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12 Best Small Treadmills for Your Home or Apartment, According to Certified Fitness Experts

The Healthy logo The Healthy 3/8/2022 Karla Walsh, Charlotte Hilton Andersen

The rise of small treadmills and the home gym

It's no secret that treadmills are trendy again. While treadmill usage reportedly dropped between 2015 and 2017, this timeless cardio tool has forged a serious comeback, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Considering the pandemic's influence on the demand for at-home workouts, our rediscovered love for treadmills is no wonder—but let's face it: historically, the treadmill has been huge and heavy, an uninspiring albatross that sometimes gets more use as a drying rack for laundry than a piece of fitness equipment that's supposed to rev up your inspiration to hop on it. Fortunately, a fresh fix for this dilemma is the rise of the compact or small treadmill. Some of the best small treadmills can even be stored away when you're not on them.

Whether you're into walking, jogging, running, or even side-stepping to work the lower body muscles that often don't get enough attention, a small treadmill is a great way to keep your step count up. Some of the new ones are even designed with your multi-tasking reality in mind.

After you read through our list of the best small treadmills, also check out 9 Terrible Treadmill Mistakes That Make Trainers Cringe. (But you've never done these... right?)

How to choose the best treadmill for home use

"When considering your options for compact treadmills, there are a lot to choose from," says Chris Gagliardi, the scientific education content manager for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and an ACE-certified health coach and personal trainer in San Diego. "But one fundamental question you should ask when you begin your research is: 'Do I want a motorized or non-motorized piece of equipment?'"

Another priority, Gagliardi suggests, is to think of safety first. "Does the belt stop if you fall? How easy is it to stop the equipment once it is in operation? Because you may be using this equipment at home alone, it's important that you make your own safety a priority," he says. A key point.

Beyond that, space, price, and model features—such as a heart rate monitor, programming options, incline, decline, weight capacity, and speed range—are all important to consider, adds Steve Stonehouse, a certified personal trainer in Orange County, California and a director of education for STRIDE. Within shopper reviews, you may also want to investigate the noise your treadmill might generate, especially if you live in an apartment or want to exercise when others in the house are asleep.

CJ Hammond, a certified trainer with RSP Nutrition in Los Angeles, notes that, of course, you also need to think about what you want from your workout. "If you want to get more of a burn in the legs, running or walking on an incline will deliver that," he says. Hammond believes the best small treadmills max out at around 10 to 15 miles per hour to allow for sprint intervals. (Fast-paced running is one of the workouts that burn the most calories.)

Bonus tips for selecting the best small or compact treadmill

Once you've narrowed your choices for the best small treadmill down to two or three models, Gagliardi suggests you go by the following to select the best treadmill (especially if you can't test in person):

  • Seek out relevant reviews about each small or compact treadmill.
  • Watch video-based demonstrations of people using the treadmill.
  • Use the chat features on product websites to ask specific questions if you can't find the answers you're looking for.
  • Call customer service to ask questions.
  • Use your social media platforms to solicit feedback and advice from people you trust.
  • Ask if there is a nearby distributor of the product or a gym that carries the equipment you're interested in, and see if you can try it in person.
  • Find out if additional equipment is needed or if a specific type of outlet is necessary. Ask: Does the treadmill require a plug? What should be placed underneath it? How much space is required? How far should it be from walls, furniture, or other exercise equipment?
  • Determine how easy it is to get replacement parts or service when needed.

Read on to learn about the best small treadmills for every budget—and, don't hop on that machine without reading the 9 Benefits of Stretching That Will Convince You to Do It Daily.

© via amazon.com

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill

$160

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If you're about to become a first-time treadmill owner, and especially if you have a limited budget and just want to see how much you'll use your new gear, this could be a great small treadmill for you. This non-electric treadmill is foldable, compact, and lightweight with transportation wheels so you can easily move it around your home.

And even though this treadmill is small, some users suggest its effect is mighty. Mom of two, Tac, writes, "It was easy to assemble and 15 minutes in I'm already sweating." The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M contains an LCD monitor that allows you to track your time, speed, steps, and calories burned. It also supports a maximum weight of 220 pounds.

(Psst—this is how you can walk more steps per day.)

diagram © via amazon.com

Merax Folding Treadmill

$250

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This affordable option is both electric and foldable, making it very portable. The Merax Folding Treadmill contains a large LCD display that tracks the basics, including speed, time, distance, and calories burned.

This small treadmill could appeal to shoppers of every fitness level and intensity, as it allows you to go up to 7.5 miles per hour (MPH) for those who really want to move. The maximum capacity is 240 pounds.

One Amazon reviewer writes, "This is a perfect treadmill for a small to medium-sized basement. It's small, but it has everything we need." (Need more cardio? These are the best exercise bikes to buy.)

© via amazon.com

Weslo Cadence G5.9i

$290

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If you're looking for an inexpensive folding treadmill with Bluetooth capabilities, the Weslo Cadence G5.9i could be it. You are required to activate an iFit membership (free for one month) to use the treadmill—however, some users, such as Todd & Kricket, discovered you may be able to bypass that "if you hold down the bluetooth button for 15-20 seconds the machine will activate and let you use it." (We should note we haven't tried this and can't confirm this observation.)

This treadmill supports a maximum weight of 275 pounds. Some reviewers suggest it's a great treadmill for runners, as it goes up to 10 MPH. Just keep in mind a possible "con": reviewer R. Reyes found that the noise pollution from this treadmill is roughly equivalent to that of a robotic vacuum running around the house.

