For those that are space challenged, a compact treadmill can be very attractive. However, you must realize a treadmill that is slim, trim, compact and lightweight usually means there are some compromises in the design, construction and the components.
Recommendations for Compact Treadmills…
Compact Design – If your living space does not afford you the luxury of having an area for a bulky treadmill, then you want a model that can easily fold and occupy minimum space. You will want to either store the treadmill in a closet, against the wall or under your bed. For example, if you are storing against the wall, you want it to takes up hardly any space.
Not all folding treadmills are compact. Some models have a depth of over 2′ when folded. However, there are several compact versions that fold to around 10″-11″, making them slim enough to fit under most beds.
Mobile – Unless you plan to lean the treadmill directly against the wall where you will use it, you want your compact treadmill to be lightweight, simple to fold and easy to move. I’ve seen some folding models that would take a linebacker to fold and manipulate around a room. Forget about moving one of these into a closet.
If you need to move your treadmill every time after using it, it should be lightweight and easy to get around.
The Cons of a Compact Treadmill.
First off, if you do not need to store your treadmill in a small area, then you do not want to buy a compact treadmill. The slim design and light weight results in some compromise in the performance.
Small Motor – To reduce the weight, compact treadmills have small motors. The power is usually no more than 2.0 continuous duty HP. That means they are not designed to handle ongoing high speeds or heavy individuals.
Small Decks – Once again, to reduce the weight, the decks are smaller than normal. For example, the Horizon Evolve SG has a 17″ x 45″ walking surface. That is tiny. Consequently, I would not recommend this treadmill to any over 5’7″. Also, both the small motor and short deck make a compact treadmill only suitable for walking.
Stability – The combination of being lightweight and having a small footprint do not make compact treadmills the most stable machines.
Other compromises will be in the size of the rollers, the console and display, and usually the incline will be manual.
It is convenient to have exercise equipment in your home or apartment, and because of the convenience, you are apt to use it more often. If you want that convenience and you have limited space, then a compact treadmill is worth considering.
However, if you have extra space for a treadmill, consider a model with a bigger motor and a larger deck. Furthermore, do not consider a compact treadmill if you are tall, extra heavy or plan to use it for jogging or running.