How to Find the Best Treadmill for an Apartment (2017 Version)

Treadmills are a great way to improve cardiovascular health, but they aren’t always the most apartment-friendly option for at-home workouts. We’ll tell you what to look for when choosing an apartment treadmill and share our top picks for this year.

How to Buy a Quiet Treadmill for Your Apartment

There are several things you need to keep in mind when choosing a treadmill for your apartment. Aside from the treadmill’s features, you also need to consider the limitations of using a treadmill in an apartment.

Bowflex TC100 TreadClimber Treadmill

Our top pick

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

An apartment-friendly treadmill that offers flat and vertical folding options

Merax JK1603 Easy Assembly Folding Electric Treadmill Motorized Running Machine (Gray)

Has a minimalistic design and faster maximum speed

When choosing a treadmill, you’ll need to consider:

Your Neighbors

Like it or not, you share a building with other people. That means you need to keep noise to a minimum. Most treadmills themselves are quiet – it’s the impact that’s loud. The constant pitter-patter of your feet hitting the treadmill deck may be too much for your downstairs neighbors to handle.

If your workouts are loud, your neighbors may start complaining – to you or your landlord.

Your Space – Or Lack of It

If your apartment is on the smaller side, you’ll need to consider the size and required clearance of the treadmill. Some models are larger than others and require more space around the treadmill for safety reasons.

ASTM standards suggest having a minimum of 19.27″ on the front, right and left sides of the treadmill. There should be 78″ of space behind the treadmill.

If you live in a small apartment, a compact model may be your only option.

Delivery and Assembly Issues

Delivery and assembly is always an issue for people who live in apartments – especially if you’re buying large fitness equipment.

If you live on the second floor or higher, getting the treadmill up to your apartment can be a nightmare. You’ll need to make sure that the appropriate delivery options are available if you live on a higher level.

Also, consider the treadmill’s design and weight. You’ll likely move out of your apartment someday, and that treadmill will have to go with you. If it’s extremely heavy and bulky, you may have a hard time getting it out of your apartment when you move.

Girl running in the morning

Your Fitness Needs

The ideal treadmill for an apartment is compact, folding, cushioned and easy to move. All of these features make the treadmill more accommodating for your living space, but they also take away from one important area: challenge.

Typically, treadmills that meet the above-listed requirements have lower maximum speeds and minimal (or no) incline.

Features to Look for When Buying an Apartment-Friendly Treadmill

Keeping speed, size, noise level, delivery options and your fitness needs in mind, here are some features to look for when choosing a treadmill for your apartment.

Cushioned Deck

Treadmills have either a standard or a cushioned deck. If you live in an apartment, a cushioned deck can help minimize complaints from your neighbors.

A cushioned design essentially means that the treadmill has a shock absorption system designed to reduce impact and noise. A cushioned deck is easier on the joints and absorbs some sound.

It’s important to note that while cushioning will reduce noise somewhat, it won’t make your treadmill silent. The noise reduction will make your workouts more tolerable to your neighbors, but you should still consider other strategies to prevent complaints and conflicts. LiveStrong suggests learning your neighbors’ schedules and working out when your neighbors aren’t home.

Sufficient Speed Range

Treadmills with apartment-friendly features often lack the speed ranges needed for more advanced users. Check to make sure that the treadmill you’re considering offers a speed range that will challenge your abilities and help you progress in your fitness level.

According to Runner’s World, treadmills with speeds of 5 MPH or more will allow you to run or jog. Slower speeds will only allow you to walk or jog.

The 3G Cardio 80i, which we’ll review shortly, offers a top speed of 11 MPH, which should accommodate any level runner.

Folding Design and Transport Wheels

If you have limited space, a folding design and transport wheels can make your treadmill more apartment-friendly. Some models fold down, some fold up, and some fold both ways.

Transport wheels also make it easier to move the treadmill into a corner or closet in between uses, which saves on space.

When looking at folding treadmills, consider your storage options. Would you prefer a model that can fold flat and slide underneath your bed? Would you rather have a treadmill that can fold vertically and be pushed into a closet or an unused corner? Find a folding option that works best for your space and your lifestyle.

Easy- or No-Assembly

Assembling a treadmill can be a serious challenge when you live in an apartment. Just getting the treadmill into your home can be a chore, and then you need to figure out how to get the heavy box (or boxes) into the room where you’ll be using it.

To overcome this issue, consider treadmills that are easy to assemble or have no assembly at all. Some models come pre-assembled, which means you really only have to worry about your delivery options.

Some treadmills are labeled as “easy assembly,” but you can also check user reviews to see how difficult or easy it is to assemble other models.

If you can’t find an easy-to-assemble treadmill that you like, you may need to recruit a few friends to help you put it together.

