If you don’t have the time to go to the gym and running around your block doesn’t look very attractive, it may seem like you have run out of options (pun intended).
However, buying a compact treadmill for your apartment could be an excellent alternative. Unlike traditional treadmills and gym equipment that take too much room, these small or foldable options can fit into almost any living space.
Our in-depth breakdown is here to help you discover the most important features and highlight some of our favorite models.
- What to Consider When Buying a Compact Treadmill
- Top 9 Best Compact Treadmills 2021
- 1. Best Overall Compact Treadmill: XTERRA Fitness TR150
- 2. Best Premium Compact Treadmill: NordicTrack T 9.5 S
- 3. Best Budget Compact Treadmill: MaxKare Folding Treadmill
- 4. Best Outdoor Running Experience: NordicTrack T 6.5 S
- 5. Best for Heavier Runners: Horizon Fitness T202 Advanced
- 6. Most Portable: Sunny Health & Fitness Asuna
- 7. Best Under-the-Desk Treadmill: GoPlus Folding Treadmill
- 8. LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Touch Folding Treadmill
- 9. ProForm SMART Performance 400i
- The Full Rundown on Compact Treadmills
- What Are the Main Benefits and Disadvantages of Compact Treadmills?
- The Criteria We Used for Choosing Best Compact Treadmills
- The Bottom Line
What to Consider When Buying a Compact Treadmill
If you feel overwhelmed by the specifications and features of different compact treadmills, we have a few tips for selecting the best one. Smaller models are typically constructed as entry-level machines for people who only want to use them for walking. Some compact treadmills don’t even support running, which is why you need to be very cautious when inspecting each model.
Here, we bring you some of the things you need to consider when searching for the best compact treadmill.
Not all compact treadmills are created equal. You need to evaluate what you are going to use it for and pick a model accordingly. Some compact treadmills are designed for low-impact workouts, so they are suitable for people who need it for walking or light jogging. On the other hand, people who need a compact treadmill for running and higher intensity training need to buy a model that can support their activity level.
Compact treadmills are smaller than the ones you are used to seeing in the gym. Make sure to check the size of every model you research and whether it can fit your free space. This doesn’t only refer to the full size when your compact treadmill is unfolded. Take a look at the folded dimensions and think about where you can store it. Make sure the folded footprint matches your storage space.
For a solid compact treadmill, you can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $2000. Figure out your budget and see what you would be comfortable with.
We will discuss the technical side of compact treadmills and the value you get in different build qualities in our full guide below.
It is essential to find a compact treadmill that offers excellent functionality and everything you need. You should inspect everything from track speed, weight capacity, safety buttons, and inclines to extras like transporting wheels, Bluetooth compatibility, touch screens, speakers, workout programs, and more.
Another good indicator of quality is warranty duration. The warranty usually covers the frame, motor, parts, and labor, and the term is different for each category.
The frame and motor typically come with a lifetime guarantee. On the other hand, warranties for different parts will last between 2-5 years. Aim for the higher-end models that offer a longer duration. Labor warranty is usually one or two years.
If a company offers a shorter-term warranty, it could mean they are realistic about their machines’ quality. If you want a product that will last a long-time, don’t be afraid to spend a little more and get a higher-end model that comes with an extended warranty.
So now let’s break a sweat and show you some great compact treadmills so you can bring the gym home.
Top 9 Best Compact Treadmills 2021
- Footprint: 63.4” L x 28.75” W x 51.4” H unfolded vs. 28.5” L x 28.75” W x 61” H folded
- Belt dimensions: 50″ x 16″
- Motor: 2.25 HP
- Max speed: 10 mph
- Incline: 3 manual incline settings
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
Small footprint, solid weight capacity, a decent motor that is quiet during most workouts, and no fancy features that can distract you make this treadmill our number one pick for seniors. Xterra TR150 is simply there to help you exercise, and it does that at a budget-friendly price.
A sturdy steel frame comes with a silent 2.25 HP motor. It may not be the most powerful on our list, but it is enough to get the most workouts done. Besides, if you are a senior looking to mix in some activity during the rainy days, you probably want a light jog or a walk, not prepare for a marathon.
