 2.0 HP motor; 126 x 41 cm running area; backlight LED display; MP3 input; built-in speakers; 120 max user weight
Main purpose: Advanced runners
The Reebok ZR8 is among the best fold away treadmills, which is reflected in the price range.
This machine can be easily folded for storage, although being quite big and heavy-duty. That makes it lose some points on the portability scale, but it also makes it more stable.
In terms of the number of programs available, the ZR8 comes out as a true winner, with 24 different preset programs, 3 target programs, 3 customizable programs and 15 levels of incline. Even the max speed is bigger here, with 16 kph max, thanks to a continuous-duty motor of 2.0 HP.
The running area is smaller for the ZR8, just 126 x 41 cm, but still wide enough to avoid accidents and provide good stability. The hand pulse measurement is another plus, though you find most of the same stats noted, like speed, calories, time and distance.
We love the chart profile functions the most because they are really user-friendly and allow you to customize your workouts. Besides, the LED display is easy to read even in low light thanks to its backlight, and there’s also an MP3 input here too, with speakers.
As a negative, the pulse rate isn’t incredibly accurate for the price, though it should still paint a good enough picture of how hard you’re working out.
ANCHEER S8500 Treadmill
Weight: 63.5 kg
Dimensions: 157.5 x 58.4 x 147.3 cm
Specifications: Bluetooth pairing; LED display; 12 pre-set programs; 14 kph max speed; built-in speakers; auto-lubrication
Main purpose: Rugged use
In the same price range as the Reebok ZR8, the Ancheer S8500 is the best portable treadmill for people who love technology and gadgets. That’s because you can easily connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and that way you can plan your workouts, keeping track of your stats.
In fact, all the operation is personalized, even if there are 12 pre-programmed workouts, so you change the way you move with your phone and devise your own workout plan. If you don’t like that, though, you can easily adjust the speed manually up to 14 kph. Unfortunately, the incline is just manually adjustable too, which is a downside. So in terms of program variability, this electric treadmill is similar to the Reebok ZR8.
Besides, just like the other two similarly priced models above, this one comes with built-in speakers, so you can listen to your favourite tracks while running. We also love the sound of these speakers, it’s really high-quality.
The auto-lubrication system reminds us of the XM PRO-III, keeping this treadmill safe and low-maintenance. The warranties are great too, 2 years for the frame and 3 years for the motor, but the 100 kg max user weight could definitely be improved for the price range.
PremierFit T100 Motorised Electric Treadmill
Weight: 34 kg
Dimensions: 134 x 65 x 104.5 cm
Specifications: 15 exercise programs; LED display; built-in iPad holder; AUX input; 4% fixed incline; 1 – 10 kph speed; 2-year warranty for frame and parts; lifetime warranty for the motor; emergency cut-off cord; 90 kg max user weight
Main purpose: Brisk walking
The PremierFit T100 is in the lower price-range category, but it does have some terrific characteristics. For instance, it boasts 12 pre-set exercise programs and 3 you can manually adjust, so you can find the most effective workout for you. Besides, you can read your time, speed, and calories on the large LED display.
But the feature that sets it apart from all the items in this review, regardless of their retail price, is its entertainment capability. It doesn’t just offer built-in speakers to listen to music while you’re running, it also offers an iPad holder so you can watch your favourite shows. There are also two bottle holders, so you can drink two different beverages at once, or ensure you don’t stop running if one bottle runs out.
This treadmill is fairly light and compact, and you can notice that’s usually the case with more affordable running machines. But the key difference between this and the other budget models is that the PremierFit T100 can only support a 90 kg max user weight.
Another disadvantage is that it has a 4% fixed incline, so you can’t adjust the slope to make your workouts more difficult, even if some of the 12 pre-set programs are more high-impact. Besides, the max possible speed is just 10 kph, making this treadmill suitable for brisk walking or slow running.
We’ve taken you through a series of tips on how to choose the perfect treadmill, as well as a list of wonderful products in this category. Now that you’re here, you can get through all the pros/ cons lists again to make sure you decide on the best treadmill for you.
And we know there isn’t such a thing as the perfect running machine, but we’re confident that you can get the perfect one for you.