Last Updated: January 7, 2021
The best treadmill for you is determined by your budget, training, needs and goals. Our list below outlines our pick for the Best Manual Treadmills. We have labeled our list based on what attributes each treadmill offers as they are all just a little different. We feature hybrid treadmills, manual slat belt treads, curved treads and even simple non motorized treads that are great for walking and fold up when you are done.
Here are the Best Manual Treadmills of 2021 – by Awards
- Best Overall Manual Treadmill: Assault Fitness AirRunner
- Best All-Around Hybrid Treadmill: NordicTrack x32i
- Best Manual Treadmill for Athletes: TrueForm Runner
- Best Buy Hybrid Treadmill: NordicTrack x22i
- Best High-End Manual Treadmill: Woodway Curve
- Best Slat-Belt Hybrid Treadmill: Peloton Tread
- Best Biofeedback Treadmill: Technogym SkillRun 500 TX
- Most Affordable Manual Treadmill: Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill
- Best Manual Treadmill for Walkers: Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
- Best Compact Manual Treadmill: Stamina Inmotion Manual Treadmill
See all the details including Pros and Cons on each of these treadmills below!
What is a Manual Treadmill?
Most treadmills use an electric motor to move the tread belt along the surface of the deck which creates a feeling of forward motion. These motorized treadmills require a power source (wall outlet) to operate as the belt will not move unless the motor is powered. Motorized treadmills are the standard treadmills you see in most homes and gyms. These treadmills often have different speed settings, some may incline or decline, and they usually have a handrail or handlebars for support. Console design may range from minimal to high-tech. For a list of our best motorized treadmills, click here.
A manual treadmill does not have a motor and therefore does not require electricity. Fully manual treadmills can be placed anywhere since they don’t rely on a wall outlet for power. Hybrid manual treadmills have a motor but also a manual feature so they can be used either with or without power.
Different types of manual treadmills:
Traditional Manual Treadmills
Manual Treadmills do not have a motor. These treadmills have a belt that moves in response to the user’s cadence. There are two types of manual treadmills. Some are extremely simple, with minimal tech and a folding design. These are marketed to home users who want a very basic machine that doesn’t require electricity to walk on at home. These types of lightweight manual treadmills can be placed anywhere since they are usually not heavy and don’t have to be close to a wall outlet.
A lightweight, folding manual treadmill is best for:
- Users who just want to walk
- The ability to place your tread anywhere since it is lightweight and doesn’t require a plug
- Those who don’t care about extra tech
- Walkers looking for something simple that is easy to get on and off
Slat Belt Manual Treadmills
There are also very high-end manual treadmills that are some of the most technically engineered and expensive treads on the market. These often feature a slat belt design that uses horizontal rubber slats which rotate around the deck (they kind of look like a tank wheel). These types of manual treads tend to be very heavy and are targeted to professional training facilities and athletes.
A heavy, slat belt manual treadmill is best for:
- Athletes or professionals who want to take their training to the next level
- Runners who want to get greater calorie burn while running
- Those whose focus is running form and strength who don’t need or require a screen or tech
- Gym owners with experienced users
Slat Belt Curved Treadmills
Curved Treadmills usually have a slat belt design. The original curved treadmill is the Woodway tread, which was designed in Germany in 1974. A curved treadmill uses the biomechanics of running to propel the belt forward and is designed to stimulate more muscle engagement in the legs and torso. (Curved treads are often compared to a hamster on a wheel — the faster you run, the faster the wheel spins.) Curved treadmills are more difficult to use and can even be dangerous if used inappropriately (the risk of falling is much higher). However, the advantages of curved treadmills have made them more popular in the last few years.
Curved Treadmills are best for:
- Experienced runners who will use and appreciate the unique design
- Those with good balance and muscle strength
- Those who have researched and understand the benefits of a curved frame
- Coaches and gym owners who train conditioned athletes
- Runners who want more advanced training and biofeedback
Hybrid Treadmills are treadmills that have a motor, but also have a manual option where the user can disengage the belt from the motor to use it manually. There are several different versions of a hybrid treadmill — some only allow users to walk or “push” the belt along — while others may allow for running. There are both flat and curved frame hybrid treadmills.
