HomeBest of 20246 Best Manual Treadmills in 2024: Top Picks for Running and Walking

6 Best Manual Treadmills in 2024: Top Picks for Running and Walking

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Manual treadmills have soared in popularity due to their performance benefits and hassle-free operation. In particular, curved treadmills can improve your running form, lead to better results, and put you in complete control.

We’ve tested numerous manual options from the industry’s top brands – it’s our favorite type of treadmills. We’ve used them for walking, running, sprinting, and HIIT workouts. Here are some of the things we considered when making our list (more below):

  • Performance: How smooth is the treadmill? How does the belt feel? Is it better for running or walking?
  • Shape: Is the treadmill curved or flat? If curved, how steep is the angle?
  • Technology: Does the monitor track key stats? Is it easy to operate? Does it offer bluetooth connectivity?

In this article, I’ll share our top picks for the best manual treadmills. Whether you’re an experienced runner or just someone looking to boost their cardio, we’ve got you covered.

What’s the Best Manual Treadmill?

We found the AssaultRunner Elite to have the best blend of performance, build quality, and technology. Its curved platform and bearing system are ideal for running and sprinting, while its warranty is one of the best in the industry.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: AssaultRunner Elite

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Best for Runners: Trueform Trainer

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Best Budget: AssaultRunner Pro

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Best with Resistance: Xebex AirPlus Runner

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Best Monitor: Rogue Woodway LTG Curved Treadmill

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Best for Walking: Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill

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Best Manual Treadmill Overall: AssaultRunner Elite

Best Overall
AssaultRunner Elite

The Assault Runner Elite is a premium manual treadmill with a curved deck for optimal running form and performance. It has a best-in-class monitor and a useful storage section.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 69.9″ L x 31.7″ W x 64.4″ H
  • Weight: 289 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Warranty: Lifetime belt, 10-year frame, 3-year non-wear parts, 1-year labor


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Summary

The AssaultRunner Elite is my top pick overall. This is a well-made curved treadmill with solid performance, nice features, and an advanced monitor.

The front curve on this treadmill is around 9 degrees, which is within the sweet zone for most people. It’s slightly higher than the Trueform treadmills, so it produces a little more momentum. It also has a heavier belt that can generate quicker acceleration.

AssaultRunner Elite - Best Manual Treadmill Overall

While you can run long distances with AssaultRunner Elite just fine, it excels at max-effort sprints and high-intensity training. The belt is durable and glides smoothly over 100 bearings. I also appreciate that the belt is slightly wider than others and that it includes wider side platforms in case you need to stop quickly.

Another great feature of the Elite is the monitor. It’s one of the best, just behind the Rogue/Woodway LTG, and includes several notable features. In addition to tracking basic stats like distance, speed, time, etc., it has interval and target programs. You can also connect external heart rate monitors via Bluetooth/ANT+ and create splits.

AssaultRunner Elite Monitor and Storage

One downside is that the elbow connectors on the arms don’t line up perfectly, leaving a gap. Thankfully, it doesn’t impact performance. It’s a tradeoff I’m willing to accept, given the dual storage compartments – a rare feature among curved treadmills.

With a higher weight rating than most, a great warranty program, and a strong brand behind it, the AssaultRunner Elite checks a lot of boxes.

Pros

  • Longer belt is better for long striders
  • Great for high-intensity sprints
  • Excellent monitor with great functionality
  • Storage area for drinks, phones, etc.
  • Heavier weight rating than most
  • Strong warranty

Cons

  • Plastic arm connectors don’t fit perfectly
  • Takes up more space than some

Read Our Full Review of the AssaultRunner Elite


Best Manual Treadmill for Runners: Trueform Trainer

Best for Runners
Trueform Trainer

The Trueform Trainer is a high-end curved treadmill that is manually propelled to encourage proper gait and provide an authentic running experience.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 64″ x 31″ x 63″
  • Weight: 270 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years on frame, tread, and display


Check Price at Trueform Check Price at Rogue

Summary

While the AssaultRunner Elite is well-rounded and great at sprints, the Trueform Trainer is ideal for longer-distance runners.

This curved treadmill has a shallower front slope and a lighter belt to reduce momentum and recruit more user force. Trueform claims its treadmills can achieve 44% more caloric burn than flat treadmills, compared to around 30% for steeper-curved options. Although I can’t confirm that, this machine does feel slightly more challenging.

