How Thick Should A Treadmill Mat Be To Work Well?

Do you need the thickest treadmill mat you can get or can you get away with something a bit thinner? The thickness does have an impact on functionality. If you’re ready to find the optimal treadmill mat, let’s dive in and find your perfect match!

Thicker treadmill mats are better at protecting the floor and reducing noise transmission. They also provide a more stable base on softer surfaces like carpet. 3/16″ (4.8mm) is the minimum thickness for low-intensity workouts while 3/8″ (9mm) thick mats are good fur running.

Workout TypeRecommended Mat Thickness
Light Workouts and Walking RoutinesAt least 3/16″ (4.8mm), Preferably 1/4 inch (6mm)
Intense Running and High-Impact WorkoutsAt least 3/8 inch (9mm) or more

What are the exact differences between different thickness treadmill mats, when you need what, and which factors to consider? Keep reading to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Thicker treadmill mats offer better floor protection and reduce noise transmission.
  • They provide a more stable base, especially on softer surfaces like carpet.
  • For low-intensity workouts, a minimum thickness of 3/16″ is recommended.
  • For running activities, 3/8″ thick mats are suitable.
  • The right mat can create a peaceful and stable workout environment.
  • Choosing the appropriate thickness depends on the intensity of your workouts and the surface you’re using.

What Does a Treadmill Mat Do?

A treadmill mat serves several important functions that contribute to a better home gym experience. Let’s explore the key benefits of using a treadmill mat:

  1. Protects Your Flooring: A treadmill mat acts as a protective barrier between your treadmill and the floor, preventing scratches, scuffs, and other damage.
    • It safeguards your valuable flooring, whether it’s hardwood, carpet, laminate, or any other type.
  2. Dampens Noise and Vibrations: By absorbing vibrations and reducing noise generated during your workouts, a treadmill mat helps maintain a quieter environment in your home.
    • It minimizes disturbances for you and others in the vicinity, especially if you live in an apartment or have neighbors close by.
  3. Prevents Dust and Dirt Build-Up: The mat creates a barrier that prevents dust, dirt, and debris from accumulating underneath your treadmill.
    • This makes cleaning your exercise area easier and helps maintain a hygienic environment.
  4. Provides a Stable Base: A treadmill mat offers stability, keeping your treadmill securely in place during intense workouts.
    • It prevents the equipment from sliding or shifting, ensuring a safe and comfortable exercise experience.
  5. Reduces Treadmill Movement: With its anti-slip properties, the mat helps minimize treadmill movement during use.
    • It provides a reliable foundation, allowing you to focus on your workout without distractions or concerns about the treadmill shifting.
  6. Easy to clean: Running makes you sweaty and some of that sweat will make it’s way to the floor around the treadmill.
    • Carpet, foam or other absorbent materials will absorb the sweat and create a perfect environment for bacteria, mold, mildew and bad odors.

It’s important to no that the thickness does not impact all of those benefits. That’s why most treadmill mats are actually quite thing. As long as it’s heavy and wear-resistant enough, a thin treadmill mat will work fine and probably cost less as well.

Suggested post: Do you really need a treadmill mat?

What Treadmill Mat Thickness Impacts

The impact of treadmill mat thickness on the benefits it provides can vary to some extent. While the primary functions of a treadmill mat, such as floor protection and stability, are generally consistent across different thicknesses, certain factors can be influenced by the mat’s thickness. Let’s dive deeper into the impact of treadmill mat thickness on the key benefits:

  • Floor Protection: Treadmill mats, regardless of thickness, offer a protective layer to shield your flooring from scratches, scuffs, and other damage caused by the treadmill.
    • Thicker mats provide slightly more cushioning and impact resistance, which can be advantageous if you have delicate or sensitive flooring surfaces, such as hardwood.
    • However, even thinner mats with adequate wear resistance can effectively protect most flooring types. Thicker mats do last a little longer though.
  • Noise and Vibration Dampening: Treadmill mats play a significant role in reducing noise and vibrations generated during workouts.
    • Thicker mats tend to have better noise and vibration-dampening properties due to their increased density and cushioning.
    • They absorb and dissipate vibrations more effectively, resulting in a quieter exercise experience.
    • If noise reduction is a priority, especially in shared living spaces or apartments with thin walls/floors, opting for a thicker mat can provide enhanced sound insulation
  • Preventing Dust and Dirt Build-Up: The thickness of a treadmill mat does not significantly impact its ability to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating underneath the treadmill.
    • Both thin and thick mats create a barrier that helps keep the area clean and minimizes the build-up of debris.
    • Regular cleaning and maintenance are still necessary regardless of the mat thickness to ensure optimal cleanliness.
  • Stability and Treadmill Movement: Treadmill mats, regardless of thickness, provide stability and help prevent treadmill movement during workouts.
    • Thicker mats offer a more substantial base, especially for heavier treadmills.
    • Thicker mats are heavier and they do tend to move even less.
    • Thicker mats provide more stability on surfaces like plush carpet.
  • Ease of cleaning: The thickness doesn’t have any impact on how easy it is to clean the mat. The material does.

So the three key factors thickness has an impact on are: flooring protection, noise damping, and stability

Find the best treadmill mats here.

Treadmill mats rolled

As said above, a thinner mat will reduce noise and vibration damping. That means the thinner the mat, the more noise people in other rooms around the treadmill can hear. If you’re on the ground floor and/or don’t have any neighbors. This isn’t really an issue you have to think about so a thinner mat will still provide you all the other benefits.

If you live in an apartment with thin walls/floors or in a house with many other people, a thicker mat that dampens more noise is a good idea to prevent complaints.

