Manual treadmills are exactly what they sound like – a treadmill that works manually. When you run on one of these treadmills, the force of your stride makes the treadmill belt move. Therefore, the treadmill will go as fast or slow as you want simply by you running.
These treadmills don’t require any electricity. They are completely manual. Therefore, they also tend to be much cheaper, as they don’t come with any electronics or things of that sort.
Some manual treadmills are awesome and can provide an effective workout. Others? Not so much. Therefore, it is vital that you choose the best manual treadmill for you if you want to get the most out of it. Otherwise, you may find yourself disappointed and frustrated – which will likely lead to you not working out at all.
Below, we’ve reviewed many different treadmills and come to a conclusion involving the best manual treadmill. For our top picks, keep reading below.
The Best Manual Treadmills
1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill – Best Manual Treadmill
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Based on our research, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill is one of the best options on the market. It provides everything you could want in a manual treadmill and then some, but it is reasonably priced.
This treadmill is lightweight and compact, making it perfect for smaller spaces. However, it is also durable enough to withstand walking or a light jog (though you probably don’t want to run on it).
It features an LCD screen that makes everything easy to read. It keeps up with your speed, distance, calories, and time, allowing you to easily track your workout as necessary. it is completely non-electric, though, allowing you to use it where outlets are not present.
The running surface is completely non-stick and provides you with a smooth running surface. The maximum user weight is 220 pounds, which is a little lower than larger, commercial treadmills.
2. Vehpro Portable Folding 4-in-1 Manual Treadmill – Budget Manual Treadmill
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The treadmill is one of the best budget treadmills out there. It is extremely cheap. However, it comes with many different features that make it more than helpful for many users out there.
This treadmill is rather small, so it can easily fit into tighter spaces. It can also be stored easily and moved around, allowing it to be put away when not in use. Place it next to a bed or couch to keep it out of the way when you are;t using it.
With dampening technology, this treadmill is not nearly as hard on your joints as other options can be. It absorbs your stride, preventing problems later down the road. Plus, it makes less noise so you won’t bother your neighbors.
Plus, it also includes an LED screen to help you keep up with your workout, including your time, speed, distance, and calories burned. Clear touch buttons allow you to easily control the screen as necessary.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Asuna High-Performance Manual Treadmill – Premium Option
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Out of all the options on our list, this one is the most expensive. However, you’re paying for a lot of premium features as well, so it may be worth the money in some cases.
With dual flywheels, this treadmill features fast responses with every step. It is designed for controlled performance so you can make the most out of your workout.
With a large tablet holder, you can safely use it while watching your favorite show or keeping track of your workout.
It doesn’t need any power at all, so you can easily store it as needed. It folds up completely, so you can put it into rather tight places. The static incline allows you to adjust the angle to best fit your needs, as well. By adjusting the incline, you can work out harder without necessarily going faster.
4. Foraging Dimple Manual Treadmill – Best Portable Manual Treadmill
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While this treadmill is very inexpensive, it still has some features that may be helpful, depending on your situation. First and foremost, this model seems like it was designed with portability in mind. It instantly folds to save space and features wheels to help you easily move it around.
You can adjust the height of the armrest to make it suitable for a multitude of heights. Smaller children can even use this treadmill with the right adjustments. Adjustments can be performed quickly and easily.
A resistance flywheel allows you to quickly change the difficulty of this treadmill as you need to.
This treadmill is extremely basic though, which makes it a bit more unpopular than other options. There just aren’t many features here.
5. WalkingPad R2 Treadmill – Best Hybrid Treadmill
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If you need to keep your treadmill put away somewhere, then this hybrid treadmill is probably the best. The WalkingPad R2 Manual Treadmill is most suited for storage, as it folds up very small. Unlike other treadmills that only feature folding handlebars, this treadmill folds in half, allowing you to fit it into even smaller spaces.
This treadmill also features wheels to allow easy transportation after it is folded.
While this treadmill is technically “manual,” it does feature an electric motor. Therefore, it is also an electric treadmill. However, you can control it manually with your feet while you’re walking.