Hybrid Treadmills are best for:
- Homes with multiple users at different conditioning levels
- Those who want to walk and run, with added manual challenges
- Users who want the benefits of added tech with manual functions as well
- Walkers who want incline options for a low-impact challenge
- Coaches and gym owners with varied clientele
Sneak Peak of Best Manual Treadmills
Best Manual Treadmills of 2021 – Guru’s Top Picks
Here is the list of top picks for best manual treadmills of 2021 by Treadmill Review Guru – each machine on our list received an award.
Award: Best Overall Manual Treadmill
Key Features: Curved Frame, Slat Belt, Fully Manual
The Assault AirRunner is our pick for Best Overall Manual Treadmill. Assault Fitness makes the high-end engineering of a curved manual treadmill accessible for all types of runners with the AirRunner. Curved manual treadmills are typically priced well over $4000, however the AirRunner comes in under $3500! This is why it is at the top of our best list. When shopping for the perfect manual treadmill, affordability is an important component and we are impressed with the AirRunner’s design and price point.
The AirRunner is fully manual and requires no electricity to run. It is built with a steel frame and handrails, powdered coated uprights and corrosion resistant hardware. The non motorized slat belt will last up to 150,000 miles! The slat belt is created from rubber slats that run horizontally along the track rather than a single belt that slides under foot. Unlike motorized treadmills that hold a constant speed, the Assault AirRunner responds to your foot cadence, so when you speed up, the belt goes faster. This allows for a very natural feel while running. You do not have to adjust the speed of the belt to do sprints or HIIT training — simply run faster or slower at your determined intervals! The Assault AirRunner weighs 280 pounds, which is on the lighter end for manual or hybrid treadmills. The footprint of the AirRunner is 70” long, 33” wide, and 64” high. The max user weight is 350 pounds, so it should support most users. It comes with a high-contrast LCD console that is Bluetooth enabled and displays metrics for time, calories, distance, speed, watts, pace and heart rate. There are also preset programs for interval training, specific target training, and heart rate training.
One issue new users first notice on the AirRunner is the curved shape of the frame. The curved design supports a true upright running position and is supposed to accentuate a healthy foot strike. If you run too close to the front of the treadmill, the curve will naturally move you back to the center, which enables runners to utilize the full length of the track for full forward foot reach and kickback stride. However, curved treadmills do require greater balance control and core support, so they take some time to get used to. Most runners feel unstable and first, but with use, and appropriate positioning, the curved design quickly becomes a benefit.
Manual curved treadmills were originally designed for professional and Olympic athletes. With time, the benefit of this design has made its way into bix box gyms and Crossfit studios. Now, home users have the option to enjoy these once exclusive machines.
We have ranked the Assault Fitness AirRunner as our Best Overall Manual Treadmill because of its functional design and exceptional price point. Priced at or around the same as a nice motorized treadmill, the AirRunner is a great option for runners who want to take their training to the next level.
- Battery operated LCD screen
- Bluetooth enabled
- Rubber slat belt
- Curved Running Surface
- Upright handrails
- Non Folding
- Reinforced steel construction
- No incline
- No max speed — will go as fast as you do
- 350lb weight capacity
- 280lb treadmill weight
- 5-Year Frame warranty
- 3-Year Non-wear parts warranty
- 1-Year Labor warranty
Award: Best All-Around Hybrid Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, traditional belt, hybrid with motor and manual option
The NordicTrack x32i is second on our list for its overall useability. This is a hybrid, motorized treadmill with a manual option. The x32i is gorgeous to behold. It has a wide deck with generous cushioning that will work for any user. Grandma can easily get on the x32i and enjoy a lovely stroll. Then, your dedicated teenage track star can train for her next win with an hour long session of alternating incline intervals and varied 6mph to 9pmh sprints. Preset buttons on the console make it so you can easily jump from one speed or incline to another. When they’re done, you can disengage the belt, and use manual mode for a sled push finish that will torch calories in seconds. The options are endless on the x32i!
Default mode in the NordicTrack x32i is the motorized function. This treadmill has a standard tread belt that slides over the track and an incline/decline feature in the deck. The frame is built of reinforced steel, and the x32i features a 4.25HP motor. In the manual setting, users can disengage the belt from the motor and then use footpower to move the belt manually. This allows users to challenge lower body muscles as you work to push the belt along, as well as work upper body muscles on the sled push and horizontal grip bars. The manual mode on the x32i is designed to mimic a sled push exercise or horizontal parachute workout. This full-body workout will have you dripping in no time!