Suggested post: Quiet alternatives to a treadmill

Benefits of Different Thickness Treadmill Mats

Benefits of Thin Treadmill Mats

  • Ease of Storage: Thin mats are often lightweight and easy to roll up or fold, making them convenient for storage and transportation. This can be a benefit under a foldable treadmill.
  • Affordability: Thin mats are generally more budget-friendly, offering a cost-effective solution for protecting your floors and minimizing vibrations. They are a great option for those on a tight budget or looking for a temporary flooring solution.

Benefits of Thick Treadmill Mats

  • Superior Shock Absorption: Thicker mats provide excellent shock absorption, reducing the impact on your joints and muscles. This can be particularly beneficial if you engage in high-intensity workouts or have joint sensitivities.
  • Enhanced Noise Reduction: Thicker mats effectively absorb vibrations and minimize noise, ensuring a quieter workout experience. This is especially important if you have neighbors or family members living below or adjacent to your home gym area.

Factors to Consider

When determining the ideal treadmill mat thickness for your home gym, several factors come into play. First, consider the type of flooring in your workout area. Whether you have carpeted, hardwood, laminate, or any other type of flooring, the mat thickness should provide adequate protection and stability.

Different flooring materials may have varying levels of susceptibility to damage from heavy exercise equipment, such as treadmills. Hardwood floors, for instance, require extra caution to prevent scratches and dents, making thicker mats a wise choice.

Next, consider the weight and size of your treadmill. The heavier the treadmill, the more impact it can have on your flooring. A thicker mat will help distribute the weight more evenly, reducing the risk of damage and ensuring better stability during your workouts. Additionally, larger treadmills with wider decks may benefit from thicker mats to accommodate their dimensions and provide ample coverage.

Another crucial factor to consider is the level of noise reduction you desire. Treadmill mats play a significant role in dampening vibrations and minimizing noise generated during workouts.

Thicker mats excel in this regard, providing superior sound insulation and creating a quieter exercise environment. If noise reduction is a priority, opting for a thicker mat can help maintain a peaceful atmosphere in your home while you exercise.

Treadmill Mat Material

One thing you should really keep in mind is the material of the mat you’re going to use. Rubber, vinyl and PVC are common materials for treadmill mats.

The choice of treadmill mat material can have an impact on the needed thickness, as different materials possess varying properties and performance characteristics. Let’s compare some common treadmill mat materials and discuss their influence on the required thickness:

  1. Rubber: Rubber mats are popular for treadmill use due to their durability, resilience, and excellent shock absorption properties.
    • They provide a stable and cushioned surface, reducing the impact on joints and minimizing vibrations.
    • Rubber mats are available in many different thickness options, ranging from 3/16″ to 1″.
    • Thicker rubber mats tend to offer superior shock absorption and noise reduction, making them ideal for high-impact workouts and heavier treadmills.
  2. PVC/Vinyl: PVC or vinyl mats are lightweight, affordable, and easy to clean.
    • They provide a protective layer between the treadmill and the floor while offering moderate shock absorption.
    • PVC mats are available in various thicknesses, usually from 4mm-8mm, and thicker options can enhance the cushioning effect and noise-dampening capabilities.
    • PVC mats are not as good as rubber in noise and shock damping and are not as durable but they are a lot cheaper.
  3. Foam: Foam mats are lightweight, soft, and comfortable underfoot.
    • They offer good shock absorption and can help reduce noise and vibrations to a certain extent.
    • Personally, I don’t like foam mats since they don’t have the longevity of other materials and are also hard to clean.
  4. Composite Materials: Some treadmill mats are made of composite materials that combine rubber, foam, or other components.
    • These materials are engineered to offer a balance of durability, cushioning, and noise reduction.
    • The thickness of composite mats can vary, with thicker options generally providing enhanced shock absorption and stability.
Rubber– Excellent floor protection
– Superior noise reduction
– Provides a stable base on soft surfaces
– Durable and long-lasting
PVC– Good floor protection
– Effective noise reduction, not as good as rubber
– Offers stability on softer surfaces
– Affordable and widely available
Choose either rubber or PVC. Foam isn’t up to the task and composite materials are rare and rarely worth the premium over rubber.

Treadmill Mat Thickness Recommendations

Now that you understand the factors to consider when choosing a treadmill mat thickness, let’s delve into determining the ideal thickness based on various treadmill usage scenarios.

Whether you engage in light workouts, intense running sessions, or operate a commercial gym, we have guidelines to help you find the perfect balance of thickness and performance.

  • Light Workouts and Walking Routines: For individuals who primarily engage in light workouts, such as brisk walking or slow jogging, a thinner treadmill mat can provide adequate floor protection and cushioning.
    • A mat with a thickness of around 1/4 inch (6mm) can offer sufficient support for low-impact activities without compromising stability. These thinner mats are often lightweight and easy to store, making them convenient for home gym enthusiasts with limited space.
  • Intense Running and High-Impact Workouts: If you’re an avid runner or regularly engage in high-impact workouts, a thicker treadmill mat is recommended to minimize the strain on your joints and reduce noise.
    • Opt for a mat with a thickness of at least 3/8 inch (9mm) or more. These thicker mats provide enhanced shock absorption, ensuring a comfortable and supportive surface for your intense workouts. Additionally, they excel at reducing vibrations, helping to maintain a quieter workout environment.

Recommended Treadmill Mats

The best treadmill mats are rubber, at least 3/16″ or 3/8″ thick, and made from rubber. Here are some really high-quality options. You’ll also find one PVC treadmill mat that’s higher quality than the average.

Favorite Cardio Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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