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Since I’ve started Garage Gym Reviews, I’ve always been asked questions about the best squat rack or the best dumbbells. More recently, people want to know what manual treadmills to put in their home gyms. Generally speaking, this is a pretty pricey purchase and one that people want to get right.
I decided to compile my top favorites after running, walking, sprinting, and doing HIIT treadmill workouts on quite a few. If you’re interested in seeing both my favorite electric treadmills and non-motorized treadmills, check out my best treadmills for a home gym piece.
Best Manual Treadmills for 2023
- My Top Pick: AssaultRunner Pro
- Best Budget Manual Treadmill: Grit Runner by Tru Grit Fitness
- Best Manual Treadmill for Running: TrueForm Trainer
- Best Manual Treadmill for Walking: Sunny Health and Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
- Best Manual Treadmill for Athletes: TrueForm Runner
- Best Basic Manual Treadmill: Xebex Runner Smart Connect
My Top Pick: AssaultRunner Pro
The AssaultRunner Pro is a popular piece of equipment among CrossFit athletes, but it can also be used for the novice athlete to anyone who just likes to go for a run. It is a non-motorized treadmill that is completely powered by the output of the athlete. In other words, to get the belt started, you have to start running on it. The AssaultRunner Pro’s curved design enables the athlete to run with proper running form and technique, which reduces the risk of injury. This treadmill comes equipped with built-in wheels in the front and a handle on the back making it easily portable. The steel handrails on each side of the Runner do come in handy especially for those who are new to running on a treadmill built to move based off of a person’s power output. The belt that is used on the Assault Runner is heavier causing it to spin faster than what it would feel like if you were running on a road. This is a sturdy machine, made with a lot of steel for increased durability. Lastly, the AssaultRunner Pro includes a UV-resistant console. The digital console keeps track of your time, calories, speed, distance, watts, and pace.
Good for: Someone looking for a great value manual treadmill that’s easy to use
- 9 built-in programs
- 60-inch deck good for long stride
- Attached wheels and handle make for easy transport
- Solid monitor with variety of stats
- Average warranty at five years frame and three year parts
- Plastic on the side of the treadmill is prone to cracking
- Imported and not made in the USA
In terms of manual treadmills, the AssaultRunner Pro hits the mark for being a great value. It’s no secret that these pieces of cardio equipment can be really pricey, and the AssaultRunner Pro is about $3,000. However, this is on the affordable side of manual treadmills and has a lot to offer.
I’m an especially big fan of the monitor that takes inspiration from the Assault AirBike and includes nine built-in programs the AssaultRunner Pro features. These include quick-start, competition mode, target heart rate, target time, target distance, target calories, custom intervals, 20/10, and 10/20 intervals.
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This manual treadmill is a big hit with me especially because it’s versatile – running, walking, and sprinting are all a breeze on the AssaultRunner Pro. If you’re someone who likes doing sprinting intervals, you’ll probably find that the belt spins quite fast on this treadmill, which makes it ideal for this kind of activity.
The AssaultRunner Pro is a fairly portable motorless treadmill at only 280 pounds. It also has wheels and a handle attached to help you easily move the machine around your garage gym. I was able to move it by myself fairly easily, but you could always grab a friend or family member to help, too.
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One of the major draws on this machine is the large, 60-inch running surface. This means you can feel confident if you’re someone with a bigger stride. Some of the manual treadmills have very short decks, which only make sense for walking because you can’t take a full stride. This is a big advantage for anyone interested in improving their jogging, running, or sprinting.
The warranty provided is average – 5 years frame, 3 years parts, and 150,000 miles belt. It isn’t the worst, but I think it could be better. However, the more expensive AssaultRunner Elite does have a longer warranty but it comes with an increased price tag.
Learn more on my AssaultRunner Pro review.
