How do I Choose the Best Portable Treadmill?

Henry Gaudet
Henry Gaudet
Woman exercising
Woman exercising

The treadmill is an excellent addition to any home gym, but many machines are exceptionally large and cumbersome. When space is at a premium, a portable treadmill might be the best option. In order to select the best portable treadmill, you will need to consider not only the machine’s size, but also price, weight, versatility and the actual running surface.

Usually, when selecting a piece of equipment such as a portable treadmill, price will be the first consideration. Generally speaking, portable treadmills are considerably cheaper than the larger models. When shopping around, compare prices from different manufacturers and outlets. Bargains are available, especially if used machines are being considered, but for the best value, you should confirm the machine’s quality and condition.

Size is the biggest advantage of the portable treadmill. Most machines fold and can be stored in a closet or under a bed. When purchasing a portable treadmill, it important to consider the space available when the machine is in use and the space available for storage. After all, a machine that folds neatly under the bed is no advantage if there isn’t room to unfold it for exercise.

Weight sometimes is overlooked when comparing portable treadmills. Most machines are wheeled and can be pushed from storage to the exercise area as needed. An especially heavy machine, however, might prove too difficult to move, especially if the workout does not take place in the room where the portable treadmill is stored.

With the emphasis on portability, most of these machines are considerably smaller that stationary models. As a result, they often have a much shorter running surface. If the machine is too short though, you will not be able to take a full stride. Naturally, taller runners will have more trouble with treadmill length.

Treadmill motors come in different sizes as well, and some are stronger than others. A minimum of two horsepower is recommended for the typical novice user, but your size and fitness level will determine the how hard a motor will have to work. Larger, faster users will not be sufficiently challenged by smaller motors.

Different manufacturers and models offer different advantages and features. For the average user, features such as variable incline or pulse meter are nice extras, but general features such as size and power remain more compelling. If you are enticed by models with more features, stop to consider what impact these extras will have on a workout.

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Discussion Comments


You should pay close attention to the part of this article that talks about getting a treadmill that is suited for your stride. We got a good price on a portable machine at a treadmill sale, but we seldom use tradmill because it is not long enough and walking or running on it feels unnatural.


I keep going back and forth on whether a portable treadmill would work better for me, or do I need one that I can see constantly.

Of course, the good thing about the portable one is that you can fold it away and hide it out of the way and then pull it out when you are ready to exercise. For the average person this is a good feature. However, for me I'm not certain.

With one that is always up and standing, I might find it more difficult to ignore my exercising because the machine is always there reminding me not to be lazy. On the other hand, the portable folding treadmill is going to be out of sight, and knowing me, out of mind.


One of my favorite features on treadmills in general is the little button you can push to tell you how many calories you have burned during your workout.

I have started doing a better job of keeping up with the calories in the foods I eat, and I am getting better at staying near my daily recommended calorie intake, so with a treadmill that measures the calories I burn I am able to get an idea of how I am doing as far as burning calories. This also motivates me to work out even longer or more often. It's almost as if I can see the pounds dropping off.

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