Be advised, you cannot sprint in manual mode — the x32i manual setting is designed for low-speed resistance work and full body training. But we love the well-rounded nature of the x32i since it offers a motorized setting for running, walking or jogging with a manual mode for sled push or parachute resistance.
The x32i motor is powerful and quiet. Since this is a hybrid treadmill with a motor and manual option, the x32i inclines to 40% and declines to -6%. It has a 12mph top speed and a cushioned deck, which reduces joint impact and lengthens your training time before the onset of fatigue. This makes it a great option for athletes who want to enhance their training and also those with joint issues or mobility concerns.
The NordicTrack x32i also features a 32” full color touchscreen in the console which displays iFit workouts with a Leaderboard, and metric bar, as well as incline and speed settings. iFit has over 16,000 workouts for running, HIIT, endurance, walking, hiking, and off the tread classes such as strength training, yoga and stretching. There are also combo classes where you spend some time on the tread doing cardio work and then step off for a bit of strength training, and then back on again. iFit also has outdoor routes all over the world! You can run through remote Icelandic Mountains or hike the gorgeous peaks of New Zealand. All iFit classes and routes are guided by a personal trainer who gives instructions, cues, and points out architecture and geography along the way!
- 4.25HP motor
- Manual mode with Sled push feature
- Bluetooth Audio
- 22” x 65” Commercial Tread belt
- 32” Touchscreen
- Workout fans in console
- 15% incline to -6% decline
- Reflex cushioning in the deck
- 12mph max speed
- 1-year iFit subscription free
- 50 onboard workouts
- 300lb user capacity
- 10 year frame warranty
- 2 year parts warranty
- 1 year labor warranty
Award: Best Manual Treadmill for Athletes
Key Features: Curved frame, slat belt, fully manual
The TrueForm Runner is another fully manual curved trainer. We love both the price point here and the multiple customization options. TrueForm allows buyers to choose a custom paint color and select from different running surfaces, including artificial turf! This is why we’ve rated it our Best Manual Treadmill for Athletes. This machine is marketed to serious athletes looking for a manual curved treadmill that is a bit easier to use. The TrueForm Runner has a gentler curve than comparable models which makes it more accessible for new users; it is easier (and safer) to use but still retains the benefits of curved training.
TrueForm offers several customization options on the Runner and this is one it’s coolest features! The ability to opt for custom paint is a valuable feature if you are ordering for your gym or sports facility. Kraiburg Rubber is standard material for the slat belt, but you can upgrade to a turf surface, a red running track, or a proprioceptive surface called Naboso as a tread option. Turf is available in green, black, blue, purple and grey. The option of selecting the perfect running surface is a fantastic option for athletes who want to train in cleats or running spikes on sports specific treads.
TrueForm claims the Runner is the most responsive curved non-motorized treadmill on the market. It is engineered to respond to a runner’s balance, posture, hip position, and foot strike which cues the optimal position for walking or running. The Trueform Runner also improves running gait and reduces impact stress due to the absorbent slat belts making it ideal for athletes who spend many hours in training. The fact that it has a slightly subtler curve makes it great for training athletes of all abilities; new users won’t feel as unstable and experienced runners still gain the benefit of the curved design.
A study by TrueForm determined running on the Runner recruits more muscle and burns 44% more calories. TrueForm also offers support for movement training with online courses for everything from marathon training to obstacle racing at livetrueform.com
We are impressed with the accessibility and customizable options available on the TrueForm curved Runner. It would be a great option for any home gym. Sports facilities and professional trainers may want to opt for the custom paint and logo options.
- Runner Specifications:
- Dimensions: 64″ x 36″ x 63″
- Unit Weight: 340lb
- Max Weight: 500lb
- Frame: 7 gauge Steel Formed & Welded
- Covers: Single Piece – Aluminum Formed & Welded
- Tread Surface: Bonded Kraiburg Thermolast made by Smith and Wesson
- Bearings: 106 Sealed Steel Ball Bearings
- Pulleys: Tooled Solid Aluminum
- Display: LED – Bright Display Rechargeable Battery
Award: Best Buy Hybrid Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, traditional belt, hybrid with motor and manual option
The NordicTrack x22i is the sister machine to the x32i with a standard tread belt and motor, but added manual mode for sled push and resistance work. However, this machine is the most affordable on our list of high-end manual treadmills. The x22i has similar functionality to the x32i so it will work for anyone in your home! For this reason we have awarded it our Best Buy Hybrid Treadmill.
