Electric Vs Manual Treadmills: The Great Debate

So you’re thinking of buying a treadmill. Great, there are a ton of options out there now that you are bound to find the perfect option for yourself, but that means it can often get overwhelming and hard to make a real decision.

For instance, do you go for the manual or electric treadmill? Which option would be better suited for your personal needs?

As a general rule, If you are seeking the easiest and most fluent machine to perform, then an electric treadmill will be the best option. If you are seeking a more economical and "blue-collar" option that reduces overall cost and just gets the job done, then a manual treadmill will work better.

Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Better for you?

There are pros and cons to each type of treadmill, so it's important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each before making a decision. Electric treadmills tend to be more efficient, but they can be more expensive to buy and maintain.

Manual treadmills are cheaper to buy, but they may require more effort on your part to keep them running smoothly. Ultimately, it's up to you which type of treadmill is right for you.

To help keep you from over-paying, I researched sale prices of over 100 different treadmills and shared them in my Treadmill price guide

nordictrack 1650

1: Cost and Value: Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Better?

The cost and value of electric vs manual treadmills is a hotly debated topic. On one hand, electric treadmills are typically more expensive than manual ones.

However, many people believe that electric treadmills are worth the extra money because they offer a more comfortable workout and longer lifespan.

Some people also argue that manual treadmills can be less effective in terms of calorie burn, making them a less desirable choice for those looking to lose weight. 

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference – whichever type of treadmill you choose, just make sure you're aware of the different features and benefits each has to offer.

-You May Like: Best Treadmills under $500

2: Space and Efficiency: Is Electric or Manual Treadmill Better?

When it comes to space, both electric and manual treadmills offer the same amount. However, when it comes to efficiency, electric treadmills are much more efficient.

Manual treadmills require more energy to move the same amount of weight as an electric treadmill, which can lead to higher energy bills.

NordicTrack Commercial Series

  • -3 to 15 % OneTouch incline control; 12 MPH SMART OneTouch speed control; Your iFIT Trainer auto-adjusts your speed and incline to meet trainer requirements and match real-world terrain
  • Innovative SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist means your treadmill can fold up after your run for compact, simple storage; 22” x 60” tread belt for leg and elbow space; Runners Flex cushioning
  • 300-pound user capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty; 62.75” H x 39.25” W x 81.25” L
Sale
NordicTrack Commercial Series Treadmills + 30-Day iFIT Family membership
  • 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; Stream live & on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Add up to 5 users; Elite trainers adjust your equipment ($39 value)
  • Immersive 10-inch interactive HD touchscreen streams on-demand iFIT workouts directly to your equipment and provides easy stats tracking; SMART-Response motor for effective running and cardio training
  • -3 to 15 % OneTouch incline control; 12 MPH SMART OneTouch speed control; Your iFIT Trainer auto-adjusts your speed and incline to meet trainer requirements and match real-world terrain
  • Innovative SpaceSaver design with EasyLift Assist means your treadmill can fold up after your run for compact, simple storage; 22” x 60” tread belt for leg and elbow space; Runners Flex cushioning
  • 300-pound user capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty; 62.75” H x 39.25” W x 81.25” L

3: Weight Capacity: Are Motorized Treadmill or Manual Treadmills Better?

When it comes to weight capacity, both electric and manual treadmills have their benefits. Electric treadmills typically have a higher weight capacity than manual treadmills, meaning they can accommodate a greater amount of weight.

This is great if you're looking to use the treadmill for heavier workouts, or if you have a large number of people in your household who want to use it at the same time.

Manual treadmills, on the other hand, are typically less expensive than electric treadmills, making them a good option if you only need the machine for one person or a small group.

SB Fitness Health Runner Curved Manual Treadmill

  • Non-Motorized - Place anywhere, no power outlet required
  • Speed Controlled by User - Walk, jog and run at your own IN10CT. User is the motor and burns up to 30% more calories than a motorized treadmill
  • Reduce Shock - Rubber slats and PU belt reduces harmful impact to joints, muscles and ligaments
  • Easy to Move - Transport wheels and rear handle makes treadmill easy to move to any location
  • Performance Monitoring - Track your time, distance, calorie, watt, pace and heart rate
Sale
SB Fitness Equipment CT400 Self Generated Curved Commercial Exercise Workout Treadmill with 3 Resistance Levels and Front Digital Display
  • EFFECTIVE TREADMILL: Self-generated curved treadmill is powered by the body's natural fat-burning furnace to burn more calories than a traditional treadmill
  • VERSATILE WORKOUTS: Designed for running, walking, sport-specific training, and HIIT with no maximum speed
  • 3 RESISTANCE LEVELS: 3 levels of resistance that tax the body and help you become stronger
  • QUICK SPEED ADJUSTMENTS: Immediately adjusts to speed changes and is ideal for high-intensity training and sprinting
  • DIGITAL DISPLAY: Digital display shows time, distance, speed, calories, and total miles of use to easily see workout details

4: Speed: Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Better?

When it comes to speed, electric vs manual treadmills offer two very different options. Electric treadmills typically run at a much faster speed than manual treadmills, making them great for those looking to get a quick workout.