Man running in the road

Our Reviews for the Best Apartment Treadmills

Bowflex TC100 TreadClimber

The TC100 TreadClimber is our favorite treadmill for apartments because it’s designed to deliver an intense cardio workout without waking the neighbors.

This hybrid cardio machine combines a treadmill with a stepper and elliptical machine to deliver a low-impact, high-intensity workout.

Features

  • 3-in-1 cardio machine
  • Backlit LCD that displays distance, speed, calories and time
  • Speed rage of 0.5-4 MPH
  • Heart rate monitor grips
  • Bowflex Connect capabilities
  • USB charging port
  • Compact in design
  • Media shelf and water bottle holder

Think of the TreadClimber as an elliptical with moving belts. Each side moves independently just like an elliptical, but the moving belts give the same feeling as working out on a treadmill.

The moving belts allow you to walk forward, and as you move forward, you’re forced to step up like a stair climber. With each step you take, the treadles incline to meet your feet – just like an elliptical.

Although you’re forced to walk with the TC100 – no running – you make less noise during your workouts. Noisy treadmills are not ideal for apartment dwellers. The TreadClimber still delivers an intense workout despite not being able to run, and still offers a nice speed range of 0.5 to 4 MPH.

Pros

  • A quiet machine
  • Delivers an intense workout
  • Low-impact is better for your joints
  • Offers convenient features, like a media shelf, water bottle and USB charging port
  • Compact design is practical for apartments

Cons

  • Assembly can be time-consuming

The Bowflex TreadClimber is a unique machine, and it can take a while to assemble. Ensure that you have ample time to put the machine together.

The TreadClimber may be a practical option for apartment dwellers who still want an intense workout that won’t disturb their downstairs neighbors.

3G Cardio 80i Fold Flat Treadmill

The 3G Cardio 80i folding treadmill is designed for serious runners, and offers a compact design that apartment dwellers may appreciate. The 80i offers different folding options, which makes this model convenient for those who are short on space.

Features

  • Folds flat to 9.75″ for under-bed storage, or folds vertically for corner or closet storage
  • 3 HP motor
  • 60″ running surface
  • 11 MPH maximum speed
  • 15% maximum incline
  • Built-in speakers with MP3/iPhone connections
  • No assembly required
  • Incline and one-touch speed controls
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Max user weight: 325 pounds

The 80i folds down to a height of 9.75″ for easy storage under the bed. The treadmill can also be folded vertically, which allows you to push it into a corner or closet in between uses.

With a powerful, 3 HP motor, this treadmill can reach top speeds of 11 MPH. The high maximum speed makes this treadmill a worthy contender for serious runners who need a faster machine. The 80i still offers a lower walking speed of 0.5 MPH for users who aren’t quite at a high fitness level.

Built-in speakers and an MP3/iPhone jack makes it easy to listen to music or videos while you exercise. The large, easy-to-read LCD display also allows you to track important workout stats.

A 15% incline and 60″ running surface allows you to enjoy a more challenging workout without having to worry about safety.

Offering a maximum weight limit of 325 pounds, this treadmill can accommodate most users with ease.

Pros

  • Offers high maximum speed of 11 MPH and 15% incline for challenging workouts
  • Folds down flat or up vertically for multiple storage options
  • Built-in speakers allow you to enjoy music while you exercise
  • High maximum user weight

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Requires a lot of clearance

The 80i is bulky and heavy, which may make it difficult for single users to put together on their own. This treadmill also recommends 14-feet of clearance space, which may be an issue for users who are short on space.

Still, the 80i from 3G Cardio folds to a compact size in between uses, which is convenient for apartment dwellers who are short on space. The high maximum speed also makes this model a smart consideration for more advanced runners.

Merax JK1603 Folding Electric Treadmill

The Merax JK1603 is a motorized treadmill with a minimalistic design and folding frame. This model comes equipped with important safety features and offers a cushioned deck that helps keep noise to a minimum.

Features

  • Folding design with rolling wheels
  • LCD displays distance, speed, calories and heart rate
  • Quiet motor
  • Emergency stop key
  • Handlebar controls
  • Cushioned deck
  • Maximum weight limit: 220 pounds
  • 3 workout programs; 3 incline positions
  • Speed: 0.62 MPH to 6.2 MPH

The JK1603 treadmill offers a few features that make it apartment-friendly. The cushioned deck works to minimize noise and vibrations (while making the running surface easier on your joints), and it also has a folding design for convenient storage in between uses.

This treadmill also has a quiet motor, which further helps to reduce noise while you’re working out.

On top of all this, this treadmill has an easy-assembly design that makes it easy to get up and running.

Safety is a top priority with this machine. The JK1603 offers handlebar controls that allow you to change speeds or make other adjustments without letting go of the handlebars. There’s also an emergency stop key that will automatically stop the belt if you fall or lose control.

