Manual vs Electric Treadmill

Manual vs Electric Treadmill: Choosing the best

A treadmill promises to provide the perfect cardio workout. However, as with many other products in the market, there are different types of treadmills, all offering unique benefits and unique drawbacks. 

When buying a treadmill, you often have to make a choice between the two primary types: manual vs electric treadmill. With a manual treadmill, you are the engine that gets it moving, while the electric one has a powered motor that runs it.

The ultimate choice points back to you on your specific needs. This article will compare electric vs manual treadmill, helping you choose the better option.

treadmill manual vs electric

What is a manual treadmill?

A manual treadmill uses manual operability, where the action of your feet against the deck moves the belt. This means that the belt only moves when you move. Unlike in a motorized treadmill, the user automatically set their desired pace with each step. For this reason, there isn’t a minimum or maximum speed on manual treadmills.

People that often use manual treadmills double them up as walking desk treadmills. This is because they can comfortably move while working, helping them avoid or alleviate the impacts of sitting down working the whole day. 

Top brands like Walkolution provide top-notch walking treadmill desks to help you have a more productive and healthier work life. 

Pros of Manual Treadmill

Despite the fact that your movement is needed for a manual treadmill to work, there are many benefits that come with it. This is the most preferred type of treadmill for those more concerned about their health in a busy environment.

Here are a few reasons why you should get a manual treadmill: 

  • Muscle-powered

When using a manual treadmill, you provide all the motive power, and by doing so, you exercise your lower body without having to run at faster speeds. It is also more likely you will burn more calories per mile, a different case with doing so on an electric treadmill. Studies show, that users burn around 40% more calories on manual treadmills.

manual vs electric treadmill
  • Move at your own pace

You control the speed of your treadmill by putting in more or less effort. This makes your exercise even more enjoyable than trying to keep up with a moving belt. 

  • No electricity needed

You can use a manual treadmill anywhere without worrying about a power outlet. These products do not need a power source, such as electricity, for them to work. This means that you can use them anywhere that they can fit. On top of that your electricity bill at the end of the year will be much more favourable, as the power consumption of electric treadmills can add up very quickly.

  • More safety

A manual treadmill stops when you stop. As with a motorized treadmill, this is a better safety feature as you don’t have to put on any safety cords to stop it in case you slip or fall.

Cons of Manual Treadmills

Despite having appealing aspects like the low price tag, portability, and adaptability to your pace, manual treadmills also come with a few drawbacks. However, it would be prudent to note that depending on your specific needs, these drawbacks may or may not steer you to a motorized treadmill.

  • Fewer features

A manual treadmill does not have the advanced features you may find in electric treadmills. You may not find the built-in workouts, apps, or any other features that you fancy or are used to in electric treadmills. 

However, depending on the model you settle for, you can find some simple battery-powered displays that can show you basic information, such as the distance covered, elapsed time, calories burned, and a pulse sensor. 

Nevertheless, when trying to decide between manual treadmill vs electric treadmill, it would be best not to look at the extra features in a manual treadmill that you would get from an electric treadmill. 

  • Joint stress

You may need some time to get used to a manual treadmill, especially if it is your first time using it. In the initial stages, straining against the belt might cause stress to your joints, which can be an issue if you have knee or hip arthritis.

  • Walk - no running

Most manual treadmills are often used for walking or jogging. This is why they are preferred when combined with a standing desk when working. Due to their shorter belts, you may not use them for a long-running stride. If you wish to run on a treadmill as part of your daily routine, this may not be the ideal choice for you.

a man on a manual walking treadmill

What is an Electric Treadmill?

An electric treadmill uses a powerful motor for consistent revolutions on the belt. The belt automatically rotates under your feet, facilitating the movement and making it easy for you to walk, jog, or run. These are the kinds of treadmills you will most likely find in commercial gyms, and they also come with a plethora of features. 

manual treadmill vs electric

Pros of an Electric Treadmill

Most people who go for an electric treadmill do so due to its extra features and assistance when exercising. There are also other advantages why you can opt for an electric treadmill: 

  • Speed and incline adjustments

You can easily choose your preferred speeds to help you achieve your goals. Most electric treadmills also allow you to adjust the incline to help simulate going uphill or downhill. 

  • Best for longer training sessions

Manual treadmills are generally used for either shorter workouts or long-time jogging or walking. However, you can use the electric treadmill for long endurance sessions. 

  • Suitable for all sorts of users

Whether you need something to walk, jog, run fast, or prepare for a marathon, an electric treadmill will have something to fit your specific needs.

manual treadmill vs electric treadmill

Cons of Electric Treadmill

Even though there are many options available in the market and with various features that would keep you happy, there are a few drawbacks that electric treadmill users may have to put up with, including:

  • Electricity needed

You will need electricity for you to use a motorized treadmill and the costs can add up very quickly. If you are thinking about using an electric treadmill in combination with a desk as a treadmill desk for around 200 days in a year and 6 hours a day

  • Safety hazard

You do not set the pace on an electric treadmill; it does. When you get out of sync with the treadmill, you can easily slip or fall, which can become a safety hazard. 

Although you can put on the safety cord to stop the treadmill in case you fall, there are still instances where users get physically hurt. When deciding between manual vs electric treadmill, the safer bet will be the manual one, if safety is the most important thing you look out for. 

  • High costs

Electric treadmills are often quite costly — more than manual treadmills. Although you may get some cheaper options, cheap electric treadmills are often underpowered, which can be a poor investment.

  • Makes noise

An electric treadmill always makes a certain amount of noise. This is unavoidable as the belt drags across the surface and is driven by a motor. This may be distracting if you need to focus or if you are in the same room with other people. 

  • Less control

With an electric treadmill, you have less control of your movement, and the treadmill will force you to always walk or run based on the pre-set speed. 

Picture this, if you are using a treadmill desk and walking as you work, there are times when you are fully immersed in the work that you may subconsciously stop walking. With an electric treadmill, this may not happen, as you are constantly reminded that you need to keep walking, making you not focus fully on your work.

curved manual treadmill vs electric

Which one is the best choice for you?

The choice for the best type of treadmill ultimately falls on you — considering your specific needs and budget. 

If you are looking for something to use for multiple workouts (walking, jogging, and running), have a good budget, and don’t mind having limited areas for your workouts, then an electric treadmill may be an option for you. 

On the other hand, if you are looking for a treadmill that can impact your health without running so fast, a treadmill that you can use even while working, then a manual treadmill may be ideal for you. 

With many working people more concerned about their health in the current decade, the introduction of the walking treadmill desk came at an opportune time. You can now exercise your body, burn calories, and stay in good shape, all while still working. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about productivity, as the Walkolution Standing Treadmill Desk allows you to focus more on your work.

Nevertheless, you can choose your treadmill manual vs electric as they all have a number of positives and negatives that you can consider before making the ultimate decision.

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