In this article, I’ll be sharing my evaluation of five of the 30+ (!) small, foldable treadmills I did a product testing, “recon & research mission” 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.
Use 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.
Important Note: Due to COVID, home fitness equipment is experiencing its highest demand ever these days.
Many of the better-quality products go back & forth between being in or out of stock regularly; keep checking.
Below are the compact models we’ll be looking at.
Top 5 : Best Small Treadmill for Small Space
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.
A dedicated runner could easily wear out the motor in a cheap compact treadmill prematurely if it’s equipped with insufficient horsepower.
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.
Protect Your Investment
Do you need a treadmill mat to protect your floor from your home cardio machine?
A good mat also keeps floor dust or carpet fibers from getting into your treadmill’s moving parts and causing problems.
I wrote a buyer’s guide & article on the better treadmill mats available for both carpet and hardwood floors here.
Space saving treadmills quick peek
Top Pick – Best Folding Treadmill for Small Space
“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
Runner up – Best Apartment Size 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
The Best (Cheap) Treadmills for Small Spaces
“All in all, I would definitely recommend this treadmill to anyone looking for one that is no-frill & low price.” – MR
“For a cheap treadmill it certainly does it’s 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
“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
Small treadmill buyer’s guide
I want to toss around a couple of ideas on how to dial in what compact 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 compact treadmill’s noise) could become an issue with other humans…
What size is your small workout space?
*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 5 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
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 (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.
Bearing this in mind, 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 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.
And out your money.
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 if you weigh 300 lb. or more, I gently (yet firmly) suggest you limit your purchasing decision to only the legitimate heavy-duty treadmills, like these in my article about heavy-duty treadmills.
Keeping all this in mind, 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.
Warranties of apartment size treadmills
Boy, I rattle off a lot of worn-out clichés here on heydayDo.
Popular ones include:
“You get what you pay for.”
“This thing is priced cheap for a reason. Or lots of reasons.”
So what. It’s my party & I can cliché if I want to.
Well here’s another one for you:
“Warranties tell you how long the manufacturer thinks their product is going to last.”
I do believe it’s true though, and so I think a warranty is a good indicator of a product’s durability.
So here then are the respective warranties of the 5 space-saving treadmills in this article:
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.
Merax Folding Electric Treadmill
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
OK, now that we’re all wised up let’s get to the individual reviews.
Best Small Treadmills Review
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.
In treadmill terms, the heavier the treadmill the better.
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 it’s 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.
Like I mentioned earlier, if your bed is an inch or two short of adequate clearance, these heavy-duty adjustable risers will fix that safely, easily, quickly, & very cheaply.
Potential issues for some:
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.
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.
Best small treadmill of the bunch
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
- The only one with legitimate incline (it goes to 15%)
- Highest user weight capacity
- Best warranty by a mile
Besides all that, what else I like:
Very high owner satisfaction rating – 94% (4.6 stars, 100+ online reviews)
Excellent customer support – There are multiple owners reporting online on the high quality of customer service that 3g Cardio provides.
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.
Cheap treadmills = monitors with useless workout stats.
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 a phone.
Result: Egadz. The cheap exercise machine’s stats are always way off.
Back to the Asuna. I’ll list a bunch of its positive qualities down in its What I like section.
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
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.
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
Cheap Folding Treadmills for Small Spaces
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.
*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 & 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 would last them a year.
What I like:
Top speed of 10 mph –good for sub-200 lb. runners.
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.
This Sunny SF-T4400 has the highest owner satisfaction rating among treadmills under $300 that I came across.
For the right person this Sunny small treadmill could prove to be a good purchase.
But I wouldn’t recommend it unless you had to limit your compact treadmill budget to under $300.
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.
*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#)
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
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.
*There are owner reports of it not feeling sturdy during their running workout.
(I couldn’t test-drive this model; it wasn’t available in any of my usual sporting goods & retail stores I do my product recon at.)
*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 scream stability or durability at 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.
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”
Burn calories with that small treadmill
Per a nifty 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.
Say thanks to your small treadmill for walking
The American Council on Exercise reports on a 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.”
(I wonder if those people I mentioned a few minutes ago would hop to it if they knew about this.)
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.
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.
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; let’s go.