The debate between manual and electric or motorized treadmills is one that has been around for a while. Each type of treadmill has its own advantages and disadvantages.

For example, manual treadmills are typically more affordable than electric treadmills. Electric treadmills, on the other hand, tend to be more feature-rich than manual treadmills.

So, Manual vs Electric treadmill, which type of treadmill is right for you?

Manual Treadmill

Manual treadmill

To work, a manual treadmill does not require an electrical outlet. Their belts are designed to move with users when they run or walk on them. This gives them more control over their speed and movement.

Training on a treadmill manual is very similar to running outdoors. The belt won’t move unless users put their feet on the treadmill deck.

Manual treadmills can also be classified into two categories. There are two types of manual treadmills: a flat belt and a curved one. As the name implies, curved treadmills have a curved belt and individual rubber slats.

The belt is flexible and can move with you to help users run as fast as possible. Flat-belt treadmills have a flat deck. They are best suited for walking or light jogging.

A manual treadmill allows users to control the belt’s rotation at their own pace. Because the legs are propelled, these treadmills provide intense exercise for the lower body. According to one study, people who use manual treadmills expend 30% more energy than those who train on an electric treadmill at the exact same speed.

Another study evaluated motorized treadmills and Overground training against curved belt treadmills. The study found that self-moving treadmill users have higher heart rates when training at the same speed.

Manual treadmill: The Pros and Cons

Manual Treadmill Pros

Manual treadmills are more strenuous than electric treadmills. They have certain advantages, especially for walkers.

Manual treadmills are more convenient than electric machines and can be carried around easily. A non-motorized treadmill also has other benefits.

1. Non-electric

As the name implies, manual/non-motorized treadmills are not equipped with an electric motor. This cardio equipment doesn’t require electricity. This will allow you to save money on your electricity bills. You can also use them wherever you like, as they don’t need to be near an outlet.

2. This is an Excellent Choice For Lower Body Exercises

Manual treadmills, as I mentioned earlier, are powered by muscle. Users must deliver all power to the treadmill, which aids in working the lower body. This will allow you to burn more calories per mile. It will also allow you to adjust the speed of your moving belt based on how hard you train.

3. Simple HIIT Treadmill Workout

For HIIT, athletic trainers use a non-motorized curved belt treadmill. HIIT is a combination of moderate and high-intensity cardio training.

4. Safety – Increased

A manual treadmill’s moving belt responds to the user’s actions. To prevent falling and slipping, you don’t need a safety belt. This also gives you control of the speed of the moving belt. This makes them safer around children and pets.

5. Cheap

Manual treadmills are more affordable than motorized/electric treadmills. A flat-belt manual treadmill can be purchased for $100 and $500. However, curved-belt/self-propelling treadmills can cost around $3000.

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6. Compact Design

Manual treadmills are still in style, despite being old-fashioned. Because they take up less space than an automatic treadmill, they are more suitable for smaller spaces.

Manual Treadmill Cons

Manual treadmills offer many appealing features, including portability and affordability. They do have their drawbacks, especially for runners. These are the cons of manual treadmills.

1. Features are Limited

The features of manual treadmills are not as extensive as those in electric models. They don’t come with pre-programmed workouts or compatible apps. They only give basic information about users’ progress.

2. Joint and Muscle Stress

The padding on manual treadmills, especially the flat-belt ones, is minimal, putting more strain on your joints. These machines are also muscle-powered, so you will need to work harder to get them moving. Users with knee or hip arthritis may have problems due to these issues.

3. Weaker

Flat-belt treadmills are more expensive because they have a weaker construction. They also have noise and belt slippage. These machines are less durable and have a limited weight capacity. They are not recommended for intense workouts.

This is not the case with a curve treadmill. Curved treadmills are more durable and of higher quality.

4. There is No Incline Variability

Manual treadmills have incline options that can be changed, but it is not easy to do since you must get off the exercise machine. This means you will only have one incline level for each training session.

This incline is typically steep at around 10%. This makes it difficult for treadmill users to keep their hands on the handrails while running or walking.

Do you want to compare treadmills with other exercises? Take a look at our post: Treadmill Vs Elliptical Vs Bike.

Electric/ Motorized Treadmill

Electric treadmill

An electric treadmill has an inbuilt motor that moves the running tread belt. The running belt’s constant movement facilitates user action. You can simply get on the machine, start running, jogging or walking and then you’re done.

Electric treadmills can be adjusted to adjust the speed of the running belt to your liking. Some advanced treadmills can even set up programs to change the speed of your running belt for a particular duration. This allows you to use specific training methods with the machine.

It is vital to consider the size of your motor before purchasing an electric treadmill. A treadmill with an engine that produces at least 1.5 Continuous Horsepower (CHP) is a good choice. You can opt for a larger motor if the machine is intended to be used at higher speeds or for heavier workouts.

Electric Treadmill: The Pros and Cons

Electric Treadmill Pros

Modern gyms and trainers highly recommend electric treadmills for health and fitness. These machines can be used for running, walking, or jogging. They also have multiple options that allow you to customize the device to your specific needs. They also have other benefits, such as:

1. Reduced Strain and Stress On The Joints and Muscles

A motorized treadmill is easy to use and requires no extra effort. The machine offers a safe and effective workout that doesn’t strain your joints or muscles. Because the rotating belt allows you to move without needing muscular effort, A treadmill training session is easier on your muscles and joints than a traditional one.

2. Speed and Inline Adjustments During A Workout

An electric treadmill also allows you to control your speed and incline digitally while you train. Some models also have decline capabilities, which will enable you to run downhill. This property can be used to mimic outdoor running or walking.