The running surface is decent in size, but taller people may need to look for a larger belt model. Even though the model is relatively silent, you will need to lubricate it regularly to keep it that way, which is not ideal.
Whether you are walking or jogging on Xterra TR150, this compact treadmill offers enough stability and power to support your workouts. However, the medium intensity is as high as you can go since the maximum speed is 10 mph.
The manual incline is not our thing. You have to get off the treadmill, adjust the incline to one of three settings, and then get back on it. And the highest one is only 2%, which is really low. If you want a higher incline for a budget price, we suggest looking at Horizon T202 Treadmill.
Twelve pre-set workout programs make a good starting base for any fitness routine. Additionally, the cushioned deck does a great job absorbing, which should minimize the stress on your joints, which is another big selling point for seniors.
A 5″ LCD console will show you basic information such as speed, distance, time, and calories burned. It can also display a pulse that is measured by a heart monitor located in the rails. Other features include transporting wheels, accessory holders, and a reading deck.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on frame, 1-year on the motor, and 90-days on parts and labor.
- Footprint: 78.9” L x 35.5” W x 59.4” H unfolded vs. 39.6” L x 25.5” W x 81.2” H folded
- Belt dimensions: 60″ x 20″
- Motor: 3.6 CHP
- Max speed: 12 mph
- Incline: Up to 12%
- Weight capacity: 300lbs
The T 9.5 S is an impressive model from NordicTrack. This premium-quality compact treadmill is everything an average runner needs, from excellent build to amazing features.
With a stronger motor, more features, and better build, it is an improved version of NordicTrack T 6.5 S and other models from the T series.
The NordicTrack T 9.5 S is built from high-quality materials, so you can expect this model to last a long time. One of the first things you spot is its powerful 3.6 CHP DurX Commercial Plus motor. It is a significant upgrade from previous models, with enough capacity to support high-intensity workouts. The motion will remain smooth and quiet even as you make incline or speed adjustments. Less powerful motors can be a little noisy during intense workout sessions, but you don’t have to worry about that with T 9.5 S.
With a 60″ x 20″ running surface, you’ll have enough space for any workout you imagine, even if you are on the taller side. The weight capacity is 300 lbs, which is sufficient even for heavier runners.
EasyLift Assist allows you to fold this treadmill easily with a built-in hydraulic system. This model has wheels and weighs 218 lbs, so it is on the heavier side.
The NordicTrack T 9.5 S has 50 exercise programs. And on top of that impressive variety, it comes with a year of iFit subscription that allows you to follow personal trainers and access some of the best workouts on its 14″ HD touchscreen. The screen also helps you track your progress, change your workout program, play music, or watch videos during your running sessions.
The maximum speed of 12 mph and incline of 12% is sufficient to provide excellent fat-burning workouts. The large running area is ideal for runners who are afraid of stepping off the track and falling. The FlexSelect Cushioning simulates the outdoor running conditions and protects your joints from injuries.
Besides the 14″ HD touchscreen, 50 built-in workouts, a year of iFit membership, this model also has some extra features, including a multi-speed fan, audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, EKG Grip Pulse on the handrails, quick control buttons, and self-cooling mechanism. All these extras will make your running experience as pleasurable as possible.
The NordicTrack T 9.5 S has a lifetime warranty on frame and motor, 5 years for parts, and 2 years for labor.
- Footprint: 53.39” L x 26.18” W x 45.95” H folded vs. 28.47” L x 26.18” W x 46.42” H unfolded
- Belt dimensions: 17″ wide
- Motor: 2.5 HP
- Max speed: 8.5 mph
- Incline: 1-3 degrees manual incline
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
Buying on a tight budget is not always the easiest task. However, MaxKare has earned its spot in the fitness world with budget-friendly exercise machines of excellent quality.
The MaxKare 2.5 HP Folding Treadmill is specifically designed for people with very little free space for their home equipment. It is perfect for apartments and offices where you can squeeze in some extra activity on your breaks. With such a small footprint, transporting wheels, and only 91 lbs, moving and storing it will be easy.
