Best Manual & Curved Treadmills | Our Top Picks for 2021

Earnings Disclaimer
Earnings Disclaimer

Treadmills have always been the favorite exercise machines for doing cardio at home.

In the past, motorized treadmills were considered the gold standard, while mechanical treadmills were a poor man’s choice. Not anymore.

We’ve picked and reviewed the best manual treadmills and curved treadmills you can buy in 2021, covering all price ranges.

We’ve included plenty of budget models that can give you the cardio workout you need without spending too much. We’ve also included some high-end curved treadmills that are a dream to run on but come with a high price tag.

Not only are mechanical treadmills better than ever, but curved manual treadmills are rapidly taking over the cardio equipment industry by storm.

Personal trainers and athletes actually prefer these curved treadmills over motorized ones (Tim’s note: I know I certainly do!)

If you don’t have much space at home, you’ll be glad to hear that most motorless treadmills are compact and are ideal for small apartments and other cramped spaces.

Besides regular models made for running, we’ll also show you some non-motorized treadmills designed for HIIT, as well as a few cheap manual treadmills made for walking only.

We’ve also packed this guide with buying tips and FAQ about everything manual and curved treadmills you need to know.

Best Manual Treadmills (Curved & Flat-belt)

Assault AirRunner Curved Treadmill
Best Curved Treadmill
Our rating:
  • Allows Long Strides
  • Great for Sprinting
  • Most Popular Curved Treadmill
Read Review

SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL
Pro Curved Treadmill Pick
Our rating:
  • Excellent Shock Absorption
  • Longest Running Belt Surface
  • Extended Warranty
Read Review

StairMaster HIIT Mill
Best for Full-Body HIIT Workouts
Our rating:
  • Versatile Handlebars For Upper Body Workout
  • Highest Weight Capacity (500 lb.)
  • Wide Running Deck
Read Review

Sunny Asuna 7700 Manual Treadmill
Best Manual Treadmill
Our rating:
  • Folds to 50% Footprint
  • Sturdy Even When Sprinting
  • Adj. Incline & Resistance
Read Review

Sunny Force Fitmill 16 Levels
Low-Budget Pick
Our rating:
  • 16 Levels of Resistance
  • Handlebars for Sled Training
  • Great Featues for Small Size
Read Review

Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill
High Weight Capacity that's Affordable
Our rating:
  • Hands-free Walking
  • Great for Tall & Heavy People
Read Review

Fitness Reality TR1000
Most Compact Manual Treadmill
Our rating:
  • Smallest Footprint Even when Unfolded
  • Inexpensive
  • Ideal for Smaller People
Read Review

Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill
Walking Treadmill for Low Budget
Our rating:
  • Lighest – Only 47 lbs
  • Very Small Footprint
Read Review

EFITMENT T017 Magnetic Treadmill
Our rating:
  • Handlbars Work Upper Body
  • Very Small
Read Review

Assault Fitness AirRunner

Best Curved Treadmill
Assault Fitness AirRunner, Black Frame/Charcoal, 2' x 16.4'

The AirRunner is a curved treadmill that is ideal for HIIT and sprints. If you want to do some serious cardio workouts, you’ll really like the AirRunner.

INCREASE YOUR RUNNING SPEED

It feels a bit harder to run on the Assault than running outdoors, which is an advantage. That means that when you get back outside after training on the AirRunner, you’ll have built up your running muscles, and you should be even faster. This probably also makes the Assault AirRunner a good treadmill if you want to prepare for a competition (hard in training, easy in battle).

The curved shape means that the incline changes depending on where you stand. At its highest near the front of the machine, the incline is about 30%. The shape and length encourage sprinting without punishing long strides.

SMOOTH MOVEMENT

The moment you step on the AirRunner and start running, you’ll immediately appreciate the mechanics of this machine. The motion just feels so smooth. You can instantly accelerate, just as you would in real life outdoors, not something that is possible on conventional motorized treadmills.

