We love treadmills. No wind. No rain. No-one shouting ‘get those knees up’. Just a nice safe way to burn off calories and get in shape. Trouble is, not everyone has enough room for a monster treadmill in their home or home gym. Fold-up running machines are a brilliant invention for anyone short on space. And lets face it, who isn’t?
Once a flimsy, wobbly and much mocked sector of the treadmill market, folding electric machines have come on leaps and bounds over in recent years. There’s now some seriously sturdy, foldable running machines on the market today. This guide will take you through some of the best ones out there on the inter webs.
Quick view – the top folding runners
"The S300 has just about everything you'd need from a fold up running machine. It's strong, sturdy and easy to store."
"This is an excellent quality machine that folds surprisingly-flat. Good upper running speed and very sturdy."
"This compact runner has some excellent programs for users of all levels and is surprisingly challenging, even if you're used to running."
"You can use this runner with or without sides and it provides a great, compact way to walk or run indoors."
"For light jogging and walking, this is a great machine that's also incredibly-quiet."
Fit4home Folding Treadmill
"A fantastic, sturdy budget spin bike that offers good value for money."
#1 Choice: JLL S300 Digital Folding Treadmill
If you want to save a bit of time and skip to the best foldable running machine on this guide, it’s the JLL S300. With an impressive 180+ reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating (at the time of writing), we wanted to see what the fuss was about with this machine. So let’s jump in and talk about why we rate it top.
Build quality is top notch
There’s nothing worse than wobbly, creaky running machines, or ones where the belt slips all over when you’re running. Sadly in the fold away treadmill market this is all too common. The S300 doesn’t have these problems. You’ll get a robust frame, solid feeling belt and an overall smooth run… or walk!
Another thing that sets this machine apart is the shock absorbers on the running part of the frame. This helps eliminate noise and some of the thudding, and means less impact on your joints.
Good warranty and after sale care from JLL
Buying anything ‘big’ online can be daunting, even from Amazon. Especially something like a compact treadmill. Good to know that JLL are a reliable company and provides replacements, support and anything you need after buying. Look at the warranties with the S300:
- 2 Year parts and labour
- 5 year motor guarantee
- Lifetime frame warranty
Plenty of flexibility
The good thing about this folding treadmill is that it’s packed with features you’d expect from a ‘gym’ treadmill. The 20 incline levels are controlled digitally, meaning the 15 running programmes can alter both speed and incline. This makes workouts more interesting and helps get fit faster.
The range of programs, along with the wide range of speeds make this a good treadmill for just about everyone. The top speed is 16kmph, offering a good challenge for anyone up for it.
Easy to assemble and store
Another great thing with the S300 is how easy it is to fold down. A hydraulic arm gives a smooth down motion and saves you hurting your back. It also helps get the tread back up. And there’s wheels to help move it around once it’s ‘flat’.
Verdict: The S300 has just about everything you’d need from a fold up running machine. It’s strong, sturdy and easy to store. There’s a good number of programmes that will keep new or experienced runners happy. It also represents good value for money. Highly recommended.
- High quality build
- Some genuinely useful programs
- Covered with good warranties
- Powered speakers connect iPod or other mp3s
- Easy folding action
- ‘Sprung’ treadmill is smooth
- Not much to assemble
- Good value for money
- Old style ‘LCD’ screen, not a pixel one
- Images on instructions could be bigger
If you want to step up in quality a little and your budget allows, there’s a really good fold-up treadmill on the market from Branx. The Energy Pro treadmill isn’t the lightest treadmill around but can be folded up easily and stored away in a corner when you’re done.
The display here is easy to read and tracks all the important stats like calories, speed and distance. And there’s a good range of programs to get a sweat on – 12 to be exact.
Auto incline is often a problem with folding treadmills but the Branx running machine pulls ahead here, with the machine altering the level of incline digitally. There’s no need to interrupt your run to alter it by hand.
Performance-wise, again you’re getting what you pay for here. The belt and running area feel softer than some of the cheaper models and this is one of the more solid foldable machines. And there’s a belter of a motor at 5HP output.
Verdict: Branx has a fantastic fold up machine here that shows some obvious advantages over cheaper models. If your budget allows, the Energy Pro treadmill is a sound choice for home running and walking.
