Are Compact Treadmills Worth It? This question is very complex and depends a lot on the individual’s needs.
Here we’re going to cover the difference between a compact treadmill and a standard one, then see if it’s really worth your time.
Compact treadmills are great for those who have limited space or a small home, but in some cases they may not provide you with the same workout that larger models will.
Read More: The Best Treadmill for Small Spaces to Fit in Your Home or Apartment – Top 10 Picks
The Difference between compact and standard treadmills
The main difference between compact and standard treadmills is the size; in general a compact model will take up less space than a standard one, while still providing many of the same features such as incline settings and speeds. It also may be less expensive than a regular treadmill.
One reason people tend to purchase compact treadmills is because they do not have enough room to accommodate a larger model so they opt to get something smaller instead. Others want something more portable so it can be moved from place to place with ease, or so that it can fit into their car.
Some of the downsides to a Compact Treadmill
It can’t accommodate larger individuals or those who are significantly overweight, and they may not be able to handle incline settings very well. They may also be limited as far as speed options go and some aren’t capable of being folded up when not in use.
Standard treadmills can range from $200 – $2,000 while portable ones usually will fall into the lower end of that price range. When you consider they both operate on the same basic principle but one is smaller, then why would anyone opt for a standard over a compact model?
The main reason people do is because they want something with more features like an LED display monitor, extra workout programs, heart rate monitoring system and other features that are included on more expensive models. While these extras may seem like they’re worth your hard earned money, they can be used without them, as who really needs a heart rate monitor when you’re only walking or running for fitness?
People want to know if it’s possible to purchase a compact treadmill and use it like you would a larger one with plenty of room. In other words, is it possible to run on a compact model at the same speed as if you were using an older style machine?
Admittedly some people will say yes while others will say no; it all depends on how high of incline that particular treadmill has. The higher the incline setting is, then the less “work” you’re going to get from it. Let me explain…
Standard treadmills can make you work at different degrees of incline, starting with 0%-12% while the portable ones usually only go up to 5%. Having a smaller amount of incline settings doesn’t mean that it actually will be harder on your body, but rather our minds think it is. When something is challenging and you’re not used to doing it there’s always a feeling or hesitation deep inside you telling you that what you’re about to do is wrong. It makes us nervous and more than likely we’ll stop doing what we started earlier.
Our bodies are made in such a way that they require an adjustment period when faced with new challenges; in this case running at different inclines. Plus it’s not like you really have to be running at a higher incline setting in order to get in a good workout; this is especially true for those who are brand new to running (and exercise in general).
This may sound too simple, but here’s the thing… If you only use 1 or 2% then that will account for almost all of your incline and how challenging you find running on that particular machine. You don’t have to start by using 5%-12% from the get go; they can always be added over time.
Another reason why people purchase standard treadmills over their compact counterparts is because some research has shown that the more expensive machines tend to last longer than those that are more affordable. It’s easy to assume that something made with better quality parts will last longer than others, but sometimes they don’t.
Compact treadmills are typically made from steel while the newer standard models are more likely to be constructed out of aluminum. While some people assume that metal is stronger and lasts longer than plastic; this isn’t always accurate when it comes to home fitness equipment. Plastic tends to be lighter in weight making them easier to move around and safer for smaller children (since they’re less likely to fall down). Metal does tend to hold its shape better over time so you can expect a compact machine like the one pictured above, which weighs approximately 80lbs , to “bend” or give under pressure much quicker than a heavier metal model.
The weight of the machine itself usually isn’t something that people pay attention to when buying a treadmill. They will focus more on the length, width and incline settings, but rarely do they factor in how heavy it actually is. This is because for some people these machines need to be moved from one place to another (i.e., upstairs), so having a lighter product can come in handy when needing to lug it up or down a flight of stairs.
