Reviews Gym Equipment Treadmills

10 Best Compact Treadmills in 2024

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

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If you want to take up sports, but have little time to attend a gym, or it seems that gym membership is quite costly, then you should think about arranging a personal training room at home.

Running is always believed to be an affordable sports activity, so picking the best compact treadmill should be your number one task. Having a space-saving running machine at home is a great way to stay fit and be able to have regular running sessions each day.

But how to choose a high-quality treadmill model that will meet your needs? Let’s have a look at our consistent compact treadmill review of the most popular smart running machines that will definitely give you a great running experience at home by improving your performance.

Our expert team, consisting of certified nutritionists and professional athletes, has collected and tested 40 products, 10 of which made it to the list of the best ones. The evaluations were based on 6 main parameters, and we’ve spent a total of 480 hours testing most of the products. We’ve also examined hundreds of online user reviews. We regularly update our list, so share your experiences in the comments section!

Best Compact Treadmills

Top 10 Best Compact Treadmills Reviewed

  1. PRO-FORM CARBON TLX – Top Pick
  2. NordicTrack NEW EXP 10i – Runner-Up
  3. WalkingPad C1 – Best Lightweight
  4. Sunny Easy Assembly Folding Treadmill (SF-T7610) – With Fixed Incline
  5. Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Superfit Treadmill – Best Compact Under Desk
  6. NordicTrack Commercial 1250 – Premium Pick
  7. REDLIRO 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill – Budget Under Desk
  8. Sunny Under Desk Walkstation Treadmill – Best for Walking Low Profile
  9. Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill – Manual Walking Treadmill
  10. SereneLife SL20 Folding Treadmill
ProductTotalAdjustabilityMonitor
Functionality
PortabilityVersatilityComfortPrice/
Quality
ProForm Carbon TLX59.51010109.51010
NordicTrack58.59.59.5109.51010
WalkingPad C157.5108109.51010
Sunny Easy Assembly579.59.51099.59.5
Goplus579.59109.59.59.5
NordicTrack 125055.59.5109999
REDLIRO54.599.59999
Sunny Under Desk54.5999.5988
Sunny Manual54999999
SereneLife549.598.5999
TOP PICK

1. PRO-FORM CARBON TLX

PRO-FORM CARBON TLX
  • Speed range: 0-12 mph
  • Max incline: 12%
  • Running surface: 20’’ x 60’’
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 300 lbs
  • Item weight: 249 lbs (in box)
  • Product dimensions: 35.1’’ x 74.3’’ x 59.1’’
  • Display: Bluetooth enabled
  • Workout programs: no build-in programs
  • Warranty: 10 years on frame, 1 year on parts and labor
  • Additional features: iFIT compatible, 30-day iFIT trial included, Bluetooth enabled, ProShox cushioning

ProForm is a well-respected brand (like NordicTrack) manufactured by the iFIT Health & Fitness company, one of the world’s leading gym gear brands. It offers high-end and quality equipment that can meet any budget range.

This treadmill stands out from the rest because it’s spacious, yet foldable so it won’t take up space when it’s not in use, and it comes at a very good price. You’ll be surprised at its specs because, looking at the price, you would expect something smaller and more basic. 

The first thing you’ll notice is that it will work for people of all heights. It has a large running deck, which means it can accommodate longer strides comfortably. As far as the performance goes, nothing to complain about here. Its 3.0 CHP motor gives consistent performance and it can speed up to 12 miles per hour.

Proform Carbon TLX Instagram
Photo by @proform

The incline level ranges from 0 to 12% (no decline, though) and it simulates different terrains to enhance workout effectiveness and intensity. Additionally, the ProShox cushioning system minimizes impact on joints and makes your exercise experience comfortable even during intense sessions.

A compact digital display shows basic metrics, but the treadmill is compatible with the iFit app that can be connected via your device. By connecting to the application, you get unlimited opportunities to diversify your workout, make it more interactive, and keep track of your stats through the workout and compare it with the prior data.

You can apply the Automatic Trainer Control feature, so a fitness coach can control your speed throughout the training. Additionally, you can monitor your heart rate: the treadmill can be also connected to the HR straps via Bluetooth for more accurate readings during workouts.

59.5 EXPERT SCORE

The ProForm Carbon TLX is an affordable and uniquely designed compact treadmill that offers a variety of workout options for a satisfying exercise experience.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Handrails can be folded down completely to the deck
  • Perfect for limited spaces
  • Fits better short runners because of the belt length

Could be better:

  • Too small display with standard metrics
  • No incline that can limit the intensity level of your running
RUNNER-UP

2. NordicTrack NEW EXP 10i

NordicTrack NEW EXP 10i
  • Speed range: 0 - 10 mph
  • Max incline: 0-12%
  • Running surface: 20’’ x 55’’
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 300 lb
  • Item weight: 230 lb (in box)
  • Product dimensions: 70.8” L x 34.9” W x 59.7” H
  • Display: 10’’ HD Touchscreen
  • Workout programs: no built-in programs
  • Warranty: 10-Year Frame Warranty, 2-Year Parts Warranty, 1-Year Labor Warranty
  • Additional features: iFIT compatible, 30-day iFIT trial included, EasyLift for saving space

If you want something compact and you want it to be from NordicTrack - here it is. This is the most compact series NordicTrack makes and this treadmill is great for home gyms.

