In an ideal, utopian world, we’d all live in a house as big as Wayne Manor and have a capacious cave underneath it where we could set up a home gym.
Sadly, that’s not the case. Chances are that you are looking for the best treadmills for low ceilings because your basement ceiling is only a feather above 7-feet, while you stand 6’2.
Maybe you live in an apartment with low ceilings.
Either way, how on earth do you find a treadmill that allows you to jog uninterrupted without worrying about the top of your head burrowing into the ceiling?
Can you ever hope to run on the incline setting?
Do such treadmills even exist considering that most of the options that you see online seem to be designed for large spaces?
We have been in a similar situation and have spent a good part of a year finding the best treadmills for low ceilings.
Strap in and enjoy the read.
Our Top Pick
Best Overall Low Profile Option
- Best Overall Bang For Your Buck
- Low Profile Deck Making it Perfect for Low Ceilings & Basements
- Excellent Warranty, 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor
- Built to Last, I have owned this treadmill for 3 years now, not a single issue since I have owned it.
- 20 Onboard Interactive Workouts
- 10 inch HD Touchscreen Display
How To Find Out If A Treadmill Will Fit In Your Low Ceiling Space
First things first, when you are trying to squeeze a treadmill into a compact space, every inch is worth its size in gold.
Grab a measuring tape and run some numbers.
The exact height of the ceiling
What is the exact height of the ceiling at the highest spot in the room? The reason we mentioned the highest spot is because sometimes, the ceiling can be unfinished and you can get a few extra inches in between the joist beams.
If that’s the case, then park your treadmill there. Don’t even consider the aesthetics at this point. If the ceiling is a finished one, write down the number on a piece of paper.
As a reference, anything below 7-feet is considered super low. A few inches more than 7-feet and you will have some options to consider. 8-feet? Your options increase greatly. Anything more than 9-feet is not a low ceiling. GTFO!
The height of the tallest user
Use the height of the tallest user who will be using the treadmill as a reference to calculate the clearance you need above it.
Even if you are 5’10, but your partner is 6’3, but would only be using the treadmill once in a while, use their height as the reference during your research rather than using yours.
Especially for beginners, figuring out just how long to run on the treadmill, or how often, can take some time. Once in a while can quickly turn into once a day and the last thing you want is to get stuck with a treadmill that only selected people in the house can use.
The step up or the deck height is undoubtedly, the determining factor that will matter the most when you shop for treadmills.
The best treadmills for low ceilings usually have low profile designs with an average step-up height of 5-8”.
If the tallest user in the house is 6’3, then this means that the total height when they stand on the treadmill would be approximately 7-feet or a little more than that.
You ideally need at least 6” of clearance above your head, else it can feel very claustrophobic. Also, you’ll be constantly peeking upwards worrying that your head is somehow going to scrape on the ceiling.
If the treadmill has the incline feature and you are looking to run on an incline, then you need to calculate and account for the additional clearance that will be needed for it.
The average height of a standard treadmill deck at max incline is around 13” from the floor. Add to it an inch for shoes thickness and the 6” that we mentioned earlier.
You’d need a clearance of around 18-19” if you will be using the incline feature a lot. If you don’t have that kind of clearance, save yourself some money and buy a barebones treadmill which will do the job, but won’t have the bells and whistles of some other models.
And if it comes to the worst case scenario possible, then just you may have to resort to one of those space saving exercise bikes.
What might give the bike the edge in a spin bike vs treadmill bout, especially in this case, is that with the bike you can train when seated, more so if it's a recumbent one - think Nautilus R616 or Schwinn 270, or other cardio machine like the Teeter recumbent crosstrainer.
There are even great recumbent bikes for tall people, but hey, if you were to seriously pitch the treadmill against the bike, you'll realise that you just can't squeeze the exercise you would with the former out of the latter.
It's just a case of desperate measure for desperate times. Thankfully though, there's still some cool, sleek low profile treadmills in town.
Our Best Low Profile Treadmills For Low Ceilings
NordicTrack T Series 8.5s
Best Overall Option
NordicTrack T Series 6.5si
Best Bang For Your Buck
MaxKare Folding Treadmill
RHYTHM Slim Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
Weslo Cadence Slim Profile Treadmill
The Best Low Profile Treadmills For Low Ceilings
All said and done, here are some of the best treadmills for low ceilings in 2020.
Best Overall Bang For Buck Option
- Deck Height of just 8” making it perfect for low ceilings
- 3.5 CHP DurX commercial plus motor
- 71.5” when folded vertically
- 20 onboard treadmill workouts
- FlexSelect Cushioning to activate shock absorbers under the deck perfect for bad knees.