The 2.5 HP motor may not be the most powerful option, but it will provide enough power to support any low-intensity exercise. This budget model is simply an entry-level machine, and if you are looking for complex HIIT and sprints, you can choose another model, such as NordicTrack T 9.5 S. However, the motor is very quiet, which is ideal if you don’t want to disturb your housemates or coworkers.
The running board consists of multiple layers, including wear-resistant, noise reduction, strength-reinforcement, EVA shock absorption, and high-strength support layers.
The belt is only 17″ wide with a weight capacity of 220 lbs, so this model is definitely not for heavier runners. The belt is also relatively thin, and it is prone to tear and wear if you don’t maintain it.
The MaxKare folding treadmill has 15 exercise programs, which is a good start for beginners. It has an LCD monitor where you can easily track your mileage, running time, speed, burned calories, heart rate, and other details.
The treadmill is quiet, and the maximum running speed is 8.5 mph. That is slightly faster than your average jog speed, so don’t expect anything spectacular. With manual incline, you will have to adjust it before starting your workout, which can be annoying.
There are buttons on the handrail for easier control, which is a nice feature. The safety switch is also something that can come in handy if you slip or fall. It will stop the motor and possibly prevent an injury.
The MaxKare features a Soft Drop System for easier folding and unfolding. The display panel is very well lit and easy to navigate. The heart rate monitor, like with most compact treadmills, may not be the most accurate.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime frame, 1-year motor, and 90-days parts and labor warranty.
- Footprint: 73.5″ L x 36″ W x 54″ H unfolded, and 38″ L x 36″ W folded
- Belt dimensions: 20″ x 55″
- Motor: 2.6 HP
- Max speed: 10 mph
- Incline: Up to 10 %
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
NordicTrack T 6.5 S is one of the most affordable options if you are searching for a good compact treadmill. It is mostly an entry-level model suitable for beginners looking to have low to moderate intensity workouts at home. The model is fully foldable with an EasyLift Assist system that makes the whole process easy. NordicTrack T 6.5 S weighs 203 lbs, and it comes with wheels, so you’ll have no problem moving it by yourself.
NordicTrack T 6.5 S is very well built, and even though it is on the smaller side, you can expect it to be sturdy and durable. One of the major problems with compact treadmills is that they can be unstable and feel a little shaky when running, but that’s not the case with this model.
The 2.6 HP motor is powering the whole thing. It is strong enough for jogging and light running, but don’t expect to be hitting your maximum speed. So, it’s more of a marathon instead of a sprint. However, you can still get a great workout out of it, with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and everything.
The 20″ x 55″ running area provides enough room for most people. However, if you are taller than 6 ft 2 in, you may want to look for another model if you’re going to do more than a light jog. The rollers that work the belt are on the smaller side with 1.9″ compared to 2.5″ on most models, which could be a potential problem in the future.
This model comes with 20 different workout programs. That’s enough to give you a nice boost at the beginning and stimulate you to workout daily. You’ll also get a free month of iFit membership with different fitness programs with instructors that can help you reach your goals.
You can easily change speed and incline with OneTouch button controls. The maximum is 10 mph and 10% incline, which is enough for most beginner runners.
All NordicTrack models from the T series feature FlexSelect Cushioning technology that reduces the impact on joints and simulates the whole experience of running outdoors. It should also help prevent joint injuries.
This compact treadmill features a 5″ display that shows all your stats. There is also a cup and tablet holder, speakers, Bluetooth, heart rate monitor, and an auxiliary port. Unfortunately, this range of extras doesn’t even have a single cooling fan, which is a poor miss.
For some reason, NordicTrack has cut down the warranty on this model, and it now covers 10 years for frame and motor and only a year for parts and labor.
