Compact treadmills come with a whole host of amazing benefits. Best of all, having one at home means you can get your sweat on regularly without having to drive to a gym. In this piece, you’ll learn all about the best compact treadmills, including what to consider when buying one and which models made our top picks.
Benefits of a Compact Treadmill
- Save space. When compared to their full-sized counterparts, compact treadmills take up less space. That being said, the small size doesn’t lessen their effectiveness – you still get an amazing workout just like on other cardio machines.
- Lose weight. Running, jogging, or walking on a treadmill regularly can help you shed pounds. Work within your fat-burning zone for at least 30 minutes a couple times a week to start seeing results.
- Home convenience. A home treadmill will keep those “I can’t go to the gym today” excuses at bay. Plus, if it gets cold where you live, you’ll never have to brave the freezing temps to get your run or jog in.
- Protect your joints. When compared to running on asphalt or concrete, running on a treadmill is much better on your joints. The cushioned tread belt lets you get in a calorie-burning workout with minimal risk of injury.
Compact Treadmill Pricing
- $200-$400: For a quality model, we recommend spending at least $200 on a new treadmill; anything cheaper isn’t likely to hold up for long. At this price point, you’ll find a number of great budget models. These tend to have fewer features but can track the basic workout stats.
- $400-$600: This is the mid-range when it comes to compact treadmills. Here, there are many well-built and durable frames, good features, and great warranties. Some models also come with iFit compatibility or other connectivity features.
- $600 and up: At this price point, high-end treadmills reign supreme. These are the most durable and maintenance-free models you can buy with a great feature set that includes many workout programs and connectivity options.
On compact models, you have to make sure that the length of the belt is sufficient for your natural walking or running gait. It all comes down to stride length: the distance your foot covers in a single step. Stride length depends on your height. As a good rule of thumb, skip belts that are shorter than 55 inches for walking and 60 inches for running.
Most treadmills come with a number of built-in workout programs to change up your exercise routine. These are great for keeping your body challenged and for avoiding plateaus, especially if you want to lose weight. Higher-end treadmills tend to feature more advanced settings than lower-end options.
Heart Rate Monitor
Keep an eye on your ticker with a built-in heart rate monitor in the front or side rails of the machine. Depending on the model, like individual heart rate monitors, some let you sync your stats to a smart device to review your progress anytime you want.
The best displays are those you can read easily while walking, jogging, or running. Make sure the monitor shows all the important workout stats like distance, calories burned, and exercise time. Large buttons make all the difference when trying to change settings mid-workout as well.
You’ll want a treadmill that adjusts to your needs. One of the most important factors is speed. If you’re looking to run on the treadmill, you’ll need one that can manage at least 10 mph. Likewise, an incline feature helps adjust the difficulty of the workout automatically or manually depending on the treadmill.
- Cushioning: Higher-end treadmills tend to have more cushioning on the tread belt than lower-end models. This extra padding keeps the workout safe and comfortable, protecting joints from the hard impact of running. Some treadmills even have additional padding on the rails to avoid discomfort while working out.
- Connectivity: Some treadmills are compatible with iFit or other fitness workout apps to download new exercise programs. Depending on the specific model, some even have Bluetooth connectivity to control workouts, music, and settings with a separate app.
- Extended Warranties: Warranties can differ a lot by model. Generally, manufacturers tend to provide a five-year warranty.
- Storage and Portability: A number of compact treadmills come with features that make them easier to store. Some fold up, some take up little space in the first place – either way, true compact treadmills should fit in more spaces than their regular counterparts.
Best Compact Treadmill Reviews & Recommendations
Best Compact Treadmill Overall: Nordic Track C 700
- Interactive personal training at home powered by iFit;...
- 10% OneTouch incline control, 10 MPH smart one touch...
- Bluetooth connection allows iFit to automatically...
- Enjoy reduced motor noise and self cooling technology...
- Innovative SpaceSaver design with easylift assist means...
The Nordic Track name is synonymous with the treadmill market, and for good reason. Like many of their other models, the C 700 is feature packed. A powerful 2.75-horsepower motor supports virtually any walking or running workout. Speed is easily adjustable via the console and can reach up to 10 mph. With incline settings of up to 10%, you can easily simulate running or walking outdoors or on hills.
