Treadmills are incredibly useful. You don’t have to deal with the elements as you train, you don’t have to worry about staying safe when it’s dark, and you don’t run the risk of pulling a muscle 3 miles from home and having to limp back!
Treadmills are even better when you can use them in the comfort of your own home. Just chill out of an evening, in the warmth, with the TV on, without having to worry about gym changing rooms, finding parking or sharing kit with a hundred other people. However, we don’t all have enough room at home for a massive treadmill – and let’s be honest, some of them really don’t try to hide their presence.
This is where the best folding treadmills come into their own. They give you all the benefits of an at-home treadmill, but you can simply fold them up and tuck them away in a spare cupboard when you’re not using them.
Folding treadmills have come on leaps and bounds (pun not intended) in the last few years. Where they used to be poor quality and contain easily breakable pieces of sub-par kit that were really awkward and unpleasant to use, nowadays folding treadmills are hardy pieces of equipment with good-quality motors and fantastic user experiences.
But which one should you choose?
Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. The folding treadmills featured in this list are some of the best pieces of cardio machinery on the market.
What to look for in a foldable treadmill
As mentioned above, foldable treadmills have come a long way… at least many of them have. There are still a few duds and we have carefully weeded them out. You don’t want an old-style foldable treadmill made of thin plastic, wobbly joints and poor-quality belts that slide out from beneath your feet.
None of the treadmills on our list have these problems. They are all robust and well-made, each one with a smooth, confident tread. Shock absorption is also key. One of the main benefits of using a treadmill rather than pounding the streets is that it is far kinder to your ankles, knees and hips: you don’t want to miss out on this by using a substandard treadmill.
You also don’t want to skimp on the benefits that standard, gym treadmills bring – modern, easy to use interfaces, different speed and incline settings, monitors and programs should be a given. With pretty much everything on this list, they are.
Though it won’t affect how good the machine is, you also want to know what customer care is like. We have therefore chosen treadmills that come from reputable companies known for their good service, who offer decent warranties and guarantees on their products.
Finally, a good foldable treadmill has to be properly foldable, compact and easy to store. Everything below will be unobtrusive and easy to live with.
Our top pick: Proform Performance 600i
Though all of the machines in this list are worthwhile investments, there always has to be a winner. In this case, it’s the Proform Performance 600i. It boasts an impressive array of consumer reviews (always a good sign- customers are often the best reviewers) and has become a lot more affordable recently with a good cost saving when you use our link below.
The Perfomance 600i comes with an easy folding system, using the popular SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist. It will store pretty much anywhere and is really simple to move. It’s also got a solid frame, with an advanced, ProShox Cushioning System for shock absorption, so that you can go as hard as you want on it without worrying about damaging it or yourself.
You can go up to 12% incline with the Performance 600i, with speeds of up to 12mph, and 22 built-in workout apps that offer a wide range of options like heartrate-based programs, interval programs, weight loss programs, and more, allowing for variable, versatile workouts.
The console could be a positive or a negative, depending on what you’re looking for. It’s good, but basic. This means that it’s easy to use and to read but won’t give you any fancy bells and whistles. However, the Performance 600i does come with iFit compatibility, if you like your gadgets. iFit is an interactive program that will keep you motivated while working out. In addition to hundreds of unique workout programs, you can also follow vibrant routes powered by Google Maps.
The frame and motor come with lifetime coverage, whilst you get 2 years coverage on parts and 1 year on labour. Now that Proform have dropped their prices, this is one hell of a bargain.
If you’re looking for a mix of good-quality build, user-friendly systems and design, and value for money, you really can’t get much better than the Proform Performance 600i.
Bluetooth Nero Pro
The Bluetooth Nero Pro is our pick for the number two slot. This smartly finished, compact machine is lightweight, at just 24kg, is made from sturdy steel with good quality safety arms and is easy to fold away and wheel around.
Though it isn’t the fastest, with a top speed of only 10km / hour, it will suit the casual jogger or the avid power-walker perfectly- more serious, fast runners, or those who like to make use of interval training, may want to look at some of the speedier machines on our list.
However, there are 3 pretty decent incline levels with the Nero Pro, which will go a long way to giving your workout a bit of an edge.
Those who like to work or watch movies while they train will love the Nero Pro. It comes with an iPad / Tablet holder directly under the main console, well suited to both large and small tablets.
The console itself looks a bit basic, but don’t let it fool you- it’s top-quality. The numbers and buttons are all large and clear, making the Nero Pro good for those with poorer eyesight, and there aren’t too many overly fiddly menus to sort through. The display will show you distance, calories spent, time and speed, which is all useful data to inform your training, and there is a safety clip attached so the machine will shut down if you slip.
The belt is a little short and narrow, so larger or heavier athletes may need to take care. Other than this, it’s a really good, well-made piece of equipment.
JLL S400 Premium Treadmill
The JLL S400 Premium Treadmill is JLL Fitness’ latest offering and is sister to the more basic JLL S300 Treadmill. It comes with a great many different features, settings and programs, making it perfect for anybody who likes to keep their home workouts fresh and interesting.
In fact, it comes with 15 built-in programs ranging from easy to difficult. The S400 Premium has a larger running deck than the S300 and Bluetooth connectivity with built-in, good-quality speakers. However, as with the S300, it is solidly built and comes with a solid warranty- in this case, a 5-year warranty on the motor and lifetime warranty on the frame.
You can also program your own training, with three options for customisable runs. You can pause your runs whenever you like, then pick up where you left off. There is even a shock absorption system, similar to the Proform Performance 600i’s.
