Compact treadmill prices are usually comparable to traditional models; that is, you can expect to pay over $1,500 for a good one. It can also have as many features as a free-standing model, such as an adjustable incline, programmability, and speed and heart rate monitors.
Ideally, a compact treadmill is easily foldable as well as lightweight. This mobility gives it its main edge over more traditional treadmill models and some folding ones. A compact treadmill will give its owner no storage problems, at it is often slim enough for it to be stowed in a closet or under a bed. However, there is a price to pay for this kind of convenience.
However, even the best compact treadmill design increases mobility and ease of folding at the cost of stability and overall performance. The lack of stability impedes a runner’s performance, as the machine’s tendency to bounce around and vibrate when in use would affect balance and could even result in injury. And perhaps the biggest downside is the size of the motor. Most compact treadmills are equipped with motors that can provide only a maximum of 2 continuous duty horsepower. This limits the speeds the treadmill can reach as well as the maximum weight it can handle safely.
Another big factor compromised in the design of a compact treadmill is the size of its deck. This in turn sets a limit to the user’s motions. Experts advise individuals taller than 5’7” not to opt for compact treadmills. Most users would also have to settle for walking instead of running when using a compact treadmill. Also, roller size is often reduced in the design of a compact treadmill to further reduce weight and overall dimensions. In addition to this, the incline adjustment method, if there is one, will most likely be manual.
For serious runners, therefore, a portable compact treadmill is hardly advisable, as it would significantly limit their performance; however, if space and convenience are your utmost priorities, and if you can get by with walking and light jogging for your workout, then there is no reason why you cannot benefit from buying one.