One of the main factors that hold people back from buying a treadmill is the pragmatic problem of where to put it. The machine itself is bulky, raising the question of where in the house it will physically fit. Then there is the issue of actually using it, as more often than not the place that it can fit will be facing a wall – hardly an ideal setting for your running experience!
The answer to this space problem is *drum roll, please* a folding treadmill. If you do not know what one is, then do not worry. We are going to explain everything in this post, including the benefits and downsides to owning a foldable over a traditional model, so you can determine which would be more suitable for you.
What is a folding treadmill?
A folding treadmill is, as the name would suggest, a treadmill that can be folded up. The base folds at the midpoint and will have a lock function for when it is in use – so there is no need to worry, it will not randomly snap up when you are using it! Not every model will come with a handrail, the cheaper end of the spectrum usually does not. For those that do, the handrail will be detachable.
Without a handrail, you may be wondering where the control panel goes. Folding treadmills are usually controlled by a handheld remote. You can adjust the speed and incline to set through this, as you would on a control panel. For safety, some models include a safety cord that you attach to your person so that the machine will automatically stop if you lose your footing. This is relatively rare, of course, but always useful to have.
The main advantage of a folding treadmill is its compact design. While a traditional model remains set up 24/7 and is cumbersome to move, a folding treadmill can be neatly stored in a cupboard or under a bed, thus freeing up floor space. This ease of movement also means that you can position it right in front of the tv for the duration of your workout, then put it away again after you are done. You can even train in different rooms in your house, which is handy if your partner is on a video call or your baby is sleeping.
What sacrifices does a folding treadmill make?
The convenience of a folding treadmill, however, comes at a cost. Its sleek and compact design is made possible by its having a smaller motor than a regular treadmill. A smaller motor equates to less power, thus foldable treadmills are not able to go as fast as a traditional model.
The model you buy – and the price you pay – will determine how close to a regular treadmill a foldable is in terms of workout quality. At the cheaper end of the spectrum, you will not be able to run. ‘Walkpads’, as they are known, are like a stripped-back treadmill. Their light base is not prepared to handle the weight of a runner’s strike. Walkpads do not usually include handrails either. They are designed to be used at lower speeds so there is no need to have one.
More robust foldable treadmills are more expensive, but they will come with better quality motors and a higher maximum speed. If you want to get as close as possible to a traditional treadmill, while retaining the benefits of a folding model, then you will be able to find a suitable machine. There is, however, always going to be a gap between the maximum speed on a foldable as compared to a traditional treadmill. For most people, sacrificing a little speed is worth the convenience gains, but it really is a matter of personal choice.
Finally, it is important to remember that your weight will affect the fastest speed that you can run on a foldable treadmill. Check the model specifications (specifically, the weight limit and maximum speed) prior to buying to ensure that it will be suitable for your frame.
Is a foldable treadmill worth it?
Putting a foldable treadmill and a traditional treadmill side by side, the traditional treadmill will offer a better workout range because of its more robust design. A foldable treadmill may not have the same range, but as long as it offers the level of workout that you want there should be no problem. To this end, it is important to check the specifications of the model against your weight and workout desires.
Comparing the two, if you do not have the space for a traditional treadmill then there is no competition. A folding treadmill is better than no treadmill at all – and, actually, a folding treadmill is not a bad machine when used within its limits.