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Finally, after weeks of research, comparing prices, and deciding which fitness equipment to start your home gym with, you’ve found the best treadmill for a home gym. It gets to your house, and now you have to decide where to put it. 

You have a spare room that’d be great for your new cardio machine, except the room is lined wall to wall with carpeting. Suddenly, you find yourself faced with another important question: Can you put a treadmill on carpet? The answer goes beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

During my 25 years as a competitive athlete, lifting coach, and former CrossFit gym owner, I’ve helped outfit quite a few commercial gyms. I learned the ropes on different gym flooring for various exercise equipment—including cardio equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, and rowing machines.

Here, I’ll break down when you may or may not want to place your treadmill on carpeting, as well as best practices to protect both your treadmill and your flooring. (Spoiler: Get yourself a treadmill mat!)

Can You Place a Treadmill On Carpet?

Whether or not you can put your treadmill on carpeting depends on a few factors, most notably the type of carpet and the size or heft of the treadmill. It’s possible to put a treadmill on carpet, but some situations are less ideal than others. And regardless, I’d strongly recommend using a treadmill mat (more on that in a bit).

Generally speaking, a lighter, more compact treadmill—like a foldable or under-desk treadmill—will be OK to place on low pile carpets, which have shorter carpet fibers that are made in a tight loop. In fact, gyms will commonly place treadmills, vertical climbers, stair steppers, and rowers on tufted carpet to protect the hard surfaces underneath.

RELATED: UREVO Treadmill Review

A woman is shown using the Redliro Under Desk Treadmill while working at a standing desk.

If your treadmill is sizable or heavy, you’ll definitely want to place down a treadmill mat first to prevent damage to your carpet and flooring. Also, high pile carpet with taller, looser fibers pose a greater risk of collecting dust—which could get caught in your treadmill’s machinery and wear down the inner gears.

Risks of Placing a Treadmill On Carpet

Treadmill maintenance is important, as you want to prevent wear and tear on your gym equipment for as long as possible. Setting up your treadmill directly on carpeting can pose a risk to both your treadmill and the carpet.

Treadmills vibrate while in use. It’s minor, but if your treadmill is heavy enough, its heft and the slight vibrations it makes while in use can damage the carpet fibers and cushioning in your flooring. This can cause irreparable dents in your carpet. If you plan on moving your treadmill around later on, you won’t want permanent indentations where your treadmill used to be.

Another issue is that a treadmill can kick up dust and loose fibers from the carpet, which can get caught in the treadmill belt and gears. This can cause premature wear on the treadmill, requiring you to maintain and clean it more frequently.

LifeSpan TR1000 under-desk treadmill in use

OK, so there could be an issue with putting your 250-pound treadmill on high pile carpet. What’s the solution, though? Just use a treadmill mat.

Why Use a Treadmill Mat?

A treadmill mat is typically a rubber mat or an exercise mat made from high-density EVA foam or similar PVC material with a water-resistant, non-slip surface. With dimensions comparable to most home treadmills, the floor mat can be placed underneath the treadmill for both treadmill and floor protection.

Many cardio companies offer a mat for carpet or other hardwood flooring, but you can also find exercise equipment mats on Amazon for reasonable prices.

Floor Protection

GGR senior director of content Kate Meier, NASM-CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1, has a treadmill at her home and stresses the importance of a quality mat for any hard floor or other surface. 

bowflex treadmill mat

“A treadmill mat is most useful for protecting your flooring,” she says. “Treadmills are large, typically very heavy pieces of equipment that can do significant damage to any kind of flooring: hardwood, tile, laminate, or carpet. A mat acts as a great buffer and prevents scuffs, scratches, and tears.”

RELATED: Where To Put a Treadmill in Your Home

If you care about your flooring, a treadmill mat will ensure the treadmill won’t scratch any surfaces.

Treadmill Protection

Not only does a mat protect your floor, it also helps you get the most out of your treadmill by ensuring its protection. Kate explains, “A treadmill mat could further protect your machine against dust buildup, too. If you have your mat on a hard surface, like laminate or wood, dust may easily flow under the treadmill and into the machine’s components. A mat could prevent this from happening.”

sunny health and fitness mat

As discussed before, carpet can also kick up dust, along with the added risk of carpet fibers getting caught in the treadmill’s gears, causing the treadmill to break down prematurely. Labor costs can be costly and painful (unless you have a great treadmill warranty), so getting a treadmill mat reduces the chances of a treadmill wearing down sooner.

Noise Reduction

Along with protection for your floor and treadmill, a treadmill mat can also help with noise reduction. Treadmills can be loud, but a thick mat can absorb the vibrations and dampen the noise. This can be particularly helpful if you’re in an apartment or have your treadmill on a second floor, as it’ll help reduce the noise traveling through the walls and floor.

