Getting a good cardio workout in an apartment can be a real challenge. Even though performing strength exercises doesn’t usually produce much noise, cardio training is, by nature, pretty loud. So if you like to burn calories by doing jumping jacks or running on a treadmill, you’ll need to figure out a way to do it quietly. Fortunately, my comprehensive guide to quiet treadmills for apartments can help with at least a part of that equation.
After I show you the features you ought to consider when shopping for a quiet treadmill, I’ll recommend five machines that clear those checkmarks. In addition, I’ll also add some bonus options from the same manufacturers.
However, since even the quietest machines might develop problems later on, I’ll throw in some tips that could help you reduce the noise even more. But before we get into all of that, let’s talk about the kind of noise a treadmill can make.
Why You Need a Quiet Treadmill in Your Apartment
As someone who’s gone through more fitness phases than I can count, I can tell you that having a treadmill in your apartment can be pretty convenient. There are plenty of excellent reasons one might want to invest in a treadmill:
- Running is one of the best and most comprehensive workouts. It can get your heart rate up, which can improve circulation and speed up your metabolism, even leading to weight loss. Additionally, running can strengthen your muscles and bones, which can help you handle your weight better, no matter how much you actually weigh.
- Treadmills are huge time-savers as they allow you to get your workout in at home. Consequently, you don’t have to slather on sunscreen or pack water and other necessities before going on a run.
- Having a home treadmill also lets you have your privacy. Many beginner runners are shy about exercising with other people around. Yet, no matter how shy you are, you still need to get some exercise in.
- You can take your time and adjust your exercise regimen. Treadmills allow you to set your own pace and incline as you please. Besides, if you don’t live in a neighborhood with many running paths, a treadmill would allow you to run without worrying about obstacles.
- Finally, owning a treadmill could also save you money — especially if you’re already sinking cash into a gym membership you’re not using.
Still, even with all of these numerous advantages to having a treadmill at home, there are some definite drawbacks as well. Namely, if you want to enjoy your treadmill, but you live in an apartment building, you’ll find that using it is more difficult than you’d think. So let’s talk about the kind of noise you can expect to hear from a regular treadmill.
Where Does Treadmill Noise Come From?
If you have a home you’re not sharing with anyone other than friends or family, you could basically set up your treadmill wherever is most convenient. Most people put their treadmills in their basements, or somewhere away from other people. However, if you live in an apartment building, and you want to burn some calories, bothering other people is pretty much a given.
All treadmills, even ones that are brand new, tend to make a certain amount of noise. Obviously, the very act of running is going to cause some impact noise. Still, there are certain adjustments you can make to silence your treadmill. After I present the quietest treadmills on the market, I’ll talk about how you can deal with some of the most pressing issues:
- Creaking or squeaking floorboards as your footsteps push the machine across the floor
- Slapping or squeaking noises coming from the running belt, indicating that it’s either too tight or too loose
- Creaking sounds coming from the joints of the machine, which may mean that it’s unlubricated
- The impact noise your feet make as they descend
However, it should be noted that some treadmills come with built-in solutions to some of these problems. If you want to find the quietest treadmill for your apartment, there are some features you’ll want to watch out for.
Features to Look for When Shopping for a Quiet Treadmill
So we’ve talked about why you should get a treadmill and why some of them tend to make a lot of noise. Aside from being a huge distraction while you’re trying to focus on running, all of that extra noise can also irritate your neighbors. So what should you look for when shopping for a quiet treadmill?
As is the case with other motorized quiet equipment I’ve reviewed, a more powerful motor is usually much louder than a weaker one. Fortunately, in this case, you’d be able to choose the speed of the motor, which should make it easy to keep it at a quiet purr. Maintaining a slower pace while you’re running typically produces less noise as well.
Usually, a decent treadmill should be able to achieve walking, jogging, and running speeds. So it should take you from half a mile per hour to upwards of 10 mph. Now, if you’re someone who enjoys a brisk run, keeping a slow pace may not be enough of a challenge. So what else can you do?