The treadbelt is comfortable with good cushioning. If you like running barefoot, though, beware: The slats pinch together in the flatter sections of the deck, which could hurt bare skin. But you can run almost barefoot on the AirRunner with a Vibram.

EXTRA FEATURES

The AirRunner has more extra features than most of the top treadmills we reviewed here. These features include its high-contrast LCD screen, wheels, stabilizers, and even Bluetooth.

FOOTPRINT

On the floor, the machine takes about as much space as a single bed. The AirRunner is not huge, but it is certainly not the smallest treadmill. We guess with features and performance come with a tradeoff, and the tradeoff is its size. If you have a low ceiling, keep in mind that the track’s highest point is 18 inches (45.7cm). The step-up is also quite high, measuring 13 inches (33 cm) at the track’s lowest point.

WARRANTY

The manufacturers say the belt should last 150,000 miles (241,000 km), so we think it will take you a long, long time to replace the belt, if ever. Still, the Assault AirRunner only comes with a five-year warranty on the frame and a three-year warranty on all other parts.

Assault AirRunner Curved Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
350 pounds (158 kg)
Dimensions
69.9 L x 32.8 W x 64 H
Running Deck
17.1 W x 62.2 L
Folding
Assault AirRunner Curved Treadmill

SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL

Pro Curved Treadmill Pick
SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL

The SpeedFit’s Speedboard ProXL is an excellent curved treadmill that is a step up from the Assault AirRunner.

Speedfit Speedboard ProXL VS. Assault AirRunner

The SpeedFit is a more premium curved treadmill. The ProXL’s belt and floor footprint are a few inches longer, the maximum user weight is a bit higher. The SpeedFit has excellent shock absorption. It also has double the warranty of the AirRunner. All of this comes at a literal price, though, as the Speedboard ProXL is the most expensive curved treadmill in this guide.

Let us be clear that the Speedfit and AirRunner are both amazing machines, so you should be fine with either. It largely depends on your needs and budget.

Personalized Workouts

One of the most interesting features of the Speedboard is its personalized workouts. It has a library of 5,000 customized presets designed for different bodies and goals. When you first get on, the machine has you take a 10-minute test, and then it recommends the workouts it thinks are best for you.

Shock Absorption

The acclaimed shock absorption has three parts:
1. The shape of the curve is designed to lower your joints’ impact as much as possible.
2. The slats are made with stretchy fiberglass.
3. Under the slats is a rubber cushion that soaks up most remaining jolts.

Features

Besides the simple LCD and the customized workout system, the Speedboard also comes with transportation wheels and floor stabilizers.

Running Belt

With a length of 66 inches (167 cm), this treadmill has the longest running belt. It’s 4 inches (10 cm) longer than the above AirRunner. Although it doesn’t technically go in reverse, the manufacturer says you can remove the one-way bearing beneath the running surface during assembly if you want.

The step-up height is only 8 inches at its lowest and 12 inches at the curved ends. For comparison, Assault’s Air Runner step-up is 13 inches, and its highest point is 18 inches (45.7cm). That makes the Speedboard ProXL curved treadmill better if you are tall and you have a low ceiling.

Warranty

Like the AirRunner, the ProXL’s manufacturer also claims it has a 150,000-mile belt life (241,000 km), but this one has the warranty to back it up. The frame is guaranteed for 10 years and the belt for five years. For comparison, the AirRunner has a five-year warranty on the frame and a three-year warranty on parts. The Speedboard ProXL is also much more expensive than the AirRunner, so it’s not so fair to compare just the warranty.

SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
400 lb (running) 800 lb (walking)
Dimensions
67 L x 33 W x 72 H
Running Deck
17 W x 66 L
Folding
SpeedFit Speedboard ProXL

StairMaster HIIT Mill

Ideal for Full-body HIIT Workouts
StairMaster HIITMILL with Console

Instead of a curved running surface, the HIIT Mill by StairMaster has a fixed incline of 11 degrees to help you get your momentum started. Our favorite things about this treadmill are its contact-free magnetic resistance and its unique set of long, convoluted handlebars. These make it perfect for both high-intensity exercises and agility movements. The HIIT Mill is built for way more than just boring running. You can really spice up your cardio routine by using its different angled handlebars.

HANDLEBARS

The HIIT Mill’s handlebars are truly unique and are a thing of beauty. With high, medium, low, narrow, wide, horizontal, vertical, and many other grip options, the HIIT Mill has the best handrails we’ve seen on a treadmill. They’re designed to give you resistance for exercises like sled pushing and farmer’s carrying. They also help keep you safe and stable during quick movements like karaoke drills and crossovers.

WEIGHT AND SPACE

The frame is made from 11-gauge steel, and this machine is heavy. Weighing 390 pounds (177 kg), this treadmill is the heaviest we review here. If you are looking for a heavy-duty treadmill, the StairMaster has a maximum user weight of 500 lb (226 kg), making it great for big guys.

The HIIT Mill also has the largest floor footprint on our list, beating the second-place ProXL by about a square foot. On your floor, it will be a couple inches longer than a twin bed. The extra area means this treadmill also has the widest running surface on our list. If you have a bit of extra girth yourself, you’ll love the 23-inch wide belt, which is about 5 inches wider than our runner-up.

The 500 lb weight capacity and very wide running treadbelt makes this an ideal and comfortable treadmill for heavy people.

EXTRA FEATURES

There are two versions of the StairMaster HIIT Mill. One that comes with an LCD console and one without. There isn’t much of a price difference, so if you can afford the high price tag of this treadmill, we suggest you get the one with the console which we reviewed here. That said, if the stats panel isn’t important for you, the one without the console is just fine.

It also comes with a water bottle holder, a phone holder, giant transportation wheels, floor stabilizers, and a rear carry handle.

WARRANTY

The manufacturer guarantees the HIIT Mill’s parts for only two years. This is a remarkably short warranty, considering that this model is one of the most expensive manual treadmills.

StairMaster HIIT Mill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
500 pounds
Dimensions
77 L x 38 W x 66 H
Folding
StairMaster HIIT Mill

Sunny 7700 Asuna

Top Manual Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness 7700 Asuna High Performance Cardio Trainer, Manual Portable Treadmill with Heavy Duty Designed Dual Flywheels, Brown/A

Sunny Fitness is well known for making affordable yet very well built exercise equipment, giving great value for money. The 7700 Asuna treadmill carries that tradition.

If you are looking for a manual treadmill that is a bit cheaper and smaller, Sunny’s Asuna is one of our favorite picks. Not only are both the incline and resistance adjustable, but this treadmill is also foldable.

ADJUSTABILITY

The incline starts at 10 degrees and has four adjustable levels up to 14 degrees. There are also eight levels of adjustable resistance. At the higher resistance setting, you can get a pretty challenging and intense workout.

You can adjust the Asuna’s size with a soft-drop folding mechanism that cuts its floor footprint in half. Although the treadmill is manual, the folding is done automatically with hands-free hydraulics that protects your fingers and your floor.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

Although the Asuna 7700 is much cheaper than commercial treadmills, it looks well-built and feels sturdy even when you sprint at full speed. It comes with two steel flywheels that accelerate and decelerate impressively quickly in response to your movements.

It’s excellent for either HIIT workouts or incline walking. If you like going on long, gentle runs at a medium pace, the difficult resistance might make it less than ideal for you. Even at the lowest resistance can be a little bit difficult for very long runs, especially if you are a beginner.

FEATURES

The Asuna has two sets of padded, contoured handlebars with lots of grip angles. Unlike most of the treadmills in this roundup, the handlebars can be removed if you need the extra space. It also comes with transportation wheels and a shelf for your phone but no screen.