In other words, if you get near the back of the treadmill, you speed up. If you get closer to the front, you will slow down. The middle area allows you to remain at a constant speed.
The motor is quiet, so you don’t have to worry about making too much notice. Plus, the tread also features a soft cushioning system, saving your joints from potential pain and damage.
6. ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill with 2 Level Incline – Best Basic Manual Treadmill
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If you’re just looking for something basic to use, the ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill with a 2 Level Incline may be a solid option. It isn’t one of the cheapest manual treadmills, but it is extremely basic and should work for many uses.
It features oversized belt rollers to provide a very smooth and easy walking experience. With two different incline positions, you can adjust this machine as necessary to provide more or less challenge. However, these is fewer positions than many other treadmills offer.
With longer handles and foam grips, this treadmill does make working out decently comfortable. The belt is a bit small though, so it may not work for taller people who take longer strides. And, you cannot run on it at all. You can read our guide about best treadmill for tall people.
7. N//A Manual Treadmill Folding Treadmill – Best Commercial Manual Treadmill
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There are many differences between treadmills that were designed for home use and those that are commercial. Firstly, home options are much cheaper. After all, companies expect your average walker to only pay so much for a treadmill.
However, commercial treadmills often tend to come with more features and be more durable. They’re built to be used a lot more than your average, at-home machine.
The N//A Manual Treadmill Folding Treadmill is specifically designed for commercial use, though you can also purchase it for use in your home. It is extremely expensive, though, so you’ll be paying a lot more than you would for a personal treadmill.
This foldable manual treadmill features a maximum weight of 330 pounds, which is much higher than most other options. It is very comfortable to walk on.
The durable steel frame and multi-layer cover make it very quiet, allowing treadmill to be used in apartments and homes with other people. It is also suitable for office use.
With foldable storage, you can easily put this treadmill away when you are done with it. An LED screen provides lots of different information, ranging from speed to distance to your heart rate. It measures most of the items that you’d expect and then some.
8. MXXJJ Folding Manual Treadmill – Best Affordable Manual Treadmill
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While we have already included a budget option on this review list, the MXXJJ Folding Manual Treadmill is probably one of the least expensive options on the market. However, you’re saving money by purchasing an all-around lower-quality product. It isn’t the best budget option out there, but it is extremely inexpensive if that is all you can afford.
This treadmill is very bare-bones. However, it does fold up so that you can store it when you aren’t using it. It also comes with a shock-absorbing design to help save your knees from the constant impact of walking.
The height of the armrest is completely adjustable. You can even make it short enough for children to use. It has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds and an integrated LED screen that allows you to track your workout.
9. Astrong Folding Treadmill – Best Treadmill for a Fast and Easy Setup
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Based on other manual treadmills we have reviewed, the A strong Folding Treadmill is pretty average. It comes with many of the features you’d expect at an affordable price. therefore, if you just want something that works, then this treadmill is probably one of your better options.
It has an LED screen that allows you to monitor your distance, speed, time, and calories, allowing you to keep up with your training in real-time.
This treadmill is completely manual. It requires you to power it. It features a folding design, though this design does not make it very storable. The handlebars just fold down, basically. It does have hydraulic handlebars to ensure that it folds easily and safely every time.
There is absolutely no assembly required, as the machine simply becomes folded in the box. Plus, you can easily store it away as needed when you aren’t working out.
10. EFITMENT Manual Treadmill – Best with Magnetic Resistance
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The EFITMENT Manual Treadmill is one of the few with magnetic resistance. Therefore, you can easily make the treadmill harder as you need to.
It can be used as a motorized treadmill and a motorless treadmill. You can simply put it in manual mode when you don’t want to use it as an electric treadmill.
The max weight is 220 pounds, which is a bit low. It does feature an LCD console like you would expect, allowing you to track your workout as you run.
It also includes some handlebars that provide for a full-body workout while you’re walking.
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With a maximum weight of 325 pounds, this treadmill is strangely inexpensive for its maximum weight limit. Therefore, it may be the best option for those who are on the heavier side but looking to lose weight.
With an alloy steel frame, you can expect this to be a durable treadmill. It is capable of sustaining both running and jogging – which not all treadmills can say at this higher weight.
