My Best Small Treadmill for Small Space Review – Foldable Too

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Best Small Treadmill for Small Spaces - heydayDo featured image

In this article, I’ll be sharing my evaluation of five of the thirty-plus small, foldable treadmills I did in-store product testing and manufacturer research on. 

This group of apartment size treadmills vary greatly in price and not surprisingly also vary widely in quality, durability, & in their manufacturer’s willingness to stand by their product. 

Important note – Horizon T101 safety recall

One of the treadmills I planned to include in this review has been recalled by its manufacturer — it’s the Horizon Fitness T101.

Here are links to the recall info:

Consumer Reports – Horizon Fitness T101 Recall

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Horizon T101 Recall

The recall notice went out a few months ago, so I’m surprised to see that Amazon is still selling it, look:

Horizon T101 Treadmill for sale on Amazon 1Dec2022

Horizon T101 Treadmill recalled but for sale on Amazon 1Dec2022

Obviously that model will not be included in this article.

 

Using a small treadmill for apartment cardio 

When you don’t have a lot of open territory in your apartment, compact exercise equipment like a space saver treadmill is a great way to get in your daily calorie burn.

And a couple of the models I’m reviewing here can slide under most beds, which is handy if you want to stash your treadmill out of the way when not in use.

Below are the compact models we’ll be looking at.

Top 5 : Best Small Treadmill for Small Space

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill        4.4  

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill  4.4 ⭐

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400         4.4  ⭐ 

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill          4.1 ⭐

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill          4.0 ⭐

test tubes green - heydayDo icon

Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

About these space saving treadmills

I’ll be going into their individual qualities a bit later.

Here, I want to provide a couple of general comparisons between these compact folding treadmills.

 

Flat folding vs. small folding treadmill 

*The 3G Cardio 80i & the Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill fold completely flat; the others do not.

*The 3G Cardio needs 10” of clearance to fit under a bed or other piece of furniture; the Sunny Asuna needs only about 6”.

*The other 3 small treadmills all fold up to around a 2 ½ foot x 2 ½ foot floor space requirement.

 

Compact treadmill horsepower comparison

Does your treadmill workout plan include running, or are you just looking for something to walk or slow jog on?

Reason I ask is, treadmill runners need horsepower in their cardio machines; the more the merrier.

And a treadmill’s size doesn’t change that requirement: even the smallest treadmill needs as much power as larger models if its user wants to run on it regularly.

Bottom line:

A dedicated runner could easily wear out the motor in a cheap compact treadmill prematurely if it’s equipped with insufficient horsepower.

If you need more durability or weight capacity from your treadmill, please check out my article, Best Heavy Duty Treadmills.

Here are the horsepower numbers for the 5 small treadmills in this review:

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill           3.0 HP

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill   2.5 HP

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill         2.3 HP

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400         2.2 HP

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill           1.5 HP

We’ll compare a few more of the build qualities in these small cardio machines in a bit.

 

Space saving treadmills quick peek 

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill

“All in all, I would definitely recommend this treadmill to anyone looking for one that is no-frill & low price.” – MR

Sale
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Smart Treadmill, 250 LB...
  • Large 16" X 50" Walking/Running Surface Accommodates Users Of Many Sizes...
  • Intuitive 5" Lcd Display Is Easy To Read And Keeps You Updated On Speed,...
  • 12 Preset Programs And 3 Manual Incline Settings Offer Unmatched Variety...

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill

“Setup was a breeze, storage is super easy. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could. Seriously a great purchase for me.” – A

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness ASUNA Space Saving Treadmill,...
  • EASY-TO-USE DISPLAY: Watch your workout progress in real time with the...
  • EXTREMELY PORTABLE: This running treadmill can be easily and securely...
  • FOLDING TOOL: Turn the tool counterclockwise in the frame locks to fold the...

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400

“For a cheap treadmill it certainly does its job. It’s very thin, width wise, and fairly light weight so for me running is a bit iffy. For walking it’s perfect…which is the exact reason I purchased it.” – JB

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Incline Treadmill With...
  • 【POWERFUL DRIVE SYSTEM】Experience reliable performance with a robust...
  • 【ADJUSTABLE RECLINE LEVELS】Customize your workout with 3 manual recline...
  • 【EMERGENCY STOP BRAKE】Ensure safety during workouts with an emergency...

