Updated August 29, 2018 by Melissa Harr

The 7 Best Treadmill Mats

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether you own a professional gym or have an exercise area in your home or apartment, both your floors and expensive equipment will benefit from the extra protection and support provided by one of these dedicated treadmill mats. Available in different sizes depending on your needs, many are made from recycled materials and are thick enough to absorb both heavy vibrations and excess noise. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best treadmill mat on Amazon.

7. Stamina Fold-to-Fit

6. Wonder Mat Extra Thick

5. SuperMats Heavy Duty

4. Rubber Cal 48-Inch

3. ProImpact Mat

2. AmazonBasics Interlocking

1. BalanceFrom GoFit

A Brief History Of Treadmills

While climbing, the convicts pushed a paddlewheel that ground up grain.

If you're the type of person who dreads going to the gym, then you probably don't need us to tell you that treadmills were once designed to be torture devices.

Well, technically, before that the Romans used similar devices, called "treadwheels," in the 1st century C.E. to move heavy objects. These replaced the winches they were using in their cranes, since they could enable them to lift twice as much weight using half as much manpower.

The first treadmill as we know it, however, was invented in 1817 C.E. by a British engineer named Sir William Cubitt. While observing prisoners at a jail (you know, like you do), he noticed that many of them were standing around idly.

Never one to shy away from volunteering other people for work, Cubitt went to work devising a way to utilize their untapped muscle power while also producing useful labor. His idea consisted of a rotating horizontal axis that required prisoners to walk upwards, like climbing a Sisyphean staircase.

While climbing, the convicts pushed a paddlewheel that ground up grain. The prisoners did this for six or more hours a day, and the cruelty of the practice was highlighted by people eager to spur on prison reform, until the use of treadmills in jails was officially ended with the Prisons Act of 1889.

Naturally, exercise scientists were the only people sadistic enough to take technology that was too cruel for prisons and inflict it on the general public. In 1952, a Washington cardiologist named Dr. Robert Bruce began to use a version of a treadmill to diagnose heart and lung conditions.

Sixteen years later, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper published a revolutionary book that championed the practice of aerobics for improving heart health. As a result, doctors across the nation began to recommend the use of both treadmills and exercise bikes for those who found it difficult to do the real thing.

Inspired by this, a man named Bill Staub noticed that there were few quality options available for home use, so he made his own prototype, which he then shared with Dr. Cooper. Cooper loved it and helped Staub market and mass produce his invention, called the PaceMaster 600.

Since then, treadmills have become mainstays in both home and commercial gyms, and today's units boast everything from high-definition video screens to flux capacitors (well, maybe not flux capacitors...yet).

One thing hasn't changed, however: if you want to get in great shape, spend some time on a treadmill.

Also, try not to spend that time thinking about how you'd rather be in prison.

Benefits Of Using A Treadmill

Hopefully you already realize that walking, jogging, and running are all fantastic for your overall health, so we won't try to sell you on getting in shape. Instead, the question you should consider is: do you really need a treadmill?

One of the biggest benefits of owning a treadmill is that it will save you time and eventually money, at least compared to going to the gym.

One of the biggest benefits of owning a treadmill is that it will save you time and eventually money, at least compared to going to the gym.

However, a treadmill has advantages over just grabbing some running shoes and pounding the pavement, as well. First off, "pounding the pavement" is about as hard on your joints as it sounds, whereas most treadmills offer you a much more forgiving surface to run on.

It's also safer than hitting the streets, especially if you only have time to run very early in the morning or late at night. If you like to have your earbuds in while you run, it's especially smart to stay indoors, since the bad guys target people who are distracted. Better to play it safe and listen to your workout mix from the security of your own home.

Also, if you get hit by a car while you're on a treadmill, you're doing something wrong.

While it's certainly true that you don't need a treadmill, having one can make it easier and safer for you to get your daily workout in — which makes you more likely to stay consistent.

And, worst-case scenario, it'll make a fantastic clothes rack.

Finding Space For Your Treadmill

One of the biggest things that prevents people from buying a treadmill is how big and bulky the things are.

However, getting in shape doesn't require you to forfeit your home to a giant, electronic house guest. Many treadmills fold up for easy storage, and the ones that don't are usually on wheels, so you can move them out of the way when you need to.

Many treadmills fold up for easy storage, and the ones that don't are usually on wheels, so you can move them out of the way when you need to.

If you get a larger one, a good way to find the right spot for it is to set the treadmill mat down first. Since they're a little larger than the machine itself, you'll have a good idea of how much space you have (and you won't have to take the treadmill apart to move it).

Don't give yourself the bare minimum amount of space, either. You want at least two feet of room on either side, so that you can get on and off easily, and another two feet in the front for ventilation. More importantly, you want to have about six feet behind the machine — in case you fall off.

It happens more often than you think, and if you fall and end up slamming into the wall behind you, you could get nasty third-degree friction burns from the belt rubbing against your skin. (In a related story: always clip the emergency stop mechanism to your shirt.)

In an ideal world, you should clear out enough space for a nice little home gym, so that you can also lift weights, swing a kettlebell or do yoga when you're not running.

Of course, in an ideal world, you wouldn't need to exercise at all, and kettlebells would be made of chocolate.

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Melissa Harr
Last updated on August 29, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.


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