The possibly limited space in your home gym won’t be an issue any longer because not only does this have a space-saving footprint, but it’s also easy to store thanks to its SpaceSaver design with EasyLift.

You just fold it up and put it away after you’ve used it. You’ll notice it’s a bit on the heavier side, but still not heavy to the point where you won’t be able to move it by yourself.

NordicTrack NEW EXP 10i instagram
Photo by @nordictrack

The 10’’ tilting HD touchscreen is nice quality and will allow you to keep up with the workouts iFit brings. And speaking of iFit - you get a free 30-day trial to see if you like it.

iFit is a really nice addition because not only do you have access to an extensive workout library, but you also get to work out with professional trainers. It does require a paid subscription after the 30 days are up, though.

You also have the AutoBreeze fan included to keep you cool during those long sessions, and the 12% incline lets you really crank that intensity up. The speed ranges from 0 to 10 mph, so you can either go for a relaxing walk or get a good run.

When it comes to durability and engineering, this treadmill can support up to 300 lb and the balanced non-flex rollers make the workout experience smooth and quiet.

58.5 EXPERT SCORE

NordicTrack NEW EXP 10i offers a compact and space-saving design, featuring a 10’’ tilting HD touchscreen for iFit workouts, AutoBreeze fan, and a 12% incline, providing a versatile and convenient home workout experience.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • SpaceSaver design
  • Nice quality touchscreen
  • AutoBreeze fan
  • Comfortable cushioning

Could be better:

  • The machine is quite heavy
  • iFit requires a paid subscription after the free trial is up
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT

3. WalkingPad C1

WalkingPad C1
  • Speed range: 0.5 - 3.75 mph
  • Max incline: No incline
  • Running surface: 47.24’’ x 16.5’’
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 220 lb
  • Item weight: 48 lb
  • Product dimensions: 57’’ x 20.7’’ x 4.6’’
  • Display: None
  • Workout programs: no built-in programs
  • Warranty: No information
  • Additional features: Four layer runway level board structure, low platform design

This walking pad is a very cost-effective option and is a balance of good price and functionality. You won’t get an intense workout from it, but that’s not its purpose anyway.

You can easily slide it under a desk, sofa or a bed, so its design is space-saving to say the least. And if you’re one of those who work remotely, this is a great multitasking option; you can take a walk while answering an e-mail or handling a phone call.

It’s very foldable and has a 180-degree patent fold technology, which means you almost don’t even know it’s there when you’re not using it. It’s also the lightest model in the WalkingPad series, so moving it is a piece of cake.

Its foot-sensing speed control is a really neat feature and allows you to adjust your walking speed by just varying your pace on the pad (in “A” mode). The 12 available gears let you choose the intensity, although don’t expect too much from it, because the maximum speed is 3.75 mph.

57.5 EXPERT SCORE

WalkingPad C1 offers an affordable and space-saving walking solution, perfect for light activity while working or multitasking, with a foldable design and foot-sensing speed control, making it a convenient addition to daily routine.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Cost-effective
  • Foot-sensing speed control
  • Minimalist design
  • Lightweight

Could be better:

  • Not great for running because of limited speed range
  • Feels cheaply made compared to some other treadmills
WITH FIXED INCLINE

4. Sunny Easy Assembly Folding Treadmill (SF-T7610)

Sunny Folding Treadmill
  • Speed range: 0.5 - 5 mph
  • Max incline: fixed incline at 9.98% (4.8°)
  • Running surface: 14” x 39”
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 220 lb
  • Item weight: 70.5 lb
  • Product dimensions: 49.6” L x 26.5” W x 47” H (folded: 21” L x 26.5” W x 51” H)
  • Display: backlit LCD monitor
  • Workout programs: workout library available
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty on the frame, 180-day warranty on parts and components
  • Additional features: emergency stop clip, shock absorption deck

This folding treadmill from Sunny Health&Fitness is the second-best small treadmill for home that will assist you to challenge your body with minimum impact on your joints. It’s possible due to the integrated shock absorption technology and the moderate speed range between 0.5 and 5 mph.

So, you’ll be able to train longer without feeling tired a lot. It’s equipped with a 1.25 HP motor making this tool a good option for jogging and light-intensity running.

This compact treadmill with an incline of 4.8 degrees (9.98%) will enable you to work out your legs well and improve your cardiovascular system. Sure, it’s obvious that this treadmill is not the best choice for marathon preparation, still, it will help you to stay in shape and you’ll succeed in improving your running technique.

The Sunny Health&Fitness treadmill comes with a backlit LCD display that shows key metrics such as time, distance, speed, and calories. Also, you can switch the user mode setting to set specific workout time, calories, and distance goals. There’s an option for a countdown timer to start and an emergency stop switch.

