Treadmills

The Best Folding Treadmills for 2017

When space if of paramount concern in your home gym setup, you need to look for equipment that not only saves on precious space but can also stand up to rigorous use like it's bulky counterparts.

Most people who seek out a space saving folding treadmill are looking for something compact, something that can squeeze behind the closet, fit into that cupboard or one that has the ability to be pushed flat against the garage wall for example.

All of these requirements can be met by many treadmill options, however only a few truly stand out at being the best of the best. As with anything, your budget is a prime factor with any purchase, let alone one that will see you spend several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Once we've covered exactly what to look for in a foldable treadmill, we also dive deep into the top compact treadmills for all manner of budgets.

Top Foldable Treadmill Comparison Chart 2017
ProductDimensions (L x W x H)WarrantyRatingPrice 
Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill70.8 x 33.1 x 54.6Lifetime for frame and motor, 1 year on parts and labor.4.1$$
LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill70 x 33 x 54Frame and its motor come with lifetime warranty.4.5$$$
Merit Fitness 725T Plus Treadmill66 x 30 x 51N/A4.0$
Proform Power 99560 x 31 x 52N/A4.2$$
Schwinn 84074 x 32 x 5410 year motor warranty, 5 years on frame3.6$$$
Smooth Fitness 7.1 HR Pro73 x 39 x 58Lifetime Warranty4.0$
Sole F85 Folding80 x 35 x 58lifetime on frame, motor, and deck4.4$$$

What To Look For In a Compact Folding Treadmill

If you’re looking to purchase fitness equipment, treadmills are among the priciest items on the ticket and folding treadmills can be even more expensive…however it' not all bad news as you will find out.

It’s certainly a purchase you want to get right first time, without making costly mistakes. Here're our top tips to make sure your new purchase gives you exactly what you need.

Why would I need a foldable treadmill?

Fitting a treadmill into the average home has always been a bit of a challenge. Deep and long tracks meant the user would lose almost half of their room to the machine, and no matter how enthusiastic the gym-goer, most people simply can’t afford to dedicate that much space.

Enter the folding treadmill. With the running platform able to fold up against the guard rails, the need to lose acres of floor space in your house has disappeared. Of course, you will still need to be able to make enough space to allow the deck to unfold properly for use, but you needn’t keep it unfolded as an eyesore [or clothes hanger] permanently.

Some of these machines are even light and compact enough to take up residence in a spacious closet when not in use. Most will offer some degree of automation, too, to make storing them easier.

What is the downside of owning a folding treadmill?

Of course, nothing’s perfect. The more moving parts a unit has, the greater impact build quality will have. And, of course, the poorer your build quality, the quicker your unit will wear out. In short, it could turn out to be a bad investment.

The frame of these products means that the units are naturally less stable than their non-folding counterparts, and it’s a common area for failure.

So how can you avoid wasting your hard-earned cash? You need to accept that there’s no such thing as a free meal, at least in the treadmill world. If it’s priced cheaply, you’re going to be sacrificing build quality.

Be prepared to spend in the region of $700 to several thousand if you want to make a purchase that will last. Past that, it’s a matter of narrowing the field to ensure you get a unit that matches your needs.

Most people will need a unit that allows for workout tracking. While you don’t necessarily need a ton of features, a display and timer will come in handy.

Distance displays will help you keep track of the number of revolutions the belt has done, which in turn will help you with how ‘far’ you've run during your workout. 

This can be critical if you are training for a specific event in mind or are seeking to build endurance. Timers allow you greater flexibility in planning your workout and will help you hit your end goals more effectively.

The ability to set a speed that works for you is critical too, especially if you are new to working treadmill running. It can also be essential if you have health issues or need to carefully manage your heart rate or are interested in HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

If you can afford to splash out a little further, look for an integrated heart rate or pulse monitor. Of course, this isn’t a necessary if you already carry a private monitor or simply don’t require the feature, but it’s a nice add-on that may be critical if you’re focusing on cardio performance. 