The LCD display allows you to view important workout information, like calories burned, speed, distance and heart rate. The treadmill also offers three built-in workouts and three incline positions to make your exercise sessions more challenging.

The JK1603 offers speeds of 0.62 MPH to 6.2 MPH, and a maximum weight limit of 220 pounds.

Pros

  • Folding design for convenient storage
  • Quiet motor and cushioned deck minimizes noise
  • LCD displays your workout stats
  • Easy to assemble
  • Offers a high maximum speed of 6.2 MPH

Cons

  • Weight limit is on the low-end

The JK1603 has a maximum weight limit of just 220 pounds, which may be too low for many users who are trying to lose weight.

Aside from this issue, the Merax JK1603’s folding design, noise reduction features and easy assembly may make this treadmill a good choice for single users who have downstairs neighbors.

AFG Sport 5.5AT Folding Treadmill

The AFG Sport 5.5AT treadmill was designed with beginners in mind, but it offers the power and functionality needed to accommodate more advanced runners. Easy to use and simple in design, the 5.5AT offers many features that make it a smart option for users who live in apartments.

Features

  • 5 CHP motor
  • 20″ x 55″ deck
  • Variable response cushioning on the deck
  • Folding design with hydraulic lift system
  • 9 built-in workout programs w/multiple levels
  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • Integrated audio system w/headphone jack
  • LED display
  • Weight limit: 300 pounds

The 5.5AT comes equipped with a 2.5 CHP motor, which keeps the treadmill belt moving smoothly. The cushioned deck is a generous size – 20″ x 55″ – but also makes running easier on the joints while reducing noise.

With the touch of a button, this treadmill allows you to control the belt speed and the incline to make your workouts more challenging. The handlebars also have HR contact grips to help you keep track of your heart rate during your workouts.

The LED display allows you to view your heart rate along with other important stats, like calories burned and distance. There are also nine built-in workout programs, which include: weight loss, manual, intervals, calories and distance. Plus, the integrated speakers and in/out jacks allow you to easily listen to music while you exercise.

Pros

  • High weight limit – 300 pounds
  • Built-in workout programs to keep workouts interesting
  • Up to 10% incline
  • Cushioned deck for lower impact and noise
  • Contact HR grips
  • Narrow deck – great for people who are short on space

Cons

  • Assembly is challenging

The only real complaint with this treadmill is that assembly can be a challenge. The instructions are poorly written, which can drag on the process.

Otherwise, the 5.5AT’s narrow, cushioned deck makes this model worth considering if you have a smaller apartment and want to keep noise to a minimum.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7610 Motorized Walking Treadmill

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7610 walking treadmill is compact, easy to assemble and comes with a shock absorbing feature to reduce noise and impact. It’s easy to move around, too, so you can push it into a corner or closet in between uses.

Features

  • 5″ x 14″ treadmill deck
  • Shock Absorption System
  • Folding design with built-in wheels
  • 25 HP motor
  • 5-5 MPH speeds
  • Backlit LCD displays distance, time, calories, speed and scan
  • 4% incline
  • Maximum user weight: 220 pounds
  • Emergency stop key
  • Easy-assembly design

The SF-T7610 offers a compact running surface, cushioned deck, folding design and easy assembly – all important features for an apartment treadmill.

On top of the folding design, this treadmill has built-in wheels that make it easy to move around the room or push into a corner for storage.

A cushioned deck allows for shock absorption while reducing sound. The 5 MPH maximum speed allows for power walking and jogging, which also keeps noise to a minimum.

An 8.4% incline makes workouts more challenging, while the backlit LCD display allows you to view workout information, including speed, calories, distance and time.

Easy to assemble, this treadmill may be a good option for single users.

Pros

  • Compact running space
  • Sufficient running speeds
  • Incline adds challenge
  • Folding design saves on space
  • Wheels make it easy to move the treadmill
  • Shock absorption system minimizes impact on the joints

Cons

  • Low maximum speed

The low maximum speed of 5 MPH may be an issue for more advanced runners who want to run at higher speeds.

Otherwise, the SF-T7610 is a sturdy, quiet and compact treadmill with a folding design that accommodates apartment dwellers.

Conclusion

While all of these treadmills are practical options for apartments, we prefer the Bowflex TC100 TreadClimber. It offers a challenging workout, but eliminates much of the noise issues that make treadmills a nuisance in apartments.

With the TreadClimber, you can’t run (which automatically reduces noise), but the moving-belt design still delivers a difficult workout.

The 3G Cardio 80i offers two folding options – flat and vertical – which may make it a great option for people who are limited on space and want more storage options.

The other options on our list offer folding designs, cushioned decks (most of them) and inclines that make workouts more challenging.

All of the treadmills on our list are great options for apartments. The right one for you will depend on the size of your space and your fitness needs.