57 EXPERT SCORE

The Sunny Health&Fitness folding treadmill has cushioning technology for low-impact workouts, an incline function for better leg and cardiovascular workout, and an LCD display with user mode setting options.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Good for a moderate run
  • Can be folded easily
  • A worthy option for elderly

Could be better:

  • Has a weak motor capacity
  • No app compatibility
  • Fits most for jogging, not for intensive running
BEST COMPACT UNDER DESK

5. Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Superfit Treadmill

Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Superfit Treadmill
  • Speed range: running mode - 0.6 - 7.5mph, walking mode - 0.6 - 2.5mph
  • Max incline: no incline
  • Running surface: 16” x 40”
  • Folding: fully foldable handrails
  • Weight limit: 265 lb
  • Item weight: 69.5 lb
  • Product dimensions: 27" D x 49" W x 42" H (folded: 52”x 27”x 5”)
  • Display: LED display
  • Workout programs: not available
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Additional features: Bluetooth, Gymax connectivity

This innovative 2-in-1 folding small home treadmill from Goplus provides users with two modes: it can be totally foldable when you want to walk or raise the handrails for a running session.

The treadmill is equipped with a 2.25 CHP motor, a steel frame, and a deck with shock-absorbing and noise-reducing features that vouch for comfortable and injury-free running.

Also, the running belt comes with a 5-layer non-slip texture and with a 40" x 16" running surface.

You can use a remote control to set the proper speed and make an instant stop. With access to the Gymax app, you can track your metrics and even share your running workout with other users.

A great perk is the compact design that allows you to move it and store it under the bed, or table, and put it vertically to save your living space.

57 EXPERT SCORE

Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Superfit Treadmill boasts a 2.25 CHP motor, shock-absorbing deck, non-slip running belt, remote control, Gymax app compatibility, and compact design for easy storage.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • 2 in 1 treadmill: you can choose running and walking modes
  • 5-layered non-slip deck damping to absorb impact
  • Short-people friendly

Could be better:

  • No incline
  • Stops abruptly, need to hold the bars
  • Doesn't remember stats between starts and stops
  • Calories/distance aren't accurate
  • Need to unscrew the grips each time when you want to fold it
PREMIUM PICK

6. NordicTrack Commercial 1250

NordicTrack Commercial 1250
  • Speed range: 0-12 mph
  • Max incline: 12%
  • Running surface: 20’’ x 60’’
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 300 lb
  • Item weight: 281.6 lb (in box)
  • Product dimensions: 78.5” L x 35.6” W x 64.7”
  • Display: 10’’ touchscreen HD
  • Workout programs: no built-in programs
  • Warranty: 10-Year Frame Warranty, 2-Year Parts Warranty, 1-Year Labor Warranty
  • Additional features: 30-day free iFit trial, tilt & pivot screen

For anyone that doesn’t mind paying a higher price, this is a treadmill with investing in; it combines cutting-edge technology with high-performance features.

The 10’’ touchscreen is amazing quality and can be adjusted to the angle that works best for you. Since you’re getting a 30-day free iFit trial, you’ll be able to experience an immersive workout experience that both the iFit and the screen provide.

There’s a big range of workouts to try and you also have access to professional trainers who can lead your workout.

This is another treadmill with the AutoAdjust technology, which means it automatically changes the speed and incline during your workouts. This may sound like an unnecessary gimmick, but in reality, it makes your workout so seamless you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

You have a broad range of inclines to choose from, from -3% to 12%. This means that the treadmill can simulate real-life terrain.

The 3.0 CHP motor is robust and powerful and provides consistent performance, and the 20’’ x 60’’ belt gives you more than enough space. When you combine all of these features with a 300 lb max user weight, you get a super versatile treadmill that can be used by pretty much anyone.

It is on the heavier side so setting it up and moving it may be a bit of an issue, but the EasyLift feature is a big help here.

55.5 EXPERT SCORE

Experience the pinnacle of treadmill technology with the NordicTrack Commercial 1250, offering seamless workouts, a high-quality 10'' touchscreen, AutoAdjust technology, a broad range of inclines, and robust performance.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Operates smoothly with a remote control
  • Good for light to medium running training
  • Good for walking and jogging thanks to a quite powerful motor of 2.5 CHP

Could be better:

  • No application to track your metrics
  • No incline option
  • Little long as for the under-deck treadmill
BUDGET UNDER DESK

7. Redliro 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill

Redliro 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill
  • Speed range: 0.5 - 7.5 mph for running mode, 0.5 - 4 mph for walking mode
  • Max incline: no incline
  • Running surface: 15” x 41”
  • Folding: fully foldable handrails
  • Weight limit: 200 lb
  • Item weight: 57 lb
  • Product dimensions: 52"D x 25"W x 42"H
  • Display: LED display
  • Workout programs: 12 pre-set programs
  • Warranty: eligible for return, refund, or replacement within 90 days of receipt
  • Additional features: remote control for speed management, a 5-layer running belt

This is the best budget under desk foldable treadmill with an option of choosing between walking and running modes. It’s also among small portable treadmills that can be completely folded with the handrails on the deck, so you can walk while working. Or it can be used with the raised handrails for extra support while jogging and running.

Redliro 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill instagram
Photo by @redliro

The treadmill has 12 preset programs and some manual modes by making your running experience more personalized. Each program offers real-life running surfaces by simulating different motion scenes and changing the speed every 1.5 minutes.

Additionally, you can adjust all the metrics concerning your personal level and goals by using the remote control.