- Footprint: 75” L x 34” W x 58” H unfolded vs. 47” L x 34” W x 65” H folded
- Belt dimensions: 60″ x 20″
- Motor: 2.75 CHP
- Max speed: 12 mph
- Incline: Up to 12%
- Weight capacity: 325 pounds
Horizon is a well-known name in the fitness world. This series features three models, and the T202 is the best choice out of three. Its traditional design, solid built, excellent features, with nothing extra fancy, is what made us fall in love with it.
The frame is made from steel, and it offers decent stability even during more intense workouts. A 2.75 CHP motor is one of the strongest on our list, allowing even higher-intensity workouts. It will keep running smoothly during your longer exercise sessions, and you won’t see any lags, “hiccups,” or unpleasant speed or incline changes. In fact, the motor is one of the quietest on our list.
The deck consists of 3 zones for ultimate workout comfort. Keep in mind that the belt is on the thinner side, making it more susceptible to wear and tear over time.
With FeatherLight folding technology, you will be able to fold and open it in just one step. At 194 lbs, most people can manage to set it up independently.
Running on Horizon T202 Treadmill is a smooth experience. The deck is comfortable, a maximum 12 mph speed is enough for more intense workouts, and the motor is powerful enough to support it without any unnecessary noise. You can utilize the strong incline ability to maximize your running potential, as studies show that uphill interval training could benefit your performance.
The LCD backlit display is perfect for tracking your speed, distance, time, calories burned, and heart rate. Other features include speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB-fast charging port for your phone, tablet holder, and a cooling fan that is more for show than cooling.
A lifetime warranty on frame and motor and a 1-year warranty for parts and labor.
- Footprint: 59” L x 30.5” W x 40” H unfolded vs. 64” L x 30.5” x 4.5” folded
- Belt dimensions: 49″ x 17.75″
- Motor: 2.5 HP
- Max speed: 8 mph
- Incline: 12 levels
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
If you are looking for a slick design and a fully foldable treadmill you can store absolutely anywhere, then Asuna Space Saving Treadmill could be the perfect match. This model weighs under 100 pounds and comes with two sets of wheels, making it one of the lightest models we covered.
Despite its relatively lightweight, this folding treadmill is very well built. The sturdy steel frame and a relatively powerful 2.5 HP motor can support mostly light workout sessions. When you go to speeds over 6.5 mph, you may feel little jumps when changing your speed and incline, which could be a deal-breaker for some people. However, the motor is still relatively quiet.
The running deck is on the smaller side, but it should be enough for most people since it can’t be used for high-speed running.
Besides the occasional “hiccups” at higher speeds, the overall running experience is fairly pleasant. The track feels nice on your feet, and the 12 setting incline goes up to 5%. That may be a little less than the rest of the models, but it’s still enough for basic use.
The biggest disappointment is that you can’t use this model as an under the desk treadmill, even though the design may suggest it. There is no remote controller you can use in the folded position to adjust speed and incline.
Extra features include an easy-to-use display, headphone port, integrated speaker, device holder, emergency stop clip, quick speed buttons, and a folding tool for temporary storing and unfolding. There are also 8 built-in programs and an option to create 3 customized ones, which is very cool. You can use this feature to design unique workouts tailored to your preferences.
5-year warranty on the frame and 180 days on motor, parts, and labor.
- Footprint: 49” L x 27” W x 42” H unfolded vs. 52” L x 27” W x 5” H folded
- Belt dimensions: 40″ x 16″
- Motor: 2.25 HP
- Max speed: 7.5 mph
- Incline: No
- Weight capacity: 265 lbs
The unique design suitable for under desk use is the first thing you notice about The GoPlus 2.25HP Electric Folding Treadmill. Thanks to the lightweight and built-in wheels, this model can easily be transported and used in your home or office. The motor is quiet, never going over 60 dB, which is the standard volume of an office conversation. So if you are looking to get some miles while working, this may be a good budget fit.
The quality steel frame ensures the durability and sturdiness of this compact treadmill. It comes with a fold-up rail with a small 5″ display. When the rail is up, you can use it as a traditional treadmill, and you can reach top speed in this mode.
