A home gym is something that many people aspire to have. Having one available certainly makes life a lot easier than taking time out to travel to and from the gym several times a week.

Nonetheless, we don’t always want to have a room designated for fitness. Sometimes, it’s quite nice to have access to a means of keeping fit, without sacrificing too much space.

This is where a manual treadmill comes in. Portable and space-saving, these can be stored away in a cupboard when they’re not being used.

Therefore, if you’re starting on the journey to fitness, but are unsure how to fit a running routine into your lifestyle, read on.

Quick Product Roundup

Best manual treadmill
The Best Manual Treadmill 33

What is a Manual Treadmill?

A manual treadmill offers you the option to run, usually at an incline, in any room in your house. Most of them will be foldable into an upright position, so they can be easily stored and moved from room to room.

This makes them a lot less permanent than most electric treadmills, and considering how much cheaper they are, it’s less of a life investment and more of a temporary fixture for the odd workout here and there.

These types of treadmill work almost exactly the same as electric treadmills. However, instead of electricity and motors, they use your own leg movement and speed to work over a flywheel system.


What to Look for in the Best Manual Treadmill

Manual treadmills are a little different from electric ones. Nevertheless, when looking to buy one, the key features are exactly the same! Below are the elements I think are the most important to focus on.


Currently, many manual treadmills will cost $200 or less. If you’re just looking for an occasional machine, you shouldn’t need to spend any more than this.

Extra features will increase the cost, with some models being comparable to electric treadmills. Check out other treadmill reviews to compare.


Many of the manual treadmills have a narrower tread belt width than the electric ones. On average, the width will be 13.5 inches, although the top-end models may be wider.

Most of those available promise a foldable mechanism with wheels, enabling it to be moved and stored easily. This will allow you to work out in any room of the house, with ease.


Generally, a manual treadmill will not provide a very steep incline when compared to electric treadmills. Many will often be set to a specific incline, without an option to change it.

There are some options that offer a variable incline. However, breaking off during an intense workout to manually adjust the incline is not ideal. Therefore, a manual treadmill with a fixed incline might be the best.

Running Surface

It’s important that a manual treadmill is smooth and easy to use. You don’t want it sticking or slipping midway through a running session. A flywheel mechanism provides a constant, smooth movement.

Some models also offer you different settings of magnetic tension. This creates resistance, which will provide a further challenge to your stamina and cardiovascular fitness.

Some manual tradmill
The Best Manual Treadmill 34

The Five Best Manual Treadmills

So, now you have more knowledge about how a manual treadmill works, and what to look for when buying one, here are my top five manual treadmills for your perusal.

Our Overview

Offering many extra features, this EFITMENT adjustable incline treadmill is one of the more superior models in this list.

Not only does this manual treadmill offer easy transportation and storage, but a number of other functions. There are three angles of incline that can be set up to increase your cardiovascular exercise. Pairing this with eight levels of magnetic tension in the tread belt, you can really challenge your fitness levels.

An LCD monitor displays your heart-rate and BPM, and the scan function shows off your other stats in four-second intervals. This optimizes the hands-free experience, so you can remain focused as you run.

  • Three adjustable stages of incline, from 7 to 9 degrees.
  • LCD monitor.
  • Scan function with speed, distance, time and calories burnt shown on a monitor in intervals of four seconds.
  • Eight levels of magnetic tension.
  • Quiet, natural and unrestricted movement due to the flywheel mechanism.
  • Heart-rate and BPM monitor.
  • Foldable, with transportation wheels.
  • 220 pounds user weight capacity is low for a high-end model.
Our Overview

This manual treadmill seems to favor space-saving as its selling point. With a narrow tread belt and foldable mechanism, it can be easily stored. Its easy assembly also means it can be reassembled anywhere around the house, allowing a workout wherever there’s a free space.

With a built-in incline, this can elevate your workout (literally and metaphorically), pushing you to challenge your fitness level. The LCD monitor means you can keep track of your progress as you go.

Although you’re able to run on it, this treadmill is specifically designed for walking. With this in mind, it’s perhaps more geared to older fitness enthusiasts, who may not wish to impact their joints too much by running. However, it would still be useful for all ages, if you want to burn a few calories without leaving the house.

  • Space-saver design.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Easy assembly.
  • Foldable in an upright position for easy storage.
  • LCD monitor.
  • Flywheel mechanism.
  • One fixed, inclined, setting.
  • More geared to treadmill walking than running.
Our Overview

Another easily transported and stored treadmill, this model offers a quiet and smooth movement. Although it has a fixed incline, the eight levels of magnetic tension provide greater resistance for a more challenging workout. It is also suitable for anyone below the weight of 220 pounds.

With a multi-function computer display, you can view all the usual stats with an automated scanning function. This leaves you hands-free to steady yourself or aid your balance as you run.

  • Eight levels of magnetic resistance.
  • 15-inch wide tread belt.
  • Quiet and smooth movement.
  • Easily transported and stored, with wheels and folding mechanism.
  • Display monitor with scan function for speed, distance, calories burned, and time.
  • Fixed incline.
Our Overview

The Phoenix 98510 provides an addition, not seen on any of my other selections, of a drink holder and water bottle. Giving you instant access to liquid replenishment, you don’t have to lose your focus during a workout.

The flywheel mechanism enables you to run at a comfortable speed, as the machine will follow your lead. The single-button display allows you to view your stats as you go, so you can keep track of your progress.

You can also fold this machine up, to lock it in a vertical position. Again, like the others, this means it can be stored away, so is not a permanent fixture to your living room.

  • Single-button display, showing speed, distance, calories burnt, and time.
  • Foldable, and locking in an upright position.
  • Drink holder and water bottle included.
  • Smooth flywheel mechanism.
  • Narrow tread belt of 13 inches.
Our Overview

My final option is at the top end of the price range, but it definitely offers a lot more than the average manual treadmill. Alongside the usual foldable system, it provides a soft-drop mechanism to limit damage to your floor. Its weight capacity is also a whopping 300 pounds, and the tread belt reaches 16 inches wide.

Although it doesn’t offer a variety of inclines, it provides a 13.5 percent incline to challenge your fitness levels. The 16 resistance levels further this challenge by putting your cardiovascular muscles to the test. With a smooth and stable tread belt, and multi-grip, non-slip handgrips, it provides a comfortable and safe running experience.

Granted, it’s a similar price to many electrical treadmills. However, the fact that it has no plug makes it a lot more transportable. Couple this with the foldable mechanism, you can move it from room to room with minimal hassle, allowing variety to your workout environment.

  • 16 resistance levels.
  • Multi-grip, sweat-resistant handrail.
  • Three inches wider than most tread belts.
  • 300-pound weight capacity.
  • 13.5 percent incline.
  • 16-inch tread belt width.
  • Dual flywheel structure for added stability and smoothness.
  • Foldable, with a soft-drop system.
  • Heavy duty frame.
  • Fixed incline.

My Choice

My favorite has to be the EFITMENT adjustable incline magnetic manual treadmill. It is easy to see why I chose it, as It provides all the best elements you would expect from a manual treadmill.

These include foldable storage and wheels, alongside a stat display and ease of movement. It also provides three levels of incline and eight levels of magnetic tension, furthering your fitness experience.

Generally, a manual treadmill really isn’t a huge expense when compared to the electric ones on the market, unless you’re looking at the top-end models. It’s also a one-off cost which is likely less than an annual gym membership!


Johnny Gallagher

Johnny Gallagher is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.

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