Top 7 Best Manual Treadmills – More Than Just A Viable Alternative

Some of the best treadmills on the market are neither motorized nor expensive. That’s correct, you have read that right. Contrary to popular belief, motorized treadmills are just one branch of treadmills as a whole. 

There is a whole other segment of the market that deals with manual treadmills. Today we are going to show you our top 7 picks for this category and introduce you to what these models have to offer. 

Later, we will discuss manual treadmills in detail with the goal of clearing some of the most widespread misconceptions. Without further ado, lets get right into it.

Top 7 Best Manual Treadmills

Models such as Exerpeutic 100XL introduce a level of complexity in to what appears to be a very basic product. After all, manual treadmills can only be so versatile, right? Exerpeutic 100XL features all the right components in all the right places. Everything starts with a robust frame.

Exerpeutic used thick quality tubing for both the frame and subframe design. While this may add a bit of weight compared to other models in the same category, it also added a whole lot of stability and support. You can probably agree that hte tradeoff was more than worth it. Another interesting thing about the design of Exerpeutic 100XL is how they solved incline control. You can manually set it, but there is always going to be some incline.

Resistance is provided by a pair of flywheels which are magnetically controlled. You can find the resistance adjustment knob on the main control panel which is also where the built in computer module sits. Here’s where things become really interesting. Exerpeutic 100XL also comes with heart rate monitoring on top of the usual distance, speed and other metrics. Overall, it is by far one of the most capable manual treadmills out there.

Another rugged manual treadmill comes under the name of Fitness Reality TR3000. It’s very similar to the one we’ve just talked about, however there are some subtle differences. Again, the whole thing is based on a very robust frame design. You are looking at proper tubing all over the place, which makes this a rather stable platform no matter how you decide to use it.

With that said, Fitness Reality TR3000 has proven to be a pretty lightweight package. If you’re looking for a treadmill that will easilyfold up and one that you can comfortably store away, lightweight build is a must. When itcomes to resistance control and tension adjustments, you’re looking at the fairly standard dual flywheel design. Fitness Reality TR3000 allows you to adjust the tension by manipulating the knob found on the main control panel.

Right next to the tension knob is where you will see a large display used to display core stats in real time. The really awesome fact is that heart rate monitoring is included in this package. From a manual treadmills point of view, Fitness Reality TR3000 does a lot of things perfectly at a price that makes it quite competitive.

Despite the fact that manual treadmills are generally compact by default, there is such a thing as a manual treadmill designed specifically around the idea of a small footprint. Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill is probably one of the best examples you can find out there. The frame, which is minimalist to say the least, is actually a version of a standard frame found on most motorized treadmills.

With that said, Confidence Fitness used proper quality tubing which made the entire platform rather sturdy. So much so that this treadmill inspires more confidence than models which have much more tubing involved. When folded, you get a package that can fit in just about any closet out there. If it’s large enough for your clothes to fit in there, it will work for Confidence Fitness Magnetic Manual Treadmill. Simple as that.

Once you go past its compact form factor, this model still has a relatively solid performance to offer. Resistance is produced by a pair of flywheels which are magnetically controlled. On top of that, you have a small but efficient display unit which shows you your basic stats. The only thing that is really missing here is user adjustable incline.

It’s no secret that shopping for an affordable treadmill can be a risky game. This especially applies to manual treadmills. However, it isn’t impossible to find a solid performer that won’t break your bank. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M is all the proof you could need.

Simple in design, this treadmill brings all the right features in all the right places. The frame itself is pretty robust. They’ve used the very same design like most other brands out there, which is a good thing. Using proven solutions is a good way to keep the costs down, which is exactly what happened here. Moving forward, we see a dual flywheel setup that offers plenty of resistance.

You’re almost guaranteed a proper workout, especially if you include the fixed incline. In terms of weight and size, you can fold this bad boy up quite nicely and pack it away with ease. It isn’t the most compact model out there, but it fits the description of a compact treadmill just fine. The best thing about Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M has got to be the price which is extremely competitive. If you are on a tight budget, something like this could be worth your time.

Minimalist manual treadmills are becoming more and more popular for a number of reasons. It just so happens that these treadmills are working extremely well for people who want a walking treadmill. If that is what you’re after, chances are that you don’t need an expensive motorized model.

ProGear 190 is one such minimalist treadmill that really defines the whole bang for the buck idea. What we really liked about it is the fact that it comes with a reinforced frame. That is right. The incredibly affordable ProGear 190 has a more robust frame than some of the models which are much, much more expensive. That’s the first plus for this model. The resistance is not really adjustable and is provided by a pair of flywheels. One thing that’s adjustable is incline.

You can choose between 6 degrees or 10 degrees of incline. Each of those figures should be more than enough to give you a proper workout. Further more, ProGear went so far as to install a small but functional display unit. Although it is quite rudimentary, you can easily use it to track your stats and plan your workout. At this price, ProGear 190 is worth checking out.

The world of affordable manual treadmills is pretty large and diverse. As you keep lowering the price, your chances of running into proven models are getting smaller and smaller. However, there is still a chance that you will find a good treadmill even if you are limited by a very strict budget. Stamina InMotion is one such treadmill. Even so, it still has a lot to offer.

