How to Reduce Treadmill Noise in an Apartment: 11 Super Useful Tips!


You probably didn’t think about the noise when you were buying your treadmill. But now it’s annoying as your jogging and trying to watch TV or listen to music at the same time.

Or perhaps it’s annoying your spouse, kids etc. Many treadmills are so loud that the neighbors can start giving you funny looks. Perhaps they already are.

If you’re determined to minimize treadmill noise, this is the full guide you were Googling for. I’ll show you a few simple and quick ways to do it by yourself. And a few harder but more effective soundproofing methods.

I’ll share all the methods that can help, and you can decide which ones to use depending on the severity of the noise you’re dealing with. But following any of these steps, I promise that you’ll notice a reduction in noise as soon as your next run.

1. Use the treadmill on a completely flat surface

Make sure that the treadmill is on a flat surface, and that all sides are even. If it leans on one side even a little, it will wobble when used. Any wobbling will obviously create noise and will cause damage to the treadmill in the long run (pun intended). So it’s the first problem you should eliminate.

2. Place anti-vibration, non-slip pads under corners/wheels

Anti-vibration pads are useful additions for machines that vibrate on the floor. They come in handy for washers, fridges, and most of all, loud treadmills. By placing soft but thick rubber pads under each corner and/or wheel of the treadmill, you can eliminate the vibrations that occur as it’s pressing against the floor.

This is especially helpful if your treadmill is on a concrete or hardwood floor. There are various anti-vibration pads and mats you can use. Just keep in mind the size of the corners on your treadmill. The pads/mats should be slightly bigger than the corners so that they stay in place while its being used

Also make sure that they’re at least half an inch thick to really absorb the noise. These anti-vibration pads can fit on most treadmills. They’re often used in commercial gyms that don’t have the interlocking floor mats already in place.

3. Place a rubber mat under the treadmill

This is an alternative approach that can be used instead of the anti-vibration pads. It’s more a thing of preference than anything. Also, some treadmills are completely or almost completely flat. In that case, a rubber mat that covers the entire area under the treadmill is the best solution both for protecting the floor, the treadmill and for shock absorption.

Before buying a treadmill mat, make sure that it’s large enough to cover the whole area under the treadmill. You’ll also want it to to be durable and made out of thick and dense rubber. Refer to other customer’s reviews of the product to see if it’s durable and if it absorbs the noise well or not.

The most popular treadmill mat as the moment is the Rubber-Cal Treadmill Mat. It’s available in two sizes, 48-inch x 6.5 feet and 48-inch x 7.5 feet. This is the best option from all the user comments I could find on Amazon and fitness forums.

Until your pro rubber mat arrives, you can try placing a thick rug under the treadmill to absorb at least some vibrations.

4. Soundproof the room

Chances are that you don’t have a special room for working out. Most people use their treadmill in the living room, in front of the TV. But regardless of that, if the noise bothers people in other rooms, you can use a few soundproofing techniques on the walls, doors and/or windows.

Installing a layer of drywall is a common way to add mass to the wall. This additional mass can prevent a lot of the noise from escaping the room. You can also place mineral wool batts between the wall joists. Another option is to screw mass loaded vinyl on the wall joists.

All of this can work for soundproofing a regular wall or a ceiling. But if you’re not interested in reconstructing a wall since it’s time consuming and messy, you can simply hang a layer or two of moving blankets on the wall.

These will reduce the echo in the room and absorb some of the noise. It’s the most affordable and easiest option. You can learn more about soundproofing a wall in this article.

If the noise is troubling people downstairs, installing a floor underlay (also known as a subfloor) is the solution. By doing so, you can further insulate the floor against sound and temperature changes. Together with a rubber mat it can completely eliminate all noise complaints.

However, the most vulnerable part of the room as far as travelling noise is concerned are hollow interior doors. However, these are relatively easy to soundproof. First eliminate any gaps and cracks. You’ll find some gaps between the door and the frame.

Also between the door and the floor. To eliminate the first gap, tape the door frame with weatherstripping tape. For the second gap, use a regular door sweep. I have a standard silicone door sweep on all doors in my apartment. As far as the hollow door itself, it can be strengthened in a number of ways.

Filling the hollow part with soundproofing material is one option. The easiest option is to tack one or two moving blankets on the door. Fiberglass panels can also be used. Or installing a curtain rod and hanging long noise-blocking curtains in front of the door. These are all viable options, and I explain them in more detail in this article.

If you’re worried about the treadmill noise making its way through the window, sealing the gaps with weatherstripping tape is the first thing you should do. Similar to the door frame, tape the window frame until there’s a proper seal when the window is closed.