WARRANTY

The frame is guaranteed for five years. All the other parts and components are guaranteed for six months.

Sunny Asuna 7700 Manual Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
440 pounds
Dimensions
56 L x 30.5 W x 57 H
Running Deck
18 W x 51 L
Folding
Folds to 27 L x 30.5 W x 57 H
Sunny Asuna 7700 Manual Treadmill

Sunny SF-T7723 Force Fitmill

Best Under $500
Sunny Health & Fitness Force Fitmill Manual Treadmill with 16 Levels of Magnetic Resistance, 300 LB Max Weight and Dual Flywheels - SF-T7723, Black

Even cheaper than the Sunny Asuna, but still a force to be reckoned with, Sunny’s Force Fitmill is our top budget pick. If you are looking for a fantastic low budget manual treadmill, you should seriously consider it. This Sunny foldable manual treadmill is usually sold for under $500 (* though prices vary)

PUSH YOURSELF

Just because it’s smaller and cheaper than all the deluxe models listed above doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself on this treadmill. The Force Fitmill comes with a heavy-duty steel frame and two heavy flywheels. These take a lot of energy to get started but really let you run fast.

It has a steep 13.5% fixed incline and 16 levels of resistance designed to wear you out. And it really can get tough and hardcore at a high resistance setting. If you are looking for an easy workout, no problem, you can loosen the rear roller, which will make the exercise easier.

HANDLEBARS

Besides their sweat- and slip-resistant coating and plenty of grips, the Force’s handlebars are designed to mimic sled training. They have comfortable nooks where you can place your shoulders and push to improve your acceleration.

DOESN’T TAKE MUCH SPACE

Unfolded, this treadmill has about the same floor footprint as an average weight bench, relatively compact. It has an automatic folding mechanism that lifts up the deck to cuts its floor footprint in half. When folded, it’s about the size of a small stove, and its wheel makes it easy to move it around.

ASSEMBLY SHOULD BE PRECISE

The running belt may shift slightly from side to side during use if the rear and front rollers aren’t perfectly parallel during assembly. If this happens to you, you may disassemble and make sure the rollers are perfectly parallel.

WARRANTY

The frame comes with a three-year warranty. Other components are guaranteed for six months.

Sunny Force Fitmill Magnetic Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
325 pounds
Dimensions
59 L x 27 W x 55 H
Running Deck
16 W x 53 L
Folding
✔ Folds to 31 L x 27 W x 58 H
Sunny Force Fitmill Magnetic Treadmill

Exerpeutic Manual Treadmill 100XL

Budget Walking-only Treadmill
Exerpeutic 100XL High Capacity Magnetic Resistance Manual Treadmill with Heart Pulse System

Exerpeutic’s 100XL is a manual treadmill made for walking. It’s packed full of thoughtful details that make it easier for large people to work out. This makes it our top budget pick for taller, heavier people or just about anyone looking for a cheap treadmill that’s for walking purposes only.

GREAT FOR TALL OR HEAVY PEOPLE

At 325 pounds (136 kg), the 100XL has the highest maximum weight capacity of the budget models on our list. The handrails are three feet from the deck, which is great if you have long legs but might be too tall for people around 5 feet (1.52 m) or shorter.

The starting incline is set at a gentle 8 degrees, which can help you ease into your workout. You can adjust it manually up to 10 and 15 degrees.

DO OTHER STUFF WHILE YOU WALK

If you’re not too confident in your stability, the 100XL’s magnetic tension comes with a pace control mechanism designed to keep the speed steady. It also has two flywheels that are each 6 inches in diameter for extra smoothness. Even if you are walking on it at a slow or a moderate pace, you can even do some multitasking while workout out.

The Exerpeutic is steady enough to walk on without holding the handlebars once you get the momentum started. The treadbelt is great, and walking feels smooth even if you are a big woman or man.

