Different Types of Treadmills- All You Need to Know Before Buying

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Different Types of Treadmills

Understand different types of treadmills is key before you invest in one. Treadmills can vary in features, quality, costs, variants, but most of the time, their features and characteristics frequently overlap. Treadmills are quite pricey, so it’s a difficult decision, and careful consideration is warranted before you buy one. A good treadmill should function properly for years to come and saves you a lot of hassle.

The treadmill, widely known today, started as a torture device. The first treadmill version known as a “tread-wheel,” was built by the ancient Romans in the late 1rst century to use it as a crane for lifting heavier weights.

In 1818, William Cubitt, a British engineer, invented the “24-spoke paddle wheel” for prisoners. They were forced every day to climb this giant “everlasting staircase” for endless hours.

Besides hard labor, the treadmill has been used for crushing the spirit of their convicts and irreparably damaging their health.

If you’re somebody who wishes to buy a treadmill for home use or a commercial gym, you have to be conscious of the options sold on the market. When many dealers sell brand new treadmills, some can sell used or second-hand types, which cost a lot less.

Treadmill at Brixton Prison introduced for prison discipline by William Cubitt

Listed below are types of treadmills based on their power source and feature, which will help you to choose the best one for personal or commercial use.

Types of Treadmills

Based on Their Power Source

1. Manual Treadmills  

Manual Treadmills

In a manual treadmill, a user moves by using a belt and rollers and their effort. You just set the level of this incline, load, magnetic tension, and start running. Since the belt does not move by itself, you are free to use your personal tempo, and this is not so great if you’re lacking motivation. Manual treadmills are one of the cheaper treadmills of the market and also the lightest.

They have far fewer features, have shorter belts, and are less robust compared to motorized models. They’re more suited to walking than running.


The main difference between manual and electronic treadmills is a simple fact that manual treadmills require electricity, and it’s the action of walking or running on the belt of the machine, which results in the treadmill to move. With this design, you have fewer chances of getting hurt since the running belt does not start until you start walking/running.

Considering that the belt does not start unlike electronic Treadmills, there’s not any chance of falling during exercise. These treadmills are designed for comfort with cushioned handles and a durable running belt, and if you’re a beginner, choosing a manual is likely your very best option.

Recommended Product: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Treadmill

Woman working out on the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill


Manual treadmills are designed to give you an excellent workout no matter your fitness level, and in several ways, these treadmills provide you a better training than the electronic ones only because you’re doing all the work, not the machine. As soon as your workout is complete, you will feel as if you have accomplished something huge, and this motivates you to become healthier and stay in good shape. Manual treadmills are perfect if you are on a limited budget.

Features and Styles

Manual treadmills with numerous features fall in the price range from below $100 to over $300, and naturally, those that are less in price possess fewer features. Many manual treadmills have limited features, meaning no heartbeat measurement, speed, speed, distance, or other activity stats.

Actually, most manual treadmills are devoid of any type of LED attachments, even though some do have the ability to change the incline position, so you are able to find a more aggressive workout routine. Just like the majority of other exercise products, it’s ideal for checking them out thoroughly, so you understand precisely what it is you are getting for the price that you’re paying.

With manual treadmills, its features include a fold-up design. As it does not have electronic components, it implies that it is easier to fold into a much smaller size, meaning storage of this treadmill is a lot easier. In reality, this is among the main advantages of choosing a manual treadmill, especially the small ones, as it usually means storing the machine after a workout is a lot simpler.


The sizes of manual treadmills vary according to their features and designs, the smallest being approximately 39 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 43 inches in height, and the largest ones being around 50 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 47 inches high. 

The sizes will vary depending on where you purchase them since every brick-and-mortar store, or online store is going to have a different inventory, but if you are buying them online, it’s relatively easy to find out their exact size, since online stores do a fantastic job of spelling out everything and ensuring you understand everything that you are buying.