- 10” Interactive HD touchscreen display
- Easy controls on the left and right hand rails
- High Weight Capacity of 300 lbs.
- 1-year iFit membership free
- Lifetime warranty on the frame
NordicTrack T Series 8.5s Review
Deck Height: 8.2” - Low Profile
ahhh The NordicTrack 8.5s. This thing is a beauty. Rather than give you the tech specs, details and overall product review I am going to give you my personal review because I own this treadmill and still use it every so often.
My Experience With This Treadmill After 3 Years
I have owned this treadmill going on 3 years now and it has been every bit of awesome as I expected.
My girlfriend and I bought this treadmill because we were moving into an apartment for about 2 years while our new house was being built.
Our apartment had an extremely low ceiling height so we needed a low profile treadmill that would work for us. We did our research and came to the conclusion that this was the best treadmill for low ceilings.
And man were we right.
This thing has everything you could possibly need and comes in at an extremely affordable price for what you get. This thing has a very nice 10 inch screen, comes with iFit, allows you to run up to 12mph, and run at an incline.
It's got everything you need and then some.
Not to mention, I have yet to run into any issues at all with this treadmill. It's reliable and still looks new. That's the kind of quality you should go after, especially if you plan on moving to a more spacious house, and thus might need to sell your treadmill later on - you want the best resell value you can get.
Best Bang for Buck Cheap Option
- Compact footprint with a 20” wide and 55” long running deck
- Deck Height of just 8”
- 2.6 CHP DurX commercial plus motor
- 73” when folded vertically
- 20 onboard workouts
- FlexSelect Cushioning to activate shock absorbers under the deck
- 10” Interactive touchscreen display
- Easy controls on the left and right hand rails
- 1-year iFit membership free
- Lifetime warranty on the frame
NordicTrack T Series 6.5si
Deck Height: 8” - Low Profile
With an 8” step-up, the NordicTrack T-Series Treadmills are perfect for compact spaces with low ceilings.
NordicTrack’s T-Series range is quite extensive, but we find the 6.5Si, and the 8.5s, which are the entry level models to be the best combination of features and pricing.
For starters, they has a very streamlined design and a compact footprint that makes it extremely easy to fit in just about any apartment home gym space. Yet, the running deck is 20” wide and 55” long which allows even a tall user to use their full stride without feeling restricted when they jog.
After use, it can be folded and it stands just 73” tall.
Sadly, there are no casters to help lift the deck under it. But who really cares?
With the lightweight, but extremely sturdy frame, most people would have no problems pushing it to a corner of the room for storage.
Power & Speed
Under the hood, it features a 2.6 CHP DurX commercial plus motor that runs butter smooth without creating a din. It auto-cools if you are using it continually and this prevents it from overheating or crashing midway through a workout.
Cushioned Treadmill Deck
We really like the FlexSelect Cushioning feature which activates a set of shock absorbers under the deck making the running surface spongy. If you have creaky joints, this feature will make it easier to walk on the surface. The best part is that you can turn it off if you’d like the surface to feel like you are running outdoors.
Interactive Display Screen
On the top, you have a 10” interactive touchscreen display that shows you everything from the vital details to preset workouts. The controls are positioned on the left and right hand rails for convenient access.
Also, the NordicTrack 6.5Si, and 8.5s come with a 1-year free iFit subscription which will give you access to 16000 workouts including on-demand ones that can be played on any laptop, tablet or mobile device.
Cheapest Lowest Profile Treadmill
- Deck height of just 5.5”
- 16” wide and 50” long running surface
- 3-manual incline settings that can increase the height
- LCD console that shows you the distance, speed, time and calories
- 12 onboard workouts
- Max load of 250 lbs.
- 2.25HP motor with flywheel for smooth belt movement
- Up to 10MPH top speed with micro increments in speed
XTERRA Fitness TR150 Review
Deck Height: 5.5” when flat - Extremely Low Profile
The TR150 from Xterra has one of the lowest deck heights in this list of best treadmills for low ceilings.
It does feature three manual incline settings which increases the deck height by up to 2 degrees in increments of 0.5 degrees, especially at the forward part of the deck.
But if you rarely use the incline feature, this is one of the lowest profile designs that you’ll ever come across.
What It Looks Like When It Arrives
The TR150 features a running surface that is 16” wide and 50” long. A little smaller than our #1 pick, but a great option for small rooms and basements.
The frame is stainless steel tubing and can support a max load of 250 lbs. It is very sturdily constructed and there’s no wobble or squeaking noises, which is a common problem in cheap treadmills.
