What is a manual treadmill? Unlike their motorized cousins, manual treadmills don’t rely on a motor to provide their operating power. Instead, they rely on human power - that is, the strides of the person using it.
Fitness enthusiasts agree that manual treadmills have several benefits over their motorized counterparts. They don’t have as many moving parts - after all, they do not need a motor to run. Manual treadmills are almost always engineered to be space-saving. Fully-assembled, most manual treadmills outclass motorized models in terms of footprint size, meaning they can be set up in almost any room that has a spare corner. Many designs also feature collapsible, folding parts, which enables them to be easily stored or transported when not in use. Because there is an expectation that manual treadmills will hold up to repeated unpacking and repacking, many models are made from high-quality materials to minimize weight and increase durability. Perhaps a manual treadmill’s most attractive feature is its price. Compared to motorized treadmills, which often ship with expensive electronic components, manual treadmills offer a highly affordable means of exercising at home. But is it really worth the money to buy a manual treadmill? Here to help you decide is our list of the top 5 manual treadmills.
Which Is the Best Manual Treadmill?
The Confidence Fitness Magnetic wins big on manual treadmill reviews. Its innovative magnetic resistance system features 8 adjustable levels, allowing for users to independently and dynamically adjust the amount of resistance the treadmill outputs in order to control - even fine-tune - the intensity of their workout. The treads offer a generous 14” x 39” running surface - very generous indeed for a compact manual treadmill model - and the entire treadmill scales down to a mere 48” x 7.9” upright box when folded. Its lightweight materials means the treadmill weighs in at a mere 46.9 lbs., but it’s a heavy-hitter when it comes to wooing manual treadmill reviewers, who only seem to have nice things to say about the treadmill’s affordable pricing, versatile magnetic resistance levels, and ease of assembly and transport via locking pin mechanisms and built-in wheels.
Sporting a steel frame with powder-coated finish for a comfortable grip, and wide-positioned handrails for safety and balance during workout sessions, the ProGear 190 ranks #2 on our list. For its price, the Progear comes loaded with an extensive variety of features under the hood such as oversized belt rollers, cast iron flywheels to help align and smooth out the track while running, magnetic resistance adjusters and a belt drive. Fully assembled, the manual treadmill clocks in at a respectable 47” x 23” x 51” and folds up to 21” x 23” x 51”. Its LCD console tracks time, distance traveled, calories burned, speed and has a scan feature. It features an adjustable 2-position incline and, like all manual treadmills, the ProGear 190 may be freely set up anywhere there is room. Special to the ProGear 190 is its promise of being “maintenance-free” and minimal first-time assembly.
If you’re looking for a basic and remarkably affordable treadmill without any unnecessary frills and features, the Cardio Fitness Exercise Home Gym has got you covered. As one of the most inexpensive manual treadmills on our list, the Cardio Fitness promises a self-powered total body and cardiovascular workout at an affordable price. Thanks to its heavy-duty materials, sturdy construction and single-flywheel design, the Cardio Fitness also emphasizes durability and smooth running even with vigorous walking and jogging motions. This is a folding model, able to be locked into an upright position, meaning this manual treadmill takes up even less space when not in use. One of the only wired components of this treadmill is its battery-powered LCD monitor which tracks time, distance, speed and calories burned. Weighing in at only 44 lbs. and shipping in a compact 44” x 22.5” x 45” design, it’s easy why so many manual treadmill reviews have rated the Cardio Fitness Home Gym favorably.
Well-reviewed as an affordable and surprisingly sturdy treadmill for beginner-level walkers and joggers, the Weslo CardioStride 3.0 makes the #4 spot on our list. With a 2-position 15 percent incline and six built-in shock absorbers, the CardioStride 3.0 treadmill promises to increase calorie burn while minimizing stressful impact on joints. In spite of its compact space-saving design, the CardioStride 3.0 boasts a generous-for-its-class 17” x 41” tread surface and a resilient vinyl belt for smoother, quieter running. As a side note, many manual treadmill reviews highly recommend tightening the belt and lubing the machine prior to first use, and regularly throughout the life of product use, for increased performance. It folds vertically for storage and has a weight limit of 250 lbs.
Here's a video review from an actual purchaser of this treadmill:
Able to hold up against a maximum weight of 225 lbs., the compact 47” x 22” x 45” Stamina InMotion T900 Manual Treadmill makes our last spot. Designed with light, yet durable materials making up the frame and wheels, the T900 seeks to maximize portability, storage options, ease of setup and user safety. Indeed, it leaves only a surprising 17” x 22” footprint when folded up! Its running surface is textured and non-slip, and its front and side handlebar rails are cushioned with foam padding for added grip-comfort and safety. The console monitor tracks time, speed, distance traveled and calories burned. The flywheels are dual-weighted, specially designed to assist users in maintaining a smooth and steady pace, whether they are walking, jogging or running. The treadmill is capable of 2 incline positions (10 or 8 degrees) and is easily adjustable, allowing for increased comfort and muscle focus across a wide variety of stride lengths and speeds.
In spite of competition from motorized treadmills, many workout enthusiasts remain diehard manual treadmill advocates, and it’s easy to see why. When it comes to space-saving features, compact design and affordability, manual treadmills simply can’t be beat. Often made with high-durability materials and specially designed to be lightweight, space-saving and foldable, manual treadmills remain a cost-effective alternative to larger and more feature-congested electrically motorized treadmills. Whether you’re looking for a new exercise machine that’ll fit into the corner in your living room or simply a way to push forward with your fitness goals while at home without breaking the bank, we hope you’ll agree that a manual treadmill is definitely worth your money.
Product images sourced from their respective pages on Amazon.