When you think of treadmills, more than likely you think of the motorized kind. Yet, you may find you can get a better workout with a manual treadmill.
Manual treadmills put you in control. They do not plug in, you power it. They are safe, easy to use, take up less space, and are generally less expensive than a motorized treadmill.
Let’s dive right in and take a look at my top picks for the best manual treadmills on the market.
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
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- Features Upper Body Handles For A Total Body Workout
- 3-Way Incline Adjustment
- Folds For Easy Storage
- Good Informational Display
- Reasonably Priced
- Only Has A User Weight Capacity Of 220lbs.
- Narrow Belt Makes Running Difficult
- No On-Board Storage For Water Bottle
The EFITMENT T017 is a unique choice for a manual treadmill.
It features adjustable tension handles that allow you to exercise your upper body while walking. These handles are easy to use and move with your natural arm swing.
It’s two machines in one. Better still, it’s a complete total body machine. That means you will burn more calories as well as get a complete workout. That makes it a great choice for someone who isn’t doing any other type of exercise.
There are also heart rate sensors in the handrails, and it folds up for easy storage.
At 42” x 13.5” the belt isn’t the largest, and it cannot hold the most user weight with a max of 220lbs.
However, the upper body bars, the 3-way incline settings, and the value make this the best overall manual treadmill.
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- Two Incline Positions
- Features A Heart Rate Monitor
- 43” Belt
- Folds For Easy Storage
- No Adjustable Resistance
- The Belt Is Too Small For Running
The ProGear 190 manual treadmill is a reasonably priced option that does not have adjustable resistance. It attempts to compensate by offering adjustable incline options: 6 and 10 degrees.
The ProGear 190 manual treadmill has a user weight capacity of 230 lbs. It features two oversized belt rollers for a smooth walking experience.
The running belt is 13 x 43, making it a good choice for walking. Due to the fact that running requires a larger stride, this is not the best choice for that purpose. Yet, its affordable price point makes it a good choice among affordable manual treadmills.
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- Ideal For Interval Style Training
- Holds Up To 350 lbs
- Good Information Display
- Burns More Calories Than Motorized Treadmills
- May Take Time To Get Used To
The Assault Fitness AirRunner manual treadmill has many of the features you would expect to see on a motorized treadmill.
It’s light, making it easy to move and easy to fit in most spaces. It’s designed for running as well as walking. It’s especially good for high intensity interval training.
Unlike some manual treadmills, there’s a console that includes distance, time, calories burned, and speed. There are also several heart-rate and interval programs.
The downside is that it is definitely expensive.
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- Easy To Store – Easy To Use
- Can Provide An Intense Workout
- Pre-set 12.5% Incline
- The Traction Belt Is Narrow
The Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill features a spring-loaded pull-pin that locks the unit in the upright position so you can roll it away for easy storage. When you’re ready to exercise, you just release the pin and you’re all set.
This treadmill is designed to provide an intense workout with a fixed 12.5% incline position. There’s a basic display that provides distance covered, speed, calories burned, and time. Plus, there’s a holder for your water bottle.
The Phoenix 98510 manual treadmill is designed to let you walk, jog, or run. Best of all, it’s a great value.
- Inclines For Intense Workouts – Set It Flat For Walking Workouts
- High Weight Capacity – Holds 440 lbs.
- Features Dual Flywheel Design
- A Little Pricy
- No Information Monitor
The ASUNA Hi-Performance Manual Treadmill is a great choice whether you’re looking for a low intensity or high intensity workout.
The ASUNA has a large 49” L x 19” W workout area, one of the biggest of the manual treadmills on this list.
It has incline positions ranging from 6-10 degrees, so a running-based workout will be challenging. It also features 8 resistance levels.
This treadmill is designed to be safe. To that end, it has a high weight capacity of 440 pounds—more than many of the treadmills we reviewed.
For further safety, the handlebars are sweat- and slip-resistant. This means you can do HIIT workouts, running, power walking, or even backward jogging.
You can also do side squats, mountain climbers, and walking workouts with no chance of losing your grip. This durable treadmill is great for any type of hardcore workout.
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- Quiet, Slim & Easy To Store
- Adjustable Incline Levels
- On Board Informational Display
- Only Holds Up To 200 lbs.
If you’re looking for a basic, budget manual treadmill, the Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill is a good choice.
It’s reasonably priced, easy to set up, and easy to use. There are several traditional features you’d expect to see on a treadmill, such as an LED display which shows speed, time, distance, and calories burned.
The Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill has a fixed 5% incline. You can also select from 8 adjustable incline levels to personalize your workout experience.