I’ve seen many compact models that weigh less than 120 pounds , while some standard treadmills are much heavier at 240lbs . Plus the ones made out of steel tend to have higher shipping fees since they’re considered “oversized packages.” If you’re buying from a physical store then it won’t be something that you should really factor in, but if purchasing online then it’s going to make a big difference.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Perhaps one of the biggest factors when choosing which treadmill is best for your needs has everything to do with weight capacity . Standard treadmills are built to last longer and hold more weight than their compact counterparts. This is because they’ve been tested on heavier people (upwards of 300lbs ) running at faster speeds over long periods of time; this lets manufacturers know what kind of stress their products are capable of taking before needing servicing or replacement. When it comes to how much weight each machine can handle; standard models typically hold somewhere between 250- pounds and 400- pounds , while compact machines tend to be rated at 250lbs or less.
When it comes to a lighter weight person using a heavier max capacity treadmill, you’re usually okay as the incline tends to make up for the difference in weight. In other words, if a 150 lbs person is running on a machine with an 850 lbs weight limit then they’ll probably be fine. But if someone weighing over 300 lbs uses one of these treadmills then it’ll begin to show signs of wear and tear much quicker than what those who weigh between 200-250 lbs can handle .
While some manufacturers may have tested their products on runners that are closer to 300 lbs there’s no way for you to know how well your machine will hold up over time. This is especially true if you tend to weigh more than average or have a family member who’s around that weight.
Service and Repair Costs
One of the biggest issues with purchasing smaller models has everything to do with service and repair costs . If your compact model breaks down after 1-2 months then it’ll cost more to have it fixed since companies usually charge you for labor when repairing machines under warranty. For instance, if your treadmill breaks on the 3 year mark then you can expect to be charged between $150-$350 for parts alone because they aren’t expecting much out of their products at this point in time . There are ways around having a hefty price tag though…
If purchasing from home and want support from the manufacturer then you’ll need to stick with a treadmill that has a 3+ year warranty. This will help protect your purchase in case something goes wrong and you’ll also have peace of mind knowing that if anything comes up within those years then they’ll take care of it.
This is especially important when buying a compact unit because there just aren’t many companies out there willing to back their product for longer than 1-2 years. The ones that do are usually more expensive or not as well known as major brands. If going through an online seller then finding a company with free shipping can help too, which brings us to another tip…
The weight of your order should never be overlooked when dealing with portable machines like this because most companies charge an amount based on their ship weight. This means that if you purchase a compact treadmill and it weighs under 300 lbs then shipping may be cheaper than what someone weighing between 350-400 lbs will pay for the same model.
If space is tight or you live in a 1st floor apartment then there’s no point in buying something like this since they’re typically larger machines. While running on these types of treadmills won’t cause problems per say, maneuvering them around afterwards might prove to be difficult when moving through hallways or doorways without taking things apart first.
The only way to avoid this hassle has everything to do with overall dimensions; find something that can be easily disassembled (either folded up attached to a wall) so you can get it into your home or apartment. Not many compact models come with this feature, but there are enough to at least give you an option.
Are you looking for something that folds up so it can be stored out of the way when not in use? If yes then pay attention to where these infomercial brands store their machines after each workout! This might seem like a small detail but is exceptionally important if space is limited in your home or apartment . The last thing you want to do is purchase something and realize later on that your treadmill cannot be folded up due to poor design. It’s either buy one that has solid engineering behind its construction or find another model entirely. In terms of what to look for when buying one, here’s an excerpt from Consumer Search:
“It folds up almost like a lawn chair and can be easily mounted to the wall. It also comes with wheels so you can move it around if need be…”
The more compact something is the louder it will run when set at top speed. This doesn’t mean that small models are necessarily bad but do keep this in mind since running on these things daily will cause your ears to ring after awhile. There are plenty of brands out there that you can check out if they’re within your price range. Just make sure that if a compact model is your preferred choice then it’s backed by solid engineering before pulling the trigger on something.
Final Words -Are Compact Treadmills Worth It?
One of the best things to do when trying to save money in this economy is find ways to save without skimping out on quality. With compact treadmills, there are plenty of models around that offer great performance and can be placed anywhere you need them. These machines aren’t made with high-end parts but do an average job at running for years without causing any problems. It all comes down to finding one that will last and this depends heavily on where you purchase from.