A quick-release incline system allows you to select three different positions, including 8, 10, and 13 degrees. With a pacer control function, it utilizes magnetic resistance to slow down the treadmill while also making it more difficult. Therefore, your workout can be much safer, since you aren’t running as fast as possible.
We particularly like how this treadmill’s running speed is wider and longer. Therefore, it allows you to run and walk at a larger stride than other options.
12. Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill – Best Durable Treadmill
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With a maximum weight of up to 325 pounds, this treadmill can handle most users. It features twin flywheels that are larger in size for a smoother performance, unlike traditional treadmills that only had one wheel.
A heart pulse pad allows you to quickly determine what your heart rate is and adjust your speed accordingly.
The running area is wider and longer than most other manual treadmills out there. Therefore, you can easily use this treadmill if you are taller or have a longer stride. It also works great for overweight people, as it has a wider clearance too.
The safety handles are very long, so you can walk further back on the treadmill while you use them.
Buyer’s Guide And How To Pick A Treadmill
Manual treadmills are a solid option for most users that want a treadmill they can use without electricity. However, they are not all made the same.
Below, we’ll discuss how to choose the best manual treadmill for your purposes, as well as whether or not you should purchase one of these treadmills.
Who Should Purchase a Manual Treadmill
There are quite a few reasons why a manual treadmill may be a good buying decision for you. In the end, it mostly depends on your specific situation, as well as what sort to exercise equipment you’re looking for.
Here are some reasons why you may want to purchase a manual treadmill:
- Electricity Access. If you don’t have much electricity access or don’t have the correct outlet for most automatic treadmills, a manual treadmill may be the best option for you.
- Cost. Most manual treadmills are much cheaper than automatic options, simply because they have fewer parts. Most automatic treadmills require a motor and electronics. Manual treadmills don’t need any of this. If you’re looking to save money on a treadmill, choosing a manual option is often the best choice.
- Space Constraints. Many manual treadmills are smaller and take up less space. They don’t need to have extra room for a motor, for instance. Therefore, they can be folded and put away easier. If this is important for you, then you’ll likely need to purchase a manual treadmill.
Figuring Out What Treadmill You Need
After you’ve decided that a manual treadmill is for you, it is time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a treadmill.
Before you even start looking at the market, you should determine what you’re actually looking for. To do that, there are a few things you should consider.
You likely have a finite space for your treadmill. (And, if you don’t, then we’d like to know where you got the extended space perk!) Therefore, you should choose a treadmill that fits in your space. Otherwise, you may end up needing to make a return.
The easiest way to do this is to measure your space. You should have three inches of clearance on either side of a treadmill, so be sure to factor that in when doing your measurements.
Then, you’ll have the size treadmill that you can reasonably use.
Keep in mind. You don’t necessarily need a permanent space for your treadmill. if you’re short on room, you can get a folding treadmill that stores away when you aren’t using it. In this case, you can measure an area that you plan on working out in but plan on an area for storage as well.
The belt size will play a role in the overall size of the treadmill, as we have previously discussed. However, depending on what you want to do with the treadmill, the belt will need to be a particular size.
Overall, the belt should be a minimum of 50″ if you are a walker. Preferably, you may want it a bit longer to prevent accidents from occurring.
Runners will need it to be a bit longer at 55″. For taller people, you may need it as long as 60″, since your stride is longer. Generally, if you are over 6′, you’ll need a longer treadmill.
Manual treadmills don’t typically have a max speed like electric treadmills. However, that doesn’t mean that you can run full-blast on all of them. Some of them are only made to go so fast.
In fact, some aren’t even made for running.
Therefore, you’ll need to envision how fast you plan on walking or running. Choose a treadmill that matches these wants.
Manual treadmills usually aren’t terribly expensive. For this reason, you can typically plan on spending less money on a manual treadmill compared to a motorized treadmill.
However, there are still some options that are quite expensive. Therefore, you’ll still need to determine how much you’re willing to spend.
Most decent models are around $100 or more, though you can find some cheaper models that are still decent.
