What are Manual Treadmills

What are Manual Treadmills, December 2021

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Treadmills have come a long way and are vital to the workout routines of millions of people. Those living in climates that experience winter months can especially benefit from using treadmills when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Today we will be discussing manual treadmills, what they are, how they work and review a couple of different options. Manual treadmills are also sometimes referred to as self-propelled treadmills or non-motorized treadmills.

Manual treadmills are more straightforward and basic than a motorized treadmill as there is no equipment to move the belt for you. The belt on the treadmill is propelled by the movement of the user’s feet pushing the belt along.

The inertia of the belt provides the resistance you need for your workout which means that if you slow down the belt slows down, there is no set speed on this treadmill. 

Reasons To Get A Manual Treadmill

The idea of getting a manual treadmill that is propelled by the user may sound a bit off-putting at first but there are plenty of benefits to getting one.

Storage And Assembly Made Simple 

Woman in yoga pants and pink shirt running on a treadmill

Quality of life features are nice to have on a treadmill but also add to the bulk of the machine. Manual treadmills don’t have motors and can save a bunch of space and weight in the design.

In fact, most manual treadmills are so compact and simple that they don’t even require assembly and can be used right out of the box.

These types of treadmills are great choices for those who don’t have too much space in the house for equipment and would like the ability to store the treadmill away easier. 

No Power Required, Better Workout

Woman in gray yoga pants with black tanktop walking in an inclined treadmill

Not requiring power to use the treadmill means it can be pretty much used anywhere you want to use it.

Since it is powered by your efforts alone, you don’t need to concern yourself with extension cords and making sure to put the machine close to a wall outlet. 

The added benefit of having to exert more energy to propel the belt yourself is that you get a better, faster, more efficient workout.

If you already don’t like exercising and want to get it over with then the manual input on these treadmills can shorten your workout significantly by burning additional calories. 


Woman in black yoga pants and blue long sleeve running on treadmill

Because manual treadmills have no motor, there are no moving parts besides the belt that can cause serious harm to children or pets.

The power of motors is usually severely underestimated, even a motor as “weak” as ½ horsepower has the potential to mangle body parts.

There is also the added safety to the user as the belt will slow down as you do, ensuring it doesn’t move too quickly and get away from you causing you to slip off.

#1. NordicTrack X22i

The NordicTrack X22i is a direct competitor to the Peloton Tread in the luxury manual treadmill market.

Similar to its competitor the NordicTrack X22i has so incredibly premium machines with top-of-the-line training software solutions.

Priced just a little bit higher than its competitor at $2,800, it still gives the Peloton Tread a run for its money.

The NordicTrack comes with easy out-of-the-box assembly, 10-year frame warranty, 2-year part warranty, a one-year labor warranty. 

  • With training software solutions
  • 10-year frame & 2-year labor warranty
  • Perfect for intense training
  • Allows stimulating a high-intensity exercise

Dimensions and Features

The treadmill has 60” of running space and a beautiful 22-inch high-definition touchscreen display. The unit’s footprint is 70” Long,  39” Wide,  and 72.5” Tall. The total weight is quite heavy at just under 420 lbs. 

The speeds of the belt can go up to 12.5 miles per hour with an incline ranging from -6 degrees to 40 degrees, offering a significantly more involved workout.

The massive incline that is possible on this machine is perfect for intense training or prepping for hiking or climbing expeditions.

NordicTrack claims that at the maximum incline, you can burn up to 5 times more calories thane running the same speed at -6 degrees. The X22i even offers an integrated way to do a “Sled Push”, allowing you to simulate a high-intensity exercise right on the treadmill. 

Similar to Peloton, NordicTrack offers a very involved exercise routine software package, iFit. This program offers not only, the ability to follow along with a Pro Trainer’s cardio routine, but iFit also offers a whole strength training routine as well as a Yoga and Mindfulness routine.

NordicTrack really does go out of its way to offer the whole package and give you a complete and well-rounded exercise training routine.


The NordicTrack x22i is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum of manual treadmills. From the professional guidance included to the incredible incline capabilities, the NordicTrack X22i has every feature a hardcore exercise nut could ask for.