Many individuals find this to be a good manual walking treadmill. You may find that it’s a little more challenging for running workouts.
This motorless treadmill is slim, quiet, light, and easy to move.
The downside is that it can only handle a max user weight of 200 lbs., potentially limiting its use.
Still, the Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill is another good choice for an entry-level, budget-friendly machine.
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- Holds Up To 325 lbs. User Weight
- Features Magnetic Resistance
- Extra Long Handrails
- No Water Bottle Holder
- May Be Hard To Put Together
The Exerpeutic 100XL manual treadmill utilizes magnetic resistance to help maintain a consistent speed.
It’s a sturdy machine that can hold up to 325 lbs. That’s not the most weight among the manual treadmills we reviewed but it is still one of the highest.
The Exerpeutic 100XL manual treadmill has extra-long handrails with built-in heart monitors. It features 3 levels of incline and 8 levels of magnetic tension.
There’s also a computer LCD display that provides time, distance, calories burned, speed, and heart rate monitoring. There’s even a spot for your TV remote control! Pretty much the only thing it doesn’t have is an electric motor.
The workout area is 45” L x 16” W, not the largest but still plenty of room for walking or running workouts.
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- Dual Flywheels Provide A Smooth Ride
- Longer, Wider Belt Is Perfect For Running
- Can Hold A Max Weight Of 325lbs.
- Reasonably Priced
- The Handrails Do Not Fold
- Some Users May Find The TR3000 Noisy
The Fitness Reality TR3000 Manual Treadmill is packed with features at an affordable price.
The TR3000 is a folding treadmill for easy storage. It’s well built with a user weight capacity of 325 lbs.
It also has a large workout area (45” L x 16” W), making it ideal for running workouts.
It has three incline levels as well as dual flywheels with a ‘pacer control’, which provides the user with 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
The control is located on the central console along with an LCD screen that displays time, distance, and speed. Heart rate is monitored by the handrail sensors.
These impressive features at a reasonable price make the Fitness Reality TR3000 the best choice in a budget manual treadmill.
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- 16 Levels Of Resistance
- Multi Grip Handlebars Make It Ideal For Pushing Against The Tread
- 300lb. User Weight Limit
- Large 59Lx 16W Belt Area
- No On-Board Informational Display
- The Fixed Incline May Be Too Intense For Some Users
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7723 Manual Treadmill is a well-built treadmill that can handle up to a 300lb. user weight limit.
It features dual flywheels for a smooth ride. It also comes with a fixed 13.5% incline and 16 levels of magnetic resistance so you can experience a full body workout.
It features multi-grip handlebars that allow you the option of pushing against the tread. You can also use the grip of your choice for walking or running. If your goal is to lose weight, this treadmill will get the job done.
Perhaps the best feature is the large 59L x 16W workout area which allows plenty of room for running workouts.
The downside is that there is no informational display on this unit.
- Features Transport Wheels For Easy Storage
- 42in x 13in Walking Surface
- LCD Screen Displays Workout Stats
- Space Saving
- Needs Two People To Assemble
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M is a non motorized treadmill designed mainly for walking, and light jogging. Unlike a typical electric treadmill, the SF-T1407M is compact and low maintenance.
The non slip surface provides a secure full body workout experience. It holds up to 220lbs. There are also long handrails so you can reach your maximum speed safely, whether it’s walking or jogging speed.
The LCD monitor tracks workout information, including calories, distance, speed, and time.
When you’re done using the SF-T1407M manual walking treadmill, just fold it up and use the transportation wheels to store it out of the way.
Finally, this treadmill features dual flywheels for resistance.
- Features Exclusive Sit-Up Pads For Core Training
- Ideal For Walking Workouts
- Folds For Easy Storage
- Height Adjustable Handrails
- Cannot Hold As Much User Weight As Many Of The Other Manual Treadmills
- Small Training Area Limits Running/Jogging Workouts
The Soozier Folding 2-In-1 Manual Walking Incline Treadmill is a unique take on a manual treadmill when compared to the rest of the choices on this list.
It’s really two machines in one, a manual treadmill and a sit-up station.
It features 2 incline levels (15 and 20 degrees), and a height adjustable handrail that accommodates users of all sizes. The handrail has 3 adjustments and can adjust from 42 ¼” to 49 ¼”. This is an exclusive feature not found on the other manual treadmills on this list.
The belt size is only 36 x13, making it better suited to walking than running.
This is a folding manual treadmill designed for easy storage. It can hold up to 240lbs. The unit also has an easy to read LCD screen that displays time, speed, calories burned, and distance.