A 2.25 HP may not be the strongest, but this folding treadmill is not designed for fast running after all. The main advantage is that it is really quiet, so you won’t annoy your coworkers if you decide to use it in the office.
A 5-layer belt features a wear-resistant surface, sound insulation layer, high-strength support layer, shock-absorbing layer, and compression layer. However, keep in mind it is only 16″ x 40″, so it isn’t designed for big or tall runners. If you are over 6 ft, or close to 250 lbs, we suggest a different model such as NordicTrack T 9.5 S.
GoPlus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill features 12 built-in workout programs. You can use it as under the desk treadmill while folded, and it comes with a remote controller for using it in this state.
Keep in mind that while folded down, it can only be used for walking. If you want a light jog, you’ll need to put up the rail. And if you wish to sprint, you’ll need a different compact treadmill as the maximum speed is 7.5 mph.
The LED display shows your running time, speed, distance, and calories burned, suitable for progress tracking. There are some extra features like a device holder, safety key, emergency stop button, audio system, and Bluetooth compatibility.
The whole treadmill comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Footprint: 71″ L x 33″ W x 56″ H unfolded vs. 42″ L x 33″ W x 60″ H folded
- Belt dimensions: 56″ x 20″
- Motor: 2.75 HP Continuous Duty DC
- Max speed: 12 mph
- Incline: 15 levels
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
When you look at the LifeSpan Fitness TR3000i Folding Treadmill specifications, it has everything you need. However, it seems that this machine’s electronic parts aren’t the best and may break down over time. Luckily, the customer service is excellent, and you can expect them to solve any problem you may have.
An alloy steel frame and 2.75 HP motor provide enough stability and power to support even the higher intensity workouts. The belt size is quite decent, and it is enough even for runners who like a little more elbow space when exercising.
TR300i comes with 21 exercise programs with lots of flexibility and variability. They are designed to boost your performance, improve cardiovascular health, help your fitness levels, and burn fat. The whole running experience is smooth, and there are even cushion support for reduced stress on joints, knees, and lower back.
Extra features include a 3-speed cooling fan, safety features, step counter, EZfold Technology, heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, full-color touchscreen display, a USB port, and speakers.
A lifetime warranty on frame and motor, and 1-year on parts and labor.
- Footprint: 65.77” L x 32.75” W x 56.42” H
- Belt dimensions: 50″ x 18″
- Motor: 2 HP
- Max speed: 10 mph
- Incline: Up to 10%
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
ProForm is one of those brands that create products that provide excellent value for your money. The Smart Performance 400i folding treadmill is no different.
This model could be your best partner if you are trying to stay in shape. With a unique SpaceSaver design, you won’t have to sacrifice too much space in your home for a little cardio training.
A solid frame with a 2 HP motor is enough for your average light jog. You may not be able to get full-intensity workouts out of this compact treadmill, but it is still a great option.
The ProShock cushioning is excellent for your joints, and you will surely feel a difference when running on this treadmill. It reduces stress on your joint by 28% compared to running on pavement.
The rails feature a heart rate monitor that can roughly show your pulse but don’t read into it too much. You can purchase a separate heart monitor if you want more precise measurements.
The belt dimensions may not be suitable for taller people, so go for another option if you are over 6 ft tall.
There are 50 different fitness programs, which is an incredible selection, especially for a budget buy. With a 10% incline and a maximum speed of 10 mph, you won’t be able to get a high-intensity workout. However, this is still enough to get your blood going and do the light cardio essential for your long term health.
The 7″ smart HD touchscreen is perfect for tracking your progress. This model comes with a free annual iFit membership that is a great bonus on top of your standard 50 fitness programs. Other features include a tablet holder, auxiliary music port, and a built-in sound system.
The ProForm Smart Performance 400i comes with a 10-year motor and frame warranty and a 1-year part and labor warranty.
The Full Rundown on Compact Treadmills
Running is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your long-term health. We all know that exercise is good for you, but we may not be aware of the extent. Studies show that regular exercise like running can improve our brain’s functioning, cardiovascular health, and longevity. In fact, runners live 3 years longer on average than people who don’t run. Not to mention the positive effects on mental well-being.
