ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill
Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill
Fitness Reality TR3000 Pacer Control Manual Treadmill
WalkingPad R2 Manual Running Treadmill
BEST CURVED MANUAL TREADMILL
IN10CT Health Runner Curved Manual Treadmill
Manual treadmills give you an entirely different way to exercise.
You’re still moving forward in a stationary position, but you’re doing so much more for your body than you would be with an automatic treadmill. It’s time to upgrade your workout.
Standard automatic treadmills simply don’t cut it anymore. They don’t give the resistance or power that they could, so you’re missing out on a ton of the benefits. Automatic tracks are good for a low-impact exercise, but now you’re about to find out what you’ve been missing this whole time.
We have the best manual treadmill for running and every other category of exercise you could want a treadmill for. You’re about to change the way you exercise forever, are you ready?
Recommended Manual Treadmills
Best Overall: ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill
ProGear has a simple, cost-effective way for you to get started with a manual treadmill. It’s surprisingly simple, but comes with a lot of power in a small package. It’s the best manual treadmill for walking since it’s not an over-the-top model. Let’s talk about it.
To start, it’s a smaller-looking treadmill. Especially for manual ones. We get that, but once you step on this you’ll understand exactly what we’re talking about. Thanks to being extremely lightweight and compact, you use your bodyweight as the anchor point to keep this pressed firmly to the floor. You can feel what every step is doing to the machine.
Don’t be alarmed; the system stays in place on its own. It’s still 49 lbs, which isn’t overly light, and the carbon steel frame and footing helps keep you in place. While balance can be an issue on soft or plush carpets, this will work better on harwood, tile, laminate, or if you buy a yoga/treadmill mat to put underneath it.
So what are we not crazy about? That would be the incline positions. It’s advertised as an incline manual treadmill, but with only two different incline angles for you to choose from, it doesn’t really do what you’d expect. If you’re just using this for brisk walks instead of hardcore exercise, the inclines should be enough, but it makes it hard to scale on this machine. It may lead to you requiring an upgrade later on down the line.
While the handles are a bit low and can make it feel like you’re trying to lift something up rather than lean on it for support, they get the job done. They’re soft to the touch and ergonomic, so you won’t run into any major issues with the handle design. The handles do not have an adjustment point, so they’ll only change in height when you change the incline of the tread.
Speaking of the tread, it’s exactly what you would expect from a manual treadmill tread. It’s not overly loud, but it’s not particularly quiet either. From the photos you can see how thin the platform is, so some of your walking or running sounds will inevitably ring out. Though if you ask us, it’s impossible to have a “silent” treadmill anyway, so it’s not the end of the world.
Last but not least, the weight limit isn’t that great. At a max rating of 230 lbs for the user, it’s not a treadmill you’ll be using for a long-term weight-loss trip. Keep in mind that this also means pressure, so even being at 229 lbs doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you.
As the best manual treadmill for seniors due to the low impact and easy resistance, it’s designed for all ages and works well in smaller living situations as well, such as senior centers or assisted living facilities. ProGear got it right.
- Incline helps increase intensity
- Steel frame is ultra durable
- Extremely lightweight, compact, and portable
- Great medium intensity level for senior citizens
- Handles hang a little bit low, can be difficult depending on the height of the user
- Only two incline positions available
Runner Up: Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill
Our runner up (get it?) has a similar approach, but with a much more premium feel. Exerpeutic made this similar manual treadmill with a few added features, so let’s talk about how it makes a difference.
For one, you get an increased maximum user weight of 325 lbs, which is a much more reasonable place to start compared to ProGear. It’s crafted out of durable carbon steel and built with excellent ergonomic handles, which checks off all the boxes to make it a great user experience, at least in the beginning.
But just because it’s good on paper doesn’t mean it will be perfect once you use it. We like this treadmill, but the frame can feel a bit wobbly if you try to go too intense. This is another manual treadmill with a great price point for new users, but it may not be enough for veteran runners (don’t worry; we have more in this guide later on if you’re ready to start off with the biggest, baddest treadmill possible).
