Gym Gear

Best Manual Treadmill For 2021: Our Top 7

Motorless treadmills require more manual work than electric. Here are our top 7 recommendations.

Woman training on manual treadmill

By: Travis

Hi, I am Travis. My main focus in life is to understand training better and help others get better results too. I used to be about the least fit kid in school and would always be last to get picked for a team. It wasn't for a lack of trying, but all my efforts just lead to injuries

For years, I had completely given up on ever getting in shape. Then I began to use my brain before using my muscles. I read every popular book on exercise, and began to structure my training.

With the right training methods, and the right machines, I was able to rebuild my body from the ground up.

According to science, I would never be able to walk pain-free again. And I would never be able to do 20 pull-ups with the injuries to my rotator cuff. But they were al wrong.

This site is where you can find all my tips and recommendations.

Working out using different equipment types can make you work harder and give you different types of exercise. If you are looking into treadmills for your at-home gym, consider a manual treadmill instead of a motorized one. Not only will you be saving electricity, but you will also make your workouts more challenging and provide your home with more space.

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A manual treadmill is harder to use than a motorized treadmill. You are the motor on the manual treadmill, and that will force your body to work harder to keep a regular pace to keep it running. You can be energy efficient in your purchase and save yourself several hundred dollars by buying a manual treadmill.

As you start your search for the best manual treadmill that will work for you, consider where you will put the treadmill and how often you will use it. They are not the easiest items to use, but they are lighter than a regular treadmill, and you can move them around your home to best suit your needs.

7 Best Manual Treadmill Reviews

AirRunner manual treadmill made by Assault Fitness Man running on motionless treadmill

The Assault Fitness AirRunner is our favorite among the best manual treadmills and features an entirely new design for a manual treadmill. The treadmill platform has a unique, curved shape and slat belt that keeps you working for every step. The machine is quieter than other manual treadmills, and it's made of high-quality materials.

Designed for no maximum speed settings, you can run as fast or slow as you choose. This machine is especially suitable for high-intensity workouts (HIIT), where you need to keep your heart rate high. You might've seen it being used at official CrossFit competitions. That goes to tell you something about the quality of this motorless treadmill.

It is small in design, which helps it fit into even the most cramped apartments, and weighs only two hundred eight pounds, so moving it is not a problem.

Best of all, the maximum user weight the machine can hold is three hundred fifty pounds so that everyone can enjoy this manual treadmill.


  • The treadmill comes Bluetooth ready and can connect to most types of devices.
  • Easy to program for different routines
  • The design of the treadmill makes it perfect for HIIT training workouts.


  • The display can flash and restart on some runs.

Product Features:

  • Folding: No
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: None
  • Speed: Unlimited
  • Belt Dimensions: 17" x 62.2"
  • Weight Limit: 350 lbs

ASUNA Hi-Performance Cardio Trainer Self Powered Manual Treadmill Woman doing pushing training on motorless treadmill by Sunny Health and Fitness

The Sunny Health & Fitness 7700 features a dual flywheel design that responds quickly to your workout changes. The design helps you push through high as well as low-intensity workouts.

You can set four different levels of intensity and adjust the incline up to fourteen degrees. And if you are into Tabata sprints, you will find this treadmill very useful.

The magnetic resistance can be set very high, so even if you are an advanced runner, you can get a great workout on this machine. The resistance levels do start quite high. If you are a beginner, the workouts on this motorless treadmill might be too intense for you. So please keep that in mind.

The manual treadmill design ensures you can work safely for years because of the heavy-duty steel frame and quality components. The handlebars also come with sweat-resistant coatings, so you don't have to worry about losing your grip.

With a weight capacity of up to 440 pounds, you will likely not have issues using this manual running treadmill.


  • The treadmill is very sturdy.
  • The resistance on the treadmill is very high, so heavier adults will receive an excellent workout.
  • You can use this treadmill for Tabata sprints.


  • The tension settings might make running on the treadmill difficult for some users.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: Four manual positions
  • Speed: Unlimited
  • Belt Dimensions: 19" x 49"
  • Weight Limit: 440 lbs

Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill Sunny Health and Fitness motor-less treadmill

The Sunny Health and Fitness Force Fitmill comes in different variations to suit your workout needs. You can order a manual treadmill with a fixed incline if you are just starting. Or, you can get a manual treadmill with an adjustable incline for a more challenging run.

Either way, the treadmill comes with a large running platform and a weight limit of three hundred pounds. The running surface area is among the best in the class. If you are a bigger runner or have a large stride length, you will especially like this machine.