In the end, the more you plan on spending, the more advanced features you can get. However, if you don’t plan on using any advanced features, then this isn’t necessarily a thing you need to worry about. Not everyone needs a fancy treadmill.
Pick Out Your Features
Next, you’ll need to decide on your must-have features. Preferably, you should only select a few features that you absolutely must have.
While features are important, they are not nearly as vital as the size, cost, and speed of the treadmill.
It can also be difficult to find a treadmill that meets all your specifications if you have a lot of them. It is a lot like buying a house in this regard.
Manual treadmills recline unless it is a curved treadmill, which functions slightly differently.
However, not all manual treadmills have the option to change incline positions. Sometimes, their incline is just stuck at one option. Being able to change it does allow you to adjust the difficulty easily, though.
If you want a harder ride, you can simply make the treadmill more inclined, for instance. Having more incline settings is always a better option than having only one.
All treadmills will need some form of maintenance. However, different treadmills need different levels of maintenance than others.
Maintenance takes time and a certain level of skill. Usually, treadmills will need to be lubricated at the very least, and they will have a manual that explains what maintenance needs to be performed and when.
Different treadmills require a different levels of maintenance. If you aren’t very engineer-savy or don’t have much time on your hands, you may want a non-motorized treadmill that requires less maintenance.
All treadmills have some sort of belt. However, high-end manual treadmills may have some special features. For instance, they may have special cushioning layers to prevent harm to your knees and other joints.
Obviously, if you have joint problems already, these features will be essential for you. However, for everyone else, you’ll need to consider how much joint pain you regularly experience, or the likelihood of you getting joint problems later.
Since it is the thing you’re running on, the treadmill surface often plays a large role in your decision-making process.
Hybrid or Not?
Hybrid treadmills are mostly non-motorized. However, they do have a small motor that can also be used to turn the machine into a traditional treadmill. Therefore, you can generally use them as a manual treadmill when you want and a motorized treadmill when you want.
As you might imagine, hybrid treadmills are extremely versatile. They provide a better workout simply because you can work out in so many different ways.
If you want as much versatility in your home gym as possible, then a hybrid option may be your best bet.
With that said, these options do tend to be quite a bit more expensive.
While they may not be electric, many of these treadmills feature a small LCD screen that keeps track of things like time and distance.
In many cases, these can be helpful for those that need a separate way to track their workout. However, many people may decide that their phone is easier, especially if you have an app on your phone that you’re using.
Therefore, this option may or may not be helpful for you. It’s up to you to decide whether you need an LCD screen or not.
Not all treadmills require assembly, but those that do vary in ease. Some treadmills are extremely easy to put together. Sometimes, you only have to insert two or three screws.
Other times, there can be many different steps. Obviously, the more steps assembly takes, the longer you’ll be trying to sort through the directions. More steps also leave more room for error.
You may also have to contend with poorly written directions or those that were obviously written in another language and then poorly translated.
The best treadmills will have easy assemblies. However, you should keep your personal skills in mind when deciding how important an easy assembly is to you. Have you already put together a house full of Ikea furniture? Then you’ll probably be fine. Otherwise, you’ll need to choose an option that is decently easy to put together.
Sadly, this is a feature that you don’t have much choice in. Depending on how much you weigh, you may have a harder time finding a treadmill designed to support you (or not).
Luckily, manual treadmills often have higher capacities since they don’t have to worry about the strength of the motor. Instead, they just have to ensure that the belt of the treadmill is strong enough to support you.
Therefore, choosing a non-motorized treadmill is often in your best interest if you weigh more simply because you’ll have more options to choose from.
Type of Workout
Some treadmills are better suited for specific types of workouts. For instance, you’ll likely want a treadmill with a high top speed and sturdy base if you plan on doing high-intensity interval training.
On the other hand, if you only plan on walking, you may be able to get away with a cheaper treadmill. After all, most treadmills can handle walking just fine.
Therefore, before you set off to purchase a treadmill, you’ll need to consider what workout you plan on doing. If you want to do high-intensity interval training, be sure you purchase a treadmill that can support it. The best manual treadmills should be able to hold up just fine.
