Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: June 18, 2021
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Are you looking for the best manual treadmill? One of these treadmills can be an efficient and affordable way to get a home exercise machine and to avoid using up a lot of power, or having to go to the gym or even leave the house in order to get exercise.
Our team has looked at over 30 treadmills when making this list of the best. The ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill has been named as the best overall manual treadmill, it has an exceptional smooth operation, meaning that it feels like you are gliding at a steady pace without a bumpy ride. It also has a lot of other brilliant features including an adjustable incline. It even folds up to a relatively small size in order to allow you to store it more easily. It’s hard to find fault with the ProGear 190. We’ve also reviewed four other models of manual treadmill in detail below. These all have their own unique features and you can make a choice based on what is the most ideal set of features for your needs.
Our team has spent weeks coming up with this list and performing extensive research. We’ve considered all of the most vital features and functions, including the dynamics and weight (whether it will fit in your home) and other aspects of functionality such as incline, whether it is adjustable and more. The research is presented as an overview table, before the detailed reviews of our five top treadmills, we’ve then included a buying guide to help you to make the right decision for your own needs.
"Oversized belt rollers are one of the best things about this treadmill. It is a fantastic option for people who really want a smooth operation, and even as you go quicker you will feel like it is smoothly moving with you, helping with your exercise rather than hindering."
This is arguably the best manual treadmill for running, but it is also great for walking and has a lot of other desirable features. Oversized belt rollers are one of the best things about the treadmill. It is a fantastic option for people who really want a smooth operation, and even as you go quicker you will feel like it is smoothly moving with you, helping with your exercise rather than hindering.
The LCD display is great. Though it is basic in design, and doesn’t really have a modern or complex look, it’s fantastic for people who want to see how many calories they have burned or other details of the workout.
Not only is this easy to store as it folds up, the transportation wheels allow you to roll it to different positions. It’s one of the best portable manual treadmills. It’s probably not ideal for taking out and about with you, but it is certainly good to store in the garage and move when it is time for your workout.
The build quality is pretty good, so people up to 230lbs can definitely use this with no problems, the steel frame with powder coated finish is combined with wide side rails make it easy to hold on, and give yourself plenty of stability.
It has an incline, but the choice is only between two positions at six degrees or ten.
What stands out?
Lots of stability and oversized handles to steady yourself.
The Fitness Reality TR1000 is pretty similar to our editor’s choice model, but it does have a few differences. It is also a little more affordable so we have included it as the best value model as well as being one of the best manual treadmills for walking and other forms of exercise.
The foldable design means that you can store it up against a wall and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in your room.
This has an LCD display that takes AAA batteries, and tells you details of your workout including calories burned.
It has a slimline design, which not everyone likes, but it also has long handles which make it easier to steady yourself while you’re exercising. This model is another that has inclines, and you can choose between two, six or ten degrees in order to get the right workout for you.
This is also one of the quietest models out there. It’s great if you live somewhere you are worried about disturbing others, and you won’t have to worry about this if you are using your TR1000.
The weight capacity is 230lbs, which is pretty standard for a lot of the manual treadmills. For a value pick, this is a really good option which can last many years. It even has a one-year warranty.
Next up is the MaxKare Manual Walking Treadmill, a great model for those looking to save some money, we have included it as the budget pick on our list of the best manual treadmills. This is also one of the best manual treadmill for seniors as it is easy to hold onto the handles and functions pretty smoothly.
The capacity is a little higher than some of the others, so people who are larger in size can use it, up to 250 lbs.
It has one incline setting, which is a bit of a shame, but it is another reason this is good for seniors who probably won’t want the hassle of setting up different inclines, and don’t want to do particularly tough workouts.
Like many of the other models, it folds up in an upright position for easy storage, and it is actually a little more lightweight than some of the others. It has an LCD screen so that you can easily see a lot of the details of your running or walking and see how many calories you have burned.
The belt is decent quality but it might struggle a bit with faster users, and it is not designed for overly quick paces. For slower joggers who want to save some cash, this might be a good choice. It even has a one year warranty.
The Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill is another very good option for those looking for an affordable but good-quality manual treadmill.
It has a smaller capacity than some of the others and it tops out at 325lbs, so you can’t use this if you are heavier without risking damage. However, it does have another big advantage, it has a lot of different levels of resistance.
There are 8 levels in total so you can adjust this treadmill to suit the workout you are looking for. These are different to the inclines, which is set in one position, but it does allow people to make the workout harder and even burn more calories.
A pin lock mechanism is used to fold this model up and store up against the wall, and it also has wheels to let you take it elsewhere around your house and store it away.
The LCD computer shows the speed and also info such as the distance, calories burned and how long you have been working out for.
You might have noticed that the handles are different to the other models. This design gives the treadmill an ergonomic feel and makes it easy to hold on, but also avoid any sort of risk of the handles getting in the way.
