Space can be a huge criteria when buying a treadmill. Whether you have a small apartment, are space constrained in a bedroom, or if you simply don’t want the treadmill to take up too much space, the trend of the last 10 years has left you with fewer choices. Like many other consumer products, treadmills have conformed to the idea that “bigger is better!” Quality of a treadmill is not determined by the size of the machine but rather by the quality of the engineering, design, and ultimately, the quality of the parts.
So when planning for your treadmill, one of the great inventions of the last 25 years was the folding mechanism by Icon Health and Fitness in the 1990’s. Even though they have generally used this as an excuse to make hulking machines now, they came up with the great idea that the treadmill should fold up so people don’t have to permanently dedicate a huge space to the installation of a treadmill.
An average treadmill these days are still narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway but count on around 3 feet for the width of the machine. Since companies are using longer and longer belts, the machines have to be longer so a typical machine these days run around 6 feet long and at least 4 to 5 feet high. These days, machines can go much larger so make sure that you ask the dimensions and plan your space unless you have unlimited room.
The big space that most people overlook is that you should leave at least 5 to 6 feet of open space behind the treadmill. NEVER put the rear of the treadmill up against a wall or another stationary object. If you have an accident, you could easily get trapped on a moving treadmill belt if you don’t have open space behind a machine and I’ve seen 3rd degree burns from someone trapped on a belt. You don’t want to volunteer for this type of injury.
Some commercial machines can be as large as a small bus! (Just kidding!) But, they can be huge machines. For instance, the premiere Lifefitness commercial treadmill these days is over 6.5 feet long, over 3 feet wide, and over 5 feet tall. It weighs nearly 450 lbs. and closely resembled the Incredible Hulk!
In the past, there were companies that specialized in space efficient units like Pacemaster with the old 870 model that ceased production in the 1990’s. Today, brands that are known with specific models targeted for space efficiency include True’s Z line of treadmills and several Yowza model machines.
So to wrap it up, the minimum space requirements these days are 3 feet of width, 5 feet of height (not the walking area but the console mast at the front), and 6 feet of length with an additional 5 feet of open space behind the treadmill when it is in operating position (not just folded up).