Are you looking the best manual treadmill? There are many of these non-motorized models on the market now. And if you’re trying to get fit using one of these, you might be confused and overwhelmed with the different options available.
For help, we’ve created a buying guide, outlining the things to look for when comparing your options, along with the top picks currently. Each of these has their pros, cons, and things that make them unique, and those you must know.
By finding the right treadmill, you will be able to get more of your workouts and gain more satisfaction in your purchase.
It will also give you an effective workout that will train more muscles in a short time because manual treadmills require your energy to run.
With the right cardio trainer, you will also find it easier to walk, run and/or jog in the comfort of your home without dealing with the pollution.
So if you want to make a better decision later, keep reading. We do hope you will be able to find the right cardio trainer with the features and functions that you want your machine to have.
If you’re ready, let’s get started knowing how a manual treadmill works as well as its benefits and drawbacks that you also need to know.
Table of Contents
I. How Does a Manual Treadmill Work?
Running has always been the go-to exercise type of every person. Whether you are a fitness beginner or a health veteran, everybody, at some point in his or her fitness journey, choose to run and jog.
Aside from running in the outdoors, treadmills are a staple in the fitness community. They are very easy to use, very accessible and are more time-efficient compared to running outside is.
Moreover, it’s perfect for people who don’t always have time to go to the gym. With a treadmill at home, you don’t have an excuse to skip your workout of the day.
As such, before purchasing one, it is best to first research about the product to know if it’s a perfect match for you. As there are many treadmills on the market, it might get a bit confusing and overwhelming which unit to choose especially when you’re a newbie.
There are two types of treadmills: motorized or manual/non-motorized treadmills. The differences between these treadmills lie on the motor- whether it’s absent or present. Despite them being both treadmills, you would be able to experience a different kind of workout depending on the model and type you choose to use.
As in their name, motorized treadmills are equipped with motors that are in charge of moving the belt. They are typically the treadmills you see in fancy gym places or the treadmills people tend to buy.
With the technology, motorized treadmills have flashier features such as speed settings, incline settings, lights, speakers, workout programs and the like. However, they also tend to be more expensive and bulkier due to their numerous added features.
On the other hand, manual treadmills operate on manual power, aka your power. Unlike the motorized treadmills, it certainly requires more effort as there is no motor.
It relies on the movement of your feet to set the belt in motion. If you slow down, the belt also slows down and vice versa. It also follows that the belt completely stops moving if you also stop moving.
A manual treadmill also comes with a bit of an angle, the smallest being 5 degrees. When using it, the incline remains the same, unless you stop and get off the treadmill to adjust it manually. Usually, a high incline results in a faster belt movement.
Thus, it’s easier to move and push with your feet as there is not much resistance.
Aside from that, a manual treadmill comes in two varieties: a curved belt and a flat belt. In flat bed treadmills, your feet are the master of the belt’s movement.
If you move, it moves; if you don’t, it does not move, too. As for the curved belt treadmills, it follows the natural arch and movement of your feet.
For runners, they usually prefer the curved belt version whereas walkers can make do with the flat belt treadmill.
Generally, as it requires more effort, athletes tend to be avid users of the manual treadmill. It is certainly a great workout for your legs, core, hamstrings, butt and generally, your lower body.
II. Benefits + Drawbacks of Manual Treadmills
Knowing the pros and cons in each product is a great way to know whether that particular item can suit your lifestyle and needs or not. This way, you can adequately think and make an informed choice, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Hence, this article will lay down the pros and cons of manual treadmills.
Gives a better workout
Aside from being eco-friendly and energy-efficient, manual treadmills also give a better workout. Without the motor, you are forced to run and put in effort to move the belt. With this, you burn more calories and thus, exercise your muscles more effectively.
Smaller and more compact
Manual treadmills are the more stripped off and economical versions of the motorized ones, so they are also smaller and more compact.
They’re easy to install with some models even ready-to-use after unwrapping them. With their size, they can fit in small rooms easily, especially when you have limited space.
There are also some units that can be disassembled and folded up after use. They are also very lightweight that you can easily move them around your home.
Manual treadmills are also safer since they depend on your movement. Hence, it stops when you stop, eliminating the worry of slipping and falling down. This also makes it safe to use around pets and children.
Without the motor and the extra features, manual treadmills are definitely cheaper. It’s a great way to save on exercise equipment, especially when you’re on a tight budget.
Manual treadmills don’t need to be plugged, hence, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. Aside from reaching your fitness goals, you are also doing your part in saving the Earth.
Moreover, as you don’t need to plug the treadmill for it to work, that means you can use this anywhere. You can also save on your electrical bills too.
Unlike the motorized treadmills, manual treadmills generally don’t have features. For example, you don’t get to enjoy the built-in workouts, apps, speakers and other features in motorized versions. To do that, you might have to download apps on your phone.
Manual treadmills only have a display that shows the time, distance, speed and calories that you have burned while running. They also have a pulse sensor.
Needs manual adjustments
As stated above, manual treadmills have a static incline, the lowest being 5 degrees. If you want to increase the incline, you have to get off the machine and adjust it yourself.
