But treadmills are big machines and lack of space can often be an issue.
Whilst most people take into account the length and width of a treadmill before buying, an equally important factor to consider is overhead clearance.
And if you have low ceilings, that will rule out many models, some of which have decks as high as 15″!
Fortunately, manufacturers have thought of this and there are some great low profile treadmills on the market that are as sturdy and reliable as their bulkier counterparts!
In this guide, I’ll explain just what to look for in a low-profile treadmill, and share with you my favorite models.
Let’s get started!
The 6 Best Low Profile Treadmills
Things to Consider When Choosing a Low Profile Treadmill
First, you’ll want to ensure that the width and length of your treadmill are appropriate for the room you have.
Almost all the models I’ve included here are foldable, so even if you don’t have a dedicated space for your treadmill, you will be able to fold it and push it against a wall or move it to a different room for storage.
Other things to consider include:
This is the main factor to take into account when choosing a low profile treadmill.
To be considered ‘low profile’, a treadmill would ideally have a step-up height of between 5 and 8 inches.
To determine if a particular deck height will be suitable for you:
- Measure the height of the tallest person who will be using the treadmill, then add an inch to account for their running shoes.
- Add on the height of the deck (I’ve listed this in the specs for each model below).
- If the treadmill has an incline feature (and you plan to use it), add around 7″ to the deck height to account for the incline. If you pick a model with an incline larger than 15%, add 12″ instead.
- Add around 12″ for head clearance during movement.
All of these figures added together will give you the ceiling height you’ll need for the treadmill you’re interested in.
If your ceiling is too low, then look for a model with a lower deck height.
Max Speed, Running Surface, And Incline
Ideally, your treadmill should go up to at least 12 mph, which is ideal for recreational running.
Unless you plan to use it just for walking, you’ll also need a belt that’s around 20 to 22 inches wide and at least 55 inches long to accommodate your stride.
An incline feature is useful, too, as it allows you to simulate walking or running uphill.
This makes your workouts more challenging, burning more calories and helping strengthen your muscles.
I always recommend erring on the side of caution when it comes to treadmills and picking one with a weight capacity of at least 50 lbs higher than your actual weight.
That’s because the capacities stated by manufacturers are sometimes overstated, meaning you may end up overloading your machine.
That can be a costly mistake, as it puts stress on both the motor and the belt which may shorten the life of your treadmill.
Treadmills these days have all kinds of cool features, from built-in fans and Bluetooth speakers to onboard workout programs and integration with immersive apps like iFit.
These can certainly make things more comfortable or keep you entertained as you train, but don’t forget that they come at a cost.
Only pay for features that you know you will use.
The most important thing is to choose a low profile treadmill that is heavy, sturdy, and comes from a good brand with a reputation for quality.
The Best Low Profile Treadmill – Top 6 Options
Deck Height: 9″, Weight Capacity: 350lb, Belt Size: 59″ x 20″, Max Speed: 13.5 MPH, Incline: Yes
|Intelli-Step technology to count your steps||Console position is low|
|10” full-color touchscreen display||Devices on tablet holder may block the screen|
|Built-in Bluetooth and a tablet holder|
This model only just makes it to my list as – with a step-up height of 9 inches – the deck is a little higher than you might want in a truly low profile treadmill.
But if your ceiling height will allow it, this is a great model to consider, with a decent top speed, a powerful but quiet motor, and a spacious running deck.
In addition to incline levels of up to 13%, it also has a -2% decline feature, which allows you to simulate running downhill and targets different muscle groups.
There are 8 compression shocks under the deck to protect you from impact forces, and I’m happy to see that the console has been updated to include a mirroring feature, so you can screencast your favorite YouTube workouts!
Deck Height: 7 1/8”, Weight Capacity: 300lb, Belt Size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Incline: Yes
|Excellent cushioning||Very basic tech|
|Lightweight and easy to move||Weak fan|
|Smooth speed and incline transitions||Bottle holders are too shallow|
The T101 is Horizon’s best-selling model – and it really is a fantastic treadmill for its money!