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

 

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill

“I am 6’2″, 230 pounds, 32″ inseam. I barely fit on this treadmill. I cannot imagine using this machine to run due to stability. I only use it for brisk, power walking and it works perfectly fine for that.” – A

Merax Treadmill Folding Electric Treadmill Motorized...
  • Space Saver Folding Treadmill:electric folding treadmill with easy folding...
  • Multi-Function LED Display & Audio Speaker:Merax treadmill featured with...
  • Strong 1.5HP Motor:Merax electric treadmill has a smooth and quiet 1.5HP...

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

“I am passionate about running and passionate about my treadmill. I have used this treadmill for about a year and half. I would recommend it over other treadmills I have used for sure!” – M

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Incline Treadmill - Folds Flat...
  • 3G Cardio, an Arizona-based company with a combined 50 years of experience...
  • The 80i Fold Flat Incline Treadmill is the only folding treadmill on the...
  • Heavy-duty Ortho Flex suspension limits the initial foot strike vibration...

Last update on 2024-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

 

Small treadmill buyer’s guide

I want to offer a couple of ideas on how to dial in what treadmill is best for you and your current living situation. 

Before I do though, here’s a little tip

If you’re living in an apartment or other close-quarters type of living situation where your workout noise (that’d be you + your cardio machine’s noise) could become an issue with other humans, get a quality treadmill mat.

That link is to an article where I shared my hands-on evaluation of over a dozen exercise equipment mats.

Boy there’s a wide range in quality, in terms of how well they quiet you & your machine, & how well they protect your flooring.

My fave of the bunch for noise reduction is the heavy-duty Rubber-Cal model for sure.

 

What size is your small workout space?

woamn figurine sitting at table in a shoebox

* Know the dimensions of the area where you plan to use your compact treadmill.

* Allow for a couple of feet of space on at least a couple of the sides of the treadmill. This is to allow you to get on, off, & around it safely & easily. 

* You will also need to allow yourself room for folding & unfolding your treadmill to its storage shape & size if it needs to be put away after every workout.

 

With all this in mind, here are the dimensions of the small treadmills featured in this review (in inches):

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill         74 x 33 x 49

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill  59 x 31 x 40

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill        63 x 29 x 51

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400        62 x 27 x 47

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill          56 x 25 x 42

 

Compact treadmill storage space size 

I’m figuring that if you found your way to this article on small folding treadmills for small spaces… 

…then there’s a decent chance you need to park your space saving treadmill somewhere so that it can actually save you some space…once you’re done exercising on it.

If this is the case, then you need to know the folded dimensions of any small treadmill you’re considering purchasing.

Armed with this information you can scout out your living situation for the ideal storage location for this prospective compact cardio machine of yours.

 

To assist you with that process, here are the folded dimensions of the 5 small treadmills featured in this article:

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill – Folds Flat @ 9.75” high; 33″ x 70″ x 9.75″

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill – Folds Flat @ 5” high; 31″ x 64″ x 5″

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill – 29 x 29 x 61

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400 – 33 x 27 x 58

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill – 22 x 25 x 50


Regarding under the bed clearance

 a couple looking under their bed with a flashlight wondering what's down there

Here’s a little tip:

Sometimes the clearance under a bed turns out to be just an inch or two less than we need it to be in order to stash something under it. 

If you have a typical bed frame with legs or casters, you can easily & safely raise it by 3, 5, or up to 8” with these super-cheap adjustable bed risers

Each riser provides 300 lb. of support capacity.

So if you have 4 bed legs the risers provide 1,200 lb. of support; with 6 legs you get 1,800 lb. of support.)

 

Compact folding treadmill belt size

Another important factor I gently suggest you consider is the size of the treadmill belt (AKA treadmill deck) you’ll be running or walking on.

Runners need longer decks due to their longer stride. Tall & long-legged people need longer treadmill decks than short-legged people. This all makes easy sense.

Broadly speaking (since humans come in so many different sizes), running requires a treadmill belt size that is at least 48” x 18”.

And if you’re over 6 feet tall, you’d be wise to bump that minimum length by at least a few inches above 50.

Walking-only types can get away with slightly shorter treadmill belt sizes than these.

