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Best Folding Treadmills| Reviews for 2014

Updated on September 16, 2014

Compact Folding Treadmills

A home treadmill is easily one of the most useful pieces of gym equipment you can buy. Who wants to wait in line at the gym when you can use your own home treadmill whenever you feel like it, without any time constraints. Many of us live in apartments and condos where normally a standard, full sized treadmill would barely fit (unless your home doesn't have any furniture already). This is where a folding treadmill comes in handy: Once you're done your workout, simply fold down your machine and stow it away. Many people store their folded compact treadmill under their beds or in their closets.

In order to get the most for your money, you'll want to examine treadmills based on size, incline, assembly, max weight, overall quality, safety features, tech extras, and the type of warranty. It goes without saying that generally, treadmills that are at the lower end of the budget will have less features and smaller motors and, in some cases, treadmills can be motor-less (manual). If you plan to spend a lot of time of your treadmill on a daily basis, you're better off spending more money upfront then having to replace a cheaper model that needs to be replaced. If your treadmill workouts are less frequent, then you don't necessarily need to get a high end machine.

In this article I will discuss the benefits of using a treadmill, which folding treadmill is right for you, and I will review and compare the top brands of folding treadmills ranging in price from $300 to $1300.

Folding Treadmills: Which One is Right for You?

Before you buy your treadmill, you should consider the following:

  1. What are your fitness goals? How often do you/your family members plan to use the treadmill? Are you using the treadmill for walking or for running training? Is hill training a part of your exercise regime? Some machines incline more than others (and some machine don't incline at all).
  2. Who will be using the treadmill? You'll have to take into consideration the number of people who will be using the machine and the weights of each person (machines have max weights). If multiple people will be using the treadmill regularly, you'll want to look for a machine that can handle daily use. A motor of 2.0 and above continuous duty HP motor is sufficient for virtually any user if the other components are high quality (continuous duty is a measure of horsepower under regular anticipated use and is far more meaningful than "peak" horsepower).
  3. Do your research online. Once you identify what kind of treadmill you need, look through all the treadmill specs online before trying it out in person.
  4. Consider customer service. Remember to use high rated companies that are helpful in the area of customer service. If you're shelling out thousands of dollars on a treadmill and if parts need to be replaced, you would expect the company who makes your machine to be prompt, helpful and friendly.
  5. Test out the equipment. Once you've narrowed down the specific machine you want to buy, try out the treadmill at a store or at a gym that carries the brand you want. Don't feel obligated to buy directly from the store, as online prices are usually pretty competitive.

Compact Treadmill for Running: Is Running on the Treadmill the Same as Running Outside?

Is running on a treadmill the same as running outside? Many avid runners ask this question and often the answers can be conflicting. If you're already sold on treadmill running, feel free to skip ahead to the treadmill reviews. Scientific research has shown that running on the treadmill is roughly the same as running outside if you make a few simple adjustments. When you're running on a treadmill, there is no wind resistance that your body will encounter; however, by setting the treadmill to a 1% grade, you can offset the lack of wind resistance. This factor has been scientifically proven.

Pros of Running on a Treadmill

  • Treadmills are handy when the weather is bad (too hot, too rainy) and your running surface is not optimal (slippery, muddy ect).
  • You can stimulate a specific racecourse (depending on the complexity of your treadmill), using program settings.
  • You can practice your carbohydrate and fluid intake with stopping, and without having to physically carry these items with you on your run (just have your carbs and water within arms reach).

Cons of Running on a Treadmill

  • Running on a treadmill can make it difficult to find and to maintain a pace on your own.
  • The treadmill can be boring and lacks the stimulation you might get while running outside.


Folding Manual Treadmill Reviews: Under $200

Manual treadmills are less bulky than motor powered treadmill machines. Instead of relying on the motor, the user to powers the belt. The faster you run, the faster the belt spins, letting you reach whatever speed is comfortable. A manual treadmill is ideal for walking or jogging training and it's an excellent compact treadmill for running/jogging/walking. For those who wish to exclusively do run training, you'd be better off to get a motor-powered treadmill machine.

Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill

Phoenix Health and Fitness was established in 1998 as a wholesale distributor of fitness equipment, Phoenix Health & Fitness offers a complete line of high-quality exercise equipment to the in-home and light commercial markets. Working with a state-of-the-art computer system, the company can offer "just in time" delivery and other critical services while living up to its standards of reliability, consistency, honesty, and urgency. Phoenix Health & Fitness has a strong reputation for delivering quality products in a timely manner.

The Phoenix is a lightweight treadmill that folds nicely for handy storage. It's a great workout for such a small machine and instead of using a motor, it's a self-powered workout. This compact folding treadmill is set on a 12.5% incline, which can't be adjusted.

The treadmill is outfitted with a heavy-duty weighted flywheel and a sturdy running belt that respond to your walking/jogging speed. The faster you run, the faster the belt spins, letting you reach whatever speed is comfortable.

Warranty is 90 days parts, 1 year for the frame. Maximum user weight is 250lbs.