54.5 EXPERT SCORE

The REDLIRO 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill is a compact, foldable treadmill that offers both walking and running modes, 12 preset programs, customizable manual modes, simulated running surfaces, and adjustable metrics via remote control.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Has the highest speed range of the walking mode among other reviewed treadmills
  • Can set the machine to count down from 99:00 minutes or less
  • Fits better for short people around 5' in height

Could be better:

  • Has minimal impact absorption
  • There's no pause in the session, need to cancel it completely
  • When you finish a running session, your metrics are only saved for less than 10 seconds and then are wiped clean
BEST FOR WALKING LOW PROFILE

8. Sunny Under Desk Walkstation Treadmill

Sunny Under Desk Walkstation Treadmill
  • Speed range: 0.5 - 3.75 mph
  • Max incline: no incline
  • Running surface: 14” x 39”
  • Folding: non-foldable
  • Weight limit: 220 lb
  • Item weight: 55.1 lb
  • Product dimensions: 50” L x 21.5” W x 6.5” H
  • Display: 14” x 5” digital monitor
  • Workout programs: no set programs, workout library available
  • Warranty: 3 years for the frame, 180 days for parts and components
  • Additional features: remote control included, built-in shock absorbers, emergency stop clip

The Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Slim Treadmill is a perfect choice for those who are constantly busy and have no time to attend a gym. It's among the best space-saving treadmills on the list.

Due to its portability and flexibility, you can place it under the table while you're working. So, you can execute your working duties in a standing position while having a quick stroll.

Use a remote control to manage the speed according to your fitness goals. You can adjust the needed speed up to 3.75 mph which guarantees a steady pace and walking tempo.

Track your performance with the help of the digital monitor showing time, distance, speed, calories, and steps. So, you'll stay fit and productive during the whole day.

Despite it being equipped with the 1.5 CHP motor, the treadmill will bring you enough intensity to improve your wellness and body condition with regular training.

54.5 EXPERT SCORE

The Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Slim Treadmill is a compact and flexible treadmill that lets you work while walking at a steady pace, with adjustable speed up to 3.75 mph and a digital monitor to track your performance.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The best option for home office
  • Can be used for recovery from surgery
  • The smallest treadmill in the list: has the shortest running surface
  • Second lightweight treadmill with 57 lb

Could be better:

  • The weak 1.5 CHP motor
  • May occur issues with the remote control battery
MANUAL WALKING TREADMILL

9. Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill

Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill
  • Speed range: manual treadmill
  • Max incline: 13.5%
  • Running surface: 42’’ L X 13’’ W
  • Folding: Foldable
  • Weight limit: 220 lb
  • Item weight: 46.7 lb
  • Product dimensions: 49.8’’ L X 23.2’’ W X 7.5’’ H
  • Display: Digital
  • Workout programs: no information
  • Warranty: 3 Year Structural Frame, 180 Days Other Parts And Components
  • Additional features: Floor stabilizers, transport wheels, non-slip handles

This treadmill is a super effective, yet simple way to take a walk without leaving the house. It’s completely self-powered and needs no electricity so it’s a very eco-friendly option.

As soon as you step on a treadmill, you’ll notice how soft and comfortable the hand grips are and you’ll also be walking on a slight (fixed) incline. The incline adds a bit of challenge to your workout so this will feel more like an exercise rather than a relaxing walk.

Its design is very compact and it incorporates a digital monitor. It’s not the fanciest monitor you’ve ever seen, but it gets the job done and it displays all of the information you would need. When you’re done, it folds up easily and the transportation wheels make it easy to move.

The weighted flywheels are a nice addition because they make the walk responsive and controlled. There are also floor stabilizers so the machine stays balanced on uneven surfaces.

If you’ve ever used a treadmill that has rollers, you’ll notice a difference in how smooth the walk is. This one relies on lubricant so it’s a bit of a different experience. Still, if you want something compact and affordable, this is a great choice.

54 EXPERT SCORE

Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill offers an eco-friendly, compact, and budget-friendly solution for indoor walking workouts with its comfortable design, digital monitor, and efficient storage capabilities.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Weighted flywheel for controlled performance
  • Floor stabilizers

Could be better:

  • Has no rollers so the workout is not as smooth as you would expect
  • Narrow surface is not good for anything other than walking

10. SereneLife SL20 Folding Treadmill

SereneLife SL20 Folding Treadmill
  • Speed range: 0.6 - 6 mph
  • Max incline: 3-level manual incline (3% max)
  • Running surface: 16” x 40”
  • Folding: foldable
  • Weight limit: 265 lb
  • Item weight: 66.45 lb
  • Product dimensions: 50.8’’ L x 24.0’’ W x 49.2” H (folded: 25.2” L x 24” W x 49.2” H)
  • Display: LCD display
  • Workout programs: 12 pre-set training modes
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Additional features: Bluetooth, FitShow app connectivity, soft drop folding system, grip HR sensors

SereneLife treadmill comes with a hydraulic folding system that brings you a smooth stowing mechanism and soft drop setup. A compact LCD monitor indicates the most essential metrics you need to know during the training: run time, distance, speed, and calories.

Also, you can track your heart rate thanks to the built-in HR handgrip sensors. This is the smallest treadmill with an incline option which is reviewed here.