Well, you could also make sure that your machine has some incline options. That will make even a slower pace impactful and let you work up a good runner’s appetite.
Most treadmill product descriptions will either tell you the number of incline options the machine is working with or the range of angles you’ll be able to use. However, if you’re a real-life Sonic the Hedgehog, there are other ways to make your treadmill stable enough for sprinting.
If you’re planning on really making use of your treadmill’s speed settings, you’ll want it to have a nice, sturdy build. Specifically, you’re looking for a heavy, stable base that’s not going to shift and creak as you run.
To make sure that the treadmill you’re looking at is sturdy, check its weight. Many of them will advertise their light build as a positive. However, despite the fact that you’d be able to move them easily, you should avoid those lighter machines. Instead, aim for something with a sturdy-looking base.
Rubber feet are another base feature that can be helpful in apartments since they can prevent the machine from skidding across the floor. Still, if you don’t happen to find a machine with anti-vibration feet, you can always just buy some.
While anti-vibration mats can lessen the impact your treadmill has on the floor below, the machine should also come with additional shock absorption features. In my experience, those are often located inside of the belt itself. Typically, you’d see these kinds of features listed as “deck suspension.”
The suspension is what makes the belt of your treadmill responsive — kind of like running on regular ground. A good treadmill should definitely not be too hard under your feet. That would potentially cause a lot of excess noise. However, it shouldn’t be too soft either, as that would force your body into an awkward and improper running posture.
Finally, while this feature isn’t necessarily related to the amount of noise a machine makes, it’s still a pretty important one to consider when shopping for an apartment treadmill. Many of the options on the market are foldable, so you could just lift the base into an upright position when you finish your session.
However, those lighter options typically aren’t great for people past a certain size. Furthermore, they usually don’t have the sturdy base you want to see in an apartment treadmill.
So before you choose a treadmill, check its dimensions and find a suitable spot in your apartment. Speaking of which, if you want to know more about the best treadmill placement in an apartment, I’ll have some tips for you after my reviews.
The Best Quiet Treadmills for Apartments
When I went looking for the quietest treadmills on the market, I came across many products that would fit into that category. However, while I was researching, I realized that certain brands kept popping up.
Eventually, I narrowed my list down to five products from different manufacturers. Still, since some brands are famous for making relatively silent treadmills, I’ve also decided to include other machines from their lineup that fit the bill in a separate section. That being said, let’s get into my reviews!
1. LifeSpan TR3000i Folding Treadmill
LifeSpan Fitness is one of the most popular treadmill manufacturers I’ve come across in my search for the quietest machine on the market. The TS3000i is a folding model that’s pretty compact when you pull the deck up toward the handles. In that position, the machine comes in at 60 inches tall, taking up only 42 by 33 inches of floor space. You can actually tip the whole machine toward you and wheel it to where you want to store it.
But, obviously, you’re not looking to buy a treadmill to keep it stashed away under your bed or against a wall. You’ll want to use it! When you have the deck parallel to the floor, the length of the machine will come in at 71 inches. The belt itself is 20 inches wide and 56 inches long — so that’s the space you’ll be working with. It’ll also be easy on the knees and pretty quiet thanks to 8 compression absorbers inside the deck.
The 2.75 horsepower motor will easily take you from 0.5 to 12 mph. In fact, the product actually comes with 21 preinstalled exercise programs, and you can add your own pretty easily. The built-in computer is accessible through a touch-enabled control console, and it even has Bluetooth connectivity and data transfer features.
Even though this machine is one of the quietest ones on the market, its non-slip rubber feet won’t prevent the impact noise from seeping through the floor. In fact, the treadmill’s tiny circular rubber pads can only prevent it from sliding. Still, you can always get a thicker mat.
