Which is Best For You?
When people go to buy a treadmill, one of the first questions they ask is “Do I want a manual or motorized treadmill?” There are lots of both types of treadmill on the market in a wide range of price points.
What’s the difference between the two?
The Basic Difference Between Manual Vs Motorized Treadmills:
With a manual treadmill (or non-motorized treadmill) , you push the belt with your feet. The action of your feet against the treadmill moves the belt.
With a motorized treadmill you keep pace as the treadmill motor moves the belt for you at a pace you set electronically.
Manual Vs Motorized Treadmills – Advantages of Each:
These tend to be cheaper (since you’re not paying for the motor) and can range from $200 to $600.
They also tend to be smaller, take up less space and are easier to move (since they aren’t as heavy as a motorized treadmill).
Some people have theorized that a manual treadmill burns more calories than motorized treadmills since you supply the power to move the belt. This is unfortunately NOT TRUE.
Because you supply the power, unless you are in top athletic shape, you will tend to move slower and get tired more easily. This results in less calories burned on a manual treadmill.
Plus, the action of getting the belt to move initially and keep it moving can cause a strain on the joints.
It’s also difficult to run on a manual treadmill so if you want to start a jogging program or train as a runner, a manual treadmill would be a waste of money.
These tend to run you a bit more and can range from $600 up to $6000. However, they tend to last longer and are built to take more of a beating.
Also, because the belt moves for you at varying speeds, this motivates you to keep up and actually results in more calories burned (vs. a manual treadmill).
You can easily adjust the speed and incline on most motorized treadmills, usually while still on the machine. This makes it much more convenient and saves the strain on your joints.
A final advantage to the motorized treadmills is that they tend to have more options and features (iFit compatibility, numerous built-in workout programs, scrolling information consoles). This makes your workout more interesting and possibly even enjoyable as you can watch your progress.
This means that you will probably actually use the treadmill more often which again results in more calories burned and a better body over the long term.
Unless you’re in extremely good physical shape (or have a very limited budget), a manual treadmill is not the best choice. If you want maxium calorie burning and convenience, a motorized treadmill is your best choice.
The biggest motivation to choose a manual treadmill is the low cost. However, you can find a quality motorized treadmill for a relatively low price if you know where to look.
For example, if you buy direct online straight from the manufacturer you can save up to 45% in some cases of what you’d pay at a store.
You can also usually get some great deals when you buy online and know where to look.