Best Budget Manual Treadmill: Grit Runner by Tru Grit Fitness
Grit Runner by Tru Grit Fitness
Good for: People who want a curved treadmill for cheaper than most
- Affordable price point for a manual treadmill at under $2,000
- Lifetime warranty on the belt
- Six resistance options
- Bare bones LCD console
- Wide gaps between the slats
- Lots of plastic that doesn’t seem particularly durable
The Grit Runner by Tru Grit Fitness is one of the most affordable curved manual treadmills on the market. Sold on Walmart.com, this treadmill is right at $2,000 and includes free delivery, which is good considering it is 415 pounds (shipping would be expensive).
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My favorite thing about the Grit Runner is the thick rubber tread. You also get a lifetime belt warranty on this treadmill, which is a huge plus. Plenty of higher end manual treadmills don’t have that guarantee so that’s nice to see on a budget friendly option.
I like the Grit Runner for walking and running, but be warned: it is super loud if you try to sprint on it. In fact, it might be the loudest manual treadmill I’ve ever come across, so keep that in mind. It is also not designed to help you improve your running form like the TrueForm Trainer and Runner.
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The Grit Runner does include resistance options, which can be seen on higher end treadmills like the TechnoGym SkillMill, although I wish they offered more resistance than what’s currently available.
Something I’m not crazy about (but is unsurprising for the price) is the heavy use of plastic everywhere. The machine feels very wide and the shrouds wrap around the transportation wheels, which causes it to hit the ground when moving. I feel like they could have been a little more conservative with their use of plastic.
To learn more, read my TruGrit Runner review.
Best Manual Treadmill for Running: TrueForm Trainer
TRUEFORM Trainer is lighter weight and easier to use. The Trainer is an affordable, rugged, quality built solution for any commercial training facility or home gym. The included display keeps you informed on your pace, speed, distance, time. The display is compatible with Polar heart rate monitors. An optional Bluetooth display is available.TRUEFORM is the industry leading curved non-motorized treadmill. It's the least steep curve on the market, which promotes good form and allows you to easily control your speed. TRUEFORM is the most natural running surface when compared to running outdoors.The proprietary Responsive Belt Technology (RBT), reacts to every subtly in your movement; balance, posture, hip position, foot strike and more. The TRUEFORM requires no power. All the power comes from you, responding to your pace allowing you to go from a walk to a jog, to a sprint, to a stop. Instantly. You will feel when your body is not in the optimal position for running or walking. Long term use of the TRUEFORM will promote better movement patters improving overall health and wellness. TRUEFORM is proven to reduce impact stress which reduces the risk of injury.The simple design of this unique, non-motorized treadmill is also what makes it one of the most effective devices for developing proper running technique. Unlike standard electric treadmills, the TrueForm Runner from features an innovative curved deck that is controlled 100% by the movements and force of the user. There are no on/off switches or complex buttons and settings to worry about. It’s a manually operated treadmill that helps train and reward technically-sound posture, balance, and cadence. Set your own limits or push right past them.
Good for: People looking to improve their running form
- Designed to help you run properly and strike midfoot
- Balanced treadmill belt and grippy rubber make it ideal for endurance or sprint work
- Stable machine
- Uses lots of plastic
- 5-year warranty on frame, parts, and materials
- Simple LCD display with basic heart rate monitor
If you’re someone who struggles to run with proper mechanics in mind, the TrueForm Trainer might be a good option for you. Due to the structure of the slightly curved deck, you’re forced to engage all parts of your body to effectively run. Be warned: if you heel strike, you won’t last long on the TrueForm, as it’s much more difficult to run this way.
I’ve included the TrueForm Trainer on this list because it is the more affordable counterpart to the TrueForm Runner. For a commercial setting, the all-metal, made-in-America TrueForm Runner is my suggestion, but most home gyms would be better off with the lower-priced Trainer. There are a few differences between the two, mainly having to do with the construction and warranty.
Speaking in terms of manual treadmills, the TrueForm Trainer is on the lighter side at 270 pounds. This means you can more easily maneuver it around your home gym. I also like that there is a user weight capacity of 400 pounds because it makes the machine a more inclusive choice for different people.
