Treadmills are all over the place in gyms but these days, more and more people are cancelling the gym membership to bring their cardio in-house. And manual treadmills are perhaps one of the better cardio workouts you can do. But when it comes to choosing one, there’s quite a few options to choose from. So how do you know what the best manual treadmill is? In this article, we round up the best manual treadmills available to help you find the perfect fit for your needs.
Let’s get right to it...
Quick Answer: Top Manual Treadmills of 2020
Review of The Best Manual Treadmills
IN10CT Health Runner
Best for Runners
Why we love it: Very well built, curved design, and can accommodate athletes of any level.
The commercial-grade IN10CT Health Runner is ingeniously designed to burn up to 30% more calories than motorized treadmills. It is a curved type of treadmill made for cardio and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and can be used in both gyms and homes for a killer workout. The curved belt makes it easier to run on this treadmill vs some of the smaller and non-curved versions. If you want to go faster, you step higher on the belt which follows the curve of the belt and moves faster. If you want to slow down, you step closer to the center which is the lowest point and it seamlessly adjusts to your pace.
The IN10CT Health Runner is also designed with safety in mind — the rubber slats reduce hard impact on your joints. Furthermore, the treadmill stops when you stop which lessens the risk of falls or abrasions caused by dragging of a continuously moving belt. As you walk or run, the LCD screen conveniently shows your elapsed time, distance, calories burned, and heart rate. This curved treadmill is bulkier compared to other options on this list, but the addition of transport wheels and rear handles makes it easy to move from one area to another.
Who should buy the IN10CT Health Runner?
Avid running enthusiasts and crossfitters who have a bigger budget will love the experience of running on the IN10CT Health Runner.
What makes it special?
- Very durable build with rubber slats to reduce impact on joints
- You can walk or run as fast as you want
- Looks very nice
- 69 L x 32 W x 62 H inches (dimensions)
- 325 lbs. (weight capacity)
- LCD Display
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill
Why we love it: It's ideal for small spaces.
The compact and ergonomic design of the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M fits well in smaller areas, making it perfect for apartment residents. Not only can it be easily folded and stored, but it is also the lightest option out of the bunch weighing in at just 46 lbs. Start reaping excellent results without taking up much space with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M. This manual treadmill is the perfect partner to kick start your fitness journey by strengthening muscles, increasing blood circulation, and improving overall health.
As you exercise and increase your cardiovascular strength, the LCD monitor on this treadmill tracks important data to keep you on track with your fitness goals. The data includes elapsed time, calories burned, and the number of steps which is ideal for most fitness tracking apps. The "scan" option on the LCD lets you scan through your performance which can be used as a baseline for the next workout session. It also comes with padded handrails to provide comfort and support. Other notable features include its decent weight limit of 220 lbs. and non-slip surface for safe running.
Something that's important to note, however, is that it has only a 13" wide belt which is pretty narrow. This may not work for larger men and women.
Who should buy the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill?
Apartment dwellers who want to keep up with their fitness goals without compromising floor space.
What makes it special?
- Compact, space saving design
- Weighs just 46 lbs so it's easy to move around
- Affordably priced at the time of this writing
- 49 L x 23 W x 50 H inches (unit dimensions)
- 42 L x 13 W (belt dimensions)
- 46 lbs. (weight)
- LCD Display
StairMaster HIITMill Self-Powered Incline Treadmill
Best Premium Choice
Why we love it: You can add weight to the arms and do a “farmers walk” while on the treadmill.
This manual treadmill (made by StairMaster) offers more than just running and cardio conditioning. The StairMaster HIITMill Self-Powered Incline Treadmill takes it a notch higher by offering upper body strengthening and high-intensity interval training while you walk. This unique piece of equipment comes with a farmers walk lift that can accommodate 90 pounds on each side in the form of weight plates (just like the gym weights). Its surface deck is also 23 inches wide which provides ample space during a workout session.
