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The best manual treadmills

Thanks in part to COVID-19, home workouts have become a blossoming trend. Whether you’ve built an at-home gym or are considering investing in a gym membership after the pandemic slows down, there’s a chance you’ve considered investing in a manual treadmill. Unlike traditional electric treadmills, these machines are powered by the user. As you jog, run or walk, the belt moves underneath your feet to give you an intense cardiovascular workout.

If you’re thinking about investing in a manual treadmill, you may have some questions about what features to look out for. Whether you want to know how they work or why they’re a fitness must-have, this handy buying guide covers everything you need to know about manual treadmills. The top choice is the Sunny Health and Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill, with its 16 resistance levels and heavy-duty frame.

What to know about manual treadmills

How manual treadmills work

While electric treadmills force your feet to move to a set speed, the manual treadmill forces the belt to move to your movements. A manual treadmill is a popular choice for those who want an at-home workout to improve their cardiovascular health with added safety and accessibility features. It’s also safer than electric treadmills as the belt stops moving when you do. These machines are popular with both athletes and average gym-goers.

Advantages of manual treadmills

The headline benefit of manual treadmills is that they’re significantly more affordable than their electric counterparts while still giving you an intense cardiovascular workout. As this machine doesn’t have a motor, it’s more lightweight and easier to store. You can usually fold up your manual treadmill and store it upright. The set-up of a manual treadmill means that you can reach a higher heart rate while working at lower speeds as more energy is required to move the belt. 

What to consider when buying a manual treadmill

Weight capacity

While the weight allowance of manual treadmills varies, it usually falls somewhere between 200-300 pounds. Some manual treadmills are better for others based on body mass.


Most manual treadmills have a fixed angle, with a zero-degree incline. This feature is usually a significant source of frustration for users. While you may think it counterintuitive, a slight incline makes it easier for users to build and maintain movement, compared to when you have no incline at all.


You’ll want to consider the size of your manual treadmill. If you intend to use it for walking, you won’t need a larger size. If you’re intending to use it for jogging or running, you’ll want a longer belt to allow space for your longer stride. 

How much you can expect to spend on a manual treadmill

You can expect to pay anything from $100-$400 for your manual treadmill. While they’re cheaper than an electric treadmill, you’ll want to keep an eye out for specific features. It’s worth noting cheaper options usually have a lower maximum weight allowance and fewer resistance levels.

Manual treadmill FAQ

Is assembly required for my manual treadmill?

A. The majority of manual treadmills will require at least partial assembly. You’ll want to make sure you have all the tools you need when your manual treadmill arrives. If the treadmill isn’t a foldable model, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough space to install it in your living space.

Does a manual treadmill make noise?

A. It depends on the manual treadmill you buy. While most electric treadmills make a large amount of noise, manual treadmills are quieter as they don’t contain a motor. The movement of the belt will make noise, but more expensive models allow for a smoother run.

What is the best manual treadmill to buy?

Top manual treadmill

Sunny Health and Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill

Sunny Health and Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill

What you need to know: This manual treadmill provides everything you need, with added stability and comfort. It offers 16 levels of resistance to help boost your cardiovascular fitness and strength.

What you’ll love: With this model, you get more versatility than your average manual treadmill, with additional resistance levels and handgrip options. The heavy-duty frame supports users up to 300 pounds. It can be locked into place with wheels to make transportation easy.

What you should consider: You get what you pay for with this model, so it comes with a higher price tag. You’ll also want to note that the incline is fixed and cannot be adjusted.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top manual treadmill for the money

Phoenix Easy Up Manual Treadmill

Phoenix Easy Up Manual Treadmill

What you need to know: The easy storage and workout intensity make this manual treadmill a best-seller. It’s ideal for users starting with smaller stride lengths and who don’t mind a steeper incline. 

What you’ll love: This manual treadmill has an easy storage solution as it folds and locks into an upright position. The machine comes with an LCD monitor for standard feedback, while the steep incline gives you an intense workout. This manual treadmill has a weight limit of 250-pound.

What you should consider: Although the storage is easy, the assembly can be a little challenging. You’ll want to avoid this model if you’re an older user.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill

Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill

What you need to know: If you value a quiet machine, this is the manual treadmill for you. The incline angles are not too steep, making it ideal for those older or at the start of their fitness journey.

What you’ll love: This machine requires minimal assembly, with 8- and 10-degree incline options. The machine has a 250-pound weight capacity, with a textured belt surface for extra stability. The paddled handles are there for added safety and comfort.

What you should consider: The belt can be challenging to adjust.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Daving Heiling writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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