Under the hood, you have a 2.25 HP motor, which obviously is no professional treadmill designed for runners but it has enough power to withstand prolonged jogging and running sessions without overheating or conking off.
The flywheel mechanism ensures that the belt moves smoothly and you can choose a speed between 0.5 MPH and 10 MPH, which is phenomenal for a basic treadmill at this price point.
It does not feature a fancy, touchscreen console. Instead, there’s an LCD display that keeps you informed about the time spent on it, the distance covered, the speed setting you are using, the calories burnt so far, and the pulse.
All the controls are centered on the console and are easy to access even during a jog.
There are 12 workout programs on board, during which the speed of the treadmill is automatically increased to make it more challenging.
Overall, the TR150 is a great choice provided that you have sufficient clearance for the incline, and that even the tallest, heaviest person using the treadmill weighs less than 250 lbs.
Best Budget Treadmill
- Budget-priced treadmill
- Sturdy, stainless steel tubing
- 220 lbs. max weight capacity
- Powered by a 2.5HP copper motor
- Foldable design with easy controls on the hand rail
- LCD display with all basic details
- Handrail with an integrated heart rate monitor
- Top speed of 8.5mph
- 3-manual incline settings
Deck Height: 6”
Budget-priced treadmills are either too poorly built to sustain regular, vigorous workouts or they lack even basic features that people usually look for, like an incline setting or a display console.
The MaxKare folding treadmill ticks both these boxes. It is built like a tank and it has almost all the features that people usually look for while shopping for self propelled treadmills for home use.
It features a 16” wide and 43” long tread deck with a multi-layer construction for noise absorption and cushioning for the joints. If you're on the hunt for a small treadmill for seniors, I'd say go with this one. It's not only easy and safe to use, but it also offers all the conveniences of treadmill workouts for seniors without taking up any significant real estate.
The 43” length may not be ideal for full-stride sprints. But it more than suffices for light jogging as well as low-intensity workouts.
The stainless steel tubing frame stays rock steady without creaking or moving during your workouts, and it has a max load capacity of 220 lbs.
Powering the treadmill is a 2.5HP copper motor that lets you ramp up from 0.5mph to 8.5mph in controlled increments. The speed controls are located on the hand rails, which also features an integrated heart rate monitor to track your vitals.
The LCD control is pretty streamlined giving you all the details you need in a bright and concise fashion. There’s no clutter and selecting the functions, such as the 15 onboard workout programs is as simple as pressing a button.
When you are done using it, you can lift it up to fold it for storage. While unfolding, a soft drop system prevents damage and unfolds it smoothly.
Overall, we are very impressed with the MaxKare Folding Treadmill. It may not be the most feature-rich option or the best choice if you are looking to sprint at top speed. But it beats most of the similar-priced competition.
Slimmest, Quietest, and most compact
- Foldable design that can be used as an under-desk treadmill
- Perfect for standing or walking desks
- 18” wide and 50” long walking surface
- 7-layer silicon design with added dynamic suspension
- 2.0 HP DC motor with top speed of 7.5 MPH for running
- YPOO mobile app for customizing workouts
- Can be folded for storage and it stands just 30” wide and 8” thick
RHYTHM FUN Treadmill Review
Deck Height: 5”
The Rhythm Fun Treadmill is a very versatile little treadmill that can double up as an under-desk walking surface allowing you to walk while you work, or watch Netflix for that matter.
Don’t let the uncanny design fool you into believing that it’s any lesser than a regular treadmill.
Press the foot-operated button and pull the foldable hand rail up and it transforms into a regular treadmill with all the bells and whistles that one would expect in much higher priced units like those high end Nautilus T616, the T618, Sole F63, Bowflex BXT6, or one of those Zwift compatible treadmills.
For starters, the running deck is 18” wide and 50” long, which is more than sufficient for comfortable jogs as well as full-stride sprints. The surface has a 7-layer silicon design that gives you ample cushioning.
Further, the double dynamic suspension system adds to the shock absorption on the surface, making it comfortable to walk and run on, for people of all ages.
The Rhythm Fun Treadmill is powered by a 2.0HP DC motor and has both, walking as well as running modes. In the walking mode, the top speed is 3.7mph. Switch to the running mode and you can hit top speeds of 7.5mph.
While it does not have a dedicated console due to the folding handrail and the under-desk design, it comes with a cell phone holder, an integrated Bluetooth speaker and a compatible app called YPOO which allows you to track every tiny detail including time, speed and calories.
You can also customize your workouts using the inbuilt workouts on the app.