As I mentioned above, it can also be a critical management tool for those with heart issues. You can find models which will sound an alarm if your heart rate drops out or rises above the set range, which is a great safety feature for those that need it.

Do be sure to pay careful attention to the incline range of the machine you are considering purchasing. If you’re interested in elevation and incline work, you will need to be sure the machine you are investing in can accommodate your end goals.

Manual incline will always be the least expensive, but can only be changed before you begin the workout- so it’s not great for those that like to vary the ‘landscape’ as they run. Automatic inclines can be adjusted via the display, and some will even allow you to change during use.

However, if you’re looking for a workout that mimics a ‘natural’ run, you would be best served with an automatic – varying incline unit.

These are, of course, usually billed as commercial units and will be the most expensive of the three types of model. It will, however, provide a [chosen or random] set of incline changes throughout the workout, and will allow you to set difficulty level and more. It’s the closest you’ll come to simulating a ‘real’ scenario for your walk, jog or run.

7 of The Best Folding Treadmills Reviewed

1. Horizon Fitness T101

Running is a great way to get rid of excess weight, increase your cardiovascular fitness and generally help you to look and feel great. Many of us hate running outdoors, in fact, I much prefer the comfort and convenience of a home gym for a few reasons. Primarily the fumes you inhale whilst road running, the weather and gear you need.

Compare all that to a home gym setup and you have everything you need in your home, throw on some shorts or sweatpants and off you go.

No more worrying about the rain or it being too hot out, no more fussing with your fitness gear or how you look. Just strap on those shoes and hit the gym.

Quiet, powerful & comfy!

You can experience a great workout session with this machine that runs smooth and quietly. Therefore, you need not worry about others in the home being disturbed. It sports a large, heavy frame that makes it more stable and firmer than many treadmills currently available in the market and incorporates a powerful 2.25 horsepower motor.

The sturdy build of this machine means it will last for many years. This equipment is exclusively designed to support 300 pounds of weight, which makes it perfectly suitable for those heavier individuals.

The product also features a PerfectFLEX deck cushioning, which offers a soft feel to your feet and can prevent injuries to joints. When not in use, the machine can be folded and stored elsewhere, helping in saving space.

Great Programming options!

This machine incorporates 9 different customized workout settings, which make for an exciting exercise regimen. The product comes with an electronic display which incorporates speed, distance, total workout time, and total calories burned.

Features :

  • Easy to fold and store in your home gym.
  • Strong, high power motor which facilitates smooth functioning and offers great speed up to 10mph
  • A cooling fan is used on the machine to offer you cooling relief when you are exercising
  • The large workout space is suitable for those with above-average height
  • The deck is made with perfect flex cushioning to give comfort to your feet
  • Sports Sonic surround speakers & MP3 players to let you enjoy some musical entertainment whilst running
  • The large, solid frame makes this machine stronger and sturdier than other treadmills in this range
  • Horizon provides a lifetime warranty for the frame and motor, and 1 year on parts and labor.

Editor's Opinion

Horizon is one of the largest manufacturers of fitness equipment and it is a well-known fact that they provide quality machines. This treadmill is great value for beginners and for busy people who want a quick ‘set & go' option.

The Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill has received several positive reviews by current users and it is, by far, one of the most affordable treadmills on the market.


2. LifeSpan TR 1200i

Ever felt like going to the gym is a drag? However, you also know that a just a small investment of time to exercise is beneficial for your health and well-being in the long fun. Having a folding treadmill at home, like the LifeSpan TR 1200i provides an easy way to walk, jog or run without having to leave the comfort of your home.

With it, you can now exercise at any time of the day in a temperature controlled environment and enjoy a fine workout which will condition the cardiovascular system and cleanse the mind of worries.