One of the drawbacks of this treadmill is the belt can slide from side to side. This is only noticeable for heavier runners, but it's good to keep in mind. Even though the belt would move, we never noticed any problems with the reliability or stability when running. And if you are below 200 pounds, you would likely not even notice it.

You can set your workout with sixteen different magnetic resistance levels and have the ability to adjust the incline up to thirteen and a half percent. With these adjustments, this manual treadmill can be used for pretty much any fitness level. If you want to keep a high heart rate during your workouts, you should definitely consider this machine.

The treadmill's design includes multiple sets of support rails that are sweat-resistant, so you can alter how you move and stay safe on the treadmill.


  • The treadmill's design is very wide, so you have plenty of room.
  • The treadmill lets you set your own pace.
  • The treadmill is very quiet and smooth during operation.


  • There is no water bottle holder.
  • The belt can slide around with heavier runners.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: Adjustable to 13.5 percent
  • Speed: Unlimited
  • Belt Dimensions: 16" x 53"
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs

EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill Isolated view of the motorless treadmill by Efitment

The EFITMENT T017 gives you a smooth, natural surface to run, jog, or walk on. These manual treadmills are completely self-propelled, which saves electricity and helps you to set the speed.

There are different ways to enjoy the treadmill, from regular jogging and running movements to holding onto the side rails or the optional arm exerciser to help you move them naturally with your strides.

This self-powered treadmill can only accommodate runners up to 250 pounds. If you are heavier than that, you will need to look for a different model. For most home users, this manual treadmill offers a great balance between features and value for money.

It's also surprisingly easy to fold and store. Some of the other options are a lot heavier and bigger. So, if you have a small apartment, I want to store your manual treadmill easily, this is a great option.

You set the standard surface height for three different levels and provide electricity to the LCD console. The LCD is large and easy to read the time, distance, speed, and the number of calories burned.


  • The instructions are easy to follow, making the treadmill easy to use.
  • The treadmill folds up and roles easily for convenient storage.
  • People up to two hundred twenty pounds can use the treadmill safely.


  • The center of the belt is difficult to adjust.
  • The display does not have long battery life.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: Three manual positions
  • Speed: Unlimited
  • Belt Dimensions: 13.5" x 42"
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs

Fitness Reality TR3000 Manual Treadmill without a motor Side view of woman training on motorless treadmill by Fitness Reality

The Fitness Reality TR3000 lets you set the pace with jogging as well as walking features. The treadmill's design is wider and longer than regular treadmills to provide more surface area to move and make you feel safer on the belt of the treadmill.

You can control the tension level in three levels to get you moving while the arms provide a stabilizing frame for your movements.

The treadmill has extra features to help you monitor your progress and health, including Heart Pulse pads that work as a simple heart rate monitor

Twin six-inch flywheels help to provide you with a smooth workout that offers more stability than other treadmills even when you adjust the incline. These manual treadmills are especially suited for people who have trouble walking or rehabilitating after an injury.

The incline adjustment doesn't go below 8°. However, the incline adjustment is effortless to use, and 8° is a great place to start for most people.

You can walk or jog on eight, ten, or thirteen degrees of incline, and you can reach a speed of up to 10 miles per hour.


  • The treadmill is perfect for anyone with difficulty walking.
  • People up to three hundred and twenty-five pounds can use the treadmill.
  • Assembly of the treadmill is easy.


  • There is no mid-level incline setting; it starts at eight degrees.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: 8, 10, and 13 degrees
  • Speed: zero to ten miles an hour
  • Belt Dimensions: 16" x 50'
  • Weight Limit: 325 lbs

Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up Motorless Treadmill Folded manual treadmill by Phoenix brand

The Phoenix 98510 is a solid, easily adjustable treadmill with a heavy-duty weighted front flywheel and an extra-long belt. The treadmill design includes large hand bars you can hold as you walk, run, or jog. The treadmill comes with a single-button display that lets you track your progress for distance, calories burned, speed, and time.

Phoenix's design is perfect for the small apartment as it folds up into an upright locking position for convenient storage while not in use. It also provides one of the longest belts in such a compact machine. If you have a long straight, this is a great manual treadmill for you.

The belt is only 13 inches wide. People who struggle with their balance due and walking or running might want a wider belt. We also found that the belt doesn't run that smooth while walking. Running is fine, but during walking, it doesn't feel smooth. If you plan to use this treadmill only for walking, we would advise choosing a different option among the best manual treadmills.

The frame of the treadmill is strong and stable and also includes a water bottle holder. The entire design helps you to achieve your self-powered workout goals using a machine that comes with a pre-adjusted long belt.


  • The size of the treadmill helps it fit into small spaces like micro-apartments more easily.
  • Assembly of the treadmill is very straightforward
  • The design of the treadmill includes water bottle holders.


