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Manual Vs Automatic Treadmill – Making The Right Choice

Treadmills usually come in two types – Manual and Electric treadmills.

While the manual treadmill guarantees streamlined usage, the electric one offers more engaging features. The workout will also differ on both models.

Do you want to know which treadmill is better for you? This article will explain everything related to both models.

In the manual vs. electric treadmill debate, we will review the pros and cons of each type, the significant features, and make some comparisons.

This will you determine which is right for your health and fitness needs, and help you make a wise decision.

Before we get started, let us learn about each type of treadmills first.

What is a Manual Treadmill?

manual treadmill

In a manual or a non-motorized treadmill, there is no motor to run the treadmill. Instead, the belt will move when you walk or run on it. The movement of your feet causes the belt to move in this kind of model. It requires putting some effort into the workout by the user when using the manual treadmill.

Let us have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of manual treadmills:

Advantages

  • Manual treadmills are non-motorized, and hence they do not need a motor to run.
  • They do not require electricity, and hence, you do not have to worry about placing them near a power outlet.
  • They are an excellent option for the walker.
  • These models are compact and require little assembly. Hence, you can easily store them in tiny rooms.
  • Manual treadmills are economical and the best option for a piece of budget-friendly exercise equipment.
  • These treadmills help you to alternate high and moderate-intensity workouts.
  • The manual treadmills are the safest, as they stop only when you stop walking or running on them. It is safer for children and pets, as well.

Disadvantages

  • Manual treadmills are not as durable as electric treadmills.
  • It is difficult to change the incline level on this equipment. You will have to get down from the flat-belt manual treadmill, to change the incline settings.
  • You cannot stay at a set pace when working out on the manual treadmills. It requires constant effort and constant monitoring.
  • The flat-belt manual models may stress your joints. Since you will have to push harder to get the equipment moving, it can stress your joints. It can be an issue for those already having knee pain and arthritis.
  • It does not come with built-in features and workouts like the electric ones do.
  • The manual treadmills are mostly suitable for walking. They are not a good option for rigorous workouts or running.

What is a Motorized Treadmill?

automatic treadmill

An electric treadmill or a motorized treadmill is the one that comes equipped with a motor to run the appliance. It is an electricity-powered motor that sets the belt into motion, depending on the speed settings you select. These models are very popular, very easy to use, and very modern, too. Hence, they are very expensive than their manual counterparts.

Let us learn about the benefits and limitations of electric treadmills:

Advantages

  • The electric treadmills are more comfortable to run on. They reduce stress and strain on your joints.
  • They come with advanced and built-in features and workout programs. They even work with apps, making your workout an enjoyable experience.
  • The electric models have pre-set programs that allow you to personalize your workouts by choosing the setting.
  • The motorized treadmills allow you to run at a constant speed.
  • You can adjust the speed and incline while you are still walking or running on the belt.
  • These models are the best option for longer training sessions.

Disadvantages

  • Electric treadmills need a power outlet to plug them in. They will not run without electricity.
  • These motorized treadmills can be a safety hazard. There are chances of getting hurt when you trip and fall from the still-moving belt. You will have to wear a safety cord that shuts off the device in case of a fall.
  • They tend to be more expensive than non-motorized treadmills. Their inbuilt and other advanced computerized features come with an additional cost.
  • They are heavier and sturdier devices. Hence, they occupy more space to store them in the room.
  • These models require additional maintenance to ensure the treadmill runs smoothly and to increase its life span.

Manual vs. Automatic Treadmill

Here is a comparative analysis of manual treadmills and electric treadmills. This comparison table will give you quick information on the differences between the duo.

PARAMETERS TO CONSIDER MANUAL TREADMILL ELECTRIC TREADMILL
Construction The manual treadmills are smaller and compact. They do not contain a motor to run the treadmill. The electric or motorized treadmills are heavier and sturdier models. They come equipped with a motor to run the treadmill.
Electricity Since these are non-motorized treadmills, they do not require electricity to run them. These treadmills require electricity for running and a power outlet to plug them in.
Comfort The manual treadmills are not comfortable to run on. They induce stress and strain on your joints. The electric treadmills are more comfortable to run on. They reduce stress and strain on your joints.
Advanced Features and Settings The flat-belt manual treadmills do not come with built-in features and workouts like the electric ones do. The electric or automatic treadmills come with advanced and built-in features and workout programs.
Constant Speed The manual treadmills do not allow you to run at a constant speed. The electric treadmills allow you to run at a constant speed.
Incline Adjustments You will have to get down from the flat-belt manual treadmill to change the incline settings. You can adjust the incline while you are still walking or running on the electric treadmills.
Most Suitable For A manual treadmill is mostly suitable for walking. The electric treadmills are suitable for any kind of workout like, walking, running, and training for the marathon.
Storage The manual treadmills are compact and require little assembly. Hence, you can easily store them in tiny rooms. Since the electric treadmills are heavier and sturdier, they occupy more storage space in the room.
Maintenance The non-motorized treadmills require less maintenance when compared to the motorized ones. The electric treadmills require additional maintenance to ensure the smooth functioning of the machine.
Cost The manual treadmills are a cost-effective option for doing workouts. The motorized treadmills tend to be very expensive than the manual models.