Not suitable for people with weak joints
Since the treadmill depends on the effort you put in, it may be a bit straining on your joints. It is especially difficult to get the belt moving.
If you have sensitive and weak joints, especially on your knees, ankles, hips and the like, a manual treadmill may not be the best choice. If you want, you can reduce the stress on your joints by raising the incline; however, this high-incline workout might be against your liking.
Manual inclines are less durable and are prone to more flaws. As such, they usually have a weight limit they can carry.
III. Top 5 Best Manual Treadmills
1. Our #1 Pick: Sunny Health & Fitness 7700 Asuna High Performance Cardio Trainer
The 7700 Asuna High Performance Cardio Trainer is a top performing manual cardio trainer that you might want to take a look at if you’re shopping around for a good treadmill with the features including portability and value.
One of the things that make the treadmill a good choice is its heavy-duty design, giving more value to your spending. With it, you can have peace of mind of using it for the long-term.
You will also appreciate its heavy-duty deck that is able to accommodate all intensities of exercise. This treadmill has a maximum capacity of 440 lbs., which is amazingly high enough to accommodate most user sizes and weights.
It is also with four extra levels and an incline of 14 degrees for added speed and strength.
It is also worth noting that it has handlebars, which are resistant against slip and sweat. They can provide users with a good grip for increased safety
In addition, those aiming to burn more calories in a shorter time can rely on the fitness machine that comes with a large tablet holder in an easy to access place.
You can also have peace of mind of portability and easy storage. This model has a foldable design that makes storage easy and quick. For increased portability, it also comes with transportation wheels.
Things we liked
- Effective in burning calories for the increased intensity it gives
- High performance dual flywheel for better performance
- Includes a tablet holder for convenience
- Up to 10 degrees incline for added pressure
- Sweat guard protection on the flywheels
Things we disliked
- Can take much effort to gain momentum on it
2. StairMaster HIITMill Self-Powered Incline Treadmill
The StairMaster brand is a staple name among fitness seekers worldwide for its quality and reliable cardio machines like the self-powered incline treadmill.
HIITMill is a heavy-duty treadmill with an extra wide walking or running surface. It is ideal for those who want to get more out of their workouts in just a short time.
Just like high intensity interval training, this fitness machine can offer you with an effective workout especially if you want to lose weight.
As it is a manual treadmill, it requires more force than the electric treadmill. Without even saying, it is your sole effort that matters for your results in a manual treadmill. The carry lift arms also make this unit unique and effective.
Enhance and train different muscle groups with varying training movements in just a cardio machine. With it, you can do different routines that can promote faster results.
This unit also offers varying incline adjustments, adding resistance to your cardio training. It is also with nice grip handlebars promoting safety and ease.
For portability, the machine comes with transport wheels, allowing moving from one spot to another.
Things we liked
- Carry lift arms for added intensity
- Heavy-duty and durable construction
- Can provide an effective workout
- Extra wide deck
- Can accommodate a wide range of user weight and sizes
Things we disliked
- A bit bulky for small spaces
3. SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL
Speedfit is another topnotch brand for manual treadmills because of its machines’ great construction and design. Choosing its fitness machines like the Speedboard ProXL treadmill, you can have peace of mind that you’ll have an effective workout from home.
If you are looking for a time-efficient training in the comforts of your home, you might want to check out the Speedfit treadmill.
It can offer you with a varied and more intense cardio training anytime. You also gain more results if you add intensity to your workout, but nonetheless, you will be able to train based on your pace and speed.
In addition to the varied training, you will be able to enjoy more than 5000 personal workout programs with just one test that doesn’t take more than 10 minutes.
This machine can also use more of your energy in a very short time, suiting those without much time to spend on their workouts.
Things we liked
- Can offer timesaving, intense workouts
- Does not shake while walking
- Fits those with weak joints
- Sturdy running belt
- 5000 personal workouts from a test less than 10 minutes
Things we disliked
- Small running area
4. Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill
If you’re looking for a quality treadmill to accommodate a wide range of user sizes and weights, you might want to check out the Exerpeutic manual treadmill. It can handle users of up to 325 lbs. and can offer effective training at your own pace and speed.
The high capacity and magnetic resistance machine is good for people that want to lose weight by burning more calories out of cardio training.
In addition, it would be good to note that the manual treadmill is with dual six-inch diameter flywheels for a more consistent and smoother workout versus manual treadmills.
Moreover, the Exerpeutic is with heart pulse pads that let users measure and keep track of their desired heart rates.
Also, it is noticeable that this unit is longer than other manual treadmills on the market are. It can offer you with the training benefits you need without having to settle for more expensive and electric treadmills.
The Exerpeutic 100XL manual treadmill is also with long safety handles, which are more than twice those are the traditional treadmills on the market now. This feature gives us peace of mind of added safety and security to prevent any balance loss.