The x22i uses a traditional sliding belt running surface with a motor and incline/decline features. It also has a manual mode option that operates at 1mph for sled push and resistance work. This hybrid machine is similar to the x32i in that you cannot sprint in manual mode — but the resistance functionality is the same. This makes it a great option for those households looking for a hybrid treadmill that has both motorized and manual controls for both lower body conditioning and upper body strength. You get a lot for your money with the x22i!
In it’s motorized setting, the x22i inclines to a spine-tingling 40% grade. Just walking at this incline torches calories! A study by NordicTrack determined that walking at a 40% incline burns five times as many calories as walking on a flat road for the same amount of time. Working that 40% incline, 200lb users burned 381 calories compared to just 63 calories with no incline. This allows you to get a high-intensity workout while staying low-impact, which is better for joints, spine, and anyone with limited mobility or those in injury recovery. The -6% decline allows for gentle downhill conditioning, rolling hill training, or specified strengthening for the quads and knees. The x22i also has a 12mph max speed with preset incline and speed buttons on the console for convenience. The large 22” wide and 60” long tread belt gives you plenty of training room.
The x22i has a lovely 22” touchscreen embedded in the console. It also includes a powerful fan with 4 settings and Bluetooth speakers in the console. NordicTrack includes their subscription app iFit free for one year with any purchase of the x22i. iFit includes over 16,000 different workouts for walking, jogging, running, hiking, and combo classes that include cardio work on the treadmill and strength training on the floor. There are even options for stretching, yoga and floor cardio — which can be easily viewed from the side of the machine thanks to the extra-large touchscreen.
In order to engage manual mode, drop the speed to 1mph and make sure the belt is on a flat 0% incline. From here you can use the sled push and parachute resistance modes. The sled push grips extend vertically off the handlebars and feature EKG sensors. A horizontal push bar spans the base of the console for parachute training. You have to dig deep to push the belt in manual mode as you engage upper body muscles for a challenging full-body workout! Just like much more expensive treadmills, the x22i gives you extensive training options and is a great treadmill for multi-user families with users at different conditioning levels.
- 22” x 60” Commercial Tread Belt
- 4.0 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
- Reflex™ Cushioning
- 70.2” L x 39.6” W x 71.6” H Footprint
- 22” Smart HD Touchscreen
- Dual AutoBreeze™ Workout Fans
- 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership**
- 40% Incline and -6% Decline
- 12 MPH Speed
- iFit Bluetooth® Chest Strap Included
- 50 On-Board Workout Programs
- 10-Year Frame Warranty
- 2-Year Parts Warranty
- 1-Year Labor Warranty
Award: Best High-End Manual Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, slat belt, hybrid with motor and manual option
There’s no arguing that the Woodway is the premier non-motorized curved treadmill on the market. Ask anyone who knows about manual treadmills and they will tell you Woodway is often the first and most respected manufacturer in the industry. However, you pay a pretty penny for Woodway machines. Usually priced over $10,000, Woodway curved treads are most often seen in high-end gyms and professional training facilities. However, we couldn’t compile a list of high-end manual treadmills and not include the Woodway. It was the first curved treadmill and continues to reign supreme for both quality and design. Were it accessible to the Everyman, we would all have one!
The Woodway Curve is good for seasoned athletes and weekend warriors who want to increase metabolic demand and functional fitness in less time. The Curve is designed to respond to the force of every step, which is more challenging to the runner, and thus creates a more natural running experience. Rather than allowing a motorized belt to set the running pace, a manual treadmill will only go as fast as the runner’s pace, thus placing the runner in charge of the force rather than the force propelling the runner. Since a manual treadmill is self-pacing; when you sprint, the belt goes faster, when you slow down, so do the slats. This can be especially useful in HIIT training or quick sprint sessions since there is no lag between the belt speed and the runner’s pace. It is also excellent for steady-state conditioning since it requires more mental and physical effort by the runner to maintain a steady pace (they cannot just settle in and match the belt speed). Several studies have shown that non-motorized treadmill running is associated with higher cardio-metabolic demands than overground or motorized treadmill running. This is why it is such a favorite of highly conditioned athletes — they get a better workout in a shorter time. The isometric pull demanded by the non motorized belt creates a 25-30% jump in physiological demand while running. Curved treadmills have also been demonstrated to improve running economy by creating a decrease in contact time, which strengthens the posterior chain to enable users to subsequently run faster on flat ground.