The multi-window LED display is easy to read, which helps when you’re mid-workout, trying to read how many calories you’ve torched. The treadmill also features iFit connectivity, a tablet holder, an automatic breeze fan, an auxiliary music port, and 20 workout apps. The Flex Select cushioning integrated into the tread belt protects your joints as well.
The space-saving design is ideal for smaller home gyms. With a weight capacity of 300 pounds, this treadmill is durable and well-made. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 25-year warranty on the motor, and a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
In order to use the console, it has to be activated by online registration, which may lead to membership fees for an iFit account. The price is also higher than some competing models, but you do get what you pay for. In this case, that’s quality.
Best High-End Compact Treadmill: XTERRA Fitness TR150
- Large 16" X 50" Walking/running surface
- Large 5 inch LCD display is easy to read and keeps you...
- Speed range 0. 5 -10 MPH allows for users of all...
- 12 preset programs offer unmatched variety for your...
- 3 Manual incline settings allow for maximum variety....
This one is the treadmill that delivers the absolute best performance. The tread belt is long and wide, making it a great fit if you prefer more space to maneuver on. The incline is fully adjustable with three different levels. The deck is cushioned for maximum impact absorption as well.
A five-inch LCD console tracks all of your workout stats including speed, time, distance, calories, and heart rate. Direct-access speed keys are preset to control your workout quickly. The powerful 2.25-horsepower, high-torque motor is ultra quiet, driving the treadmill at speeds from 0.5 to 10 mph.
The main downside? Price, price, and price. As with all things, you pay for quality since this treadmill is one of the most durable around. If you’re looking for something that will last many training sessions for years to come, this is a great pick.
Best Compact Treadmill for Walking: ProForm 505 CST
- Discover Trainer-Led Workouts; A 30-day iFit trial...
- 5” Backlit Display; Track speed, distance, and...
- Self-Cooling Mach Z Drive System powers sustained...
- 20” x 55” Tread Belt recommended for users under...
- 325-pound user weight capacity; Protected by a 10-year...
With a number of great features and a compact size that’s perfect for apartments, this treadmill is good for a stroll. The 2.5-horsepower motor is commercial quality, which means it’s built to last. You can adjust the speed of the treadbelt—anywhere from 0-10 mph—at the tap of a button. With extra cushioning and 0-10% incline control, you’ll get a comfortable and challenging workout that’s easy on your joints.
The large LCD screen makes mid-workout adjustments super easy. Compatible with iFit, this treadmill comes pre-loaded with 18 workout apps and a number of preset fitness programs to suit your training needs. Another great feature is the heart rate monitor that is perfect for targeted, fat-burning workouts.
Protected by a great warranty, the Proform 505 CST comes with a heavy-duty frame that can complicate assembly. The assembly process can take quite some time, and it’s a fairly difficult process to boot. You might want to let the professionals handle this one.
Best Compact Treadmill for Running: Nordic Track T 6.5 S
- Interactive Personal Training at Home powered by iFit;...
- 10 % OneTouch incline control; 10 MPH SMART OneTouch...
- SMART-Response Motor for effective speed, interval, and...
- Innovative SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist means...
- 300-pound user capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame...
The Nordic Track T 6.5 S is an ideal running treadmill that features FlexSelect cushioning that can change the feel of the deck quickly. More cushioning offers a softer running feel and better joint protection. Less cushioning replicates the feel of running on asphalt. A 2.6-horsepower motor powers the treadmill with an adjustable speed between 0 mph and 10 mph. The deck also has an adjustable incline to target specific muscle groups and burn extra calories.
With iFit and Google Maps compatibility, you can select and run a custom Google Maps route and have iFit adjust the incline automatically to match the natural terrain. The console is large and easy to read thanks to the backlit screen. One-touch controls allow you to adjust the workout at the touch of a button. Finally, 20 pre-loaded workout apps designed by personal trainers will challenge you and keep your cardio routine fresh.
Despite its focus on running, the motor is actually a little on the weaker side when compared to other models. Running speeds are no problem, but you may find the treadmill lacking when it comes to sprints. The longevity of the motor is also questionable if you intend to use the motor for long periods of time.
