A quality treadmill mat is a protective layer you put between your flooring and fitness equipment. While it has many benefits, I have just as many questions about this accessory. For instance, how thick should a treadmill mat be?
Treadmill enthusiasts agree that a 5-mm-thick mat suits most floor surface types and user needs.
But then, there are also thicker mats available. Is this option better than the average treadmill mat?
Let’s find out why mat thickness varies and how this specification affects your purchasing decision.
Keep reading and learn whether you can make an existing mat thicker or use a yoga mat instead.
Why Are Some Mats Thick or Thin?
Treadmill mat thickness varies mainly because of the construction material used.
And there are three common types based on material: PVC, rubber and foam.
Each of these material types has different thickness ranges. For easier comparison, here’s a table highlighting them:
|Treadmill Mat Type||Thickness Range|
|EVA foam||10 mm or more|
|Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)||5 to 8 mm|
|Rubber||3 to 20 mm|
Here, you can see that foam and rubber are the thicker treadmill mat, while PVC ones are on the thinner side.
Rubber mats also have a more varied thickness range than the other two types.
Which Mat Thickness Is Right for Me?
Now that we know that treadmill mats have different thickness levels, should you go for the thickest mat?
Won’t this option provide the best cushioning for your floor?
Well, each mat has distinct characteristics, and your choice should not only depend on answering how thick should a treadmill mat be.
To know which mat suits you best, determine why you need one first.
I’ve identified some aspects you might be looking for to help you out.
Foam mats are soft and lightweight, making them easy to roll or fold. But they also wear out faster.
These may not be a good choice if you are a frequent treadmill runner looking for a hard-wearing mat.
PVC mats are a better option as they are moderately durable.
However, their limited thickness range may make them harder to fit in varying treadmill user needs.
Generally, thinner mats are more prone to tearing caused by foot impact and treadmill weight.
Best option: A rubber treadmill mat is ideal in terms of longevity.
Its extremely durable material absorbs shock well and recovers faster from the impact of heavy treadmill routines.
Vibration and noise absorption
Treadmills can generate noise that others may find disruptive.
The sound of your feet hitting the deck becomes louder, too, without a mat underneath.
If your treadmill is in the garage or basement where the noise level is not an issue, then thin PVC mats will do.
But if you have your treadmill upstairs or are staying in an apartment, a thicker treadmill mat is best.
Remember: the thicker the mat, the better the vibration and noise reduction.
Best option: Mats with rubber material are perfect as they come in various thickness levels.
With this type, it’s easier to find a sufficiently thick mat with high noise-reducing properties.
You can also opt for 20mm-thick rubber gym flooring if you need maximum noise damping.
Value for money
Generally, treadmill mats share similar features no matter their construction type.
But if budget is a priority, rubber mats probably won’t be at the top of your list.
While these are thick and durable, they are also the most expensive. It won’t be a practical choice if you’re not a heavy treadmill user either.
Also, you don’t have to spend on high-end mats for a lightweight walking pad.
Best option: PVC mats are not as pricey as their rubber counterparts.
They also have a thickness range that fits average to casual treadmill use.
It might be hard to fit in a thick rectangular treadmill floor mat if you have an irregular-shaped gym room.
Some users may also prefer a mat that covers the area other than the outer edge of their treadmill.
Also, other treadmill owners may have more than one exercise machine and require multiple but affordable treadmill mats.
Best option: Interlocking EVA foam mats are excellent when you want this level of flexibility.
They look like square puzzle pieces you can join together any way you want to cover the surface.
Can I Make My Thin Treadmill Mat Thicker?
You now have an idea of how thick should a treadmill mat be. However, what if you already have one at home?
Is there a way to upcycle it and not buy a new one? Or how can you make your existing mat thicker without spending a lot?
Here are some suggestions you can try for better soundproofing and cushioning:
- Stack two thin mats. Ideally, place one small mat on top of a large-sized mat to prevent them from sliding off. One example is placing a yoga mat on a PVC mat or stacking PVC and foam mats.
- Use a carpet or rug. An extra layer beneath your thin mat should increase its noise-damping ability. But make sure your thin mat has materials that won’t stain or damage your chosen underlay.
- Put some rubber tiles. Compared with a rubber mat, smaller tiles are less expensive. And you can place them under each foot of your treadmill machine. Rubber tiles should lessen the stress on your thinner foam or PVC mat placed at the very bottom.
Test out a few times and observe whichever mat tweak you use. Ensure that your machine is always stable and level.
Can I Use a Yoga Mat for a Treadmill Mat?
I’ve mentioned that you can use a yoga mat with other thinner treadmill mats. But how about using a yoga mat only. Is this thick enough?
Well, the softness of your yoga mat can help dampen treadmill noise and protect your flooring.
It’s also easy to maintain and can protect your machine from dust.
However, yoga mats are on the thin side. Compared with dense rubber, your yoga mat cannot withstand the long-term loading of a heavy treadmill.
Over time, it will compress under the weight and be less effective in reducing noise or protecting your floor.
Also, yoga mats do not have enough grip to keep your treadmill in place as you work out.
Aside from thickness, size is also a concern. Specifically, most yoga mats are not wide enough for a bulky machine like your treadmill.
Remember that your mat must be 7.6cm wider than your treadmill base on all sides.
This measurement ensures that the base stays within the treadmill mat for stability and security.
Yoga mats are generally acceptable, but a treadmill mat will do a better job in all aspects.
So, how thick should a treadmill mat be? Well, it depends on several factors.
Do you need to lessen the noise? A rubber mat is the most effective in this case.
But if you’re a casual treadmill user on a strict budget, a PVC or foam is the way to go.
Spend time assessing your needs before grabbing the first mat you see. After all, this accessory will protect your prized fitness investment.
Are you still looking for the best partner to go with your mat? This treadmill buying guide and review article might be of help.
A mat is a functional accessory that prevents a heavy treadmill plus aerobic impact from making indentations on your floor. It also helps dampen noise and vibration. If you have a lightweight treadmill like a walking pad, a mat has a grip to keep it from moving around as you exercise.
2. Do I need a treadmill mat on the carpet?
Treadmill mats protect your carpet from impact damage and sweat. These also block carpet dust and fibre from getting into your gym equipment. With a mat lining your carpeted floor, your treadmill space should be easier to clean and maintain, too.