How Quiet is a Treadmill Desk?

April 15, 2015

Are you considering a treadmill desk for your office or place of business and find yourself asking the following questions? How loud is a LifeSpan treadmill desk motor? Will it distract my coworkers? Will they like me even less than they do now? Read on and I will help answer the first two questions.

As you walk through the LifeSpan offices you will gleefully notice treadmill desks in use all day long. We are starting to consider ourselves to be experts in the subject of walking and working. I’ve personally been using the TR1200-DT7 for well over a year now and I can easily compare the hum of the motor at 2 mph to an oscillating tower fan on low speed. How do I know this? We have conducted an extensive intra-office experiment, that’s how. On one side, we powered up a TR1200 base at 2 mph and on the other side, an oscillating tower fan at a low speed. Our brave researcher stood between them, eyes closed and head lowered as to feel the energy and sound surrounding him. After about 30 seconds, he lifted his head and said, Yep, they sound about the same.

In our experience, it isn’t the hum of the motor but the style of the walker that produces the distracting noises. Hard-soled shoes, foot dragging or scraping, and stomping all tend to be distracting to those around them. We recommend wearing a soft-soled shoe (your feet will thank you,) walking at a casual pace (1 to 2 mph) and actually picking your feet up when you walk. Follow these simple guidelines and everyone around you will be happy campers.

Treadmill Desk Decibel Level

treadmill desk decibel level graph

It’s time to get serious (technical terms are always so solemn and rarely much fun.) From a technical standpoint, the decibel level produced by the treadmill itself is dependent on the speed: 1 mph is 47dB, 2 mph is 50.1 dB, 3 mph is 54 dB, and 4 mph is 59.8 dB. However you will find that certain tasks are more difficult to perform at speeds above 2 mph, so it will be uncommon to be at a decibel level above 50. Tasks such as writing, typing, reading, and drinking your morning coffee become a little more challenging as you crank up the speed.

The noise levels tend to vary up to a few decibels between the TR800, TR1200 and TR5000. The TR1200 is the quietest office treadmill, followed by the TR5000 (cooling fan runs while in use) then the TR800. So if the noise level is a huge concern for you, the TR1200 may be a better option.

Recommended Steps in Quieting Your Treadmill Desk

  1. Center the Treadmill Belt: Occasionally, the treadmill belt may begin to slip to one side of the treadmill, producing a rubbing or grinding sound. When looking at the center of the treadmill you will be able to clearly tell that the belt is no longer centered within the frame of the side rails. This can easily be adjusted. For help centering the treadmill belt, this video tutorial does a great job of stepping you through the process.
  2. Lubricate the Treadmill Belt: It is recommended that you lubricate your treadmill belt every three months with a silicone based lubricant. This will help cut down on noise due to friction as well as increase the lifespan (see what I did there?) of your treadmill. Here is a great one-minute video tutorial on the easiest, mess-free way to do this.
  3. Use an Equipment Mat: You can also try placing an equipment mat under the treadmill to help reduce sound from floor vibrations.
  4. Secure the Motor Cover: I’ve also found that if the motor hood isn’t screwed down tightly enough it will create a rattling noise (sometimes described as a grinding) near the front of the treadmill so make sure it is screwed down tightly.
  5. Turn off the Audible Safety Alert: Each treadmill desk will make a beeping sound to notify the user each time the treadmill starts or when the speed is being adjusted. This feature comes enabled for safety reasons, but it can easily be disabled if co-workers find the noise distracting (which they probably will). Here is a video tutorial on how to turn this feature off.


In conclusion, LifeSpan treadmill desks are very quiet, especially when compared to fitness treadmills. Walk in soft-soled shoes at a comfortable pace and properly maintain your unit to reduce those extra noises.

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