Guide To Treadmill Motors

Treadmill Running

Jasminko Ibrakovic/

By Simon Gould

A decent home treadmill is a motorized one. These are powered by your electrical outlet and the motor comes in different sizes. You're always told details about the motor but what do the numbers and letters really mean? How do you choose the right one for your needs? I go through that here with our short guide to treadmill motors.

The letters "CHP"

When a treadmill is being sold we're told how powerful the motor is and it's usually followed by "CHP" or "HP". CHP stands for Continuous Horse Power and is the power in which the motor can push the treadmill belt around it's rollers. CHP is better because it means how much power output a motor can impart continuously.

When it says "HP" it leaves the continuous off and you're told how much power the treadmill can go for, at it's peak. The thing is with a home treadmill is, it can only draw it's power from your home electrics so there is a limit to how powerful it can be. That's why when the manufacturer boasts about a very large motor then it's not possible to get too much power from the home circuit.

The amount of horse power

We've established that motors are graded in horse power for treadmills and they are not usually very much. The most you can get for the home is usually about 3.0 CHP and this means it will be able to take you running on it on a regular basis. You can get higher for commercial treadmills but they are used constantly.

Horse power is very much linked to cost so the higher you go the higher the cost of the machine. You do need the highest cost treadmill you can afford to have the best and most lasting components used in their build. Smaller motors are generally used for people who only want to walk or jog on their treadmills.


So the acceptable horse power for different uses are: 2.0 CHP for walking, 2.5 CHP for jogging and 3.0 CHP for running. The higher the number the better. A word of advice about motor warranties as some of them will say lifetime, they do last in this case but the warranty almost never covers wear and tear so when they need replacing, you will end up paying for it.

That doesn't mean that the warranty is no good, it still shows a commitment that the manufacturer has in their motor about the workmanship. Remember that a good treadmill can last up to 12 years and sometimes longer. The motor is arguably the most important part so choose one that has the letters "CHP" and has the highest number you can afford.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? See my top 3 recommended treadmills for 2021

Meet The Author

Simon Gould

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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