Choosing the best compact treadmill for your needs might be a bit of a challenge. When space is valuable, you obviously want to go for a space-saving treadmill, but you probably don’t want to sacrifice too much on quality.
Poor quality may lead to technical issues or disappointment. So that’s why I created this article to help you make a better decision.
I cover everything you need to know about small treadmills and share my top 5 picks. Let’s take a look!
Quick overview: Our Top 5 Compact Treadmills
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
What To Look For In A Compact Treadmill?
Obviously, you will want a compact build. But the sizes of treadmills vary a lot. So it's important to check the exact measurements. Don't make the mistake to base your decision on a photo. The model you’re maybe about to choose might look small on a photo, but once it is fully assembled, you might find that in reality its a lot bigger than you expected.
The smallest treadmills usually start at around 45-inches in length and 30-inches in width. Big treadmills can go up to about 85-inches in length and 40-inches in width. Of course, you may find a machine which is even smaller or bigger; there are always exceptions.
Before you start looking, I advise you to measure the room you have in mind. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to keep some open space behind the treadmill and on the sides.
You’ll always need some extra space to step on and off the treadmill safely. The open space is also necessary to reduce the risk of injuries in the unfortunate case of a misstep.
There’s some debate going on about how much clearance you’ll need on the sides. According to the ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials the minimum clearance is 78 inches behind and 19.7 inches on each side of the treadmill.
Please note: other institutions or manufacturers might recommend more or less clearance.
For example, if you would pick a machine with a length of 65-inches and a width of 30-inches this would mean that the total amount of necessary free space would be as follows;
Required space (L * W)
143" x 50"
As you can see in the example above, you would need at least 143-inches of free space in length and 50 inches of space in width. I strongly recommend following the guidelines from the ASTM. If you can create even more free space, then, great! Better be safe than sorry.
Always check and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations (before assembling)!
Tread belt size
Smaller treadmills usually have smaller belts than larger treadmills. In most cases, the following applies; the bigger the treadmill, the bigger the tread belt. The size of the tread belt is important, especially if you want to use it for jogging or running.
In general, the size of tread belts usually start at around 13 inches in width and 40 inches in length and go up to about 22-inches in width and 60-inch inches length.
You may find treadmills with (smaller or) larger belts, but they are usually considered large(r) treadmills. So these might not be a good choice.
Choosing the right tread belt size mainly depends on how you are going to use the machine. If you want to use it for serious running, then I advise going for a model that has at least a 20-inches wide and 54-inches long belt. Most walkers will need at least a 16 inch wide and 48-inch long belt. Of course, this may vary depending on your height, weight and training intensity.
If you care about space, then a small foldable treadmill is probably a good choice. Folding your belt after you finish your training is a good way to save as much space as possible. Some compact treadmills are so small that they fit under a bed. Luckily, most lower to mid-level treadmills are foldable. Higher-end treadmills tend to be unfoldable because they’re bigger and heavier.
Additionally, you might want to keep in mind that foldable treadmills usually tend to be lighter than non-foldable treadmills, because you still need to be able to fold the belt. This mainly applies to serious runners who need a heavy and stable machine for their high-intensity runs.
In most cases, the heavier the treadmill, the less it will bounce when running. So that’s why the weight is something to take into account when you’re a runner.
Some of the foldable compact treadmills even come with 'fold assist'. In most cases, the fold assist is a hydraulic system that helps you to fold the belt more easily. Of course, you’ll still need to be able to do some lifting, but the folding system does most of the heavy lifting for you.
You might even find a treadmill that has a fully automatic folding system. A semi- or fully automatic hydraulic folding system might be useful if you can’t lift a lot of weight or if you consider yourself a senior.
Another feature you may want to look for are transport wheels. Wheels help you move a treadmill from one room to another. This can be very helpful for storing your treadmill at your desired storage place.
Don’t forget that when you want to move your treadmill, it might need to go through a doorway. If that’s the case, then it’s wise to measure the width of your door and compare it to the foldable dimensions.