© via amazon.com

GoPlus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill

$370

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This treadmill from GoPlus is great for people who love walking throughout their day. It offers two ways to use it—flat, so you can place it under a desk and walk up to four miles per hour while you work, or with the handles raised for a more traditional workout, up to 7.5 MPH.

Perhaps the best part? It requires no setup and, as some reviewers have suggested, is a breeze to fold up and roll away for easy storage. As an added bonus, Ulrike raves, "It is quiet! I can use it in my apartment's spare room while watching a movie, and no one can even hear me or it move. That's AWESOME."

© via amazon.com

GoPlus Under Desk Electric Treadmill

$380

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If all you want is a desk treadmill, this is a great option for something discreet, yet effective, during your workday. This GoPlus treadmill features a shock-proof design to limit possible vibrations and noise from walking. Plus, its slim design allows you to store it under the bed or sofa.

The treadmill has three workout tiers and 12 programs built in to provide variety. It goes from 0.5 to 4 MPH and supports up to 220 pounds. Audrey writes, "It's a great machine, everyone in the office loves the idea, plus it helps keep me focused on my work." (Make sure you follow these best tips for desk ergonomics.)

© via amazon.com

NordicTrack T 6.5s Treadmill

$650

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NordicTrack is known for its high-end treadmills, but consumers suggest this starter treadmill has all the quality the company is known for, just minus a few bells and whistles. This model has a smaller display and a cushioned running belt that goes up to 10 MPH. Again, it requires an iFit registration, but some users say you can bypass this during setup by holding down the iFit logo on the treadmill for 30 seconds.

Angel writes, "OK, so it doesn't have fans, or TV screen, [but] ... This thing is almost perfect!"

a close up of a device © via amazon.com

OMA CAI Treadmill

$1,100

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This one's the Goldilocks of treadmills for small spaces. The OMA CAI treadmill has a 350-pound capacity, quiet motor, and a console that allows you to choose from 36 preset programs, challenge others virtually, and blast your music from Bluetooth speakers. It's also foldable, and has a lifetime 24/7 service troubleshooting, zero to 15 percent incline, and a maximum speed of 11.2 MPH.

For about half the cost of the most expensive model on this best compact treadmill list, you get a mix of features that just might make it easier to stick to a consistent running or walking routine. Taylor writes, "Honestly, it feels like the machines I used AT the gym."

© via amazon.com

NordicTrack T-Series Treadmill

$2,700

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With many high-end features for hundreds of dollars less, this compact NordicTrack treadmill is a nice mid-range price option. It comes with one year of free access to iFit live or on-demand workouts—but again, other consumers suggest that if you don't want to sign up, you may be able to bypass this during setup by holding down the iFit logo on the treadmill for 30 seconds.

This model has a 10-inch HD touchscreen, zero to 10 percent incline and zero to 10 MPH speed range, and a space-efficient folding design. Julie D. writes, "I'm an avid runner … who has run on many treadmills over the years, and this machine is awesome. It has all the features and feel of a gym machine just not as bulky or expensive." (Here are some other at-home smart gym equipment options to consider.)

© via amazon.com

3G Cardio Pro Runner Treadmill

$1,880

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This small treadmill has a stronger engine horsepower than most on this list and a 350-pound maximum user capacity. The console tracks your pace, speed, incline, and heart rate (with handle pulse monitors). The 3G Cardio treadmill also has a wide incline range of zero to 15 percent and can speed up to 12 MPH.

Suzan E. writes, "I wanted a treadmill that would hold up to the rigors of my marathon training. ... The response is quick, increasing/decreasing, speed/incline. The length and width of the belt are great." (Here's what you need to know about walking for exercise.)

© via amazon.com

Schwinn Fitness 810 Treadmill

$800

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This sturdy treadmill supports up to 275 pounds, reportedly provides a smooth, quiet experience, and still folds up to slide under a piece of furniture. It also has integrated heart rate grips to monitor your beats per minute.

Shoppers suggest the feature that really sets the Scnwinn treadmill apart is its 50+ preprogrammed adventure trails that allow you to explore destinations around the world, keeping you motivated and inspired. It also auto-adjusts in real-time to your speed.

As for the user experience, Allen writes: "I can't say enough about the comfort of this run deck. The hydraulic release takes its time coming down but very nice mechanism. Very nice bounce back running deck, I really love the feel."

Want to love the feel of your run a little more? Try 4 Runner's Knee Exercises That May Help Pain Around the Knee Cap.

© via amazon.com

FYC 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill

$380

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This lightweight treadmill from FYC comes in three different colors, so it may not be an eyesore even if you don't tuck it away. However, it does fold up to slide conveniently under furniture and can be used beneath a desk or with the support bar as a normal treadmill.

This small treadmill reaches 7.5 MPH, and the rubber belt is wider than many other treadmills in this price range. Pmburk notes, "I chose this specific treadmill because it can be operated completely from the console without the remote (although it does have one). This is a huge advantage as many of the foldable or walking pad style treadmills operate by remote only, and once the remote dies, the treadmill is unusable."

Read The 4 Best Exercises to Strengthen Bones in Your Upper Body, From an Exercise Physiologist.

© via amazon.com

UREVO Folding Treadmill

$360

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One of the highest-rated compact treadmills on Amazon, this model uses an extra-wide, multi-layered tread belt for increased durability. The UREVO treadmill goes up to 7.5 MPH and supports up to 260 pounds. This company is also known for its customer service, an important detail when you're ordering things online. Gregory writes, "The customer service of the company is EXCELLENT, they responded to my Email inquires promptly and positively (in couple of days). [sic]"

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