  • There could be more room to jog or walk on the belt for larger adults.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: unlimited
  • Speed: 0 up to 10 miles per hour
  • Belt Dimensions: 13" x 41"
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs

ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill Woman rolling away the folded motor-less treadmill from Progear

The ProGear 190 comes with a steel, powder-coated frame that provides you with the right amount of incline to make your workout a challenge. The frame comes with long handles along the top with foam grips that can help you remain stable as you exercise and comfortable. The side rails of the handles are extra wide to help make it safer for you to exercise.

The incline can be adjusted between six and 10°. This is more than enough adjustment for beginner to intermediate runners but might be too low if you are advanced.

Coming with an oversized belt, the treadmill offers a lot of running surface. If you have a long straight length or just big, you will love this treadmill without a motor. We did find that the belt you can slip from left to right when you are not careful during running. This is a problem that is common for motorized and non-motorized treadmills with large belts. However, if you run with good technique and only in a forward direction, the belt works great. Even went about this moving from left to right, it doesn't come off or create an unsafe situation.

You can change up your walk or run by adjusting the incline into two positions, either six or ten degrees, to further training and tone your legs.

The twin cast iron flywheels will keep your stride smooth. With a weight limit of up to two hundred thirty pounds, most people will have no trouble using the great manual treadmill.


  • The controller is easy to use and read
  • The treadmill is quiet while you walk or run on it
  • The design of the treadmill allows it to fold up easily into the closet or a corner.


  • The controller can sometimes freeze while you workout.

Product Features:

  • Folding: Yes
  • Motor: None
  • Incline: 6 an 10 degrees
  • Speed: unlimited
  • Belt Dimensions: 16" x 50"
  • Weight Limit: N/A

Buying Guide for Manual or Motorless Treadmills


Most types of manual treadmills look like a regular treadmill. They don't have the bulky extra features that a motorized one has, making it generally more compact with fewer parts or ways for it to take up space. While they do not come with all the extra features, they come with a more upright design that often folds up for storage.

The more cost-effective versions of the manual treadmill do not take up much room in a house or apartment. They almost universally have an adjustable incline, though some exceptions are depending on the manufacturer. They also come with extra transporter wheels as part of the foldaway design, so you can easily roll it out of the way when you are through.

The biggest exception is the Assault Fitness Airrunner. This manual treadmill features a curved running surface and slat belt. The curved surface allows you to drive the belt over a longer distance. So you basically get more training and every stride. And that adds up to a lot more training input.

It's not for everyone, though, and definitely takes some time getting used to. But if it works for you, he will love it and likely never choose anything different.

The slat belt is also very stable, even when running very fast. So if you want to run fast, this is the machine for you.

Core Components

Regular treadmills come with an electric motor that drives the treadmill belt and controls the speed. A manual treadmill moves by your input. You are the motor. You can adjust the resistance levels or incline, but you get to set the speed and the pace, not the treadmill.

This resembles actual running a lot more. Because when you are running on the street, you need to control your speed too. I know many professional trainers and running coaches agree that a manual treadmill is better training for runners. And that is specifically because you need to control your speed.

You will need to use more muscles in your legs and control them better. As you do that, you will get stronger and fitter.

If you are not used to controlling your speed on a treadmill, it will feel weird when you just start.

Setting the pace can also be difficult if the belt is very tight or the incline extreme. Make sure you can adjust the moving components satisfactorily before you settle on one particular model. Some come with up to sixteen different levels of resistance, so you have many options to choose from for your workout and plenty of room to grow and improve.

The most crucial components of a manual treadmill are the belt, the frame, and the flywheel. Let's take a look at each of them:

The belt provides the running surface for your feet. It needs to be stable and move smoothly so you can get a pleasant run. Most belts are made of a type of rubber. This makes it easy to manufacture and run smoothly. Heavier runners or people with a less good technique often find that the rubber belts move from side to side.

And that can be a very uncomfortable feeling when you're also running and trying to stay on the belt. Our top choice among the best manual treadmills, the Assault Fitness Airrunner, has a slat belt. The slats are rigid and provide a much more stable running surface when you're going fast or moving from side to side.

The frame connects all the components and keeps them stable. Most frames are made out of heavy-duty steel. This is strong, durable, and cost-effective. It is also relatively heavy. So, if you want the latest possible treadmill without a motor, you might want to consider one with an aluminum frame. You will need to pay more, but it could be worth it.

The flywheel keeps the belt running smoothly as you walk or run on it. Without a flywheel, the belt would have no inertia and would stop between every stride. That would make for a very janky and uncomfortable movement. Generally, a heavier flywheel will feel smoother. It will also take more effort to get up to speed. And, it will make the machine heavier and more difficult to move around.