The best manual treadmills will have a warranty. These warranties help ensure that your treadmill gets replaced or fixed if it breaks before its time.
Generally, no company is going to put a warranty on a treadmill that they think they’ll have to answer to a lot. If they did, they would go out of business very quickly. Therefore, a warranty is a great way to guess at the durability a company expects their treadmill to have.
Plus, it is also a great way to ensure that your treadmill will get fixed if it ends up breaking before the warranty is up.
Warranties are typically most important on motorized treadmills, as they are more expensive. Howver, they can also be important on manual treadmills, especially if they are more expensive.
There are several types of warranties as well. Before purchasing a treadmill, be sure that you read the warranty information carefully. Here is a quick rundown on the most common warranties:
- Frame: Most treadmills include a warranty on the frame – often even for life. This protects the actual frame of the treadmill, though not everything is inside the treadmill.
- Parts: This warranty includes all of the other parts of the treadmill that aren’t covered under the frame warranty (though not usually the motor in motorized treadmills). This type of warranty comes in many different time periods. Very cheap options may only have a 90-day warranty, while more expensive models may cover parts for a few years.
- Labor: After getting the parts, you’ll need someone to put them on your treadmill, which is where labor comes in mind. However, labor warranties are often extremely complicated. Many companies will require that you take your treadmill to certain shops, which may be hundreds of miles away from you. Other treadmill companies send someone out to your home. It just depends on the company. Be sure the read the fine print.
Many of the best manual treadmills fold for storage when you are done using them. They don’t have any motorized parts, so there is little reason why they shouldn’t do this. Typically, the belt of the treadmill holds up or the handlebars fold down, providing you with some extra storage space.
You can easily slide these treadmills underneath your bed or lay them against the wall. Many people stand them upright in the closet, for instance. Some couches even have enough clearance for you to see the treadmill underneath them.
In some cases, treadmills will include hydraulics to make folding and unfolding easier. Because the treadmill is no longer banging hard against the floor, this often allows prevents excess damage through repeated folding and unfolding.
Because you buy one of these treadmills, be sure that it actually folds, though. Some of them don’t actually fold. Instead, the handlebars screw off or there are some other complicated steps you have to take for storage. In these cases, the treadmill may still be referred to as a “folding” treadmill, though this isn’t actually the case.
Other Extra Features
There are lots of other extra features that you may also be interested in, but these tend to be minor.
For instance, you may be interested in a curved manual treadmill. Curved manual treadmills do not have an extremely steep incline like most manual treadmills. Instead, they have a curved surface that allows them to work efficiently.
Curved manual treadmills are rarer, so you may have to give up other features to find one that will work for you.
There are also features like cup holders, console fans, and tablet holders. We doubt that any of these will be a make-it-or-break-it feature, though they might be. If one of these features is important to you, then you should keep an eye out for them while you’re shopping.
FAQs About Manual Treadmill
While you’re on the hunt for the best manual treadmill, you may end up with some questions. To help you sort things out, here are some of the most common questions we’re asked.
Is it Good to Use a Manual Treadmill?
Manual treadmills can often provide the same level of exercise that motorized treadmills do. The calories burned likely won’t differ all that much from a motorized treadmill to an unmotorized treadmill.
However, they don’t require electricity, so they are often more environmentally friendly.
Their lack of a motor makes them much cheaper as well. Therefore, they are a great option for those on a strict budget.
Furthermore, it takes more work to exercise on a manual treadmill, since you have to physically move the belt as you run. It isn’t moving for you. Your heart rate will get at the proper exercise level faster than with an automatic treadmill.
The best manual treadmills will have many of the same features as a traditional treadmill as well.
Is There a Manual Treadmill?
Manual treadmills are becoming rarer and rarer. However, they are still around and crated by many different companies. In fact, we found quite a few that were high-quality enough to make it onto this review.
If you’re looking for a manual treadmill, you will have fewer options than you would with an automatic treadmill, though. Therefore, you may not get all of the features you need.
These treadmills are often considered tougher than regular treadmills, as they are only driven by your personal power. There is no motor behind the belt making it move. Only you are doing that.
For this reason, they are often utilized by professional runners and those that really want to make the most out of their workout.