Let us discuss about the other distinguishing and significant features below:

1. Stress on Joints

The manual treadmills do not contain a motor to run. You need to push harder to get the equipment moving, and this can stress your joints. It can be an issue for those already having problems like knee pain and arthritis.

On the contrary, an electric treadmill contains an electricity-powered motor that sets the belt into motion. That said, you do not have to push harder to run the appliance. All you need is electricity and a power outlet to plug it in. It will start running in your preferred speed settings, reducing the stress on your joints. Moreover, it also provides additional cushioning to your feet and shock absorption when working out on the running deck.

Even though you have knee pain, arthritis, ankle pain, etc., you can still use an electric treadmill for your workouts.

2. Safety

Let us talk about the safety feature in both types of treadmills. A flat-belt manual treadmill stops only when you stop walking or running on them. There are no chances of getting injured by the belt when you trip or fall down. Besides that, you will not require wearing a cord to stop it. It is safer for children and pets, as well.

Unlike the non-motorized treadmills, these motorized treadmills can be a safety hazard. There are chances of getting hurt when you trip and fall from the still-moving belt. You will have to wear a safety cord that shuts off the device in case of a fall.

3. Electricity Requirement

The flat-belt non-motorized treadmills do not require electricity to operate. You can use them anywhere in your home. All it needs to run them is the muscle power.

The automatic treadmills require electricity and a power outlet to connect them. You need to place them near an outlet for the perfect positioning of the appliance. In case there is no outlet nearby, you may have to use an extension cord lying across the floor.

4. Price

Let us talk about the price factor in both treadmills. The non-motorized treadmills are a cost-effective option if you are looking for exercise equipment. They are budget-friendly, and anyone can afford them.

As opposed to the above, motorized treadmills are very expensive. The primary reason for this cost is the motor. Their inbuilt and other advanced computerized features come with an additional cost.

5. Suitable Activity

The flat-belt manual treadmills are mostly suitable for walking. Because of their less sturdy construction, they are not a good option for rigorous workouts or running.

The electric treadmills are suitable for any kind of workout like, walking, running, and training for a marathon. They come in different models based on the motor power and the belt length. You can choose one depending on your type of workout. Moreover, they are more stable and durable than non-motorized flat-belt treadmills.

6. Ease Of Changing Incline

When it comes to the changing incline, you may find it difficult in the flat-belt manual treadmills. If you want to change the incline settings, you will have to get down from the treadmill. However, the curved-belt manual treadmills do not have this drawback. You can adjust the incline settings just by moving your feet a little forward. Or, you can even do it by moving your feet towards the center of the belt.

In the electric treadmills, you can adjust the incline while you are still walking or running on the belt. Some models come with the decline feature that allows you to go downhill.

7. Assembling and Storage       

The non-motorized treadmills are ready to use right after you unpack them. They need very little assembling. They are compact; hence you can easily store them in tiny rooms. Moreover, because of their compact design, they are easy to move between the rooms.

Motorized treadmills are not that easy to assemble and require technical experience for the same. Once assembled, you cannot move them from their location. They remain plugged into the power outlet after you assemble them.

Unlike the flat-belt manual treadmills, the electric treadmills are heavier and sturdier. Because of their sturdiness and larger size, you cannot transport them but let them stay where they are. They occupy more storage space in the room.

8. Sturdiness

The flat-belt manual treadmills have a less sturdy construction than the motorized models. Also, they do not have any issues like belt slippage. Moreover, they do not make noise when operating. However, the curved-belt manual treadmills are more robust and have higher quality than the standard ones

The electric or motorized treadmills are heavier and sturdier models when compared to the non-motorized treadmills. Hence, they are more durable than manual models. These devices come with a sturdier frame to support the construction. This frame adds additional weight to the treadmill and also makes it stable.

9. Constant Speed

Let us move to the “maintaining the speed consistency” factor. In the flat-belt manual treadmills, it is difficult to maintain the constant speed. These models do not allow you to stay at a set pace when working out on the treadmills. It requires constant effort and constant monitoring of the speed that will make you slow down.

Contrary to the above, the electric treadmills allow you to run at a constant speed. They have the speed, incline, and distance settings on the machine. These will help you stay focused when running and further motivate you to run continuously with consistent speed.

