Disadvantages Of Manual Treadmills

Manual treadmills have been around for a long time and there are numerous models available on the market. These machines are cheap and can be easily folded down for storage in a closet or under a bed, which may in part be the reason these items of exercise equipment haven’t been consigned to the dustbin of time. In truth, despite their cost and storage benefits, there are some serious disadvantages you should consider before you opt to buy one of these machines.

Any Good For Running?

The most significant problem with this style of treadmill is that they are neither suitable or safe for running exercises. These machines are usually to light weight and unstable to take the physical exertion required by the user to get the belt rolling at a running speed. If you do get up to speed and your pace alters the stability of the machine goes out the window and you risk landing in a heap.

Without exception, all the cheap manual treadmills on the market fail the singular test for running capability. Simply put, when you run your stride pattern lengthens. For the average height male the length of stride is generally such that you need a treadmill with a running deck length of between 50-52 ins in length for normal jogging. Any less than that and you will be going at a pace somewhere between walking and jogging to stay on the machine. Non of the models on the market have a running deck of suitable length.

Any Good For Walking?

So you cant use these machines for running exercises, what about walking exercises? Even as walking machines you should carefully consider if this style of treadmill is really worth it. Because you, the user, needs to power up the running belt and maintain power during exercise these types of machine put a lot of extra and unnatural stresses on your ankles, knees and hips when in use. Luckily, to aid stability and to help you maintain balance as you power the treadmill, these machines will be fitted with hand rails that you will need to grasp during exercise. The effect is that you end up stooping to hold hand rails to maintain balance and are not able to walk upright with upper torso giving you balance as you walk. The overall effect of using one of these machines is that you put extra, unnatural stress on your joints whilst stooping in an unnatural posture for walking.


Manual’s just cannot compete with electric models for features. With a manual you are not going to get set programs that push you, keep you motivated to use the machine and improve fitness safely over time. Your not going to get built in fans and heart monitors, you are going to have to adjust incline manually. Many of these features are hugely beneficial in terms of maintaining motivation and interest in your fitness regime over time. Without them would you be as inclined to exercise?

So are manual treadmills any good? For sure they are potentially better than doing no exercise but I can’t help but feel you might be safer and better rewarded by simply walking around the block. If that is no good to you I would recommend saving a little longer and buying a basic motorised machine. They may be twice as much in price but you will use it for twice as long as a manual and they will be safer to use over time.


How To Get The Best Running Machine For Home Use

Selecting the best running machine for home use from the plethora of models available on the market is not easy. Do you choose a manual or motorised treadmill, a short treadmill or an expensive model? Deciphering the specifications to choose the right home running machine relies on either experience or some good advice. Here we give you some easy tips and pointers to ensure you make a great decision and get the best machine for running exercises.

Running Board

Choosing a model with the correct length running board is absolutely critical to making a good selection. When running your stride length increases compared to walking. You will find many cheap motorised machines purporting to be great for running or walking but having a short deck. For individuals of average height you really want a running deck that is at least 52 inches long to allow for a full runners stride pattern.

A further consideration is that running is not a low impact activity. Whilst treadmills suitable for walking exercises might not need to have a cushioned deck if you are going to be pounding away at pace, a cushioned deck would be a good option to choose.

Electric Motors

Not all electric motors are up to the task when it comes to running machines. At a minimum you want a motor with a 2.5 continuous horse power (CHP) output. Any less than that and the motor will be under to much stress as you go through the speeds. The longer the running deck the higher the power your motor will have to have. Longer decks take more effort to turn so if you opt for a treadmill with a 60 inch deck make sure the motor is at least 3.0 CHP to avoid over-stressing the machine.

To get a satisfactory model you want a minimum of 2.5 CHP that will take the treadmill up to 10mph. Speeds of 10-12 mph will be adequate to give a good speed range from jogging to sprinting.

It is also worth considering the incremental speed selection controls at this point. Ideally you want to have small increments of 0.5mph so you can regulate speed without big jolting changes, but bottom line don’t go for a 2chp motor and expect it to either last long or offer adequate speed in use.


Incline is a fairly basic feature these days. Incline will help you better resemble outdoor running as well as ensuring you don’t outgrow the machine as your stamina improves over time. As a minimum go for a machine with a maximum twelve degree incline. This won’t over stress the motor but will offer enough incline to give you a great workout.


Its all in the detail with a warranty. Most manufacturers split warranty out into components so they will say model aaa has a lifetime frame, motor and deck warranty and five years on electronics and moving parts such as rollers. This detail tells you a lot about the standard of construction and even stability of the machine. It goes without saying get the best warranty you can. Most manufacturers will offer life time frame and motor warranties, after that focus in on moving parts bearing in mind the amount of running you usually do.

Cheap Models for Sale

The cheapest running machine you are likely to be able to buy that meets the requirements outlined above is likely to cost at least $1000. In this range you are looking at highly regarded models such as the Sole F63 and the Horizon T101. If you have a larger budget and you do a lot of running you should consider even more robust models. Check out the Sole F65 in the under $1300 and the Sole F80 coming in under $1500. The Sole F80 is widely used in hotel chains for its reliability, quality and safe operation. After $1500 you are entering the world of club and commercial treadmills which can go for many thousands. (Update!! Check out the latest offer on the Bowflex Series 7 this is a $2000 machine currently at half price, unbeatable value!)

Whichever model you choose be sure to bear the above tips in mind to ensure your purchase lasts the distance and is fit for purpose. Any skimping will leave you seriously out of pocket down the line or unsatisfied with the machines performance.