The Best Manual Treadmills: Be Your Own Power in 2023

Best Manual Treadmill


When you think about a manual treadmill, you might think of Fred Flintstone running on slabs of rock. Today, the best manual treadmills are pretty incredible. They are user-friendly, energy-efficient, burn more calories, and are oftentimes cheaper machines than their motorized counterparts.

If you're in the market for a new piece of exercise equipment and are trying to decide between a treadmill, elliptical, or bike, there are many reasons why the manual treadmill could be right for you. The foldable models will take up less space and won't eat up your electricity. The luxury options are incredible for walks, distance runs, and HIIT sprints. The ACTIVE Reviews Team has tested several different manual treadmills to help you make a good decision for achieving your fitness goals. Here we’ll take a look at eight of our favorites and break down what you need to know.

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The Best Manual Treadmill - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Manual Treadmill - AssaultRunner Pro

AssaultRunner Pro

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 69.9" L x 31.7" W x 64.4" H Weight: 289.2 lbs /
  • Weight: 289.2 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5-year frame, 3-year moving parts

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The AssaultRunner Pro is a smooth and energetic machine that will motivate you to work out. This manual treadmill has a following with fans who love that it's easy to assemble, use, and move. Plus, the steel frame makes it incredibly stable.

The belt is speedy, which makes this a great tool to work on your foot turnover speed and sprints. But don't let that deter you if you're looking for a treadmill to use for long miles—the AssaultRunner Pro is great for that, too. The curved design helps with impact absorption, which makes it a great option for anyone recovering from an injury.

What We Like

  • Great design and display
  • Smooth belt for walking, easy running, and sprinting
  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like

  • Some users report a squeaky belt
  • Plastic pieces on the frame may be prone to cracking

BUY: AssaultRunner Pro

Best Budget Manual Treadmill - ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill

ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 47" L x 23" W x 51" H
  • Weight: 49 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 230 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited

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Frugal walkers, put away your ice spikes and parka. This winter, you can log miles from the comfort and warmth of your own home for under $250. The ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill is ideal for people looking for a lightweight, no-frills machine to keep them moving.

Many reviewers loved using this treadmill as a walking desk. It folds out, it’s lightweight, and it can be tucked away and out of view easily. It requires assembly, but it's not difficult to figure out. If you're a runner, keep scrolling. This lightweight treadmill is not as sturdy as some of the others.

What We Like

  • Extremely affordable
  • Folds up and is light enough to easily move from room to room
  • Easy to assemble
  • Two incline positions

What We Don't Like

  • The maximum speed is 0.01
  • Handlebars are too low for many users

BUY: ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill

Best Manual Treadmill for Running - Xebex Runner Smart Connect

Xebex Runner

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 71" x 35" x 60"
  • Weight: 332 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5-year frame, 3-year moving parts, 2-year console

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We love that this Xebex treadmill was made with runners in mind. The machine is super stable and even though it's powered completely by you, running on it feels like a breeze. The belt is incredibly responsive and absorbs a lot of impact.

What sets this manual treadmill apart from the rest is its console. It connects to apps and functions in a way that's similar to a motorized treadmill's screen. You also have the ability to change the resistance to give you intensity options suitable for every workout.

What We Like

  • Very durable and stable
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Resistance knob to change belt tension

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and isn’t easily moved after assembly

BUY: Xebex Runner Smart Connect

Best Manual Treadmill for Walking - Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill

Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 49" L x 23" W x 50" H
  • Weight: 46.7 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year frame warranty, 180 days for other parts

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The design of the Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill reduces the strain on your back and knees. It feels sturdy and has floor stabilizers to reduce slippage. This treadmill offers a great workout at a slight incline, which is perfect for anyone who wants to walk and burn some calories.

This is one of the lighter manual treadmills on this list and it folds up easily so it can be tucked away when not in use. The screen shows your time, speed, distance, and calories. It's a great option for walkers who want a reliable and easy-to-use manual treadmill.