This uses two 6” diameter flywheels to help with the manual movement, which is another reason that it’s great for beginners. A lot of the force that you would normally feel with a manual treadmill is altered and made to be more smooth. The flywheel won’t move the tread for you; that’s still up to you. It just makes the movement feel a little smoother and less abrupt, so if you aren’t used to the way that you can stutter when you have a momentary dip in momentum, this helps mitigate that.
The screen is useful and comes with a magnetic resistance system dial, which is nice. The screen isn’t overly huge to try and sell you on vanity aspects like some treadmills do, but it’s worth noting that some of the wires are just sort of hanging out of the bottom of the screen backing for some reason. This is a common trend we’ve seen, and there’s another treadmill on this list with the same issue we’ll get into in just a minute. It just makes the treadmill feel incomplete, like a work in progress instead of a finished product.
It folds up and can be wheeled away, and with a relatively lightweight frame at 73 lbs, it’s not impossible to do on your own completely unassisted. While we would like a slightly wider tread given how far back the handles reach, it’s a minor gripe. Overall Exerpeutic’s high capacity treadmill gets the job done with a little bit of a premium feel compared to ProGear, but we still have some upgrades that we can jump for.
- Longer tread length than many other manual treadmills offer
- Lightweight and portable thanks to the wheel system
- Durable carbon steel construction
- Flywheels feel flawlessly smooth
- Frame can be a bit wobbly despite being able to hold a lot of weight
- Screen wires just hang out of the back and aren’t housed in anything
Alternative: Fitness Reality TR3000 Pacer Control Manual Treadmill
The best manual treadmill for home use can be lightweight, and Fitness Reality is here to prove it. Starting with the model design, it’s similar to what we’ve seen on this list so far, but with a few modifications that make it different. It sits around the same price point, so if you came here with a budget in mind, don’t worry—Fitness Reality has you covered.
You get an entirely alloy steel frame that can hold up to 325 for a single user (which just really makes us wonder what ProGear was doing), so there’s a lot of leeway if this is your first manual treadmill and you’re ready to break a sweat. The frame is rated to stand up to stress, but it does wobble a little bit. You’re going to be able to feel it, so you’ll want a mat or something similar underneath your treadmill ahead of time.
The running track itself is a little difficult to digest, though. It’s not as wise as we would have liked, but if you look at the marketing photos, you see something peculiar: a 45 degree angle cover on the tread. These treads are made a bit differently and aren’t all one piece, which leads us to believe that they may not be as durable as other treadmills. Our testing phase doesn’t allow for a full year of wear and tear, so your mileage may vary.
It’s difficult to position this treadmill properly because of the wheels on the bottom. Thankfully, you can remove the wheels without removing the feet, so if that’s something you want to do because you know where the permanent spot is going to be, go for it.
Another thing you can see in the photos is wiring hanging down in the back. It’s not too bad, but it’s still something that should have been ironed out during the design phase. Thankfully, this lightweight treadmill is easy to move around at 71 lbs, so you won’t have to do much heavy lifting to get it around the house.
There are two assistant flywheels to help with running, and a decent amount of incline up to 13 degrees. It’s actually the second-highest incline on this entire list, and depending on how you like your workout, this could be a major benefit. Overall it’s an excellent treadmill, though we have some real heavy hitters on this list that might be more up your alley if you want a forever manual treadmill.
- Durable alloy steel construction
- Extra traction along the tread is great for new runners
- Three separate positions for inclines at 8, 10, and 13 degrees
- Comfortable hand rails that track your heart rate and pace
- Another model where wires just seem to hang out from everywhere
- Treadmill feet can be a little finicky and hard to position properly
Alternative: WalkingPad R2 Manual Running Treadmill
The WalkingPad R2 is what happens when innovation comes to the fitness space. This may not be the most powerful treadmill in the world, but it does come with a great deal of benefits that you just won’t get in any other treadmill on the market today.
