Finding a treadmill that’s high-quality and that will fit through your front door can be a struggle, but the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Treadmill manages to be both.
Dubbed the “ultimate space-saver”, this condensed machine is 69.3in long and 31in wide (making some of our other selections for the best treadmills look practically monstrous in comparison). But, Echelon has still managed to pack in most of the features you would expect from a smart piece of cardio kit.
Size: 69.3” (L), 31” (W), 49.2” (H) (176x78.7x125 cm)
Tread belt size: 20” (W) x 55” (L) (50.8cm x 139.7cm)
Max user weight: 300lb/136kg
Display: LED monitor
Max incline: 12 rating (10%)
Max decline: 0%
Max speed: 19.2kph/12mph
Min speed: 0.8kph/0.5mph
Warranty: One year
Workouts and other features: Links to the Echelon Fit App via a smart device
It has in-built heart-rate monitoring, 12 incline settings, a max speed of more than 19kph, and provides a stable and comfortable running surface, given its compact dimensions. Setting it up is straightforward, courtesy of its auto-fold technology. The treadmill arrives as a single unit, so all you have to do is pull the handle and monitor into place then plug it in. And, because of its 1.75 continuous horsepower motor, the belt moves smoothly at all speeds.
We found its lack of a touchscreen the most notable omission, but you can link the treadmill to your smartphone or tablet to display the Echelon Fit App: a subscription workout service that offers more than 1,000 live and on-demand classes, covering everything from interval running sessions to off-tread HIIT workouts, pilates or yoga.
Once you’ve worked up a sweat and are ready to call it a day, the Echelon Stride folds flat with the push of a lever, making it easy to store under a bed, behind the sofa or against a wall.
It’s on the more affordable side for a smart treadmill, too, costing $1,599 (£1,599), and it can often be found on offer.
Price and release date
The Echelon Stride was released in August 2020. It retails at $1,599/£1,599, though the company often offers discounts on its website. You can use it as a standalone treadmill, with a range of preset programs on the machine and available on its LED display. Alternatively, you can use it with the Echelon Fit app, which provides thousands of live and on-demand classes to be completed on and off the treadmill via a smartphone or tablet. This is free for the first 30 days, and is then available for $29.99/£29.99 a month (with cheaper options available if you commit to one or two-year memberships).
Set-up and usability
When it comes to setting up the Echelon Stride, we’d award it six stars out of five if we could. It arrived in a cardboard box that was easy to carry and manoeuvre between two people. Open the box up and you’ll find the treadmill pre-assembled. All you have to do is pull the upright handles into place and click the LED control panel into your desired viewing position. Then just plug the treadmill in, turn it on, and you’re ready to run.
This refreshingly simple set-up works both ways, too, enabling you to fold the treadmill flat when not in use. Push the monitor flat, then press a lever on the left side of the base of the machine with your foot. The upright handles will slowly lower, leaving a flat treadmill that’s simple to store under a bed, behind a sofa or against a wall.
You can get going straight away, using the 'just run' option to start striding while deciding the speed and incline setting as you go, or making the most of the eight preset interval programs available on the monitor.
However, there is also the option to use the Echelon Fit app by connecting the machine to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. When testing, we found that our phone synced in seconds and, after inputting a few details such as age, height and weight, we were ready to dive into the classes.
Design and display
The Echelon Stride’s compact, folding design is one of its greatest strengths. It measures 69.3in long, 31in wide and 49.2in tall and, at 156lb, is lighter than many rivals. The wheels on the front of the machine made it easy to move around.
The clever “auto-fold technology” allows you to fold the treadmill flat with the press of a foot lever. The upright handles then slowly lower into position without you needing to slow their journey down, meaning there’s no need to bend over backwards when packing it away.
While the compact design has many benefits, it does also mean a drawback. The shorter, narrower belt may feel slightly restrictive for taller runners (6ft and above). As a result, the handles can also make larger users feel cramped.
The Echelon Stride has a pre-attached LED monitor rather than the touchscreens seen on pricier smart treadmills. As you run, this shows the distance covered, incline setting, altitude, pace, steps, speed and calories. The monitor displays incline or altitude, and steps or speed, changing between the two every five seconds.
If you splash out on a subscription to the Echelon Fit app then you can connect your smartphone or tablet to the treadmill via Bluetooth. Your workout stats will then be displayed on your smart device instead, and this can be placed within a holster in front of the monitor.
A phone works just fine, though we’d recommend using a tablet if possible as the holster can only tighten enough to secure larger screens at both the top and bottom. So, while a tablet will be held firmly in place by the adjustable top part of the holder, a phone may wobble while running as it can only rest on the bottom ledge of the monitor.
After connecting our phone to the treadmill, we were able to choose from more than 1,000 workouts. During treadmill training sessions, the incline setting, speed and output (in watts) were visible, with further options to view time elapsed, heart rate and heart rate zone (if the rate sensors on the handles are held for several seconds).
There's enough metrics to satisfy the average runner, though more advanced athletes may want a machine that can dive into greater detail in areas such as pacing.
The Echelon Stride has a heart-rate tracker, 12 incline settings (from flat to a 10% gradient) and offers speeds of 0.8kph/0.5mph to 19.3kph/12mph. This will be more than fast enough for most runners, equating to a sub-five-minute mile.