- Top quality
- Feels very sturdy & ‘soft’ to run on
- Top-notch digital display
- Built-in speakers and phone / iPod holder
- More expensive than other budget folding machines
- A bit on the heavy side when it comes to moving around
This folding running machine is an unusual combination of being light weight while managing to feel very sturdy.
It won’t take any effort to move around. It’s also got little wheels to help in that respect. Folding up is straight forward, and it’s about as compact a machine as you’re going to find.
This compact runner also comes with a brill tablet holder so you can run along side a fitness app, or simply catch up on some Netflix.
This fold-flat treadmill is fine for both beginners or those looking for a taxing workout. There’s easy-to-use programmes to suit both groups. Nice clear controls here and a brightly lit display keeps track of speed, calories and all the important stats. Not the most fancy display, but good at this price point.
As for extras there’s cup holders and some built in speakers so you can enjoy your tunes while getting fit.
Verdict: This is a really well-made motorized treadmill that folds down to an incredibly compact size. The display is great and the tablet holder is also super-handy.
- Solid running machine
- But light enough to move easily
- Tablet holder
- Quick assembly
- Good value for money
- Incline has to be manually set.
Some folding treadmills would take two people to move around! A good folding running machine should also be practical to move around and store. Thankfully, this gem from Bluefin Task 2 folds neatly up and moves around on it’s wheels easily.
There’s some impressive features on the Task 2.0 that give this machine an advantage over some more expensive products. This is by far one of the more compact-to-store machines out there. There’s no chunky sides. Instead you’ve got a simple cross bar that can actually be removed and used in sideless mode.
It’s designed to be used in conjunction with your tablet or smart phone, and there’s an awesome little app you install that will track your progress.
Assembly isn’t too hard with this machine either. Actually, there’s not much to put together at all. No stalling here; get running!
Our verdict: The compact nature of this running machine and the simple app integration make it a great choice for anyone looking to save space but still have a decent treadmill to walk and run on.
- Extremely low storage required
- Easy to fold – and move around
- Decent running machine for the price
- Hardly any assembly
- Not everyone will like the ‘sideless’ design
- No incline
If you’re sick of the British weather scuppering your plans (or motivation) for to get out and do some exercise, then here’s an electric folding treadmill you might wan to check out. The Dripex 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill is perfect for anyone short on space. It’s one of the smaller profile ones out there.
Moving this foldable machine isn’t difficult at all thanks to it’s weight and size. If you need a treadmill you can move between rooms, this is a good option.
So who would this machine suit best? It’s a good choice for just about every user – from students to the elderly. One really appreciated feature is the ‘soft down’ system on the running part of the machine. It lowers itself effortlessly down. No bending down or back ache.
Construction here is robust (for a folding running machine) and it’s perfect for light running or walking. There’s gentle manual incline here, although they’re not going to put up much challenge for experienced runners.
If you hate putting stuff together, you’ll be please to know this one comes 99% assembled, so you can get straight on your new treadmill.
Verdict: We really like this machine and it’s a good option for anyone really short on space. It’s a good basic, cheap machine that does it’s job perfectly well.
- Small foot print
- Soft down tread saves your back
- Easy to move around your home
- Good choice for elderly
- Nice easy setup
- Make speed is 4km / h
- No adjustable incline
Coming in at a low price is a tidy-looking folding treadmill from Fit4Home. Like the other fold up treadmills we’ve looked at, this machine collapses away neatly to save space after use.
One of the key things to look for is a sturdy treadmill, something lacking in many treadmills that fold away, and this one has a sturdy design that’s capable of handling users of 110kg or over.
It’s also faster than a lot of other electric fold-aways in this price bracket. Enjoy taxing speeds of up to 12 km/h. Should keep you busy for a good while. While a nifty little computer tracks your progress in the form of distance, time and the usual suspects.
Oh, and it has two cup-holders. You know, in case you get really thirsty.
Verdict: Its sturdy, it looks great and it’s a pretty good folding treadmill for the price. The high running speed is really impressive for a machine this size.
- Sturdy design for a folding treadmill
- High upper running speed
- Manual incline adds a bit more to your workout
- Good buy for the price
- Fine for heavy users
- Small folded size
- Narrow running surface
Thanks for reading and please let us know in the comments if there’s a treadmill you really like, or if there’s anything we’ve missed here. Happy training and all the best!