Treadmill Motors: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re looking to purchase a new treadmill or looking to update an existing one, knowing about which kind of motor to look for is vital to the success of your treadmill use. The motor is the main hub and carries the most weight mechanically. They vary in their abilities and capacities and are not all alike. It is essential to consider a few different variables with its motor before you make your treadmill purchase. This will ensure that you will bring the right treadmill home that is best-suited for your lifestyle and fitness goals.

Aside from the user, the motor does the most work in the treadmill. It is imperative that quality be assessed for long-term use, especially for more serious treadmill users. Poor quality motors are likely to overheat and require unnecessary repairs. The best way to check if your motor is a good quality motor is by checking the manufacturer warranty. A high-quality motor will have a longer warranty period and is a safer investment. In almost all of our treadmill reviews, we help you by giving the horsepower of the motor and by using the information below can determine if it is best suited for what you would use it for. One company that is known for high quality treadmill motors are Sole treadmills.  They deliver a great product and stand behind it.

When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of the matter, treadmill motors are not wholly difficult to understand. Treadmill motor energy is measured in horsepower (HP) and can be sorted into three different rating systems:

1. Peak Duty: Generally the weakest. “Peak” stands for the peak horsepower that the treadmill will reach and no more.
2. Treadmill Duty: In-between peak and continuous
3. Continuous Duty: The highest rank. The number associated will describe how much power is maintained throughout the workout.

While many motors will claim to be of identical horsepower, it is pertinent to note that every motor is not built the same. Cheaper prices mean that the product consists of poorly made parts. Do not be swayed solely by low prices. A treadmill that originally cost $1000 or more is likely to possess a durable motor. Less expensive models are not likely to have a reliable motor installed.

Assess what kind of use the treadmill will predominantly be used for. The degree of exercise must be taken into account to make sure your motor reflects your lifestyle. Certain levels of exercise require specific amounts of horsepower; will it be for walking, jogging, running, or all three? Consider the following:

  • For walkers: a 2.0 horsepower continuous duty motor will suffice
  • For joggers: 2.5 horsepower continuous duty should be the minimum
  • For runners: 3.0 horsepower continuous duty or higher


Also note that if any of the users of the treadmill weigh over 200 pounds, HP should be increased by .5 for proper support, no matter the fitness goals. This means the HP should be at least 2.5 HP for walkers, 3.0 for joggers, and 3.5 for runners. Such precaution will extend the life of your motor.

As for sound, note that motors employing direct current (or known as DC) cause less noise compared to motors that use alternate current (also known as AC). Remember this when deciding where to place your treadmill, especially if you watch the television while you walk or run, or if the treadmill will be in a high traffic area of the home.

