The Best Small Treadmills That Let You Work Out Anywhere — Plus Some Tips From A Fitness Expert

Break a sweat, not your budget.

by Jenn Sinrich
Originally Published: 
treadmills small spaces
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Compact treadmills and foldable walking pads are cardio saviors for working out anywhere. The pandemic changed everyone’s workout routine, inspiring a surge in at-home workout equipment, from jump rope sets and yoga mats to cycling bikes and even compact treadmills. But, most of us don’t have the sprawling space necessary for a full-fledged indoor gym. Scary Mommy reached out to fitness expert Simon Gould to learn what to look for when shopping for the best small treadmills for home use.

What To Consider When Shopping For Treadmills

When shopping for a compact and/or foldable treadmill, there are a few things to keep in mind. Unless you specifically want a walking pad to have under your standing desk, a treadmill with handles and a cushioned deck is highly recommended for comfort. As for the technical stuff, Simon Gould, a fitness equipment expert who’s worked with treadmills for over 25 years, gave Scary Mommy a few pointers.

“Parents need a treadmill with a good warranty. Look for 1 to 2 years of labor. This shows the company has faith that their equipment will stand the test of time,” Gould advised. “There should also be a strong motor (3.0 CHP or more). This indicates its power and means it can take walking and running.”

In terms of what to avoid, Gould was adamant on one thing: no cheap treadmills. It’s worth investing in something that will last, rather than having to buy another treadmill machine a couple of years (or months) later. “Cheap treadmills are cheap for a reason, you get what you pay for. They have short warranties like 90 days and won’t last very long,” Gould said.

Before purchasing anything though, Gould suggests taking measurements of your home to ensure the treadmill will fit in the area or room you have in mind. The great thing about foldable treadmills is that you can put them up and away from kiddos and pets when it’s not being used, but in the likely chance that you leave it out (because sometimes we’re just too busy), make sure to consider its placement in terms of clearance and accessibility.

TIP: If you do decide to leave your compact treadmill out and accessible, make sure to unplug it after every use so no accidents happen!

Are Compact Treadmills Worth It?

Um…100% worth it! Treadmills made for small spaces are the bomb because they don’t sacrifice quality, horsepower, speed, endurance, and all those other important things, but they do lack in taking up space, which is a good thing. Most of these treadmills are foldable so you can set them up amongst your kids’ scattered Baby Shark toys, rock your cardio routine, then tuck them away when you’re done. You can even stash one under your standing desk to stroll as you get work done.

So if this is a piece of home workout gear you could actually get behind, scroll on. We’ve dug up the best walking pads and treadmills for small spaces. P.S. If you’ve never heard of a walking pad, you’re definitely going to want to.

The Best Folding Treadmills

This Amazon Best-Selling Treadmill

There are a lot of reasons why this folding treadmill is a best-selling treadmill on Amazon, with more than 8,000 reviews to date. It has the look and feel of a full-size treadmill at a compact size that can still hold up to an impressive 220 pounds. It features nine built-in workout programs, three incline levels, handrail controls, and a phone/tablet holder. Plus, it has wheel for portability, and it’s a fairly affordable model considering all those features.

Helpful Review: “The soft drop system will assist you when unfolding the treadmill, avoiding a big slam or damage to your wood/carpet floor. It [also] features a digital monitor that tracks your speed, time, distance, pulse and calories which makes it easier to track your fitness goals.”

Speed Range: 0.5 to 9 MPH | Maximum Weight: 220 Pounds | Item Weight: 103 Pounds

A Small But Mighty Treadmill

Small but mighty, this lightweight, folding treadmill allows you to walk or run from speeds ranging 0.5 to 7.5 miles per hour (MPH). It allows you to pack it into storage areas of your home without a hassle thanks to convenient transportation wheels and has a large LED display that gives you all the important performance stats you need to know while you’re getting your workout on. 

Helpful Review: “[...] although I keep it down all the time, it just does not take up much space. It looks nice too. This machine is wayyyyy better than getting some super huge overly electronic bulky machine. I give it 5 stars based on ease of set up and use. Excellent value!”

Speed Range: 0.5 to 7.5 MPH | Maximum Weight: 300 Pounds | Item Weight: 73 Pounds

This Multi-Functional Treadmill

This 2-in-1 folding treadmill features two different modes that make it multifunctional. When the rise is lowered, it’s ideal for walking and jogging, and for higher-speed running when raised. It has a 2.25 horsepower motor that is nice and quiet (great for those living with roommates or in apartment buildings). With Bluetooth capability and a phone holder, users can easily listen to music or take calls while working out. With more than 4,500 perfect five-star ratings, it’s another Amazon favorite.

Helpful Review: “I wanted a treadmill without all the bells and whistles ($$$) that didn't take up a lot of space, and just gave me something I could use through the winter months to keep up with walking. This treadmill checks all those boxes. It measures speed, distance, and calories. It has a phone holder and a speaker that connects via blue tooth with a smart phone. A small hand held remote control easily changes speed while walking/jogging. It took about 20 minutes to put together. It folds easily (so I won't be tempted to hang my clothes on it ; ).”

