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How Fast Does a Treadmill Go? Here’s What You Should Know

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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Whether you’re shopping for treadmills or planning your next gym workout, you might be wondering how fast a treadmill can go. It’s helpful to understand average speeds on your treadmill so you can assess your personal speeds and improve your training.

In this article, we’ll discuss average treadmill speeds and how you can calculate if your treadmill has accurate speeds. Check it out!

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How Fast Does a Treadmill Go?

The maximum speed of a treadmill depends on the kind of treadmill it is. Most commercial treadmills will reach a speed of 10-12 mph. However, some may go as high as 15mph. Let’s take a look at the typical max speeds we see for the following treadmill types.

Home Treadmill Speeds

The industry standard for home treadmills is a max speed of 8-10 mph. Many of the smaller, space-saving brands will only go up to 8 mph while a typical full-size home treadmill will go up to 10 mph. Sometimes you’ll see home treadmills with a max speed of 12mph, however.

Commercial Treadmill Speeds

Commercial treadmills typically have a higher limit of 12 mph. Most commercial treadmills you’ll see in gyms will cap out at 12mph. However, you may see a treadmill at your gym with a max speed of 15mph.

Commercial treadmills are usually bigger with a heftier motor designed to handle extensive daily use. As a result, they can typically handle faster speeds. Some commercial treadmills can go faster than 15mph, but most gyms will cap the speed between 12-15 mph for the safety of their customers.

That being said, the commercial treadmills you’ll see in Olympic training gyms can run upwards of 20mph!

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Manual Treadmill Speeds

Manual treadmills are unique because you set the pace with your own walking or running. Manual treadmills require no electricity because your steps push the belt along. Therefore, it’s hard to say the max speed that your manual treadmill can go. On many manual treadmills, there is no speed cap, so you can usually go as fast as you can.

Keep in mind it’s more difficult to walk or run on a manual treadmill because you’re exerting more effort into each step. In fact, manual treadmills were made for walking, not running. Therefore, it’s not likely that you’ll go much faster than 6 mph on your manual treadmill. However, some elite athletes have been known to go much faster.

Some treadmills do have a speed cap to help prevent excessive speeds that could be dangerous. The max speed depends on the brand, but some have a max speed of 4 mph to limit the treadmill’s use to walking only.

Curved Treadmill Speeds

A curved treadmill is a modern version of the manual treadmill. It also runs based on leg power rather than electricity. However, the curve makes it easier to push the treadmill belt, so it’s easier to get faster speeds.

In theory, a curved treadmill could go to infinite speeds. It’s easier for elite runners to set their pace on a curved treadmill, so many athletes choose it for that reason. It’s not unheard of for Olympic athletes to run sprints at 24-25 mph on a curved treadmill in training.

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What’s the Typical Max Speed of a Treadmill?

Typically, you’ll see the max speed of a treadmill at 12 miles per hour. That’s a 5-minute mile, so most people won’t need a treadmill that goes faster than that. Those who need faster speeds should consider a curved treadmill without a speed cap.

How Fast Do Most People Go on a Treadmill?

The pace at which people choose to walk or run varies depending on the person. Beginners are likely to start out walking between 2.5mph and 3.5mph and running between 4 mph and 5 mph. As they progress in skill level, you might be walking between 3mph and 4mph and running between 5 mph and 7mph. Expert joggers might be running up to 8 mph.

It also depends on the type of running you’re doing. If you’re practicing long-distance running, you might set the pace between 5 mph and 6 mph to start. If you’re practicing sprints, 8-10 mph might serve you best.

If you’re not sure where you should start on your treadmill, begin walking at 3mph and work your way up every minute or so until you’re at a comfortable walking or jogging pace. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably land somewhere around 6 mph for jogging.

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How Fast Should Beginners Go on a Treadmill?

It’s tricky to know how fast you should go on a treadmill when you’re starting. You probably want to start at a slower pace to avoid injury or over-exerting yourself. But you still want to get your heart rate going.

So, start at a walking speed of 2.5mph and see how that feels. Continue for about 3 minutes until you feel warmed up. Then, increase the speed by 0.5mph every 30-60 seconds until you’re at a moderate pace. You should begin breathing harder and get your heart rate rising, but you shouldn’t feel out of control.

If you increase too quickly, you can always decrease to a more comfortable pace. That’s the beauty of speed options on a treadmill. You can choose your pace and play around with it until you know where you’re comfortable, yet challenged.

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Do Cost and Size Affect Treadmill Speed?

The cost and size of a treadmill can affect how fast your treadmill goes, but it’s not the only factor. It also depends on the kind of treadmill you’re buying. Cost and size typically speak to the longevity of the machine rather than the speed 

Still, you can sometimes gauge treadmill speeds based on cost and size. For example, a manual treadmill is typically significantly smaller and cheaper than a curved treadmill, and the speeds are significantly different. Let’s take a look.