Curved treadmills feel different than traditional belts and take some getting used to. Those who use a curved treadmill for the first time often report feeling like they are slipping early in the touchdown. There is also slightly more “grab” in the surface of a slat belt as compared to the “slick” feeling of a traditional belt. With use, most come to appreciate the enhanced biomechanics and reduced joint discomfort.
There are three versions of the non motorized Woodway Curve: the Curve, Curve Trainer, and Curve XL. For our review, we focused on the standard Curve as the Trainer and XL only differ in size but not functionality.
The slat belt is comprised of 60 individual 3/8” rubber slats that are mounted on wedged tooth belts. The thick rubber surface of the slats and composite T-design absorb foot impact shock. Woodway proclaims this to be “the world’s most ideal running surface for treadmills.” This engineering allows for a 150,000 mile running life on the belt with little to no maintenance required. Wide side rails hold the slats in line and provide a sturdy foothold for getting safely on and off the Curve.
The Curve has two rollers on the bottom front for rolling short distances, however, the machine must be tipped forward to engage the rollers. Due to the weight of the machine, carry tubes are provided for lifting or moving the Curve in and out of doorways. Woodway recommends the Curve be used only on the ground floor.
Steel handrails extend vertically from the frame and wrap horizontally around the front of the machine, mimicking the curved design as they float above the belt. A simple LCD console attaches to the top of the handrail. Safety rails extend to the midline of the deck for support while running and getting on/off the machine. Due to the nature of the belt, running or walking sideways or backwards is not advised. (No lateral shuffling.) The Curve has no fans, no cup holders, and no tablet holder. It is designed for those who want to focus and run, not be entertained.
The LCD console has metric readouts for time, speed, distance, pace, watts, laps, and heart rate. This battery operated display has a total of 11 items accessible by toggling the “change readout” function key.
Woodway is the premier manual treadmill manufacturer. In 1974, Willi Schoenberger was the technical director of a German fitness company. He wanted to design a treadmill that better supported natural running biomechanics and reduced the friction associated with traditional treadmill belts. Schoenberger’s curved tread was named the “Woodway” which comes from the German phrase “way of the woods” because it is designed to mimic the feel of running through a pine needle covered path in the forest. Woodway treads are now manufactured in the USA, but shipped all over the world to high-end training facilities and home gyms.
- Belt: 56” L x 17” W
- Step up height: 11” off the floor
- Footprint: 67” L x 33” W x 66” H
- Tread weight: 355 lbs
- Max Speed: None
- Max User weight: 400 lbs
Award: Best Slat-Belt Hybrid Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, slat belt, hybrid with motor and manual option
The Peloton Tread is one of the few slat belt treadmills marketed directly to consumers. Based on the success of the Peloton bike, the Peloton Tread was released a few years later. Unlike other slat-belt treads, his hybrid treadmill with both motorized functionality and a manual mode, was not marketed directly to box gyms, professional athletes and coaches; instead, the Peloton Tread was designed with average users in mind. The impressive functionality of the Tread reflects the fact that this machine is a great option for anyone’s home or garage gym. This is why we have awarded it our Best Slat-Belt Hybrid treadmill.
The Tread has a powerful motor, so you have the option to run assisted or unassisted. Like the NordicTrack x32i, the Peloton Tread has a “manual” button which disengages the belt from the motor. In this setting you can control the speed as you move the belt with your feet. On the Peloton Tread there is no speed limit in manual mode — feel free to run as fast as you want. You can run or sprint in either motorized or manual mode on the Peloton Tread, which is a huge functional benefit.
The Peloton Tread weighs 455lbs and will support up to 300lbs. It will also incline to 15% grade when in the motorized mode. It has a 12mph max speed and the slat belt design does absorb some impact shock while running. It does not have as much shock absorption as the NordicTrack x32i, but it is similar to the other slat belt treads.
The Peloton Tread has a 32” touchscreen attached to the handlebars which displays Peloton’s app with hundreds of running workouts. The touchscreen is gorgeous and really brings the workout right into your space so you feel like you are there in the studio with the class. The Peloton Tread uses the same app as the bike, with workouts for running, walking, and combo classes on and off the Tread. This is a hearty, fun machine that really gives you the best of both worlds with a motorized and non-motorized option. It does not have a decline option. We love the Tread for it’s classic slat design but added app content that makes your workouts interesting and engaging.
