Compact Treadmills Warning – Buyer Beware?

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Horizon Evolve Compact Treadmill
Horizon Compact Treadmill

Looking for a compact treadmill? Wondering if it’s the best choice for you?

Compact treadmills like the Horizon Evolve and the Lifespan TR200 have gotten more popular over the last few years – especially with people in condos or apartments.

These are treadmills that are specially built to be much more compact and lightweight than regular home treadmills.

On the surface they seem like a good idea. But there are pros AND cons you should know about.

Here are a few tips:


Pro #1 Save Space

Obviously if you don’t have a lot of space a compact treadmill is a great option. However it’s fair t note that these are necessarily super-small when unfolded and in use vs a regular treadmill. The space saving element is mainly from folding it up and placing it away in a closet.

Pro #2 Lightweight and Portable

This is a huge plus if you want to move your treadmill around – or if you travel a lot and want to pack it up in your car and take it with you.

Pro #3 Affordable

These treadmill are also usually very affordable, coming in under $1000.


best compact treadmill
Lifespan TR200 Treadmill


BUT – there are cons:

Con #1 Lack of Cushioning

Most of these treadmill lack any form of proper cushioning. The decks are super thin (to save space when folded) and there is not a lot of give in them when you come down on them with your feet.

So if you run on them for any length of time, you may end up getting shin splints or even hurting yourself.

Con #2 Unstable

The pro is also the con. These treadmills weight less (so they are easy to move around). But that also contributes to a huge lack of stability. So if you run or even walk fast, they can shake a bit.

Con #3 Few Entertainment Features

These are very sparse treadmills – so you don’t get things like iFit LIVE, online tracking or even lots of workout programs.



Lifespan TR200 Compact Treadmill
Lifespan TR200 Compact Treadmill


Con #4 Short Belt

A lot of these treadmills also come with very short belts. The Horizon Evolve for example only gives you about 50 inches length. And the Lifespan TR200 only gives you a 48 inch belt – so taller users will definitely feel like they’re falling off the treadmill.


Bottom line?

While compact treadmills do have their benefits, they also have some serious drawbacks – so buyer beware. You might be better off going with a small Proform treadmill that folds up for around the same price.