Single Monitor, Multiple Functions

At the center of this product is an LCD console which tracks the length of time that you've exercised, the calories you burn, the distance you cover by walking/ running/ jogging, your heart rate, speed, and your level of inclination. This is done with large soft-touch keys which help you to start/stop the belt and to control the difficulty.

The pre-programmed 17 workout programs of the console help you to vary your workouts which can remove some of the monotony as you exercise. Also, trying different types of workout help you to get rid of fat faster by shocking the body into burning more calories as it doesn't know what to expect next.

These different programs help to keep you motivated and also helps you to choose the right kind of exercise. All of the programs have 20 different elements, each of them have their own speed and inclination level.

More Programs To Meet Your Convenience

The product also offers two “My Zone” heart rate control programs and two custom programs. The My Zone Interval program helps you to enter your maximum and minimum target heart rate.

The speed and the incline of the treadmill can keep your heart rate at the optimum level, all by itself.

Again, the custom programs can be used to adjust to the workout formula you want and it will automatically save your exercise records to your USB storage device. Once you have saved the information, you can upload it to your personal online LifeSpan Fitness Club account.

This gives you access to exercise programs and detailed reports of your exercise and health results.

Features:

  • Offers a roomy 20-by-56-inch running surface
  • Supports up to 300 pounds of bodyweight
  • The multicolored LCD console helps you to track your time, calories, distance, speed, and more.
  • The product offers many programs for healthy living, weight loss and so on.
  • Console stabilizing design of the frame, 1-inch deck with 8 compression shocks and the large running belt with 15 levels of incline together gives you steadiness and convenience for a happy workout.
  • The data of your exercise is automatically stored to your USB storage device. You can upload the saved information to your personal online LifeSpan Fitness Club account which comes to you with its purchase.
  • The EZ drop system allows you to fold the treadmill when you are not using it. Thus, it provides economy of space.
  • The product also comes with a set of inbuilt high-quality speakers and an iPod/headphone jack, so then you can enjoy music as you go for a rigorous workout.
  • It also has an Intelli-Step step counting element which can be used as a pedometer.
  • The frame of the treadmill and its motor comes with a lifetime warranty.

Editor's Opinion

Users of the LifeSpan TR 1200i have given the product a superbly high rating, nothing that the product has performed above and beyond their expectations and it yields great value of money.

A surprise plus point of this machine is the Free LifeSpan Fitness Club account, which users often find themselves using far more than anticipated.

If you are looking for a robust treadmill that offers all of the bells a whistles of a commercial machine, without the bulk and the price tag then read more about this machine by clicking the button below.

3. Merit Fitness 725T Plus

The Merit Fitness 725T Plus is designed to provide a true and extensive workout sessions from the comfort of your own home and can stand up to the to most rigorous routines without any trouble.

Its design is attractive and being a fairly new piece of equipment, it has improved on flaws pointed out by users of previous makes and models.

Large workout space, capacity & power!

The treadmill flaunts a large running deck proving plenty of workout space. The deck is about 18 x 45 inches, which gives you a lot of space for running and exercising comfortably. Also, the deck is Aerosoft cushioned to protect your body parts from getting injured.

The weight capacity of this machine is 250 pounds, which is less than most that seem to offer a 300 lb limit.

This treadmill is fitted with a high quality 2.25 horsepower drive motor, which will provide a smooth belt motion underfoot without any disturbances or noise as this motor works very quietly. This treadmill gives you the option to fold it up neatly when not in use.

Relevant Monitoring Functions & Pre-programmed workouts!

This innovative treadmill comes with a variety of functions, such as a two-window LED display which measures your speed, distance, time, calories burnt and many more parameters. It also comes with a thumb pulse heart rate monitor to check your heart rate level during a workout.

In addition to these features, this product comes with customized workouts to provide an enhanced fitness experience. There are 4 settings included: Manual, Hill Climb, Cardio Burn and Endurance Challenges.

