Are Folding Treadmills Any Good?

There was a time when a folding treadmill came a poor second to the stationary option. The biggest problem was the stability of the machine and the durability of the frame. Now design has advanced to such a stage that home treadmills are practically always offered as fold able and with long warranties to boot. No one would seriously consider buying a non folding option unless they had substantial space to house the machine. If you are looking to buy a fold up running machine here are a few handy pointers to make sure you don’t buy a dud :

Extensive Warranty

The high quality build models come with warranties that give confidence. The longer the warranty on frames, deck and rollers the more stable and well built the treadmill. As an example check out the Sole F80 which is one of the best folding machines for running. This comes with a life time, yes, lifetime warranty on deck, frame and motors and then has a five year warranty on rollers and electronics. Even cheaper models such as the Merit Fitness 715T come with a lifetime frame warranty. If you are interested in a fold up make sure the warranty walks the walk, avoid machines with one to five year warranties, in today’s market that is not good enough.

Easy To Fold?

The whole point of a fold-up is that it is easy to store, ergo, it should be easy to get into a position to store. Now these machines are big, so you seriously need to consider how easy it will be to man-handle. Generally these machines will either have a deck that folds up or the console area will fold down. Models that have a console that folds down can usually be stored under a bed. Models with a deck that folds up will have to be stored against a wall.

Most deck folding treadmills will be either hydraulically assisted or require brute force. Hydraulically assisted means shock rams will take most of the pressure off lifting and offer easy deck lowering. Remember, the longer the running deck, the heavier and harder to manoeuvre. Opt for hydraulics where budget allows or go for a console lowering model if you don’t want to much hard work.

Transport Wheels?

Following on from the above points on folding, does this machine that you are buying for it’s ability to be stored have relocation casters/wheels? You’ll be surprised that quite a few do not and that is not very useful once you have the machine unpacked. If you are going for a long decked running machine as opposed to a walking machine make sure you have transport wheels on your favoured model.

Weight Capacity

Machines with larger user weight capacities are built stronger and have heavier duty framing and parts meaning they will be more durable and last longer. If in doubt go for a machine with the heaviest capacity. Bear in mind as you are running you will be dropping extra force onto the machine so if you are a well built gent of 250 pounds your probably going to need a machine that will take a user weight of 300lbs.


Many of the cheap folding treadmills for sale may not be particularly useful for runners. Short deck models (under 50ins) are generally for walking exercises or persons of shorter than average stature (less than 5’11”). Folding manual’s are really only suitable for walking exercises and these are readily available for under $200. A folding motorised model for walking can usually be found for as cheap as $300 with very reasonable specs and warranties. If you are after a fold up running machine, expect to pay at least $1000.