Let’s start with the fact that it has an excellent width for being such a small machine. There’s no handles to box you into a confined space as well, because the railings run up from the front to form the console in the center. This comes with an emergency key, as well as a little dashboard to put your phone while you’re working out. There is an LCD screen, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
The entire machine folds up. Gently manage the tread, fold it in half, and then it folds up into a neat little suitcase-style design. It’s not easy to move around at 80 lbs, but it’s the most compact way that you could ever store a treadmill.
There are, of course, going to be some caveats we need to address. While a maximum speed of 6.2 MPH might be good for some people, others want more intensity. This little machine is intended to be used in office environments, home offices, and be compact enough to work with your busy lifestyle instead of you having to stop and go to a full-scale treadmill that you can’t move around with you.
Now let’s talk about the screen. You get a nice little LCD display on the front of the pad itself. It’s not build into the optional railing pieces. It displays everything quite plainly and isn’t too in-depth, but it’s good to know how fast you’re going.
So while this is a manual treadmill, there are automatic modes that you can control with your feet. The front third of the pad means you’re in a slow down area, so it will help to slow the speed of the tread. In the center third, it’s constant speed, and in the back third, it means you’re speeding up. It’s a little confusing until you’re actually on the treadmill, but it works out pretty well.
As you can imagine, there’s no incline option available. The entire point is that it’s flat and can fold up easily or slide underneath a couch when not in use. That automatic mode we mentioned also bumps up the cost, this isn’t a cheap machine to get your hands on as a result.
With a maximum user weight of 242 lbs and a compact design, it has its ups and downs. You’ll either find the perfect utility for it (you may have already thought of it), or you’ll at least have a portable exercise station for your home when you don’t have time to get to the gym.
- Excellent tread width to account for variables during use
- Compact and easy to store wherever you want
- Rail can be removed so you can use this running pad at a standing desk during the day
- Great tread traction to help you with friction during running, even if sweat drips down onto the tread
- Completely flat with no incline options available
- Includes an automatic mode with foot control, which bumps up the cost despite being marketed as a manual treadmill
- Size: 57” x 28” x 51”
- Weight: 80 lbs
- Maximum Weight: 242 lbs
Alternative: Sunny Health & Fitness Foldable Walking Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness is known for having inexpensive solutions to your home gym, and they’ve come in clutch with a cost-effective model that anyone can use to get started. It has its limitations, as you can expect from their brand, but it’s not too bad for a manual treadmill.
First and foremost, you have a very small screen to interact with. It’s a basic digital monitor, though we found that it had a fairly large gap in accuracy when compared to the Apple Watch or FitBit. It’s nice to have, but if you’re going for accuracy so that you can track data over a long span of time, it’s not the most reliable option at your disposal.
The durable alloy steel construction is convincing enough, although it is important to note that this is the lowest maximum weight manual treadmill on this list. It’s customary for Sunny Health & Fitness to be on the lower end of the quality spectrum, but still just pass. They somehow fit in that trifecta. The user weight limit here is only 220 lbs, so this is definitely an introductory model for someone who isn’t necessarily on a big weight loss journey, and likely has some exercise experience with automatic treadmills in the past.
They do include two flywheels on the front-end of the treadmill to help alleviate some of the tension that spins up while you’re running. If you stop short, the weight of your body can make the treadmill stop abruptly, which can end in injury. These two flywheels help keep things feeling smooth both while you’re running, and when it’s time to stop. They won’t negatively impact your workout experience in any way.
One aspect that Sunny Health & Fitness did exceptionally well is the incline levels you have to choose from. You can put the incline up to as high as 13.5 degrees, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is compared to a lot of walking treadmills. Typically, automatic treadmills have the inclines because the motor can support the angle. Here, you’re relying on human power, and despite the weight maximum, Sunny Health & Fitness did a great job giving the user this level of control with incline levels.
It’s cost-effective, it’s comfortable to use at any angle, and actually has ergonomic handles that don’t box you into a small space. It’s not a large treadmill, but it gives you enough flexibility and room to actually complete your workout. It’s an overall comfortable machine to use, but it can be a bit wobbly. It’s certainly not perfect.