FOOTPRINT

The Exerpeutic is quite small. When unfolded, this machine has a footprint similar to that of a recliner. It folds up manually to two-thirds of its unfolded space.

EXTRA FEATURES

The Exerpeutic 100XL comes with an LCD screen that displays your stats, a heart rate monitor, wheels, and a phone holder.

WARRANTY

There is a three-year warranty on the frame and a three-month warranty on all other parts.

Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
325 pounds
Dimensions
50 L x 29 W x 50 H
Running Deck
16 W x 45 L
Folding
Folds to35 L x 29 W x 61 H
Exerpeutic 100XL Manual Treadmill

Fitness Reality TR1000

Best Compact Motorless Treadmill
Fitness Reality TR1000 Manual Treadmill with 2 Level Incline & Twin Flywheels

The TR1000 is an ultra-low-budget treadmill made for walking and slow jogging only. It has two incline positions of 6 and 10 degrees.

SMALL

This trainer has the smallest unfolded floor footprint among all the manual treadmills we reviewed here. This Fitness Reality treadmill is foldable. However, because it is so compact even when opened, you may not need to fold it. When folded it takes half the space. If you have a tiny apartment and a tiny budget, the TR1000 manual treadmill might be what you are looking for.

COMPACT

This trainer has the smallest unfolded floor footprint among all the manual treadmills we reviewed here. This Fitness Reality treadmill is foldable. However, because it is so compact even when opened, you may not need to fold it. When folded it takes half the space. If you have a tiny apartment and a tiny budget, the TR1000 manual treadmill might be what you are looking for.

SLICK & QUIET

This is a quiet treadmill. The only things you’ll hear are a low whisper from the belt and your own feet landing on it. A large number of reviewers talked about how quiet this machine is. They say all you can hear is a low whisper from the belt and your own feet landing.

The two flywheels are made from iron for extra heft, and the giant belt rollers help you get the momentum started quickly.

We were surprised by how well it feels walking on this treadmill despite its very low price.

EXTRAS AND WARRANTY

This tiny budget machine comes with tiny transportation wheels and a tiny budget screen that does its job tracking your stats. The manufacturer’s warranty is one year.

Fitness Reality TR1000
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
230 pounds
Dimensions
47 L x 23 W x 51 H
Running Deck
13.2 W x 43 L
Folding
Folds to 21 L x 23 W x 51 H
Fitness Reality TR1000

Sunny SF-T1407M

Ultra-Low Budget for Walking & Jogging
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Manual Walking Treadmill with LCD Display, Compact Folding, Portability Wheels and 220 LB Max Weight

The SF-T1407M by Sunny is a popular manual treadmill made for power walking or light jogging. It’s a basic, little, and inexpensive treadmill that can help you lose calories without breaking the bank. It’s one of the most popular manual treadmills. The last time we checked it on Amazon, it had tons of positive reviews and high ratings.

LIGHT & SMALL

At only 47 pounds, this is the lightest treadmill on our list. You can fold it up to about the size of a guitar, which gives it the smallest folded floor footprint on this list. Of course, the maximum user weight is relatively low, and the running area is small. The weight capacity is only 220 lb (100 kg), and the running belt is 13 inches wide and 42 inches long.

The incline is fixed at 13.5%. That’s quite an incline. If that is too steep for you, with a small hack, you can use some wooden blocks to raise the treadmill’s back by a couple of inches, though there is no such recommendation in the instructions.

LUBRICATE TO EXTEND TREADMILL LIFE

If you work out often, you may find that the belt tends to dry up frequently. It’s not a deal-breaker though, especially considering the extremely low price you’ll pay for this treadmill. If you plan to walk every day, we recommend you lubricate the belt every two weeks as it only takes a couple of seconds.

EXTRA FEATURES AND WARRANTY

This a bare-bones treadmill with only two extras: a small LCD screen and tiny transportation wheels. It comes with a one-year frame warranty and a three-year parts warranty, which is a much better warranty than you would expect from such an inexpensive machine.

Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
220 pounds
Dimensions
49 L x 23 W x 50 H
Running Deck
13 W x 42 L
Folding
Folds to 20 L x 23 W x 50 H
Sunny Manual Walking Treadmill

EFITMENT T017

EFITMENT Adjustable Incline Magnetic Manual Treadmill w/Pulse Monitor

Efitment’s T017 comes with 8 magnetic resistance levels, three incline levels from 7 to 9 degrees, and swinging handles. It’s the only manual treadmill in this review that encourages you to move both your arms and your legs at the same time.

FULL-BODY WORKOUT

The swinging handlebars move with the same adjustable tension as the running belt. The swing feels natural, although it may take some time to coordinate your limbs to move together correctly.

COMPACT

With a length of 54”, a width of 35.5”, and a height of 52”, the Emfitment is a compact treadmill. You can fold the T017’s deck up to cut its length by around 65%. The running belt has a low step-up of only 3 inches, but its highest point is fixed at 14 inches. Make sure your ceiling is at least 15 inches taller than you.

EXTRAS

This treadmill comes with a simple little digital monitor that displays your stats. It also has a pulse rate monitor, wheels, and stabilizers. The belt itself does have a bit of flex, especially if you are overweight. Still, it is probably more forgiving than running outside on a tough road.

WARRANTY

The manufacturer offers a three-year warranty on the frame and a three-month warranty on all other components.

EFITMENT T017 Magnetic Treadmill
Our rating:
Weight Capacity
220 pounds
Dimensions
54 L x 35.5 W x 52 H
Running Deck
13.5 W x 42 L
Folding
Folds to 35 L x 35.53 W x 55 H
EFITMENT T017 Magnetic Treadmill

What are manual treadmills and are they any good?

As the name suggests, a manual treadmill is operated by you rather than the magic of electricity. These machines come with an internal mechanism that helps keep the movement smooth, but the belt won’t move unless you move it.

The running surfaces on most manual treadmills are either curved or inclined. A gentle incline or curve helps make it easier on your legs to push the belt backward. They usually have long handles so you can use your arms to help you generate the force to get the momentum started.

Manual treadmills are generally a bit harder to run on than motorized treadmills and roads, so they can help you increase your running speed and endurance. They also have no delicate electronics inside, so they need less maintenance and less prone to malfunctioning.

Features - What to look for

Running Surface

The taller you are, the longer you’ll want your running surface to be. It’s not that short running surfaces won’t work. It’s just that longer running belts seem to be more comfortable for people with long legs. The heavier you are, in general, the wider your running surface should be.

If your balance is delicate, get a treadmill with good grip and a low step-up. If your joints creak, we recommend a curved model with good cushioning like the Speedboard ProXL.

Weight Capacity

If you’re on the heavy side, we included three great heavy-duty treadmills with great models with high weight capacity. The StairMaster HIITMILL with Console has a 500-pound weight capacity for running, and the Speedboard ProXL has an 800-pound weight capacity for walking only.

On the budget side, the Exerpeutic 100XL can hold users up to 325 pounds, and its price tag is about one-tenth of what the other two cost.

Dimensions / Portability

If you’re short on space, an interesting rule of treadmills we noticed is that the smaller the treadmill, the less it seems to cost. In this guide, we’ve also included a few models that you can fold up and roll away when you’re not using them.

Besides taking minimum footprint, smaller treadmills are also great for shorter people. The handles, buttons, and step-up will all be right where you need them. Our picks for the most compact and portable manual treadmills are the Fitness Reality TR1000 and the Sunny SF-T1407M.

Handles

Manual treadmills need a good set of extra-long handles to help you push the track backward. The HIIT Mill and the Sunny Force Fitmill have grips with contours made for specialized HIIT and agility exercises. The Sunny Asuna has removable handles.

