Manual Vs. Electric Treadmills
Choosing between a manual and an electric-powered treadmill may seem like a simple decision – after all, the motorized treadmill must be better, right? Not necessarily, as it really depends on your own personal needs. There’s no disputing the fact that motorized treadmills have a lot of benefits to them, but manual treadmills also have some great features that can’t be discounted. You really have to take a long, hard look at what your own expectations are.
In general, you can expect to pay a fair bit more for a treadmill with an electric motor than you will for a manual one. There are lower-priced treadmills that come with a motor, but you’ll want to be very cautious about these types of machines – the more moving parts a treadmill has, the greater potential that you’ll have to repair them down the line. Chances are that cheap motorized treadmills will also have some cheap parts inside their motors.
The Benefits of Manual Treadmills
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a manual treadmill is its attractive price tag. These machines are almost always priced under $200 and in many cases you’ll find them closer to $100. If you’re on a tight budget but still want a treadmill to help you get into shape, a manual treadmill may be your best option.
Not only is a manual treadmill usually a fair bit cheaper than its motorized counterpart, it will also likely need a lot less maintenance over the course of its life. It stands to reason when you think about it – because there’s no motor and therefore fewer moving parts, there is less potential for problems that may arise. Manual treadmills can break down, but even when they do, the repair is likely to be much less complicated than if you have to tear apart a motor and rebuild it.
The other great thing about a manual treadmill is that they tend to be reasonably safe. These types of machines work by using your own body as momentum. They’re always raised on an incline and as you take each step the belt begins to move – the faster you move the quicker the treadmill moves. If you stop walking, the manual treadmill will stop immediately and there’s very little chance that you’ll trip and injure yourself by getting caught in a moving belt.
One final thing to consider in favor of a manual treadmill is that they are usually a lot lighter than their motorized counterparts. Motors can add a fair bit of weight to a treadmill; since a manual treadmill does not have one of these they tend to be a lot lighter. The fact that they’re a lot lighter makes them much easier to move and far more portable.
The Cons of Manual Treadmills
As low-maintenance and portable as a manual treadmill may be, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be right for everybody. If you’re looking to use a treadmill for running at an intense pace, a manual treadmill is probably not for you. In order to get enough momentum to drive the belt forward you have to hold onto the handlebars as you go, which makes it difficult to run. It may be possible, but it can be very awkward and uncomfortable.
One more thing you may not have thought about if you’re considering a manual treadmill is that these machines are often hard on your joints. In order for them to work they have to be raised on an incline, which means if you have bad ankles or knees this may cause a lot of strain. If you are suffering from these types kind of problems, using a manual treadmill may actually be detrimental to your health.
Manual vs Electric | It's a Personal Choice
The Benefits of Electric Treadmills
There are several reasons to consider an electric treadmill over a manual treadmill. First of all, the belt propels itself forward, which frees up your hands and makes it easier for you to run since you don’t have to hold on to the bars for stability. Once you set an electric treadmill at a certain pace it will maintain that speed until you adjust it again. This will force you to push yourself to keep up with the pace, whereas on a manual treadmill you may inadvertently slow down without even knowing it.
Another great feature of an electric treadmill is that you can reduce the incline to almost nothing, as the movement of the belt is not dependent on it. This makes motorized treadmills a much better option for somebody who suffers from joint pain – you don’t have to worry about the extra wear and tear on your body from having your ankles or knees bent at unnatural angles.
Automatic treadmills also tend to be softer and more forgiving, making for a more comfortable workout. This is because they don’t rely on your own power to propel them forward and so don’t have to be as rigid. In this respect, electric treadmills are actually safer than manual treadmills or, at the very least, easier on your body.
It’s an Individual Decision
There really isn’t a right or wrong answer as to whether or not a manual or electric treadmill is the better option; it depends upon your own personal situation. You will definitely want to consider such factors as budget, the importance of portability, any existing physical problems you may have, and the potential maintenance costs involved with both types of machine. These are definitely things you’ll want to give a lot of thought to before you purchase a treadmill.