One thing we’ve learned in our use and research is Peloton users are devoted! When you subscribe to Peloton, you are joining a community of committed (and competitive!) users who interact, give high fives, juggle for position on the Leaderboard, and love their favorite instructors! With the Tread, you are paying not just for the equipment but also this added world of Peloton classes and devotees.
- Footprint: 72.5” L x 36.5” W x 72” H
- Slat Belt: 67” L x 20” W
- Step-up height: 11.5”
- Total Weight: 455 lb
- Slat-belt: 59 aluminum slats with rubber overmold, on ball bearing rail system
- Carbon steel and cast aluminum with soft‑touch coating handrail
- 32” 1080p HD touchscreen
- One-touch Free Mode button
- 0-12.5mph Speed
- 0-15% Incline
- Warranty on Touchscreen: 12 Months
- Warranty on Frame: Five Years
- Warranty on Tread Components & Labor: 12 Months
Award: Best Biofeedback Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, slat belt, hybrid with motor and manual option
Another high-end hybrid treadmill for your home gym is the Technogym SkillRun. This flat frame treadmill has a slat belt design with multiple functions. Similar to the Peloton Tread, this is a motorized treadmill with a manual option for parachute and sled push training. However, the SkillRun provides unique, specified biofeedback to runners as they run. You get a lot more than just speed, incline, and miles run on the SkillRun — it will also analyze and provide information on your gait, cadence, foot pattern and more. This is why it is our Best Biofeedback Treadmill!
Technogym makes high-end training equipment for both consumers and gym owners. Technogym also has a curved tread, the SkillMill, but it currently is not available for home use. The SkillRun TX 500 hits the top of the price chart at a whopping $13,000 with the upgraded SkillRun 5000 coming in at $15,000 and the SkillRun 7000 rounding it out at $16,000. These are the most expensive treads on our list, but certainly the quality of construction and design makes them attractive to serious athletes with the extra coin to spend.
The SkillRun offers a few features not found on other slat belt treads. The deck will incline to a 25% grade and decline to -3% grade. It also has a larger belt at 22” wide by 68” long, which is larger than the Assault or Woodway treads. This expanded belt space opens up the SkillRun for varied training. The SkillRun also includes a sled push mode and offers a parachute training kit for added upper body work.
The SkillRun TX500 features a 10” touchscreen with various display options including: optimal view, speed swiftpad, gradient swiftpad, fast track controls, runner detection system, and ergonomic dashboard. You can create up to 7 profiles so each user is able to create and track their own data. Programs include: heart rate specific training for zone or weight loss; speed shift, hi-low blocks, hills, and cross training. There are also goal-oriented routines for cardio fitness, strong legs, and speed & agility drills. The SkillRun includes a maximal power test for comparative metrics. The patent-pending Biofeedback display has readouts for: cadence, step length, running power, ground contact time, flight time propulsion time, and pushing power. This biofeedback tracks your main running parameters in real time, which then provides color-coded feedback so you can instantly improve your form and performance. This is what makes the SkillRun a premier machine for serious athletes who want specified science-backed metrics to enhance their training.
- SkillRun Weight: 492 lbs
- Footprint: 73” H x 34” W x 66” D
- Step Up height: 12.6” off the floor
- Belt life: Up to 100,000 miles
- Max user weight: 485 lbs
- Speed range: up to 18.6mph
- Incline/Decline: -3% decline to 25% incline
- Multidrive functionality for both Run and Resistance
Award: Best Folding Manual Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, non motorized, lightweight treadmill that folds up
Rounding out the last three spots on our list are affordable manual treadmills that can easily be purchased on Amazon. These are targeted for home users who want the convenience of a non-motorized sliding belt treadmill that is economic and folds up when not use. These are not heavy slat belt manual treads designed for serious athletes; they are designed for walking and light jogging in the comfort of your home.
The Confidence Magnetic treadmill offers a great, high quality cardio workout. The 8 adjustable magnetic resistance levels allow you to tailor the specific intensity to your desired training level. This magnetic treadmill has an easy folding/storage mechanism, so it will fold up to save space when you are done. The manual belt is quiet and smooth with gentle magnetic resistance. There is a fixed gentle incline. Multi-function computer displays speed, distance, calories, odometer, time and scan functions. This is easily transported and stored with a simple locking pin mechanism and built in wheels for easy movement.