Heart Rate

Few manual treadmills seem to come with heart rate monitors. This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, as there are plenty of standalone heart rate monitoring options. Among the best manual treadmills that we reviewed, only the Exerpeutic 100XL and the Efitment T017 come with built-in pulse monitoring. Interestingly, even the more expensive curved treadmills don’t have built-in HRM. Luckily you can use a Fitbit, an Apple Watch, Garmin, or even cheaper alternatives.

Different manual treadmill types explained

CURVED

The smile-shaped running surface on a curved treadmill helps you control your speed. You can stay in the valley to maintain your speed or move forward to accelerate. The higher your feet fall on the curve, the faster you’ll go. The two best curved treadmills are Assault Fitness AirRunner and SpeedFit’s Speedboard ProXL, both of which we reviewed here.

FLAT-BELT

Flat manual treadmills have a belt that goes in a straight line. They’re rarely level, though. Most flat-belt treadmills either have a fixed or an adjustable incline. A slightly inclined belt is easier to push backward downhill with your feet.

We reviewed both fixed and adjustable incline flat-belt treadmills.
Fixed incline models include the StairMaster’s HIIT Mill, Sunny’s SF-T7723 Force Fitmill, and Sunny’s SF-T1407M.
Models with adjustable incline level include the Sunny’s 7700 Asuna, Exerpeutic 100XL, Fitness Reality’s TR1000, and Efitment’s T017.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT treadmills may be curved or flat-belt, but they need to be sturdy enough to let you sprint. These are designed for serious trainees and athletes who want to push themselves as hard as possible. Some models come with resistance to help you build muscle, and some rely on your own speed and power alone.

The best manual treadmills for HIIT are:
StairMaster’s HIIT Mill (review)
Sunny’s 7700 Asuna (review)
Assault Fitness’ AirRunner (review)
SpeedFit’s Speedboard ProXL (review)

These are all designed with high-intensity exercise in mind.

Regular Manual Treamills for Running

One step down from HIIT treadmills, are the models that aren’t built for high intensity but will still let you run. These may be a bit less sturdy, but they’re much cheaper. So if you want a manual treadmill that you can run on but don’t have the money to buy a curved treadmill, we recommend Sunny SF-T7723 Force Fitmill and Efitment T017.

Walking-only

Walking treadmills are made for light exercise only. They’re usually even smaller and cheaper than running treadmills.
Great walking treadmills include the Exerpeutic’s 100XL, Fitness Reality’s TR1000, and Sunny’s SF-T1407M.

Upper-body

Most treadmills only work out your lower body, but a few have swinging handles to let you train your arms at the same time. On this list, among the flat-belt treadmills, only Efitment’s T017 has moving upper-body handles. However, treadmills like the Sunny Asuna 7700 and StairMaster HIIT Mill still let you work your upper body due to their variation of angled handlebars.

Manual vs. motorized treadmills

Most manual treadmills tend to cost less and weigh less than motorized versions. They don’t need to be plugged in, so you won’t have to worry about keeping yours near an electrical outlet. No internal electronics also means that they’re generally more durable.

The running belt on a manual treadmill only moves when you push it, so you won’t have to worry about getting carried away if you fall. Treadbelt on manual treadmills also tends to be stickier with more grip, making them a safer option than motorized models.

Manual flat-belt treadmills vs. Curved treadmills

If you plan to walk or jog, manual treadmills with flat or straight belts work well for slower cardio. They also weigh less than curved treadmills and take up less space.

If you want to run faster than about 4 miles per hour (6.5 kph), we recommend you get a curved treadmill. Curved manual treadmills are fantastic. They give you better stability and balance. Their running surface follows your legs’ natural running arc better, which means less impact on your joints.

The last significant difference between curved treadmills and flat manual treadmills is the price. Simply put, curved treadmills are just much more expensive than flat-belt manual treadmills.

