By Simon Gould
Electricity consumption and costs are small. Treadmills cost a lot of money to buy. To buy a decent one will cost around $1,000 and then you have the assembly and that’s just to get it in the house. On top of this you have the maintenance and repair bills. All of this including the cost of the treadmill can mount up to some significant amount of money. So does a treadmill increase the electricity bill?
Electricity is a large bill none of us like paying so it makes sense to want to know if a treadmill is going to increase that cost and by how much. Considering what a treadmill does and the noise it makes you think it might use a lot of electricity. It has to put up with someone propelling themselves on at great speeds and the motor has to keep up with it.
How much wattage a treadmill uses
Electricity usage is measured in kw/h so you need to know the wattage that an appliance has and how much your energy costs you. Using these parameters we can make an estimation as to how much electricity different fitness equipment uses and how much it costs. Of course some ellipticals, bikes and treadmills are manually powered and so don’t connect to the electricity supply.
The amount of electricity the treadmill uses is dependent on how much you weigh, the incline, the speed and of course how long you’re on it for. A 3 mile run at 2% incline for a 150 lbs person costs a little under 2 cents and uses 300 to 900 watts. Yes, it’s that low. You really don’t need to worry about your electricity consumption when it comes to using your treadmill.
6 Factors that affect the electricity consumption of a treadmill
1. Size of the motor
A bigger motor will use more electricity. A treadmills motor is measured in horse power and they range from 1.5 to 4.0. The higher you go, the more the motor can handle faster speeds for longer periods of time. A smaller motor is drawing less power to run the belt. The difference in electricity consumption will be small but it is a factor.
The quicker you go, the more power is needed to get to and maintain the speed. Anything that goes quicker needs to consume more power to do it. Whether it’s gasoline in a high speed car to a treadmill going 11 mph. The power supply in the home can handle it, but the consumption itself increases. Not enough to be concerned about the cost though.
The motor has to work harder to help propel the deck and someone on it, to go uphill. The higher the incline, the higher the electricity consumption. Inclines are great for weight loss and you shouldn’t use it less because you’re concerned about the electric cost. The actual increase in consumption is small, but it does have a measurable effect.
4. Time spent exercising
Walking for an hour on a treadmill uses a greater amount of electricity than walking 30 minutes. This should be obvious to anyone. Any electrical appliance that is on for a longer period of time will use more power. Don’t let it stop you exercising for long periods due to the amount of health benefits you get from it. This is worth far more than the negligible difference in electricity cost.
5. How much you weigh
The heavier you are, the more the treadmill has to work to maintain the speed you’re going at. When you’re walking, the treadmill is pushing the belt under you. If you’re running, every foot strike draws power to keeps the speed where you want it. The electric circuit board tells the motor to consume more power when it detects this resistance.
6. Age of the treadmill
As treadmills get older they work less efficiently. The belt may need lubricating so there’s friction that makes the motor has to work harder. The motor itself may not work as well as it once did. One way of helping with this is regular maintenance. But you can only do so much with an old treadmill. The consumption is never too bad with an old treadmill to make it worthwhile to buy a new one.
Don’t let these factors change your treadmill usage. When you think of the costs of the electricity you’re using, compared to the cost of the treadmill itself. It’s a very small amount and not something to worry about. Running slower to save power is insignificant where costs are concerned. If you can afford a treadmill, then I would think you can afford the $10 per month electricity cost.
The conclusion is that treadmills and other fitness equipment uses hardly any electricity relating to how much they cost to buy and run in the first place. The maximum they will cost you when using a treadmill daily is around $10 per month. Treadmill lube costs more than this. While it’s nice to keep every cost low you don’t need to limit your home treadmill use to save money as it doesn’t make much difference.
The reason it doesn’t use much electricity is firstly because you’re only using it for a short period which is about an hour per day. Secondly it’s primary function is not to generate heat. Heating appliances tend to cost the most in terms of electricity. Although nearly all appliances including treadmills generate heat as a by product, this is not the primary function.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*