The 10 Best Treadmill Mats
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Whether you own a professional gym or have a dedicated exercise area in your home, both your floors and expensive equipment will benefit from the protection and support provided by one of these treadmill mats. Available in different sizes to meet your needs, many are made from durable, recycled materials and are thick enough to absorb heavy vibrations and dampen noise. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 22, 2020:
We gave this list a bit of a shakeup with our latest update, removing and replacing around half of the items due to availability issues and a desire to diversify our offerings. You'll find a range of sizes and materials to suit varying needs, as well as interlocking and non-interlocking squares and folding designs.
We sadly had to say goodbye to the XMark Fitness XMat Ultra, an ultra-thick and heavy option. We feel the void is adequately filled by the RevTime Heavy Duty, which weighs around thirteen pounds, much less than the 75 that the XMark did, but still weighty enough to ensure it will stay in place and won't curl up or tear.
We also removed the Stamina Fold-to-Fit and supplanted it with the BalanceFrom GoFit, which provides the same folding design and versatility for different machinery. If you're using a treadmill that you put away at the end of the day, this option is ideal, and can be used for bike trainers, small ellipticals, yoga, stretching, and more.
Another new addition is the CyclingDeal Protection, which joins the SuperMats 30GS as a shorter selection at 72 inches long. This can be a boon to those using smaller equipment or who live in tight spaces. Just be sure to measure everything before committing. Finally, we brought on the Marcy Fitness 366 for anyone who wants a straightforward choice that can be relied on for a fair price.
June 17, 2019:
At this time, we still think the Tranr Active Noise Reduction, which is the new name of the ProImpact Mat, is one of the top options available. It's got the sturdiness to go the distance with you, and unlike some thinner models, it's fine for both hardwood and carpet, not just the former. We hesitated with keeping the AmazonBasics model as a top pick, however, since if you purchase multiple packages, the shades may be mismatched (same color but varying lightness/darkness). Technically, this doesn't change the functionality, but it bothers some users. If you're one of those people who like things just so, then you might want to skip it or stick to the black. We also debated about adding the Gympak model, since it works well but is made from PVC, a material some eco-conscious groups have raised concerns about. Whether it definitely is or definitely isn't harmful depends upon whom you ask, so we'll just note that if you're concerned with keeping a strictly eco-friendly household, or if you have young kids who might play on it, it may not be the choice for you.
Greatmats Those looking for flooring solutions for everything from daycares, school gyms, and fitness centers to tradeshows and martial arts classes can peruse tons of offerings for home and commercial use from Greatmats. You'll find everything from artificial turf to portable dance floors, with buying guides to help you make the best choice and useful design assistance tools. greatmats.com
A Brief History Of Treadmills
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.
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.
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.
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.
However, getting in shape doesn't require you to forfeit your home to a giant, electronic house guest.
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.