Trueform Trainer - Best Manual Treadmill for Runners

The monitor on the TrueForm Trainer is fairly boring, but it tracks the most relevant stats and has some built-in programs. I prefer other monitors over it, including those from Assault, Woodway, and Xebex. The arm assembly also doesn’t include any storage capabilities.

Trueform Trainer Monitor Display

At 64″ long, this is one of the most compact curved manual treadmills on the market. If you’re tight on space, this is a nice benefit. Conversely, less running room may not be ideal for ultra-tall runners.

If you’re a distance runner or someone who wants the most natural feeling curved treadmill, the Trueform Trainer is hard to beat. It’s more expensive than some, but it comes with a solid warranty and a respected brand.

Pros

  • Slightly shallower curve reduces momentum and is better for long runs
  • One of the most space-friendly options
  • Very smooth operation with more bearings
  • Solid warranty program

Cons

  • Monitor lacks the features of others
  • No storage for drinks, phones, etc.
  • More expensive than some

Read Our Full Trueform Trainer Review


Best Budget Manual Treadmill: AssaultRunner Pro

Best Budget
AssaultRunner Pro

The AssaultRunner Pro is a budget-friendly curved treadmill with solid specs, great performance, and a strong reputation.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 69.9″ x 31.7″ x 64.4″
  • Weight: 289 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Warranty: 150,000 miles on belt, 5 years on frame, 3 years non-wear parts, 1 year on labor


Check Price at Assault Check Price at Amazon

Summary

The AssaultRunner Pro is Assault Fitness’ entry-level curved treadmill. It’s built similarly to the Elite but with a few differences to consider.

Sizewise, these treadmills are the same size, but the Pro has a lower weight rating of 350 lbs (vs. 400). The front curve is the same size, making the Pro great for sprints. Like the Elite, it’s also very good for long runs, but it still lags behind the Trueform Trainer.

The Pro uses the same monitor as the Elite but doesn’t have a UV-resistance screen. Unless you’re using this in bright sunlight, it won’t make a huge difference. Operationally, it does all the same things, including stat tracking, programs, and functions.

AssaultRunner Pro - Best Budget Manual Treadmill

In terms of the warranty, the Pro isn’t as strong as the Elite. With 150,000 miles on the belt and 5 years on the frame, it’s still a solid warranty, but not best-in-class.

As for price, this is a high-value manual treadmill at under $3,000. While you can find less expensive curved options, their quality and warranties are lower. Their resell value also isn’t as good.

Although I think the Elite is better overall, if you’re not concerned with the warranty, there isn’t too much of a difference between the two. Therefore, you can save ~$500 and get a great curved treadmill in the AssaultRunner Pro.

Pros

  • Good price for a quality curved treadmill
  • Functional, easy-to-use monitor
  • Ergonomic design is good for sprints and runs
  • Good warranty program

Cons

  • No storage compartments
  • Not as durable as the Elite version

Best Manual Treadmill with Resistance: Xebex AirPlus Runner

Best for Resistance
Xebex AirPlus Runner

The Xebex AirPlus Runner is a unique curved treadmill with built-in magnetic resistance and a multi-grip handle assembly.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 71″ x 35″ x 65″
  • Weight: 352 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years on Frame, 3 years on parts, 2 years on monitor


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Summary

The Xebex AirPlus Runner is a unique manual treadmill. In addition to a curved deck, it has built-in magnetic resistance for simulating sled movements.

The most notable feature of this treadmill is the 8 levels of magnetic resistance. With a simple lever, you can adjust the difficulty within seconds, and the feedback is instant. Some other magnetic manual treadmills exist, but a common complaint is that the resistance doesn’t change much from level to level.

Xebex AirPlus Runner

That isn’t the case with the AirPlus Runner. The difference between level 1 and level 8 is quite substantial. Xebex includes a unique handle assembly that allows multiple hand positions. I like to lean into the vertical handles and drive through my feet at a high resistance.

The AirPlus Runner’s monitor is one of the most feature-rich on the market. It tracks time, distance, calories, speed, pace, and more. You can perform intervals, target programs, and splits. It also has Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity. It’s essentially the Assault Fitness monitor but not as nice-looking, in my opinion.

