The 7 Best Folding Treadmills of 2023, According to Shape Testers

Get your miles in without sacrificing floor space, thanks to these compact treads.

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Folding Treadmills

Shape / Kevin Liang

You might dream of having a fully outfitted home gym, complete with a mirrored wall, sweat-resistant flooring, and the best strength training equipment to help you reach your goals. But for most people, the reality is that the “home gym” also functions as an office, a guest room, or even a corner of the living room. And when space is at a premium, large home gym equipment (think: treadmills, stationary bikes, squat racks, and ellipticals) might seem totally impossible to fit in comfortably.

Luckily, it’s possible to get your cardio fix in with folding treadmills, which can be stowed away when not in use. Even better? Folding treadmills are usually lower in cost than their full-size counterparts while having many of the same features (such as Bluetooth compatibility, water bottle holders, and entertainment streaming capabilities). 

To help you decide which folding treadmill best fits your lifestyle, Shape testers tried out the most popular options on the market for several weeks, analyzing the quality (and foldability) of each treadmill. Here's what made the cut as the best folding treadmills.

Best Overall

Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill

Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill


Why We Like It: It folds up by itself and is quiet enough for apartment dwellers.

It’s Worth Noting: It’s heavy, so you might need someone to help you move it.

For a folding treadmill that offers all the necessary features at a reasonable cost, testers raved about the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Connected Treadmill. As its name states, this tread folds up on its own on the step of a lever, so you don’t have to do any extra work — and it folds to a mere 10” tall for easy storing in between workouts. With a max speed of 12 mph and 12 incline levels, our testers found this folding treadmill perfect for both walking and running workouts. The console is designed so that you’ll never have to juggle devices or step off the belt to grab your water bottle; the cup holders were deep enough for one tester’s 40-ounce Stanley Cup, and the tread’s built-in device holder secures your phone or tablet in place so you can Netflix and walk or take a streaming class. Testers also reported that this tread was quiet while in use, so you can feel confident tackling a workout without disturbing neighbors or roommates.

“This is a tiny treadmill that feels luxurious, like you might find it in an Equinox (I seriously can’t think of anything it’s missing),” said one tester. “It feels fancy and high quality—not flimsy, even though it's cheaper than many other treadmills. My favorite thing is how easy it is to use. Even for someone who doesn't have a lot of treadmill experience, I was up and walking on it minutes after I opened it.” However, they noted that while the treadmill is easy for one person to fold up, it was heavy to move without assistance (the treadmill weighs 156 pounds, FYI).

Price at time of publish: $1,300

Product dimensions: 69” L x 31” W X 49” H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 10% | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Best Budget

Xterra Fitness TR Folding Treadmill

XTERRA Fitness TR Folding Treadmill


Why We Like It: Its blue backlit LCD display is easy to read.

It’s Worth Noting: There’s no room to hold a water bottle or cup.

For running or walking beginners who want a simple, basic treadmill, the XTERRA Fitness TR Folding Treadmill is remarkably easy to set up and use — and it comes in at well under a thousand dollars, making it incredibly cost-effective. This folding treadmill goes up to 10 mph and features 10 incline options to boot, along with Bluetooth connectivity. The side handrails feature extra buttons to adjust the speed and incline and 12 preset programs for when you need help deciding what workout to do. Testers reported that the treadmill was easy to fold up and light enough to wheel around easily, with a latch that locks the treadmill into a folding position for extra security. 

“For someone who is a beginner and not looking for something too fancy this would be perfect because it has an easy setup and it is just a very simple treadmill,” commented one tester. “I also feel like it's very sturdy and durable when walking on it.” But if you prefer your water bottle to be within arm’s reach at all times, testers also reported that the shallow console couldn’t hold a water bottle or cup. 

Price at time of publish: $638 (was $700)

Product dimensions: 65" L x 29" W x 52" H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 10% | Weight capacity: 250 pounds

Best Investment

NordicTrack Commercial 2450

Nordictrack Commercial 2450


Why We LIke It: This tread doesn’t sacrifice state-of-the-art features in the name of space.

It’s Worth Noting: It doesn’t fold up completely flush.  

For regular runners or those willing to invest a little more in a treadmill with all the bells and whistles, our testers loved the Nordictrack Commercial 2450. The 22” high-tech touch screen is sleek and easy to read, and the built-in cooling fan guarantees you’ll feel the breeze even when working out indoors. Hook up your own music through the embedded speakers and opt to run along a scenic route if you really want to lose yourself in the movement. One tester reported the cup holders on this folding treadmill were big enough to fit her massive Hydroflask or a large cell phone, and there were multiple ways to adjust your speed and incline. And if you opt for an iFit membership, you can follow along with off-treadmill classes by tilting or rotating the screen.

