Are Manual Treadmills Worth It?

If you’re operating on a budget, manual treadmills are a great alternative to the expensive motorized cousin. However, it can be difficult, compared to a motorized one, to maintain a steady workout pace on a manual treadmill as you depend on your feet to power the treadmill.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t get an effective workout on a manual treadmill- you will definitely work harder and make a few concessions. If this isn’t an issue, then a manual treadmill will be great for you.

What is a manual treadmill?

A manual treadmill relies on the action of your feet to power the belt. The treadmill belt will only move if you move it. The faster or slower you walk or run, the faster or slower the belt will move. Runners need to use more effort on a manual treadmill than on a motorized treadmill.

Are manual treadmills worth it?

A manual treadmill is an affordable indoor training option for runners. If you don’t mind sacrificing some fancy features, manual treadmills are better and cheaper roads to fitness. You can entertain yourself using a tablet, laptop, or stereo system and challenge your muscles in a way that you can’t with motorized treadmills.

Manual treadmills are known to burn calories efficiently and build cardiovascular endurance. However, they’re not meant for people looking to use their phones in their workouts. These motor-less treadmills need constant focus and hard work. Therefore, whether a manual treadmill is worth it or not will depend on how often you use it and your dedication.

Main benefits of manual treadmills

Less Expensive Compared to Motorized Treadmills

A manual treadmill is an affordable way to keep fit indoors. Some manual treadmills cost under $150 and require minimal maintenance. You can walk, run, power walk, side skip, and lunge on a manual treadmill, as you can on a motorized treadmill.

Ideal for High-Intensity Interval Workouts

Athletic runners use curved-belt motor-less treadmills as part of workouts that alternate moderate and high intensity. Most professional sports teams use curved manual treadmills for doing sprint intervals or training.


Manual treadmills rely on your motive power to exercise your lower body. Therefore, you’re likely to burn more calories per mile when compared to a motorized one. You control the speed by increasing or reducing the speed.


A manual treadmill stops when you stop; you don’t need a safety cord to stop if you fall or slip as you would in an electric treadmill. This also makes it ideal for pets and children.

Manual treadmill shortcomings

Although manual treadmills are affordable and portable, they have drawbacks, especially for runners. Running on a manual treadmill may not suit everyone. If you’re training for a race, you’ll want a device that will help you do the most, and a manual treadmill may not be the best fit.

Additionally, if you want to maintain a consistent pace, need a moving belt to keep you motivated, or would like to include some incline work, an electric treadmill is better than a manual one.

Differences between manual and motorized treadmills

Manual and electric treadmills have different features. The main difference is that a manual treadmill doesn’t require a motor or electric cables. Since manual treadmills don’t rely on electricity to function, they’re more environmentally friendly compared to their electric equivalents.

Additionally, manual treadmills have fewer chances of malfunctioning due to electronic faults or motor issues and are more sustainable. However, they have reduced compatibility with fitness apps compared to motorized treadmills.

Some of the best manual treadmills

Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill

This manual treadmill offers everything you need for improved muscular power and maximum intensity workout. It comes with high-density handrails that support multi-grip functioning and encourage a versatile yet challenging cardio session. It has a heavy-duty frame that can support up to 300lbs, making it ideal for the strongest and toughest fitness enthusiasts.


  • Transportation wheels
  • Ample tread deck
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance


Stamina Inmotion T900 Manual Treadmill

If you’re looking for a treadmill that offers economical walking or running without using electricity, this is a great choice. This treadmill is small in size and comes with a simple bar to hold when walking. Although the manufacturer states that it’s ideal for running, it has a 49-inch length, which may not suit those with long strides and tall runners.


  • Two-incline positions
  • Multi-function monitor
  • Built-in wheels


  • It has skid-resistant rubber for maximum stability
  • It has an electric monitor to track the calories burned, speed, workout time, and distance
  • Lightweight design makes it highly portable


  • Not ideal for tall guys

ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill

This is a great option if you want a manual treadmill designed to give you a smooth and consistent walking experience. The ProGear 190 is for walking only, so this might not be for you if you want a device to help you run. It comes with long handles with foam grips to prevent loss of balance and provide walking security. Additionally, it folds up easily, making it easy to transport and store.


  • LCD display
  • 2 position incline adjustments
  • Steel frame


  • Easy to store
  • It has an LCD display to show your distance walked, elapsed tim, speed, and calories burned.


  • Not comfortable for guys with excess weight


Can you get a good workout on a manual treadmill?

Yes. Manual treadmills are known to build cardiovascular endurance and burn calories efficiently. However, they require focus and hard work.

Is a manual treadmill harder?

Are Manual Treadmills Worth It?

Using a manual treadmill can be hard to keep a steady workout pace since it relies on your power. However, this is an effective way to burn calories and remain fit.

Is manual treadmill bad for knees?

Yes. Excessive use of treadmills can damage your knee joints in the long run.


A manual treadmill can provide an effective home workout without breaking your bank compared to an electric treadmill. Even if they are safer and cheaper, they don’t have some features like heart rate monitors and controls for speed. Always consider your space and fitness goals before choosing a treadmill.