Speaking about its connectivity, you can pair your device with the treadmill via the FitShow application enabling you to follow all your workout stats. Besides the app connectivity, there are 12 pre-set training modes, so you can choose the most fitting option for your fitness intentions.

Additionally, you can manually adjust the incline level: the treadmill has 3 levels totally that enable you to diversify the complexity of your workout.

54 EXPERT SCORE

Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill offers an eco-friendly, compact, and budget-friendly solution for indoor walking workouts with its comfortable design, digital monitor, and efficient storage capabilities.


Adjustability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Comfort:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • Manually managed speed and incline
  • Available programs allow to set a customized training
  • Perfect for non-athletes who want to walk regularly to improve their health

Could be better:

  • The mentioned fitness app has connectivity issues
  • The belt can slide down by making a noise

Experts Who Contributed To This Article

Sergii Putsov

Sergii Putsov

20 years of Oly Lifting & Training experience

Jacek Szymanowski

Jacek Szymanowski

M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology, Sports Nutritionist

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Treadmill: General Characteristic

A treadmill is a decent fitness equipment that assists to keep you fit and arranges intensive cardio training and low-impact walking without leaving your home. Everyone who wants to have their personal home gym should buy a folded or compact model to be able to train whenever they want.

Moreover, today there’s a huge range of different treadmill types and models that are equipped with numerous features and provide athletes with innovative technologies to make their running sessions as effective as possible.

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Treadmill Specification and Extra Options

Besides having an LCD monitor to track running statistics, some treadmills can be equipped with built-in handgrip sensors to scan your heart rate during the running itself.

Additionally, by connecting to the fitness applications and syncing your device with the treadmill, you’ll be able to know your intensity zones and your productivity in each of them. So, you’ll manage to follow your progress throughout each workout.

When using a treadmill for interval training, by knowing your heart rate data, you’ll be able to switch different intensities to train diverse muscles and improve your general stamina. Besides planning your workout, you’ll get to know your recovery period to develop your running capabilities.

"When choosing a treadmill, prioritize one that's easy to fold and store. It's a space-saving option that still lets you get your cardio in at home."

Apparently, the most important things concerning running machines and their functionality are motor capacity, belt length, and cushioning system that ensure maximum comfort and safety for a user.

If you prefer running to jogging, you should consider treadmills with a stronger motor and longer running deck. As usual, such running machines are bulkier and heavier than compact models. However, the latter is weaker since they have a motor with minimal capacity and come with a shorter running surface.

For more variety to the home run, you can imitate outdoor training by adjusting the incline, so it’ll feel like you’re running or walking uphill or flat surface. With the incline function, you’ll be able to activate your leg and glute muscles in different ways.

man treadmill cardio workout

Types of Treadmills

Fitness equipment is evolving all the time, but something you’ll always see in every gym are treadmills - lots of them. And not all treadmills are created equal. This is a great thing, because their variety makes them even more versatile than they already are.

Before you choose to invest in a new treadmill, consider the type you want. Let’s go over them!

1. Manual

manual treadmill is the simplest among all available equipment and it doesn’t need electricity to operate. It starts to move as you start walking or running by moving the belt. That means that you generate the power to keep a treadmill belt moving.

On one hand, it seems too primitive, but on the other hand, a manual treadmill can give you better training than a motorized model. The reason is that your feet move the treadmill belt and it’s based on the effort you put to propel it, so you do more work and have greater chances to burn more calories.

2. Curved

Almost similar to the previous type, a curved treadmill is self-powered and requires no electricity. However, the belt can move faster compared to the one of the manual treadmill which makes this model better for more speedy running.

Some runners say that this type of treadmill brings a natural-like feeling while running. The reason is its curving shape: the higher you step the curve, the faster the belt will move. A curved treadmill can be a good option to train and master your cadence.

treadmill gym run

3. Motorized

These are the most popular and well-known models of running machines that can be also called electric ones. Motorized treadmills can provide runners with a wide range of features to improve their running experience, so they can benefit from the model's versatility and applicability.

It’s possible to manage the speed and incline with just one touch of a button on the console or using a remote control. As usual, such treadmills are equipped with displays that enable to use of built-in training programs making this equipment highly customized.

Such treadmills can provide endless opportunities to diversify your running workout and keep you highly motivated.

4. Folding

These treadmills are versatile and can come with various features like motorized ones, so there’s no big difference between them. The obvious spec is that you can fold it easily to store it in the upright position in the closet or even under the bed, by leaving enough space in the room.

Folding treadmills are equipped with special folding systems that enable you to raise and lower the deck effortlessly.

5. Under-Desk Treadmill

For those who have no sufficient time to attend the gym and sit for a long time at work, this type of treadmill can be a great solution. The purpose of this gear is to give office workers an opportunity to stay active and fit while working.

These tools are much slimmer than the rest models, and have no handrails and display, but can have a small backlit console showing the key metrics. Thus, it’s easy to place such a treadmill under the working desk and keep walking when you’re in the office.

types of treadmills

Compact Treadmill Benefits

When deciding to purchase a treadmill, everyone considers their personal preferences and desires to pick up a good model. Mostly, the choice is based on the features that they can’t get from running outdoors. For someone, a treadmill can offer a better workout with higher intensity and diversity of running modes they can switch during the training easily and try all of them. Some want to experience more interactive running or arrange some recovery sessions. Nevertheless, we gathered the most obvious pros of compact treadmills you’ll definitely share with us.