Xebex AirPlus Runner Monitor and Display

The biggest downside of the Airplus is that the base resistance exceeds traditional curved treadmills. In other words, it’s not great for running. However, since you have better control over the belt (it’s harder to move), it’s ideal for walking and excellent for sled simulations.

Ultimately, this is a niche manual treadmill. It’s on the more expensive side because of the features, but if you’re looking to add resistance, it’s my top recommendation.

Pros

  • Unique magnetic resistance system
  • Multiple hand positions for sled movements
  • Solid monitor with good functionality
  • Includes water bottle holder and phone clip

Cons

  • Not as good as others for basic running
  • Larger than most

Read Our Full Xebex AirPlus Runner Review


Best Monitor: Rogue Woodway Curve LTG

Best Monitor
Rogue Woodway Curve LTG Treadmill

Woodway is a premier treadmill manufacturer. The Curve LTG has an outstanding monitor and an ideal deck slope for running and walking.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 67″ x 34″ x 70″ 
  • Weight: 297 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Warranty: 10 years on frame, 5 years on belt, 3 years on all components, 1 year on labor


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Summary

Woodway is among the most respected brands in the treadmill industry. They make numerous treadmills, including motorized, flat, and manual curved options. In partnership with Rogue Fitness, the Curved LTG treadmill is now easily accessible without having to get a quote.

Aside from the ergonomic design, the best feature of the LTG treadmill is the monitor. Woodway specializes in stylish, functional, tech-savvy monitors, and this one fits the bill. This monitor tracks key stats and offers various programs, including custom intervals.

Rogue Woodway Curve LTG Treadmill

Its most unique setting, however, is the group/circuit mode. With this, you can track stats for up to four users and summarize the data on-screen. The interface is engaging and looks more refined than others in this class. The arm assembly also includes two drink holders and a flat surface for storing your devices and more.

Rogue Woodway LTG Treadmill Monitor

With a similar slope design to the Trueform, the Curve LTG is great for running g and walking. The TPU slats are durable and comfortable underfoot, making it especially good over long distances.

Priced under $4,000, the LTG is affordable relative to Woodway’s other offerings. It also includes a good warranty program.

Pros

  • Best-in-class monitor with excellent features
  • Woodway reputation is outstanding
  • Accessible storage compartments
  • The curve is appropriate for running, jogging, and walking

Cons

  • More expensive than most
  • Weight rating is less than some

Best Manual Treadmill for Walking: Sunny Health Manual Walking Treadmill

Best for Walking
Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill

The Sunny Health Walking Treadmill is a budget option with magnetic resistance, multiple handle positions, and a 300 lb weight capacity.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 59″ x 27″ x 55″
  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Warranty: 3 years on frame and 180-days on parts and components


CHECK PRICE

Summary

Sunny Health and Fitness is a budget, no-frills equipment manufacturer. They offer a few different manual walking treadmills, with this one being their mid-tier offering. They have an ultra-budget version; however, I don’t recommend it for quality concerns and limited features.

This flat manual treadmill offers 16 levels of built-in magnetic resistance and operates via two flywheels. While the resistance is a nice feature, it won’t create the same stimulus as higher-end curved models.

Sunny Heath Walking Manual Treadmill

I like that this Sunny Health model has a multi-grip handle assembly depending on your preference and intensity.

This treadmill has a higher 300 lb weight capacity than the basic option, which is beneficial for structural support. It also folds up, making this a great solution for small spaces. With a 59″ overall length, it folds into a compact 31″x27″ footprint.

Ultimately, this is a basic manual treadmill. I don’t recommend it for runners, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for a simple walking solution.

Pros

  • Space-friendly, fold-up design
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Multiple hand positions
  • Basic monitor also tracks heart rate
  • 3 incline levels
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Lower quality than others
  • Not built for running
  • Lower weight rating than curved treadmills

Types of Manual Treadmills

Types of Manual Treadmills

Curved Treadmills

Best for: Running and sprinting | Durability: Excellent | Monitor: Great | Price: $2,000+

Curved treadmills are the most common type of manual treadmill and are what I recommend to most people. Their ergonomic design makes for comfortable and efficient running. While they’re ideal for experienced runners, they can effectively teach proper running form to anyone.