- Foldable treadmill with 21 preinstalled exercise programs
- 71 inches long, 33 inches wide, and 56 inches tall
- 5–12 mph adjustable speed
- 15 levels of incline
- 350 lbs max user weight
More LifeSpan Treadmills
In terms of alternative choices from this manufacturer, I’ve found two products that would fit two different types of people. If you’re a more serious athlete, the LifeSpan Fitness TR4000i machine packs a more powerful punch than its predecessor.
It’s still foldable, though it’s slightly larger, with the belt size being 60 by 20 inches. The other specs are pretty much the same as the previous model’s, except that it runs on a 3.25 horsepower motor. I can only imagine this model is somewhat louder than the previous one, which is why I’ve decided to feature the TR3000i as my main choice.
The other LifeSpan option I’ve got for you would be perfect for people who are looking to exercise while getting some work done. The TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk is a walking treadmill that’s only capable of reaching speeds up to 4 miles per hour with its 2.25 horsepower motor. The belt itself is 20 by 50 inches long, and it can withstand 350 lbs, like the other products I’ve recommended. However, it only has 6 impact absorbers.
The standing desk that comes with the treadmill is detachable, so you can use it on its own as well. You can even adjust its height, up to 52.5 inches. There’s also a small, Bluetooth-enabled computer on the edge of the desk that allows you to control the treadmill.
2. Goplus Electric Folding Treadmill with Incline Features
Goplus is another brand that kept popping up as I was researching this topic. The treadmill I’ve chosen to feature is another folding machine, though it’s a bit smaller than the ones we previously saw. When the machine is unfolded, it stands at just under 50 inches tall and 62 inches long. Additionally, the treadmill comes in at 26.5 inches wide — which means that your running surface is actually about 16.5 inches wide.
Furthermore, the machine also has an excellent shock absorption system that should lessen some of the impact noise. However, I did have one concern as to the sturdiness of the base itself. I believed the additional wheels on the deck would make the machine slide. Yet after hearing from other users, I realized that the machine would stay put.
In my opinion, this machine would be ideal for more casual joggers and runners alike. Its 2.5 horsepower motor can spin the belt at a maximum of 7.5 mph, which is a brisk pace in my book. And if you want to make your workout even more challenging, you can also adjust the incline up to 15%.
Of course, if you don’t want to think about it too hard, you can also choose one of the 12 preprogrammed workout options. And after you’re done with your workout, the built-in computer will send your health report to your Google Fit app to help you track your progress.
- Foldable treadmill with 12 workout programs
- 62 inches long, 26.5 inches wide, and 49.5 inches tall
- 5–7.5 mph adjustable speed
- 0–15% incline
- 220 lbs max user weight
More Goplus Treadmills
In addition to the treadmill I reviewed above, I found three other options I believe are fairly quiet. If you need a smaller machine for your apartment, this one takes up only 25.5 inches by 24 inches of floor space when you fold it up. It can reach speeds of up to 6.5 mph, so it’s nothing special, but it has a solid build that won’t budge. In addition to the regular gray model, the treadmill also comes in white and pink.
The next treadmill I want to recommend is the Black Jaguar IV, which boasts a quiet engine. That very engine can actually manage speeds of up to 9 mph at 3 levels of incline, which is nothing to scoff at. Furthermore, the Black Jaguar treadmills have plenty of shock absorbance in the base with the express purpose of keeping the noise down for indoor running.
Still, since the Black Jaguar line is frequently sold out, I also want to point out that this little treadmill is another one that should be pretty ideal for home use. In fact, the treadmill in question also claims to have a quiet engine and features an impressively elastic belt as well.
3. Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill
The Sole Fitness F80 folding treadmill has been on every fitness junkie’s wish list since it first hit the market. It’s certainly one of the most visually impressive folding treadmills I’ve ever seen, measuring 35 inches wide, 80 inches long, and 58 inches tall. The machine itself weighs 265 pounds, which should keep it on the ground when you run.
Despite its sturdy build, it won’t be harsh on your knees, thanks to the manufacturer’s Cushion Flex deck technology. That same technology also serves to decrease the amount of impact noise you’re making. The size of the belt is impressive as well, giving you a running area of 22 by 60 inches.
