Should You Buy A Manual Treadmill? Or a Motorized One?

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Manual Vs Motorized Treadmills – 3 Main Differences


treadmill buyerIf you’re buying a treadmill, one of the first things you’ll want to determine is whether you want a manual or a motorized treadmill.

Motorized treadmills have belts that are powered by built-in motors under the front treadmill hood.

They move the belt forward at a certain speed (set by you) and it’s your job to keep up with the treadmill.

On the other hand, with manual treadmills, you’re the one that powers the belt. By using your leg muscles you push the belt forward. There is no speed to set on the console – it’s all up to you baby!

So which is best for you? Well, here are the 3 main differences between these two types of treadmills:

#1 Price

manual treadmillManual treadmills – because they don’t have to include a motor – will naturally cost a lot less than a motorized treadmill.

Most manual treadmills start around $299 and up for example, whereas motorized treadmills will start around $499 and up.

So if you’re on a budget, you may decide that a manual treadmill is the best option for you. You can shop some of the most popular manual treadmills here.


#2 Calorie Burning

Most people are tempted to think that – because you power the belt yourself – that a manual treadmill will help you burn more calories.

However this is not true.

proform 1450 treadmill reviewYou actually burn more calories with a motorized treadmill. Why?

Because when you power the belt yourself, you actually go a lot slower than you would with a motorized machine – which forces you to keep up.

Plus, manual treadmills generally do not come with incline – which is a big factor when it comes to burning calories.

So without the incline intervals in your workout, you’ll burn a lot less calories on a manual treadmill.


#3 Workout Options

Manual treadmills tend to give you a lot less when it comes to workout tools and toys.

manual treadmill consoleYou generally only get the bare minimum in terms of workout feedback (i.e. distance, time, etc.) with a manual treadmill.

Contrast this with built-in workout programs, incline and decline options, visual racetrack displays, web browsers and even built-in TV’s that come with motorized treadmills and you’ll see there’s a big difference.

So generally a motorized treadmill is a lot more fun to use – which means you’ll stay on it for longer and you’ll end up burning more calories.

treadmill console

So those are 3 main differences between manual and motorized treadmills. Everyone is different and has different needs.

Personally however I prefer a motorized treadmill because it helps you get more out of your workout time – and a good motorized treadmill can last you for years, making it a much smarter investment than a health club or a cheap manual treadmill.

Some of the top rated motorized treadmills this year are the Nordictrack 1750, Proform 995 and the Sole F80.