“If I were in the market for a brand new, state-of-the-art treadmill with lovely features like folding capability, workout classes, and lots of space, I'd definitely spend my own money on this,” one tester raved. There's a huge difference between this model and something you'd use at a gym like Planet Fitness, for example. It's the latest technology, you feel comfortable running on it (the tread is smooth, there's enough space to freely move your arms) and it folds, so you can lay out a yoga mat and optimize your space in your home.” One note on the folding: This tread doesn’t fold up completely vertically, sticking out a few inches on the diagonal.

Price at time of publish: $2,000 (was $3,000)

Product dimensions: 78.5” L x 35.6” W x 65”H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 12% | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Best for Runners

Pro-Form Pro 2000 Smart Treadmill

Pro-Form Pro 2000 Smart Treadmill


Why We Like It: The built-in cooling fan is perfectly placed for a refreshing breeze.

It’s Worth Noting: The included streaming workouts were underwhelming.

If you’re training for a half-marathon or another race and want a folding treadmill for at-home workout options, the Pro-Form Pro 2000 Smart Treadmill might be your best match. The soft cushioning will lessen the impact on your joints, so you can tackle extra miles in comfort. This folding treadmill goes up to 12 mph and features inclines up to 12% and even a downhill incline of up to 3%, so you can better mimic the conditions of running outdoors. The EasyLift Assist uses a powerful shock to help you lift the deck on your own, too. 

“[This folding treadmill] seems just right for a manual workout option,” said one tester. “Best part of the treadmill is its simplicity and easy-to-read and navigate design. Nothing too complicated, which is just what I need!”

Price at time of publish: $1,499

Product dimensions: 77"D x 35"W x 60"H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 12% | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Best for Walkers

Xterra Fitness TRX5500 Treadmill

Xterra TRX5500 Treadmill


Why We Like It: This treadmill includes Netflix Hulu, and YouTube as apps on its display screen.

It’s Worth Noting: It still takes up significant space, even when folded.

If you’re looking for a folding treadmill to help you get your steps in while you catch up on the Real Housewives or indulge in a Netflix binge, you might consider the TRX5500 Treadmill. It’s designed for entertainment and multitasking, thanks to included apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, plus the ability to screen-mirror, charge your phone with a USB cord, and connect to other devices via Bluetooth. While you’re distracted by the 10.1” touchscreen, you might not even realize how hard you’re working (and this folding tread goes up to 12mph with 15 levels of incline, so you can work hard).

“My single favorite thing about the treadmill is the ability to watch shows directly on the machine while I work out instead of putting a giant workout machine in the middle of my living room,” commented one tester. “It's a very sophisticated machine with a nice interface, a sturdy build, and useful added features like Bluetooth and streaming apps. If someone is looking for a reliable general treadmill, I would absolutely recommend this one.” But be careful: Testers noted that it doesn’t become especially compact, even when folded. 

Price at time of publish: $1,600 (was $1,700)

Product dimensions: 77" L x 36" W x 56" H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 15 | Weight capacity: 350 pounds

Best for Virtual Classes

Horizon Fitness 7.0 AT Studio Treadmill

Horizon Fitness 7.0AT Studio Treadmill


Why We Like It: This folding treadmill can be connected with digital fitness apps.

It’s Worth Noting: Testers reported lag time between hitting “start” and the belt moving.

If you stay motivated to work out by following along with virtual instructors, the 7.0AT Studio Treadmill lets you connect with all of your favorite workout streaming apps for an immersive, instructor-led experience. This folding treadmill is compatible with popular apps such as Peloton, Zwift, STUDIO, and Nike Run Club, and you can also stream popular entertainment apps. The QuickDial controls let you adjust speed and incline without missing a step, and the console gives you important metrics at a glance (such as heart, speed, and distance).

“I can't think of any features I'd need in a treadmill that weren't part of this one,” noted one tester. “A large bottle holder spot, aux cable jack, book/magazine/tablet rest, foldability, and a small built-in fan are all part of the package. An extra feature of this treadmill I've not used before is the built-in speakers for a more immersive workout experience.” However, testers noted that when folded, the belt stuck out a bit beyond the rest of the treadmill frame, so it might not be as easily stowable as other models. 