The monitors are not amazing on the S400, however, which is a shame on such an otherwise technologically supreme machine. The heart rate handles are difficult to use when running and are pretty inaccurate, for example. It’s a small gripe, of course, but one that bears mentioning as a bit of a fly in the ointment.
JTX Sprint 9
The JTX Sprint 9 is a great model if you have the space. It’s well-suited to larger rooms, or even running clubs and shared training spaces in mind. However, it’s perhaps too large for anybody looking for something to fold away into the airing cupboard (to give you an idea of the scale, it has a maximum user weight of 28 stone! – far larger than most other models.)
If you do have the room, you get a lot more than just bulk with the Sprint 9. It comes with a 3-horsepower motor, which will give you a top-speed of 20km / hour. If you can run much faster than this, you should be out on a pro-track anyway, so this should be plenty.
You will also get shock absorbers and an automatic incline capacity, so that you can change the incline mid-run rather than having to get off and manually adjust the machine. This makes programming a lot more flexible and will give you a lot of scope for varying intensity during your run.
The console is as supersized as the rest of the machine, with enough room to display all the data and metrics you could ever want all at once. You get a free chest-strap heartrate monitor with your purchase, which is compatible with the monitor, so you can get accurate, real-time information fed back to you as you run, adapting your workout accordingly.
It’s a bit of a beast, but if you have the room, the Sprint 9 a solid option that comes highly recommended by anyone who has had the pleasure of using it.
JTX Sprint 3
For the money you spend on JTX’s Sprint 3, you get an incredibly smooth (if slightly slim) belt, a top speed of 14 km / hour, shock absorption for safety and comfort, 48 unique programmes and 12 levels of incline, with motorised incline. It really is quite an impressive alternative to its larger brother.
The Sprint 3 is as sturdy and well-built as the Sprint 9, runs quietly and has a really elegant, neat design. It’s pleasingly simple and simply pleasing, making it a robust, inexpensive way to get a really nice workout in.
There has been some criticism of the program guide, as it needs a little more detail about the 48 programmes (and, indeed, some explanation as to why 48 programmes are strictly necessary). This is a wholly complex area in an otherwise wonderfully straightforward design.
The machine itself is quite heavy and takes a while to put together. Though this is by virtue of its robustness, it may take more than one person to build it, fold it and move it around.
Nevertheless, you get a fantastic, simple, elegant machine that is a pleasure to use if you buy the Sprint 3.
The Sportstech F10 is fairly vanilla and fairly good- overall, very good value for money, especially for newcomers. The programmes are simple to navigate and use and it can gather enough speed for a decent jog- in fact, with 12 pre-programmed options, it contains everything you need to get a decent workout in without being overburdened by options and gadgets.
The machine itself is quiet and it comes with a good-quality music system and tablet holder, to maintain a good user experience and give you a good workout.
It’s also easy to fold, transport and store, so realistically it ticks every box you need it to. It’s also easy to put together.
There are a few areas where the Sportstech F10 falls down a little, however.
It’s small. Whilst this is the point of a foldable treadmill (and great if you have limited space and a small build), the belt is on the narrow side. You may think twice about getting up to a decent speed with such a small area for your feet. The iFitShow app that comes with the machine has also fallen under some criticism, notably for its inaccuracy. There are some wobbly parts that will also put many people off.
The Sportstech F10 is simple, in a good and a bad way. It’s perfect for the casual jogger who needs no frills. For the more experienced runner, or those who like their gadgets fancy and reliable, there are better options on the market.
Despite its name, the Slimline isn’t the lightest treadmill on the market (JTX seem to specialise in heavier models, especially on this list!) however, it’s easy to fold up and trundle away into a waiting cupboard, so really shouldn’t be too much hassle to live with.
JTX offer a full year of engineer call-out, so that they’ve got you covered if anything goes wrong. As JTX are quite well known for their good customer service, this should be no surprise, but it’s actually quite a big deal- it’s very handy if you’re paying top dollar for a product to know that it will keep on working for some time.
The Slimline’s display is very good, with a clear digital interface registering and showing the metrics we all want as we use a cardio machine- calories, speed, distance, and so on. As with the Sprint models, there is also a breath-taking array of different programmes and settings to choose from. It comes with 43 individual programmes and 15 levels of incline that can be controlled digitally. Variety won’t be an issue with the Sprint (though working out the best program for you may take some time…)
The Sprint also performs really well, with a soft, smooth belt and tread and shock absorption to keep your joints safe. It is solid and stable in a way that the cheaper models just cannot keep up with.
Dripex Folding Treadmill
The Dripex 2 in 1 folding treadmill brings something different to the table. Whilst most foldable treadmills give you a single function or use, the Dripex gives you two (the clue is in the title, I suppose…)
The Dripex 2 in 1 offers a multi-functional approach that comes with a host of decent features, all wrapped up in a nice-looking design- all clean lines and bold colours.
But what are the two functions, and how do they differ from what other treadmills offer?
First, you get a standard treadmill with upright support, phone holder and console screen for apps and media- standard fare for what we’re looking at. This will give you an adequate enough 12 km / hour top speed with a secure running experience.
However, the frame folds away whilst leaving the machine still usable. This will give you a discreet walking machine with a top speed of 4 km / hour, perfect for a standing desk at home or in the office.
The machine is easy to use in both settings: it’s portable, storable and navigable, making it a good bet.
However, this 2 in 1 gimmick may come at a slight cost to overall quality. It’s hard to store with the support bars on, meaning that its function as a high-powered treadmill is slightly impaired. It’s also really quite expensive for the quality of build and user experience: the top speed is only adequate, not great, there are no techy upgrades or clever gadgets, no sensors and no programmes.
If you want a 2 in 1 option, it’s great. You will be able to up your daily step count easily. Otherwise, there are better options.