Things we liked
- Long safety handles
- Twin 6-inch diameter flywheels
- High calorie burning workouts in less the time
- Sleek and solid design
Things we disliked
- Might not be for larger users for its narrower walking surface
5. Assault Fitness AirRunner
The AirRunner treadmill is another cardio machine not to miss when shopping around for a manual cardio machine. It is with the solid and sleek features that you must be checking out to get more out of your spending
One of the things that make it unique is that it can feel like running on the air, allowing you to burn more calories. Using it, you can also expect burning 30 percent more calories versus a motorized treadmill can.
In addition, the unit is eco-friendly because it does not require any electricity to run. With this feature, you can also expect of no additional on your electricity bill. So in addition to burning fat in a short time, you’ll also save money in the end.
Not to mention, this unit is also with a high user weight limit, accommodating up to 350 lbs. You can also rely on its versatility that it can handle all training types from moderate to heavy intensity workouts.
The AirRunner is what you need if you want an effective training from home, whether for an athlete’s kind of workout or a beginner’s moderate training. That’s not all though because it is of excellent and sturdy steel construction, which makes it long lasting for years of use.
This motorless treadmill uses no electricity because it runs using your energy. If you want more results out of your workout, you can rely on the model that lets you train harder or with moderate intensity as desired.
You can have peace of mind that it can work based on your desired speed and pace without any hassles. Also, this unit offers you without max speed setting so that you can push yourself harder to the limit.
Not to forget, this unit is also with an LCD console along with rest and work LEDs and Bluetooth enabled functionality for added ease of use.
Things we liked
- Can offer up to 150,000 mile belt life
- Accommodates users up to 350 pounds
- Offers natural running movement
- Durable steel construction
- Conforms to your desired speed and pace
Things we disliked
- Might not be for those with weak joints
IV. Manual Treadmill Buyer’s Guide
When choosing a manual treadmill, you should not miss looking into certain features and factors to ensure that you will gain effective results from your training sessions. In the following, let’s take a look at the things to look for when shopping around for a manual cardio machine.
It is an important component of a treadmill that you need to check especially its width and length. If you’re a runner, however, you might not be able to find a model onto which has a long enough deck to jog or run.
In this case, you must compare your options well when shopping around for a fitness machine that you want to use for running. Otherwise, you might have to stick with walking if you’d use a unit with a deck less than 45 inches in length.
More so, check on the deck’s height, which shouldn’t be a problem for most manual treadmills. So if you’re someone looking for a low step up height, you can also rely on a manual model that lets you get on easily.
Portability and storage
In addition to the above features, another aspect to compare when shopping around for manual treadmills includes portability and storage. When it comes to portability, you might want to look into transport wheels that can make moving the unit around easier and faster.
But then, most manual treadmills are more portable than most electric models are. Another reason for this is that they are lighter in weight compared to their electric counterparts is. In addition, it’s worth noting that manual treadmills can also be foldable, so storage won’t be a problem. For this reason, you can keep it in a convenient place for you. If you’re in luck, you might also be able to find a treadmill that can fold up in as little as nine inches.
Max user weight
All treadmills are tested for certain weight limit capacity. Some can accommodate only up to 220 pounds while others up to 440 pounds. Checking out this feature, you can have peace of mind that you’re using a versatile machine that can offer training to a wide range of users.
Type of resistance
One of the most known features of a manual treadmill is the resistance it offers. For example, there are those offering magnetic resistance, a common feature among new models. A magnetic resistance lets you alter the difficulty level you desire based on your training goals.
Training with safety is another thing to bear in mind when shopping around for a manual treadmill.
To increase user safety, manufacturers include sturdy and easy to grip handlebars. As these units are self-powered, you must hold on to the handles when exercising.
For added safety, you must look for longer handles, which are more comfortable to grip than shorter ones are. They are also more functional, so they’re ideal for better use.
Aside from the above-mentioned features, you must also look for additional ones you might find useful to have based on your preference. For example, there are units that can help you track progress and check for calories burned, time, speed and distance, among others.
More so, you can check out those with pulse monitors or heart rate monitors that will give you a better view of your progress.
And for accessories, there are models with included holders for tablets, phones or books as well as bottle holders.
Nevertheless, added design features can be useful for ease of use and convenience. You might want to check on them when comparing your options.
No one wants to buy a treadmill that will not last for a long time. For this reason, you should check its durability in construction like having a solid steel frame, which enhances the heavy-duty performance of the unit.
Design and aesthetics
If you’re also after for a nice-looking treadmill to match your home decoration, you should shop around for a treadmill that has good aesthetics. You can start comparing your options on the top picks above and see which one fits your design preference.
There you have some of the things to check when trying to compare your options on a manual treadmill. Be sure to spend some effort and time in weighing the features you want your fitness machine.
There you have some of the things to know about a manual treadmill including how it works and its advantages and drawbacks.
Learning such information, you will have a better idea on what to expect from this non-motorized cardio trainer that you can use at home and at your own pace, speed and time.
And referring to a buying guide, you will be able to make a better comparison of the different treadmills available on the market now. With an informed decision, you can have peace of mind that you’ll buy and use your ideal non-motorized cardio machine.
Upon knowing the factors to check, you can also choose among the top picks, look into their unique qualities, and find out what’s best for you.