This product is designed for those who take their health and exercise very seriously, and are looking for a well-rounded package that offers cardio, strength, and professional guidance all along the way.

Although the price tag is rather high I highly recommend the X22i to anybody who is very serious about making amazing progress towards their cardio and health goals.  

Manual Treadmill Options

#2. Peloton Tread

The Peloton Tread follows the Peloton bike formula for success combining premium machinery with ingenious training software.

Peloton Tread is quite expensive coming in at just under $2,500 or $64/month.

The treadmill is quite well constructed as one would hope for such a price tag and comes with plenty of bells and whistles including a 1-year warranty and delivery with assembly included. 

  • 290 lb and 8" height
  • Max speed of belt: 12.5 miles/hr
  • Access to Peloton app with free classes
  • Smooth and comfortable

Dimensions and Features

The treadmill has 59 inches of the traditional belt running space and has a beautiful 24-inch high-definition touchscreen display. The whole unit is 68” Long,  33” Wide,  and 62” Tall.

The whole weight of the unit comes in at just under 290 lb with a step-up height of 8 in. The speeds of the belt can go up to 12.5 miles per hour with an incline of up to 12.5 degrees while the adjustable control knobs allow you to change the resistance of the belt.

Finally, the Peloton app allows for access to thousands of Peloton classes where you can set goals and learn from experts around the clock. 

The Peloton Tread really begins to shine when checking out the training software that comes along with the treadmill. Peloton Studio has around-the-clock classes running to allow owners of the treadmill to log in and join a class at any time.

This allows you to communicate directly with the instructor and compete with your classmates in all sorts of workout routines. 


The Peloton Tread is a wonderful product for those who are not limited by price. The additional guidance and classes can be extremely motivating and uplifting, helping the user with their weight loss or fitness journey.

The treadmill itself is sized appropriately and offers a very smooth and comfortable exercising experience.

The treadmill is on the more expensive side and beginner runners and fitness enthusiasts should stick to something a little more beginner-friendly if being budget-conscious.

This is truly one of the best manual treadmills available on the market and comes highly recommended to anyone looking to take their training and exercise to the next level.

#3. ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill

The ProGear 190 manual treadmill Is a very simple and basic treadmill that captures the very essence of a low-cost exercise machine.

The incredibly low price tag of $200, and the ability to find it on Amazon means there will be a large number of people interested in this treadmill.

Let's take a look if this frugal option is one that can work for you or if you need to look for other options. 

  • Low price value
  • Maximum weight capacity of 225 lbs
  • Convenient and a cheap solution
  • Simplistic LCD display


The treadmill itself weighs a tiny 49 lb making it light as a feather by comparison to other treadmills.

The small size also means that the maximum weight limit of the machine is 225 pounds at most, making it a little problematic at serving its purpose for those on the heavier side.

The treadmill is a tiny 47” L x 23” W x 51” H with the ability to fold for easier storage and transportation. The running belt is a paltry 13” x 43” which can prove to make running very difficult for anybody with longer strides. 


The ProGear manual treadmill Is very basic and does not have much in terms of features.  It does come with an  LCD display however it is very bare-bones and simplistic. 

The display tracks time, distance covered, calories burned, and total speed all of which have to be individually cycled through. 

The highlight feature of the ProGear 190 manual treadmill is its incline options. The treadmill has two options ranging from 6 to 10 degrees which need to be adjusted manually if wanted to make changes.


Overall, I would not recommend this manual treadmill to anyone on the larger side or those with significantly more running action.

The treadmill is incredibly narrow and has a low weight limit, limiting the number of users that can benefit from it. Additionally, the LCD display is very lackluster and could use a more up-to-date solution. 

For those who are built smaller than the rest of us, the ProGear 190 can serve as a convenient and cheap solution for a home manual treadmill. 

#4. Trueform Runner

The most obvious physical difference between the Trueform Runner and other treadmills is that it features a uniquely curved running track that makes propelling the belt easier.

“Like running on air, but with a powerful punch.” the treadmill claims to simulate on-road running in a manual treadmill design.