The TrueForm Trainer is made of thick, black plastic. Although I’m not a huge fan of equipment constructed out of plastic, the steel frame is very solid. It uses a welded frame with hundreds of bearings for the belt to ride. I think the plastic will crack over time, but the actual treadmill itself should hold up fine to regular cardio workouts.
Check out my TrueForm Trainer review.
Best Manual Treadmill for Walking: Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
Best for Walking
The Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a way to get a low-impact but effective cardio workout at any time while saving money. At under $200, this manual treadmill will go as fast as you can walk, and is set at a fixed 13.5 percent incline for an additional challenge. Incline walking has been shown to increase the number of calories burned during a cardio session, and can also help tone lower-body muscles.If you're someone who doesn't have a lot of space, you'll appreciate the compact footprint and the ability to fold the treadmill, and stand it up, when it's not in use.The shorter deck may not be great for taller people, and it only has a maximum user weight of 220 pounds.
Good for: People who want a manual, low-impact cardio option
- Sells for under $200
- Compact footprint and can be folded
- Fixed 13.5 percent incline
- Max user weight of 220 lbs
- Short deck
- Three-year warranty
Some people just prefer walking over running, or can’t do the latter due to an injury. No matter, that’s what the Sunny Health and Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill is for. Like the other options on our list, this treadmill will go as fast as you go, which may not be too fast due to the 13.5 percent incline.
The incline is a huge plus for us, because it provides an extra challenge for users while still allowing them to go at lower speeds than they would on a running treadmill. Incline walking has been shown to increase your metabolism and tone your lower-body muscles.
And for those who are tight on space, this walking treadmill comes with a compact footprint and can be folded. The shorter size means people with longer strides may not be able to use this, but for the average person it should be just fine.
Our only other complaint about this treadmill is that it has a maximum user weight of 220 pounds, and that it only comes with a short three-year warranty (not that you should expect much more from a product that costs under $200, but it’s still a little annoying.)
Best Manual Treadmill for Athletes: TrueForm Runner
TRUEFORM is the industry leading curved non-motorized treadmill. It's the least steep curve on the market, which promotes good walking, running, and sprinting form. The shallow curve also allows you to easily and safely control your speed. TRUEFORM is the most natural treadmill running surface when compared to running outdoors.The proprietary Responsive Belt Technology (RBT), reacts to every subtly in your movement; balance, posture, hip position, foot strike and more. The TRUEFORM requires no power. The TRUEFORM belt responds to your pace, allowing you to go from a walk to a jog, to a sprint, to a stop. Instantly. You will feel when your body is not in the optimal position for running or walking. Long term use of the TRUEFORM will promote better movement patterns improving overall health and wellness. TRUEFORM is proven to reduce impact stress which reduces the risk of running injury.TRUEFORM offers three models all with steel frame construction, a heavy-duty, impact absorbing slatted running surface, easy to move built in guide wheels and the best part, TRUEFORM requires NO MAINTENANCE!TRUEFORM Runner is overbuilt for a super smooth superior ride and engineered for a lifetime with solid steel construction inside and out. Each Runner is custom made and hand welded in the USA for unsurpassed elite quality. With the most subtle cure on the market TRUEFORM Runner is the most responsive treadmill available. Proven to Burn 44% more calories and reduce running injury and impact stress factors. Custom colors and tread surfaces are an available option for the TRUEFORM Runner. The standard display is bright LED which indicates pace, speed, distance, time. An optional Bluetooth display is also available.Available Options:Custom Color: RAL Powder CoatCustom Tread - Artificial Field Turf: Green, Black, Purple, YellowCustom Tread - Running Track: RedPerformance AdapterGear Specs:Length/Width/Height: 64" x 36" x 63"Weight: 350lbsRunning Surface: 17" WideDigital Display: Bright LEDPower: Rechargeable BatteryCustom Paint/Logos: OptionalFrame/Covers: Formed & Welded 7 Gauge SteelHandrails: Formed Steel TubingBelt: Polyurethane with Steel RadialTread Surface: Bonded Kraiburg ThermolastTread Lower: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon Made by Smith and WessonBearings: 106 Sealed Steel Ball BearingsPulleys: Turned & Tooled Solid AluminumPaint: Zinc Plated Undercoat/TexturedPowder Coat Finish - Black StandardAvailable OptionsCustom Tread - Artificial Field Turf: Green, Black, Purple, YellowCustom Tread - Running Track: RedPerformance Adapter
Good for: Individuals who want a long-lasting manual treadmill
- Solid steel construction
- Made in the USA
- Little to no maintenance needed
- Lifetime warranty
- Can customize the tread
- Just under $6,000
- Basic monitor
- 340 lbs
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the TrueForm Runner is essentially bomb-proof. Okay, I haven’t actually put that theory to the test but this thing is a dang tank. The TrueForm Runner is made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty on both the frame and tread itself. This makes the almost $6,000 price tag seem a little more bearable if you know how much the company stands behind the durability of their product.
