5 Manual Treadmills That Will Give You a Great Workout
Look out, fitness enthusiasts: the mighty manual treadmill is making a comeback in the world of home workouts.
For a long time, it’s taken a backseat to its electric cousin and other fancy gym equipment that’s become adapted for home use. However, current trends point to simpler products, ones that get the job done but use fewer materials to create, require less energy to run, and take up less space.
That’s where manual treadmills shine. They are simpler in design, powered by your movement, and many are smaller–some even fold up when you’re not using them.
Here are five manual treadmills you should consider for your home workouts.
The Exerpeutic 100XL is a manual treadmill that is easy to love and was clearly our top pick. The machine’s design caught our eye immediately. It’s a little bit longer and wider than most manual treadmills. What does this mean for you? Three key things:
- You experience a more sturdy feel as you walk on it.
- It supports more weight than many other manuals. This one supports up to 325 pounds, whereas other machines’ capacity often tops out in the 200s.
- It can handle running. This is not something all other manuals can do and is a big plus as you build strength and change up your workouts.
We also love that it has three incline levels and an LCD screen to give you some fundamental workout stats. It arrives at your house almost completely assembled, which is a huge bonus. When you just want to start working out, who wants to spend hours with a screwdriver first, just trying to put the device together? It’s also portable and foldable.
The tension level is less adjustable on a higher incline, which was a drawback. However, that’s a small price to pay for all the perks this machine provides.
Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill
Our top pick, this manual treadmill offers a sturdy work out, LED display, and it folds up when not in use. It also accommodates users up to 350 pounds.
Our absolute favorite thing about the Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill was the 16 resistance levels. No other machine that we looked at came close to matching that number. It means that you can really tailor your workout to fit your needs and your fitness goals, making your time on the machine harder or easier depending on the level you choose. The dual flywheels keep the machine extra stable while providing smoother movement as you walk.
This machine has a generous 300-pound weight limit which, while not as good as our top pick, still beats a lot of other manuals. It’s got sweat-resistant handrails (more important than you think if you’ve never used a manual!), and it’s completely foldable for easy storage.
One thing we weren’t crazy about was the fixed incline. It’s set at 13.5%, and that’s where it stays. There’s nothing wrong with that incline if you’ve got some experience on a treadmill. If you don’t and were looking to start with a flatter incline and work your way up, this machine isn’t for you. Additionally, the dual flywheels that make the machine more stable also make it slightly more challenging to use. You’ll have to work a little harder to get it started and keep it going, but isn’t that why you’re on the treadmill in the first place?
Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill
This manual treadmill has 16 resistance levels allow you to customize your workout. It also accommodates users up to 300 pounds.
More of the Best Manual Treadmills
Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Manual Treadmill
There are lots of things to like about the Phoenix 98510 model. It comes with a spring-loaded pull-pin that allows you to lock the unit together while it’s folded. No worrying that it will somehow fall on you while you’re getting it out to use it. The setup is simple, and the machine itself is very lightweight, making it easy to move and store so you don’t have to worry about clearing permanent space in one area of your house. It also comes with a water bottle. That may not seem like a huge deal, but if you’ve ever purchased a workout machine that came with a holder and not the bottle, you know how frustrating it can be to find a bottle that fits!
Drawbacks to this machine were a shorter traction belt, which can make it a little more challenging to use because you have a smaller area on which to walk, and a maximum weight limit of 250 pounds.
Assault Fitness AirRunner
Warning: If you’re a beginner, the Assault Fitness AirRunner is probably not the machine for you.
Challenge: If you’re heavy into working out, this might be the right machine for you.
The Assault Fitness AirRunner is built to take a beating. It wants you to run tough and hard. It’s designed to handle interval training well if you like to mix up your speeds. It’s got 100 support bearings to make sure that it can handle whatever you do, and a belt life of 150,000 miles, something that we couldn’t find in any other machine we considered. It has a great display screen, is BlueTooth-enabled, and has a maximum weight limit of 350 pounds.
The biggest drawback is definitely cost. At over $3,500, it’s the most expensive one on our list by $3,000 – another indicator that it’s not for everyone. This is for serious fitness enthusiasts who need a treadmill that can handle varying speeds, take a tough pounding on the belt, and provide a smooth running experience. If that describes you and you’re looking to invest in a machine that will last you for a long time, give this one some serious thought.
For a penny under $130, the ProGear 190 gives you some great bang for your fitness buck. We love the steel frame that provides durability and stability during your workout. The oversized belt rollers give you a smooth feel as you walk, and the two levels of incline allow you to choose how difficult you want your workout to be. We also loved the LCD display that helps you track your speed and the number of calories that you’ve burned.
There aren’t many downsides to this particular machine in our opinion. We wished that the weight limit was a little higher; the max is 230 pounds, which is significantly lower than other models that we researched. There was a small amount of assembly required, which may turn some people off. But in the end, the value is worth it.
ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill
Our value pick. It allows two levels of incline and can accommodate users up to 230 pounds.
Questions to Consider
What are things to look for in a manual treadmill? Here are four things to consider before you buy.
- Easy resistance adjustment. You’ll want to make sure that you can easily change the resistance on the machine, whether that happens with a knob or with an adjustment to the incline of the machine.
- Stats generator. Manual treadmills don’t keep the detailed personal health stats that electric ones do, but many will keep basic workout stats like your heart rate. Some don’t keep stats at all, so you’ll need to decide how much–if anything–you want your machine to tell you.
- Footprint size. Generally, manual treadmills are smaller than electric treadmills, but they can vary in size. You’ll want to make sure that your machine fits your workout space.
- Weight maximum. We tried to mention the weight limits in each of our reviews as they can vary so much from treadmill to treadmill, and manuals often have fairly low maximum weights. If you’re over 200 pounds, be sure to check out the maximum weight on the machine you want to buy.
Can you actually run on a manual treadmill? On most manual machines, yes, you can run. However, some aren’t built to accommodate the high impact of running vs. walking. Check the usage recommendations on any machine you’re considering if being able to run on it is important to you.
Can you get a great workout on a manual treadmill? Absolutely! The great thing about the manual treadmill is that you are the power source. You get out of it exactly what you put into it. Your muscles will get a great workout as they power the machine so the belt can move.
Is a manual treadmill better than electric? We hesitate to say that one is better than the other because it really depends on what you as the user need out of the machine. If you’re looking for features like detailed exercise stats or incline and speed that are adjustable with a button, then you clearly need an electric treadmill. Likewise, if you’re looking for a simpler machine that responds to your energy and goes as fast as your strength allows you to go than manual will work for you.
Manual treadmills require effort to get them moving and stay moving, so they’re not for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a great indoor workout at a very affordable price, don’t overlook the manual treadmill. It has a lot to offer and might be the perfect addition to your home gym!