Speed Range: 0.6 to 2.5 MPH (with handrail lowered); 0.6 to 7.5 MPH (with handrail raised) | Maximum Weight: 265 Pounds | Item Weight: 69.5 Pounds

This Fan-Favorite Treadmill From An Iconic Home Fitness Brand

If you’ve always wanted a NordicTrack, but didn’t think you had the room for it, think again. This is their smaller-sized treadmill and it comes with all the trimmings, including a 5-inch display, a smart response motor for effective speed, interval and endurance training and it’s foldable. With over 4.5 stars and over 30,000 reviews, this name brand treadmill is a front-runner (pun intended).

Helpful Review: “When the gyms closed due to the pandemic I was forced to take my running outside, which left my feet, ankles, and knees aching. I knew I needed a treadmill. I am a treadmill fanatic, having run on many over the years. I am very picky about what I like and don't like and knew what I wanted: a durable treadmill with good shock absorption which would stand up to almost daily use. I ended up choosing the NordicTrac T Series with the 5-inch screen. I have had this treadmill for over two weeks now and have run on it almost every night since I got it. It meets and exceeds my needs in almost every way.”

Speed Range: up to 10 MPH | Maximum Weight: 300 Pounds | Item Weight: 203 Pounds

A Smart Treadmill With A High Weight Capacity & A Free App

If you’re looking for a treadmill with a high weight capacity, you might want to consider this smart folding treadmill with an oversized running belt that can hold up to 300 pounds. Yet, it’s still ideal for small spaces and can be stored quickly by simply lowering the bars and rolling it away. It also comes with a smart bracelet that, when connected to the free app, can track your steps and heartrate and even challenge you with fun games so you can hit your milestones.

Helpful Review: “Easy to inbox. Good instructions. Set up was very easy. It has a low profile in my living room. Worked as promised. Smooth. No slipping of belt. Very quiet. Perfect for walking. I wanted to get one with 300 lb weight capacity as I am 250. Handles me well. I think it is the best for the price. I researched many treadmills and this one came out on top for customer service and as promised function. Love it!”

Speed Range: 0.6 to 7.5 MPH | Maximum Weight: 300 Pounds | Item Weight: 79.36 Pounds

This Splurge-Worthy Treadmill With Tons Of Options

With 2.5 horsepower and innovative cooling technology, this is a treadmill that allows you to track long runs at high speeds with minimal noise and optimal enjoyment. It comes with 64 options in 8 different modes with 8 different intensity levels, each based on your personal physical condition and fitness goals. The wide running belt and anti-shock system were designed for maximum comfort.

Helpful Review: “Its gives same feeling as the one I use in public gym no difference in the different preset modes . Lot more option for weight loss , cardio and trekking. Compact to fit your room. Weight is average to carry . East to assemble . I did it in 30 mins by reading the manual. Good quality.”

Speed Range: 0.6 to 10 MPH | Maximum Weight: 265+ Pounds | Item Weight: 116.85 Pounds

The Best Foldable Walking Pads

A Cute & Compact Under-Desk Walking Pad

Affordability, portability, and a sleek design — what’s not to love? Though simple, the UMAY foldable walking pad has all the features you could possibly want: It comes with a remote control, and when not in use, it can be folded up and stashed away, making it portable and compact enough to fit under just about any desk so you can get your workout in while you, well, work. Snag it in one of three colors: white, pink, or black. 

Helpful Review: “I wanted something affordable that fit under my desk. It comes assembled and you only need to plug it in, the remote works well and the stand is nice for tight spaces so you don’t need to lean against the wall. It’s low frill which is what I wanted and needed though the digital display does show distance. I wear my Apple Watch on my ankle when using as I find the mileage and step count is more accurate that way. My only complaint is it could be quieter but it’s not overly loud.”

Speed Range: up to 4 MPH | Maximum Weight: 198 Pounds | Item Weight: 64 Pounds

A Budget-Friendly Under Desk Treadmill

With a huge rise in the number of people working from home, under desk treadmills have become a must-have for basically anybody who works at a desk for a good part of the day. But because they can be pricey and not all employers offer a work-from-home equipment package, finding an under desk treadmill that checks all your boxes and falls within your budget isn’t always easy. Enter the TODO under desk treadmill. At well under $300, you might be surprised at its durable steel frame construction, 5-layer belt with shock absorption, and lightweight design. And, of course, it’s compact enough to fit under your desk or even your bed.

Helpful Review: “This treadmill works great. I have had it for about 5 months and I haven’t had any problems. It is very easy to store under a couch or bed just make sure to measure underneath whatever you plan on storing it under to make sure it will fit.”

Speed Range: 0.5 to 4 MPH | Maximum Weight: 242 Pounds | Item Weight: 40 Pounds

This Mini Treadmill

If you’re looking for a treadmill-ish workout appliance that can fit in small spaces or be easily tucked away when not in use, this mini treadmill is a great pick. It’s ultra-compact and meant to fit under most desks. It allows you to get your workout in sitting with as little as 2 to 3 inches of clearance between your knees and the underside of your desk. It ranges in speeds from .3 mph to 2.5 mph and is appropriate for a wide range of age groups. 

Helpful Review: “I love that I can be working at the computer while still moving by body. It's hard to sit for long hours but this minitread makes it so much more enjoyable and my body doesn't get stiff from just sitting and being stagnant.”

Speed Range: 2.5 MPH | Maximum Weight: 300 Pounds | Item Weight: 40 Pounds

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