By Simon Gould
So you’ve bought a new treadmill, maybe you’ve had it delivered and assembled. Or maybe you’re thinking of buying one and researching everything you need. You have the ideal place in your home to have it. Do you have it on a hard floor or a carpet? The location is important. Here I’ll go through if it can be placed on a carpet or other flooring and my recommendations.
Hard floor, carpet or cement?
This could be a choice you have to make. A treadmill is better on a hard floor, but go with your preferred location first. Even if that is a carpet. A hard floor is a sturdy base for a treadmill as they can weigh up to 300 lbs. They do indent a carpet but then all furniture does. Carpets are sometimes all you have in your home.
A treadmill can be placed and used on a hard floor. There’s less dust than a carpet and it’s easier to clean. I’ve seen plenty of treadmills on hard floors. These kind of floors are becoming more common as fashion changes. I still recommend having a mat though. It spreads the weight slightly, and more importantly, it protects the floor.
With a carpet you have dust and other fibers that build up. These can damage a treadmill over time. They can get in the moving parts like the belt and the motor. Regular maintenance is far more important to be done when a treadmill is placed on a carpet. You can’t really prevent these particles from getting in your machine as they naturally occur.
Having a treadmill on a carpet will still work. It’s just that with treadmill mats being so cheap ($50+), there’s no reason not to have one. When you buy a piece of fitness equipment, it makes sense to buy the mat at the same time. You may think it’s just sales people trying to get more money out of you, but they really do help.
I normally see a treadmill on cement when it is in a garage. I’ve talked a lot about what a cold garage can do to a treadmill. Cement attracts dirt and a treadmill may not be fully stable on this surface. It may move very slightly and over time you’ll see it could be in a different place form where you first put it. Like a carpet, I recommend a mat to go underneath.
Buy a treadmill mat
Even if the treadmill is on a hard floor and especially if it’s on a carpet, invest in a mat. It’s another expense but worth the price. They don’t cost too much and can extend the life of your treadmill. The dirt and dust build up, even if you vacuum often, which you should. You spend a lot of money on a treadmill so everything you can do to protect it, is worth it.
As to which treadmill mat you should buy, I would go for the most heavy duty. You need a thick mat between the treadmill and the floor. It also needs to extend to the whole of the footprint of the machine and slightly beyond. Carpet fibers can still be affected at the edge of the treadmill, so get a bigger mat. You can usually buy one from the manufacturer when you buy the treadmill or here on Amazon*
As with a hardfloor a mat will spread the weight more evenly on a carpet. Otherwise you’ll get ugly indentations which are almost impossible to get rid of. Carpet and a mat under a treadmill reduces any noise and vibrations even more. This can be a problem especially in apartments with thin walls or when a neighbor is very close to you.
Some treadmills weigh as much as 300 lbs so moving it about on a carpet is difficult. There are no wheels on a treadmill so it won’t move easily, it will require lifting by multiple people if it’s a big one. Make sure you choose a suitable room and preferably one with carpet or floor you don’t mind being damaged.
Maintain the treadmill regularly
When it’s on a carpet, those fibers and dust get everywhere and affect the inner workings of the treadmill. Vacuum regularly the carpet around the machine and remove the motor cover and vacuum in there as well. You need to lubricate the belt every 3 to 6 months as debris between the belt and the deck doesn’t go down well. Vacuum the mat as much as you can.
If the treadmill is moving on the carpet or any flooring over time. The belt may not be centered, this can often be obvious when it’s on cement. You do this using the Allen wrench that came with the treadmill when it was assembled. So if you haven’t got a treadmill yet, make sure you keep everything that came with it including the owners manual and any tools.
A treadmill mat reduces vibrations which can also affect the life of the machine. All in all, a mat is a must have. I always advise that you should pay for treadmill assembly, and it is so much easier to install a mat if you have it before the machine. I’ve had a treadmill on carpets over the years and their lifespan has never been affected.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*