- Extremely cost-effective and durable at the same time
- Great maximum incline degree of 13.5
- Highly durable alloy steel construction (which surprised us about the max weight)
- Comfortable, low profile hand hold area maximized space for tread without bumping into your arms or hips
- Much lower maximum weight than other manual treadmills on this list
- Feet and wheels are cheap and relatively unstable
Best Curved Manual Treadmill: IN10CT Health Runner Curved Manual Treadmill
IN10CT is about as good as you can get, which is why it’s the only one that won the spot for best-curved treadmill. There’s simply nothing that compares to it. Let’s break down the features that make it one of the best treadmills to ever exist.
To start with the design, let’s look at this thing. It’s minimalistically designed, the branding is mostly subtle, and it looks fantastic. You can see the casters on the front of the treadmill, but the feet on the back match up so it doesn’t look like it’s going to just roll away at a moment’s notice.
The design matters because of what it does for the rails and the handles. One thing that we really don’t like about a lot of treadmill models is the way that they’re made to box you in. The handles jut out on the right and left, and you don’t have enough horizontal width. IN10CT changes all of that. You have plenty of room, and the handles are ergonomic for when you need to boost the intensity and grab on for the ride.
With a wonderful soft touch, you can grab on at any point and feel the grip grasp onto your hand. These rails lead up to the LED screen, which is another excellent point that IN10CT did right. If you’ve ever used budget-level treadmills, you know how useless those LED screens can really be. This screen is simple, but that’s the beauty of it.
They didn’t try to make an overly large screen to amplify the perceived value of the treadmill. You get five buttons, basic stats, and it tracks them with pretty good accuracy. While your FitBit or Apple Watch might read things a little differently, it’s not off by that much. You can base your runs off the screen, and it lights up enough to be visible without blinding you.
It sounds like a dream come true, but beyond the high price tag and all the lovely things about it, this IN10CT model also has a few picadillos that we need to address. For one, it’s massive at 330 lbs. That makes it tricky to even bring inside the house, let alone set up. Thankfully there are casters at the front of the treadmill that make it easy to move once it’s put together, but it’s quite a chore setting it up in the first place.
Next would be the tread system. It’s fantastic and truly one of a kind, so that’s not what we’re complaining about, but it’s really hard to keep it lubricated properly. If you don’t keep your treadmill lubricated it can fall into complete disrepair, but because of how complicated this tread is, it adds a layer of difficulty to it as well.
After that, IN10CT’s curve treadmill is smooth sailing. Once you learn how to get the curved dip of the treadmill moving with just your feet (you’ll get there eventually), you can’t go back to non-curved treadmills, manual or otherwise. It just doesn’t feel the same, which is why this is the best curved manual treadmill out there.
The height is entirely adjustable thanks to the screw-in feet on the bottom, which can put you at a slight incline if you’d like, though with the curvature of the tread you’re not likely to notice the difference.
This frame is built with intense durability, which partially counts for the massive weight. Not only can it hold up to 400 lbs from the user, but it’s crafted out of highly durable alloy steel to give a premium feel, reduce vibrations, and make the ride as smooth as possible.
The massive size of this treadmill actually helps it in more ways than it doesn’t. Setup can be a tricky bit of business, but then you’re getting a consistently powerful muscle-building run every single day, so we’re willing to wager that it’s worth it to you just like it was worth it to us.
- Excellent reactive display with actionable, valuable information tracking
- The most durable alloy steel frame of any manual treadmill we’ve ever tested
- Great width and running area between comfortable handrails
- Highly adjustable height thanks to the screw-in feet on the bottom
- Absolutely ridiculous 330 lbs total weight makes it a three-person job to move
- Tread system is harder to keep clean and lubricate
- Size: 69” x 32” x 62”
- Weight: 330 lbs
- Maximum Weight: 400 lbs
Manual Treadmill FAQ
Are Manual Treadmills More Effective?
Even if you go with the best cheap manual treadmill, it will be more effective than automatic treadmills or ellipticals. They’re extremely effective because you’re the one powering it, and you’re the one running on it, so all that energy that it takes to get the tread moving in the first place is amazing for your body. Whether your goal is to make muscle gains or lose weight, well, you’ll be doing both, so you don’t have to worry.
