Manual treadmills offer a more natural running experience. The motorless design allows you to easily move at your own pace and switch from walking to running without having to readjust your settings.
Because the treadmill is propelled using your own body weight, you’ll burn more calories, and get a more intense workout than with a standard treadmill.
The Differences Between Manual Treadmills and Electric Treadmills
Regardless of whether you get a manual or electric treadmill, you will get the ideal cardio workout. The main difference between these two treadmill categories is that your feet are the power behind a manual treadmill. Motorized treadmills work because of an electric motor.
This motor moves (rotates) the treadmill’s belt. As they don’t have a motor, you’ll find manual treadmills more affordable than motorized models.
Manual treadmills also tend to be more compact and lightweight, so they’re usually better for small spaces. They also don’t make the noise you’d have to put up with if you got an electric treadmill.
- Natural motion
- Lightweight and compact
- Less parts to break
- More intense workout in less time
- Full control over speed
How to Choose a Manual Treadmill
If you’ve never had a treadmill before, a manual treadmill is probably a better choice than an electrical treadmill with a motor.
Not only are manual treadmills more affordable (sometimes much more affordable) than electrical treadmills, they are more lightweight and compact. They are also much quieter to operate.
As a manual treadmill doesn’t have a motor, the belt (the surface you run on) only moves when you walk or run on it, making it easy for you to control your speed and the speed of the machine. Changing the incline on your manual treadmill is how you increase resistance.
If you’re into fitness, you know that’s how you boost your workout’s intensity (and calorie-burning). This is how manual treadmills can be used for different intensity-level workouts. If you go with one of the more expensive manual treadmill models, you may find you can adjust resistance differently.
The magnetic tension on the treadmill’s flywheel and belt can help you do this. You may also be able to change hand grip angle in a way that boosts or lowers tension when it comes to your upper body. Let’s take a look at some of the factors you should consider when shopping for a motorless treadmill.
How Big is the Belt?
Different manual treadmills will have different belt sizes. If you have long legs and/or plan to run on your treadmill, you should look for a larger belt. A belt for running needs to be a minimum of 18 inches wide and 48 inches long. People taller than 6 feet will need even more space, with a 54-inch long belt for running and a 52-inch belt for walking.
Is it Portable?
If portability is important to you, make sure you choose a manual treadmill with a portable design. To make it easy to move around your home, it should be quite lightweight.
Foldable designs are an essential part of portability. Foldable treadmills are easy to store and great for small spaces. Check to see if your treadmill has portability wheels and/or handles.
Does it Have Incline Options?
Incline adjustments give you an uphill walking or running experience, burning more calories and giving you a more vigorous workout. Find out what incline degree settings you can do on the manual treadmills you are considering purchasing.
Try to find a treadmill that allows for an incline that reaches a minimum of 10 percent. If you choose a treadmill that has a fixed incline, recognize that you won’t be able to adjust it.
Are there Resistance Adjustments?
If you know anything about fitness, you know how important resistance is in many workouts. When you can change the resistance adjustments on your treadmill, you are giving your body more vigorous exercise.
What are the Weight Limits?
Always check a treadmill’s weight capacity before buying it. You should never use a treadmill with a weight limit that is too close to your own body weight. If you get a treadmill with a high weight capacity limit, that’s usually a good indication that it’s sturdy and dependable.
Is it Stable?
Your treadmill’s frame should stay completely stable. You don’t want to jog or run on an unstable surface, as that could result in a fall. It’s especially important that you hold onto the handles when you put your treadmill on an incline setting.
The Best Manual Treadmills Reviewed
The best manual treadmill for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences. For example, if you live in a very small space, you will need a treadmill compact enough to fit. Let’s look at the most comfortable manual treadmill, the most versatile manual treadmill, the best treadmill for small spaces, and the best budget manual treadmill.
Most Natural: IN1OCT Health Runner
The IN1OCT Health Runner Treadmill has a dual bearing system is designed so that moving between walking and running is much easier than you’d expect (and would experience with another treadmill). Additionally, it has rubberized slats, which create better comfort than the plastic ones you’ll find in other treadmills.
IN1OCT explains that exercising on this treadmill will burn significantly more calories than other kinds of treadmill. If you do HIIT training, this treadmill is a good choice. That’s because you have direct and immediate control over your speed.
With this treadmill, you can run long distances without the wear and tear on your legs that you’d get if you were outside on the pavement.