Features:

  • High powered motor for smooth running
  • Quiet workout with limited noise
  • Large workout space of 18 x 45 inches
  • Less than average but ample weight capacity of 250 pounds
  • Motorized incline system which can be adjusted 0 to 10 percent. This feature allows changing your workout style as per your needs. Also, you can set your workout speed at 0-10 miles/hour.
  • It also comes with data tracking and storing technology.
  • Incorporated with MP3 players including speakers for enjoying your workout experience.
  • This treadmill feature a two-window LED display which monitors your time, distance, speed, calories burned and much more!
  • It comes with pre-programmed workout styles for a better workout according to your needs.
  • You can fold this treadmill when not using it.

Editor's Opinion

This eye-catching machine is easy to assemble and handle. The Merit Fitness 725T is your ideal workout buddy to accompany you in your weight loss and fitness schedule. Customers who have bought this product have been thoroughly satisfied, stating it is perfect for small rooms and easy to fold up/down when required.

4. Proform Power 995

Staying fit in these times of a hectic and stressed lifestyle, with unhealthy food tempting us on each corner, it's difficult to get a thorough workout that burns the required number of calories to get and stay lean.

Fitness comes in various forms, but incorporating some form exercise into your daily schedule is one of the most effective ways to tone up, lose weight and become the better you. The all new Proform Power 995 Treadmill is a popular choice with those looking to do just that whilst staying within a reasonable price range.

ProTech Adjustable Cushion Deck, shock cushioning system, space saver, touch screen LCD display

The product has this unique shock cushioning system with the ProTech Adjustable Cushion Deck. This deck has an air-based shock absorbing system and full length adjustable cushioning deck that protects your joints from up to 15% of shock, which is pivotal and something that cannot be helped when road running.

This deck can be folded vertically so that it can be stored easily and within a very small space, thus not hampering the usable space you have available.

The touch screen LCD display shows you your performance statistics such as speed, time, distance, incline, pulse and the calories you have burned and you can get all this info with a slight touch of a button.

The Dual-Grip EKG Heart Rate Monitor is a feature which monitors your heart rate with the help of the built-in sensors that are positioned cleverly on the handle bars.

Workout fan, workout programs, intensity control, powerful motor and much more.

Among the special features of this product is the CoolAire Workout Fan and that is designed within the console for faster cooling of the core area.

There is an array of workout programs designed by a professional trainer (Ten performance workouts, six distance workouts, and six weight loss programs) that allow you to lose weight under professional supervision.

Through the intensity control you can adjust the difficulty of the workout instantly and according to your own requirements. The powerful motor (2.75 CHP Mach Z Commercial Pro) gives you the smoothest and quietest possible workout.

The Two-ply Commercial Tread Belt is designed to work more quietly than other belts due to the internally balanced drive system. With the quick speed feature, you can change the speed of the treadmill from 0 to 12 mph instantly.

This product is also compatible with your iPod and MP3 player, with the Interplay Music Port being very easy to access and the sound quality very good.

Features and specifications:

  • ProTech Adjustable Cushion Deck and the shock cushioning system are to protect your joints.
  • This deck can also be folded vertically making it a space saver item.
  • Touchscreen LCD display will show you the information on speed, time, distance, incline, pulse and the calories that got burned and that too with the touch of a finger.
  • The Dual-Grip EKG Heart Rate Monitor supervises your heart rate.
  • Workout fan for fast cooling of the core area and it has two-speed options.
  • An array of workout programs is available.
  • The intensity control allows you to change the intensity of the workout instantly.
  • Powerful motor and commercial tread belt are for better, smooth and quiet performance.
  • Quick speed button lets you change the speed of the treadmill from 0 to 12 mph in seconds.
  • Compatible with iPod and MP3, allows you to listen to music while working it out.
  • It comes with book holder and cup holder.
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor, 2 years limited warranty on parts and 1-year limited warranty on the labor from the manufacturers.