The Confidence Magnetic treadmill is suitable for users up to 220lbs. It has a 12 month warranty. The open footprint is 19” wide by 47.2” long. When folded, it is 48” high and 7.0” deep. The treadmill weighs 46.9 lbs. It is lightweight and easy to use and move. The walking surface is 15” wide by 40” long so this is on the smaller size and probably not ideal for running; works great for walking.
- Suitable for users up to 220lbs
- 12 month warranty
- Runway size : 15″ x 40.2″
- Product footprint : 19.1″ x 47.2″
- Size when folded : 48″ (h) x 7.9″ (d)
- Box dimensions : 52.1″ x 24.4″ x 9.3
- Weight : 46.9lbs
Award: Best Manual Treadmill for Walkers
Key Features: Flat frame, non motorized, lightweight treadmill that folds up
The Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is made for walking. This folding, lightweight treadmill is excellent for small spaces. The compact running surface of 42in x 13in makes this treadmill ideal for power walking or light jogging. Although the belt is manual, you can create goal specific workouts with the LCD monitor that allows the user to track time, speed, calories burned, and steps. The LCD “scan” option allows users to scan through performance data without lifting a finger! The treadmill’s non-electric design makes it easy to set anywhere in your home or apartment without the need for a wall outlet. The compact belt has a sturdy non-slip running surface which supports a max weight of 220lbs.
Manual treadmills are typically smaller and quieter than comparable motorized treadmills which makes them a great option for upper floor apartments or condos. They also work well as a rehabilitation equipment for those with joint or mobility issues. The slight incline helps activate your core and engages posterior chain muscles such as glutes and hamstrings for a more well-rounded workout. A sturdy handrail supports walkers of all abilities who may need added balance support while walking. This is the perfect option for walking while you watch TV since it is a low-noise machine and won’t interfere with TV program volume.
The small walking surface won’t support jogging but it keeps it lightweight and movable. Full footprint is 49” long by 23” wide and 50” high to the upper handrail.
- Walking surface: 42in x 13in
- LCD monitor tracks time, speed, calories burned, and steps
- Non-electric design
- Max weight of 220lbs
- Footprint: 49” long by 23” wide and 50” high
Award: Best Compact Manual Treadmill
Key Features: Flat frame, non motorized, lightweight treadmill that folds up
The Stamina InMotion manual treadmill has dual weighted flywheels and two incline positions (10 and 8 degrees), so you can walk at different speeds and inclines. The Stamina InMotion treadmill includes a one-year frame warranty and a 90-day parts warranty. The electronic monitor tracks time, speed, distance, calories burned, and will scan through multiple settings for convenience. The frame is made of steel but is designed to be both sturdy and foldable with wheels for gently rolling when needed. The walking belt is a textured, non-slip surface and the treadmill features foam padded front and side rails for safety. The belt is adjusted in the factory but can also be adjusted by the consumer when needed.
This is a fully manual treadmill that requires no electricity or motor, which keeps it quiet and compact. It also folds up when not in use to a tidy 17” wide by 22” long footprint. When open, it stands 45” high.
The Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill provides a great indoor cardiovascular workout at an affordable price point. The dual-weighted flywheels provide a smooth workout for running or walking. Adjust the angle and watch your stats on the workout monitor to further enhance your workout. The best thing about this treadmill is you can place it anywhere since it doesn’t require proximity to a wall outlet.
- Dual weighted flywheels for smooth operation
- Two incline positions: 10 and 8 degrees
- Display shows time, speed, distance, calories burned, and scans with simple, one-button control
- Textured, non-slip walking/jogging surface
- Foam padded front and side rails
- Sturdy steel frame folds for storage
- Built-in wheels for portability
- Skid-resistant rubber floor protectors maximize stability
- No electricity needed
- Running belt dimensions: 41 by 12 3/8 inches (L x W)
- Overall dimensions: 47 by 22 by 45 inches (L x W x H)
- Folded footprint: 17 x 22 inches
- Maximum user weight: 225 pounds
- Some assembly required
- One-year frame warranty
- 90-day parts warranty
Benefits of Using a Treadmill
You can exercise anytime of day or night
Most of us have schedules that limit how much time we can exercise — and that exercise often gets bumped by work, kids, school, sports and just life! A treadmill allows you to workout anytime you can sneak it in. If you need that early coffee-fueled run first thing in the morning, a treadmill is always there, waiting for you. If after work is your me-time, that works too! Maybe you are a mom with young kids and naptime is the only hour you have to yourself! A treadmill makes it so you can walk, jog, run, train or just regain some sanity at your convenience.