Manual treadmills, on the other hand, typically offer a slower speed that is more suitable for those looking to get a more comprehensive workout.

5: Incline: Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Better?

The debate between electric and manual treadmills is a long-standing one. Proponents of each type of treadmill claim that their machine is better for different reasons.

Electric or motorized treadmills are often seen as being more efficient since they use less energy than manual machines.

Manual treadmills, on the other hand, are often favored by people who are more physically active because they allow for a more varied workout. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference for which type of treadmill is best for you.

6: Noise: Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Quieter?

When it comes to treadmill noise, both electric and manual treadmills can produce some pretty loud noises. However, electric treadmills tend to be louder than manual treadmills. I still highly recommend a treadmill mat

In fact, one study found that electric treadmills produce 82% more noise than manual treadmills. This means that if you're looking for a quiet workout, you'll want to go with a manual treadmill instead of an electric one.

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness NO. 074-M Treadmill Mat, Medium
  • DURABILITY: This heavy-duty, durable and waterproof exercise mat prolongs the life of your equipment by helping prevent floor and carpet dust from entering belts and mechanical parts
  • HEAVY DUTY MATERIAL: Made with high density PVC foam material for greater durability and comfort. Absorbs vibration to protect your fitness equipment and floor surfaces from scratches.
  • SPACE SAVER & ERGONOMIC: Simply roll your equipment mat and store away in a utility closet or under the bed when not in use
  • NON-SLIP: High -density, non-slip performance mat provides unmatched durability and cushion. The unique design and textured material create an excellent balance of toughness and stability
  • CONVENIENT SIZE & WATERPROOF: The fitness floor mat is perfect for indoor cycling bikes and elliptical. The mat is also water proof and sweat resistant, so you can easily clean with a damp cloth. Foldable Mat

7: Ease of Use: Are Electric or Manual Treadmills Easier to Use?

When it comes to ease of use, electric or motorized versus manual treadmills are generally considered to be two different types of machines. Manual treadmills tend to require more effort from the user in order to operate, while electric treadmills are typically much easier to use. This is due in part to the fact that electric treadmills do not require any external power source, meaning that they can be used anywhere there is an outlet.

Additionally, many electric treadmills come with features such as built-in speakers and monitors that make them more comfortable and convenient for use. These extra features drive the price up on the motorized treadmill. 

Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Treadmill

  • MULTI-GRIP HANDRAILS: Sweat-resistant rails support many grips, so you can push against the tread and run or walk in various running positions.
  • AMPLE TREAD DECK: The larger running surface is 53L X 16W providing support and room for exercise. The manual treadmill measures 59L X 27H X 55W inches with a max weight of 300 lbs. 13.5% Fixed recline.
  • MANUAL TREAD: This fitness machine requires zero electricity and is completely self-powered. The adjustable magnetic resistance and fixed recline allow you to enjoy a versatile and muscular power-based cardio workout. 31L x 27W x 58H Folded Dimensions.
  • 16 RESISTANCE LEVELS: Fixed recline and 16 tensions provide the opportunity for a full-body cardio workout. Challenge your body with speed or with high levels of magnetic tension and push your performance to the next level.
  • DUAL STRUCTURE FLYWHEELS: Creates stable and smooth responses for the user. The weight of flywheels requires a higher energy demand from the user to get the belt started. Increases speed, power output, and tensions.
Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill with 16 Levels of Magnetic Resistance, 300 LB Max Weight and Dual Flywheels - SF-T7723, Black
293 Reviews
Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill with 16 Levels of Magnetic Resistance, 300 LB Max Weight and Dual Flywheels - SF-T7723, Black
  • MULTI-GRIP HANDRAILS: Sweat-resistant rails support many grips, so you can push against the tread and run or walk in various running positions.
  • AMPLE TREAD DECK: The larger running surface is 53L X 16W providing support and room for exercise. The manual treadmill measures 59L X 27H X 55W inches with a max weight of 300 lbs. 13.5% Fixed recline.
  • MANUAL TREAD: This fitness machine requires zero electricity and completely self-powered. The adjustable magnetic resistance and fixed recline allow you to enjoy a versatile and muscular power-based cardio workout. 31L x 27W x 58H Folded Dimensions.
  • 16 RESISTANCE LEVELS: Fixed recline and 16 tensions provide the opportunity for a full-body cardio workout. Challenge your body with speed or with high levels of magnetic tension and push your performance to the next level.
  • DUAL STRUCTURE FLYWHEELS: Creates stable and smooth responses for the user. The weight of flywheels requires a higher energy demand from the user to get the belt started. Increases speed, power output, and tensions.

How Do I Ultimately Decide between a Manual Treadmill vs Electric

When it comes to choosing between an electric or manual treadmill, the most important factor to consider is your individual fitness goals.

motorized treadmills are typically faster and more efficient than manual treadmills, but they can also be more expensive. If you're looking for a moderate workout that's easy on your wallet, a manual treadmill may be the better option.

On the other hand, if you're aiming to get the most out of your treadmill workouts, an electric model may be better suited for you. It's up to you to decide which type of treadmill is right for you.

After weighing up the pros and cons of both types of treadmills, it can be difficult to decide which one is the best for you. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a treadmill.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2022-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API