Budget Treadmill Speeds

You can easily find a traditional manual treadmill for under $200. If you purchase this model, expect to see max speeds of between 4 mph and 6mph. Due to the friction of the belt on this cheaper machine, the average person won’t want to run these treadmills much faster than that.

Other budget treadmills under $500 likely won’t have speeds faster than 8-10 mph. You might find one under $1000 with a top speed of 12mph, but typically models in this price range don’t have a large enough motor to handle the faster speeds.

Mid-Range Treadmill Speeds

Treadmills at the mid-range price point usually cost between $1k and $2k. It’s common for homeowners who want a full-size, but affordable treadmill to purchase a treadmill in this price range.

Most treadmills in this range have a slightly bigger motor and can reach speeds of 10-12 mph. This means you can run a 5-minute mile if that’s your goal.

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High-End Treadmill Speeds

High-end treadmills are typically what you see in commercial settings, such as your local gym. However, some hardcore runners will purchase these heftier models for their home gym if they’re serious about speed training. Here, we’re talking about treadmills that are $3k or above.

These more expensive models are almost always larger and more heavy-duty as well. They might have speeds up to 16mph, so those who want to practice their sprinting might enjoy this more expensive model. These treadmills can also sustain longer and heavier use.

Light-Duty Treadmill Speeds

There’s a somewhat in-between space in the budget world of treadmills known as space-spacing, light-duty treadmills. They might be made for those under 6ft tall and have a much smaller footprint in your room.

You can often fold up space-saving treadmills and easily move them somewhere else by tilting them back on wheels. Because these smaller options are lighter, they’ll have a smaller motor and therefore can’t sustain the highest speeds.

Typically, a light-duty treadmill will have a max speed of 8mph simply because the motor is not big enough to go faster. These foldable, light-duty treadmills aren’t always the cheapest, but their size definitely impacts their speed.

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FAQs About How Fast Treadmills Go

If you still have a few questions about treadmill speeds, hang tight. We’re going to answer some of our most frequently asked questions to help you understand how fast treadmills should go.

Do Treadmill Speeds Always Go By MPH?

MPH is typically only seen on treadmills used in the United States. Other countries typically use kilometers per hour (kph) to measure treadmill speeds.

For reference, 1 mile is about 62% of the distance of a kilometer. So if you’re looking at a treadmill measured in kilometers per hour, the average speeds will be higher.

What Speed Is 10 on a Treadmill?

Usually, the numbers on a U.S.-based treadmill are measured in miles per hour. It does not refer to how many minutes per mile you’re running, as many people believe.

The 10 setting on a treadmill is equal to a 6-minute mile. This is considered very fast and is a goal many runners set for themselves when starting the sport.

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What’s the Fastest Treadmill Out There?

The fastest treadmill out there is a curved treadmill that’s leg powered rather than electric. Some Olympians have been known to reach speeds upwards of 24 mph on curved treadmills. If Olympian Usain Bolt were to run on a curved treadmill at his fastest speed, he would reach nearly 28mph.

The fastest motorized treadmill reaches 16mph. You won’t often see these high-speed treadmills in a typical gym thanks to safety concerns. But you may see them in elite athletic gyms.

What’s the Best Treadmill Speed to Get Your Heart Rate Up?

The answer to this question will vary slightly based on the person running. For most people, a jogging pace will elevate the heart rate and offer a decent workout if you go for at least 30 minutes. That means a 5 mph or 6 mph pace on the treadmill should do it.

However, some people with heart problems or with low fitness levels might struggle at 3 mph or 4 mph walking. Going faster could be dangerous to their health.

Additionally, highly-conditioned athletes will need a faster speed to get their heart rate up to desired levels. They may need to run for a period of time at 8 mph to receive the cardio benefits of treadmill running.

How Do You Know If Your Treadmill Keeps Accurate Pace?

You can run a few tests to determine if your treadmill keeps an accurate pace. A simple strategy is to mark the front and back points on the belt with a piece of tape. A third tape strip will go on the underside of the belt so you can measure the curve. Measure the tape strips so you know how far you’re going with each belt rotation.

You’ll then start the treadmill at a slow speed and have someone walking. A second person will start a stopwatch and count how many times the first piece of tape comes around. You’ll run the treadmill until it reaches a predetermined distance and stop the stopwatch. Divide the distance by the time and see if that number matches the reading on the treadmill.

There are other tests you can do to determine the pacing of a treadmill, including buying calibration equipment. But this is a simple strategy that works well.

Is There a Treadmill That Goes 15 mph?

Yes, many heavy-duty commercial treadmills go 15 mph or more. You won’t often find a treadmill in your average gym that goes this fast for safety reasons, but you can find them in gyms where elite athletes train.

Do You Run Faster on a Treadmill or Outside?

It might surprise you to learn that you can run faster on land than you would on a treadmill. This is because you’re using different muscles and you’re not wasting any energy pushing backward on the treadmill belt. So treadmill running is a great way to train in cold weather or to stay in shape, but if you’re prepping for a race, practice more on land to adequately prepare you.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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