Flat-Belt Manual Treadmills
– Compact
– Light
– Ideal for walking or slow pace running
– Inexpensive and great for low budget shoppers

Curved Manual Treadmills
– More natural walking and running angle and motion
– Bulkier than regular manual treadmills
– Expensive

If you need a treadmill on which you can run fast, do sprints and high-intensity interval training, and have the budget, try to go for a curved treadmill. No budget? Then buy a low-budget regular flat manual treadmill, it might be all you need.

Benefits of manual treadmills (flat belt)

  • More Energy – You’re both the legs and the motor for this treadmill, so you’ll burn more calories per mile/km.
  • More Control – You control how fast you go and how quickly you speed up and slow down.
  • Electricity-Free – Your electric bill won’t go up, and you won’t have to worry about finding a plug.
  • Safer – Your machine will stop when you do, so you won’t have to worry about hurting yourself, your children, or your pets.
  • Cheaper – If you want to save money, you can find flat-belt manual treadmills that are much cheaper than similar motorized versions.

Benefits of curved treadmills

All the benefits of regular flat-belt treadmills apply to curved treadmills, but curved treadmills have even more advantages.
Here we emphasize the added benefits of curved treadmills over conventional motorless treadmills.

  • Burn 30% More Calories – Studies like this indicate that curved treadmills use a third more energy than standard treadmills.
  • More Glutes & Hamstrings – The curved path focuses the effort on your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Less Impact – The arc mimics your legs’ natural running movement.
  • Better Posture – Curved treadmills encourage you to run on the balls of your feet.
  • Higher Heart Rate – Studies suggest that runners’ hearts go around 20 beats per minute faster on curved treadmills.
  • Ideal for HIIT – Curved manual treadmills let you sprint as fast as you like. Accelerating on curved treadmills is almost instant and is much faster than conventional motorized treadmills. Curved treadmills are also much safer for HIIT because you can also slow down quickly naturally by just running slower instead of having to press – and + speed buttons as you do with motorized treadmills.

Can you run on a manual treadmill?

Yes, you can run on most manual treadmills, apart from specific models that are made specifically for walking. You can run on both types of manual treadmills, flat-belt and curved belt. However, curved manual treadmills are better suited for running at fast paces.

Acceleration and deceleration can be a little slower on a flat-belt manual treadmill than on a motorized treadmill. Once you get started, though, you can really take off.

Acceleration and deceleration on curved models are much faster, making curved models better suited for interval training and sprints.

The belt starts moving when you step forward and push backward with your feet. From the running belt, your momentum is transferred to an internal flywheel or other energy storage system. This keeps the resistance consistent and the speed steady. You can quickly accelerate by changing the resistance through a lever or running closer to the treadmill’s front.

Why are curved treadmills so expensive?

The technology inside most curved treadmills is still relatively new, so they tend to cost more. The curved style is gaining popularity, and we see more and more gyms begin to replace conventional treadmills curved treadmills. Still, demand has yet to reach peak levels. Once the curved design becomes more mainstream, we expect the price to fall as their technology, and parts get cheaper.

Final Words of Advice

In this guide, we covered the top manual treadmills out there, so you can pick the one that fits your goals and budget.

If you’re craving high-intensity exercise, the HIIT Mill can take a pounding and keep on running.

If you want a curved treadmill for HIIT with plenty of cushioning, the Assault Fitness AirRunner, or the more expensive Speedboard ProXL are our top picks. Both will tire out your body without wearing out your joints.

For HIIT on a budget, the Sunny Force Fitmill can get your legs moving fast without costing an arm and a leg.

Our favorite middle of the road model is the Sunny 7700 Asuna. It’s sturdy and comes with all the essential features basics at a reasonable price.

If you’re looking for something for an ultra-low price, the Fitness Reality TR1000 is cheap and smooth, but you’ll only be able to walk or slow jog. Finally, if you’re on a space budget, the Sunny SF-T1407M is impressively small and light.

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