The farmer walk exercise on the StairMaster HIIT Treadmill is an advanced exercise that works your entire body while you walk. It’s a great challenge and you can start small with just the handles and no weight. Then you can work your way up to as much weight as you can handle. Overall, if you’re an athlete or simply looking for a manual treadmill that can really challenge you, this is an excellent choice.
Who should buy the StairMaster HIITMill Treadmill?
Athletes and those who want to increase their performance level with a fully body workout.
What makes it special?
- Unique built allows you to do the farmers walk at home
- Excellent full-body workout
- Extra wide belt provides ample walking room
- 23" wide belt
- Built in transport wheels
- 3 mm padded belt
- Magnetic resistance
Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Manual Treadmill
Why we love it: It has a wide array of features and a high weight capacity.
The Exerpeutic 100XL manual treadmill offers stability in the form of its extra-long, padded handles, which are also equipped with pulse pads to measure your heart rate and keep you in your desired range. In addition, the twin flywheels, as well as extended belt, enable a smooth workout experience. It's effective in burning calories and toning muscles, and you can track all your workout data, such as elapsed time, distance, calorie burn, and heart rate on its bigger LCD display screen.
Apart from the advantages already mentioned above, fear of stagnant workouts will become a thing of the past with the Exerpeutic 100XL. It comes with ‘Pacer Control’ eight-level magnetic tension and three inclines to increase or decrease intensity. There's also no assembly required as the Exerpeutic 100XL arrives at your doorstep ready to be used. Moreover, extra space in your home can be created by simply folding and storing the equipment when not in use.
Who should buy the Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity manual treadmill?
Any budding fitness enthusiast who wants to make the most out of their purchase will love the wide variety of features that this treadmill has to offer.
What makes it special?
- Moderately lightweight frame and folding design
- High 325 lb weight capacity
- 3 incline levels
- Easy to read LCD screen
- 50 L x 29 W x 73 H inches (dimensions)
- 73 lbs. (weight)
- 325 lbs. (weight capacity)
- LCD Display
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill
Best for Quiet Workout Sessions
Why we love it: Its cast-iron flywheel provides a quieter workout.
The ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill helps you achieve your fitness goals with ease and convenience. Brisk walking is one of the best ways to burn extra calories, and now you can do so without leaving the house. The manual design of this treadmill doesn't require electricity to function and is powered by the sheer movement of your legs. It’s 49-pound frame is made of steel with a powder-coated finish that stays clean and it’s sturdy enough to support up to 230 lbs. with ease. Additionally, the ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill only requires minimal assembly and it can be easily folded and stored when not in use.
This manual treadmill is also designed with cast iron flywheels and oversized belt rollers that provide a quiet and smooth walking experience. In addition to this low-noise feature, it also comes with padded handrails which adds a little security and helps you keep your balance during your session, making it suitable for users of all levels. Furthermore, you can tailor workouts based on your needs by using it’s two-level incline positions. An LCD display console also tracks your elapsed time, distance walked, calories burned, as well as speed.
Who should buy the ProGear 190 manual treadmill?
This is the ideal choice for users who want to exercise without the noise of traditional treadmills.
What makes it special?
- Lightweight frame and folding design
- Good weight capacity
- 2 incline levels
- 47 L x 23 W x 51 H inches (dimensions)
- 21 L x 23 W x 51 H inches (dimensions when folded)
- 43 L x 13.25 W (belt dimensions)
- 49 lb. (weight)
- 230 lb. (weight capacity)
- LCD Display Console
What is a manual treadmill? How is it different from an electronic treadmill?
Manual treadmills are powered once the user starts walking or running. It is a good form of exercise as it can build muscle and cardio strength. Electronic treadmills, on the other hand, are powered by motors and need to be plugged in before use. Manual treadmills are typically less money, lighter, and smaller because they don’t have the heavy motor.
There are also several types of electric treadmills including:
So you can choose the type you need based on your space and how you plan on using it. With manual treadmills, they're all standing and designed specifically for jogging or running.
