Today we are going to look at the world of Folding Treadmills, trying to answer the question of if they're any good, comparing them to a normal treadmill & trying to find you the best folding treadmill on the market.
Without doubt, the biggest problem that most fitness enthusiasts face with working out at home, is a definitive lack of space. Afterall, your home is built to be a home, not a gym.
This leads to most users not being able to pursue their goals of creating a home gym. However, the folding treadmill changes the game to a point, meaning that a folding treadmill can be stored away with ease when not required.
These are perfect for users that live in apartments, or even if you've only got a small corner of your living room as your running area. Another benefit, is that they often provide value for money as they can be significantly cheaper than a fixed treadmill. So, are folding treadmills any good ?
What is a Folding Treadmill?
A folding treadmill is a running machine which will physically fold away, ready to be stored away. They typically fold away with the arms unlocking and sitting alongside the running track, leaving you with a flat surface that takes up minimal space.
Although some treadmill enthusiasts argue otherwise, the build quality on them is actually pretty good. Providing you aren't buying a really basic one for £80, you can expect sufficient value for money, sturdiness & significantly high quality.
The biggest reason for buying a treadmill is to save you space, meaning they will fit perfectly in your living room, or even if you have a Home Gym but your power rack is taking up all the space. There's nothing more convenient than whipping out your treadmill, then folding it away when it's no longer required.
Folding treadmills are popular with Home Gyms, as there's not many home gyms that can feature a full sized, fixed treadmill alongside other fitness equipment.
Another benefit that they have, is their mobility. If it's too cold in the garage, you can wheel it into the living room and then have a brisk walk whilst watching your favourite tv series. That's right, they also have transport wheels, to help with storage & moevement.
Problems with Folding treadmills
A Folding Treadmill isn't the perfect workout device. As I have already mentioned above, some users forbid working out on folding treadmills, due to issues about the build quality of them.
It's true to an extent, would you buy a car that could fold in half? I suppose that would help when parking your car in the City Centre!
One of the most important qualities of a treadmill is the stability. A cheaper folding treadmill may feel less stable, but this is typically what you'll find when you purchase a budget model of any item on the market. I'm really unsure with this one on a personal level, but the inner scientist in me does agree that due to the frame being built with folding in mind, you will lose some stability.
A treadmill at your local gym won't fold, but there's also a very good chance that these cost £1,000+ & they're built to withstand rigorous use, every single day.
Key Features of Folding Treadmills
If you've decided that you want a folding treadmill, it doesn't mean that you have to compromise and you will lose access to specific features that you would've liked. Folding treadmills are being designed with the same features as static treadmills. You could argue that you've got one extra feature, with your treadmill folding away with ease… Here are some of the features that the best folding treadmills have:
Built in Speakers
It's quite common for Built in speakers to now be included in folding treadmills. This is due to the popularity of home gyms in general. The target market for a budget folding treadmill is a user that might want to walk on the treadmill. Without intending to go off-piste too much, it's a fact that crime is increasing and it's safer for people to exercise in their garage instead of being on the streets.
Built in speakers on your treadmill will let you listen to your favourite songs with ease, which can give you a more enjoyable & effective workout. We all know that it's better to be playing some tunes, as you're more likely to continue exercising as opposed to working out in silence.
Multi Layer Running Deck
Your deck should feature multi layers, so it's shock absorbent. This will ensure that your joints are ptoeted against injury as much as possible, as your belt will be taking the impact.
A Strong Motor
A strong motor. A lot of the treadmill's price has to do with the quality, durability, and strength of its electric motor. “It's one of the most important reasons not to buy a cheap treadmill, because it won't have a great motor and may not last long,” warns Dr. Baggish. Home treadmill motors range from 1 to 5 horsepower (hp). A strength of 3 hp should be enough to allow you to walk or run. (REWORD THIS
Your motor should be between 1-5 horsepower, depending on the price of the treadmil that you're looking at.
When you're a beginner, you may think that it's a good idea to just get on your folding treadmill and start running. It's not the typical way that a beginner should start working out, as it could easily lead to an injury. Fortunately, most treadmills have in-built programs which you can adopt & they will advise you exactly what you should be doing.
It doesn't matter if you're planning for a marathon or trying to improve your sprint power, there should be a program for you to focus on. Some treadmills will even automatically adjust their speed during specific intervals, which saves you from manually adjusting this.
I personally always tend to have a bit of a ‘wobble', when I have to manually adjust my speed on a treadmill. Imagine going from running at full speed, to needing to slow right down. It's hard to do whilst running at pace.
Smart Centre Console
In the modern day, the central console on the treadmill is everything. This is where your treadmill will have all of the features that you could require, or it could just be a minimalistic console with limited functionality.
Limited functionality is fine, but you need to ask yourself whether you'd want the capability to watch TV on your treadmill, plug a USB in and listen to music, or in some instances even have a simulated run. A simulated run is where a video is played, and it's quite immersive! Instead of being in your garage, it'll feel like you're running around the grand canyon, or even just down a country lane in Wales!
The incline is very important on your folding treadmill. It's not usually advised that you should run with zero incline, as this actually simulates running downhill & can be bad for your joints too. On some folding treadmills in the higher price range, the incline will be automatic. However, with some treadmills you will have to get off and manually select the incline by adjusting a lever.
What is the best folding treadmill for home use?
There's no single treadmill that will be perfect for every user. It depends on your budget, but also on other things such as the features that you would like too. I've added a few below, to show that you don't have to break the bank, in order to get a folding treadmill for home use.