What are the Pros and Cons?
You might want to consider a few of the following pros and cons regarding smaller treadmills. They might not apply in all cases, but they are important to be aware of nonetheless.
The Best Compact Treadmills Reviewed (Our choices)
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 is a space-saving treadmill suited for walking, jogging and ‘recreational’ running. The total product dimensions are; 62.2 inches (L) by 26.8 inches (W) by 47.3 inches (H), which is relatively small.
Despite its small size, the SF-T4400 is still comfortable and powerful enough for running. It has a 2.2 HP motor, a maximum speed of 9 MPH and a 48.82 inches (L) by 15.75 inches (W) tread belt.
However, these features probably won’t be enough for serious runners.
Furthermore, it’s relatively simple to fold and unfold the belt. It has an ‘easy folding mechanism’ and a ‘soft-drop system’. The soft-drop system is designed to unfold the belt more easily. It takes little effort to lower the tread belt because, for the most part, the belt unfolds on its own. This reduces the chance of damaging your floor, although I still recommend using an exercise mat.
When you also want to move the machine after your workout, then the transport wheels come in handy. They help you transport the machine from one place to another.
- It has a relatively small design, which is useful for apartments and small spaces.
- The SF-T4400 is especially suited for walkers, joggers, and recreational runners.
- The LCD display is bright which makes it easier to read in rooms without a lot of light.
- The three position incline has to be adjusted manually before your exercise, or you’ll have to pause your training to increase or decrease the incline. The incline percentages of the three incline positions are; 0%, 2%, and 4.37%.
- The SF-T4400 isn’t suited for relatively heavy people who weigh more than 220 Lb because they exceed the maximum weight limit.
What makes the TF1000 stand out from the other smaller treadmills in this article is the 400 Lbs maximum user weight limit. Exerpeutic made sure the reinforced frame is strong enough for heavier users by performing various durability tests. That's why it's a good model for heavy people who're looking for a compact and stable machine.
Furthermore, you’ll get a one year warranty on the frame, five years of warranty on the motor, and 90 days of warranty on parts and labor.
You’re probably interested in the overall size of the TF-1000. It is; 51.2” long, 32” wide and 63” high. Additionally, it has a folding mechanism and transport wheels for moving.
- The TF1000 has a maximum weight limit of 400 Lbs. The heavy duty frame is one of the main factors which contributes to the relatively high weight limit.
- Easy to assemble. It is pre-assembled, so after you’ve taken it out of the packaging, it probably won’t be difficult to assemble. According to Exerpeutic you only need to attach the workout computer.
- Extra long 18” handlebars with speed control buttons. The handlebars are helpful for users who need or want to hold onto something when walking.
- The Exerpeutic TF1000 has a maximum speed of 4 Miles Per Hour. So it’s only suited for walking or jogging at a low pace and not for running.
- The belt is 40 inches long, which might be on the short side for a large person or users with a longer stride.
The G 5.9 is relatively basic and small. It is 64.5-inches long and 29-inches wide and has a space saver design. This means it’s designed to be small, foldable and easily stored.
The 2.25 CHP motor, a maximum speed of 10 MPH and a 16- by 50-inch tread belt will probably be sufficient for most walkers and joggers. However, because of the relatively narrow belt, it isn’t particularly suited for serious runners.
The six workout programs are designed by a professional personal trainer. Three of those programs are specific ‘weight loss programs’, which are designed to help you lose weight.
The other three workout programs are ‘intensity training workouts’ which are mainly suited to increase your cardiovascular endurance. So it has a decent mix of weight loss programs and cardio programs.
- The Weslo Cadence G 5.9 is 64.5-inches long and 29-inches wide. So it would be a good small treadmill for an apartment or small home.
- It can be used for jogging. Despite its relatively small size, the G 5.9 is comfortable enough for jogging.
- The workout programs are specifically designed for weight loss and improving your fitness level which is useful for a wide range of users.