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The belt of motorized treadmills is also moving at a constant speed. This allows you to do different workouts at the same time.

3. Advanced Features

Sole Treadmill F85 motorized treadmills have many features not available on manual treadmills. They have many unique features, such as LCD screens, inbuilt fans, pre-programmed workouts, etc. They also provide detailed digital figures to show users their progress.

4. Ideal For Longer Training Sessions

Manual treadmills can be used for short workouts, but electric treadmills can last longer. Both runners and walkers can use them. The treadmill motor is included to make the machine more stable than manual treadmills.

Electric Treadmill Cons

A motorized treadmill is not as reliable as a manual one. These are the most common problems with electric treadmills.

1. Requires Electricity

An electric treadmill is equipped with an inbuilt motor to rotate the running belt. The engine must be connected to a power source to function. This could result in a significant increase in your electricity bills. It must be placed near a wall outlet for the machine to work.

2. Safety Concerns

An electric treadmill is not like a non-powered one. It doesn’t stop when it stops. The motor rotates the belt and can cause you to trip or fall.

Being injured when you train on an electric treadmill is much higher than when you run on a manual one. To ensure safety, keep the magnetic key close to your body while using a motorized treadmill.

3. Cost

Motorized treadmills offer more features than other non-motorized exercise equipment. These features come at a steep price. A quality electric treadmill can be purchased starting at $1000.

You can also find motorized for as low as $500. Their motors are often underpowered. They also have fewer options and less robust construction.

4. Bulky

Electric treadmills are bulkier and more difficult to transport due to their bulk. They are not the best option for those with limited space.

5. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is necessary for electric treadmills to function correctly. This will also ensure consistent performance. The units could malfunction or become unusable if they are not maintained.

Check out our Top Best Treadmill For Home on the Market.

Manual Vs Electric Treadmill – Deep Comparison

manual treadmill vs electric

Construction and Quality

Flat-belt manual treadmills can be more expensive than walking speed and are less durable due to shorter belts. They are more durable and well-constructed and can withstand hard training sessions.

Many electric treadmills can be constructed and rated according to their features and price. The most high-tech treadmills are equipped with many parts and are well-constructed and powered. On the other hand, premium electric treadmills are more reliable and high-quality than curved treadmills.


Both flat and curved manual treadmills have minimal features. The consoles of manual treadmills, both curved and flat, are very limited and show only speed, duration, and distance. More electric treadmills are being released with more giant touchscreens and higher-tech capabilities.

You can also track your progress with iFit memberships. Many treadmills allow you to stream Netflix, mirror, or pair with your tablet or phone content and even match it. Motorized treadmills can be used to track heart rate or perform pre-programmed exercises.

Electric treadmills can be set to incline at 15%. Both speed and incline are also adjustable. Flat-belt manual treadmills can also incline, but they aren’t always as adjustable when inclined.


To operate an electric treadmill, you will need a safety key. You can attach the other end of your key to the treadmill so that if you fall, the belt will stop and prevent any further injury. Your electric treadmill can be dangerous if the key is not attached to your clothing.

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However, manual treadmill belts stop moving when you do this. A safety key is not required. The belt will move as fast as your children do, so you don’t need to worry about it moving too fast.

Experience Level

Both flat and curved manual treadmills have specific uses, while electric treadmills can work for everyone. Curved treadmills may be more appealing for athletes and advanced runners because of their unlimited speed capabilities.

However, casual runners might prefer the more cushioned deck and incredible speed offered by electric treadmills.


Many motorized treadmills have deck cushioning that helps to reduce the impact on your joints and provide greater comfort. Manual treadmills require more effort to move the belt. A curved treadmill requires you to exert more effort to keep it moving. This can lead to a higher metabolism than an electric treadmill.

Although curved treadmills encourage a more natural running stride than motorized treadmills (motorized treadmills are less efficient), bad form and posture can result from too much use of the handles. Curved treadmill users often rely on the handles to help them power the belt.


Many electric treadmills can be folded for easy storage if you have limited space. Flat manual treadmills can also be folded. Curved manual treadmills don’t fold.


Manual treadmills are generally less expensive than electric models because they have fewer features—a manual treadmill costs between $100 and $500 on average. However, electric treadmills can cost thousands of dollars.

Surprisingly electric treadmills are more popular than manual treadmills, despite their high price tags.

Storage & Portability

There are many sizes for both motorized and manual treadmills. Manual treadmills tend to be smaller and lighter than automatic ones. Motorized treadmills have seen increased popularity due to their electric motor and other parts.

However, electric treadmills are heavier and more challenging to store and transport. On the other hand, manual treadmills are very easy to store and move. The best part is that most flat-belt manual treadmills can be folded. You can keep them under your bed or in the closet when they are not being used.

Workout Impact

Deck cushioning is a feature of most electric treadmills. It provides comfort and reduces the impact on the joints. Non-motorized treadmills don’t have this feature. Manual treadmills can be more taxing on the joints and muscles than non-motorized treadmills, requiring you to move the running belt.

Which is Better: Manual or Motorized Treadmill?

Both electric and manual treadmills offer cardiovascular training sessions. The best treadmills will vary depending on your needs and fitness goals.

A manual treadmill, for example, is an excellent choice for those on a budget. It is also more energy-efficient, takes up less space and is easy to maneuver. An electric treadmill is a perfect choice if looking for advanced features and various workout options. It also offers exceptional performance and more versatility.

You should now be able to compare the pros and cons of each treadmill to find the one that suits you best. Check out the differences between each treadmill to find the best one for you.

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