Our Rating: 4.3/5
Similar to its price-matched T3 sibling, the Life Fitness F3 Folding treadmill’s unique ability is in its name—it folds. While both the F3 and T3 are priced the same, this particular model doesn’t have as much running space or go quite as fast as its counterpart, which is sacrificed for its ability to fold up when not in use.
If a folding Life Fitness treadmill is what you’re after, our below review might be right up your alley. Otherwise, you may want to head over to our review on the T3.
If you’re tight on space but want your body itself to feel tighter, the Life Fitness F3 treadmill is an ideal option for a long-lasting folding treading that will stand the test of time. There’s no coincidence that Life Fitness has chosen the word “life” to represent its brand, as it has a reputation of building some of the toughest treadmills on the market; that being said, to be frank, this reputation does not come cheap.
The F3 is the cheapest folding model in Life Fitness’s trustworthy lineup of home treadmills. Revving strong is the 3.0 HP DC motor with Magna Drive Motor Controller. If you’re unfamiliar with Magna Drive Motor Controllers, they function to produce an air gap between the load and motor. This air gap functions as a space creator, ultimately enhancing the life-span of the motor, as well as reducing vibration caused when the motor and loads are in direct contact without an air gap present. Speaking in regards to treadmills, having a magna drive motor controller on a direct current motor translates to a longstanding treadmill that provides a smoother and quieter user experience.
Producing a speed range of 0.5 – 10 mph and an incline of 12% makes the F3 a better choice for those not interested in sprinting or tough inclines, but rather a more traditional treadmill experience of walking, jogging or light running. The Lifetime Shock Absorbers result in a FlexDeck design that cares for your joints by reducing strain up to 30%. Built to accommodate up to 350 pounds of user weight, the F3 is more inclusive than other treadmills when it comes to weight limitations.
What makes the F3 treadmill such a valuable option is its ability to fold up in order to maximize your interior space when not in use. While treadmills are heavy and typically hard to move, the F3 treadmill makes it easier by having wheels which you can call upon to quickly store the treadmill elsewhere when you need to turn your home gym back into a guest room unexpectedly.
The 20” x 55” running surface on the F3 is the minimum running surface we recommend, so if you’re hoping for a roomier run but still need folding ability, we recommend you consider the Sole F63 treadmill in order to get a 20” x 60” running surface. If you’re looking for a compact home treadmill that doesn’t sacrifice on quality but will maximize your space, the Life Fitness F3 treadmill is a brilliant option for your home.
When it comes to advanced technology, you won’t be blown away by the Life Fitness F3 treadmill. However, if you’re interested in a traditional treadmill experience with all the common comforts a treadmill offers, you will certainly find yourself right at home.
This model comes with the Go Console, which optimizes workout simplicity by being the most user friendly console Life Fitness provides. Making the Go Console a cinch to operate are the thoughtfully placed buttons underneath the display such as quick start, settings, user profile, goal workouts, race mode, and pause/resume, making alterations accessible even through the toughest of distracting workouts.
The bright LED screen is backlit in a calming blue color and will keep you abreast of your workout stats regardless of how poor your eyesight is or how dim your room becomes. A total of 12 workout programs give the F3 treadmill a leg up on competing treadmills such as the Horizon 7.0 AT treadmill, which only provides 6 programs. We appreciate the two custom workout programs and the two user profiles the F3 treadmill offers so you and yours can personalize your workout preferences and keep track of your progress.
Heart rate monitoring is afforded via a wireless telemetry system as well as contact sensors. There are two cup holders so you can stock up on your hydrating favorites while you exercise, and it’s nice that they’re removable so you can easily clean them should there be any spills. A tablet holder encourages placement of your smart device of choice, as well as a book or magazine, so you don’t have to stare at a wall while you move.
With that said, the buck stops here with the F3 treadmill when it comes to technology. If you’re looking for a straightforward, compact, folding treadmill, the F3 will certainly deliver.