But brisk walkers – especially the long-legged or taller ones – would be much better served by avoiding the short treadmill with the short deck length.

 

Here are the deck sizes for the 5 compact treadmills in this article (in inches):

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill          58 x 19

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill   49 x 18

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill         50 x 16

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400         49 x 16

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill           43 x 16

 

Small treadmill user weight capacity

How much do you weigh?

And how much is that doggie treadmill in the window able to support, weight-wise?

Now the following is just my opinion.

Having been around gym & home treadmills for almost 40 years and having ridden, evaluated, & reviewed a flotilla’s worth of them too…

…I suspect that:

Some manufacturers’ listed weight capacity numbers are overly generous

Meaning if it says “250 lb. capacity” & you weigh 249, I don’t think that treadmill’s really built to handle your weight. 

Especially with the cheaply-made models that come with their real short warranties. 

I mean, what harm comes to the company that built your treadmill if it wears out 1 day after your warranty expires?

You’re the one who’s spit out of luck & out of the money you spent on it.

 

Sticking to a treadmill who’s capacity is at least 50 lb. heavier than you are is a good, prudent idea.

So if you weigh 200 lb., only consider a compact treadmill if its weight capacity is 250 lb. or greater.

If you weigh 250-275, only consider a compact treadmill with 325 lb. capacity or greater.

 

And here are the listed user weight capacities of our 5 small treadmills:

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill           325 lb.

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill   220 lb.

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill         250 lb.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400         220 lb.

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill           240 lb.

(Treadmills with over 400 lb. of user capacity can be found in my Best Heavy Duty Treadmills article.)

 

Warranties of apartment size treadmills

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

Lifetime frame. 5 years parts. 1 year free labor.

 

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill

3 years frame. 6 months parts.

 

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill

Lifetime frame. 1 year motor. 90 days parts & labor.

 

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400

1 year frame. 90 days parts.

 

Incline capability

Comparing various treadmills’ incline capability is often an important factor for serious runners and cardio-savvy people.

The reason I don’t have a comparison for you is because none of these treadmills have any decent incline ability, except for the 3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill.

 

Apartment size treadmill speeds

The last topic to touch on in my small treadmill buyer’s guide here is about the maximum speed you want your treadmill to be able to perform.

Speaking generally again – if you plan to run on a small treadmill, stick with models that can go 10 mph or faster.

Brisk walking for most people falls in the range of 3 – 4.5 miles per hour, and slow jogging is roughly 4-5 mph.

 

Here are the top speeds of the compact treadmills I chose for this review:

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill         11 mph

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill  8 mph

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill       10 mph

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400       9 mph

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill         6 mph

 

Best Small Treadmills Review

XTERRA TR150 Folding Treadmill

Xterra TR150 Folding Treadmill

It’s a cheap treadmill with few extras, but they did instead build a few more important things into it, making it worth its price.

All in all this Xterra TR150 is a nice small foldable treadmill, suitable for someone who can’t afford a higher-quality treadmill.

What I like:

Top speed of 10 mph – good for runners under 200 lb. or so.

1-year warranty on the motor is nice – and better than the other cheap treadmills in this review & elsewhere.

Better horsepower & longer treadmill deck – compared to the other cheap small treadmills in this review.

Potential issues:

*It’s a cheap treadmill, and that means there are some owner reports of various types of problems.

*The incline it offers (1% & 2%) isn’t impressive.

*Short 90-day parts warranty.

*It folds to a 2.5’ x 2.5’ footprint which is nice, but the folding mechanism isn’t the smoothest to deal with compared to others.

*The ratio of treadmill weight (108 lb.) to suggested user max weight (250 lb.) is only 43%, which is a poor metric.

 

(Compare Xterra’s 43% weight-to-user weight ratio to the top-rated, high-quality models from Sole Fitness & others – their ratios all range from 75% to 100%.)

In my subjective opinion, combining this low percentage of treadmill weight to user capacity with Xterra’s very short parts warranty tells me that no one anywhere near 250 lb. should buy this thinking this small treadmill will last for years.

 

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill

Sunny Asuna Space Saving Treadmill

A very sleek design is why Sunny can put “space saving treadmill” in the name of this minimal compact treadmill.