Editor's Opinion

This Proform Power 995 has great reviews from users, which is the result of the high quality of the available features that come with this product.

As with anything, there are some customers who have complained that this product is somewhat complicated to assemble, so be sure to pay attention to the instructions and check twice.

5. Schwinn 840

If you are too busy to spare time for some brisk exercise every morning but at the same time want to get rid of that bulge around your stomach, a treadmill can be the perfect solution to your problem.

Treadmill workouts are one of the most effective ways to burn calories. Those who are hunting for a quality treadmill can opt for the new Schwinn 840 to get that perfect figure!

Suspension deck

If your knees ache after a rigorous workout session on your old treadmill then it's probably time for a change. This remarkable treadmill from the top manufacturers at Schwinn comes with a Softrak suspension deck, which reduces the impact made on your joints as you walk or run.

This can be compared to the benefit of using trekking poles when backpacking, which is proven to take up to 40% strain away from the legs.

Space saver

This product offers convenience with its SoftDrop technology. You can fold up this treadmill when it is not in the operational mode, which offers the user a lot of storage options such as under the bed, behind the closet or under the stairs.

Features:

  • Comes with a 55-inch long running deck.
  • Provides a speed range of 0.5 to 10 miles per hour, allowing the pace that meets your requirement best for different workout levels.
  • Features 16 workout programs. These programs comprise several hills, heart rate control, and custom user-specific programs and allow you to further personalize your exercise regimen.
  • There are two heart rate monitor options – grip sensors and telemetric heart rate options.
  • Comes with a 20 x 55 inches cushioned walking/running surface area.
  • Powered by a 2.5 HP continuous duty motor.
  • Offers a maximum incline of 10%.
  • Can support a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.
  • Furnished with a fan. The exclusive fan design offers convenience and comfort.
  • You can keep a water bottle at hand in the water bottle holder.
  • Magazine rack for storing your favorite magazines.
  • This top-notch piece of equipment offers a maximum speed of 10 MPH.
  • There is a 10-year warranty on the motor and a 5-year warranty on the frame.  There is also a warranty of 1 year on electronics, a 6 months warranty on parts, a 3 months warranty on wear parts, and a 3 months warranty on labor.
  • Equipped with a multi-color dual-screen console.
  • The price is quite decent.
  • You can assemble it easily within an hour. The instructions for assembly are easy to follow.
  • Compared to most of the other treadmills in the business, it runs quietly.
  • Product dimensions are 126 x 40 x 21 inches; 219 pounds.
  • It comes with a safety key which helps you stop the treadmill when you lose control.

Editor's Opinion

The all new Schwinn 840 has received some outstanding reviews. If you are looking for a sturdy treadmill at a reasonable price, this one might just be the perfect one for you.

The plus points of this product more than make up for its minor flaws. So if you want a workout that offers challenges along with creature comforts, this is the one for you.

6. Smooth Fitness 7.1 HR Pro

Are you trying to devise newer ways to workout on your treadmill but still find yourself doing the same routine? Perhaps your old machine doesn't offer an incline function, adjustable speeds or challenging programs that simulate a run out in the mountains or road-side? If so, then this offering from Smooth Fitness will surely have you jumping for joy.

Design that is super fine

A compact treadmill ideally should not need a lot of strain and effort to fold. With the help of the Smooth 7.1 HR gas shock-assist lift, you can fold the deck up and down easily and wheel it away on the smooth rolling transport wheels for storage. You can then softly drop the running deck back into place and it is ready for use.

Motor makes Things better

The 2.5 HP Continuous Duty Motor is long-lasting and ensures that the machine works in almost-complete silence.

This motor operates with the aid of an advanced Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) circuit board more typically found on commercial treadmills. Speed sensors working in unison with the PWM allow smooth speed changes and noise-free functioning.