10. Features

The manual treadmills do not contain any additional features that you get with the electric models. They only come with limited features like batter display, the current speed of the user, time, and the distance covered. Because of this, it is not possible to track your fitness progress.

Unlike the above, the electric or motorized treadmills come with advanced and built-in features and workout programs. These features include heart rate monitors, speakers, phone or tablet holders, TV screens.

They even work with apps. That means you can synchronize with your smartphone, making your workout an enjoyable experience. These automatic models also have pre-set programs that allow you to personalize your workouts by choosing the setting.

11. Maintenance and Longevity

Manual treadmills have similar problems to motorized treadmills. They need regular maintenance like lubrication to ensure the proper functioning of the machine. Coming to longevity, these treadmills are less durable than electric treadmills. Because of their less sturdy construction, they cannot accommodate high user weight capacity.

If we talk about motorized treadmills, they require additional maintenance to ensure the smooth functioning of the machine. In case of any trouble or issue with the treadmill, you need a professional to fix it. These treadmills are more durable than non-motorized models and have a longer life span. The maximum user weight capacity of these machines is also very high in comparison to the flat-belt manual treadmills.

FAQS:

1. Do Manual Treadmills Induce Stress On Joints?

Ans: If you are someone suffering from knee pains and hip pains, you ought to think about working out on flat-belt manual treadmills. Since the belt in a manual machine moves only when there is a foot movement, you have to be thoughtful in making this decision. This will put more stress on your joints and strain your knees and ankles. It can be a serious issue for those already having problems like knee pain and arthritis.

Although working on a treadmill is helpful, excessive or rigorous workouts may damage your knees. It applies to both non-motorized and motorized equipment.

Sticking to controlled and optimal exercise not only helps you stay healthy but also keeps your joints in good shape. Refrain from excessive exercises to avoid that extra pressure on your knees that can eventually damage your knee ligaments and cartilage.

2. Is Manual Treadmill A suitable Option For Running?

Ans: As discussed earlier in this article, manual treadmills are ideal for walking. They are not a viable option for running. These machines run only when you push harder with your leg movement. This can induce stress in your joints. If you are running on this treadmill, you may have to apply more strength to keep the equipment going. That said, it requires more leg strength on a flat-belt non-motorized treadmill. Moreover, running at a consistent pace can also be a challenging task on these treadmills. Hence, they are not a suitable option for running.

The maximum speed that you can achieve on most manual treadmills is about 5-9.6 km/h. If you are a person with a serious running objective, this is not for you.

3. How Much Power Do Motorised Treadmills Consume?

Ans: Power consumption of the electric or motorized treadmills is majorly dependent on the motor capacity of the machine. Treadmills are available in different motor capacities. Those having higher motor capacity are known to consume more power than the ones with lower capacity. If you consider the average energy consumption of these treadmills, it comes between 300 watts (for low motors) and 900 watts (for high motors).

There are other factors that contribute to the electricity usage of the machine. These include the amount of time you are spending working out on your treadmill, your pace, weight, etc. Spending more time on the belt, running at faster speed and more weight is an implication that you will need to work out on the treadmill with more electricity.

If you want to know the exact number of watts consumed by your treadmill, do this. Try connecting a power meter directly to your machine.

4. Can I Use A Regular Outlet For Plugging My Motorized Treadmill?

Ans: Plugging the electric treadmill into a regular output is dependent on the individual brand and the models. Most manufacturers produce machines that require a surge suppressor to meet the standards of the treadmill.

Plugging your treadmill into a regular outlet may fail to match the power requirements of your machine. It is advisable to install a grounded outlet to protect yourself from electrical shocks. Take a surge suppressor, plug it into this grounded outlet, and then plug in the treadmill.

Let us say there is a power surge at your place. In such a case, this surge suppressor would be of great help in keeping your machine safe and functioning. Get all these additional installations done with the help of a professional.

Do not forget to unplug your treadmill after you finish working out.

Conclusion:

Both manual and automatic treadmills help you to work out to reach your fitness goals. However, the motorized or electric models have more advantages over the manual ones. They have in-built advanced and computerized features that help you take up any kind of workouts on them. They are durable and have a longer lifespan, too. If you consider the benefits, an electric treadmill has an upper hand over the manual ones. Moreover, it is suitable for everyone, including those with knee and ankle pains, and suffering from hip issues.

I hope this article helped you learn the difference between a manual treadmill and an automatic treadmill. If you still have any questions or need more information, write to us in the comments section below.

If you feel that we missed out on any points or if you have inputs to add, please do not hesitate to let us know. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your suggestions.

May you enjoy your workouts and reach your fitness goals.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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