It doesn’t have a fancy console which is fine with me.

The electronics found onboard nearly every treadmill under a thousand bucks aren’t any good anyway.

A brief side note:

The truth about electronics on cheap cardio machines

Cheap treadmills/ellipticals/exercise bikes = monitors with useless workout stats.

Dozens & dozens of people (not just me) have compared their various workout stats from their low-budget cardio machines to high-quality fitness apps now available to wear or as an app in their phone.

Result: Egadz. The cheap exercise machine’s stats are always way off.

If you buy a cheap treadmill but you want accurate health info like your real heart rate, real calorie burn, etc…here’s a FitBit idea to consider.

What I like:

  • Sturdy construction
  • Sleek design
  • Folds flat to 5” – easily goes under the bed
  • Deck has some cushioning
  • Can be used as an under desk treadmill since the handlebars aren’t as big & bulky as other treadmills.

This Sunny Asuna is a small treadmill for walking & light running

I believe this treadmill is a great apartment size treadmill for the right person.

In my opinion, that person weighs well below 200 lb. and isn’t a tall person who wants to run fast. 

Actually, no one will be able to run real fast on it since the max speed is 8 miles an hour.

It’s a well-built compact treadmill suitable for brisk walking, jogging, & light running.

 

Potential issues for some:

  • User weight capacity of only 220 lb.
  • Treadmill deck length is only 49”
  • Only gets up to 8 mph
  • Only 6 months warranty offered on the parts

 

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T4400

Sunny Health SF-T4400 Treadmill

This Sunny SF-T4400 had the highest owner satisfaction rating among treadmills under $300 when I first came across it a few years ago.

Looks like inflation & COVID bumped up its price by $100 or so. 

Still, for the right person this Sunny small treadmill could prove to be a good purchase.

I think it’s best suited for a smaller person if jogging or running is desired.

At 49” the treadmill deck wouldn’t work for a 6 footer wanting to run.

It could also be a decent space saving treadmill for light exercisers like seniors & exercise beginners who aren’t in great shape and are looking to walk on it.

 

What I like:

Its console has some programmability

It’s real easy to unfold/fold  – it has a hydraulic arm that keeps things smooth.

Piece of cake to assemble

 

Potential issues:

*Very short 90 day parts warranty.

*Be aware that the user weight capacity is only 220 lb.

*That weight ratio calculation I showed you earlier doesn’t score well here with this Sunny compact treadmill either.

*Again, combining that with the short parts warranty tells me this is not capable of lasting a long time for anyone in decent shape who’s running on it all the time…unless you’re petite…

*Deck is simply too short for us tall folk with longer strides.

*At 16” I find the treadmill belt too narrow as well (I’m 6’2” 185#)

 

Merax Folding Electric Treadmill

Merax Folding Treadmill

This is the smallest treadmill in our review group, and it is the cheapest one as well.

I’m including it here for someone for whom compact treadmill money is real tight.

And due to a small treadmill deck, that someone needs to be a small person.

I don’t think anyone should buy this with the intent of running on it. (I explain below.) 

If you just can’t afford a higher quality small treadmill, this could work for you if you stick to walking on it.

My 2¢: I don’t recommend it.

 

What I like:

1-year warranty –  which definitely doesn’t say great things about the frame or motor, but at least the parts are covered for several months longer than the other cheap treadmills in this review & elsewhere too.

Has the smallest folded footprint – of the 3 treadmills in this article that don’t fold flat, at 25” x 22”.

 

Potential issues:

*There are owner reports of it not feeling sturdy during their running workout.

(Note: I couldn’t try out this model; it wasn’t available in any of my usual sporting goods & retail stores where I do my product-testing.)

 

*Treadmill deck is a very small 43” x 16”.

That’s too small for anyone near my height to even walk on it.

Running cannot be recommended unless you’re really short or have really short legs & stride.

 

*User max weight capacity is listed at 240 lb., but the treadmill itself only weighs 79 lb.

That does not shout stability or durability to me, but rather something else less flattering.

 

*Aside from that, I don’t see how a 240 lb. person could even fit on this very small treadmill, regardless of how that 240 lb. was distributed throughout their body.

 

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

A small treadmill that’s built durably enough & backed strongly enough to almost be considered a heavy-duty treadmill.