Features:

  • You can attach your iPod/MP3 player, CD player or another audio device to the auxiliary input jack and enjoy the music with the aid of the Smooth 5.65 console.
  • The LED Dot Matrix display apprises you of the time, distance, heart rate, calories, speed, and incline.
  • The incline and speed can be adjusted very easily. The buttons are provided on the handrails.
  • There are 40 challenging programs. Such programs include a manual program that enables you to change speed or incline at any time during your work. Out of the remaining 39 programs, there are 12-speed programs that automatically change up the speed throughout your workout. There are 14 incline programs that automatically modify the level of incline and 13 programs that modify both speeds and incline.
  • This superb treadmill employs an exclusive technology called Impression shock absorption cushioning system. This system offers a soft landing for the front foot and firm push-off for the rear foot. This reduces harmful impact on the joints and the back.
  • This machine comes with a handy water bottle holder.
  • It also boasts of an inbuilt fan.
  • Product dimensions are 75 x 33 x 52 inches; 185 pounds.
  • This impressive treadmill comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor, a 4-year warranty on parts and electronics, and a 2-year labor warranty.
  • It's available at an unbelievably low price.

Editor's Opinion

The new Smooth Fitness 7.1 HR Pro has garnered great reviews from all quarters. Though some consumers are unhappy with the functioning of the fan provided with the treadmill, others give it praise for its effective functionality and sturdy design.

7. Sole F85

You don't need to join a gym for a serious workout session, not when you can incorporate a treadmill designed to put you through your aces at home and be hidden away when it's not needed.

This is why fitness equipment experts ‘Sole' brings to you its new version of the Sole F85. Forget those painstaking exercise schedules; this product is designed for the maximum comfort of its users.

Designed To Suit Your Needs

You can thank the Cushion Flex deck system of the treadmill that helps to run even if you suffer from a running/walking-related injury.

In fact, it significantly reduces the impact on your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spine which helps you to run even more comfortably.

Of late, a survey has shown that the Cushion Flex deck can reduce the impact up to 40 percent if it is judged against running on asphalt. Again, if you have a strong knee and want to run really fast; it helps you to run at a speed of up to 12 miles per hour and you can incline it up to 15 percent. Phew!

You can also choose from any of the two heart-rate-controlled workout options to modify your workout in the way you want.  The product shows a heart rate zone graph while you adjust the incline to keep yourself in the target zone.

You can even face new challenges as you work out. This can be done with the six automatic programs or two customizable programs.

More Functions Just For You

The deck measures 22 by 60 inches which offer the user with ample room for running. The treadmill also helps you to trace the progress if your exercises by the use of the 9-inch LCD display, which, through its windows, helps to check your speed, incline, time, distance traveled, calories, pulse, and pace as you work out.

The incorporated message board recapitulates your entire routine after you have done with exercising for the day.

This will help you to scrutinize your progress from one exercise session to the other. The inbuilt speakers and the sound cord, which is included with the treadmill helps you to listen to your iPod/MP3 player even when you are exercising so that you can enjoy and relax even when you work out.

Also, the product comes with deep pockets to hold your water bottles, cooling fans, low-profile running hood, and inclined armrest.

Notable Features:

  • The powerful 3.5 Horse Power motor is meant for continuous and long lasting performance.
  • Includes 9-inch LCD display with integrated speakers and audio cable.
  • The Easy Assist deck design helps to fold it up without much difficulty when it is not being used.
  • It also has rollers that measure 2-3/4 inches and boasts of having double woven 2 ply belt.
  • Cushion Flex shock-absorption system helps in shock-absorption while you run.
  • Has the capacity to accommodate people weighing up to 400 pounds.
  • The wireless chest straps that it comes with can be used while working out to check out the heart rate accurately.
  • The armrest speed/incline controls help in hand pulse grip.
  • The message window renders scrolling information during the time of exercise. It also helps to recapitulate the entire workout routine.
  • The product is equipped with 2 users –defined programs, 2 heart rate programs, and 6 standard programs.
  • The product has two cooling fans above the LCD screen.
  • Inbuilt audio system.
  • Powder coated all steel welded frame accounts for its sturdiness.
  • The motor, deck, and frame of the product are warranted for the lifetime, the electronic equipment, belt, rollers are warranted for 5 years and it also comes with a 2-year warranty on labor.