Plus, these treadmills don’t require any electricity, so they are great for those that are low on outlets.
Can You Lose Weight On a Manual Treadmill?
Yes. In fact, you can probably lose more weight on a manual treadmill than you would on an automatic treadmill since it requires more effort.
For this reason, those that want to make the most out of their workout will often utilize a manual treadmill, since they are harder.
However, you can usually go faster on an automatic treadmill, though it won’t translate as well to calories burned. If you want to simply go fast, then an automatic treadmill is often necessary. On the other hand, if you want to burn more calories, then you may want to look at a manual option. If you want to burn more fats we suggest to read our guide about Best Spin Bike Power Meter.
Is a Manual Treadmill Better Than an Automatic?
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Automatic treadmills often come with more features. For instance, you’re more likely to have programs built into the automatic treadmill while this wouldn’t exist on a manual one.
Similarly, automatic options usually have things like Bluetooth and automatic incline adjustment.
Overall, you just get more features, largely because they have access to a power source.
With that said, manual treadmills have many great features in their own right. They are more effective since they require more oomph for you to move the belt during your workout.
Furthermore, they are often much cheaper since there is no motor or electronics needed. They often last longer too, as there aren’t as many parts to give out. If they do break the repair job usually isn’t terribly complicated.
In the end, which treadmill you get largely depends on what you’re looking for and the type of workouts, you plan on completing.
Is a Manual Treadmill Bad for Knees?
All treadmills are bad for your knees to some extent. However, manual treadmills aren’t necessarily worse for your knees than an automatic treadmill. It depends on how the belt is made and how much cushion it provides.
Some treadmills provide quite a lot of cushioning, which helps protect your knees from damage. However, others don’t have much, which can strain your joints.
However, none of this has to do with whether or not the treadmill has a motor. it has to do with how the belt is crafted – not with how the machine works overall.
Are Manual Treadmills Loud?
Because they do not have a motor, manual treadmills are usually quieter than automatic treadmills. However, they aren’t silent. The sound of the belt moving and you landing on the floor with each step does make a bit of noise.
Therefore, while you can expect these treadmills to be quiet, you can’t expect them not to make any noise. Loud squeaks and abrasive sounds are common to some extent.
You can use a treadmill mat to further reduce noise if you need to, though these are usually pretty quiet.
Why Do Manual Treadmills Have Incline?
An incline is needed for one of these treadmills as it ensures that the belt gets moving correctly. Otherwise, you may have trouble getting started, which can be frustrating.
At an incline, gravity gives you the little push that you need to get the belt moving.
Often, manual options allow you to adjust the incline as you want. Higher inclines are easier for a manual treadmill – not the other way around like you might expect from a treadmill. This fact is because gravity helps you more at a higher incline and less at a lower incline.
The less help you have from gravity, the harder your workout will be. A flat manual treadmill would be extremely difficult, which is why you don’t typically find them. All of these treadmills usually have an incline of some sort.
You can purchase a curved treadmill, which is a bit different than other treadmills out there. It is still technically manual, but a curved treadmill doesn’t have an incline.
Are Manual Treadmills Good for Seniors?
We don’t typically recommend manual treadmills for seniors unless you are used to fitness. Manual treadmills are actually pretty difficult to walk on since they are completely powered by you. Therefore, they are often not a good choice for seniors that are just starting to work out.
In this case, an automatic treadmill would be a more practical option. These provide the same cardiovascular benefits, but they are easier to use.
With all of that said, you may want to look into a manual treadmill if you are a senior that is somewhat used to working out. If you’ve been active your whole life, then a manual treadmill may not be all that hard for you.
It depends on your individual fitness level.
we hope that this article helped introduce you to all the affordable manual treadmills out there. While there aren’t that many manual treadmills available, there are surely enough for you to find something that you like.
These non-motorized treadmills tend to be available at an affordable price point, so they are great for those on a budget.
Manual treadmills also tend to be longer-lasting than regular treadmills, and they have a higher weight capacity. If you weigh more, this increased weight capacity could in itself be enough reason for you to purchase a manual treadmill for your home gym.