When not in use, the Rthythm Fun Treadmill can be folded for storage. Because of it's flat design this treadmill can fold flat and fit under your bed. It stands just 30” wide and 8” thick and can easily be tucked into a corner of the room, without it sticking out like a sore thumb.
- 7 ¼” Deck height
- 15” wide and 49” long running surface
- 2.2 HP motor
- 3 manual incline settings
- LCD monitor with a device holder
- 9 inbuilt workouts
- Speed settings on the hand rail
- Folds for storage after use
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill Review
Deck Height: 7 ¼”
The Sunny Health and Fitness Folding Treadmill has a top speed of 9mph which is a tad more than most other options in this list.
It features a 15” wide tread deck that’s 49” long and features a thick, cushioned running surface.
There’s no way to customize the level of cushioning though. So if you want to get a more realistic feel of outdoor running, there’s just no way to achieve that.
Minor quibble really. And one that you can fix with the right pair of shoes...
The 2.2 HP motor is very smooth in operation. It doesn’t create a ruckus and the belt moves smoothly even at top speed. There are customers who have used this for hours with zero problems whatsoever. You can be rest assured that the motor wont die on you, nor will it toast the belt.
There are 3-manual incline settings. Thankfully, even the highest setting isn’t too pronounced which should allow you to use it even if you have parked it in a room with low ceilings.
Instead of a console, you have an LCD monitor with a device holder which lets you use your cell phone and a compatible workout app if need be. The monitor displays standard information, but comes with 9 inbuilt workout programs that should suffice for most home gym setups.
Some of the advanced levels on the workout programs are pretty intense, we’ll give you that.
While there are a bunch of controls below the LCD display, the speed controls are positioned on the right handrail which makes it effortless to increase or reduce speed on-the-go. Also, there’s an emergency stop clip which stops the treadmill instantly when pulled.
This can be a very useful feature for seniors or people with cardiac conditions.
When you are done using it, the Sunny Health and Fitness Treadmill folds down for storage. It stands only 58” tall when folded and comes with casters underneath it for easy transportation.
- 7” floor-to-deck height
- 16” wide and 50” long
- Blue-tint LCD screen with basic information
- 2 Manual Incline settings
- Easy assembly
- Tread deck with comfort cell cushioning
- Emergency stop key
- 6 onboard workouts
- Folds for storage
Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Review
Deck Height: 7”
The Weslo Cadence G5.9 is an entry-level treadmill that boasts of one of the cheapest price tags in this list of best treadmills for low ceilings.
While that’s not a feature that we base our selections on, it does tick some of the boxes in our checklist.
For starters, the tread deck is 16” and 50” long which is more than what we expect for a low-profile treadmill aimed at home users. To add to this, it has a top speed of 10mph.
While you may not be able to do a Usain Bolt on this, it’s pretty spacious and you should be able to get a good workout at a reasonable pace.
The tread deck features a Comfort Cell Cushioning, which is an additional layer of impact absorbing foam under it. Most customers who use it mention that the track feels springy and soft under their feet. Great choice if you have preexisting joint problems or need a treadmill that is easy on your knees.
The frame is extremely sturdy. There’s no wobble or creaking noises even when a tall and heavy user runs on it at top speed.
That said, the max weight capacity is 275 lbs. It's one of those compact home gym equipment for small space, but one that packs a serious punch.
You can manually set the incline to two positions, which adds about 4” to its height at the highest setting.
A Blue Tint LCD screen (it’s a tiny screen. Not a huge display) shows you the basic information that you seek. It’s very easy to toggle through this information even on-the-fly. There are no controls on the hand rail though. Even the heart rate sensor is built into the console and you have to press your thumb on it to get a pulse reading.
The Cadence features 6 onboard personal trainer workouts that range from beginner exercises to super-advanced ones. If you thought that you couldn’t get a sweaty workout on a home treadmill, try this out.
While there are a few minor niggles, the Weslo Cadence G5.9 should be a terrific option for users who seek a basic, inexpensive treadmill for home use.
Looking to Buy a Low Profile Treadmill? Here’s What to look for
There’s no denying that it would be difficult to wrap your mind around the height of the treadmill when you are looking for one that can fit into a room with low ceilings.
But clearly, there’s more to a quality treadmill than the height of the deck.
Here are some of the other features to consider before you swipe that credit card.
Frame construction and warranty
Most treadmills are made of stainless steel tubing and are pretty sturdy. Even the budget-priced ones are.
That said, you’d want to ensure that the one you pick is able to withstand your intended use without wobbling.
Ever heard of the treadmill dance? That’s when your treadmill starts to mysteriously move with you running on the deck in full steam. Not funny, we tell you.