RELATED: The 5 Best Quiet Treadmills

Easy To Clean

Trying to vacuum carpet underneath a hefty treadmill can be a burden. Most treadmill mats, however, are water-resistant and super easy to wipe down in between uses. After a long, sweaty treadmill run, you can easily wipe down a treadmill mat to keep your treadmill station fresh and clean.

What To Consider When Buying a Treadmill Mat

There aren’t too many differences between one treadmill mat and another. The material can vary, whether it’s a rubber mat, or a PVC mat like the ones provided by SuperMats. Regardless of material, treadmill mats are still doing the same job. That said, there are a few things to consider when purchasing a mat for your treadmill.

Price

The cost of a treadmill mat can vary from brand to brand. Some companies include free or discounted mats with their treadmills. If you’re looking for your own quality treadmill mat, though, you can expect a price between $25 and $100.

Dimensions

If you’re still shopping for your treadmill, you’ll need to make sure the treadmill mat you purchase is big enough to work for any potential options you’re considering. If you have a treadmill already, measure it to make sure you buy a mat that’ll fit with it. Fortunately, many treadmill mats come in a variety of sizes to accommodate multiple treadmills.

Thickness

If noise reduction is important to you, you’ll want a thicker mat, as that can absorb more noise before the sound hits the floor. Most treadmill mats range from 0.25 and 0.5 inches. For more protection and noise-dampening properties, look for a thick mat.

Treadmill Mat Alternatives

Treadmill in a gym floored with Stamina Mats

Depending on your budget or where you have your treadmill, you can use some basic alternatives.

  • Horse stall mat: If your treadmill is in your garage gym by your best dumbbells, chances are you won’t want it on your concrete floor. A stall mat or another type of rubber home gym flooring can provide ample protection for your floor and the treadmill.
  • Low pile rugs: If you have some old rugs lying around your house, you can layer them underneath your treadmill to help protect your flooring. Just make sure the rug has low pile fibers that are looped, or else you’ll have the same risk of carpet fibers and dust that you’d have with high pile carpeting.
  • Yoga mat: Although it’s thinner than most treadmill mats, a yoga mat can provide decent protection for your floor and treadmill. I would warn that heavier treadmills might still leave indentations through the yoga mat on carpeting since the yoga mat is thinner.

These are all decent alternatives to a treadmill mat, although in the end, I’d suggest saving up and paying for a bit more protection for your floor and treadmill.

Can You Put a Treadmill On Carpet? Final Thoughts

Unless you have an under-desk or folding treadmill that you stow away in between uses, you’ll want to reconsider your treadmill on a carpeted floor. If your carpet is low pile and your treadmill is light enough, you may be able to place your treadmill on the carpeting without any issues. However, a treadmill mat is extremely useful to help protect your flooring and treadmill in the long run.

Now that you know the pros and cons of a treadmill on carpet, here are some best practices for having your treadmill on carpeting:

  • Place a treadmill mat or similar protective layer underneath your treadmill.
  • Maintain and clean your treadmill regularly.
  • Clean the surrounding carpet to reduce your chance of stray dust and fibers getting caught in the treadmill.

Can You Put a Treadmill On Carpet? FAQs

Do I need a mat under my treadmill on the carpet?

While certain carpets may pose less of a risk than others, carpets can kick up dust and carpet fibers into the treadmill’s inner workings, which could potentially shorten the lifespan of a treadmill. Likewise, a heavy treadmill could damage the carpet and cause permanent indentations to your carpeting.

Because of these reasons, you should have a treadmill mat to protect your treadmill from the carpeting and vice versa.

What do you put under a home treadmill?

Treadmill mats are typically the dimensions of a treadmill and are made of rubber, EVA foam, or PVC material. This water-resistant mat is easy to clean, and helps protect your floor from any scratches or scuffs that may occur. Likewise, the mat can help prevent dust and fibers entering your treadmill gears and belt.

Do walking pad treadmills work on carpet?

Walking pad treadmills can work on low pile carpets, but high pile carpeting might create a less stable surface for the lighter treadmill, which will make it unsteady and a bit of a hazard while in use. Additionally, longer carpet fibers can allow for more dust and fibers to get caught in the treadmill, which can affect the treadmill’s longevity. 

In that case, I’d recommend using a treadmill mat underneath the walking pad, and if you’re able to, find a more secure and level flooring to use your walking pad.

RELATED: Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill Review

Is it safe to place a heavy treadmill on an upstairs floor?

Yes, it’s safe to place a heavy treadmill on an upstairs floor, although I suggest using a treadmill mat to prevent damaging the floor. That said, moving a heavy and bulky treadmill up and down stairs can be a hassle, so make sure that is where you want the treadmill before making the move.

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