You can moderate speed
If you are training for a specific event and have a goal pace, a treadmill can help you maintain and train at your desired pace. Many treadmills have preset speed buttons so you get a better idea of how fast to train for each run or event. Want to challenge yourself at a quick 8mph pace? A treadmill makes it easy to know just how fast you are going — and challenges you when you want to go just a bit faster.
You can use different training variables such as Hills, Sprints, HIIT and Endurance
You don’t have to go find a hill for incline training or seek out a flat road for sprints — on a treadmill, you get multiple training variables right at your fingertips. Many treads incline to simulate hill work, and the speed controls allow you to jump from one speed quickly to another for some intense HIIT work. Long, slow endurance is also an option — just put your favorite movie on your TV and run.
You have control at your fingertips (or feet!)
Most treadmills have speed and incline controls on the console or handlebars. Manual treadmills respond to your foot cadence to set and maintain speed. A treadmill is designed to do what you tell it to do — it is your training equipment and you are in control.
Treadmills often provide feedback metrics
Treadmills often provide real-time metrics as you run. You get distance, time, calories burned, incline, decline, and even heart rate readouts! This biometric feedback is helpful to know how long and hard you have exercised. Many treadmills will also keep track of your stats for you, so you know your weekly, monthly and even yearly averages. This info also helps those who want to push themselves a little more or set challenges for each day or week.
You don’t have to stop exercising in bad weather
Since weather is an issue for many people during the year, a treadmill allows you to workout indoors any time of year. In the winter runners can still enjoy the mental and physical benefits of cardiovascular exercise. And in the summer, you don’t have to wake up and run at 5am to avoid the heat. A treadmill extends training options throughout the year.
Benefits of a Manual Treadmill
Manual treadmills respond to a runner’s cadence
Since a manual treadmill belt will only move in response to your footstrike, they go as fast as you do. If you want to do sprints on a manual treadmill, there is no lag between when you hit a button and when the belt matches that pace. Just take off and the belt is right there with you. Want to slow down? Moderate your pace and the belt slows too. Rather than rely on a motor to drive you — with a manual treadmill you are the motor, which gives you complete control over the machine.
Manual treadmills are more challenging and therefore burn more calories
Since manual treadmills are not powered, you can’t rely on a treadmill motor to supplement your speed. Manual treadmills have been shown to burn 30% more calories than traditional treadmills for the same workout. This is because extra body power is required to move the belt along. More muscle groups are also activated during a manual run: core muscles keep your torso erect; anterior chain quads and tibialis propel you forward and connect your foot with the belt; and posterior chain muscles such as glutes and hamstrings help push that belt along. This greater muscle activation both challenges the runner metabolically and stimulates more muscle growth and development during each workout.
Running on a manual treadmill requires both mental and physical focus
You can’t just hit a button and then zone out — you’d better be paying attention to your pace! Manual treadmills require more focus and concentration to both stay on pace and stay on the machine! It’s easy to get comfortable on a traditional treadmill as you settle into a comfortable pace and just go. On a manual treadmill this isn’t as easy since greater muscle activation requires more engagement and staying balanced and in control requires greater proprioception. Both mental and physical focus are enhanced and strengthened when running on a manual treadmill.
Benefits of a curved treadmill
In 1974 when Willi Schoenberger developed the first manual curved treadmill known as the Woodway — he wanted to provide athletes with the best treadmill trainer possible. Schoenberger studied body mechanics, healthy running form, and the principles of force and inertia to design a curved treadmill that would both challenge and engage each runner. Since then, other companies have recognized and integrated a curved running platform to access these benefits as well. Curved trainers are not for everyone. In fact, some companies will not sell a curved treadmill to a non-licensed home user — they are reserved for certified coaches and training professionals who know how to use them safely. Curved treadmills require balance, focus, precision and muscle strength. These are great for conditioned users who want to take their training to the next level. They are not suited for anyone with muscular imbalances, mobility issues or joint problems.
What is the best treadmill for you?
After assessing your personal goals, conditioning and budget, we hope our list has helped you determine the best treadmill for you. Obviously, there are several fantastic manual treadmills that will augment and propel your fitness! There are also many simple, non motorized treadmills that are lightweight and easy to use for those who just want to walk gently in the comfort of their own home.
We hope you are able to find whatever option works best for you!