It’s the heaviest of the treadmills in this review, weighing in around 200 lb.

And in treadmill terms, the heavier the treadmill the better.

Why? 

Because it means the frame has more steel and less plastic, which makes it stronger & more durable.

This means it will last longer than the cheap treadmill built predominantly with plastic parts. 

And despite its weight, the 3G Cardio 80i is easy to fold and to move.

And it folds down flat…well, 9 ¾” worth of flat to be more precise.

So it can be slid under any bed with 10” or so of clearance.

Those heavy-duty adjustable risers I mentioned earlier will fix that safely, easily, quickly, & very cheaply.

 

Potential issues for some:

*Cost

It’s well over a thousand bucks and may be out of the treadmill budget for anyone that’s not a dedicated runner. 

The 3g Cardio 80i is made for someone who needs the horsepower, structural strength & durability, and exceptional multi-year warranty built into their treadmill.

 

*Weight

You may or may not be storage-challenged with the 3G Fold Flat Treadmill, depending on how much room you have to maneuver near the bed you’re sliding it under. 

(This assumes you’re putting it away every day.)

It has 4 wheels – 2 are hidden – and the main ones don’t swivel 360 degrees…they only point straight.

So you’ll need some space to angle it right.

It’s not surprising that the 3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill costs much more than the other small treadmills featured in this article.

Look back over all of the comparison tables I presented, and you’ll see that the 3G Cardio model is superior to its 4 compact treadmill competitors in every meaningful category:

  • Best motor
  • Biggest running deck
  • Fastest max speed
  • Very good incline
  • Highest user weight capacity
  • Best warranty

 

Burn calories with that small treadmill

Per a nifty calorie burning chart over at the Mayo Clinic, an hour walking on a treadmill at 3.5 mph burns 314 calories, and an hour running on it burns 606.

Use your treadmill for a HIIT workout to further boost calorie burn & weight loss.

 

Say thanks to your small treadmill for walking

The American Council on Exercise reports on a walking research study that involved over 13,000 people over a period of 8 years.

It showed that just 30 minutes a day walking had “a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised.”

 

Walking has serious health benefits galore

The ACE go on to list several benefits we all can receive from a regular walking program:

  • Reduce blood cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase cardiovascular endurance
  • Boost bone strength
  • Burn calories and keep weight down

Harvard Medical recommends treadmill exercise, citing its options to control speed and resistance, as well as a treadmill’s stable & safe environment compared to terrain & weather often encountered outdoors.

Treadmills improve your cardiovascular health, build your endurance, and can lose you some weight, per the esteemed Cleveland Clinic.

They also mention (like Harvard Medical did too) that bad weather doesn’t affect your ability to get a great workout in, since you’re walking or running indoors. 

Another benefit Cleveland Clinic lists is that the impact portion of your walking or running motion helps to build bone density.

That’s obviously a big deal to us older adults since we start experiencing bone density loss once we pass 30, and it accelerates after 50 too. Oh boy, lucky us.

 

Walking gives your brain a boost too

An article I read from the AARP referenced several scientific studies, illustrating all sorts of benefits associated with the simple act of walking.

A few of them I’ll list here:

  • Improves your memory
  • Reduces depression symptoms
  • Improves chronic sleep problems

 

Bottom line on walking

It’s a proven fact that putting in serious time walking is good for you, really good for you.

I’ve also compiled a great deal more research findings beyond the ones I shared here and as they say, the evidence is definitely mounting.

And on your own treadmill you can exercise whenever you want to, without having to spend all that time & money needed for dealing with a commercial gym.

 

Wrapping Up

I hope my product research & review information for this article on space saving treadmills is useful to you, and that my small treadmill buyer’s guide is helpful too.

I wish you well on your fitness journey.

– greg


About The Author

heydayDo author Greg Simon

Hi, I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Pro Member. MBA, B.Sc.

Author. Surfer. Organic food grower. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far).

heydayDo.com is my wellness blog that’s about encouraging a healthy lifestyle as we age. 

I share my fitness training experience as well as the sports science research I’ve done on the many benefits strength building, exercise, & good eating habits offer us. 

I also write review articles after product testing home gym equipment & fitness supplements.

My hope is that you’ll find useful or encouraging information here on my website that will benefit your unique fitness journey.

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