However, going to the gym can be a hassle or a chore, and you might be seeking the convenience of an at-home option. if you are reluctant to go to the gym, maybe you can bring the gym to your home.
There are many smaller exercise machines you can fit in almost any space. And if you are a big fan of running, a compact treadmill may be a perfect solution for you. Besides showing you our favorite models, this guide should help you learn all the ins and outs of these exercise machines. With this knowledge, you should be able to pick your favorite model in no time.
What Are the Main Benefits and Disadvantages of Compact Treadmills?
Compact treadmills have several advantages over traditional models, but they also come with some downsides.
- Price – Compact models are usually a lot cheaper than traditional treadmills. You can get a treadmill in your home for less than $500. It also saves you money on gym membership and gas you’d spend to get there.
- Size – Obviously, this is one of the best-selling points of compact treadmills. All models we reviewed can fold, which makes storage a lot easier.
- Health – You can lose weight, stay in shape, and tone your muscles in the comfort of your home.
- Features – Most models still have all the essential features you need for a good workout.
- Portability – Most models are lighter and come with transportation wheels, so moving them is easy.
- Durability – While the compact models offer good quality and durability, the more robust traditional treadmills are simply sturdier and have a longer life.
- Stability – You must choose a model that can support your body weight, even during running. Otherwise, your compact treadmill may feel a little shaky and unstable.
- Weaker motors – Engineers usually create compact models with smaller engines and less horsepower to save on space and weight. If you want to run at high speeds, they’re not suitable.
The Criteria We Used for Choosing Best Compact Treadmills
We followed a strict set of criteria for choosing the best compact treadmills on the market. These little tips can help you select a model you want.
Here is what you need to look at:
The frame must be made from steel or equivalently solid material to provide a stable base and excellent durability. All the models we included in this list match this criterion. The key thing is to make sure to get one with a steel frame, especially if you carry some excess weight.
Motor strength is measured in horsepower (HP), representing the peak that a motor can reach, or continuous horsepower (CHP), which is what the engine can maintain.
This is one of the most important features, as motor power will determine how smooth your running experience will be and how fast you can go. We recommend getting a motor with at least 2 HP, which should be enough for your home workouts. By going over the list, you’ll notice that all our picks have motors with 2 HP or more.
The NordicTrack T 9.5 S has the strongest motor on our list with 3.6 CHP.
The length of your belt determines your effective running surface. Naturally, compact treadmills will have less space for running, but you still need enough to enjoy comfortable sessions.
Choosing your belt length has a lot to do with your height, body size, and running preferences. Some people don’t mind running in confined spaces, while others tend to flap their hands around and require more room. Some general advice is that people over 6 ft need a belt that’s at least 55” long if they plan to run. They can choose a shorter one if they only want to walk or jog.
One of the roomiest models we covered is Horizon T202 Treadmill, which is perfect for people who need extra running space.
Rollers are in contact with the motor and belt, allowing motion and creating the whole running experience. Bigger rollers reduce wear and tear and increase the durability of both the belt and motor.
Our recommendation is to get a compact treadmill with 2” to 3” inch rollers, although you will find that some of our picks have 1.9” ones. This is still fine, as the overall build quality compensates for it, so make sure to consider everything.
Range of Features
This is a place where individual preferences have the strongest influence. Each model comes with different features, and determining which ones you need is the crucial step. There is display type, audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, safety features, heart rate monitor, cup and device holders, built-in programs, fitness apps compatibility, and many more extra features you need to review.
When choosing our favorite models, we focused more on the previous parameters and the overall quality of each compact treadmill. But these extra features can really make your running sessions more pleasurable, so choose wisely.
The Bottom Line
Compact treadmills offer a perfect chance to mix in some running in your everyday life. They provide a good set of features, excellent overall quality, and decent durability for a fraction of the price of traditional treadmills. Most importantly, they can fit into smaller spaces.
Our tips should help you learn all about these exercise machines, select a perfect model, and get that summer body ready for the next year.