The Soozier Folding 2-In-1 is not the best manual treadmill in key areas such as belt size or max weight. Yet the exclusiveness combined with a reasonable price makes it one of the best manual treadmills on the market.
- Commerical-Level Quality
- Designed For Athletes & Experienced Fitness Enthusiasts
- 4 Exercise Modes To Choose From
- 8-Function LCD Monitor
- Easy To Move
- Not For Budget-Minded Users
The RUNOW Curved Treadmill is a high-end option for advanced fitness enthusiasts and athletes. It’s commercial quality. In fact, it’s a popular choice among both commercial and home gym owners.
There are 4 modes for non motorized treadmill running as well as fast walking. The modes include free running, race walking, side running, and sprinting.
One advantage of curved treadmills is that they will burn 30% more calories than other non motorized treadmills or electric treadmills. That’s huge if fat loss is your goal! Another feature of curved treadmills is that they are easier on your joints.
The RUNOW Curved Treadmill holds up to 350 lbs and has 4 levels of resistance. There are also large handrails for safety.
Like other commercial-level curved treadmills, the RUNOW features hi-tech options. These include an 8-function LCD display, a 5″ screen, and a water bottle holder.
Unlike typical electric treadmills, you do not need to wait for the RUNOW treadmill to start. You simply get on and start walking. You, not the treadmill, determine if you want to maintain speed, decrease or increase speed.
Finally, this treadmill is durable and easy to maintain.
First, so there’s no confusion, manual treadmills are non-motorized treadmills powered by your movement on the belt, whether you’re walking, jogging, or running.
This differs from traditional treadmills powered by electricity. Unlike a motorized treadmill, there’s nothing to plug in and nothing to turn on. You just get on and go.
Manual treadmills are safer to use because it stops when you stop.
They are typically smaller and less expensive than their motorized counterparts. One thing to keep in mind is that you may find it hard to get going, after all, there’s no motor moving the belt for you.
OK, with that basic definition out of the way, here are the primary factors you should consider when choosing your manual treadmill:
The main thing to remember is that most manual treadmills are designed for average users.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find an expensive gym-level model. Indeed, there are a couple in this guide. Yet for the average user, they are meant to be compact to save space.
This means they fold for easy storage and are designed for smaller spaces like your living room, spare room, or corner area.
Despite the compact design, the best manual treadmills feature a steel frame for stability.
The last thing you want is a shaky, unstable feeling while working out.
Some manual treadmills offer none (like the ProGear 190) while others provide up to 16 levels of tension.
The main factor here is to choose a treadmill you can grow with. That means if you are new to exercise, pick a basic one with a few levels of resistance. You will find that as you become more fit, you’ll need more resistance and your treadmill can provide that.
There are some choices for more advanced trainers, such as the ASUNA Hi-Performance, which is designed for serious cardio-based workouts. This machine is meant for advanced trainers only and should not be used by a beginner.
You may be wondering what magnetic resistance is after seeing it featured on many of the manual treadmills in this review. Here’s how it works:
Quite a few manual treadmills use a dual flywheel design. These flywheels are attached to the frame using brackets. There’s an adjustment that moves the brackets farther or closer to a magnet. The distance from the brackets to the magnet increases or decreases the resistance.
The combination of incline and resistance creates the level of intensity.
Some manual treadmills are preset at a slight incline, so make sure you can handle it before you buy one. While a slight incline is meant to provide a good workout, you want a machine that fits your current fitness level as well as your goals.
The best manual treadmills feature several incline levels. For example, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7723 Manual Treadmill has 16 levels of resistance for optimal intensity. That means the SF-T7723 can go from a manual walking treadmill to one you can use for all-out hill running.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been exercising for a long time, make sure you have the option to adjust the incline accordingly.
Sometimes referred to as workout space, an important point is that the belt size on many manual treadmills is not that big, especially when compared to many motorized treadmills. This is due to the compact nature of the design.
If walking is your primary goal, that’s not a problem.
If you want more space to move, you’ll have to pay a little more for a manual treadmill with a larger workout area.
Another important consideration is that the belt area should have a non slip surface for safety.
Some manual treadmills do not offer an informational display, such as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7723. This may be OK for those trainers that only care about the actual workout.
Yet the typical information of time, distance, speed, and calories burned is useful for all trainers. If you’re looking to get into shape, choose one that gives you information that can help, such as the Fitness Reality TR3000.
If you’re already in great shape, you’ll want one that lets you focus on the workout itself. The Sunny mentioned above, or ASUNA fits the bill here.
The best manual treadmills have transport wheels for easy moving. This is an especially valuable feature if the treadmill folds.
