A mat for under your treadmill is easily overlooked. Most people focus all of their attention on buying the treadmill itself but seem to forget about the importance of a good cushioning layer.
Using the treadmill without a mat isn’t a good idea, because this might cause damage to your floor.
Luckily, you’re here. So you might already know a mat; reduces noise, protects your floor and provides extra cushioning. In this article, you’ll discover the best treadmill mats for carpet, concrete and hardwood floors. So let’s dive into it!
Do you need one (even if you have a carpet floor)?
You might wonder if you need a mat. Long story short; yes, in my opinion, you need one. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to use your treadmill for walking, jogging or running. Or place the treadmill on a hardwood floor, concrete or carpet, using one is always strongly recommended.
Some people may assume you don’t need one if you have a carpeted floor because the floor itself already serves as a cushioning system. Well, carpet does provide more cushioning than a concrete floor, but it certainly isn’t a full replacement.
Without a mat, your machine will be more vulnerable to dust, plus the weight of the machine can still damage your floor. So I recommend using one, even if you have a carpet floor.
Aside from floor protection, noise reduction is one of the biggest benefits of using a mat. When you start to walk or run, the belt and the machine itself is going to vibrate. These vibrations may cause noise.
A mat simply creates a layer of cushioning between your floor and the treadmill which helps to absorb the ‘shocks’. That’s how it reduces noise caused by the vibrations.
It mainly reduces two types of noise; the pounding of your feet and the sound of the machine. The two combined might make more noise than you think. Therefore buying a mat to reduce noise is especially a good idea if; you live in an apartment, use the machine in an office environment or don’t want to disturb any family members.
However, it has to be said that the noise may vary from one model to another. Plus, it will also depend on other factors like your weight and training intensity.
Now that you know the main benefits, you might wonder what the other benefits of a treadmill mat are. In addition to floor protection and noise reduction, it will help to;
- Protect your machine from dust which could cause damage.
- Distribute the weight of the machine which increases the stability.
- Expand the lifetime of your fitness equipment.
- Keep your floor clean from sweat and potentially leaking motor oil.
- Prevent you from slipping.
Why size matters
The proper size makes all the difference. If the mat is too small, it could cause instability. Obviously, it should be at least as large as the treadmill itself. You probably want to get a mat which is a few sizes bigger than the machine because this will help to protect your floor from drops of sweat.
To make a good buying decision, you need to know the dimensions of your machine. Make sure you have the correct length and width, not just the dimensions of the belt because the belt is smaller than the total measurements (duh). You won’t be the first one who buys one that doesn’t fit.
Why thickness matters
The thickness matters because a relatively thick mat usually provides more protection from vibration, noise, and damage. The thickness becomes increasingly important if you have a heavy duty treadmill. Heavy treadmills usually need extra support because the weight will put more pressure on your floor.
If you make the mistake of buying a thin mat, it might tear easily, curl at the ends or still cause your machine to damage the floor.
In my opinion, a mat should at least be 3/16” thick. Thicker mats usually provide more comfort and absorb more noise. Although, the material is certainly as important as the thickness.
What is the best material; PVC or Rubber?
Mats are made from all sorts of materials. Two common materials are PVC (vinyl) and recycled rubber.
PolyVinyl Chloride (PVC) is a popular thermoplastic polymer which is a type of plastic. PVC mats tend to be less durable than rubber mats, because of the material itself and they’re usually thinner than rubber mats. Another possible downside which some PVC mats might have are the release of unpleasant odors, although this usually tends to go away after a few days.
Rubber mats are often made from recycled tires or another type of recycled rubber. Vehicle tires are designed to perform on unforgiving roads. That’s why mats made from recycled rubber are often highly durable and provide good protection for your floor. So that’s why in my opinion, rubber mats are a better choice to put under your treadmill than PVC mats.
Treadmill mat reviews (our top 5 picks)
Rubber-Cal Treadmill Mat
It’s available in two sizes; 48” (W) by 6.5 feet (L) and 48” (W) by 7.5 feet (L). 6.5 feet is approximately the same as 78”, 7.5 feet is roughly the same as 90″. So, the approximate sizes of the Rubber-Cal mats are;
- 48-inches wide and 78-inches (6.5 feet) long
- 48-inches wide and 90-inches (7.5 feet) long
They both have a thickness of 3/16”. Additionally, you may want to know they’re made in the USA.
ProImpact Treadmill Mat
It’s 4 millimeters thick, which is approximately the same as 3/16”. This makes it thick enough to help to protect different types of floors from getting damaged. Of course, I can’t guarantee your floor won’t get damaged, but it’s probably thick and strong enough for most heavier machines and floors.
The total dimensions are; 36” wide and 78” long.
The Stamina Fold-To-Fit is divided into seven 12” folds, which allow you to shorten the total length by folding the individual sections underneath each other.
It has a closed cell foam construction. The foam material helps to reduce the impact of the machine. Plus, it helps to protect your treadmill from carpet fibers, which is useful if you have a carpet floor.
The overall measurements are; 1/4” thick, 36” wide and 84” inch long. So it’s relatively long.
LifeSpan Treadmill Mat
The LifeSpan mat is relatively lightweight and relatively thin. It only weighs 17 pounds and is 2 millimeters thick, which is roughly the same as a thickness of 5/64”. Furthermore, it’s 35.5-inches wide and 78-inches long.
This product might be a good choice if you want to create a small layer between the floor and your machine.
Body Solid Super Mat RF36T
The RF36T from Body Solid is made from PVC material. It’s 36” wide, 78” long and 1/8” thick. 1/8” is relatively thin. Whether it does the job will depend on a lot of factors.
For example, it will depend on; the weight of the machine, your weight, the training intensity, the kind of floor you place it on and your expectations.
And the winner is...
After comparing a lot of mats, there’s one which I believe is the real winner. In my opinion, the winner is the; Rubber-Cal Treadmill Mat.
This one is made from rubber, which has a lot of benefits. Rubber provides good cushioning. The cushioning will absorb the shocks, which in turn helps to reduce the noise. So that’s why I would go for rubber.
Other then the fact that it is made from rubber; the Rubber-Cal is entirely made in the USA, available in two sizes and is thick enough to handle most treadmills. That’s why I recommend the Rubber-Cal.