Like any kind of exercise equipment, the folding treadmill has its fair share of good and bad points. Anyone seriously considering investing in one should know the pros and cons of a folding treadmill to make an informed decision.
Pros of a Folding Treadmill
Aside from the mental, psychological and physical benefits you can get from any treadmill, folding treadmills also have these additional advantages:
- Space-saving: Traditional treadmills are huge and bulky and often placed as a centerpiece in a home gym. Many people do not have the space for that big of a treadmill. The folding treadmills solve this dilemma because many of them fold in half. Others fold three times and occupy a smaller real estate. Others can be folded vertically and stacked at the back of the door.
- Noise-resistant: Many folding treadmills have a thin frame, but they have a layering to minimize the sound of your footsteps as you walk. This is an ideal exercise machine if you live in an upstairs apartment.
- Foldable (easy to store): The folding mechanisms of this kind of treadmill vary between brands and models. You can find one-push folding systems, but other models still require manual folding. If you’re petite or still building up strength, the folding mechanism is important because it will be the reason how well you’d be able to pack the treadmill away (or not).
- Portable (designed with wheels): Fold-up treadmills are notorious for their space-saving and portability features. Many folding treadmills feature wheels, so it would be twice as easy to push the treadmill after you’ve folded it upright.
- Remote control: The minimalist design of folding treadmills extends to the dashboard. While some fold-up machines still have a dashboard with upright arms, many don’t. Instead, the technology is controlled with a lightweight, pocket-sized remote controller.
- Affordable: Popular folding treadmills range from $1500 to $2500, while commercial treadmills start at $2000 and go as high as $10,000 a pop. You can even find mini walking pads that cost below $500 and still run like a standard treadmill.
Cons of a Folding Treadmill
Folding treadmills are effective, but they’re not perfect. As a way to reduce the weight of a treadmill, manufacturers had to compromise somewhere. These three things affect most fold-up treadmills:
- Lower Weight capacity: Some higher-end folding treadmills can easily accommodate users who are around 300 to 500 pounds. But many fold-up treadmills are only designed to carry up to 200 pounds.
- Shorter Deck length: If you’re tall, your stride length also increases, so the shorter deck found in most folding treadmills may not be suitable for your size.
- Thin Frame: For these treadmills to fold correctly, manufacturers had to remove the bulk from the frame. While this ensures the machines can now be folded into two or three, the downside is that the frame can also feel flimsy.
These disadvantages aren’t exclusive to all folding treadmills. Some are designed with higher user weight capacity, longer deck length, and sturdier frames, but you do need to specify them as requirements when you shop for a folding treadmill.