Because of their unique shape, curved treadmills require a greater learning curve than flat options. They also aren’t as good for walking, so I recommend them most to those who plan to run and sprint in their training.

Flat Manual Treadmills

Best for: Walking | Durability: Fair | Monitor: Fair | Price: $175-$1,000

Flat manual treadmills are similar to traditional treadmills but without a motor. Despite their name, many of them can be set at various incline levels. Some will also include magnetic resistance for increased difficulty.

These are ideal for walking because of their lighter construction. Most have lower weight ratings and limited technology, but they’re far less expensive than curved and hybrid treadmills.

Hybrid Treadmills

Best for: Smart tech fans | Durability: Fair | Monitor: Good | Price: $3,000+

Hybrid treadmills are electric but with an option to disengage the motor for user control. These are less common than others and come with more maintenance issues.

I generally don’t recommend these, which is why you won’t find one on my list of the best manual treadmills. They’re expensive, and their quality simply isn’t very good.


Benefits of Manual Treadmills

Benefits of Manual Treadmills

Your Running Form will Improve

One of the biggest benefits of a curved manual treadmill is that it encourages better running form. The ergonomic shape at the front of the treadmill promotes a more efficient and joint-friendly stride. Heel strikers will notice an immediate benefit to running on a curved treadmill.

It also naturally puts the body into a more stacked posture, creating a more optimal running pattern than on a flat surface. One study showed a reduction in impact acceleration, indicating running on a curved treadmill can reduce bone stress and strain (1).

They Burn More Calories

Numerous peer-reviewed studies have concluded that running on a curved manual treadmill elicits a greater physiological response than on a flat motorized treadmill. Higher oxygen levels, heart rates, and ratings of perceived exertion indicate greater cardiovascular benefits. (2, 3, 4)

Because your force is causing the belt to move on a manual treadmill, you’re able to recruit more muscles and burn more calories. Some curved treadmills claim you can burn as much as 44% more calories than on a motorized treadmill.

You’re in Control

When you change the speed on a motorized treadmill, there’s a delay for the belt to speed up or slow down. This can be frustrating, especially when you’re performing intervals or need to otherwise make fast adjustments.

On a manual treadmill, you’re in complete control. You can instantly adjust the speed and intensity by simply running faster or slower.

They Don’t Require Electricity

Unlike a motorized treadmill, manual treadmills aren’t powered by electricity. In addition to saving on your electric bill, you have much more control over where you put your treadmill. You can even take it outside to get some vitamin D.

Also, due to the electrical components on a motorized treadmill, some companies will void the warranty if you keep it in a garage. That isn’t the case with manual treadmills, making them even more versatile.

Easier Maintenance

The beauty of the manual treadmill likes in its simplicity. With more durable belts, beefier construction, and fewer electrical components, maintenance is far easier. In fact, you may never need to service a manual treadmill.

Further reading: Manual vs Electric Treadmills


How to Pick a Manual Treadmill

How to Pick the Best Manual Treadmill

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when buying a manual treadmill:

Curve

Most high-quality manual treadmills are curved for optimal running form and performance. However, not all curves are created equal.

Flatter front curves reduce momentum and increase the force required to rotate the belt, making them great candidates for runners. Conversely, steeper front curves increase momentum and are better for sprinting and high-intensity training.

Rear curves should be flatter to encourage a natural terminal stride. If it’s too steep, more rear force is required to continue the rotation, which isn’t optimal.

Monitor

Although manual treadmills don’t require electricity, they include battery-powered monitors to track important stats. Most monitors include speed, pace, distance, and time, but others are more comprehensive, including programs, functions, splits, etc.

Size

Let’s face it, treadmills aren’t small, especially compared to air bikes and other forms of conditioning. That said, some manual treadmills are more economically-sized than others.

Measure your space to ensure you have ample room for a treadmill without sacrificing the flow of your gym. Most manual treadmills are at least 5 feet long and 2+ feet wide.

Weight Rating

High-quality manual treadmills will have at least a 350 lb weight rating, while lower-quality options can be much less. Keep in mind that the stated weight rating is for running.

The weight rating for walking is as much as double, and some companies will state that. For example, the Xebex AirPlus runner has a running weight rating of 350 lbs and a walking one of 700 lbs.

