Are Treadmills Noisy? (Yes, But It Can Be Reduced)
By Simon Gould
Exercise often involves vigorous movement especially if we're jogging or running. With this kind of movement comes noise. Even when you're running outside you can hear your foot fall over the ambient sounds. On this page I'll look at why treadmills are noisy and what you can do about it. There are also alternatives which I'll go through as well.
Treadmills are inherently noisy
Treadmills have a moving deck and cushioning. The combination of these and the fact that exercising is an activity where your feet land on these components generates noise. This can shake and vibrate your house or apartment floors and walls. The sound is amplified in the other rooms. Low frequency noises cause this vibration.
I've used treadmills at home and in gyms. As soon as I enter the gym I can hear if someone is on the treadmill. These are regularly maintained and commercial machines but are still the loudest equipment being used. In a house or apartment, if it's you who's using the treadmill, you won't necessarily mind the noise. But people in other rooms and neighbors will get irritated.
It's definitely something you'll want to use in sociable hours and even then, someone in another room watching TV, will have to turn the volume up to hear it. It's not so bad if you're walking on the treadmill, but if you're running they really are very loud. Plus the older a treadmill gets so does the loudness, it may get squeaks if it's not maintained.
The following video is an example of how noisy a treadmill can be. All the guy is doing is walking on it. This particular one squeaks as well and there are ways to prevent that which I'll go through below.
How to reduce the noise
The location makes a difference. If it's placed away from a wall then the vibrations don't travel down it so much. This is not always convenient as who wants a treadmill in the middle of a room. However, moving it away from a wall can help. You should have a mat for a treadmill anyway for many reasons and noise is one of them. Amazon* do a good selection of mats.
Probably the best way to reduce noise is to maintain your treadmill. The motor can get noisy, so can the belt and I've talked about the deck. Squeaks can also develop although you can usually deal with those quite easily. Here is a page to help you solve a squeaking treadmill and you will need special lubricant. This is also available from Amazon*.
Having a treadmill upstairs
A question often asked is, if having a treadmill upstairs creates a lot of noise. Whether people downstairs will be bothered by it. You're going to hear the pounding and the vibrations may be heard in the floor below. This is why having them away from a wall is recommended. However, you may need a treadmill near a wall because of its weight.
Think about the construction of your home if you're thinking of having it upstairs. But for the noise, ensure doors are shut. If you're in an apartment, you'll need to check if treadmills are allowed and only use it at sensible times. This way it won't bother any neighbors as much.
There are some treadmills that are not as loud as others. These are manual treadmills and curved treadmills. Manual ones have no motor and are not powered by electricity. They are also only suitable for walking and maybe slight jogging. They are very cheap but your exercise options are limited and they have very few features.
Curved treadmills however, are very expensive compared to normal motorized ones. They are a new technology and don't require a motor. They're ideal for running but still make some noise. I've included a video below of someone running on one and it can be clearly heard, they are running fast though.
Alternative exercise equipment
If you have thin walls in your house or apartment or have people around who are sensitive to noise then your only option might be to consider other equipment. Most other equipment doesn't have any impact which is what creates the noise so they are much quieter. The ones I'll list still make a noise but are nothing compared to treadmills.
Exercise bikes, elliptical trainers and rowing machines are all examples of equipment that make less noise. They're certainly not as fun as running on a treadmill (for me anyway!). But you can still get a good workout on them. They will still get you fit and healthy and if weight loss is your goal they can help you with that too.
Of course you could always use a gym or health club then you don't need to worry about the noise from a treadmill in your home. If you've ever used a treadmill, anywhere, you'll know how noisy they can be. If you live in a nice big house and have your own home gym then a treadmill would be ideal. It won't disturb anyone and you can use it to your hearts content.
You could always rent one and see what you and everyone else think. It's certainly a cheaper way of finding out if it's not for you. There are many advantages of renting a treadmill and it's becoming more and more popular. In conclusion, yes, treadmills are noisy so you'll have to use some judgment as to whether they'll be ok for where you are.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*