Folding Treadmill Reviews: Under $300

Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill

The Weslo Cadence is a highly rated lightweight treadmill that is great for burning calories and for losing weight. There are 6 Personal Trainer Workouts programmed into this machine as well as a thumb pulse that monitors your heart-rate. The blue-tinted LCD display tracks your speed, time, distance and calories burned so you can monitor your progress throughout your workout.

Also included is a 2-position manual incline and Comfort Cell™ Cushioning. This treadmill is the perfect tool for losing weight or increasing performance.This folding treadmill is a great value for your money as most motorized treadmills on the market will cost you over $1000. The motor on the Weslo Cadence is 2.25 HP and the speed ranges from 1 to 10 mph.

The tread part folds upwards and locks upright, then the unit can be wheeled into an out-of-way corner for storage.

Folding Treadmill Reviews: Under $1300

LifeSpan TR 1200i Folding Treadmill

The LifeSpan TR 1200 is comparable to treadmills you see at the gym. This top quality machine suits just about everyone and can accommodate walking, jogging and running training. Also, this folding treadmill is easy to assembly and fold (using the EZ Drop folding system). You get pretty much all the bells and whistles on this machine: 2.5-horsepower motor; 15 incline levels; a multicolored LCD console tracks your time, calories, distance and speed; multiple pre-programmed courses for weight loss, healthy living, sports training, and heart rate programs; built-in, high-quality speakers; a iPod/headphone jack; and an Intelli-Step step-counting feature.

If you purchase a LifeSpan treadmill, you automatically receive a membership to the LifeSpan Fitness Club. This comprehensive online health management program, allows you select exercise programs, track and manage your fitness and health results, and receive motivating support as you work toward achieving your goals.

Founded in 1994 in Park City, Utah, PCE Health and Fitness has established a reputation for innovation, quality, and community responsibility. In 2001, the company introduced the LifeSpan line of fitness equipment targeting the over-55, value-conscious consumer. The award-winning line of exercise equipment is now sold by fitness retailers across the U.S, and has grown to include both a high-value home series and a pro series that targets the high-end home user and the institutional customer. The company's awards include a Gold Medal Excellence Award from the Industrial Design Society of America, the Treadmill Doctor Best New Treadmill of the Year, and multiple Best Buy and Recommend Buy awards from the Consumer Guide and many others

ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

The ProForm Pro 2000 is another great quality folding treadmill that is known for its supurb quality. The ProForm uses a 3.25 CHP Mach Z Commercial Pro Motor and the machine uses FS2 Full Surface Suspension Cushioning. The running deck is extra long, at 20" x 60" and extra sturdy (2-Ply, Commercial Treadbelt).

Some of the bonus features you get with the ProForm are: a 8" backlit screen; Intermix Acoustics 3.0 Sound System; ipod port and CoolAire Workout Fan. Also, this treadmill is similar to the LifeSpan as customers who use the ProForm are automatically set up with iFit Live and have access to interaction/motivation with other iFit members, coaching courses from Jillian Michaels as well as a place for your own online food and activity log. A set of 24 built-in workouts helps you achieve your fitness goals, whether you're training for a marathon or preparing for the season.

Compact Folding Treadmill Comparisson

Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up
Weslo Cadence G 5.9
LifeSpan TR 1200i
ProForm Pro 2000
46.5" x 21.1" x 50" (open); 21.7" x 21.1" x 50.2" (folded)
64-1/2"L x 29"W x 55-1/2"H
3 x 54 x 70 inches (W x H x D)
Running surface
41" x 13"
16" x 50"
20” x 60”
12.5% incline (non adjustable)
2-position, manual incline up to 5%.
15 levels
-3 degree decline - 15 degree incline
Spring loaded pull pin securely locks the unit in the upright (storage) position and makes it easy to release for operation
Wheels for mobility
Easy assembly: Many of the screws and bolts are already in place, so they need to be unscrewed first.
Space saver design with EasyLift Assist (includes a powerful shock that will help lift the deck with an easy push)
Max Weight
300 lbs
350 lbs.
Tech Extras
Single-button electronics display that tracks your speed, distance, time, and calories
LCD display shows time, speed, distance, calories burned and scans. reset workouts. Digital quick speed control up to 10mph. Thumb pulse
Multicolored LCD console tracks your time, calories, distance and speed; includes a set of built-in, high-quality speakers and a iPod/headphone jack; and an Intelli-Step step-counting feature that works like a pedometer.
ifit compatable (connect with google maps to draw your favourite course map, track your nutrition and connect with other ifit members); 8" backlit screen; Intermix Acoustics 3.0 Sound System; ipod port and CoolAire Workout Fan.
Warranty is 90 days parts, 1 year frame
1-Year Motor Warranty and 90 Days Parts & Labor.
Lifetime on the frame and motor, 3 years on parts, 1 year on labor
Lifetime Frame and Motor, 5 Year Parts and 2 Year Labor

Time for a Poll: Lightweight Treadmills

What's your favourite lightweight, folding treadmill?

See results


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