At a price tag of $4199 the treadmill is in the higher bracket of treadmill prices but has some clever design to back it up. 

  • Clever designs worth of its price
  • Maximum weight capacity of 350 lbs
  •  Features a curved aspect of running track
  • Includes chest strap monitor


The treadmill weighs 325 lbs with a footprint of  64” L x 36” W x 57” H. The user weight capacity is 800 lbs which is way more than most people will make use of.

The running track is 54 in long by 17 in wide, which is on the more narrow side of treadmills. This narrow track takes some getting used to but can be quite frustrating to those who have a little bit wider running motion.


One of the most interesting features of this treadmill is the curved aspect of the running track. Because manual treadmills require the user input to start working, most of them have an incline making it easier for the running track to flow.

The Trueform Runner’s curved track is designed to provide maximum contact across your entire step, providing more force to push the track in a more natural feeling manner. the curved track is said to be extremely comfortable and provides a very realistic street-running feel.

The speed of this treadmill is entirely up to you.  There are no restrictions on running speed and you can push yourself to the absolute limit without having to worry about the machine. No buttons and no programming required is very appealing to those with a strict need for results over tech in their cardio machines. 

The LCD display is fairly small and simple, which is nice if you're looking for a manual treadmill that is only giving you what you need to know like speed, pace, or distance. 


The Samsara Trueform Runner is an expensive option for manual treadmills, but it's a proven and durable piece of equipment. 

These features don’t come in the form of workout mentorship but practical physical benefits. The curved track has a very unique feel to it, and provides an outstanding level of comfort and stability.

This treadmill comes highly recommended for being one of the most well-designed, practical, and uncluttered manual treadmill on the market. 

#5. Sunny 7700 Asuna

The Asuna High performance 7700 it's one of the newer treadmills released by Sunny Health and Fitness.

The bare-bones manual treadmill design is very sturdy and can support significantly more weight than the competition, allowing for the possibility of some serious high-intensity cardio training.

Priced at $900, the Asuna 7700 is a great low-cost treadmill, that is focused entirely on design and durability rather than features. 

  • Great low-cost treadmill
  • Maximum weight capacity of 440 lbs
  • Composed of 8 different settings
  • Great choice for any beginners


The treadmill weighs 167 lbs with a footprint of  55” L x 30” W x 57” H. The treadmill is foldable and takes up only 28 inches of space down from 55”.

The user weight capacity is 440 lbs which is well above what most treadmills offer. The running track’s dimensions are 49” L x 19” W  which is just barely under the standard running track width and length.


The bare-bones nature of this treadmill design means it doesn’t come with many bells and whistles. That being said, the Asuna 7700 has a couple of physical features that are worth mentioning. 

The magnetic resistance is adjustable to 8 different settings and the machine has a 6 to 10 degree manually adjusted incline. 

The folding aspect it's extremely valuable for those looking to save a little space.  while the running deck is ever so slightly shorter than standard, while folded the entire unit takes up only 28 in of space away from the wall.

This makes this treadmill perfect for those living in small spaces such as condos or apartments. Additionally, the frame has some Caster wheels that allow for easier transportation to and from storage.

The entire frame of the treadmill is made of extremely high-grade and durable steel that offers a 440 lb weight capacity. This is perfect for people who were on the heavier side of things or those looking to really punish the treadmill and go all out. 


Overall, I believe this is the most reasonable choice when it comes to buying a manual treadmill.

I believe this because a manual treadmill is exactly that, manual. The bare-bones nature and durability of this treadmill just feel solid under your feet when really pushing yourself on it.

This is most certainly the best choice for anybody living in a tight space. Apartment and condo dwellers who want to get some running in should really take a close look at this model and consider how they can fit it into their living space.

I also highly recommend this as a great choice for any beginners we're looking to spend a little more and get something durable that was last.

NordicTrack x22i 

The Best Manual Treadmill

NordicTrack X22i treadmill
  • 22 inch LCD display
  • -6 degree to 40 degree decline/incline settings
  • Integrated Sled Push workout
  • Get the BEST price now!
Denver Matheson

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

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