Types of Manual Treadmills
There are four totally different types of manual treadmills. Below we'll discuss each one and who they're best for.
Traditional Manual Treadmills
Traditional manual treadmills have a belt that moves once you start walking or running. It’s recommended for home users who want a traditional treadmill look and feel but either want to save some money or simply don’t want an electric treadmill. This type of manual treadmill usually comes with a folding feature and an LCD screen to track workout data. This type of treadmill is best for walkers who want a lightweight option that they can put anywhere since it doesn’t require a plug.
Slat Belt Manual Treadmills
Slat belt manual treadmills are characterized by the presence of horizontal rubber slats which rotate on the running surface. It is technically engineered and is considerably heftier compared to its traditional cousin. A slat belt manual treadmill is best for avid runners, gym owners, and athletes who require more intense training equipment.
Slat Belt Curved Treadmills
This type of treadmill is also engineered with horizontal rubber slats on the surface. The belt is propelled forward once the running motion starts and requires more muscle engagement. Due to the nature of its design, curved treadmills are recommended for athletes and those with good balance and muscle strength.
Hybrid treadmills have a motor and can be used traditionally and they can be used manually by disengaging the belt from the motor. Some versions of a hybrid treadmill will only allow users to walk while others may be used for running. It is recommended for home users who seek varying conditioning levels.
How to Choose The Best Manual Treadmill?
A lot of manual treadmills are foldable, hence if you have a small space, go for one that has a lightweight frame and small footprint when folded.
The belt size can make or break your experience during your workout. The last thing anyone wants is a belt that’s so narrow you’re tripping over yourself. It’s best to choose a belt that’s at least 18 inches wide for brisk walking and wider for running. The wider the better essentially.
Many manual treadmills cost just a few hundred dollars, however, high-end versions may be on the pricier end of the spectrum ranging into the thousands. We recommend you choose based on your needs and the features of the treadmill. Buying something just because it's cheap is almost always the wrong move and leaves you with nothing more than a new clothing rack. If you have one you like but can’t afford it today, it's better to save a little more and get something you love.
The weight limit is important to pay attention to because you want something that can support you during your workout and isn’t going to break after a few months. It’s best to go with something that can support a lot more than your weight if you can.
Can you run on a manual treadmill?
Traditional manual treadmills typically only reach a maximum speed of 3.5-4.0 miles per hour, thus it cannot be used for running. Slat belts and curved treadmills, on the other hand, are suitable for running and can reach speeds as high as you want to go.
How do you use a manual treadmill?
It couldn’t be easier to use a manual treadmill. Since many don’t require assembly and you don’t need to plug it in, you just step onto the belt and start walking. Your legs will move the belt. Despite being used for walking exercises, it is still important to wear comfortable running shoes to lessen the risk of accidents or injuries.
Are manual treadmills good for walking?
Manual treadmills are recommended for walking exercises and make it easier if you want to hit a certain number of steps per day.
Is a manual treadmill bad for the knees?
Exercising on manual treadmills is low impact since you’re walking. However, for those with knee problems, it’s best to consult with physicians first.
Summary & Our Final Picks
Our top choice for the best manual treadmill considering all-around performance and value for the money is the IN10CT Health Runner. It’s not a cheap option but it’s built to last, curved, and seriously solid. You won’t regret purchasing the IN10CT.
When it comes to our best value choice, the Sunny Health and Fitness is the overall best value and most affordable option at the time of this writing. It’s a basic walking treadmill but if you just need something simple, it checks the boxes in all areas.
And finally our premium choice is the StairMaster HIITMill. It has the added handles for performing a farmers walk, can hold hundreds of pounds so you won’t outgrow it anytime soon, and it's built to be durable. This isn’t for runners though. If you’re a runner and just want the best possible manual treadmill for running, the IN10CT is your best choice.
There you have it. Those are our top choices in the best manual treadmill category. Now go out and get busy burning those calories!