Editor's Opinion

Users of the Sole F85 Treadmill genuinely feel that the product is a solid one and that it is a great fit for those who are looking for a longer term investment and a product that will stand the test of time. They have found the Cushion Flex system a blessing.

Moreover, the speed settings, the incline, the upper weight limit, the in-built audio system all deserve applause. Te one drawback as with many of these machines seems to be the fans power and cooling capabilities. Nonetheless, we give this product an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Running on a Treadmill vs Running Outside

You would think that running = running no matter where you are but there are subtle differences between running on a folding treadmill vs running outside.

A treadmill has a belt that moves underneath you and since there's no wind resistance (like you would get when running outside) it actually helps to propel your foot back while it's in contact with the belt.

To get the same effect on your body as running outside you need an incline of 1% which simulates the caloric difference. The design of a treadmill also has a certain amount of bounce to the platform which helps propel your foot upwards, cushioning the impact and being less harsh on your joints.

The effect is minimal in the long term but it can make a slight difference if you have joint issues.

If someone who is used to running outside decides to run on a treadmill then their body will automatically adjust to the difference.

Their gait will change slightly and the foot will land flatter because there is less dorsiflexion in the ankle on the treadmill bed.

There is less of a feeling of stability on the treadmill which automatically means a quicker stride and more plantarflexion in the ankle joint.

The foot spends less time in contact with the belt because for a moment when the foot contacts the belt the belt stops and is pinched between the foot and the board.

As the power of the motor is usually more than the force the runner is exerting on the belt if the runner were not to lift their foot it would be pushed backwards by the action of the motor on the belt (and then they would lose their balance and fall on their face), something that could not happen outside.

As far as brain activity goes the brain thinks it needs to run faster on a treadmill to reach the same speed as on the ground. Studies that took runners and switched them between track and treadmill while being told to maintain the same pace have shown that when switching to the treadmill participants ran at a pace that was slower by about 2 minutes per mile.

VO2 max is identical on both so they're equally effective when it comes to working out. Research has also shown that biomechanically it's exactly the same no matter where you run.

Treadmills have certain advantages though, you can run comfortably when the weather is bad, and simulate race courses that might be miles away.

You can also make your run harder with the press of a button. The problem is that you can't pace on a treadmill and it's pretty boring to run looking at the same scenery over and over again. It's also a problem because you won't develop situational awareness while running on a treadmill since your location doesn't change.

As far as which is better there really isn't a whole lot of difference. While the biometrics suggest that a treadmill is less stressful on the body the outdoors is more natural on the foot. The benefits of a treadmill certainly outweigh the minor differences.

2. Maintenance tips

A treadmill is so much more than a belt and motor that go round and round and they're not cheap. If you want to protect your investment you'll need to do regular maintenance on it to keep it running efficiently and extend the life of your motor.

Maintenance should be carried out because every time you use your machine it experiences stress and without a minimum amount of care it will eventually break down. The main cause of breakdown is dirt and debris getting into the machinery and the motor.

Cleaning your treadmill starts with a simple wipe down every time you use it. This will stop salts from your sweat building up and causing any exposed metals to deteriorate. It will also stop these salts
getting into the motor from the belt.

Some treadmills have their own self-lubrication system but most will need you to do it yourself. How and how often all depend on the model so it's important to look at your owners manual. While you're lubricating the motor you can also alight the belt.

This is one of the most common maintenance issues that gets skipped but it can stop the belt ripping or tearing. Your treadmill belt should be directly in the center of the bed and you can adjust this using bolts found near the rear of the machine.