Incline Selection

Not all types of manual treadmills come with a way to adjust the incline. There are models by the same manufacturer that are the same except for changing the slope. If you want multiple options for your workout, you should look at one that does adjust.

If the treadmill does not give you an option for adjusting the incline, they most often come at a relatively steep incline of around thirteen percent or a moderate one of about eight. This is one of the biggest differences between motorized treadmills and non-motorized. Without any incline, you can't drive the belt forward.

That is why manual treadmills always have some incline, while electric treadmills can be completely flat.

It can be worth the extra money to change your incline to make your workouts harder on some days or easier on others. And adjusting the incline also lets you work different muscles.

Universally, if you can adjust the incline, it will be a manual adjustment. Make sure you can easily adjust the treadmill and that it is safe before and after adjustment. Not all designs are easy to lock after making the adjustments. And it's crucial to have the frame locked, so you don't end up falling from the machine while running.

Belt Size

Almost universally, the size of the belts is smaller than the large motorized treadmills in the gym. The design enables them to fold up and out of the way, which means you have a smaller area to run, jog, or walk on.

It's gonna take some time getting used to. As someone who started running on large electric treadmills, I can see that it gets better over time. At first, it will feel very cramped and strange. Once you get the hang of it, it will feel completely natural.

Huge runners or people with extreme stride lengths might still not be comfortable. If you feel like it might be one of those, it would be best to try one out.

Before you make your final selection to purchase a manual treadmill or otherwise, make sure you are comfortable with the amount of room you will have to work out. Not everyone will feel uncomfortable, but you do not want to be hitting the sides or falling off the back because of limited room.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a manual treadmill worth it?

A manual treadmill is one of those pieces of workout equipment that can work for some people, but not for all.

The benefits are numerous. You don't have to worry about electricity. You don't have to control the speed. And, you can easily bring your manual treadmill with you in an RV or when camping. You also get a unique workout and train a better-controlled running movement.

However, not everyone likes having to set the pace of their workouts or maintain the exercises' speed.

Before choosing a manual treadmill, make sure you are comfortable setting a pace and keeping it because they are definitely worth the money you will spend on it.

All the options on this list of best manual treadmills provide great build quality, easy storage, and adjustable resistance. They all have specific strengths and weaknesses that you need to know to choose the best option for your needs. But, they all are worth it as a solid investment in your health and fitness.

Can you run on a manual treadmill?

There are different types of treadmills with variations on designs. Running on a manual treadmill is usually not a problem, though some models have too much of an incline for some buyers.

The degree of incline can slow your speeds down considerably to three or four miles an hour. If you are used to running on a motorized treadmill, this can be frustrating at first.

It simply feels like you're less good of a runner.

Once you build up the fitness and strength to drive the belt, you will be able to run as fast as you want. End it will make you a stronger runner, especially for uphill.

Ensure you know if you can adjust the incline, as this can help you improve your running speed.

Which is better? A manual or a motorized Treadmill?

There is no better when selecting a manual or motorized treadmill; it's mostly about preference. Both treadmills have good and bad points, and it is up to the buyer to determine what will work for their workouts and how effective each type of machine will be.

If you are like me and you want to get the best workout in the shortest amount of time, a manual treadmill is the better option. If you like to run with very little resistance or need a large running surface, you might be better off with a motorized treadmill.

If you are unsure of which type of treadmill to purchase, see if you can try out at a local gym or fitness store to make an informed decision. And if you can, don't just try it out once. Try it out several times and really get used to the unique running movement on a manual treadmill. Only then will you be able to make an objective decision.

How can I make my manual treadmill smoother?

Manual treadmills are not always smooth to operate. They require you to get your pace up first, and it will run more smoothly after that. If you need to make your treadmill smoother, try adjusting the belt first to help it roll more evenly over the rollers. You can also adjust the incline after you safely test the treadmill, which can help with how smoothly it operates.

Before you buy a manual treadmill, it's good to check the weight of the flywheel. I have your flywheel will generally run smoother. It will also be harder to accelerate.

People who struggle to stay smooth when running on a manual treadmill can benefit from choosing a heavier flywheel.

The Final Verdict: What is the Best Manual Treadmill?

There you have it, we have covered all the best manual treadmills you can buy right now. If you want the best manual treadmill for running and high-intensity workouts, the Assault Fitness Airrunner is our top recommendation.

If you have less money to spend or don't like the curved surface and slat belt, don't worry: The Sunny Health & Fitness 7700 is a great manual treadmill that will serve you for years to come.

And lastly, if you want a manual treadmill for walking, we can highly recommend the ProGear 190.