Life Fitness is known for their commercial treadmills found worldwide throughout large gyms or professional training centers. Their venture into home treadmills brings their quality build without the astronomical prices of their commercial treadmills into your living room. That being said, even their home treadmills don’t come cheap.
With Life Fitness, more than anything else, you’re paying for the brand name and essentially the peace of mind that comes with the great warranty provided. If seeing the price on the Life Fitness F3 treadmill makes you gasp, you aren’t alone. Considering the Sole F63 and Horizon 7.0 AT both come with the same motor power, folding ability and larger running surfaces, and are being sold at much cheaper prices, makes the Life Fitness F3 a little hard for us to justify on behalf of consumers everywhere looking for a savvy economical decision.
If you’re interested in pivoting to a cheaper, folding, yet more technologically sound home treadmill option, the NordicTrack T 8.5 S is probably a better buy. However, if you’re a dedicated Life Fitness fan who is used to seeing and using their treadmills in health clubs across the globe, the F3 treadmill is a good fit should you be looking for the cheapest, folding home treadmill model they offer.
Pros and Cons
Speaking bluntly, there are a decent amount of cons when it comes to the F3 treadmill, the first being its price, which was discussed in the above section. Another con is the lack of advanced technology, as this particular treadmill comes with no bluetooth capability, making it hard to download workout summaries to the fitness tracking app of your choice.
In addition, the F3 does not have any fans to help cool you down while you work out nor does it have speakers you can play your music on. The running surface of 20” x 55” is five inches shorter than that of the non-folding Life Fitness T3 treadmill, while the 12% incline is also lower than the 15% of the T3. Furthermore, the speed range of 0.5-10 mph also falls short of the 0.5-12 mph that the T3 model offers.
That being said, a quality folding capability with an incredible warranty, detailed in the warranty section below, will maximize both your home space and your peace of mind. The 3.0 HP DC motor with Magna Drive Motor Controllers was built to stand the test of time. The FlexDeck Shock Absorption System will reduce joint strain by 30% so you can trust that both the build of your treadmill and the build of your body will be encouraged to keep going.
The F3 treadmill is the best buy for those familiar and comfortable with the Life Fitness brand looking to snag one of their incredibly well-made treadmills with great warranty coverage at their lowest cost for a folding treadmill.
Life Fitness F3 Treadmill Specs
|Weight Capacity||350 pounds|
|Running Surface||20″ x 55″|
|Dimensions||78.5″ x 34.5″ x 58.5″|
|Workout Display||LCD Display|
Warranty and Guarantee
Where the F3 Treadmill shines most, besides its durable build, is its warranty coverage, which reflects how Life Fitness creates their treadmills with longevity in mind. A lifetime warranty on both its frame and LifeSpring shock absorbers make the F3 more appealing than the NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill, which lacks any lifetime coverage.
A 10-year drive motor warranty on the Life Fitness F3 also takes the NordicTrack T 8.5 S to the cleaners as the latter offers zero motor coverage at all. A 5-year offering of parts coverage, as well as 3-years on the Go Console and 1-year on labor makes Life Fitness a leading competitor when it comes to long-term coverage.
Considering treadmills are a large mechanically-intricate investment, proper coverage and product protection is key. If you’re looking for a brand that makes products to last and are willing to stand by them, the Life Fitness F3 treadmill is a great space saving option for your household.
Summing Up This Review
If there is anything to take away from this treadmill write-up, it’s that if you’re looking for a reputably-branded treadmill that is built to last and provides the warranty coverage to prove it, Life Fitness should be a go-to brand throughout your decision-making process. The Life Fitness F3 treadmill is a great fit for those interested in the cheapest folding treadmill that the reputable Life Fitness brand creates.
While coming in at a much larger cost than competing folding treadmills, your upfront investment in a quality and well-made treadmill such as the Life Fitness F3 could save you hundreds in repairs in the years to come.