Price at time of publish: $999 (was $2,000)

Product dimensions: 76" L x 35" W x 66" H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 15% | Weight capacity: 325 pounds

Easiest to Adjust

Bowflex BXT8J Treadmill

Bowflex BXT8J Treadmill


Why We Like It: The quick change buttons make this tread a breeze to adjust.
It’s Worth Noting: There’s no Bluetooth compatibility for music, just an outdated auxiliary cord.

Want to change your speed or incline without missing a step? The Bowflex BXT8J Treadmill has your back with quick change buttons along the side of the console, plus the usual arrows near the Start/Stop buttons. This treadmill stood out in our tests for being incredibly easy to adjust. We also noticed this was one of the quietest treadmills we tested, whether we were increasing its incline or folding it up (which was an easy, intuitive process, BTW). We did feel like the emergency stop key was a little too sensitive and prone to falling out at inconvenient times, but better safe than sorry.

One disappointing factor was the lack of Bluetooth connectivity for music. We found this really odd since the JRNY app (which requires a paid subscription) can connect with the treadmill to keep track of your workouts. However, if you want to play your own music or hear the coach via the JRNY app, you have to use an old-school auxiliary cord (that doesn’t even fit most current phones, at least not without an adapter). For such a high-quality folding treadmill, we found this really confusing.

Price at time of publish: $1,299

Product dimensions: 78" L x 37.6" W x 62.8" H | Max speed: 12 mph | Max incline: 15% | Weight capacity: 300 pounds

How We Tested

To fully understand the pros and cons of these folding treadmills, we consulted with Andrew Billman, ISSA-certified personal trainer, to understand the features folding treadmills should have. We then had real-world testers use the machines for several weeks. Testers were asked to assemble and set up the treadmill and use any proprietary streaming services or health-tracking app connections needed to track workouts. Testers used the treadmill a minimum of four times per week, jogging and walking at different speeds, and they also folded up the treadmill when not in use to test the ease of folding and storing. 

What to Know About Folding Treadmills

Unlike other treadmill options, folding treadmills can be folded up and easily stored when not in use. Some may even become compact and flat enough to store under a bed or couch. High-quality folding treadmills will have all the speed and incline capabilities of large treadmills. However, they might have a slimmer console without extra features or screens to help save space. 

Speed and Incline

Like regular treadmills, folding treadmills allow you to adjust speed and incline to customize your workout. However, some folding treadmills may have limited ranges of capabilities (read: they may have speeds or inclines that are as high as regular treadmills). Make sure you read the product information of your new folding treadmill to make sure it fits your needs.

Running Belt

To maximize space, some folding treadmills have shorter running belts than full-size treadmills. The belt, in case you don’t know, is the name of the actual piece of the treadmill that you run or walk on. In full-size treadmills, a standard belt is at least 49 inches long; folding treadmills may be that length or slightly shorter. If you’re taller (or a member of your household is), you may need to consider treadmill belt length when buying a folding treadmill.

Console and Display

Full-size treadmills often have well-designed consoles (aka the space at the front of the treadmill where you choose speed, incline, or programs and which often houses a touchscreen display) with space for your water bottle, a tablet, a phone, and even extra speakers. However, folding treadmills might not have all the bells and whistles, in order to make it easy to fold and store the tread when not in use. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I fold up a treadmill?

    The exact method for folding and unfolding a treadmill will vary based on treadmill make and model. To manually fold a treadmill, you’ll typically lift the belt from underneath the base of the treadmill on the side opposite the console. Fold it inward until the belt locks in place. Some folding treadmills have an automatic folding option to simplify the process even more.

  • Are folding treadmills stable?

    While most folding treadmills are stable enough to run and walk on comfortably, they’re probably not quite as smooth as a regular treadmill (which has more support and structure). Some folding treadmills are more similar to walking pads, which lack handrails or consoles and are less stable than other folding treadmills. Consider your main goals for using a folding treadmill (i.e., running vs walking) before purchasing.

  • Are folding treadmills worth it?

    Most folding treadmills are significantly cheaper than their non-folding counterparts. In fact, a few options on our list were $1,000 or under. However, whether a folding treadmill is worth it depends on your fitness goals, your household’s needs, and how often you’ll realistically use the treadmill.

Why Trust Shape

As the senior fitness editor at Shape, Kristen Geil has spent the last several years working from home and trying to stay active in the process. Kristen is a NASM-certified personal trainer who regularly covers fitness products, and she's also run several half marathons and three full marathons. She led the first-ever Best in Fitness Awards, the largest awards program in the industry, and she personally oversaw the nomination process for products in 170 categories (including large home gym equipment, such as treadmills).

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