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Manual Treadmill vs Electric Treadmill

25th Jan 2023

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It has been introduced as an alternative to a treadmill that was primarily manual-driven. It depends upon the workout you choose. You will need more effort in putting on treadmills. Most motorized treadmill machines offer superior functionality. 

Straight-belt manual treadmills are a new subcategory. The treadmill's durability is compared to many motorized machines and their price tag is high. 

It became popular for athletic trainers who may see it in their gym. Compare these categories and determine the treadmill that suits you the most.

What is a Manual Treadmill?

On treadmills, move your feet on the deck to move the belt. The belt moves by movement. Both walkers are more physically occupied with curved belts compared to motorized treadmills. 

This is an exercise benefit since the user gets his or her pulse rate into more zones with fewer speeds. One study showed participants were using 30 percent more energy than on the treadmill. 

However, they chose to run faster or go faster because they wanted to keep their exertions constant. Another study compared treadmills with curving belts with treadmills with motorized treadmills with over-ground treadmills.

Manual Treadmill Advantages

Although it takes more effort to use treadmills there is an advantage especially when walking. Many people like this device because it is portable, energy-less, and usually cheaper than a stationary treadmill. This means it is also likely more cost-effective to fix the broken parts. There'll be several advantages of the treadmill.

1. Suitable for lower-body workouts

The manual treadmill has the ability to increase muscle energy throughout the body. The power must be provided for the lower body. It also increases calories burned per mile. You can also control the speed of the moving belt based on how much training you have.

2. Increased safety

The moving belt of treadmills starts and ends when they are used by an operator to move. There is no safety cable required when you use this tool. The same way it allows for controlled movement of belt speeds. Moreover, they are also less prone to accidents.

3. Cheap

The advantage of a manual treadmill is its affordability compared to electric/motorised treadmills. The flatbed treadmills cost around $100- $500. Alternatively, treadmills are usually around $300.

4. Compact design

The manual treadmills have an elegant, compact appearance. Therefore, the treadmill is ideal for small rooms because it takes less room than larger and heavier treadmills in comparison.

Manual Treadmill Disadvantages

1. Less sturdy

Flat belt treadmills have a weak build but they are not surprisingly inexpensive. A couple of other issues include vibrations or buckle slippage. This machine carries a smaller weight capacity with lower durability. 

They are also unable to handle intense workouts. It's generally less so in treadmills that are straighter. Curved treadmills have better quality and a stronger design.

2. Lacks incline variability

Manual treadmills have different incline options. In the end, you remain at the same level for each workout. The slope of this incline can also be steep, at about 10%. During exercise treadmill, users will need to keep their handrails attached, and this could cause faulty running/walking patterns.

3. Muscle and joint stress

Manual treadmills, especially flat-bellied models, have little slats which exert extra strain on joints. In addition to muscle power, these devices require pushing harder for the muscles to move. These problems may lead to arthritis of the hips and knees.

4. Limited features

A manual treadmill has fewer functions than electrical models. For instance, there's no variation in the exercise or workout program or compatible apps. The site does not give users much info about progress.

Electric/Motorized Treadmills

Electric machines have a motor that moves the treadmill's treads. This constant movement on a belt helps facilitate user interaction. So you just have to go into a machine to walk, run or jog around.

Electric/Motorized Treadmill Advantages

electric Treadmill

Interestingly, treadmills have the option of adjusting the speeds of belts to your liking. In some advanced machine models, preset programs can be installed that change the speed of running belts during workouts. 

This helps us get more experience of specific techniques on the machine. Note that motor size is crucial for buying electric treadmills.

1. Inline and speed adjustment during a workout

Another important advantage of a treadmill electric treadmill is its ability to digitally control incline and velocity during training. 

Some models feature declines that allow running downhill. Moreover, it's an excellent opportunity to simulate walking and running outdoors.

During this phase, the belt of a motorized treadmill will move continuously. So you can continue to exercise at the best time and in the fastest way possible.

2. Reduced strain and stress on joints and muscles

Training on a treadmill does not require additional power if it wants the belt in motion. 

The machines provide a comfortable but efficient exercise, while still preventing strain to the joints. 

It is because it helps you to move without using muscles. This makes exercising on the treadmill less stressful.

3. Ideal for longer workout sessions

The manual treadmill is often preferred during shorter training sessions, however, the electric models can cope with longer endurance sessions. 

Besides walking and running, they are also available for runners. The treadmill motors add weight to the machine, making them safer than manual treadmill models.

4. Advanced features

Motorized treadmill models are packed with advanced features which are unobtainable with manuals. 

Amongst the other features are Integrated Air Conditioners, LCD screens, pre-programmable exercise programs, and a variety of others. Furthermore, it also offers detailed digital graphs showing their progress.

Electric/Motorized Treadmill Disadvantages

1. Motorised treadmills usually require electricity and you'll have to find the right outlet at home. A problem may arise if you do not have enough power outlets for a workout. 

2. Electric treadmills require regular maintenance. Regular cleaning and lubrication of belt and deck.

3. Electric treadmills can be expensive compared to manual treadmills.

Manual vs Electric Treadmill: Health Benefits

1. Both manual & electric treadmills provide an excellent cardio exercise program to help you improve cardiac and lung functions as well as improve general fitness levels. Manual treadmills can be harder for users as they have to take more time to maneuver the belt. This can offer more intense training however it can affect the joints as well. 

2. Electric treadmill offers incline and decline features that target different muscle groups and help burn more calories. 

3. An electric treadmill has a motor that is inherently lower-impact than other treadmill models. No movement is necessary for the belt, and the lower body might be a distraction during a workout.

Manual vs Electric Treadmill: Price Comparison

But boy are these treadmills expensive? Among the best luxury models, I discovered were approximately $3,000. I'd avoid doing it without a budget in your favor. 

Manual flatbed treadmills however are very cheap and easily available. Many automatic cars will be under $500, but durability is at stake.

Electric treadmills have varying prices that differ. You can find models at any price range from less than $500 or several thousand such as the Bowflex treadmill 22.

Manual vs Electric Treadmill: Technology Differences

Electric treadmills usually have technological features. Popular additions in this area are LCD screens with LED lights, preset and interactive workout programs, heart rate monitors, incline increases, speed adjustments, and automatic speed changes in pre-made workouts and sound systems connected via your smartphone or tablet. 

Electric treadmills are more robust and well-built than manual treadmills and can support heavier use.

On the other hand, manual treadmills lack advanced features and are cheaper than electric treadmills. Most manual treadmill models do NOT need any electrical power and this reduces these elements in the equation.

Final thoughts

There are fewer treadmills that offer more power and more features, however, many motorized treadmills have better design features than manual ones. 

Manual treadmills with curved belts are in the earlier category. They rival the most popular motorized treadmills in strength and cost.


1. Do manual treadmills work well?

The study shows treadmills may cause more stress. They also offer better training for the ground run. The manual treadmill is less energy-consuming than its motorized counterpart.

2. Is it harder to use a manual treadmill?

What kind of workouts burns the most calories? However, the exercise requires some time to do the motor-less treadmill. Takacs explains the treadmill requires more effort and more muscle for the cycle of steps.