The treadmill runs on a 3.5 horsepower motor that can take you up to 12 miles per hour. In fact, there are 6 set workout programs and 2 options you can customize yourself.
The control dash looks a bit complicated at first, but it’s pretty easy to master once you get into it. It even has a speaker system, so you can stay on beat while you run. The system will also keep track of your vitals, which is pretty standard. However, this machine does it with pulse grips as well as the complimentary chest strap.
- Foldable treadmill with 6 standard and 2 custom programs
- 80 inches long, 35 inches wide, and 58 inches tall
- 5–12 mph adjustable speed
- 0–15% incline
- 375 lbs max user weight
More Sole Fitness Treadmills
If you happen to live in a large apartment, or you happen to be a large person, I want to point you to the Sole Fitness TT8 model as well. The machine in question is truly enormous at 32 by 80 inches. It has a maximum user weight of 425 pounds, and the product itself weighs 300 pounds. Since the treadmill is also a non-folding model, you can trust that its weight will keep it bolted to the ground.
4. Merax Heavy Duty Electric Folding Treadmill
Believe it or not, the Sole Fitness treadmills aren’t even the most high-end machines on the market. However, before I blow you completely away with the most expensive treadmill I could find, I want to show you that budget options can be just as good. This Merax folding treadmill proves my point.
Once again, we return into the realm of small but sturdy treadmills. This Merax model is only 42 inches tall, 56 inches long, and 25 inches wide. Furthermore, the belt is only 16 inches wide and 43 inches long. So if you’re used to taking huge leaps while you run, you should suppress the urge. Still, for a machine so small, it can withstand a decent amount of weight, with the max user weight being 240 pounds.
Like many other folding treadmills, this one has wheels that will allow you to roll it away. It also has pretty good rubber feet, as far as I can tell, which will stop it from sliding. The machine is powered by a “vacuum motor,” which runs silently, allowing you to hear the music coming from the built-in speakers.
- Foldable treadmill with 12 preset programs
- 3 inches long, 25.2 inches wide, and 42.1 inches tall
- 5–6 mph adjustable speed
- No incline options
- 240 lbs max user weight
More Merax Treadmills
Even though the Merax treadmill I just reviewed is the most popular product in the company’s lineup, it does have some competition. For example, this model may beat it with its transformative abilities — it could probably fit under your bed. The company markets several other products as “quiet treadmills” as well, including this treadmill with a 2 horsepower motor, and this one with a 1.5 horsepower motor. Best of all, all of these machines are pretty cheap — although they’re also fairly small.
5. Assault Fitness AirRunner
Finally, after seeing the most affordable treadmills on the market, it seems only fair to present one of the more high-end options. So let’s see what makes the Assault AirRunner so special.
Well, for one, this treadmill doesn’t actually have a motor. At the very least, you can be sure that it won’t break down or cause unnecessary noise on that front. Essentially, it’s a belt that the user manually turns by running, so it can go as fast or as slow as you want it to. That can make it seem a bit overpriced — but the devil’s in the details.
You wouldn’t know that this was a motorless treadmill by looking at it. It’s certainly large enough to have an engine somewhere in there, coming in at 64 inches tall, 70 inches long and 33 inches wide. The base of the treadmill is somewhat curved and has a slight incline. Even though it weighs 280 pounds, it should be easy enough to move, thanks to the transportation wheels.
The treadmill also has the customary handles and even a small device that times your runs and measures your speed and distance. Speaking of which, according to the manufacturer, the belt itself should be able to last for at least 150,000 miles. It’s also fairly durable, with a maximum user weight of 350 pounds.
- Motorless, manual treadmill
- 70 inches long, 33 inches wide, and 64 inches tall
- As fast as the runner can go
- Curved deck
- 350 lbs max user weight
How to Reduce Treadmill Noise
So what happens if you already have a noisy treadmill? Well, if you can’t afford to purchase one of the quieter options we’ve just discussed, there are certain things you can do to deal with the source of the noise. Of course, you’ll need to determine where the sound is coming from in the first place.