"Compact treadmill is an amazing piece of equipment to get your steps or some easy run when can’t go outside (lockdown, bad weather) however if you’re looking for something that will support your interval work with higher intensities - look somewhere else 😉."

✅ All-Round Health Improvement

Having a compact treadmill brings many positive changes to your lifestyle and well-being. With an everyday running session, you’ll succeed in improving your general wellness, staying fit, burning more calories, and losing weight compared to the constant sedentary position because of working duties.

You can take a compact treadmill and simply put it under the working desk and have some walking without being distracted from your tasks. This option makes a treadmill useful fitness equipment for office workers.

It’s a great way to train your heart muscle and pump up your cardiovascular system while improving blood circulation. Alongside this, you'll be able to promote your mental health greatly.

Although the most important point is that a 30-minute treadmill running session enables you to burn 200-500 calories depending on your weight and height, and training intensity.

athlete treadmill exercise

✅ A Low-Impact Cardio Workout

Treadmill running ensures your knees and joints' safety due to the applied cushioning and shock-absorption technologies used to build a reliable belt surface and upgrade its functionality. You can have a minor impact while running on the treadmill compared to the same workout outdoors.

✅ A Chance to Customize Your Training

You can run your favorite courses, sync with the fitness application and pre-set program to make your running session more diverse. With an option of treadmill interactivity, you can arrange immersive training that encourages you for better results by surpassing your previous data and also comparing them.

Additionally, you can make a workout more personalized by challenging different muscles and setting new distance goals.

✅ Versatility

In fact, a compact treadmill can be used to improve your current running performance, or just start your running activity at a moderate pace, or it can even be a fitness equipment for rehabilitation. The majority of compact treadmills have two modes: running and walking.

So, you can choose the variant that suits your intentions and conditioning. It can be a light walk or jog for rehab, moderate interval training, or intensive running as a part of marathon preparation.

female treadmill running

What to Look For in the Best Compact Treadmill?

Pay attention to the following aspects when selecting a fitting compact treadmill to choose the model that will fully cover your needs and even surpass your expectations.

1. Speed Range Adjustment

Speed setup influences your workout intensity. Some compact treadmills offer a maximum of 5 or 7 mph of the speed range, others come only with 3 mph. There are also 2 in 1 running machines with the possibility to switch between the walking and running modes.

So, when choosing a compact treadmill, consider your running style, average stride length, pace, and generally what training mode you like most. Maybe, a 3 mph speed won’t be enough for you since you plan to do intensive running.

2. Dimensions

Before purchasing a folding or compact treadmill, you should know how much space you have to store it and keep it folded for running training. Generally, such gear comes in smaller sizes than standard commercial treadmills, although it’s better to get assured that you have enough living space to spare.

3. Additional Features

The possibility of spicing up your workout also can’t be underestimated because it plays an important role in making your progress in running stable and gradual.

Due to extra perks like app compatibility, tracking your performance metrics, incline option, pulse sensors availability, etc., you’ll know more about your fitness level, and capabilities, and will find ways to improve it. That’s why pay attention to incline capabilities.

It can be adjusted manually or automatically via remote control or just press the needed buttons on the console. This way, you’ll make your running more challenging and engaging.

4. The Length of the Running Surface

The running surface or a belt length is connected directly with the treadmill speed range and an athlete’s height. That means a higher runner requires a longer treadmill belt and a shorter athlete needs a shorter model.

For better comfort choose those running gears with at least 45” length: such treadmills fit well for dynamic warming up and running. But, if you plan to walk or jog, the running belt 40-42” long will be enough for you.

5. Motor Capacity

When picking up a treadmill, you may notice two options: motor HP, known as motor peak horsepower, and CHP which is continuous horsepower. Unlike peak horsepower which is a treadmill's maximum power, continuous horsepower shows the consistently maintained power a gear can keep during the dynamic running session.

The higher CHP a treadmill has, the faster you will run. The stronger a motor is, the more weight it can handle. Therefore, if you plan to walk only, 2.5 HP will be enough, but for running you need at least 3 HP, so the treadmill will be able to withstand all the tension.

6. Adjustability

This is non-negotiable because you need a treadmill that adjusts to your fitness goals and the workouts you want to do. Look for something that has an adjustable incline so you can vary the intensity and the type of terrain.

Tips From the Champ

When choosing a new compact treadmill for your home gym, make sure to keep your priorities straight; you want a sturdy frame, a reliable motor, and a foldable design. Choose a model with a control panel that’s easy to use and makes workout adjustments seamless. If you’re looking for something extra durable, find a treadmill with a thicker belt made of high-quality materials. Make sure it has an emergency stop mechanism and non-slip handles.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

7. Monitor Functionality

The monitor is the display and the controls of a treadmill. High-end treadmills offer an intuitive, user-friendly monitor that offers valuable info (e.g., speed, time, distance, incline, calories burned) and interactivity (e.g., speed/incline adjustment, fan switch, program selection, heart rate monitoring, etc.) to the user.