We’ve included the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill as it has some great design features and even a non-slip running surface. In fact, we found the surface to be the very best thing about the model. It is great if you are prone to getting quite sweaty or even if you want to use it outdoors as it has a non-slip design. Moisture shouldn’t make it overly tough to run on this.
It has one fixed incline level, which not everyone is a fan of, it would maybe be a bit better if you could choose between a few more. However, one of the great things about this is the fact you don’t have to keep tweaking and adjusting it.
The non slip surface may also make this one of the best choices for seniors. If you are worried about slipping and falling then the Sunny model might be one of the most forgiving treadmills.
In itself, it is heavier than a lot of the other options, and its capacity of 220 lbs isn’t huge, but this isn’t an issue for everyone.
The digital LCD screen is better than some of the other manual treadmill options on the list, and can show a few different features at once, so you don’t have to worry too much about changing them constantly to get an overview of your workout. You can even set yourself workout targets.
Why are we impressed?
Non slip surface, good for sweating and good for older people.
Please add and describe these items in the buying guide with a short introducing paragraph.
Before you make your purchase, it is important to think a bit about what kind of features and functionality you need, and if you are new to buying a manual treadmill then you may be a little bit confused about some of the choices and some of the features. How do you know if a treadmill is right for you? What sets it apart from the other treadmills on the market?
Our buying guide is designed to help you to make all the right choices when it comes to your treadmill. As well as creating a list of five manual treadmill reviews for you to read through, we’ve also created a full guide to the criteria to choose a manual treadmill on and even more information on what these treadmills can be good for.
Manual treadmills vs motorized
This is one of the first things to consider. It is very important to know the exact differences between manual treadmills and motorized treadmills. Which one is going to be better for your own needs?
Putting it as simply as possible, manual treadmills do not have a motor and are self-propelled. Every step someone makes on the treadmill will help to turn the belt and keep propelling the treadmill, and a motor isn’t doing this like it would be on a motorized treadmill. If you were to stop walking or running, the belt would stop too. This is the main difference between the two models.
Manual treadmills are definitely cheaper on average, some of them even have a price tag under 200$. This is because they don’t require as much tech to run them. They can also be seen as safer, they will automatically adjust to the speed you are going at so it is much harder to fall off or find yourself not being able to keep up with the pace.
Motorized treadmills require power, so this means they cost more to run. It can also mean they have more in the way of features. Some motorized treadmills include specific programs such as different incline settings. You might be able to press a button and it changes the incline setting while you are running. This can model a run or a walk out in public as you might feature different hills and inclines. If you go to a public gym then you are likely to find motorized treadmills. One of the big differences is also the cost. Motorized treadmills might cost a lot more money.
Features to consider while choosing a manual treadmill
The following features are those we considered when making our list of the very best manual treadmills, and writing the manual treadmill reviews. There are certain features that you should always look out for, but some people will prioritize certain features and functionality. We explain more below.
This is a fairly obvious feature, but you may not actually realize that different treadmills have different capacities. Some of the manual treadmills out there have slightly lower weight capacities when compared to motorized, so it is always worth checking when you are looking at buying a manual treadmill.
A lot of the products on our list have very similar capacities, which tend to be between 220 and 250 lbs, as you can see that by a model especially popular among senior treadmill useres the ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill which offers 230 lbs weight capacity. If you weigh more than this then you might have to look for a specific model for larger people to ensure that you have the capacity you need, otherwise you might risk damaging the treadmill or putting yourself in some danger.
If you are unsure, you should weigh yourself first so that you know if you should be using the treadmill. If you have a large build then you might not be able to use a 220 or 230 lb capacity treadmill.
Does your treadmill need to have different incline angles to allow you to walk as if going uphill. An incline can help to build muscles in the legs and can also give more of an aerobic workout so you burn more calories as you go. Finding a manual treadmill with a few different inclines can be beneficial if you are looking to challenge yourself.
A lot of people who buy manual treadmills are looking to do some gentle walking, they often make good products for elderly people who want to stay at home but still get a workout, and then inclines might be less important
Some of the best treadmills on this list have inclines up to 10 degrees to allow you to challenge yourself going uphill. It is up to you. One difference between manual and motorized treadmills is the fact you will have to adjust this yourself before you start your workout rather than just changing a setting.
As well as inclines, some of the models have different levels of resistance that you can set. The Exerpeutic Magnetic Manual Treadmill is a great example of this as it has 8 different resistance settings for you to work your way through. This can also ensure that you have the best possible resistance level to maximize the calories you are burning.
This is another one of the more simple treadmill features. Check the dimensions so that you can check whether or not you have space for the treadmill. Remember that you will also need room to get on and off the treadmill when you are using it.
Checking the dimensions of the treadmill is simple on paper, but one thing you can do before you purchase is to mark out the section of the room you are using with masking tape. This can ensure that you know you have room for it, and helps you to properly plan. It also means you can check you have space to get on and off the machine when using.
