Treadmills motors – How much horsepower do you need for running

by Jack on July 28, 2016

Looking for information on how much horsepower (hp) a treadmills motor should be if a person is buying one with plans of running on it?

We received the above question from a person who visited this site. We responded by email, the following is the answer we provided.

Choosing the right machine for running can be confusing especially for people who are buying their first ever home treadmill. You are correct the amount of horsepower the motor is able to provide is a very important consideration for running. In fact, if your plans are to buy a treadmill run

2.0 hp motor – cause of confusion

Is the Motor of the ProForm 6.0 RT Treadmill enough for running?

Proform RT 6.0 – Good for running?

Are you looking over the product description and specifications? If you are not, you should be. Whether you are or not we want to point something out.

We will use the ProForm 6.0 RT Treadmill¬†for our example (See at Amazon) and how this model’s product description reads.

If you read over this model’s description you would read the motor is 2.0 horsepower with a top speed of 10 MPH. So, hmmm let’s do the math, 60 minutes divided by 10 MPH = a 6 minute mile pace.

A 6-minute mile pace or 10 MPH would be considered running.

This is very important. If you look into models with larger than the 2.0 horsepower motor of the ProForm 6.0 RT you will also sometimes read these models have a top speed of 10 MPH. Many times in the description of specifications of treadmills with 2.5 horsepower motors will also be informed these models have a top speed of 10 MPH.

So the question is how can the smaller less powerful motor of the ProForm 6.0 RT have the same top speed as a large, more powerful motor?

Revolutions per minute (RPM’s) matter

This is key to understand. Horsepower is not the only factor at play. A smaller, lower horsepower motor can be made to run at higher Revolutions per minute (RPM’s) which will result in an increased top speed.

There is a problem with this. When a motor is run at higher RPM’s this will also increase the wear and tear it experiences over time compared to a motor running at lower RPM’s. Making the motor less durable and more likely to fail.

You want something for the long-term

It’s up to you but we assume when buying a running treadmill for your home, you along with the majority of people will want to buy a model that will last for years.

So our example, the ProForm 6.0 RT with 2.0 hp motor, sure you could buy it and set it up in your home and turn it up to its 10 MPH top speed and run on it. BUT, this model was not meant for running the motor probably runs at high RPM’s in order to achieve the top speed of 10 MPH. While we would recommend this model for probably wanting to exercise by walking and jogging we just do not have confidence the 2.0 hp motor will hold up in the long term to satisfy a runner’s needs.

Our rule of thumb on horsepower

If you have spent any time looking at the different options available you will have noticed there are super cheap treadmills, some under $300 and also high-end expensive treadmills which can cost over $3000. Then there are some models with prices falling in the middle of these two extremes.

The lower end, less expensive models are built for walkers. The high-end most expensive models are mainly built with runners in mind.

Compared to walking treadmills, these more expensive models for runners have stronger, more durable frames, larger, more powerful motors, longer and wider exercise platforms, more extensive cushion systems and better warranties. Some of these models have motors with over 4.0 hp.

But what if you can’t afford high-end?

We know not everyone has the extra money to go out and spend $3000 or more on one of the top high-end models. So this is where are rule of thumb comes in.

In general, a 2.5 hp motor is the lowest amount horsepower we could recommend to a person on a budget wanting to buy a running treadmill. Understand, the is the lowest we would recommend. We are not saying this is the perfect amount of horsepower.

If you could stand to spend a little more on a model with 2.75 or 3.0 hp we would recommend this. Below is a selection of choices that will be suitable for running.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: