Folding Treadmill vs Non-Folding Treadmill
10 mins read

Folding Treadmill vs Non-Folding Treadmill

If you are thinking of buying a treadmill, then you are probably in a folding treadmill vs non-folding treadmill dilemma.

A folding treadmill is one that you can fold up when it is not in use. That way, you can easily transport the machine or store it so that it does not take up space.

Non-folding treadmills, on the other hand, are fixed and rigid. This design makes them more stable and, as such, popular with athletes and runners.

Both folding and non-folding treadmills have their pros and cons. Read on to find out more about these two treadmill types.

That way, you can make an informed decision and choose the best machine that fits your budget, preferences and personal needs.

What is a Folding Treadmill?

A folding treadmill has pivots at its running deck, which allows you to fold and lock the equipment after use. Most folding treadmills also have wheels that make transport easy. Others call this exercise machine foldable, fold-up or foldaway treadmills.

History of Folding Treadmills

The long history of treadmills traces back to the year 1818. But the first mention of folding treadmills dates back to 1911. It was the year that Claude Lauraine Hagen applied for a training machine patent.

The patent, granted in 1913, showed that Hagen’s trading machine had a treadmill belt. It also showed that Hagen envisioned that his machine would be foldable.

Surprisingly, there was no evidence that Hagen ever made any working prototype from his patented design. Hagen’s patent is, however, still the point of reference for modern-day designs and patents for foldable treadmills.

It was towards the close of the 20th century that folding treadmills started gaining popularity.

Pros of Folding Treadmills

One of the most significant advantages of foldable treadmills is their space efficiency. You can fold up and store a folding treadmill after your exercise, which is ideal for individuals who live in smaller homes.

What’s more, its compact size and wheels make it easy to transport folding treadmills. Its foldable feature makes it easy to clean from top to bottom, too.

Cons of Folding Treadmills

The frames of most folding treadmills are not as sturdy, making them unstable during prolonged use or vigorous exercise. Also, if you forget to lock the deck, it may fall and put kids or pets at risk.

What is a Non-Folding Treadmill?

Non-folding treadmills, just as the name implies, are those that you cannot fold. Users typically allocate a permanent spot for them. Non-folding treadmills are also called full-platform treadmills.

History of Non-Folding Treadmills

The non-folding treadmill came first before the foldable model. But its origin also dates back to 1818.

Sir William Cubitt noted that most prisoners were idle in a British jail. That was why he invented the first precursor of the treadmill machine to utilise prisoners’ strength and muscle power.

Cubitt’s treadmills link to butter churns, grain grinding machines and water pumps. And so, instead of using them for exercise, early treadmills were for hard labour and reform. By 1842, most British prisons had installed treadmills.

The industrial revolution of the early 20th century saw the introduction of treadmills into factories. They helped reduce labour costs and also made items more affordable.

Timeline of Treadmills as Exercise Equipment

  • 1913: Claude Lauraine Hagen got the patent for his training machine design.
  • The 1930s: Wooden treadmills became popular for primitive fitness exercises.
  • 1952: Cardiology professor, Dr Robert Bruce, invented treadmills with rubber belts for human fitness, exercise and stress testing.
  • The 1960s: Tunturi, a Finnish bicycle manufacturing company, manufactured their model of non-foldable treadmills.
  • The 1980s-1990s: Fitness centres and gyms became commonplace, and they had treadmills as essential fitness equipment.

Currently, modern treadmill units boast several improvements and sophisticated features. These include music players, speed adjustment, internet connection, workstation and television.

Pros of Non-Folding Treadmills

Since non-folding treadmills generally have more sophisticated features, you can better customise your exercise regimen to fit your needs and preferences.

You can also enjoy your workout time better. What’s more, full-platform treadmills are sturdier and have better quality than foldaway ones.

Cons of Non-Folding Treadmills

Non-folding treadmills can be rather expensive. Some models even cost more than $2000. Also, since they are not foldable, they can take up a lot of space. Also, models with computerised programmes often require professionals for maintenance and repairs.


Folding Treadmill vs Non-Folding Treadmill

Recent statistics show that the global market for fitness equipment is over 9 billion USD and could reach over 14 billion USD by 2022. 

Reports also suggest that treadmills are the most popular exercise on the market. That includes both folding and non-folding treadmills. But then, how do folding and non-folding treadmills compare with each other?

Space Utilisation

Folding treadmills use less space than non-folding treadmills. You can fold your foldable treadmill and cart it away under your bed or into your closet until you are ready to use it again.

In the case of non-foldable treadmills, they remain on the same spot and take up valuable space, whether they are in use or not.


Non-folding treadmills are generally sturdier and more stable than foldaway treadmills. That is because the pivots of folding treadmills pose weak points.

Some models even wobble during exercise, making it difficult for users to do serious jogging.

Cleaning Requirements

It is easier and less stressful to clean a foldable treadmill. You can even drag it to your bathroom and spray it down. On the other hand, you cannot move or lift non-folding treadmills as easily.

Motorised Movement

All treadmills generally come with a motor for walking or jogging exercises with assistance. But the electric motor of a non-folding treadmill is typically more sophisticated.

This extra power allows the inclusion of other practical features like pulse and blood pressure readings.


It is way easier to transport a folding treadmill because of its design and compact size. You can move it from one room to the next.

Foldable under-desk treadmills can even go underneath your table so you can work and exercise at the same time. In contrast, you cannot transport non-folding treadmills so easily.

Professionals’ Choice

Professionals will always choose non-folding treadmills over folding treadmills because they are generally of better quality. Any professional who does not know this is not worth his salt.

Non-folding treadmills often come with extra features that enhance the training experience. These include features such as marathon and sprint settings. You can even participate in virtual racing environments to test your limits before the competition.



Non-folding treadmills are more expensive than their folding counterparts. The higher price point is mainly because of better quality, strength, stability and functionality.


Non-folding treadmills are stronger and more durable than foldable models. Manufacturers use top-quality components for non-folding treadmills.

More so, non-folding models have fewer moving parts and are more powerful. They are, therefore, generally more durable than foldaway treadmills.

Weight Capacity

Non-folding treadmills have higher weight capacities than folding treadmills. If you are on the big side, you may want to consider a non-folding treadmill.


Folding treadmills are ideal for most home fitness and training purposes. They are worth considering if your home is small or you’re after a more affordable machine. However, this option might also mean sacrificing quality and stability.

And so, for intense workouts, it’s best to invest in a non-folding treadmill. The non-folding type is also a more practical choice if you are on the big side and after machine longevity.

The best way to know which type or model of treadmill fits your needs and preferences is to try it before buying.

Informative Q&A

Can you run on a foldable treadmill?

Yes, you can run on a foldable treadmill. It offers an affordable and easy-to-use solution for people who love running but have no space for a conventional treadmill. However, before buying one, ensure that its folding mechanism supports intense running or jogging.

What should I look for when buying a treadmill?

After choosing between a folding and non-folding treadmill, check for the weight limit of your machine choice. Also, check its deck size and maximum speed limit.

Take a look at the specs and functionality of the treadmill and, if you can, try out the treadmill and evaluate your experience before buying it. And for a better workout, consider pairing your machine with treadmill accessories.

Danielle Edenworth
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