How Difficult Are Manual Treadmills?
Manual treadmills are much more difficult to use than automatic treadmills. While this seems like an obvious statement, you don’t really understand until you step on one for the first time.
Getting started is the hardest part since your legs are powering the entire treadmill, and after the first day of using a manual treadmill, you’re going to feel it in every single part of your legs. You just have to keep it going. This is almost everything you need for leg day, plus it’s cardio at the same time. They’re one of the most difficult cardio machines that exist, but they’re entirely worth it.
Can You Lose Weight on a Manual Treadmill?
You can lose weight on a manual treadmill faster than you can lose weight on an automatic treadmill thanks to the afterburn effect. This is when your muscles heat up due to increased engagement and continue to burn calories for hours after you’re done with your exercise.
Because manual treadmills are superior for muscle engagement and building up muscles that support your joints, you’ll lose weight during and after your time on the treadmill. You also lose calories faster than you would on an automatic treadmill, which is a nice bonus.
Can You Jog on a Manual Treadmill
Whether it’s enormous and stays in your home gym, or it’s the best portable manual treadmill you can find, they’re all good for jogging. You have to have a mat underneath it even if you’re mobile, but they’re great for jogging.
Think about this: when you jog outside, there’s no tread pulling you while you run, so why would an automated indoor treadmill be better for you? We still love plenty of automatic treadmill models, but they pale in comparison to manual treadmills for joggers.
How Do Natural Treadmills Work?
There’s a trifecta at play: gravity, force, and friction. This is why there are a lot of curved manual treadmills instead of flat manual treadmills. Your initial push requires a lot of force and a lot of fraction against the belt, which kickstarts the belt’s movement. Then it’s up to you and your momentum, your output, to keep it moving.
This gives tremendous feedback and can help you optimize your running and jogging patterns. If it regularly starts slowing down every time you exercise, notice the time and write it down, then try to maintain top-tier stamina until that record is shattered. Manual treadmills are powered by you, and they’re a lot of effort to get started.
How Do You Lubricate a Manual Treadmill Belt?
Manual treadmill belts still need to be lubricated, even though there isn’t a motor at play. Since we want to avoid taking it apart if we can, you should gently tug on the side of the tread. It should have a little bit of pull to it. Once you move it, tilt it upward so you can see and access half of the underside of the read.
Use silicone-based lubricant spray under this area, then repeat it on the exact opposite side. You only need about six inches of spray width because we really don’t want to saturate the belt. Run on it for around five minutes or so, taking into account that it might feel a little odd, and the lubricant will spread evenly between the underside of the tread and all your rollers.
Can You Gain Muscle on a Manual Treadmill?
Yes, you can gain muscle on a manual treadmill. The process is different from using an automatic “normal” treadmill, where the tread comes at you in a specific motion. You’re the one making the tread move, so you actually engage the treadmill instead of the treadmill engaging you.
What this means is it takes the push and contractions of your muscles to get the treads moving in the first place. Even if there are assistant flywheels on the front of a manual treadmill, much like we’ve seen at the beginning of this list, it’s your body and your momentum that’s driving the tread. This engages leg muscles that you don’t normally hit on an automatic treadmill.
Should I Still Consider an Automatic Treadmill?
If you can handle the differences, you should opt for a manual treadmill every single time. Not only do you see increased health benefits and muscle gain, but they’re generally much quieter than automatic treadmills, so you don’t have to restrict your use time based on the time of day. Automatic treadmills are still excellent and can still help you burn a ridiculous amount of calories in a single hour, but they’re nowhere as engaging as manual treadmills.
Manual Treadmills are the Future of Fitness
Manual treadmills are the future of dynamic fitness and overall better health. After seeing everything that they can do for you, what’s stopping you from taking one for a spin? You’re about to take your entire exercise game to a whole new level.
Automated treadmills plateau your fitness progress. Eventually, you stop gaining, and then it becomes a race to burn calories without any muscle improvements to show for it. It’s time to put that to an end right now with a manual treadmill.