The reason the TrueForm Runner is our top pick for athletes is due to the ability to customize the running tread, with a turf and a textured surface called Naboso. Of course, these features cost more but we’re willing to bet people trying to stay at the top of their game are willing to pay that price.
The 7-gauge steel features careful welds done by people who clearly know what they’re doing. At 340 pounds, this machine is not exactly lightweight, but that isn’t a surprise because of the all-metal construction. If you were impressed by the max user weight on the TrueForm Trainer, prepare to be blown away by the Runner: It can hold a maximum weight of 500 pounds, which is hitting well above the industry standard of 300 pounds.
I own both the traditional black-on-black TrueForm Trainer as well as a powder-coated red version with black turf. I like that you have the option to customize your colors for both the tread and the body to match your gym’s aesthetic. Of course, this costs extra money, but if you’re already willing to spend $6,000 on a manual treadmill, the extra couple hundred probably won’t matter much to you. The options for the body are white, black, or custom. You can also pick different tread materials – rubber, turf, running track, or Naboso surface.
Just like the TrueForm Trainer, the Runner has a slightly curved design to force you to run correctly. While some people complain about it being too difficult to use, I like that it makes me correct my form. Who wants to run poorly and strain muscles or cause joint strain for no reason? Not me.
I honestly have very little bad to say about the TrueForm Runner. However, I do wish the monitor was upgraded. In today’s landscape where companies like Peloton and NordicTrack are strapping massive monitors to treadmills, I think TrueForm would do well to improve this part of their treadmills.
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I’ve actually been a proud owner of the TrueForm Runner for over three years and it has never once needed any maintenance, which is genuinely shocking considering I had one in my training studio. TrueForm was absolutely not playing when they made this bad boy. If you can afford it, I definitely recommend it.
Read my full TrueForm Runner review.
Best Basic Manual Treadmill: Xebex Runner Smart Connect
The Xebex Runner is a motorless, self-generated, curved treadmill. Using no electricity, and instead running on the energy produced by the runner's own movement. Beginners and competitors can run at desired speed and change output at will with no maximum or minimum speed setting. Our 10mm thick, low-impact, shock-absorbing, vulcanized rubber running surface provides the runner with more comfort and less impact during long distance runs and all-out sprints. Proven to burn 30% more calories than traditional, motorized treadmills.We designed the Xebex Runner to have the largest "sweet-spot" and best responsiveness available. We define the "sweet-spot" as the areas on the treadmill users will run to maintain, increase, or decrease speed. The larger the "sweet-spot," the easier it is for runners to keep the same pace, increase speed into an all-out sprint, or decrease the speed to a walk or low-speed jog as needed. The responsiveness of the Xebex Runner comes in handy when users are attempting to pick-up speed, maintain speed, or decrease speed. Users will find that the Xebex Runner's slats are very responsive to the user's speed during high, medium, and low speeds. During sprints, the user will feel safe and stable with our precisely engineered deck, instead of a feeling of slipping or that the treadmill is moving faster than the user's legs and feet can move. During low speed jogs or walks, users will feel the high-quality bearings and slight angle produces a smooth, comfortable feeling that allows users to easily maintain speed like running on a track, instead of a feeling of "walking in sand."Built with Long-Distance Runs and HIIT (high intensity interval training) in mind, The Xebex Runner console keeps you informed on your Time, Calories burned, Distance, Speed, Watts, RPM, and Pace, with a number of heart-rate and interval programs available. Compatible with a variety of mobile fitness apps for your smartphone as well as group leaderboard software.