Best Compact Treadmill for the Money: Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill
- 2. 20 peak HP drive system provides speeds of 0. 5 - 9...
- Designed for a max user weight of 220 lbs. with 49L x...
- Easy folding mechanism and soft drop system helps you...
- Handrail controls allow you to control speed, start and...
- 9 Built-in workout programs with large LCD displays...
This value pick is friendly on your wallet. The compact design is space saving by itself, and when not in use, the folding mechanism cuts the footprint down even further. With a 2.2-horsepower drive system, you can adjust the speed of the belt between 0.5 mph and 9 mph. The three manual incline levels are set at 0%, 2%, and 4.37% respectively.
Handrail controls for starting up, speed changes, and stopping are simple and easy to use as well. Nine built-in workout programs help to vary the workout almost automatically. This treadmill also has a smartphone holder, so you can listen to your favorite tunes while working out.
With a weight capacity of 220 pounds, this model is less durable than some heavy-duty options. Another downside to this treadmill is the limited feature set. If you’re someone who wants to use the treadmill for frequent, more difficult exercises, a bigger feature set might give you more workout options.
Honorable Mention: SereneLife SLFTRD 18
- COMPACT SIZE: Compact form-fitting design for any room...
- CONVENIENT FOLDING STYLE: This treadmill is portable &...
- DIGITAL LCD DISPLAY: It has LCD screen which displays...
- SPORTS APP CONNECTION: Links to FitShow app to make...
- SELECTABLE PRESET TRAINING MODES: This digital exercise...
A great pick if you’re an avid runner, this is one of the few folding treadmills that hides a lot of connectivity features in a small frame. It comes standard with iFitShow to make boring cardio sessions more entertaining. The folding frame is easy to use, almost making this a portable option.
This treadmill has loads of features to keep things interesting. Built-in grip sensors track the heart rate while a digital LCD display shows running and training data and video fitness routines via iFit. A number of preset training modes are present, but you can also make a custom routine if desired.
One thing to keep in mind: the tread belt is on the narrower side. This might be a problem if you prefer a bigger surface to walk or run on, especially when safety at high speeds is key. Wider tread belts are better for wider stances so the feet don’t fight for precious space.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Compact Treadmill
Here are a couple of handy tips and tricks to make the most of your new compact treadmill:
- If you’re worried about damaging your floors, consider buying a treadmill mat to protect them. These mats also have the added benefit of helping to minimize the slippage of the treadmill, offering a better exercise experience.
- Avoid holding onto the side rails while running for better results and a more challenging workout. This helps to challenge your back and core and supports a more even running stride.
- Engage your core muscles when you’re running to maintain balance and strengthen your body. The added work will help you tone up more quickly.
- To combat the artificial feel of a treadmill, use a slight incline to better simulate outdoor running—around 1% or 2% should do the trick.
- To improve your running efficiency, increase your running cadence (the number of steps per minute) to work the heart and lungs more.
Compact Treadmill FAQs
Q: Is it worth spending a lot of money on a treadmill?
A: It depends on what you want and how often you plan to use the treadmill. If you want high-end features to run regularly, it makes sense to invest a bit more. You can also save some money on replacement parts since higher-end models require very little maintenance.
Q: Is running on a treadmill easier on your body than running outdoors?
A: Definitely. Running on a cushioned treadmill is less stressful on the joints and overall body when compared to running outdoors. The tread belt absorbs a lot of the energy, sparing your joints in the process.
Q: Am I better off with a full-sized treadmill for intense workouts?
A: That depends. If you’re a serious runner who can afford to invest more in a treadmill and have space for the machine, consider a full-sized treadmill. These tend to have more features and a longer tread belt that makes running more comfortable.
Q: When will I start to see results using a treadmill?
A: If you’re dedicated to sweating it out regularly on a treadmill, you’ll start to see results pretty quickly. On average, you can start to notice your progress by increasing the difficulty of the workouts. A couple of weeks in, you should start to see changes to your physique or physical capabilities.
If you’re looking for a compact treadmill for your home gym, our top pick is the Nordic Track C 700. It comes with a number of awesome features that make running at home a breeze.
Our value pick is the Sunny Health & Fitness Treadmill for its wallet-friendly price and great feature set.
What is your favorite treadmill? How do our picks stack up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!