Depending on your machine you may need tools but it should tell you in the manual. It's important that the belt has the right tension when you're done adjusting it. The tension is what keeps the belt taught and stops the belt bunching up under your foot.

If it becomes loose it will start to slip and if it's too tight it will stretch out and become worn. To check how tight the belt is turning the motor on and use a slow pace, stomp forcefully as you walk and if the belt slips then you need to tighten it.

Over time your belt will need replacing and this depends on how often you use it and the quality of the belt itself. Every three months you should check for worn spots and areas that show roughness. If you use a belt that has become rough it acts like sandpaper on the deck and will damage it by causing it to wear out faster.

A treadmill is usually an electrical appliance and it has a small on-board computer for determining speed and incline. Just like any other computer it can become damaged from electrical surges or liquid spills.

Make sure your machine is grounded properly and if you can put it on a dedicated circuit. You'll want to keep the console wiped down if anything gets spilled on it and if it has built in fans keep them cleaned out too to prevent debris getting into the circuitry. You can also unplug the treadmill while it's not in use to protect it from storm surges and accidental damage to the cords.

3. Best Accessories (shoes)

Having the wrong running shoes can do permanent damage to your feet and joints. While a shoe might feel comfortable in store it can often feel very different several miles down the road. There are different shoes for different types of running and if you're planning on using more than the treadmill alone you'll want one that can tackle both.

Most running shoes will last you for up to 500 miles and you want to beware of compressed midsoles and worn outsoles as these are areas that will take the most damage. For running on a treadmill alone you'll want road running or cross training shoes.

The difference between the two is that road running shoes are designed to be flexible and to cushion the foot against repetitive strikes on a hard surface.

Cross-training shoes are designed for use in the gym and allow you better contact with the ground so you can balance better, since a treadmill causes a degree of instability this can be useful depending on your running style.

Choosing running shoes you'll want to determine the tread pattern based on the pronation or supination of your feet. Many runners suffer from overpronation which shows as excessive wear on the inside of the foot and can cause knee problems.

Some runners prefer what is known as barefoot running which means the way the foot strikes the ground changes. When wearing normal shoes we tend to strike the ground with our heel rather than the more natural mid/forefoot like we would when bare.

This sort of shoe has a minimum amount of sole and no cushion between your foot and the ground with a zero drop between the heel and toe so that you're not inclined to strike with the heel. Fitting a running shoe can vary by manufacturer so you may need to work within a half size different from your normal size.

It's best to try your shoes on at the end of a busy day when your feet may be swollen and tired so that you can feel how they fit after a long run.

You'll want about a thumbnail of space in the toe box and enough width that your feet don't rub. You don't want the laces to be to lights and the heel should cup the foot without impeding movement.

If you're planning on wearing any sort of insole or orthotic insert you should also bring these to fit your shoes as this can change how tight the shoe feels and how comfortable it is.

Choosing the best running shoe means one that fits well and prevents damage by supporting the area of your foot that needs it most. Since this is unique to each runner you'll need to look at an old pair of shoes so you can see the wear pattern and take into account any pain you've experienced or prior injuries.

Cost and technology are not always related and while a cheap pair of shoes may wear quicker if they provide you the right support and the better fit then they're a much better choice.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our folding treadmill buyers guide, complete with 7 reviews of the top machines available on the market today.

Most people reading this will have a set budget in mind and know how much they are willing to spend on a treadmill, and that is understandable. I would point out that with folding machines, you really do get what you pay for.

So be sure to read the user reviews and get a feel for the stability of the machine and if it incorporates the required settings you need before you make a decision.

For example, buying a machine without a heart-rate monitor could end up being a mistake since many users, myself included, use this feature to gauge our workout efforts and intensity.

Should you decide you need this feature down the line, you will end up shelling out yet more cash for a separate device that you could have easily avoided.

That's all from me and this guide. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comments and I will get back to each and every one of you.

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