As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We also earn commissions from other affiliate programs through our links at no extra cost to you.
While motorized treadmills are much more popular than manual ones, there can be good reason to purchase the latter type. However, many customers don’t fully understand how a manual treadmill works and what the usual challenges are and therefore get frustrated and give up too soon. Therefore, before we get to our best manual treadmill reviews in this article, we will first briefly explain what a manual treadmill is, how it works and what its pros and cons are.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Manual Treadmill?
- 2 Can You Run on a Manual Treadmill?
- 3 Pros and Cons of a Manual Treadmill
- 4 Quick Compare Best Non-motorized Treadmill Options
What is a Manual Treadmill?
A manual treadmill’s belt moves by the action of your feet against it and with the help of gravity. There is no motor to start or keep it moving. That is why getting it to start moving can be tough and to help you do this, the platform is set at a slight uphill incline. Once you start walking slowly by pushing down the incline, the belt will get going aided by gravity. The momentum keeps it moving until you stop. One or two flywheels store the energy generated by your feet to transfer back to the belt. If you walk faster, the belt will move faster and vice versa. Also, heavier people will find it easier to get the belt moving. While a higher incline also makes this easier, it also makes for a tougher overall workout, so a treadmill that comes with a choice of incline settings is better. The manual will advise you as to which setting you should initially choose depending on your weight.
Without a motor, a manual treadmill will lack quite a few features, like on the fly adjustable incline and speed, although a few models will give you 2 or 3 different incline settings that you manually adjust before you start working out. You also don’t get preset programs. most good manual models do come with a basic battery powered console that displays workout stats like elapsed time, speed, distance and calories burned. If the treadmill comes with inbuilt pulse sensors, then it can also display heart rate.
To get to a steady walking speed you have to hold onto the handlebars on the side so that you don’t lose balance. This is because you have to build momentum in order for the belt to keep moving smoothly. Once you feel steady, you can let go, although you may have to take hold again when you change speed.
For more information on picking the best treadmill for home use, take a look at our treadmill buying guide.
Can You Run on a Manual Treadmill?
For the most past, running on a manual treadmill is difficult because as you pick up speed, the resistance offered by the belt against the platform decreases and the belt speed quickens. To control the speed, you have to adjust your pace, which is not easy to do while running without feeling off balance. Also, most non-motorized treadmills lack the belt width and length to allow for running, let alone very long strides. At the most, you can do a slow jog but it may take time for you to get comfortable with that.
Pros and Cons of a Manual Treadmill
How good are manual treadmills? If you’re not sure whether a manual or motorized treadmill is best for you, consider these pros and cons.
Obviously, you can’t become a professional runner on any manual treadmill, but for basic fitness, losing weight and even walking during a rainy day, this is a pretty great option, especially considering how inexpensive it is. So what is the best manual treadmill to buy? To find out let’s get to our non motorized treadmill reviews!
Quick Compare Best Non-motorized Treadmill Options
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Incline settings||Resistance levels||Belt size||Max. User Capacity||Price|
|Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill||4||fixed||8||14" x 39"||220 lbs||$$$|
|Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill||3.8||8, 10 and 15 degrees||8||16" x 45"||325 lbs||$$$|
|Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill||3.5||fixed||none||13" x 41"||250 lbs||$$|
|ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill||3.7||6 and 10 degrees||none||13.25" x 43"||230 lbs||$|
|Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill||3.3||8 and 10 degrees||none||12.5" x 41"||225 lbs||$|
|Weslo Self-Powered CardioStride 3 Treadmill||3.3||fixed||none||17" x 41"||250 lbs||$$|
Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill
This Confidence Treadmill offers great value for money while delivering quality cardio workouts within the convenience and comfort of your home. It sports a fixed gentle incline with eight adjustable magnetic levels, allowing you to customize your workouts to meet your training intensity.
You can tailor your workouts better with the multi-function computer that shows your training stats, including time, distance, speed and calories burned. When done working out, easily fold the treadmill to a 48-inch by 7.9-inch footprint to save space during storage. You can secure it into position with the handy locking pin and even wheel into place as there are small wheels on one end for that.