More advanced monitors might also offer connectivity features such as Bluetooth or compatibility with fitness apps. If you’re someone who prioritizes progression tracking, look for a treadmill with a versatile and feature-rich monitor.

8. Portability

This is key if your space is limited or if you plan on moving the treadmill at all. A lot of treadmills have space-saving designs, like foldable frames. Another thing you need to look out for are transportation wheels; they’ll make your life a lot easier if you need to move the treadmill.

ASPECTCONSIDERATIONS
Speed Range AdjustmentConsider your running style, stride length, pace and preferred training mode. Some compact treadmills offer speeds of 3, 5 or 7 mph. Some are 2-in-1 and have walking and running modes.
DimensionsMeasure the space you have available for storage and usage.
Additional FeaturesImprove your workout with things like app compatibility, performance tracking, incline options, pulse sensors, etc.
Running Surface LengthChoose according to your height and activity.
Motor CapacityHP shows peak power and CHP is sustained power during running. The higher the CHP, the faster you’ll run.
AdjustabilityThe treadmill should have an adjustable incline.
Monitor FunctionalityThe monitor shows key metrics. Premium models are more interactive, have more features and often offer Bluetooth and app compatibility.
PortabilityLook for foldable treadmills that save space. Transportation wheels are also a nice addition.

How to Use a Compact Treadmill Right?

When you pick up a compact treadmill, you should consider particular aspects to make a proper choice and stay satisfied with a purchase.

Besides defining your needs and preferences, you should also investigate how to use a treadmill correctly, especially how to launch it for the first time and finally how to start running on it without getting injured.

1. Know the Treadmill Specs and Available Modes

Make sure that you know how to switch on it after unpacking: read the user manual attentively to know what functionality range is possible. Don't forget to lubricate the tread before you use the machine.

Then, try to launch the console and press the available buttons to get assured that it functions well. Try to adjust the speed and incline.

2. Do Some Warm-up Exercises

Don't forget to warm up before the running training. This is highly important for those who use a treadmill for the first time and have no prior running experience. Stretching can help you to activate muscles and launch blood circulation, so you won't get accidental strains when stepping on the deck improperly.

treadmill running session

3. Make First Steps

Now, it's time to step on the treadmill: but, remember not to step on the belt when it starts moving. It's recommended to step on the sides of the belt and then step on the running surface.

You should start with a minimal speed, so you can easily walk as you walk on the street. Then gradually increase the speed to start jogging, so your body gets accustomed to the tempo and speed. 

Only after you feel that everything is ok and your pace is in unison with the treadmill's speed, you can increase your tempo. You can place your hands in the handrails if they're available for keeping balance.

4. Listen to Your Body

Don't overtrain, especially if it's your first time using a treadmill. It's better to run at an average pace and speed to get accustomed to such a running mode and a treadmill itself.

Like in the beginning, finish the training gradually by slowing the speed down by step to avoid injury. Do cooling down exercises by stretching your body, particularly focusing on lengthening your glute muscles, hamstrings, and calves. That will prevent tightness and soreness.

treadmill cardio workout

Folding Treadmill vs Under Desk Treadmill

Before making a choice, you need to consider a few things, like fitness goals and space limitations.

Folding treadmills are great for traditional workouts. They usually have adjustable speed and incline, which is perfect for adjusting the workout to various fitness levels. They’re also very versatile because you can use them for a lot of different workout types - anywhere from light, relaxing walks to intense running sessions.

They’re typically quite bulky, though, and large. Their price can also be rather high, but in a lot of cases, a higher price means more features and higher quality.

Under desk treadmills, on the other hand, are super compact and they’re designed to be convenient. You can use them at home or in your office, which is a fantastic way to stay active while you’re working. With a sedentary lifestyle being so common these days, these types of treadmills can be game-changers.

One thing to keep in mind is that they usually have limited speed, so even if it has a lot of gears, you won’t get an actual intense workout out of them. They’re meant for walking so, while you will be getting some exercise, it won’t be anything life-changing as far as your fitness goals go.

folding treadmill vs under desk treadmill

Treadmill Maintenance

Treadmills are usually pan investment, so you want them to last for as long as possible. Even with warranties included, having a treadmill break is inconvenient at best. At worst, it’s a pretty decent new expense. 

1. Cleaning

You want to make sure to invest some time into maintenance. Check and clean the belt regularly and make sure to remove any kind of dust, buildup or debris from it.

2. Lubrication

Lubrication is another thing you don’t want to skip because it minimizes friction and reduces the strain on the motor. When it comes to how often you need to lubricate - check with what the manufacturer says. You should always go by what they recommend.

3. Area Around the Treadmill

The area around your treadmill shouldn’t be too cluttered. This can be a bit of a challenge in a home setting, but if the space around your treadmill is clean, then there’s a lot less chance of something getting sucked up in the machine’s internal components.

4. Check Bolts and Screws

Any bolts or screws need to be nice and tight so, if you see any coming loose, make sure to tighten them as soon as possible. This maintains the treadmill’s integrity, so do these checks on a regular basis.

treadmill training

5. Check Power Cords

Power cords are some of the most important things to check because if they get frayed or damaged, they can be extremely dangerous. If you see any damage done to the cord, it’s best to ask a professional to handle it.

