The 6 Best Low Profile Treadmills

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Whether you want to train for a marathon or just enjoy a daily run to stay in shape, a good treadmill makes it easy to work out from home whatever the weather.

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!

low profile treadmill

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:

low profile treadmills

Deck Height

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.

treadmill deck hight

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.

Weight Capacity

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.

treadmll features

Extra Features

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

#1. Low Profile Treadmill with Highest Max Speed – LifeSpan 5500iM

Deck Height: 9″, Weight Capacity: 350lb, Belt Size: 59″ x 20″, Max Speed: 13.5 MPH, Incline: Yes

LifeSpan 5500i Treadmill
Intelli-Step technology to count your stepsConsole position is low
10” full-color touchscreen displayDevices 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!

#2. Best Low Profile Treadmill for Walking or Light Jogging – Horizon T101

Deck Height: 7 1/8”, Weight Capacity: 300lb, Belt Size: 55″ x 20″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Incline: Yes

Horizon T101 Treadmill
Excellent cushioningVery basic tech
Lightweight and easy to moveWeak fan
Smooth speed and incline transitionsBottle 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.

#3. Best For Taller or Heavier Runners – 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill

Deck Height: 7.5”, Weight Capacity: 400lb, Belt Size: 62″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Incline: Yes

3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill
One-touch controlsExpensive
Commercial grade componentsDoesn’t fold
Excellent warrantyVery 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.

#4. Best Budget Low Profile Treadmill – XTERRA Fitness TR150

Deck Height: 5.15”, Weight Capacity: 250lb, Belt Size: 50″ x 16″, Max Speed: 10 MPH, Incline: Yes

XTERRA Fitness TR150 Treadmill
Durable and solidNo automatic incline
Runs smoothly and quietlyNo bottle holder
XTRASoft deck cushioning to absorb impactDifficult 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.

You can read my full review of the XTERRA Fitness TR150 treadmill here

#5. Treadmill With the Lowest Profile – Sunny Health & Fitness Strider Foldable Treadmill

Deck Height: 2.76”, Weight Capacity: 265lb, Belt Size: 47″ x 20″, Max Speed: 9 MPH, Incline: No

Sunny Health & Fitness Strider Foldable Treadmill
Syncs to the free SunnyFit app LCD monitor is VERY bright
Folds flat for storageNo cup holder
Arrives fully assembled

With an ultra-low step-up height, this treadmill isn’t just great for homes with low ceilings but would also be ideal for senior runners or those recovering from an injury.

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.

#6. Best Low Profile Treadmill Overall – SOLE F80 Treadmill

Deck Height: 8″, Weight Capacity: 350lb, Belt Size: 60″ x 22″, Max Speed: 12 MPH, Incline: Yes

SOLE F80 Treadmill
Challenging 15% max inclineSide rails are short
Easy assist foldingFans 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!

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Christine Albury is a dedicated runner and fitness nerd: when she's not working out she is studying the latest fitness science publications, and testing out the latest running gear!

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