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 don’t want to sacrifice too much on quality and performance.
That's why I cover everything you need to know about small treadmills and share my top 5 picks.
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.
Other individuals, 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 fully assembled dimensions are usually smaller.
- Most of them are foldable, which is useful to save space.
- They’re usually relatively lightweight, which makes them easier to move.
- The manufacturer might decide to sacrifice on the specifications to keep the treadmill small.
- They tend to relatively lightweight and are therefore less suited for higher intensity runs.
The Best Compact Treadmills Reviewed (Our choices)
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 is a space-saving treadmill suited for walking, jogging and running. The total product dimensions are; 62 (L) inch by 27 (W) inch 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 (L) inches by 15.75 (W) inches tread belt. However, these features probably won’t be enough for serious runners.
If you plan on moving it after you finish your training, then you might appreciate the fact that this model has a 'soft-drop system'.
The soft-drop system is designed to unfold the belt more easily. It takes minimal effort to lower the tread belt because, for the most part, the belt unfolds on its own. The same goes for folding the belt.
- 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.
- Easy folding and unfolding system. This might be useful for users who want to move the machine and don’t have a lot of strength.
- The three position incline has to be adjusted manually before your training, 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 people who weigh more than 220 Lb because they exceed the maximum weight limit.
The 47 inches long by 29 inches wide Exerpeutic TF900 is especially suited for people who want to use their machine for walking.
It has a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour and a belt size of 16 by 36 inches.
What makes the TF900 stand out from the other smaller treadmills is the 350-pound maximum user weight. Exerpeutic made sure it is strong enough for heavy users by performing various durability tests. That's why it's a good option for heavier people who are looking for a compact machine.
- The TF900 has a maximum weight limit of 350 pounds. The heavy duty frame is one of the main factors that 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 training computer.
- Extra large handlebars with control buttons. The handlebars are helpful for users who need or want to hold onto something when walking.
- The Exerpeutic TF900 has a maximum speed of 4 Miles Per Hour. So it’s only suited for walking or jogging at a low pace.
- The walking platform is 36- by 16-inches, which might be on the small side for a large person.
The G 5.9 is a basic and small 64.5-inches long and 29-inches wide treadmill. It has a space saver design, which 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, 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’ to help you lose weight. The other three workout programs are ‘intensity training workouts’ which are mainly designed to increase your cardiovascular endurance.
- 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 house.
- It can be used for jogging. Despite its 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 are quite common fitness goals.
- 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 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.
The Confidence Power Trac is 49 inches long and 24 inches wide, which makes it relatively compact. This model will probably be a good choice if you have very minimal room.
Keep in mind that the 39-inches long by 14 inches wide tread belt is relatively small as well. Plus, it has a maximum speed of 6.2 Miles Per Hour and a 1 Horse Power motor. That’s why the Power Trac is mainly suited for walking or jogging.
Furthermore, because the Power Trac doesn’t got a lot of features the console is pretty straightforward. The LED-display on the console displays the following information about your current workout; calories, speed, distance and time.
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 Trac an interesting option for people who are looking for a simple machine without all the fancy features.
- The Power Trac has a relatively small size, 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.
- No book, tablet or cup holder.
- Due to its size, the Confidence Power Trac is less suited for runners.
- Some users might find that the 39” 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 which of the above models might be a good choice for you, mainly depends on your personal needs. So we’ve chosen two winners. One for walkers and one for joggers or runners.
If I had to pick one model especially suited for walking, then it would be the:
The TF900 is a sturdy treadmill with a 350-pound maximum weight limit. One of the main reasons why this treadmill is capable of handling a relatively high amount of user weight is because it has an extra durable frame. However, be aware of the fact that the maximum speed is 4 MPH!
If you want to use your treadmill for jogging or running, then I recommend the:
You can tell that Weslo tried to make the R 5.2 as compact as possible without sacrificing too much on features that the more higher-end machines provide. And I think they succeeded! That’s why I recommend this treadmill for joggers and runners who are looking for a space saving model.