Priced at well below $1000, it features a 10% incline range, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in Bluetooth speakers, and 5 preset programs, plus 3 LED windows to monitor your metrics.
Another of its many great features is its cushioning system, which provides softer cushioning where your foot strikes the belt and firmer cushioning in the push-off zone to support your stride.
It’s also perfect for small spaces, with Featherlight technology that makes it super simple to fold and store between workouts and wheels for transportation.
Deck Height: 7.5”, Weight Capacity: 400lb, Belt Size: 62″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Incline: Yes
|Commercial grade components||Doesn’t fold|
|Excellent warranty||Very basic tech|
With an extra long belt and powerful motor giving a higher-than-usual max weight, the Elite Runner is a solid choice for larger users looking for a reliable and durable machine.
The 3G company prides itself on equipment that is both simple and effective – and this model provides only the basic features you need for a thorough workout, with none of the frills.
This translates to an excellent Ortho Flex Shock shock absorbing system for comfort, a generous max incline of 15%, a chest strap HR monitor, 8 preloaded programs, and a very simple console.
This may not suit everyone, though – especially at this price point – and if you are looking for a bells-and-whistles treadmill with a touchscreen for streaming workouts, the Elite Runner will not be the best choice for you.
Deck Height: 5.15”, Weight Capacity: 250lb, Belt Size: 50″ x 16″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Incline: Yes
|Durable and solid||No automatic incline|
|Runs smoothly and quietly||No bottle holder|
|XTRASoft deck cushioning to absorb impact||Difficult to move once folded|
The problem with many cheaper treadmills is that they’re just not cut out for the wear and tear of daily runs, wobbling during use and wearing out quickly.
That’s just not the case with the XTERRA Fitness TR150, a well-built machine with a heavy gauge steel frame and two adjustable rear stabilizers to keep it steady on uneven flooring.
Not only is it very affordable, but it also has one of the lowest step-up heights of all the treadmills I tested, making it ideal if your ceiling is very low.
On the downside, its very compact size means that its weight capacity is relatively low and the narrow belt is only long enough for walking or jogging.
Nevertheless, it would make a great addition to your home gym and has all the features you need for a good daily workout.
Deck Height: 2.76”, Weight Capacity: 265lb, Belt Size: 47″ x 20″, Max Speed: 9 MPH, Incline: No
|Syncs to the free SunnyFit app||LCD monitor is VERY bright|
|Folds flat for storage||No cup holder|
|Arrives fully assembled|
The running belt is fairly narrow and short whilst the speed maxes out at 9 MPH, so it’s better for walking or very light jogging than it is for running.
There are 9 built-in programs and you can sync the treadmill with the Sunny Health and Fitness app, which allows you to view your metrics in real-time and use real location maps to ‘tour’ the world and add variety to your workouts!
The console is pretty basic but displays all your important data, along with a regular lubrication reminder for easier maintenance.
Deck Height: 8″, Weight Capacity: 350lb, Belt Size: 60″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Incline: Yes
|Challenging 15% max incline||Side rails are short|
|Easy assist folding||Fans are weak|
|Durable, precision-welded steel frame|
Consistently voted ‘best treadmill in its price range’ by consumers, the Sole F80 is ideal if you need a little motivation to keep you training for longer!
It gives you access to 12 entertainment apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube (for which you’ll need separate subscriptions), and also has screen mirroring, so you can mirror immersive streamed workouts, too.
But you don’t HAVE to pay for a subscription – it also comes with access to 10 pre-programmed workout modes and 7 military fitness tests to challenge you to go harder!
The construction is solid and stable throughout use, and I found it easy to move, too, thanks to the four transportation wheels that save you from needing to lift or tilt it.
The Best Low Profile Treadmills: Key Takeaways
A low profile treadmill will make it easy to keep up with your training from home, even if you don’t have a great deal of overhead clearance.
Steer clear of the ‘bargain’ compact treadmills you may see advertised, which are often made with sub-par components and prove to be a false economy.
Instead, be sure to choose a model from a well-established brand such as the ones listed in this guide, which are designed to hold up well when used daily and last you for many miles!