6. Placement

Another important thing is the placement - your treadmill needs to be placed on a stable, level surface. If it’s not, you’ll notice very uneven wear on the belt.

You may notice that there isn’t any specific advice regarding exactly how often you need to maintain your treadmill, and there’s a reason for it; only the manufacturer can give you a schedule and recommend what to check, when and how.

But if you’re ever unsure and you can’t get in touch with the manufacturer's customer service, you can always ask a professional to help. The treadmill can give you a fantastic workout, but only if you keep it in shape.

Treadmill Maintenance Check-List

MAINTENANCE ASPECTDESCRIPTION
BeltCheck and clean regularly. Remove any dust and buildup.
LubricationLubricate to minimize friction.
Surrounding AreaKeep the space around the treadmill clean and free of clutter.
Bolts and ScrewsMake sure all are tight and check for any loose ones.
Power CordCheck for any damage – if you notice it, consult a professional.
PlacementPlace the treadmill on a stable, even surface.

FAQ

Are Folding Treadmills Worth It?

Folding treadmills can come in handy for users who want to save more living space by getting both running and walking training opportunities due to the various speed ranges set up.

As usual, such running gears are designed with smooth folding systems that enable them to surpass the majority of heavy and bulky treadmills that are of greater dimensions.

Alongside this, folding gears are equipped with incline levels, HR handgrip sensors, an LCD display, speed adjustability options, etc. Such features keep compact treadmills even surpass heavier commercial alternatives.

Space-saving treadmills can become an irreplaceable tool for the home gym arrangement and make your indoor running experience comfortable.

athlete treadmill spritnting

Are Mini Treadmills Worth It?

Compared to compact treadmills, the mini ones are even smaller, consequently with poorer quality, making them fit for a smaller audience. Such treadmills can suit lightweight short people who don't like fast running but prefer light jogging or even walking at a speed less than 5 mph.

Because of the small size, mini treadmills can be too short for runners with a longer stride. Moreover, a weak motor is another noticeable drawback: a mini treadmill can offer you a speed range between a sloth-like and low jogging pace of 5 mph at the maximum.

Are Treadmills Just as Good as Walking?

Generally, you get almost the same calorie-burning and fitness effect while walking outdoors or training on the treadmill. The way your joints, knees, and hips work is also the same, and injury risk is still possible in both cases.

But, if walking on uneven terrains gives you extra resistance, making you activate more muscle groups, expend more energy, and burn more calories, walking outside can improve your mental health and reduce anxiety and get rid of stress.

Meanwhile, treadmills offer extra safety for your joints with additional cushioning, shock-absorbing features, and several layers for better grip on a surface. That helps to prevent injuries and bring mild tension to your knees.

Also, with a treadmill, you can control an even and steady pace, with consistent speed. While walking in nature, you have mostly sudden changes in speed depending on the terrain and landscape you choose for running.

male treadmill workout

Are Under-Desk Treadmills Effective?

This type of compact treadmill is a perfect option for office workers and people who have a mostly sedentary lifestyle by allowing them not to distract from work duties while walking on the treadmill. They can arrange a vertical computer workplace and keep on slow walking with a pace of 1 mph and burn some extra calories at a time.

Such activity has great benefits for health and general well-being: it helps to lose weight, stay active even while working, improves blood circulation, mood improvement, and boosts productivity.

This is a great gear that can fit well, particularly on all standing desks, so you can place it underneath the table and get moderate walking during the day, by avoiding sitting too much.

Can You Run on Compact Treadmills?

Yes, you usually can. But keep in mind that compact treadmills are typically smaller, which means that the running deck is shorter and narrower, so they may not be the best option if you’re tall or have a long stride.

Compact treadmills are usually made for light jogging and walking, but you’ll definitely be able to find a few that support full running speeds. Make sure to always check the specifications before making a choice.

What Brand of Treadmills Do Most Gyms Use?

Most commercial gyms use durable, high-end treadmill brands so they can make sure their treadmills last long and can withstand heavy use. These brands include Precor, Life Fitness, Technogym, StarTrac, and Cybex. These brands are known for their reliability and advanced features.

Conclusion

Having described the 10 best compact treadmills, and compared their distinctive specs, advantages, and drawbacks, we can assure you that each running machine has appropriate features to give you an effective workout while still being a space-saving tool to fold and store easily.

Pay attention to the best compact treadmills for small spaces that can be folded away when not in use and have transportation wheels that can be used for walking and running, so you can diversify your training with various modes.

We offer you our top pick ProForm Carbon TLX which will meet your specific preferences and training goals. This is the first-best compact running treadmill for your indoor workout you can take to your home gym. It'll be a worthy investment in your wellness and body shape improvement while becoming an irreplaceable part of your workout routine.

So, are you interested in buying a compact running machine to arrange your home gym? If yes, then feel free to ask us what matters most concerning running generally. Write your queries here below the review, or share your personal running experience with us.

Also read:

References:

  1. Effects of reducing sedentary behaviour duration by increasing physical activity, on cognitive function, brain function and structure across the lifespan: a systematic review protocol // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36270758/
  2. The Positive Effects of Running on Mental Health // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32970641/
  3. Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3849057/
  4. Stand When You Can: development and pilot testing of an intervention to reduce sedentary time in assisted living // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32762644/

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With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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