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Folding Vs. Non-Folding Treadmills - Whats the Real Difference?

Most people buying a treadmill will be probably be faced with the choice: "Do I want a folding or non-folding treadmill?"

Folding treadmills (also called fold-up, foldable and fold-away) are a popular choice among treadmill buyers.

But apart from the obvious reason to choose a folding treadmill (to save space) - what are the REAL differences between a folding vs. non-folding treadmill? Here's a quick overview:

The main advantages to choosing a folding treadmill are:

- you save space - if you have a small home gym or space is at a premium, folding your treadmill up and/or wheeling it out of sight is a great option to have

- it makes cleaning easier - just fold it up and you can vacuum or clean the floor area under the treadmill easily

Because of these advantages, having a treadmill that folds is often seen as just another added feature to the treadmill - like an extra water bottle holder or a pair of handweights.

However there are also distinct advantages to buying a non-folding treadmill that might make you think twice before purchasing one that folds.

According to Runner's World, the most important quality of a good treadmill is stability. For example, does it feel solid and secure when you run on it? Does it wobble or shudder when you pick up your pace?

Because of the requirements of the folding frame design, most folding treadmills are naturally less stable than non-folding treadmills. (That doesn't mean they aren't stable - it just means that non-folding units are more stable).

That is why, if you look at stability ratings for treadmills, non-folding treadmills almost always come out on top.

That's also why you'll notice that as you get into premium treadmills ($2000+), very few of them will fold up. If you're paying that much for a treadmill you want one that feels as stable as a commercial unit. (Ever notice that the treadmills at health clubs don't fold?)

So the main advantage to non-folding treadmills (and it's a compelling one - especially if you're a runner) is that they are generally more stable than folding treadmills.

There are a few exceptions to this rule of course, but that's really the main difference when comparing folding versus non-folding treadmills.

Regardless of which option you choose, keep in mind that while non-folding treadmills might be a little more difficult to move, they can offer some great added benefits to your workout itself.

Kathryn O'Neill is chief editor for Treadmill Review, a consumer oriented website focusing on the home treadmill market.

For buying tips, brand reviews, and best buys, visit Treadmill Review at: http://www.treadmillreview.net .

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