Next, you can hang thick noise-blocking curtains on the window. Or you can use a home-made window plug to plug the window when you’re using the treadmill and remove it when you’re done. Both of these options will block sunlight, so perhaps adding an additional acrylic window pane would work better for you. You can read more about all the options in this article.

5. Lubricate the belt

Every treadmill has a belt. It maintains steady contact with the treadmill’s rollers and keeps them rolling silently. If the belt is dry, there is increased friction and more noise than normal. The belt should be lubricated every 3-6 months, depending on how much you use it. This way you can keep the noise at a minimum.

How to lubricate the belt in your treadmill? That depends on the design, and can vary from one treadmill to another. Refer to the user manual to see how it’s done properly on your treadmill. You can also refer to this procedure:

What oil to use on a treadmill belt? This depends on the specific treadmill. Therefore, you should find this information in the user (owner’s) manual. If you bought your treadmill in the store, you probably have the required oil in the starter kit that came along with it, along with the tools. This oil can last for years so if you have the starter kit, it’s probably still there.

If you don’t have a user manual and starter kit, try Googling your model to see if there’s information from the manufacturer available online. If not, you can use a standard lubrication oil. Almost every treadmill belt requires a synthetic, petroleum-free oil.

This treadmill lubricant has over 1000 positive customer reviews on Amazon. It works well for most treadmill brands, including Nautilus, Life Fitness, Horizon and many others. Does it work for your brand as well? The info is available on the product page.

6. Wear lighter shoes or go barefoot

Running in military boots will produce more noise than running in light running shoes. I know for a fact how big of a difference shoes can make. I used to run with pretty heavy shoes (I call them tanks) in the past. They made a lot of noise and they also made me feel heavy and slow.

So definitely give lighter footwear a try. You can also try running or walking barefoot or in socks. It’s actually good for the feet and for the psyche to walk barefoot from time to time.

I know that these are not exactly “fixes” for the treadmill itself. But it’s something you can try straight away and see if it makes a difference or not.

7. Use the treadmill at specific hours

If you’re worried about disturbing the neighbors, try to use the treadmill at a decent time. Generally, don’t use it before 8 am or after 8 pm. If you know the neighbor’s work schedule and other habits, try using the treadmill when they’re away from home. If there’s no one there to complain, does the noise even exist?

8. Relocate the treadmill

Another way to minimize the disturbance to others is to relocate the treadmill. Perhaps you can’t do this due to the size of your apartment or the way it’s organized. But here are two general guidelines.

  1. Place the treadmill as far away from the neighbors bedroom and living room.
  2. Station the treadmill in the middle of the room. This way you will minimize the echo from the walls.

9. Walk or run on an incline

Does your treadmill have the incline option? If yes, see if it makes less noise when you’re running or walking on the incline. I’m pretty sure there will be noise, since you will be going slower and gentler.

I personally prefer a slight incline on the treadmill for exercising the glutes, hamstrings and calves. Regular running taxes the lungs too quickly. If you’re using the treadmill to strengthen the legs and lose weight, a slight incline is the better option anyway.

10. Run slower

The faster you run, the more vibration you’ll produce, because you’re basically jumping on the treadmill in high speed. As I mentioned previously, you don’t have to REALLY run slow and reduce your performance in order to alleviate vibrations.

By running or walking on an incline, you can go slower and still sweat out and work out the leg and abdomen muscles with the same effectiveness. Plus, your neighbors will definitely praise your new workout strategy. I wonder why. 🙂

11. Purchase a quieter treadmill

Not all treadmill create the same amount of noise. Some have a quieter engine, stronger base, better (and more) shock absorbers etc.

These are all factors that can reduce the noise by a couple of decibel levels, which can be enough to completely solve the problem.

If you’re interested in buying a quieter treadmill, these are my top 5 recommendations. In this article you’ll also find a few more quiet workout strategies that you perhaps didn’t think about before.

Final Thoughts

Reducing treadmill noise can be difficult. Especially if the floor, walls and ceiling are thin and don’t absorb impact noise too well. The vibrations are the biggest problem. Placing a rubber mat under the treadmill will definitely help.

Running or walking on an incline and using running footwear or going barefoot can further reduce noise. Basically, all of the tips that I’ve shared with you can help, and if you combine them you may get excellent results.

If that’s not enough, soundproofing the room by adding mass to the walls, doors, windows and/or the floor is the next step. An extra soundproofing barrier between the source of the noise (treadmill) and the receiver of the noise (neighbor or housemate) will DEFINITELY be effective. Hope this helps and see you around!

 

Luka Baron

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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