Good for: Those who want a simple manual treadmill
- Bluetooth compatible with various apps (Kinomap, GymTrakr, Zwift, Selfloops Group Training, PerfPRO Studio)
- 10 year frame, 5 year parts, 2 year console warranty
- Low maintenance
- Made with a lot of plastic
- Spins fast and feels unnatural
- Resistance is lighter than I’d like
If you’re someone who likes the idea of owning a manual treadmill but still wants to be able to utilize programming and apps, the Xebex Runner Smart Connect might be for you. The just under $4,000 machine is Bluetooth compatible with apps like Kinomap, Zwift, PerfPRO Studio, Selfloops Group Training, and GymTrakr.
The console attached to the Xebex is one of the better ones I’ve personally seen with a manual treadmill. You can set event mode to use the treadmill for timed competitions or even view one of eight different performance metrics after a workout. I was actually pretty impressed with the functionality.
I’ve had this manual treadmill for a few years, and it has required very little in the way of maintenance. The warranty for the treadmill is also pretty decent, so I feel pretty confident about the overall durability and longevity.
Something I’m not crazy about – the spin of the belt is really quick and doesn’t exactly make me feel like I’m simulating real running conditions. This is fine if you’re into overspeed training, but if you’re not, the belt may move too quickly for your taste. The quick spin of the belt combined with light resistance makes this manual treadmill move real fast real quick.
How We Tested the Manual Treadmills
When testing a manual treadmill, I make sure to try the machine out with a variety of the best treadmill workouts – sprinting intervals, endurance runs, farmer’s carries, and power walking. It’s important for me to try a variety of different workouts with each treadmill since the shape and belt can have an effect on one’s stride. I also analyze things like warranty, materials used, dimensions, cost, and assembly in order to get the full picture of each manual treadmill.
Be sure to check out our guide to help you fix your treadmill here.
What is a Manual Treadmill
A manual treadmill is a piece of cardio equipment where the tread is powered by the runners’ stride instead of electricity. Unlike the treadmills most people are used to, they have no motor, but the advantage to that is you basically get unlimited speed. The belt will move as fast as you do.
Benefits of Using Manual Treadmills
Wondering why you should take the plunge and purchase a manual treadmill? Here are a few of my top reasons:
- Less maintenance than a motorized treadmill
- Can help you correct improper running form
- User controlled which means you won’t reach a level your manual treadmill can’t handle
- Simple to use
- No electricity required
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How to Choose the Best Manual Treadmill for Your Home Gym
Some manual treadmills are constructed using heavy-duty steel while others are made with plastic to save on costs for the consumer. You’ll have to decide what you prefer plus consider the durability factor.
Is it important to you to have programs available on the monitor? Do you have to have a phone or water bottle holder? Does the manual treadmill have to be able to be transported or folded? Do you care if the treadmill has an LCD monitor? These are all questions to ask yourself when choosing a manual treadmill.
This is probably obvious, but don’t choose a manual treadmill that is too large for your space. I would suggest carefully measuring the area you plan to put this piece of cardio equipment before checking out the options I’ve mentioned. This will help you know which will fit in your space and which will not. You can also consider some of the foldable options I’ve put at the bottom of this piece but be warned: they are far less sturdy and durable than their heavier, non-foldable counterparts.
As much as I’m sure we all wish we could blow $10,000 on a manual treadmill without so much as batting an eye, this just isn’t realistic for most of us. You’ll need to consider your budget or even watch out for sales during periods such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Black Friday. I also recommend checking on our site as GGR often posts coupon codes for readers to save on their home gym equipment.