While the Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill is compact, taking less space in your training room, it still offers short people enough space to jog on. The running space measures 14-inch by 39-inch, which is long enough for those under maybe 5 feet 5 inches. It accommodates up to 220 pounds, ensuring it can be used by a majority of people.
This small manual treadmill offers a quiet and smooth magnetic resistance and a good choice if you live in an apartment with downstairs neighbors. Even better, it only weighs 46.9 pounds when fully assembled.
There is no specific maintenance needed besides ensuring that the moving parts are lubricated and the treadmill is wiped after every use. Wiping removes sweat and grime that might start to build when you store it. A user wanting varying resistance can consider this treadmill as it offers a great price-quality ratio, an easy to use computer console and enough resistance without it being noisy. However, there is no incline adjustment and a few people find that the fixed slope is a bit too steep. A board under the back legs helps a lot.
Assembling this treadmill once delivered will take about two to four hours depending on how handy you are with this sort of thing.
Check out the price of the Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill here!
Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill
The Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill is a great unit whether you are walking or running. It is offered with a wider and longer belt compared to many other manual treadmills with magnetic tension, to help you get stability at all speeds. The unit starts at 8 degrees incline and ensures that there is no strain on your legs or ankle. Once you get used to that, you can use the quick release mechanism to increase it to 10 and 15 degrees to really work up a sweat.
It is a heavy duty manual treadmill, accommodating up to 325 pounds; this makes it ideal for any body size and age. Being 50 inches high, the treadmill is ideal for use by people of different heights. The extra-long treadmill handles allow you to walk or jog without the fear of falling. The running surface measures 16-inches by 45-inches, allowing you to jog more easily than on other similar treadmills, making this our pick for the best manual treadmill for walking and jogging. Its reinforced steel frame enhances strength and stability.
It comes with precision balance dual 6-inch diameter flywheels to enhance smooth workout and consistency. The magnetic resistance offers a decent challenge to most people and is helpful in stabilizing the speed if you don’t want to hold on while walking. It also comes with heart pulse pads, which makes it easy for you to measure your heart rate. You can customize your workouts thanks to the LCD display, which shows time, distance, heart rate, calories burned and speed.
When you are done exercising, you can fold up the treadmill to occupy a small space and be easy to move on the transportation wheels. It is easy to maintain the Exerpeutic 100XL by just oiling the belt and wiping sweat and grime before storage. It comes pretty much all put together so you can set it up to start working out immediately. The manufacturer offers you a three-year warranty on the frame and 90 days warranty on other components.
Check out the price of the Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill here!
The Fitness Reality TR3000 Manual Treadmill is almost exactly the same as the Exerpeutic 100XL if you want to comparison shop.
Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill
The Phoenix 98510 Treadmill comes as an upgrade of the Phoenix’s base level manual treadmill. Being an upgrade, the treadmill offers better quality features, enhancing your training. First off, it is offered with a 12.5 percent incline surface. This incline is not adjustable, making the unit less adaptable. There is also no resistance variation offered, so that’s something you have to control by speeding up or slowing down. The belt size of 13″ by 41″ only allows for walking.
If you are shopping for an easy-to-use and budget-friendly non electric treadmill, the Phoenix 98510 will offer you great performance. It sports all basic treadmill features such as a computer console showing speed, time, distance and calories burned. Additionally, it has a water bottle holder and an added tray where you can place your phone or MP3 player.
The treadmill measures 50-inches high, 21.1 inches wide and 46.5 inches long. While short people will find it comfortable, 6 feet tall people will have to bend to hold the handle rail. When assembled, which is easy, the unit weighs 45 pounds. It folds up easily, for storage and the metal frame is strong enough to accommodate up to 250 pounds.
Maintaining this treadmill is easy; just oil the belt and wipe the frame before storage. It operates quietly while still allowing you to listen to your music while at it.
Check out the price of the Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill here!
ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill with Twin Flywheels
This is another compact manual treadmill. While this is a great thing, it limits tall people from running. Released in 2014, the ProGear 190 is offered with 2-incline levels, letting you tailor your workout and allowing for people of different fitness levels to get going on it. The lowest incline is 6 degrees and the highest incline is 10 degrees. Better yet, the unit is offered with twin flywheels, giving you the benefits of a smooth and steady workout.
The strengthened metal frame has been tested to accommodate up to 230 pounds. This steel frame sports a powder coated finish, making it resistant to the elements. For comfort and safety during workout, the unit features wide side rails. The over-sized belt rollers offer a smooth, consistent and quiet walking experience. As you work out, the treadmill takes your heart pulse rate through hand grip sensors, giving you stats to help you tailor your workout. The long handles with foam grips offer you stability when you are walking.
This manual folding treadmill is great value for money because of the ability to choose between two inclines and the presence of dual flywheels. The ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill features a 43-inches long treadmill belt, allowing for longer strides. However, the narrow belt makes it next to impossible to jog on.
The rather small LCD display runs on battery and shows you time elapsed, calories burned, speed and distance covered. A button next to it lets you set it up to scan each stat one after the other. There’s no resistance adjustment.
Assembly is very easy and the unit folds up easily and weighs 49 pounds when fully assembled. With the transportation wheels, the unit is easy to store. The ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill is maintenance free; all you need to do is oil the belt and clean parts. However, you have to read the instructions carefully and adjust the belt resistance properly while setting it up so that it doesn’t feel too loose when walking.
Check out the price of the ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill here!
Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill
The Stamina InMotion is a budget friendly unit designed as a lightweight cardio intense mechanical treadmill. The unit offers 2-level incline positions; 8 degrees and 10 degrees, offering you extra challenge when you are working out. A basic monitor on the unit shows you workout statistics including distance covered, speed, time elapsed and calories burned. This console easily scans with a single-button control.
The Stamina InMotion features dual weighted flywheels that enhance the smoothness of operation. The walking surface is textured, ensuring that you do not slip when you are working out. Safety is further enhanced by foam padded rails.
When not in use, the treadmill folds easily for storage. The folded unit measures 17 by 22 inches. The running belt measures 41 inches by 12 3/8 inches. This is enough for walking but not jogging. The max user weight is 225 pounds, so not ideal for very heavy users. The frame comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty while the parts are offered with 90-day guarantee.
Assembly is fast, taking an hour or two but you do have to ensure that you set up the belt properly and adjust its tension so that it doesn’t move too fast on the incline or slip to the side. Some users preferred to raise the low end by a couple inches to get around this. There is no resistance adjustment otherwise.
The Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill is easy to maintain. You will need to lubricate the belt frequently and adjust its tension now and then. Besides that, all you do is wipe the components of the treadmill. It operates quietly and smoothly.
Check out the price of the Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill here!
Weslo WLTL99315 CardioStride 3.0 Treadmill
The Weslo WLTL99315 is an entry-level manual treadmill. It is well designed for smoothness of operation. The overall unit weighs 60 pounds. While this is relatively high, it is still light enough to be transported for storage and it means that its build is quite solid for a motorless treadmill. It can be folded to store away vertically for space saving.
The unit sports a 17-inch by 41-inch belt. While the width is good for those who have trouble keeping steady, the length can also allow for walking and jogging, or only walking for tall people. This is a high incline manual treadmill with a fixed 15 percent so some users may find the workout on it too intense.
The easy to read LCD display shows distance covered, speed, calories burned and time elapsed. However, there is no heart rate sensor. You can set up this unit in between 30 minutes and 1 hour. There are just 14 bolts and screws provided, accompanied by a two wrenches and an instructional manual. Its steel frame can only take up to 250 pounds user weight. It comes with a generous warranty for the frame of up to 5 years.
This treadmill is almost maintenance free; all you have to do is oil the belt, especially before or after storage, and adjust the belt tension when it gets loose. Besides that, you need to wipe the components of the treadmill to remove dust and dirt that builds up during use. The Weslo CardioStride 3.0 does not offer resistance adjustment.
Check out the price of the Weslo Self-Powered CardioStride 3 Treadmill here!