Two easily reachable water bottle holders in front of the monitor are handy for staying hydrated during sessions, and the machine comes with a smartphone holder that can be inserted into one of these.
The console offers the option to 'just run', allowing you to change the speed and incline settings manually as you go. This is done via quick-change buttons on the console (for a three, six or nine incline rating or mph speed) or buttons on the handles if you want a more precise method.
You can also choose from one of eight preset interval sessions, which alter the difficulty throughout your run by varying your speed and gradient. However, even the hardest session wouldn’t be too much of a challenge for advanced athletes. You can create your own session by selecting a target distance, time domain or number of calories burned.
We found using the Echelon Fit app via a smart device made the Echelon Stride a far more engaging and exciting piece of kit. With more than 1,000 workouts available, including a calendar of live classes, on-demand runs, pre-recorded mat workouts, yoga and more, there's plenty to sink your teeth into.
Sampling a range of the classes offered by the Echelon Stride – including pre-loaded content and sessions available via the app – only served to reinforce the treadmill’s sturdy performance and its clever, close-packed design.
Its minimal footprint is great for fitting in smaller spaces like an apartment living room and the fact it can be folded flat is a major plus too, meaning it took up minimal space when stored vertically at our test site. It’s not too loud either, maxing out at 70.8db on its highest speed.
While it doesn’t have the wide base of larger treadmills, such as the NordicTrack X22i, it still feels secure and stable underfoot on almost all speed and incline settings – only wobbling slightly when turned up to its maximum. The base and belt provided a solid running surface that never juddered underfoot and that enabled us to push our pace with confidence.
The incline and speed settings (up to 10% and 19.3kph/12mph respectively) are enough to challenge most runners and the quick-change buttons are a helpful tool for flitting between them. However, if you change the measurement settings from imperial to metric, the three quick-change options of three, six or nine come nowhere near the machine’s maximum speed. So, you’re forced to rely instead on the up and down buttons on the handles to your side, which can be awkward to use as you can only see them in your peripheral vision while running.
When testing the treadmill, we first tried one of the more challenging preset interval programs. We liked that you could select a duration and found the speed and gradient changed seamlessly, adjusting slowly enough to give us time to adapt our stride. However, even the hardest of these preset programs won’t offer up much of a test to more-experienced runners.
We effortlessly synced our phone with the treadmill and tried some of what the Echelon Fit app had to offer. Choosing the right session can be tricky though, as the thumbnails for the classes only showed their name and duration. Newcomers may feel confused, with minimal clues as to what to expect from the session or how hard it will be until the link is clicked on.
To help with this, you can filter workouts by type, duration, genre and instructor using the On Demand tab, which helped whittle down the somewhat overwhelming homepage to a more manageable selection.
Classes were largely studio-based, similar to the Peloton Tread (opens in new tab), with enthusiastic instructors completing the workouts along with you. In the running workouts, coaches will tell you when to change speed and incline settings, and what to change them to, in order to achieve the desired workout stimulus. However, it is down to you to manually alter these.
We liked the inclusion of a live leaderboard, which invoked our competitive spirit and encouraging us to push a bit harder.
Overall, the classes were enjoyable and definitely put our circulatory system (opens in new tab) to the test. However, we feel workouts would be a better fit for beginner and intermediate runners, as advanced athletes may be looking for more of a challenge.
Value for money
At $1,599/£1,599 the Echelon Stride is at the more affordable end of the smart treadmill spectrum, with some machines fetching more than twice this amount. You can also use it without the app at no extra cost, which will be enough for those just looking to get moving or enjoy indoor active-recovery sessions.
However, if you’re looking to rely on the Echelon Stride for the bulk of your weekly workouts or to replace your monthly gym membership with the machine, we would recommend investing in the Echelon Fit app. This offers more variety, as well as programs and interactive sessions that will help you stay motivated over time.
When it comes to balancing size, storability, performance and smart features, the Echelon Stride Auto-Fold Treadmill is among the best on the market. The fact it folds flat in seconds and has a minimal footprint makes it a great option for at-home training, particularly if you’re tight on space. Its compatibility with the Echelon Fit app also provides users with a cornucopia of workout classes to try – keeping motivation and enjoyment levels high over time.
The classes felt best-suited to beginner or intermediate athletes (even those labeled advanced). Each one was undeniably capable of raising heart rate, however, the app didn’t have the slick finish of competitors like the iFit app, which has more variety and expert advice from its elite roster of coaches.
There is a small amount of shaking at higher speeds and incline settings, and the lack of an in-built screen sees it fall behind some rivals. But, if you have a tablet, you can still enjoy live and on-demand workouts on a crisp display, held securely by a holster on the machine’s monitor.
If you own a smart device and are on the hunt for a space-savvy treadmill that is easy to store and offers a range of workout options, you can call off the search.
If this isn't for you
If it’s a premium machine you’re after, the NordicTrack X22i comes recommended. With its 22in touchscreen, enjoyable virtual routes and knowledgeable coaches, it is sure to make your running sessions more fun and efficient.
How we test treadmills
We tested all treadmills in our testing center and scored them from 1-5 across the following criteria:
- Set-up and usability
- Design and display
- Value for money
For all models, we tested the minimum and maximum speed controls and capability of the incline and decline. We completed a long recovery run on the machines, as well as a shorter sprinting session.
Where applicable, we also tested two different workout classes alongside any available metric tracking, and the apps and memberships that support them.