The Project

How much electricity does a treadmill use?

Running on a treadmill can give you a lot of time to think - maybe too much. One thing I've asked myself while on the human hamster wheel is "How much electricity does a treadmill use?"

Treadmill power consumption can be calculated based on the information provided by the treadmill company. But this number is the theoretical treadmill electricity usage and it doesn't take into account things like speed, incline, or the weight of the runner. To measure treadmill power consumption I used a Killawatt Power Meter (about $20) will running on my home treadmill. This provided me with the exact power usage for each run.

Treadmill Power Consumption: Different Speeds

In order to test the amount of electricity used I ran for 30 minutes at a variety of speeds. For each run I kept the treadmill incline at 2.0%.

Speed (miles/hour) Power Used (KWH) Miles Approx Cost*
4.0 0.13 2 miles $0.013 (about 1 cent)
5.0 0.16 2.5 miles $0.016 (about 1 1/2 cents)
6.0 0.19 3 miles $0.019 (less than 2 cents)

* Assuming $0.10 per KWH.

As expected it took more electricity to run faster. In fact, there doesn't appear to be much of a power savings by running faster. Plus it gets a bit dicey once you get past 7 miles/hour on a treadmill.

Treadmill Power Consumption: Incline

In this test I ran 6.0 miles per hour at different inclines. I didn't expect a change in treadmill incline to result in any difference in power usage. However, in terms of running it sure makes a difference though.

Incline Power Used (KWH) Miles Approx Cost*
1% 0.19 3 miles $0.019 (about 2 cents)
2% 0.19 3 miles $0.019 (about 2 cents)

Weight and Treadmill Electricity Usage

Since it's not easy to find individuals with widely different weights to come to my house and run on my treadmill I decided to do only two weights: 150 lbs and 0 lbs. For 0 lbs I ran the treadmill without anyone one it. For this test running time was 30 minutes at 6.0 miles per hour with an incline of 2.0%.

Weight (lbs) Power Used (KWH) Miles Approx Cost*
0 (lbs) 0.9 3 Miles $0.009 (less than 1 cent)
150 (lbs) 0.19 Power Used (KWH) 3 Miles $0.019 (less than 2 cents)

Weight turns out to have a large influence on the amount of electricity used. This is because the treadmill must work to move your weight when your foot is on the treadmill. Since you are applying a forward force this adds an additional resistance to overcome. I suppose this means the more you weight, the more you pay. But it's a very small amount.


The biggest conclusion is that the treadmill doesn't use as much power as I thought it did. And while there are variations in the amount of electricity used by a treadmill at the difference is negligible from a cost perspective.

Note: Running was done on a Merit 725t Plus treadmill (which I really like for a variety of reasons).