A heavy, sturdy treadmill will not wobble, or creak at the joints, or decide to take a trip in the middle of the workout.
While you are at it, pay attention to the warranty on the frame. Many top brands give you a lifetime warranty. Some only give you one-year though.
Deck width and the running surface
How wide a surface do you need to comfortably walk and run?
That depends on the size of the person using it as well as their own personal preferences.
We find about 17” to be the sweet spot. But there are smaller users who can walk comfortably on a 15” deck.
If you are a tall and heavy user looking to run at top speed, then you might need a 20” wide surface at least.
You also need to consider where you will be putting it. Do you live in an apartment and need a smaller treadmill? Or do you have ample space to put it but just have low ceilings?
Additional features: Do you really need them?
Brands will often harp on features that you may never use.
Like the size of the console or Bluetooth speakers or onboard workouts or the incline function.
Don’t get swayed by these vanity features.
As long as the treadmill comes with a device holder, you can get everything you need on your smartphone. There are apps for example, that have thousands of workout programs to choose from, which makes the 10-15 onboard programs on the treadmill seem rudimentary in comparison.
However, if you prefer to workout with minimal interference from a cell phone, these features can be useful.
At first glance, the $700 treadmill (which is the average price for a decent treadmill) and the budget-priced option will look exactly the same.
But there’s a world of difference in the quality.
Cheap treadmills don’t last long. That’s the simplest way of putting it.
There are horror stories galore of the tread deck cracking in half midway through a workout, the motor getting overheated or even catching fire.
But hey, you also need to make sure you are not getting a pile of junk.
Do yourself a favor and buy a decent treadmill that’s built to last. Don’t spend your hard earned money on junk that will conk off within a few months.
Which One Of These Low Profile Treadmills Should You Pick?
All said and done, which one of our low profile treadmills are the right fit for your home?
Here’s a summary of what we’ve discussed so far.
Best all-round treadmill: NordicTrack 8.5s
The NordicTrack T-Series 8.5S is the best all-round option. The tread deck is a reasonable 8” which should fit in most rooms with low ceilings. With a 55” long tread and 20” wide tread deck, it gives you ample room for full-stride sprints.
It has an impressive top speed of 10mph and features an automated 10% incline adjustment system. The large interactive touch screen display makes mundane workouts an immersive experience.
To add to this, NordicTrack gives you a 1-year free membership to iFit that gives you access to almost 16000 on-demand workouts. Terrific option for the price which is why to this day this is one of the most raved about treadmills users in the forums.
Best Cheap Option: XTerra TR150
The XTerra TR150 comes a close second. While it’s not as feature rich or as capacious as the NordicTrack one, it offers a great mix of features at a pocket-friendly price.
The tread deck is a reasonable 50” long, there’s a 5” LCD monitor, a cushioned deck, hand grip sensors, there are 3-manual incline settings and there are 12 onboard workouts to choose from. The tread deck is just 5.5”. If you have super low ceilings and tall users, this has you covered.
Top Treadmill Brands To Be On The Lookout For
With a huge influx of treadmill brands sourcing from China (no offense), there’s been a stark dip in the overall quality.
A decade ago, you’d expect treadmill to last for years without any troubles. Suddenly, motors are conking off after barely a year of usage. Frames are starting to bend or crack.
Decks are showing signs of wear and tear.
As a buyer, it’s important to know what brands of treadmills continue to offer quality products without cutting corners.
Founded in 1975, NordicTrack is one of the oldest brands manufacturing home treadmills, commercial ellipticals and other fitness equipment. They have an extensive range of products to suit all budgets and fitness requirements. We have used multiple NordicTrack Products and each one of them has lasted for years. They also have great customer reviews and a highly rated customer support team.
Xterra fitness is a US-based fitness equipment brand that offers low-priced fitness equipment that are crammed with features that would otherwise cost twice as much. All their equipment offer great value without compromising on key features, or the quality. If you are on the lookout for treadmills with features like Bluetooth connectivity, wireless pulse sensors and onboard workouts, without breaking your bank, this is your go-to brand.
My Concluding Thoughts
That sums up our list of the best treadmills for low ceilings.
Remember, all the treadmills in this list have low profile designs with short floor-to-deck heights.
These should easily fit in your low-ceiling basement gym or apartment. Take your time researching about the important features though and make an informed decision.
- Punching Bags For Apartments
- Best Home Gym Equipment For Small Space
- Best Small Weight Benches For Apartment
- Most Quiet Ellipticals for Apartments
- Setting Up A Basement Gym Low Ceiling
- Best Full-Body Workout Machines For Home Use - Top Total-Body-Toning Equipment
Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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