What We Like

  • Extremely affordable
  • Great screen display
  • Compact and moveable
  • Good amount of belt resistance for walking

What We Don't Like

  • 220-lb. weight limit and narrow walkway
  • Reported to be somewhat shaky during use

BUY: Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill

Best Curved Manual Treadmill - Assault Runner Elite

Assault Runner Elite

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 69.9" L x 31.7" W x 64.4" H
  • Weight: 289.2 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Warranty: Lifetime belt warranty, 10-year frame, 3-year non-wear parts, 1-year labor

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Not only is the curve masterfully designed to replicate non-treadmill running, but the Assault Runner Elite is also engineered with plentiful ball bearings and guides to help the run feel flawless. But the frame is the true story here—it is both sturdy and supportive as you crush mile after mile.

The Elite takes cues from motorized treadmills—there is plenty of room to stride out, it includes footholds along each side, and has excellent shock absorption. The screen has Bluetooth connectivity and offers a pretty solid UV-resistant display. It's a heavy machine, but the built-in wheels keep it moveable.

What We Like

  • The overbuilt frame makes it stable
  • Curve mimics real running
  • Great belt movement
  • Lifetime belt warranty

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Hefty, more difficult to move

BUY: Assault Runner Elite

Best Manual Treadmill for Seniors - EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill

EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 54" L x 35.5" W x 52" H
  • Weight: 80 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs.
  • Warranty: N/A

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Compact, lightweight, easy-to-use, with body metrics monitors—this EFITMENT manual treadmill is great for active seniors who want an indoor option for staying active. It's a very affordable machine with excellent features. It has three incline options and optional arm attachments to get your upper body in on the workout.

It is foldable and transportable, so it can be tucked away when not in use. The display shows your heart rate when you use the monitor on the handles. This does require assembly and some users reported issues setting it us, but their customer service rating is very high.

What We Like

  • Heart rate monitor and clear display
  • Handles for an arm movement option
  • 3 incline levels
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Testers mention that the handlebars are notably low
  • Review mention assembly issues, missing pieces, or unclear instructions

BUY: EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill

Best Folding Manual Treadmill - Sunny Health Cardio Trainer

Sunny Health Cardio Trainer

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 56" L x 26.5" W x 55.5" H
  • Weight: 102.2 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year frame warranty, 180-day warranty on other parts/components

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The Sunny Health Cardio Trainer offers many features for a manual, foldable treadmill. It has a flywheel that offers 16 resistance levels and the machine’s incline can be adjusted to three different settings. This is not always possible with folding machines, so this is a real bonus for people who are looking for maximum function and the ability to store their equipment.

One great add-on is what Sunny Health calls the “soft drop system.” This uses hydraulics to lower the bottom of the machine without you having to stick your hand underneath, reducing the risk of injury or strain. It is just another great detail that makes this a wonderful option if you're looking for a folding treadmill.

What We Like

  • "Soft Drop" system that lowers the machine to the ground after use
  • 16 resistance levels
  • 3 incline levels
  • Higher weight limit at a lower cost

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier than other folding treadmills
  • A little too lightweight for much running

BUY: Sunny Health Cardio Trainer

Best Compact Manual Treadmill - Fitness Reality TR3000

Fitness Reality TR3000

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 50" L x 31" W x 50" H
  • Weight: 73 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 325 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited

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Too many manual treadmills have weight capacities under 250 pounds, which isn't ideal for taller or more solid people. But the Fitness Reality TR3000 has a weight capacity of 325 pounds, thanks to its reinforced frame. This makes it more stable and great for both walking and running.

The belt is also designed to give you more room for your stride. Many users liked the resistance options and the ability to adjust it while using the machine. This is a great option for people who want a small machine but don't want to sacrifice stability and durability. We will note that it's not as transportable as other models, but that's because it's a more solid piece of equipment.

