Difference between Manual and Motorized Treadmills

While a treadmill promises to provide an excellent cardio workout, you must make sure you get the right one. Treadmills are available in two broad categories, manual and motorized, and both have their specific uses and benefits.

A manual treadmill features a belt that can only be moved by the action of your feet. Without any muscular action, you won’t be able to move it. Meanwhile, a motorized treadmill is powered by a powerful electric motor that rotates the belt.

Let’s learn more details about the difference between the two kinds!

What is a Manual Treadmill?

As the name suggests, a manual treadmill features a manual operating capability. It can be operated only while using your feet. The action of your feet induces the motion in the belt. It can only move if you move it with force.

Manual treadmills were quite popular back in the day when motorized treadmills were quite expensive. They were considerably cheaper and allowed you to burn quite a few calories. However, electric treadmills became quite popular and replaced these manually-operated machines. Although both of them are effective for burning calories yet, it all comes down to individual preferences.

Manual Treadmills

Pros of Manual Treadmills

Although manual treadmills seem a bit outdated, they are still pretty effective for burning extra calories. They induce muscular action of your feet to generate the motion in the belt. The more energy you spend keeping the belt in motion, the more calories you burn.

Here are a few advantages of using one of the best manual treadmills.


Price is probably the first thing we notice about a product. In the case of manual treadmills, the price tags for flat-belt variants are considerably lower than their motorized counterparts. They offer similar functionality and serve the same purpose but with a reduced price.


A manual treadmill is a great choice if you want to get away with body fat without paying for anything. With no electricity being required for operation, you can always lose some pounds without paying extra electricity bills. This is great news for anyone looking to shed some far without paying anything extra.

Also, it means that you are not bound to place a manual treadmill close to an electrical outlet. As a result, you can always place it anywhere you want without any hassle.

Great for Walking

Manual treadmills can only be operated while moving your feet. The faster you move your feet, the quicker the belt’s motion will be, and vice versa. It requires a lot of energy to move the belt, but that is great news! It means that you will need to exert more force; hence, you will burn more calories.

Thus, these treadmills ideally support walking while allowing you to burn significantly more calories.


Manually operated treadmills feature a sleek and compact design that makes them ideal for small spaces. You can easily store or use them in a smaller space as compared to larger and heavier electric treadmills.

The small size also means that you can easily move it from one place to another.

Cons of Manual Treadmills

Here are a few disadvantages of using a manually operated treadmill.

Speed with Effort

Manual treadmills need to be operated with muscular force. If you fail to exert a constant force to move the belt, the belt’s speed will decrease. Constant speed can only be maintained if you make a constant effort to maintain the belt’s speed.

Lower Quality

Manual treadmills are relatively cheaper than motorized treadmills but offer a reduced build quality. They are not very durable and feature an average construction, making their long-term reliability questionable.

Fewer Features

Manual treadmills don’t offer as many features as motorized treadmills do. They are quite simple and provide you with only some basic information about your progress.

What is a Motorized Treadmill?

Motorized treadmills feature a powerful motor that is responsible for consistent revolutions on the belt. The belt automatically rotates under your feet, which facilitates your movement, whether you are walking, jogging, or running.

These treadmills are designed for multiple modes of cardio exercise for different individuals. They are packed with a number of features, customizations, and modes to suit different people’s requirements.

Different treadmills come with various specifications. Therefore, it is recommended that you ensure whether your machine’s capabilities fulfill your requirements.

Motorized Treadmills

Pros of Motorized Treadmills

Nowadays, modern gyms and instructors highly recommend using a motorized treadmill for your health. It provides you with versatile options of walking, jogging, or running as desired. Furthermore, with various tweaking capabilities, you can always adjust the machine adequately to your needs.

The following are some of the major benefits of using a motorized treadmill.

Constant Tempo

Unlike manual treadmills that require muscular force, these motorized treadmills offer comfortable operation. The belt is powered by a motor that allows it to rotate with adjustable speeds. You can walk, jog, or run on the rotating belt without exerting any force to move the belt. That means that you can perform various cardio exercises with a constant tempo. Unlike manual treadmills, the belt rotates at a constant speed, which provides consistent performance.

Many Features

Modern motorized treadmills offer a feature-packed design that manually operated treadmills do not offer. They promise a wide range of features and customizations that allow you to adjust according to your needs. You can easily adjust the rotating belt’s speed, the position of the deck, and much more!

In addition, these treadmills provide you with detailed digital figures, which determine your progress. You can not only keep track of your progress, but you can also introduce much-required adjustments.

More Comfortable

Motorized treadmills provide you the luxury of comfortable workouts while being equally effective. They are stress-free and user-friendly, which makes them a better choice for longer workout sessions. Unlike their counterparts, these treadmills are designed to provide you ease and reliability during a workout.

The automatically rotating belt not only facilitates your movement but also reduces joint stress. As a result, you can operate these machines for much longer as compared to manually-operated treadmills.

Cons of Motorized Treadmills

Unfortunately, there are some downsides of motorized treadmills as well. Some of them are mentioned below.


Like any other electric machine, motorized treadmills require adequate maintenance. Without maintenance, these machines can malfunction or even become unusable, unless taken care of. Therefore, regular maintenance checks are required to ensure the consistent performance of these units.


Yes, motorized treadmills are usually large and much heavier than manual treadmills. They occupy considerably more space and resist portability. Thus, if you are short on space, a motorized treadmill might not be the perfect choice for you.

Needs Power to Operate

A motorized treadmill uses a powerful motor to rotate the belt during its functioning. The motor, in turn, consumes electricity in order to operate. That means you might expect a rise in your electricity bills. Moreover, the machine must be placed near an electrical outlet for operation.


There is no doubt that motorized treadmills offer way more than manual treadmills. However, all of that good comes with a hefty price tag. Modern motorized treadmills are highly-priced and require you to pay more as compared to conventional machines.


Living a healthier lifestyle requires you to bring about some changes. Out of those, opting for regular exercise is a key aspect to obtain long-term results. To help us achieve our health goals, various machines are incorporated with modern technology to facilitate the process.

Treadmills are one of those machines that can possibly lead you to a better lifestyle. Now, it’s up to you to decide the type of machine that best suits your requirements.