If you have limited space in your apartment and you are wondering where to put your manual treadmill, the exact size of this treadmill comes into play. In addition, many treadmills have a size that’s convenient for home use only and not commercial, so if you are researching manual treadmills online, bear this in mind.

Also, compare the different sizes of the running decks, because every manual treadmill will probably be a bit different. A good reason why you need to compare running deck sizes is if you are tall or big, or simply need to enjoy a little extra space as you’re walking or running and enjoy the feel of outdoors, you may require a bigger running surface.

Regardless, know that both physical and online stores provide you exact measurements in case you buy a manual treadmill, and afterward, it doesn’t suit your requirements. So, the size of the treadmill is significant, and fortunately, it’s simple to get the most suitable one with due diligence on your part.


Usually, manual treadmills are made from high-quality, durable materials, including PVC running belts, frames made from heavy-duty steel, and comfortable foam handrails. LED-operated which measures speed or distance and requires batteries rather than electricity. 

Moreover, less-expensive manual treadmill brands also provide high-quality pieces of exercise equipment as they have to maintain their reputation in regards to the quality and excellent dependability of the exercise equipment.

All these mean you can count on them to operate how it’s supposed to and continue working out for a lengthy time.

2. Motorized Treadmills

Motorized Treadmills

Motorized treadmills or electric treadmills permit you to set the pace of your workout. Many motorized treadmills have a feature that allows you to increase and decrease the degree of incline, which you’d love to work on.


The most significant difference between motorized Treadmills and manual treadmills is that the electronic ones require electricity and are usually designed sturdier and larger in size. Their designs aren’t meant to be portable or storable, but instead need a permanent location in your house because they also tend to be heavier and difficult to move compared to manual types.

They’re also most commonly designed for commercial purposes. As individuals who exercise in health clubs or gyms demand dependable, sturdy, and heavy-duty designs. You rarely see manual treadmills being used in professional health clubs and fitness centers, just electronic models.

Recommended Product: NordicTrack T Series Treadmills

NordicTrack T Series Treadmills


Electric treadmills are created to give you the absolute best workout possible at home or the gym. The accessories and amenities that come with this type of treadmill make your exercise significantly less painful, both physically and mentally.

You can adjust numerous features to make your workout as accessible or challenging as you would like it to be, and in the meantime, it’s possible to enjoy some music or an episode of your favorite series with the best treadmills with TV, a personal trainer that challenges you to perform better each step along the way, or simply enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings as you exercise.

No matter what you decide, you’re guaranteed to enjoy your workout a lot longer using the motorized treadmill, since this is a piece of equipment that’s perfect for both the beginners and experienced users.

Features and Styles

To say that electric treadmills have dozens of features and styles would be an understatement since they are electronic in nature, the companies that make them according to their design goals can add the many sophisticated features they like. Some of the features include:

  • 6 to 40% Inclines range that adds a few extra difficulties for your exercise.
  • Screens as large as 22 inches in size that can stream videos to enhance your workout.
  • Electronic measurements such as heart rate, calories, speed, distance, and a lot of different stats.
  • Self-cooling motors.
  • Speeds up to 12 mph.
  • High-quality materials for your running deck.
  • Customized video workouts with iFit, including personal training assistance and automatic adjustments to help keep you challenging during the exercise.
  • An easy touch screen makes changing your workout midstream a lot easier.
  • Variable speed fans to help keep you more comfortable as you work out.
  • Auxiliary ports for MP3 players, cell phones, along with TVs.
  • Digitally amplified speakers for clear, crisp sound.
  • Running decks or foot platforms which have noise-reducing technology and high-tech cushioning for extra comfort.
  • Bluetooth heart rate chest straps for convenience.
  • Dozens of preprogrammed workouts to participate in, together with a few models having around 40 separate activities accessible.

Electric treadmills are of 2 main types – for home use and for commercial. Both come with excellent features, including labor warranties and also for parts and electronics, warranties for the frame, deck, and motor, which are generally lifetime warranties. In addition, motorized treadmills can accommodate individuals weighing around 300 pounds, so that’s everybody.


The sizes of motorized treadmills are unique and numerous, but in most cases, folded size is approximately 70 inches in length, 40 inches in width, and 72 inches in height. There are bigger ones, needless to say, along with the running deck size is often as big as 22 inches by 60 inches, which makes for a comfortable jog or walk. 

Their sizes additionally support joggers of all sizes and heights, so if you’re tall or a bit overweight, you ought to quickly locate the ones that feel right when you exercise.

Another advantage that motorized treadmills offer is portability and lightweight characteristic, some weighing barely 50 pounds. This enables you to move the treadmill from one place or space to another very quickly and with little effort. If it comes to sizes for motorized treadmills, the sky is your limit, so irrespective of the scale you’re searching for, or wherever you intend to store it, you should not have any issues finding something to suit you.

Manual vs. Motorized Treadmills

Manual treadmills are lighter and much cheaper than motorized treadmills. Once folded, manual treadmills can be easily stored. It does not require power for operation, simple construction as they don’t have a main electric motor and transmission to move the belt, fairly durable except the really cheap ones.

Manual treadmills are utilized primarily for walking when the deck is at the horizontal position a beginner can hold the handrails to create enough force to push the belt backward. When the treadmill is at an inclined position, an individual can have a balance between the force required to push the belt and the gravity.

Electric treadmills require power to operate; however, they are great for both walking and running, and a beginner does not need to hold on the hands on the handles throughout the workout. When a trainee stops to walk or falls down on the manual treadmill, the belt stops quickly. If the trainee falls on a motorized treadmill, with no safety on, the motor will probably continue to drive the belt. YouTube is filled with accident videos involving treadmills.

Types of Treadmill According to Their Features

1. Folding Treadmills

Folding treadmills have an option of folding the running deck and the console. So, the folding treadmills reduce their footprint and are easier to store in any corner. These space saver treadmills are very small, portable, and sometimes seen carried by people who do not want to overlook their aerobic workout when travelling.

For home, compact treadmills are the best way to go. For commercial usage, big and sturdy treadmills are designed to operate for hours each day, and they rarely have a folding option.

In case you have a place to spare, money to invest, or a pro, you should buy a commercial treadmill. The biggest advantage of fold-up treadmills is after a workout; you can fold the running deck upward to reduce the treadmill’s footprint.

Recommended Product: ASUNA 8730 Fold Flat Treadmill

A woman working out on ASUNA 8730 Treadmill

2. Commercial Treadmills

Commercial Treadmills

Almost all commercial and semi-commercial treadmills provide a solid cushioned running deck, motorized incline, large powered motors, along with an interactive screen, frequently using a heart rate training feature. The difference between semi-commercial and commercial treadmills is how much time you can use in a day.

Commercial treadmills are built and designed for constant use for as many as 12 hours every day. Semi-commercial treadmills are ideal for smaller businesses and for keen runners. With a commercial treadmill, it is possible to expect, on average, three years of commercial warranty since they’re built to withstand constant use in a gym environment.

Commercial Treadmills – Are They Really Worth It?

Commercial treadmills are great for home gyms, but do they worth the money that they cost? For many people, commercial treadmills are simply overkill.

For those who have a commercial gym, you simply need to have treadmills that are designed and built for commercial and include a commercial warranty and service support.

When buying a treadmill, its price is still the most important factor. So keep this in mind.

Recommended Product: NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills

NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills

3. Under Desk Treadmill

Under Desk Treadmill

Under desk treadmill is a combination of walking or running treadmills and office desks. The basic idea is to use a treadmill for walking and a desk for office jobs while walking.

The idea is excellent since you could burn a hefty number of calories after walking a few hours every day, without over-stressing joints and muscles, and at the same time doing your work.

Personally, we’ve tried this and wrote our review on the manual treadmill under desk post. It is great for simple office jobs; however, people who sweat easily don’t want to exercise, work, and also to be sweaty.