What We Like

  • Wider and longer than most other manual treadmills available
  • 8 resistance levels
  • High weight limit at a lower cost

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't fold as much as other foldable treadmills
  • Electronic monitor may not be reliable

BUY: Fitness Reality TR3000

How To Choose a Manual Treadmill

Choosing the right manual treadmill can be tough. There are many things to consider that you might not have previously thought about. The length of the belt board might be important if you're someone with a longer-than-average stride. The width on some manual treadmills can feel restrictive to even the slimmest users. Plus, you'll want to make sure you understand how the different features will benefit or potentially hinder your fitness goals.

At the very least, there are essentials that you'll want to be certain about before clicking “buy.” Sure, you may know that you want a foldable treadmill, but how much floor space will you need for your workout? What kind of warranty do you need? How easy is this thing to put together anyway? Let's talk these questions through:

Footprint

One of the greatest benefits of manual treadmills is the size. Most of these are compact and many of them fold. You'll first want to determine what your home can fit. Can you have the treadmill out even when it's not in use? That might be great if you want a sturdier machine that can take high-impact running. Measure the area where you think you will store it and, if not in the same place, where you think you will use it.

If you want a folding manual treadmill, determine where you want to use it and measure the space to ensure you'll have enough room to use it, as well as any additional features, like swinging arm attachments, inclines, etc. Also, measure the space where you want it to be stored and compare its folded dimensions.

Warranty

Even though these treadmills aren't motorized, many still have warranties. You'll notice that the frame will be covered as well as the moving parts and the belt. Some might have warranties 10 years and beyond, but many have limitations that you'll need to be aware of should something go awry. If you're unsure about the warranty or the repair process, try to contact the manufacturer before making your purchase. After all, this is an investment and you don't want it collecting dust just because a mechanism quit working.

Assembly

The best way to tell if a product is easy to assemble is to read user reviews. Real people will be able to tell you if the average Joe and a screwdriver can handle it or if you'll need some professional help. If you think you can handle the task, great. But read all the instructions before attempting to assemble the treadmill. Make sure you have all the pieces and tools needed. Most of the treadmills we reviewed were simple to put together, but some did have missing parts that we needed before we could assemble them. It's better to be aware of that before getting halfway through the building process.

FAQs About Manual Treadmills


Are manual treadmills worth it?

Manual treadmills are totally worth it for people who want to have an indoor fitness option. Whether you're a walker who wants to get your steps in every day or a runner who is attracted to the maximum calorie burn of a manual machine, it's a worthwhile investment in your health.

How long should you walk on a manual treadmill?

The amount of time you should walk on your manual treadmill is going to differ for different people, but research shows that even just 10 minutes per day can provide health benefits. Other studies have shown that a 30-minute walk per day can burn 150 calories and help achieve weight loss goals.

Are manual treadmills good for running?

Some manual treadmills are good for running, but not all. If you are looking for a manual treadmill for running, check out treadmills that use a slat belt design. This means that they are made with rubber slats that rotate around the belt. These are very pricey and usually found in athlete training facilities—not homes. The other option is a curved belt manual treadmill. These are also on the pricy side but are the best option for runners who want to create their own power.

How do manual treadmills work?

With manual treadmills, you are the motor. There is no power driving the belt except for the force of your cadence and footsteps. Otherwise, the basic premise of a manual treadmill is the same for a motorized one—a belt loops around the base to create a stationary moving walkway.

Are manual treadmills quiet?

If you are walking on a manual treadmill, they are very quiet, especially when compared to a motorized treadmill. But if you're running, there is going to be some noise. Some belts will squeak no matter what activity you're using them for.

About the Author

Ali Nolan

Ali Nolan is the author of Master the Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide for Women. She is the former features editor for Runner’s World and has written for Women’s Running, Self, Sport Literate, and Livestrong. Ali has been featured as a running expert on Good Morning America with Amy Robach, as well as the podcasts 8020 Endurance, I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein, and Greenletes.

See more from Ali

Ali Nolan is the author of Master the Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide for Women. She is the former features editor for Runner’s World and has written for Women’s Running, Self, Sport Literate, and Livestrong. Ali has been featured as a running expert on Good Morning America with Amy Robach, as well as the podcasts 8020 Endurance, I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein, and Greenletes.

See more from Ali

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