The best folding treadmill could be the perfect answer if you’re looking to get fit via running-based indoor training but lack space in your house or apartment. This is especially the case over the winter months when inclement weather (aka freezing cold rain) is likely to result in you remaining on the sofa with a steaming hot drink.
Indoor running tech has come a long way over the past few years, and the machines no longer have the footprint of a small automobile. The latest foldable treadmills are compact, lightweight, simple to use and designed with much more compact dimensions, meaning that once they are folded, they can fit in positions where you never thought you could get a foldable treadmill – some, for instance, fold down small enough to slide under your bed.
Whether you’re dipping your toe into the world of the best treadmills for the first time, or you’re a veteran of belt-based training scouting for a new treadmill-based piece of tech that will provide an intense workout and fit perfectly into a small space, you’re in the right place.
Read on to find out which foldable treadmills make the pick for our buying guide.
The best folding treadmills to buy now, in order of preference
The JTX Fitness Sprint 5 folding treadmill feels like running on a gym-based treadmill, and will suit all levels of runners, from beginners to those looking to vary up their training with hill repeats thanks to the upper incline limit of 12%, or intervals.
It also features 43 pre-loaded workout programmes, each with different inclines and speed settings to vary your training. As well as that, it syncs with the Kinomap app via Bluetooth, so will automatically adjust the incline as you run along the real-life routes on the app.
Folding-wise, it folds vertically, but the footprint remains on the larger side, so if you are short on space this may not be the best option.
This foldable machine is perfect for those with limited space in which to work out. The low price will also make it attractive to those on a budget. It offers the ability to walk with the bar folded down – you control the speed via a remote control, meaning if you want to work your legs more while at your stand-up desk, you can slide it under and walk while on your computer.
In running mode, with the bar in place and the touchscreen in operation, it maxes out at 7.4mph, providing a decent workout that will suit most runners, bar those looking to go all-out on sprint intervals or wanting to practice hill-climbing, as it does not have incline capabilities.
It’s also quiet, meaning your neighbours won’t be banging on the walls every time you turn it on for a 5k run. But if you consider yourself a serious runner looking to put in hours of pounding out hard miles, you might want to consider one of the other options.
A higher-end treadmill that features the ability to fold into a smaller space via its intelligent SpaceSaver Design, making it easy to quickly shrink it down in size. It also features EasyLift Assist, which aids you in moving the treadmill once it’s folded.
The higher price point of this machine means that it’s aimed more at the more serious runners in the treadmill market – those looking to maximise their time on the belt and get the most out of different types of running workouts.
It features a 7in touchscreen which links to iFit, which, for an annual extra subscription cost of £337, will supply you with a wide range of live or on-demand workouts (although it comes packaged with 12-month subscription for free).
You can dial the speed up to 12mph, which will suit all but professional runners, and the belt surface features ReBound Pro cushioning to absorb extra impact, making it one of the kindest on your knees available.
This is a bigger treadmill that provides plenty of room for all kinds of different workouts. Bowflex’s Treadmill 22 has a wide range of incline options, going down to -5% if you want to simulate downhill running, and up to 15% for grinding out hill repeats.
It’s fitted with a 10in touchscreen, and hooks up to Bowflex’s training programme JRNY, which provides adaptive workout plans, outdoor video-based content that includes more than 50 global destinations and trainer-led videos for a monthly subscription.
The folding mechanism includes SoftDrop, making folding easier. However, it’s not got the smallest footprint when folded, and it’s a weighty beast, so bear that in mind if you’re short on space.
Another foldable treadmill that connects to a training app, in this case, Echelon’s own training app (£39.99 a month), offering live and on-demand workout options. We should point out that access to these classes is not via an inbuilt touchscreen but rather via your phone or tablet, which adds an extra layer of planning and organisation to your workouts to ensure everything is charged and connected.
It’s a dinky treadmill when compared to some of the others on this list, and it folds up tidily with the press of a button. Once folded, it’s only 26cm thick, and you can store it upright or lie it down to slide it under the bed, making it a great option if you can only fit it in a small room.
A quiet and smooth treadmill from indoor workout experts NordicTrack means that you can pound the belt for hours without fear of disturbing neighbours or even other members of your household. It also features a slightly roomier and thicker belt than others, meaning extra cushioning for the knees. Incline options range from -3% all the way up to 15%, making it ideal for those who are training for hilly races or simply like the thought of working their quads hard on hill-repeat training.
It comes with a 12-month family subscription to iFit, where you have access to live and on-demand group classes, which are useful if you’re lacking motivation or want to vary up your training.
What you need to know about foldable treadmills
The first thing you need to know about folding treadmills is how they fold. Most fold vertically, meaning the belt lifts up to fold towards the control panel. The ones that fold horizontally can slide under beds or couches.
For some of the bigger, higher-end treadmills, however, the ‘fold’ basically means you lift the belt up, meaning it takes up only slightly less room than when the belt is lowered.
Is a folding treadmill worth it?
If you are limited for space yet want to run indoors, a foldable treadmill is the ideal solution. It can make the perfect addition to your home gym as many of them can be stashed away out of sight when not in use. Some are also extremely reasonably priced, meaning you can invest in treadmill technology at a low price.
The concession you may have to make with some foldable treadmills is that you will be running on a smaller belt than regular fixed treadmills, and it may not have the speed or incline capabilities of its bigger brethren due to reduced power. The more expensive treadmills have more power to go faster, but the flipside is they take up more space. But you’re still getting a treadmill for less money and one that takes up less space, so some things have to give.
Are folding treadmills worth it?
Many treadmills are foldable, but as expected, they cost a bit more than the non-foldable variety. Foldable treadmills are only worth it if you haven't got a dedicated workout space, such as a spare room or an insulated garage, so floor space is of the essence. If you only have space in the living room to store a treadmill, and when fully assembled, it's in the way of foot traffic. A foldable treadmill can help disarm arguments about the running machine before they even begin, especially if you live in a shared household.