If you’re looking to make daily movement a bit more accessible—especially if you don’t have a ton of time (or space) to spare—a folding treadmill may be just what you need. It can easily store under your desk or bed when it’s not in use, and then slide right out to help you stay active on days with particularly busy schedules or bad weather. Plus, this compact piece of equipment tends to be more budget-friendly than higher-end smart treadmills, like ones from Peloton or ProForm. To help you find the best folding treadmill for your home gym, office, or living room, we reached out to fitness experts for advice.

What to consider when shopping for a folding treadmill

Think about your fitness goals and how you’ll use the treadmill, Sean Penwell, MD, ACSM-certified personal trainer and CEO of Healthstar Co, tells SELF. Are you getting back into a cardio workout routine and just need an easy-to-use treadmill for walking or slower jogging? Are you mainly looking for a super-compact option to pair with your standing desk? Or maybe you’re short on floor space but still want to do some running. Once you get a better idea of your priorities, then you can focus on more specific features to make your final choice.

Speed settings

The speed range of the treadmill will dictate what kind of workouts you can do. “Some compact folding treadmills are small and sleek, but top out at just three miles per hour (mph),” Dr. Penwell says. For most people, that’s regular walking speed, so don’t expect to do anything brisker with those machines (even light jogs would probably be off the table). “And if you’re already running an eight-minute mile, you’ll want a treadmill that can go at least 7.5 mph,” he says.


You don’t want to end up with a treadmill that’s too big for your home—so be sure to measure the area where you plan to use and store it, then cross-reference those specs with dimensions of the tread itself, Sydney Bueckert, NASM-CPT, lead in-house fitness instructor at Sunny Health & Fitness in California, tells SELF. That way you can enjoy the treadmill and tuck it away without hassle. Bonus points if it has wheels: “Heavy lifting or complicated maneuvering is just one more barrier to getting your workout in, so checking for something as silly and simple as wheels can really improve your at-home experience,” she says.