Running on a treadmill at a good pace boosts your heart rate and fitness level. But how fast do treadmills go? And do you need the fastest machine for the best workout results?

Speed varies based on the treadmill model or brand. Budget-friendly units, for example, have a top speed of 13 to 16 km/h (or 8-10 mph).

Mid-range machines have a max speed of 19 km/h (or 12 mph). Still, others can go as fast as 24 km/h (or 15 mph).

Let’s find out why speed differs among treadmills and whether or not it is crucial to your fitness goals.

How Fast Do Treadmills Go?

Before we start, note that the unit for speed measurement can be in kilometres or miles per hour.

The displayed measurement usually depends on the machine’s country of origin. Remember that 1.6 km/h is 1 mph if you need to do conversions.

When we talk about treadmills and top speed, we focus on the belt and how fast it can spin. It’s like determining the amount of pavement that passes under your feet while running outside.

Regular treadmills work in various speed settings, ranging from 0.4 to 19 km/h. This feature allows users to match their fitness capacities with the proper machine.

Most people, for example, can run at a speed of 16 km/h. But athletes, like seasoned runners, can go as fast as 18 to 29 km/h.

Now, not all treadmills work at such a high speed. That’s because treadmill speed mainly depends on the machine type. And there are two: motorised and manual.

Here’s a more in-depth description.

Health Constitution_Highest Speed of a Treadmill

Motorised treadmills

This treadmill type has a motor to move the belt. Motorised treadmills generally have speed settings for cardio exercise and weight loss, but not for sprinting.

We can further divide this into two subcategories. One is the home treadmill with a maximum speed of 16 to 19 km/h. The other is the commercial treadmill with a max speed of 19 to 22.5 km/h.

Home treadmills are typically simple, compact, lightweight and affordable. On the other hand, commercial models are larger, faster and more heavy-duty.

Compared with home-use counterparts, commercial treadmills suit continuous use and demanding athletes.

But why the difference despite being in the same motorised category? I’ve picked out a few examples from various brands to provide a possible explanation.

Treadmill ModelTop SpeedMotor
Lifespan Fitness Reformer14 km/h2.25 chp
Endurance Athlete Treadmill16 km/h3 chp
Everfit Titan45 Running Machine18 km/h3.5 chp
ProForm Pro 200019 km/h3.25 chp
NordicTrack X32i Incline Trainer19 km/h4.25 chp
Adidas T-19X Treadmill20 km/h4 chp
BH Fitness Pro-Action Series Treadmill25 km/h6.5 chp

Here, I arranged the treadmill models from lowest to highest top speed. Then, I added a column for their motor with the continuous-duty horsepower (chp) rating.

The chp rank represents the amount of power your treadmill can provide throughout without burning up its motor.

The table shows that maximum speed is generally higher as the chp rating increases.

It also highlights the difference between commercial treadmills, like NordicTrack, Adidas and BH Fitness, from home-use machines.

While not definitive proof, we can say that motor output is relevant to how fast do treadmills go.

Moreover, it stresses the importance of considering speed and power when comparing and buying motorised treadmills.

Manual treadmills

This treadmill type does not need a motor or electricity to move the belt. What it needs is your leg power.

Take note that manual curved treadmills are also available. Curved treadmill running is best for stepping up your beginner workouts.

Since the machine depends on the runner’s ability, its speed can go as high as 39 km/h (or 24 mph).

So, if you are at a better fitness level, you can move the treadmill belt faster.

If motorised treadmills are about running based on speed settings, manual ones are about overcoming resistance.

The resistance level increases as you run faster on a manual treadmill.

That means your manual machine is at its top speed when the resistance and leg power are equal.

Health Constitution_How Fast Do Treadmills Go on Average

How Fast should Your Treadmill Be?

We now know the answer to the question of how fast do treadmills go. But does that mean you have to buy the fastest machine available?

Not really. The reason is that most people cannot continuously run under an average home treadmill’s top speed setting.

The National Council on Strength and Fitness even noted that average individuals run at 24 km/h (15 mph) for short periods only.

This speed tolerance can also vary depending on their age, weight, height and culture.

Others also say that treadmill speed should depend on your preferred workout.

For instance, a treadmill with 2.0 chp or less than 10 km/h top speed is best if you like walking exercises.

People into jogging should look for treadmills with at least 2.5 chp or 14-16 km/h top speed.

On the other hand, machines with 3.0 chp are ideal for runners who need higher top speed levels.

What is the Ideal Treadmill Speed for a Good Workout?

There is no fixed speed for treadmill training. While your running pace is essential for a good workout, your fitness level also matters.

You’ll have no problem sprinting on a treadmill, for instance, if you are a regular jogger.

Similarly, a casual gym-goer might be breathless after a few minutes of treadmill running at moderate speed.

And so, start your workout at a slower pace to determine your ideal treadmill pace. Then, gradually crank up the setting as you become stronger.

If you have an existing health condition, consulting your fitness instructor or doctor first is also best.

Aside from your physical capacity to jog or run, your lungs and heart health should support your workout pace, too.

Final Thoughts

Speed is a vital consideration when choosing and using a treadmill. How fast do treadmills go?

It depends on whether you are exercising on a home, commercial or manual machine.

These treadmill types have varying top speed limits to match individual fitness levels and preferences.

The key takeaway is that there is no need to buy the fastest treadmill to get the best workout results.

Instead, choose a treadmill with a speed range that suits your body. Also, make sure to study your treadmill choice and understand its features.

For example, aside from speed, determine how much your treadmill weighs to learn its capacity and functionality.

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