You’ll want to make sure the treadmill stays steady as you start to get into a stride.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Manual Treadmills
Is a manual treadmill good for walking?
Yep, almost any manual treadmill on the market is suitable for walking regardless of flywheel speed or magnetic tension levels.
Which manual treadmill is best?
My personal pick for the best manual treadmill is the AssaultRunner Pro. However, I’d recommend taking a look at my guide on how to find the best manual treadmill for your home gym. Everyone is looking for something different and it’s important to keep your own needs in mind when making a decision.
Are manual treadmills quiet?
This is a subjective question but if you’re walking on a non-motorized treadmill, it is pretty quiet. However, if you’re sprinting, the treadmill will definitely make noise, which should be expected.
What is the cost of a manual treadmill?
Manual treadmills can vary greatly in cost depending on the shape, size, deck dimensions, monitor, and spin rate. Non-motorized treadmills are a category of gym equipment that I believe you (generally speaking) pay for what you get. They can range from $200 all the way to almost $10,000. I’m not saying you should or need to spend that much money on a manual treadmill, but you won’t get the type of quality with an Amazon manual treadmill that you might with an Assault Fitness option.
Do manual treadmills have incline levels?
Generally speaking, you won’t find different levels of incline on a manual treadmill. If the running deck is flat, you can sometimes manually change the incline. Manual treadmills that are curved do not have different incline positions. However, some manual treadmills like the Grit Runner do have adjustable resistance settings.
There aren’t as many manual treadmills on the market as you might be used to seeing with motorized treadmills. We’ve been on some of the treadmills listed below but not all of them, and we are giving our opinion based on research. Here’s a look at some others of note based on different categories:
Foldable Manual Treadmills
EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill: In terms of folding treadmills, the deck of this one is slightly larger than others but still does allow for easy storage. However, with a weight limit of 220 pounds, this is well below the industry standard of 330 pounds. It does have different incline adjustment options.
Fitness Reality TR3000 Maximum Weight Capacity Manual Treadmill: This foldable manual treadmill is under $300 and features a primitive-looking LCD screen and eight levels of magnetic resistance. The portability aspect of this treadmill is appealing and it does have a natural incline. There are two basic-looking handrails on the side.
Curved Manual Treadmills
Woodway Curve: For those looking to improve their sprinting, this manual treadmill provides stellar overspeed training for almost $6,000. The handlebars on this treadmill are curved to form a semi-circle.
Technogym Skillmill Curve: If you’re willing to pay just over $9,500, this curved manual treadmill is great. It has multi-drive technology (plus compatible accessories) that allows you to do both pushing and pulling motions. However, that’s insanely pricey for home use in my opinion.
Flat-Belt Manual Treadmills
HiTrainer ATP+ Non-Motorized Treadmill: Calling professional and college athletes: this almost $8,000 flat-belt manual treadmill aims to make you more explosive. It has a lot of cool data to help you improve acceleration but that comes with a hefty price tag.
ProGear 190 Manual Treadmill: If you’re someone looking for a manual treadmill to simply walk on, this might be a good option for you. It is budget friendly at around $200 but it cannot withstand jogging or running.
Sunny Health & Fitness Asuna High Performance Manual Treadmill with Heavy Duty Dual Flywheels: This treadmill has a manual incline in order to give you a full body workout. The max weight it can support is 440 lb, which is above the industry standard.
Hybrid Manual Treadmill
NordicTrack Commercial X22i: This treadmill has an electric motor but can also be switched to manual mode. I like that sled grips and a push bar are included. This is a good option for people who want to stick their big toe into the world of manual treadmills. There are incline options on this hybrid treadmill that can force your full body to get involved in your workout. If you’re interested in this unique treadmill, it is worth noting that you should not store this in your garage – you won’t be able to use your warranty if you do.
In this Schwinn 810 treadmill review, I’ll detail all there is to know about this budget-friendly machine. Did I like it? Find out by clicking the link. Read more