Treadmill motors for home use are typically rated at "Peak" and "Continuous". "Peak" tells you the maximum power rating of the motor, while "Continuous" is an expression of the power output during normal use.
A 5HP peak motor running at 2HP continuous is using 40% of the motors capacity. One would expect this motor running at far less than peak capacity would have a longer useful life than one running at say 80% of capacity.
Therefore, BOTH "Peak" AND "Continuous" ratings are important considerations when choosing a treadmill.
For home use, anything larger than 5HP would likely require something more than the normal 120-Volt outlet found in American homes.
Treadmills offered for home use are usually rated between 1.25HP and 3.0HP (continuous). To choose from this range you must consider the weight of the user(s) and the nature of the workouts planned.
The heavier the user and the heavier the use, the more continuous power you should consider. However, there is a downside to just adding power, particularly in light of potential energy shortages and the associated rising costs.
1HP is approximately equal to 750-Watts. A 1.5HP treadmill (continuous) burns the equivalent of fifteen 75-Watt light bulbs. A 3.0HP (continuous) motor is burning the equivalent of thirty 75-Watt light bulbs, and, if it is a 5HP (peak) motor, it is running at 60% of it's capacity!
Users under 150-pounds planning normal workouts (6 mph or less, 45 minutes per workout or less, 3 to 5 times a week or less) would do nicely on a 3.25HP (peak), 1.5HP (continuous) treadmill.
Users over 275-pounds should consider a conventional (non-folding) treadmill with 2.0HP or more.
If your needs fall in between these recommendations, as most people's do, a 1.75HP or 2.0HP (continuous) 5.0HP (peak) folding treadmill is likely a good choice.
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