This manual treadmill’s design helps give you a natural walking and running experience. That’s because the balls of your feet come in contact with the belt. When you walk outside in an everyday context, this is the part of your feet that comes in contact with the ground.
For all its high-end features, this treadmill still manages to be compact and convenient. It even features wheels so you’ll have no trouble moving the equipment from place to place, making it a fantastic treadmill to have in your home gym. 69X32X62 inches are the item dimensions. The treadmill has a maximum incline percentage of 30.
- Easy transitioning between walking and running.
- Rubberized slats create more comfort than plastic slats
- Features wheels that allow you to move the treadmill from place to place
- Has a unique curved shape
Most Versatile: RUNOW Curved Treadmill, Non-Electric Motorized Treadmill
The RUNOW Curved Treadmill is a non-electric motorized treadmill and it’s appropriate for both home and commercial use. It is customizable and includes resistance adjustment, with four available options. The four resistance adjustments are free running mode, sprint training mode, flat side stride mode, and race walking mode.
You can do HIIT training, jogging, and even sprinting on this treadmill. The RUNOW Curved Treadmill has transport wheels, so it’s a breeze to move from place to place in your home. It even has a cup holder, so you can keep your water bottle at the ready.
You manually adjust this treadmill to get just the right resistance for your workout. The RUNOW Curved Treadmill’s dimensions are 67X62X32 inches. Running on this treadmill is much easier on your joints than running outside on a hard surface. It has a wider than average design, giving you more space.
The RUNOW Curved Treadmill has a rubber tread that ensures shock absorption and stops you from slipping. This treadmill is relatively easy to assemble. If you ever want to move this treadmill to another part of your home, the transport handle will come in handy. The treadmill has a two-year warranty.
This treadmill has a higher weight capacity than many manual treadmills. People weighing up to 330 pounds can use it without worry. The RUNOW Curved Treadmill has an ample running surface of 63X17 inches. The RUNOW Curved Treadmill has a mini LCD screen on which you can monitor calories burned, distance, time, pace, and more.
- 4 resistance/speed adjustments
- Easily adaptable to your purpose, whether that is running or walking
- 330-pound maximum weight capacity
- Rubber tread for shock absorption and anti-skid effects
Best for Small Spaces: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill
This treadmill by Sunny Health & Fitness is compact and you can fold it for portability and storage. It has wheels, so it’s especially easy to move around. You can fold it up for storage.
This treadmill has a slight non-adjustable incline.
This is a popular treadmill for apartments and other small spaces. It is compact, and its running surface measures 42L X 13W inches. You can do power walking and jogging on this treadmill. The treadmill’s hand grips are made of soft foam for comfort. You will use the hand grips to keep your balance as you walk or jog.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill with LCD Display is quiet to operate and has a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds. When folded, this treadmill is 20L X 23W X 50H inches. You will get a 42L X 13W inch running surface. The digital monitor tracks your calories burned, distance, speed, and time. It also has a scan function, making it easy to view all your data with just one button.
- Compact size perfect for small spaces
- LCD Monitor and scan option
- Foldable, making storage and moving easy
- Foam hand grips
Best for Budget: EFITMEN Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill
If you can deal with a 220-pound maximum weight capacity, the EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill with Pulse Monitor is a great budget treadmill option. While this is a conveniently compact treadmill, it manages to have a 42-inch long walking and jogging surface.
This treadmill has an LCD console that shows data such as calories burned, distance, time, speed, and odometer information. The console has a scale function, which lets you view all your metrics with the press of a button. When you use the scale function, each of your metrics is displayed for a few seconds.
You can even exercise your arms with this treadmill. It has durable (and adjustable) tension handle bars. These will move with your arms as you walk, creating more resistance and working out your upper body.
This EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill has an adjustable incline with three levels to choose from. With this treadmill, you’ll also get biometric feedback sensors. These will keep you aware of your heart rate.
This treadmill is a good choice for small spaces, such as condos and apartments. It’s foldable, so that you can store it quickly and easily. You can adjust the resistance on your treadmill with a simple mechanism. The EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill weighs just 80 pounds, so that you can lift it easily.
- Excellent value for money
- Foldable and compact
- Lightweight (80 pounds)
- Biometric sensors
Which Manual Treadmill Should You Choose?
Now you know what to look for in a manual treadmill and how to choose the right treadmill for you. While the IN1OCT Health Runner is the most comfortable manual treadmill, the most versatile option is the RUNOW Curved Treadmill.
If you have limited space, check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill. The most budget-friendly treadmill is the EFITMEN Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill.