Is your treadmill a little noisier than you would like or your neighbors are complaining? You’re probably going to look for a solution. Are treadmill mats are good solutions and which ones are best? Let’s find out.
Treadmill mats are effective at reducing noise and vibrations that would otherwise transfer through the floor. Mats have other benefits besides noise reduction like; protecting your flooring, reducing treadmill movement and keeping dirt and dust out of the treadmill.
How do treadmills mats work to reduce noise and which ones are the best? You can find out below.
- 1 Do treadmill mats reduce noise?
- 2 What makes treadmill mats good at reducing noise?
- 3 Which treadmill mats are best for noise and vibration damping?
- 4 Mat vs. pads to dampen treadmill noise
- 5 Other treadmill noise damping options
Do treadmill mats reduce noise?
The first thing we should look at is if treadmill mats actually reduce noise/vibrations and if so, how they do it.
Treadmill mats are often recommended for good reason. They do a lot of things like; protecting your floor, keeping dust out and reducing noise.
And yes, treadmills do reduce noise but only in certain situations. Not all noises that are produced by a treadmill are reduced by putting a mat under it. Treadmills are different and produce different noises at different levels. Some treadmills are much quieter than other.
That said, pretty much all treadmills in all situations can benefit from having a mat under them.
Which noises/vibrations does a treadmill mat reduce?
Treadmill mats are rubber or PVC mats that are made to do a few things and damping noise is one of them.
A treadmill creates noise in two ways;
- The motor moving the belt: Usually a continuous humming and slight vibration.
- The impact of feet on the belt: Rhythmic thump.
Treadmills usually have rubber or plastic feet under them that allow you to set the height so it doesn’t wobble. These feet might have a little damping in some situations but more often than not there isn’t much damping there. That means the vibrations and impacts that are created by the treadmill and impacts, go directly into the floor. This vibrates the floor and amplifies the noise, not only for you but anyone you share the floor with.
The mat goes in between the floor and the treadmill. A treadmill mat is a rubber or PVC mat. Rubber/vinyl is pretty good at absorbing vibrations. That means by putting this layer in between, most of the noise and vibrations will be absorbed by the rubber and not make it to the floor where they can cause trouble.
So you can see a treadmill mat is pretty good at damping noises and vibrations that could make it to your neighbor’s ears but it has less of an effect on the noise level inside the room.
Treadmills don’t only vibrate through the floor. The sound goes in all directions. By using a mat, the noise inside the room will be lower as well but the difference is not as big as for the neighbors.
What makes treadmill mats good at reducing noise?
So what makes treadmill mats so special?
Well, they aren’t. Most treadmill mats are just high density rubber or PVC. Rubber is very good at absorbing vibrations. The more rubber there is in between your treadmill and the floor, the better the damping. Of course at some point you are hitting a point of diminishing returns where extra thickness doesn’t help much anymore.
A treadmill mat about ¼” thick provides a good balance of noise damping, price and practicality. Going up to ½” will increase damping. Going up to ¾” is great, it won’t cause any problems, but it’ll cost more and be more difficult to move around.
Besides being thick and heavy there are a few other things a mat should do;
- Non absorbent
- Good looking
Which treadmill mats are best for noise and vibration damping?
Which mats are the best at reducing noise while also being good at the other things a treadmill mat should do?
Here is the top 3
#1: Heavy duty: IncStores ¾” Extreme Mega Rubber Mats
This is a very thick, heavy and sturdy mat. This is the best option for damping noise and vibrations. These rubber mats aren’t only good at damping vibrations but also look great and are very durable.
#2: Practical and affordable: Rubber-Cal treadmill mat
At 3/16” thick, this is a lot thinner than the last option. However, this is also a lot cheaper and easier to handle than the very thick one. This mat is still thicker than the average cheap treadmill mat and is going to absorb a good amount of vibrations.
#3: For hardwood floors: Supermats high density mat
The finish of some hard wood floors doesn’t like the antioxidants in some of the rubber mats. This can cause discoloration in the floor. PVC doesn’t have that problem. It’s not as thick and heavy as rubber but this PVC mat does come close and you don’t have to be worried about your floors.
Alternatively, you can take this opportunity and get the foundations of a home gym right. Gym flooring is the foundation a home gym should be built on. So if you plan on getting more gym equipment later on, why not start right?
Rubber gym flooring is quite similar to a treadmill mat. Foam gym flooring is softer and less durable. It’s very effective at damping noise but you might have to replace it a bit more often.
Doing the whole room in one go will make things look much neater and is a good motivation to get a complete home gym that helps you to get in shape even quicker.
Mat vs. pads to dampen treadmill noise
What is better, a whole treadmill mat or a few pads under the feet of the treadmill?
It depends what aspect you’re looking at. Treadmill mats do a few more things than just damping noise and vibrations.
If you would get the same material as a treadmill mat and made a few pads out of it to put under the treadmill feet, you would get most of the noise and vibration damping benefits. As long as the pads are big enough, it will dampen the same amount of noise being transferred to the floor as a mat.
However, a mat also dampens some noise from other parts of the treadmill by absorbing it even if it doesn’t transfer through the feet. So having the area under the treadmill covered with rubber will dampen slightly more noise.
Besides that, a full mat does provide a few more benefits. It helps keep dirt and dust out of your treadmill which helps a lot with longevity. Also, while the rubber material should prevent slippage, it could still happen over time. It’s much easier for one side of a treadmill to slip of a pad than a full mat.
A mat also looks neater which is a big benefit for most people.
Taking all factors into account, a full treadmill mat is better than just a few pads under the feet. If you’re looking for extra damping, a few cork pads between the mat and the treadmill could help slightly but there’s a point of diminishing returns.
Other treadmill noise damping options
Besides completely insulating the treadmill, what can you do to reduce noise? Here are a few things that can help you a lot in keeping your and your neighbors ears happy;
- Pay attention when shopping for a treadmill: It’s probably too late for this step if you’re reading this, but if it isn’t: there is a big difference in treadmill noise levels. Higher quality units tend to be quieter and absorb more vibrations because of better construction and better damping in the running deck. In general, a treadmill with higher powered motor will be a bit quieter but that’s no guarantee.
- Perform proper maintenance: Keeping everything as tight and lubricated as it’s supposed to will reduce noise and vibrations a lot compared to not doing anything. It’s something that takes a little bit of time but it’s worth it for the extra comfort and lifespan of the treadmill.
- Change training time: If your neighbors are complaining, working out at a different time can help a lot. Try to find a time that works for both of you.
- Pay attention to how you run: The biggest noise comes from the impact of your feet on the belt. Or at least that should be the loudest noise. Running in a way that has less impact will not only produce less noise but it’s also better for your joints. It’s not always possible to improve this but it’s worth taking a look at your technique.
- Room furnishings: For noises that aren’t caught by a treadmill mat, the other things that are in the room make a difference. Noise bounces off of hard surfaces. When it bounces, you have a chance to hear it twice. That means preventing the noise from bouncing around can make a big difference. The treadmill itself isn’t any quieter but, because the noise is absorbed, the amount that makes it to your ears is lower. Soft and heavy things are the best at absorbing noise. Heavy curtains, foam tiles, etc are all great at this.