can i plug my treadmill into a regular outlet

Can I Plug My Treadmill into a Regular Outlet?

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With a treadmill in your home gym, you no longer need to brave the frosty streets during the winter months just to maintain your running regimen. What a game changer!

Now that you’re bringing home a treadmill, you need to think about the machine’s electrical requirements. That’s not surprising – it comes with the territory of owning one. So, what are the electrical requirements of the average treadmill, and are they compatible with standard home outlets? Let’s find out!

The Electrical Requirements of Treadmills

The good news is that not all treadmills are super-machines designed for gym-grade performance.

Companies such as NordicTrack, Sunny Health & Fitness, Weslo, and ProForm all offer treadmills designed for residential use, taking into consideration the standard power of the average American home outlet.

The Electrical Requirements Of Treadmills

If so, why do some models arrive with a variety of voltage requirements? Well, yes, they do have different power requirements.

For instance, the NordicTrack T Series requires a 120-volt outlet, while many others are rated for 110 or perhaps even 115 volts, but this isn’t an issue, and I’ll explain why!

US American Outlets and Voltage

Okay, so the standard US outlet is rated for 120 volts, but this isn’t as precise a figure as you may imagine. The actual output can fall anywhere between 116 and 125 volts.

What’s more, the rated output isn’t exactly a fixed thing, but rather a range of voltages.

This is why, whether your prospective home treadmill has a 110, 115, or 120-volt power draw, it will work just fine in your regular 120V outlet. Having said that, you shouldn’t just take it as a given that the outlet you plan on using is rated for 120V.

While this is considered the standard in the States, it’s not universal, so you’ll need to double-check before plugging anything in and getting a sweat on.

How Do You Know That You Have a 120V Outlet?

If you’re lucky, the output will be clearly labeled on the cover of your outlet, but if it isn’t, I’d recommend investing in something like a Kaiweets Digital Multimeter.

With a multimeter, you simply turn on your outlet, insert the electrodes into the holes, then take a voltage reading from the LCD on the unit.

If the multimeter says that your outlet is around the 120V zone, then, in terms of power, it should be safe to use with your treadmill.

man using a treadmill surge protector

If you don’t feel comfortable messing around with electronics, I don’t blame you. Even though this is a very small job, don’t hesitate to call in a professional electrician to check the outlet for you.

Alternatively, if you have a friend or family member with some experience with electronics or is handy around electricals, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind helping you out. After all, it’s a very quick job, and if they’re the handy type, they likely already own a multimeter.

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Additional Concerns When Plugging a Treadmill into a Standard Residential Outlet

Besides finding an outlet with an appropriate output, most treadmill manufacturers recommend taking into account further safety protocols.

1. Grounded Outlets

A grounded outlet simply means that, during an electrical surge, the excess power runs into the earth rather than through the power cable and into your devices. This nifty electrical re-routing protects your devices from receiving dangerous power levels way beyond that of the rated requirement. More importantly, it protects the user from electric shocks.

You may not think a grounded outlet is all that necessary due to the rarity of power surges. Think again! They’re more common than you’d think. The usual causes of power surges are devices in your home, obsolete electrical systems, storms, and when power is turned back on after an outage. So, better safe than sorry!

You can usually tell if an outlet is grounded by the presence of an additional recess for a third plug prong. Your treadmill plug will almost certainly have this third grounding prong, which means you couldn’t insert it into a non-grounded outlet.

Whatever you do, don’t try to modify the treadmill plug to make it compatible with a non-grounded outlet. Not only is this a safety hazard, it will void your warranty, leaving you high and dry if you need to return your treadmill for repairs or a replacement.

If the outlet in question isn’t grounded, it’s not the end of the world. Grounding an outlet is a very easy job for a professional electrician. The whole process typically takes about 30 minutes and costs between $30 and $50.

2. Surge Suppressors

You can think of surge suppressors as an extra line of defense against overvoltage. These are little devices inserted into the utility line to combat voltage spikes.

Treadmill manufacturers usually recommended a single-outlet suppressor with a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS) rating of UL 1449.

This type of suppressor will be capable of suppressing at least 400 volts, and will be rated for 120 volts/15 amps. Something like the Tripp Lite 1 Outlet Portable Surge Protector is just the ticket!

3. Dedicated Circuit

Manufacturers also suggest only using an outlet with a dedicated circuit, which means it has its own circuit breaker in your electrical box and is intended for use with a single appliance at a time.


This is mostly because of the sensitive onboard computer systems in modern treadmills. You need to take more precautions when using machines with delicate computer technology than with standard electronics.

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Can I Plug My Treadmill into an Extension Cord?

We don’t recommend plugging a treadmill into an extension cord, even if that cord is plugged into a suitable 120-volt grounded outlet with surge protection.

If you have no other choice but to use an extension cord, make sure that it has the third prong for grounding, is shorter than 6-feet long, and has a cable gauge equal to or greater than the power cable of your treadmill.

Manual Treadmills: An Affordable Alternative

If you’re having trouble with the electricals in your home and cannot power a normal treadmill, why not give something like this Sunny Health & Fitness Foldable Manual Treadmill a try?

treadmill power requirements

Manual treadmills are powered entirely by the physical energy you exert on the track — no plugs, no outlets, no big energy bills, no worries!

Final Thoughts

There you have it, folks — treadmills designed for residential use are typically compatible with standard 120V household outlets. Aside from that, you’ll need to make sure there are a few other safety measures in place:

  • The outlet needs to be grounded
  • You should use a surge suppressor
  • The outlet should be on a dedicated circuit

It’s also recommended that you unplug your treadmill after every use even if you have invested in a surge protector since this is the best way to ensure that the delicate electronics within will not be affected by power fluctuations.

Armed with this information, you can make the necessary preparations, and, finally, take your home gym to the next level with an awesome running machine — take that, winter!