You see them all the time at the gym, and chances are that if you’re reading this, you have one at home as well.
Treadmills are a great source of cardio for times when running outside is just unfeasible.
Even though they’re great for getting in shape, how much electricity does one use?
The quick answer is most treadmills will use 300 to 900 watts (W) of electricity.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of owning a treadmill, how much power one needs to run, how much it can cost, some helpful maintenance tips, and various alternative exercises.
Using A Treadmill At Home
Cardio exercising has been shown to be one of the best kinds of activities for burning fat and excess calories.
Sprinting on a treadmill is no exception. The longer and faster you run, the more weight you will lose.
Treadmills can also provide their users with increased heart health and muscle tone.
By providing a set speed, treadmills can keep a person’s heart rate steady through the entire workout, also enabling a great warm up for further exercises.
For muscle tone, a treadmill forces many parts of your body such as the core and back to exert effort to keep going.
Treadmill Electricity Usage
In short, most treadmills will use 300 to 900 watts (W) of electricity.
Watts are one of the most common units you’ll see with any electrical device.
Yet, the total watts you will use depends on a number of factors.
These include how often you’ll use it, the speed you set it at (the faster, the more power it needs), your weight, and the incline you set your treadmill for.
A quick way to check the actual wattage your treadmill uses is to plug in a power meter while you use it.
The benefits sound great and all, but how much will this all cost?
If you don’t already have one, but are considering getting a treadmill, most models hover within the $300 to $600 range.
Cheaper models won’t have too many features and will have cheap parts, meaning they might break down faster than the more expensive models.
Quality ones can go up to a whopping $2000!
However, you don’t need to dish out two grand just to have a decent work-out machine. We’ll discuss the details of maintenance a bit later.
How To Calculate Treadmill Electricity Usage
Even though you already have a treadmill ready to go, there’s still the cost of using it.
To figure this out, we’ll need to find out some factors.
The first and most simple is converting the wattage you see on the machine into kilowatts per hour (kWh).
This step is necessary because most energy companies will measure electricity usage in kWh.
Say, on average, you use your treadmill one hour each day, and it requires 500W to run.
Since the wattage is already measured in electricity usage per hour, you can take that number and divide it by 1000 to get 0.5 kWh.
Next is determining how often you use your treadmill per month, or the total time you’ll use it for.
To make things simple, round off to the nearest whole number.
If you use your treadmill for a single hour each day, six days a week, multiply how many days in total for that month.
For our purposes, let’s assume you’ll use it 25 days in one month.
Multiply 25 by 500W to get 12,500W, or 12.5 kWh.
Now that we’ve determined the total power usage for a single month, the last factor we’ll need is the amount per kilowatt hour your energy company charges.
This depends greatly on where you live and which company you’re with, so to get the actual rate, check your monthly statements.
As an example, let’s use 12 cents per kilowatt hour, or $0.12 kWh.
To get the final amount, multiply the rate by the total power usage ($0.12 kWh * 12.5 kWh) to get $1.5 that you’ll pay to use your treadmill for that time.
That may not sound like much, but the costs can increase the more you exercise, and the chances of your treadmill breaking down as well.
How To Keep Your Treadmill Energy Efficient
Some ways you can keep your treadmill in good shape include, but are not limited to:
- Aligning the belt if it doesn’t run down the deck in a straight way (in case the belt gets crooked)
- Maintaining good tension by tightening the belt (if the belt starts wriggling)
- Lubricating the deck every 150 mile mark (to prevent the belt from wearing out due to excessive friction)
Another excellent way to keep your machine running is to keep it clean.
This can be as simple as wiping down your sweat after each use, and vacuuming underneath it to prevent too much dust from getting caught up in the belt.
Sweat contains salt, and can be highly corrosive to various treadmill parts, and cleaning them will also prevent bacteria and other nasty things from spreading on your machine.
It also helps to vacuum not just the underside, but also some areas within the treadmill itself once a month to keep it running smoothly.
For a more detailed overview of how to maintain your machine, take a look at this webpage.
Home Treadmill Alternatives
If using a treadmill sounds like too much of an investment, worry not, for there are several alternative cardio workouts you can try.
A strong one experts recommend is high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
While rather hard to do, people who do this exercise note how it works your entire body, and it’s great for burning calories and keeping in shape.
Some other cardio-type workouts you can try out as well are:
- Surfing (if you live near the ocean)
- Rowing (machines)
- Jump Rope
No matter which of the above options you choose, exercise will help keep you healthy and in shape for years to come.
So to recap, should you go with a treadmill, the total amount of power it will consume depends on how much you use it, the current rate your energy company charges per kilowatt, and the total wattage your treadmill needs.
image: Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons