TrueForm Runner and Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual TreadmillShare on Pinterest

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If asked to imagine a treadmill, chances are you’d think about the motorized kind that’s found in most gyms.

However, several brands also offer manual treadmills, which are driven by your effort rather than electricity.

Manual treadmills are simply treadmills powered by human movement rather than an electrical motor. So rather than selecting a speed with a button, the treadmill adjusts to how fast and hard you run.

Benefits

One of the main advantages of using a manual treadmill is that it doesn’t require power, which means you can set it up almost anywhere. Plus, maintenance and repairs tend to be less expensive — it’s possible to use a manual treadmill for years with very few ongoing costs.

That said, running on a manual treadmill may come with a bit of a learning curve. Your body is responsible for powering the belt’s movement, so if you want to travel at a given speed, you’ll need to pay attention to the speed reading on the treadmill’s monitor and make sure you maintain your pace. This requires more mental and physical engagement, as well as more core control and leg strength.

Types

There are two different styles of manual treadmills — some have curved belts while others have flat belts.

Curved-belt models tend to be sturdier and are often used by pro sports teams, CrossFit athletes, and serious runners for high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, but they usually come with a higher price tag. Running or walking on curved treadmills requires more energy than running on motorized treadmills at the same pace, and you may also find that running on a curved belt feels more challenging (1, 2).

Flat-belt manual treadmills, on the other hand, tend to be smaller and less sturdy, better for walking rather than running, and less expensive.

Pros

  • can be set up practically anywhere since they don’t need electricity
  • great for high intensity interval training
  • typically result in greater calorie burn (especially for curved models)
  • safer than motorized treadmills, particularly at faster speeds

Cons

  • can be more physically demanding and may take some getting used to
  • incline adjustments are manual
  • usually have fewer built-in workouts and entertainment features

To help you select a manual treadmill that best fits your fitness needs, we considered the following features:

  • Value. While the cost of manual treadmills varies widely, all of the products included offer value for a range of budgets.
  • Customer satisfaction. To ensure the products we included are well liked and highly rated, we read countless specification sheets, roundups, and reviews.
  • Quality and warranty. A trusted brand name goes a long way, particularly in the fitness industry. Plus, having a treadmill with a warranty can help you get it fixed just in case something breaks.
  • Vetting. The treadmills on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Here are the 5 best manual treadmills for 2022.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas four dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list prices range from $295.17–$6,899, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $300
  • $$ = $300–$1,000
  • $$$ = $1,000–$3,000
  • $$$$ = over $3,000

Best overall

Assault Fitness AssaultRunner Pro

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 69.9 × 31.7 × 64.4 inches (in.) (177.5 × 80.5 × 163.6 cm)
  • Running deck: 62.2 × 17.1 in. (158 × 43.5 cm)
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds (lbs.) (158.8 kg)
  • Warranty: 1-year labor, 3-year parts, 5-year frame
  • Special features: ANT+ and Bluetooth-enabled, battery-operated LCD, curved running deck, 4 workout modes

Arguably one of the most popular nonmotorized treadmill trainers on the market, the Assault Fitness AssaultRunner Pro is beloved by many — and for good reason.

Thanks to its reinforced solid steel construction, the treadmill is known for being secure, stable, and reliable.

The AssaultRunner Pro is designed with a shock-absorbing, curved deck, as well as a wide base, which allows it to respond nicely to your foot’s cadence.

At the center of the machine is an LCD console for displaying performance metrics and selecting from four workout modes, including Quick Start, Competition Mode, Intervals, and Targets (time, distance, heart rate, and calorie burn).

This treadmill also has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity plus a maximum user weight capacity of 350 lbs. (158.8 kg).

According to the company’s website, the AssaultRunner Pro’s belt should last up to 150,000 miles (241,401.6 km), making it a great investment piece.

Pros

  • ANT+ and Bluetooth-enabled
  • 4 workout modes
  • more affordable than other curved treadmills

Cons

  • heavy and hard to move
  • less extensive warranty than other options

Best for built-in workouts

SpeedFit Speedboard Pro XL

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 67 × 33 × 72 in. (170.2 × 83.8 × 182.9 cm)
  • Running deck: 66 × 17 in. (167.6 × 43.2 cm)
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs. (181.4 kg) running, 800 lbs. (363.6 kg) walking
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 5-year belt
  • Special features: LED screen, curved running deck, includes 5,000 workouts

The SpeedFit Speedboard Pro XL is something of a hidden gem in the world of manual treadmills.

The machine comes with 5,000 built-in workouts, which is more than most other manual treadmills. These workouts are generated once you complete

It can handle up to 400 lbs. (181.4 kg) running and 800 lbs. (363.6 kg) walking, making it suitable for all sizes and fitness levels.

The tread is also shock-absorbing, which helps protect your joints.

Reviewers rave that the SpeedFit Speedboard Pro XL is smooth, quiet, and stable.

These factors, combined with a 10-year warranty on the frame, make it a truly reliable piece of home gym equipment.

However, keep in mind that since it’s one of the most expensive options on our list at 308.6 lbs. (140 kg), the SpeedFit Speedboard Pro XL is heavy and difficult to move.

Pros

  • high maximum weight capacity
  • includes 5,000 built-in workouts
  • shock-absorbing curved belt

Cons

  • more expensive than other options
  • heavy and hard to move

Best for serious athletes

TrueForm Runner

  • Price: $$$$
  • Dimensions: 64 × 36 × 63 in. (162.6 × 91.4 × 160 cm)
  • Running deck: 17 in. (43.2 cm) wide
  • Weight capacity: 500 lbs. (226.8 kg) running, 700 lbs. (317.5 kg) walking
  • Warranty: lifetime frame, 5-year parts, 2-year LED display, 1-year labor
  • Special features: made from 7-gauge welded steel, battery-powered LCD, customizable belt surface and paint colors

If you’re looking to train for a specific sport, the TrueForm Runner is your best bet thanks to its minimally curved design, sturdy construction, and customizable belt.

You can choose from a variety of different tread surfaces: artificial turf, track-like rubber, or a textured finish made specifically for barefoot running.

This means that you can wear running spikes, cleats, or running shoes (or no shoes!) while you run — few other treadmills offer this feature.

It also has an LED display, responsive surface, and customizable paint colors.

TrueForm claims the Runner is the most responsive, nonmotorized treadmill on the market. Weighing 340 lbs. (154.2 kg), it’s also one of the heaviest, so it may be more difficult to move.

If you’re in the market for a curved treadmill, the TrueForm trainer is a well-built option that’s great for both long runs and sprints.

Pros

  • can select different belt surfaces
  • lifetime frame warranty and 10-year parts warranty
  • workouts available in the TrueForm app

Cons

  • most expensive option on our list
  • very heavy
  • size of running belt isn’t disclosed on the website

Best for walking

Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 59 × 27 × 55 in. (149.9 × 68.6 × 139.7 cm)
  • Running deck: 53 × 16 in. (134.6 × 40.6 cm)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs. (136.1 kg)
  • Warranty: 3-year frame, 180-day parts
  • Special features: multi-grip handlebars, 16 resistance levels, incline fixed at 13.5 degrees

With a fixed 13.5% incline and 16 levels of magnetic resistance, the Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill is a great fit if you’re looking to make your walking routine more challenging.

Walking at an incline can also be a great way to simulate hiking or rucking indoors.

It also includes multi-grip handrails that are designed to be sweat-resistant to keep your hands from slipping.

With a relatively large deck and maximum user weight of 300 lbs. (136 kg), customers note that it’s a stable, sturdy machine, especially for the price.

However, as the machine’s dual flywheel system takes quite a bit of effort to get going, many reviews don’t recommend it for long runs or sprints.

Pros

  • 16 resistance levels
  • foldable
  • multi-grip handrails

Cons

  • incline is fixed
  • may require more effort to get the belt moving
  • short warranty

Best basic

Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Manual Treadmill

  • Price: $
  • Dimensions: 50 × 29 × 50 in. (127 × 73.7 × 127 cm)
  • Running deck: 45 × 16 in. (114.3 × 40.5 cm)
  • Weight capacity: 325 lbs. (147.4 kg)
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty
  • Special features: foldable, LCD, extra-long handles, 8 resistance levels, starting incline of 8 degrees, incline adjusts up to 15 degrees

If you’re looking for a compact treadmill without the bells and whistles of more expensive models, the Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Manual Treadmill is worth considering.

With a weight capacity of up to 325 pounds (147.4 kg), 8 levels of resistance, and an 8-degree starting incline, this treadmill is a solid option for walkers and casual exercisers alike. Plus, you can manually increase the incline up to 15 degrees.

It also has extra long handles and an LCD screen that shows workout time, distance, and calories.

Plus, the treadmill is foldable and comes preassembled, and reviewers appreciate how easy it is to set up and use.

Keep in mind that the smaller running deck may be better for walking workouts rather than running.

Pros

  • adjustable resistance and incline
  • budget-friendly
  • foldable and easy to use

Cons

  • may not work as well for running workouts
  • may not be as sturdy as some other options

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

PriceDimensionsRunning deckAdditional featuresWarranty
Assault Fitness AssaultRunner Pro$$$69.9 × 31.7 × 64.4 in (177.5 × 80.5 × 163.6 cm)• curved
• 62.2 × 17.1 in (158 × 43.5 cm)
• 4 workout programs
• LCD
• Bluetooth-enabled
• 5-year frame
• 3-year parts
• 1- year labor
SpeedFit Speedboard Pro XL$$$$67 × 33 × 72 in. (170.2 × 83.8 × 182.9 cm)• curved
• 66 × 17 in. (167.6 × 43.2 cm)
• 5,000 built-in workouts
• LED display
• 10-year frame
• 5-year belt
TrueForm Runner$$$$64 × 36 × 63 in (162.6 × 91.4 × 160 cm)• curved
• 17 in. (43.2 cm) wide
• multiple tread options
• LED display
• customizable belt surface
• lifetime frame
• 10-year parts
• 2-year LED display
• 1-year labor
Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill$$59 × 27 × 55 in (149.9 × 68.6 × 139.7 cm)• flat
• 53 × 16 in (134.6 × 40.6 cm)
• 16 resistance levels
• 13.5-degree incline
• 3-year frame
• 180-day parts
Exerpeutic 100XL$50 × 29 × 50 in (127 × 73.7 × 127 cm)• flat
• 45 × 16 in (114.3 × 40.5 cm)
• foldable
• LCD
• 8 resistance levels
• incline up to 15 degrees
• 2-year

Whether you’re in the market for your first manual treadmill or looking to upgrade to a new model, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Size: Look for a treadmill that fits your workout space. If you’re tight on space, consider an option that folds.
  • Running deck length and width: You’ll also want to pay attention to the size of the running deck. In general, you’ll want a deck that’s at least:
    • 50 in. (127 cm) long for walking
    • 55 in. (139.7 cm) long for running
    • 60 in. (152.4 cm) long if you’re 6 feet (183 cm) or taller
    • 16 in. (40.6 cm) wide
  • Function: While some manual treadmills work well for interval training and sprints, others are designed for walking and low-speed resistance workouts. Be sure to choose a treadmill that meets your fitness goals.
  • The belt: Consider whether you want a curved belt or a standard flat belt. If you plan on using your treadmill frequently, it’s worth spending more for a cushioned running deck to help absorb impact.
  • Stability: While treadmills have a lot of moving parts, solid treadmills shouldn’t wobble when in use.
  • Maximum weight capacity: In general, machines with higher max weight capacities tend to be sturdier and of higher quality.

Is a manual treadmill good for walking?

A manual treadmill can be an excellent option for walking, particularly if you’re looking to engage more of your lower body and core muscles. That said, an electric treadmill may be a better option if you want to walk at a lower intensity.

It’s also important to keep in mind that manual treadmills tend to have fewer preset workouts and incline options.

Which is better, an electric or a manual treadmill?

The best treadmill is the one you’ll use on a regular basis and the one that meets your wants and needs.

If you’re looking for a more mentally and physically engaging workout that may burn more calories and help you develop lower body strength, a manual treadmill might be best. Plus, manual treadmills can be set up almost anywhere and tend to have lower maintenance costs.

If you prefer treadmills with built-in programs, entertainment options, more incline options, and other special features, then an electric treadmill is probably best.

Is a manual treadmill good for weight loss?

As they require extra power, or “oomph,” manual treadmills can help build strength, improve your balance, and may even lead you to burn more calories than you would on their motorized counterparts (2, 3).

So, using a manual treadmill can certainly help if you’re interested in weight loss, but it’s important that any weight loss program combines consistent exercise with a healthy eating plan. If a manual treadmill is a piece of equipment you enjoy and that you’re motivated to use on a regular basis, it can absolutely fit into a successful weight loss plan.

Relying on the power of your lower body, manual treadmills offer an effective way to break a sweat without needing to plug in a machine.

What’s more, several models feature a curved design, which also engages your core and may help you burn more calories than you would on a motorized treadmill.

When shopping for a manual treadmill, you’ll want to consider factors such as the running deck length, machine size, extra features, and cost. You’ll also want to decide whether you’re interested in a curved treadmill or a hybrid option like the NordicTrack x32i.

By considering your workout needs and using this list as a guide, we’re confident that you’ll find a manual treadmill that works best for your home gym.