Running surface dimensions
The running surface dimensions is another thing that may vary. If you are a small and nimble person then a thinner running surface could be fine. Slimline choices could be better as they might take up less space, and they can also be good for those who don’t need loads of space to run.
If you need plenty of width, and you are larger in your build, you should check the surface dimensions. Being cramped up on the treadmill can mean you catch your feet on the sides and don’t quite get into the rhythm you want.
The surface has some other features to look out for as well as the size. If you are particularly worried about a treadmill being slippery, for example, you can go for an option like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M which has a non-slip surface. Even when you start to sweat onto the surface it doesn’t get particularly slippery. This means that you can rest assured that it will allow the user to keep a firm footing no matter what their shape and size.
How much does the treadmill weigh? If you are looking to move your treadmill around, storing in one place and then rolling to another ready to use then you should also check the weight of the product. The very top manual treadmills tend to be relatively lightweight compared to models that have a motor. This is one of the advantages of opting for a manual treadmill.
Most of the models on our list are around the 50lb mark, or even lighter, as the MaxKare Manual Walking Treadmill with 46 lbs. This isn’t too difficult to move them from place to place with someone’s help. Also, a lot of them have wheels making it simple to roll from one place to another. If you keep your treadmill in the garage, for instance, you might want to check it is lightweight enough to then get to the area where you plan to use it.
Most of the manual treadmills on the market are foldable. This means there is usually a hook or pin system in place, which you can undo and then move the treadmill surface to the upright position to store. This means that you can free up the floor space in your home. For example, if you put your treadmill in a spare room, you can still use the rest of the space in times when you are not using the room to exercise. Many manual treadmills actually fold up to a very reasonable size.
A digital display is in place on the majority of treadmills manufactured these days, but some are far more basic than others, a lot of the digital displays on this list are just small, black and white displays, but they can still be useful. They can show a lot of important information and help you to build a better workout.
One thing a lot of people enjoy finding on their digital display is the calories. Some people are walking or running to lose weight and this means that they will find it useful for their calculations and calorie counting. Other things that can be shown include distance covered, and some treadmills let you set programs to allow you to follow a certain workout.
As we’ve already mentioned, these are significantly cheaper than other types of treadmill. A motorized treadmill might cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You can actually buy a manual treadmill for less than $200 in some scenarios. Many of the models we’ve mentioned are pretty affordable, especially when you compare to the motorized alternatives.
If you are able to spend a little bit more, you can sometimes get more advanced features and a generally more reliable model. If you are looking for a budget pick, the MaxKare Manual Walking Treadmill may be the best option for you, it has some really impressive features for the price which is cheaper than most of the other manual treadmills out there. Some of the cheapest manual treadmills are actually not great and can be flimsily made, but this is not the case with the MaxKare.
A warranty is always very welcome when you are buying a product like this. If you are worried about the treadmill breaking or malfunctioning through something that is not your fault then you should get a product with a longer warranty to protect this purchase.
It is pretty standard for these products to come with a one-year warranty. Manual treadmills with any longer in terms of protection can be very hard to find. Cheaper treadmills are often shorter in terms of how long they are protected for.
Yes, there’s no reason why you can’t use a manual treadmill for your kids, you can allow them to use the treadmill, but when one child is using be sure you supervise, and also check that no other children are close to the belt as this can cause injury. Naturally, it is really important to be safe whenever you are letting your child use a treadmill. Though we are happy to recommend that most manual treadmills are safe for children, you should always check the manual so that you can see exactly what the manufacturers recommend, some may even have specific extra features for safety.
Some of the people out there who are better with building things have found that turning a manual treadmill into a desk-style treadmill isn’t too difficult. There are a few guides on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet that can show you exactly how to do this, but it will take some extra equipment and shouldn’t be attempted unless you know exactly what you are doing.
If you do plan to build a desk this way, never tamper with the actual construction of the treadmill, and the belt should always be totally clear. If you are worried at all about turning your treadmill into a desk and not confident you know how to, it is probably best not to do this, even if it is a great way to work out while you work!
The ProGear 190 is one of the top models, and has been named as our editor’s choice. It has a great build quality and adjustable inclines, so you can set it to the workout level you want to ensure you’re burning calories and challenging yourself. It also folds and can be rolled from place to place. We rated it 9.9/10.
The Fitness Reality TR1000 is next on the list, it has been named as the value pick as it has similar features to the ProGear 190 but is usually available at a lower price. This is another option that can fold to a compact size, and has an LCD display so you can see the details of your exercise. We’ve rated it 9.8/10 on our list of the best manual treadmill options.
The MaxKare Manual Walking Treadmill is our budget pick, and it is great for seniors, and for those who want to use their manual treadmill for walking. It can struggle at faster speeds, but for walkers it is a very good choice, available at a really impressive price tag. We’ve rated it 9.6/10 overall.