Treadmills are most people’s go-to for a good cardio workout. But sometimes, these do not fit the bill, especially if you’re staying in a tiny space. Good thing there are other options available. The question is, which treadmill alternative for apartment use is best for you?

Here, we’ll discuss the drawbacks of having a treadmill in an apartment unit.

Then, let’s discover other equally effective workout options for your apartment cardio training sessions.

Why Consider a Treadmill Alternative for Apartment Use

Having a treadmill in your home gym has several benefits. You get to enjoy a quick workout in your own time while watching TV or listening to your playlist.

Modern treadmills also let users achieve exercise variety through speed adjustments and incline options. Most come with built-in exercise programs, too.

But at times, a treadmill may not be the best choice for a tiny home or apartment dweller. Here are the reasons why.

Treadmill Noise

This one is probably the most common problem of having a treadmill in your apartment. The treadmill belt and motor can produce noise.

But what makes the machine loud is the impact its feet make as you run fast on the deck.

This noise gets through the floor and wall of your tiny gym space and affects your neighbours.

If you have your treadmill on the second floor, the noise can disturb people staying downstairs, too.

Limited Space

A treadmill alternative for apartment dwellers is best when you don’t have enough room for a bulky exercise machine.

Remember, aside from sufficient floor space, there should also be ample floor height and side clearances to fit a treadmill.

Long-term Expense

Although there are budget options, treadmills generally cost a lot. And the expenses do not stop there as you need to consider maintenance, repair and parts replacement.

Exercise Variety and Impact

The need for workout diversity may be another reason people want a treadmill alternative for apartment use.

Some may need a more versatile machine that is less expensive or more space-efficient.

They probably need something that targets muscle groups other than their lower body.

Also, others may find running on the deck too jarring for their joints.

Rower and Exercise Bike as Treadmill Alternative

Best Treadmill Alternative for Apartment Use

Treadmills may be a popular exercise equipment choice. But it’s also clear that it’s not the best option for every user or home situation.

You can always look for equally good substitutes for your cardio workout and fitness goals. Here are some of them.

Exercise Bike

Indoor cycling with an exercise or stationary bike is an ideal substitute for a treadmill. Like treadmills, exercise bikes train the leg muscles and burn lots of calories.

Find out if an exercise bike offers a better workout compared to a treadmill from this article.

What makes it a good cardio machine is its ability to correct body balance and coordination issues. It’s easier on the knees as well.

PROS: Generally, exercise bikes are cheaper and more compact than treadmills. They also come in various types to suit individual needs.

For instance, a spin bike is for high-intensity workouts, while a recumbent bike is for rehabilitation and comfortable pedalling.

CONS: An exercise bike is not for bone density development. Most models do not encourage upper body movements either.

Also, air bikes with fan blades can produce noise and may not suit apartment spaces.

Keen to start an exercise bike routine? The NordicTrack S22i has a magnetic resistance mechanism for quieter cycling. It even comes with automated incline controls!

Don’t fancy this model? There are reviews of other exercise bikes on this list too.

Rowing Machine

Rowing machines simulate the movement of rowing a boat. It offers an entirely different type of cardio workout than treadmills.

Still, they are great for boosting cardiovascular health, burning calories and strengthening leg muscles.

PROS: You’ll be seated the entire time during your rowing routine. And so, noise from floor impact will not be a problem.

Also, a rower is an excellent treadmill alternative for apartment owners who want to work their upper bodies more.

CONS: Rowing machines can be bulky and expensive. Some types like water and air rowers can generate noise, too.

It’s not loud enough, though, but your neighbours can hear it if you have thin walls.

If you want to try a rowing machine, consider getting a magnetic or hydraulic rower for quieter operation.

Elliptical Trainer as Treadmill Alternative

Elliptical Trainer

The running pattern or leg workout involved in a treadmill is closely similar to an elliptical machine.

An elliptical routine may not simulate actual running, but it still provides a good cardio workout. It’s also beginner-friendly.

PROS: It’s a low-impact treadmill alternative that is ideal for users with joint issues.

An elliptical trainer does not cause floor impact, making it less bothersome. Also, models with movable handlebars allow a full-body workout.

CONS: Ellipticals can still take up space in a small home or apartment. Also, most options are within the same price range as treadmills.

Compared with treadmill runs, elliptical workouts are not for enhancing bone density either.

If you think an elliptical is an excellent treadmill alternative for apartment dwellers, check out the NordicTrack 9.9 and its features. Read our full review on this elliptical here.


Kettlebells are cast-iron weights with a handle. It’s nothing like a treadmill.

But fast-paced kettlebell swings can increase your heart rate and train your back muscles, glutes and hamstrings.

The kettlebell is also easy to use with no button to press or setting to adjust – perfect for beginners.

Kettlebell exercises are good for strength training and improving flexibility, too.

PROS: You can exercise with a kettlebell without creating floor impact or noise, except when you put it down.

You can further reduce the noise by getting vinyl-coated kettlebells or laying a carpet or yoga mat on your exercise area. See more kettlebell benefits.

CONS: Kettlebells have fixed weights. That means you need to buy individual weights to train with various loads. They are also rounded in shape, making them difficult to store. Read our buying guide on kettlebells.

But there are other similar pieces of equipment you can use in place of a kettlebell. Examples are adjustable dumbbell sets and weight plates. You can see the comparison between kettlebells and adjustable dumbbells in this post.

Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight exercises use your weight for resistance. Examples are squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, planks and step-ups.

Combining these moves is a good treadmill alternative for apartment dwellers who want to exercise without the extra equipment. You can work out different muscle groups, too.

PROS: Without the need for an exercise machine or equipment, small at-home gym space or storage will not be an issue.

These bodyweight moves are also easy to modify based on your fitness capacity.

CONS: It’s crucial to know the proper form of each bodyweight exercise to get optimum results and avoid injury. Also, these moves may still create some floor noise or vibration.

In that case, use a yoga or exercise mat to absorb the impact and keep your body comfortable.

Health Constitution_Treadmill Alternative for Apartment Use


Treadmills are not the only exercise machines available for your cardio workout.

And if you are staying in a tiny home or apartment, there are plenty of options that are not as bulky, noisy or expensive.

Whichever treadmill alternative you end up using, make sure it’s high quality and low maintenance. And keep in mind that any cardio machine will create some form of noise.

So, pair your choice with a rubber mat to dampen vibrations. Also, pick a good time when doing your exercise routine.

Talk to your housemates or neighbours about your workout plan to avoid causing a commotion while burning calories!