The next time you use your machine, listen carefully. Is the squeaking coming from the belt or the floorboards below? Alternately, is the floor shifting under your feet or is the machine itself unstable? Try to get as close to figuring out the problem — that will help you pick the correct route out of the suggestions I’m about to present. Now, without further ado, let’s talk about what you can do about your noisy treadmill.
Know Where to Put the Treadmill
If you’re going to keep a treadmill in an apartment, you’ll want to know the right place to put it. First and foremost, you’ll want to have a chat with your downstairs neighbor, or whoever your workout would bother. Ask them when it would be okay for you to use the treadmill, and which rooms they spend the least time in. Then, figure out what the corresponding room in your apartment is and set the machine there.
Many people discourage hopeful treadmill owners from setting their treadmills in the corner of the room if they’re looking for silence. After all, noise is amplified by corners, which is why bass traps exist. However, the strongest part of the floor in an apartment building is usually near the corner of an exterior wall.
Typically, those areas tend to have less creaking, so they might be a good place to set up shop. Besides, if you’re worried about the walls bouncing the noise and amplifying it, you can always cover them with blankets or acoustic panels.
Wherever you decide to place your treadmill, you’ll want it to be on a flat surface to avoid wobbling. So, either place it entirely on the floor or entirely on a carpet. If your floors aren’t flat, you can slip a rubber mat under the machine that will hopefully level the ground.
Use Anti-Vibration Mats
Anti-vibration mats are basically rubber pieces you can slide under your treadmill. If your main issue is with sliding, you can go for a thinner one. However, if you’re worried about noise, I recommend using a thicker mat. I’ve previously talked about anti-vibration mats in the context of washing machines and air compressors. In this case, you can either look for a treadmill mat or just buy a thick stretch of rubber.
Alternately, or even additionally, you can use carpets to absorb some of the impact noise. However, you’ll want to make sure that the carpet in question has some kind of grip. That way, your machine won’t slip and slide while you’re exercising.
Lubricate the Treadmill Belt
Most treadmills need to get regular maintenance checks in order to remain quiet. You should aim to check the treadmill belt every few months. Basically, the belt needs lubrication to avoid the friction noises that may occur with constant use. Usually, the manual will tell you how often you should lubricate the belt and which products you should use. In this case, WD-40 probably isn’t going to cut it — you’ll have to get special treadmill lubricants.
While you’re at it, ensure that all of the joints of the machine are well lubricated as well. Furthermore, if you suspect the treadmill is creaking because some parts are a bit loose, now’s the time to tighten the bolts.
Adjust Your Pace
Finally, the simplest way to avoid noise complaints is to go slow. Use your treadmill for walking at an incline or soft jogging. If your running form is correct, you shouldn’t be producing slapping noises with your feet anyway. When you’re running, you shouldn’t be hitting the treadmill with your heel. Instead, try to aim at the ground with the middle of your foot. And get some proper footwear while you’re at it.
So now you know what the quietest treadmills on the market are and how to silence the treadmill you may currently have. To summarize, it comes down to two factors:
- The sound of the motor inside of the treadmill, which you can avoid by purchasing a motorless treadmill.
- The sound of your feet hitting the belt, which produces any number of noises. Your downstairs neighbors can probably hear everything, from the impact of your footsteps to the squeaking of the base slipping across the floor.
Still, with a few adjustments, you’ll find that reducing treadmill noise can be pretty easy. Additionally, if you’re looking for almost completely quiet cardio workouts, there are other machines you can try.
For example, exercise bicycles don’t require you to shake the ground you’re standing on. Punching bags can get a bit noisy. However, the good thing about them is that you usually get what you’re looking for within a few minutes. And there are also all sorts of weighted cardio exercises that will get you sweating while building muscle mass.