Do I Need a Mat Under My Elliptical?

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Ellipticals use a lot of momentum and swing wildly. All that turbulence can wreak havoc on your floors if you aren’t careful.

Do you need a mat under your elliptical? Absolutely, and for more reasons than just one.

The more you use something, the more wear and tear happens. That makes sense, right? Well when that translates into exercise equipment, it can get dangerous.

Having a mat underneath your elliptical can actually help prevent maintenance issues and help you in the long run. Here’s how.

Is a Mat Under an Elliptical Necessary?

Is a Mat Under an Elliptical Necessary?

Yes, we would argue that it is necessary. There are three main reasons that we’ll get into in a minute, but first, let’s talk about what type of mat is necessary.

The stable kind. Bad materials and fluffy mats may seem nice, but they’re not doing you any favors. We want stability over absolutely everything else.

Typically, you have mats with different depths and materials. This is what you need to know about picking the right one:

  • Materials: Many of these are made out of PVC foam. It’s a great material to help prevent floor damage, but it’s also malleable. You want to lay your mat down and put the elliptical on top of it right away to prevent damaging it later on when you decide to move it. Plan out where you want to put it right away. Even if it does return to its normal shape later, these mats might unbalance the elliptical at that point.
  • Depth: Your mat doesn’t have to be ridiculously thick. In fact, if it’s too thick, your machine can wobble from momentum shifts. The real balance is finding a thick enough mat that also has great materials to keep everything steady and sturdy. A typical depth is around 0.25” up to 0.40” deep, and when your elliptical settles into it, there will still be plenty of material around the edges to keep it in place.
  • Brands: The cheaper the product, the easier it is to make a knock-off of. You can find thousands of different floor mat brands, but you’ll likely only remember a few. Do you know why? Because most of them are terrible and don’t present any solution. Branded mats may be a little more expensive, but you want to make sure there’s a company held liable for sourcing quality materials and hiring the best designers to create the mats in the first place. No-name companies have nothing to lose because nobody will remember them, so they’ll churn out horrible products left and right.

Reasons to Use a Mat Under an Elliptical

Reasons to Use a Mat Under an Elliptical

Now we know a little bit more about mats and what to look for, but it’s time to explore the three main reasons that you’d want a mat underneath your elliptical in the first place.

Beyond these basic reasons, you also want to keep your elliptical in the best shape possible in the event that you sell it in the future. Scratches, dings, and warping don’t inspire confidence in a prospective buyer.

Improved Stability

Once you start getting into heavier exercises on an elliptical, you quickly find that it shifts and sways side to side a lot. Intense exercises can feel unstable and throw you off of your exercise rhythm.

Stability leads to better exercises and more consistent workouts. If you know that your elliptical might sway too much, you may be unintentionally compensating for it and not engaging your body in the right way.

Noise Reduction

Just about any exercise machine, you can think of gets pretty loud. Ellipticals can be noisy enough to annoy your neighbors or wake up your spouse if it’s early in the morning.

It’s not just about the sound of machine parts whining together; the vibration that shakes through the floor and walls is really powerful. It doesn’t have to be loud immediate noise to be disruptive.

Floor mats both take care of the immediate noise and help reduce vibrations. PVC foam and rubber both absorb shock, so those vibrations ripple through the floor mat and then stop. They never transfer to the floor and create a noisy environment.

Reducing vibrations can help in many ways. If you have pets that get startled by loud noises, rest assured that the vibrations from your elliptical is definitely more alarming to them. It could put them at ease as well.

Floor Protection

Ellipticals can seriously damage your floors. The feet of your elliptical can dig into and scratch up the surface of hardwood, and if you rent, that’s hundreds in damages (when you could get a mat for a fraction of the cost).

Don’t think you’re safe if you have carpet, either. Carpet is installed along the edges of a room, so there may not be much holding it in place throughout the actual center of the room.

Your elliptical can move side to side from momentum shifts, and very slowly stretch out the fibers in the middle of the carpet.

This creates slightly loose sections of carpet, and it can pull on the nails or staples holding down the carpet in the corners of the room. It causes problems and can lead to entire carpet replacement.

Floor mats help remove friction from the elliptical scratching against hard surfaces, or damaging soft surfaces.

It’s More Than a Good Idea, it’s a Necessity

Protect your floors, keep the noise down, and protect your machine. The last thing you want is to run into problems over something inexpensive and simple like a floor mat.

You don’t have to spend a lot to reap all these benefits (plus, if you exercise early, your neighbors will thank you for the lack of noise).

Don’t skimp out on your mat selection. It’s better to prevent problems than try to fix them later.