33 Comments

  • Harbhajan DassFebruary 28, 2019 at 3:46 amfrom Dusty.ghaziabad U.P State India
    I have rebook treadmill with 1.75hp motor. Motor burnt, how much is the cost of motor, from where I can get,second can I use ac motor instead of DC motor
    • Brian MurrayDecember 30, 2019 at 7:31 pmfrom Arkansas
      An AC motor would certainly last longer, but your treadmill would not allow an upgrade to AC motor without major changes that would be cost prohibitive.
  • nagMay 23, 2019 at 6:44 amfrom VIC
    how many watts needed for power up transformer
    • Brian MurrayDecember 30, 2019 at 7:32 pmfrom Arkansas
      Depends on voltage/current requirements of your treadmill. If you have specific details of your application I could help.
  • Heather JonesMay 29, 2019 at 7:21 amfrom Bedfordshire
    I have a Proform 250 ZLT. It is several years old. Just recently, it has started cutting out. It will run for approx 20 mins at 4.5 - 5km/h. If you increase speed, the time it runs for decreases. Display and incline seem to function fine. When the belt stops, the display continues as though the belt is still running. Any idea of cause and how it can be rectified? Thanks
    • Amanda BJune 3, 2019 at 2:46 pm
      Hi Heather, sorry to hear that you are having issues with your treadmill. Unfortunately, we do not have a fix for your specific problem. Have you tried contacting ProForm support? Here's their support page: https://support.proform.com/treadmill-support/
  • FuardJune 28, 2019 at 7:48 amfrom South Africa
    I have a maxed mxe4000 treadmill. Everything works fine up to about 20min or so, then it just cuts out. I have to switch it On again.
    • Brian MurrayDecember 30, 2019 at 7:34 pmfrom Arkansas
      Could be many issues, but sounds like a motor over current problem due to not lubricating the deck regularly.
  • ShazwanAugust 1, 2019 at 9:43 amfrom Selangor
    Hi, would like to know how long can we run on a DC motor Treadmill continuously? Some people says that maximum is 45 minutes continuously. Is it true?
    • Amanda BAugust 1, 2019 at 4:29 pm
      Hi Shazwan, unfortunately we do not have this kind of information. You could try contacting the manufacturer directly as they would be better equipped to answer your question.
    • Brian MurrayDecember 30, 2019 at 7:35 pmfrom Arkansas
      You can run continuously 24/7 if you want, but the treadmill will certainly not last very long. Home treadmills are designed to run one hour per day.
  • Bernice K. ComerAugust 2, 2019 at 3:26 pmfrom Granger, Indiana
    I am looking to purchase a motor for a Tomshoo Treadmill Part no. 25T-80 motor. I received the unit brand new but the motor burned out once it was plugged in. The place of purchase would not give my money back nor an exchange. I am stuck with it. Do you know of anyone that sells motors for these Tomshoo Home Treadmills.
    • Amanda BAugust 7, 2019 at 10:25 am
      Hi Bernice, sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. Have you tried contacting the manufacturer directly?
  • JoylieAugust 21, 2019 at 3:45 amfrom California
    Very informative thank you. I'm kind of a tall girl... and I'm overweight by about 30lbs...I'm 5'9 I weigh 203lbs and I'm trying to reach 1701bs. I'm so afraid to purchase a treadmill that may be too short for my stride. Do you have any Suggestions for someone my height?
    • Amanda BSeptember 9, 2019 at 11:53 am
      Hi Joylie, most treadmills for home use have a running surface that is between 55"-60" in length. If you are worried about a treadmill being too short for your stride, make sure you choose a treadmill with a running surface that is at least 60" in length. Our top 3 picks can be found here: https://www.treadmillreviews.net/best-treadmill/for-home-use/
  • Frank SandallSeptember 20, 2019 at 1:38 pmfrom Spokane Wa.
    how many amp & volts needed to run Preform 905 cst treadmill. 3.0 CHP Mach Z motor
    • Amanda BSeptember 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm
      Hi Frank, according to the user manual, the outlet must be on a nominal 120-volt circuit capable of carrying 15 or more amps. Hope this helps!
  • JoshOctober 27, 2019 at 11:22 am
    Hi Amanda and team, We're looking to get a home treadmill than can be used about 5 hours per week. I'm a fairly serious runner: most workouts will be about an hour, but some might occasionally be longer. Intervals at 10 mph (no incline), and I weigh 145-150 lbs. And I work out early in the a.m., so noise level is also a consideration, although not essential. What CHP would you recommend? Is 3.5 CHP adequate, or would you recommend something stronger? Thanks! Josh
    • Amanda BDecember 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm
      Hi Josh, 3.5 CHP is definitely adequate but it never hurts to get a stronger motor, especially if you see yourself increasing the length and intensity of your workouts. Our top treadmills for home use are all great options! You can see our reviews here: https://www.treadmillreviews.net/best-treadmill/for-home-use/
  • JeffFebruary 24, 2020 at 10:00 amfrom Louisville,ky
    I have T50 running on it and it just stop. Checked all wiring
  • DenisApril 12, 2020 at 4:45 pmfrom Boston
    Its nice to have a good motor, but its also nice to have a powerful circuit for it. For home use, 2.5 CHP is about the max. Home outlets are 15-20 Amps, which tops providing 2.4 CHP anyways.
  • GinnyApril 21, 2020 at 2:38 amfrom WA
    My motor burnt out, I believe. It's a 2.80 hp treadmill duty @ 130vdc motor. I am wondering if purchasing a 3.0 hp treadmill duty @ 130 vdc motor would work for my treadmill?
    • GinnyApril 21, 2020 at 2:39 amfrom WA
      And, the manufacturer doesn't have this specific motor.
      • Amanda BApril 24, 2020 at 3:56 pm
        Hi Ginny, we recommend checking with your manufacturer or a professional repair person about best options when changing the motor.
  • DR S C MISHRAJuly 20, 2020 at 3:04 amfrom Uttar Pradesh
    Interested in buying a treadmill and exercise bike for home. Can you please advise a good machine?
    • Amanda BJuly 24, 2020 at 3:11 pm
      Hi, thank you for your message. You can check out our top rated treadmills by category and price point here: https://www.treadmillreviews.net/best-treadmill/
  • CholanJuly 22, 2020 at 9:54 am
    Hi, i wish to buy a treadmill for my home use. But i am a serious walker and i am 6ft tall. I walk at max 4kmph for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. Please suggest with what specs i need to buy. DC/AC? CHP minimum? Walking width? Walking Length?
    • Amanda BJuly 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm
      Hi Cholan, you should look for a treadmill with a minimum 2.5 HP motor. Since you are on the taller side, you should look for a 20"x60" running surface. We would suggest checking out the Sole F63 or the Horizon T303. Hope this helps!
  • RajeshSeptember 28, 2020 at 6:57 am
    Hi - I have a family of 6 and all of them would use the treadmill. If we walk/run 30 mins each making it to 3 Hrs a day intermittently, how much HP of the motor I should look forward to? Max weight of one of the member is 85 Kha. Please suggest.
    • Amanda BOctober 28, 2020 at 2:30 pm
      Hi Rajesh, we would advice to get a treadmill with 3.5HP or higher. Any of the treadmills here would be great options for your family: https://www.treadmillreviews.net/best-treadmill/for-home-use/
  • KathleenOctober 3, 2020 at 3:00 am
    please could you advise me about this treadmill do you think it would be ok to buy Motorised folding running treadmill high Quality 1.25HP DC motor
    • Amanda BOctober 28, 2020 at 2:26 pm
      Hi Kathleen, it would depend on what kind of exercise you plan on doing on your treadmill and how frequently you will use it. We recommend a treadmill with a 3HP motor or higher if you plan to use it for long runs and HIIT workouts. 2HP is recommended for walking. You can check out our different round ups based on what kind of features/price range you are looking for.
  • KathleenOctober 3, 2020 at 3:04 am
    thank you for getting back to me I appreciate your advice

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