Even if the treadmill feels a little heavy, just lean it back on its transportation wheels, and you can easily handle it.
One thing that many manual treadmills do not have is a space for things such as water bottles or cell phones. This may be a little annoying but with some thought, you can place items like this near enough to reach.
One of the main benefits of manual treadmills over electric treadmills is that they save power. Electric treadmills need an outlet. Plus, they add to your electric bill. On the other hand, a non motorized treadmill uses only your own strength to power it. All you need is a small area to use it.
Compared to a non motorized treadmill, electric versions can make a lot of noise. Even the best treadmills, manual or not, make some noise. Still, you have more freedom with a manual machine. You can work out whenever you want. A non motorized machine will be much quieter, so you can exercise even if everyone else is still asleep.
For serious exercisers, the quality of the workout is important. This means that the exercise thoroughly and effectively works the desired muscles. Let’s face it, even if the treadmill is a cardio exercise, you’re still working your legs.
A manual unit engages the muscles more completely for a better workout. It also burns more calories. That means good workout quality.
You’ll want to be sure the treadmill you choose can handle the weight you plan to put on it. This is not just your own weight. Some advanced users will walk or jog with either a weighted vest or dumbbells. This can easily add another 20lbs, maybe more. For example, strength athletes might use 50-60lb dumbbells. They may even wear a weighted vest on top of using dumbbells.
Make sure you match up the recommended weight limit to what your goals are. Many of the treadmills in this guide handle 220-330lbs. A few, such as the ASUNA Hi-Performance Manual Treadmill, handle up to 440lbs.
As noted, manual treadmills do not have a motor. The belt moves in response to the user’s movement. The most basic type of manual treadmill features a simple, no-frills design. You won’t find much tech on these. They usually fold up and are easy to move for storage.
Manual treadmills like this can be used anywhere. Since there’s no motor, it does not have to be near an outlet. Use it outside on the deck!
The basic design makes it a good choice for walking or jogging. You can run on these, depending on the belt size.
Another type of manual treadmill is more of a high-end design. A slat belt manual treadmill features a hi-tech belt that looks a lot like a tank wheel. This is not a traditional treadmill!
It uses horizontal rubber slats that rotate around the deck. Manual treadmills of this type are heavy and mainly meant for commercial gyms and elite athletes. It’s a good choice for any athlete that uses running as their main form of cardio.
A curved manual treadmill is a high-end treadmill that uses the slat belt design noted above. Curved manual treadmills are mainly meant for runners. The act of running moves the belt forward. It’s designed to stimulate more muscles in the legs and upper body.
A curved treadmill is harder to use than regular manual treadmills. With this in mind, they are best suited for users that are experienced. This will include athletes and advanced fitness enthusiasts. It’s true that high end manual treadmills get a lot of use in gyms and among elite athletes. You can buy them for your home gym. Yet, this type is not suggested for the average, value-minded home user just looking to get lean and fit.
A hybrid treadmill is a treadmill that has a motor but also has a manual mode. This is ideal for users with different levels of conditioning. Just disengage the belt from the motor, and you’re in manual mode!
Also, this style can be a curved treadmill or a regular, flat treadmill. Ultimately, a hybrid treadmill is the perfect mix of an electric treadmill and a manual treadmill.
Hybrid treadmills are a good choice for users not quite strong enough to consistently use a manual treadmill. After all, manual treadmills tend to require good leg strength to propel the belt sufficiently.
The bottom line is that even though most people may think of a motorized machine when it comes to a treadmill, manual treadmills are a compact and reasonably priced option.
Most manual treadmills fold up and are easy to transport and store. They save space and are safer to use. While they may take some getting used to if you’re used to a motorized unit, you can get a great workout on a manual treadmill.
There are options for beginners, such as the Fitness Reality TR3000, our best manual treadmill in a budget entry level machine. It features a large workout space, can hold a max user weight of 325lbs, offers 8 levels of resistance, and has a good informational display.
There are also options for advanced trainers, such as the ASUNA Hi-Performance. It is a no-nonsense machine that’s all about the workout. You can imitate mountain climbing, perform side squats, run, jog or walk. You can even jog backwards. This is our pick for the best manual treadmill in an advanced machine.
Our pick for the best manual treadmill overall is the EFITMENT T017. It’s an imaginative machine that delivers the ultimate cardio training. It’s not just a treadmill, it’s a total body machine thanks to its upper body handles.
So, whether you’re looking to get in shape or stay in shape, make the jump to a manual treadmill. The best manual treadmill should give you a good mix of the features discussed in this guide. Choose the best manual treadmill for your needs. You’ll be glad you did!