Under desk treadmills have changed the lives of many workaholics because they now can exercise and perform their jobs simultaneously.

Recommended Product: Goplus Under Desk Electric Treadmill

Goplus Under Desk Electric Treadmill

4. Hybrid Treadmills

Hybrid treadmills, also known as treadclimbers, have benefits of both a treadmill as well as an elliptical trainer. Typical treadmills have just one running belt, and they’re used for walking and running.

Treadclimbers are a combination of three exercise machines in one. They have two independent tread lets that go down and up and can be utilized as ordinary treadmills and as a stair climber and as an elliptical machine.

Treadclimbers are also very costly exercise machines. For the price of one treadclimber, you can buy a really good treadmill and an elliptical with a little extra money left for any other task.

Recommended Product: Bowflex TreadClimber TC20

Bowflex TreadClimber TC20

5. Medical Treadmills

Medical Treadmills or anti-gravity treadmill or zero gravity treadmill has been touted as the form of preventive rehab available on the marketplace to future-proof the body from injury and also conserve your nickels and pennies on fitness bills.

This exceptional piece of equipment, also known as a space treadmill, enables individuals to walk or run at a lower percentage of the body weight. This is beneficial, especially in the clinical setting, since it might help patients to perform rehabilitation therapy without much pain.

Treadmill Benefits

Burn Calories, Lose Weight and Improve Fitness

Treadmills have cardiovascular benefits and a great way to increase your fitness. Running raises your heart rate, which helps strengthen your heart while improving circulation. If you’re hoping to lose weight, running is an excellent way to burn calories in 30 minutes, especially with HIIT, that you can burn 300 calories running a 10-minute mile.

All-Weather Workout

The weather is sadly, unpredictable. A light drizzle is nice and will help keep you cool as you exercise, however soaking is fun, and it could really reduce the effectiveness of your workout. Using the treadmill, you are able to work out in any weather.

Easy on the Knees

Working on treadmills will benefit your joints. The shock absorption systems of the decks soak up most of the impacts on your joints by up to 30%. They are a low impact alternative to pounding the pavements without needing to reduce your training.


While working out, motivate yourself by simply listening to music on built-in speakers—no need to wear headphones. You also have the option to plug iPhones or mp3 players. Alternatively, you can position a TV screen or tablet before you catch up on your favorite programs as you walk.


In winter, everyone feels uncomfortable running outdoors in the evenings. A treadmill solves this dilemma. You will find much fewer hazards too, no more cars or uneven surfaces just hop on and start running. 

Favorite Training Courses

Most quality treadmills permit you to customize the programs like the iFit, meaning you may take your favorite outdoor running class and then input the distances, and the inclines and difficulties are controlled by the iFit app. Great if you are training for a specific event.


No more extra motivation, no special clothes or weather required. Simply hop on and start working out.

Saves Money

A quality treadmill can last for years and can satisfy your long term fitness needs; however we are aware that it could be quite a financial stretch in the short term. But the benefits outweigh this one-time investment.

All the Control You Need

Running outdoors is fantastic, but it’s much harder to control your pace, speed, weather, sweating, etc. If you are a control freak, with a treadmill, you can bypass all these. This helps to improve your performance with time according to your goals.

For Everyone

A treadmill is used for rehabilitation, a brisk uphill walk, or a regular jog, high-intensity interval training for marathon training. No matter what is the fitness goals a treadmill helps you reach them. 

Final Words

Choosing the perfect treadmill is confusing, but if you decide on the sort of treadmill you need, and just how far you are planning to spend, things become simpler. Long story short, commercial treadmills are worth every penny they cost. But the real question is, are they good for home use? 

If you work out on a treadmill each day for many hours with different walking or running programs, using automatic incline, heart rate sensors, belt speed, etc. then, YES, you need a big and sturdy commercial treadmill designed to handle everything.

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