The core of the whole package is the frame. It is somewhat lighter than your average manual treadmill frames, but it works just fine. If you are wondering how well it can hold up when you start running on it, the answer is probably not well at all. However, this treadmill was never meant to be used for running so that shouldn’t be an issue.

If you were to use Stamina InMotion within the limits of what it was meant to be used for, you shouldn’t run into any trouble. Resistance is provided by a set of small flywheels which aren’t adjustable. With fixed incline, you are looking at a decent workout no matter what. Last but not least, you also get a small but functional display. Overall, this is a decent setup.

We’ve discussed some affordable treadmills, but now is the time to introduce the cheapest possible model we are comfortable recommending. Phoenix 98516 is the very definition of a minimalist treadmill. It is basic, rugged, affordable and most importantly reliable. The frame lacks any kind of finesse.

So much so that you won’t even see much more than the most basic layer of protective coating. However, the frame you get with this treadmill is incredibly robust. Phoenix has gone above and beyond what most other brands usually doin this price range in terms of frame design. That is something we have to respect. Resistance is delivered by a single flywheel. Compared to dual flywheel designs, this setup is going to be a bit limited.

However, considering that Phoenix 98516 is a walking treadmill, that shouldn’t be an issue. What we found to be quite surprising is the fact that Phoenix 98516 still comes with a compact display unit. Even though it’s one of the most affordable models out there, it still allows you to track your progress and check your stats. Overall, Phoenix 98516 is a great choice for beginners and those who need a quick solution on a budget.

Are Manual Treadmills Worth The Investment?

Treadmills come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and most importantly, price ranges. It is a general misconception that you just have to invest in a $2000 treadmill if you want to get a good workout. That is simply not true. 

This misconception is so wide spread that manual treadmills aren’t even considered by most to be worth looking into. That is quite a shame considering how much manual treadmills have to offer. 

Today we are going to make a case for manual treadmills in an effort to explain what these machines are good at and what you can expect to get from one. To answer the question form the title, yes, manual treadmills are absolutely worth the investment and here is why.

There are two types of people who end up getting a manual treadmill. First group are those who think that they can get apex performance without spending much money. 

On the other hand we have users who understand what manual treadmills offer and willingly invest in one. First group is the only place where you will find disappointed users. The second group will very rarely include a disappointed individual.

Manual treadmills are designed to be used by beginner as well as those who are on a budget. With that said, manual treadmills are generally not designed for running. 

Some will allow you to jog but most of these are meant to support walking rather than running. The next logical question is what good is a treadmill you can only walk on? When you put walking at home into context, it can end up being a rather attractive concept. The context we are talking about includes the price as well as the footprint of the device.

Benefits Of Getting A Manual Treadmill

That entire previous segment was just an introduction to the benefits of using a manual treadmill. Lets divide the benefits into specific facts and take it from there.


Price is naturally one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing a treadmill. Most of us would love to be able to get a $1000 treadmill and forget about buying fitness equipment. 

However, the real world doesn’t always work like that. There are users who are limited by budget who still want to start their fitness journey. There is really no better way top do that than getting a manual treadmill. 

Due to their inherently simple design, most manual treadmills are rather affordable while some are outright dirt cheap. Speaking of cheap, it just so happens that a decent manual treadmill is sometimes going to be both cheaper and more efficient than a cheap motorized model

This isn’t a rule but it does happen from time to time.


One of the biggest problems people have with fitness equipment in general is the size of these machines. Sure, some people can dedicate an entire room, garage or basement to a home gym but most can’t. 

Now imagine living in a small apartment. When you find yourself in such a situation, the size of your fitness equipment may become the most limiting factor. Manual treadmills are generally incredibly compact. 

Since there are no large motors to deal with, which then means that you don’t need an over engineered frame, you are left with a package that has a small footprint. On top of that, these treadmills tend to fold up quite nicely which adds to that ease of storage.

Choosing The Right Manual Treadmill

Despite how simple manual treadmills are, there are still some factors to pay attention to when choosing your model. Here are some of the most important things to consider.


When it comes to frames, manual treadmills are much more forgiving than their motorized counterparts. Even so, getting a treadmill that has a robust frame is a good way to stay happy with your purchase. 

We strongly suggest that you go for something that features the same or similar frame design as the models on our list. That design has simply proven to optimal if you are looking to use a treadmill on a daily basis.


Almost every manual treadmill out there will rely on a flywheel mechanism to create resistance. We strongly suggest that you get a model that has two flywheels as that adds the necessary balance when you start using the treadmill. 

Whether or not the resistance is going to be magnetically controlled is not all that important and comes down to your personal taste.

The Verdict!

At the end of the day, Exerpeutic 100XL has proven to be one of the most complete and most reliable manual treadmills you can find. Not to mention that it packs the most features you will find in this segment of the market. 

 With that said, all of the models on our list work great and will get you your money’s worth of performance. As you can see from our guide, manual treadmills aren’t too difficult to choose nor are they too complicated to deal with in general. However, it is always good to be cautious and do your research.

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