- It has a space-saving design, which makes it easier to fold and store.
- The 16- by 50 inches tread belt might be a bit small for jogging or running at a higher pace.
- The warranty period is relatively short. You’ll get 90-days of warranty on labor, parts and the motor.
- The two-position incline is a helpful feature, but just like on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 the incline has to be adjusted manually.
Confidence Power Plus
The Confidence Power Plus is 49 inches long and 24 inches wide, which makes it relatively compact. This model might be a good choice if you have minimal space. However, keep in mind that the 38.5 inches long by 14 inches wide tread belt is relatively small as well.
The Power Plus doesn’t have a lot of features which is why the console is pretty straightforward to use. The LED-display on the console displays the following information about your current workout; calories, speed, distance and time. It also has a red safety cord.
Additionally, on the console itself, you’ll only find a few buttons. The simple design of the console makes it quite user-friendly, which might make the Power Plus an interesting option for people who are looking for a simple machine without all of the fancy, more high-tech features.
Lastly, the machine has a maximum speed of 6.2 Miles Per Hour and a 1 Horse Power motor. That’s why the Power Plus is mainly suited for walking or light jogging.
- The machine is pretty small, which makes it relatively easy to store when you don’t use it.
- It has 12 built-in fitness programs and a three position incline to vary your training.
- Most users will probably find the tread belt still wide enough for jogging.
- According to Confidence Power, there are a lot of users who have converted it into a walking desk. It’s important to note that the parts are not included.
- Due to the maximum speed of 6.2 Miles Per Hour, it isn’t suited for running.
- No book, tablet or cup holder.
- Some users might find the 38.5” long by 14” wide tread belt is too small. Of course, this also depends on your length, weight and workout intensity.
If you’re looking for a space saving model which you can use for running, then the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 might be a good choice.
The Weslo Cadence R 5.2 has a 50” (L) by 16” (W) tread belt. The assembled product dimensions; are 64.50” in length by 29” in width and 55.50” in height. So the belt is pretty large, while the assembled dimensions are still relatively small.
Furthermore, the 2.5 CHP motor, comfort cell cushioning and 16- by 50-inch belt make the R 5.2 suited for walking, jogging and running. The 2.5 Continuous HorsePower Impulse max motor is strong enough for running.
So, especially runners who are looking for a compact design without sacrificing too much on the specifications might want to take a look at this model.
- The R 5.2 is robust and comfortable enough for running. It has a 2.5HP motor and comfort cell cushioning to reduce the impact on your joints while running.
- The tread belt is 50- by 16-inches, which is relatively large for a smaller treadmill.
- It has a ‘SpaceSaver design’, which means its specifically designed to save as much space as possible.
- 90 days of warranty on parts, labor and drive motor. Some people might want a longer warranty period.
- The two-position incline has to be adjusted manually.
- Less suited for frequent, high-intensity runs.
I would like to pick one clear winner, but it wouldn’t be fair to pick only one winner. Because the models vary a lot. Plus, it mainly depends on your personal needs. So I’ve chosen two models of which I think are the winners. One model for walking and one for joggers and runners.
If I had to pick one model especially suited for walking, then it would be the: Confidence Power Plus Motorized Electric Treadmill.
The Confidence Power Plus is a stable treadmill with a maximum weight limit of 250 Lbs. One of the main reason why I chose this model is the simplicity of the machine. It just does with it’s made for, which is providing a good walking experience. Be aware of the fact that the maximum speed of this model is 6.2 Miles Per Hour.
If you want to use your treadmill for jogging or running, then I recommend the: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400.
It has a 2.2 Peak HP motor, nine built-in workout programs and a maximum speed of 10 Miles Per Hour. You can tell that Sunny Health & Fitness tried to make the SF-T4400 as compact as possible without sacrificing too much on features the more higher-end machines provide.
I think they succeeded quite well! That’s why I recommend this treadmill for joggers and runners who are looking for a space saving model.