Durability

Premium manual treadmills should have a steel frame for rigidity and support. Most include heavy-duty plastic coverings, but some, like the Trueform Runner, are fully welded.

The tread/belt on curved treadmills should be constructed of dense thermoplastics for strength, comfort, and performance. Flat walking manual treadmills typically include traditional belts, which require more maintenance.

Accessories

Manual treadmills don’t normally have the fancy accessories you may find on a motorized treadmill, like speakers, built-in fans, etc. In fact, some only include the monitor.

However, others may include storage compartments, drink holders, and cell phone clips.

Warranty

When it comes to expensive fitness products like manual treadmills, warranties are important to consider. Most offer individual warranties for different parts of the treadmill. For instance, 10 years on the frame and 5 on the belt.

Additionally, some companies may use mileage instead of years on certain components, mainly the belt. I recommend reading reviews to see if users have had to make warranty claims and, if so, what the process was like.

Price

As with everything, budget is a big consideration. Quality manual treadmills start around $2,000 and can get as high as $9,000+. I’ve found the sweet spot to be between $3,000 and $4,000. At this price, you get a high-performing, durable machine with a strong warranty.

Resell Value

Curved treadmills generally retain their value very well, especially big names like Assault Fitness, Trueform, and Rogue. Since maintenance is easier and there are fewer electrical components, I’ve found manual treadmills to have significantly better resell value than motorized treadmills.


Honorable Mentions

  • Trueform Runner – The Trueform Runner is the premium curved treadmill from Trueform. Unlike the trainer, the Runner is built in the USA and includes a fully welded frame. You can also customize the colors, logos, and even add different types of belts. At over $6,000, it’s among the most expensive options, but you’re getting the best of the best.
  • Xebex Runner – The Xebex runner is the more economical curved treadmill from Xebex. This one operates similarly to the AssaultRunner Pro and doesn’t include magnetic resistance (Xebex AirPlus). It’s available at an attractive price and has a good overall warranty.
  • Grit Runner by Tru Grit – Like the Xebex AirPlus Runner, the Grit Runner has magnetic resistance. However, it only offers 6 levels vs. 8 and is longer by 7 inches. It’s quite a bit less expensive but only carries a 1-year warranty, which is why it didn’t make the main list.

FAQs About Manual Treadmills

  • Are Curved Treadmills Worth it?

    If you’re a serious runner, there are numerous benefits to owning a curved treadmill. They improve your form, produce better results, and don’t require electricity. They’re also more durable and don’t require nearly as much maintenance as flat, motorized treadmills.

  • Can You Walk on a Manual Treadmill?

    Yes, you can walk on a manual treadmill. Curved treadmills have a bigger learning curve and may require patience as you adapt your cadence. If you’re only looking to walk, I recommend a flat manual treadmill.

  • How Fast Can You Run on a Manual Treadmill?

    Technically, the speed of a manual treadmill is infinite since it’s controlled by the user and free of motors. Not only can you run faster, but you can adjust speed instantly, which isn’t possible on a motorized treadmill.


References

  1. Encarnación-Martínez A, Catalá-Vilaplana I, Berenguer-Vidal R, Sanchis-Sanchis R, Ochoa-Puig B, Pérez-Soriano P. Treadmill and Running Speed Effects on Acceleration Impacts: Curved Non-Motorized Treadmill vs. Conventional Motorized Treadmill. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(10):5475. Published 2021 May 20. doi:10.3390/ijerph18105475
  2. Schoenmakers PPJM, Crisell JJ, Reed KE. Physiological and Perceptual Demands of Running on a Curved Nonmotorized Treadmill Compared With Running on a Motorized Treadmill Set at Different Grades. J Strength Cond Res. 2020;34(5):1197-1200. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003571
  3. Bruseghini P, Tam E, Monte A, Capelli C, Zamparo P. Metabolic and kinematic responses while walking and running on a motorised and a curved non-motorised treadmill. J Sports Sci. 2019;37(4):396-403. doi:10.1080/02640414.2018.1504605
  4. Smoliga JM, Hegedus EJ, Ford KR. Increased physiologic intensity during walking and running on a non-motorized, curved treadmill. Phys Ther Sport. 2015;16(3):262-267. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2014.09.001
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.

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