I haven’t been impressed with manual treadmills – that is, at least, until now. The simple and affordable Progear Manual Treadmill has done a lot to change my mind. This machine doesn’t have any fancy bells and whistles, but it appears to be very reliable. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but, based on the vast majority of customer reviews, it will give you a good workout at a reasonable price. If you don’t want to break the bank in your quest to get in shape, this may be the perfect machine for you.
The price on this machine absolutely surprised me – it was well under $150. It’s very hard indeed to find a decent piece of home workout equipment that retails for less than $150, so it’s a big surprise to find one that did fall under this price point and seems to be quite reliable.
This is a machine that surprised me on more than one occasion. Not only does it have a great price, but it also has an adjustable incline – highly unusual on a manual treadmill, especially one under $150. You can adjust the incline between 6 degrees and 10 degrees, which isn’t a lot of variation but it’s enough to provide you with a different type of workout when you get bored. The great thing about a manual treadmill is that it works by utilizing your own weight to create momentum; you have to work out on some kind of incline or the belt simply won’t move right. This relatively steep incline simulates climbing a hill, which will make you sweat in no time. You can’t really run on this machine, but you probably don’t need to.
When you’re purchasing a treadmill that’s under $150 you’d probably expect to find something that’s very cheaply made; perhaps made out of plastic or at the very least made out of cheap metal. This machine is actually constructed out of steel and appears to be very solid. It also has twin flywheels that make the belt run very smoothly, which in turn avoids extra wear and tear because of alignment issues. While it’s only been tested for individuals up to 230 pounds, some reviews suggest that it will work just as well for someone that’s 270 pounds. I was glad to hear that, because at 250 pounds I didn’t think this machine was going to be a good option for me.
The Progear treadmill does have an LCD screen that will display some basic workout information, but it’s very limited and some customers have complained that it doesn’t work very well. It’s designed to display the elapsed time of your workout, the distance you’ve traveled, and the calories you’ve burned while working out. There’s also a scan feature which will automatically scan through the different features while you workout so you don’t have to constantly hit the button to see a different feature.
While this machine may be great value for money there are a couple of things about it that do to concern me. First of all, the fact that you always have to use it on an incline may cause problems if you’ve got some issues with your hips or your ankles. The incline is fairly steep regardless of which setting you have it on, as it has to be in order for the manual belt to work. This may not be a problem for most healthy individuals, but a treadmill that will operate on a more level plain is probably better if you do have some of the hip or ankle problems we’ve mentioned above.
The other major concern I had about this machine was the relatively small size of the belt. It’s only 43 inches long by 13 inches wide; if you’re a big person using this machine will be a little awkward. It’s not really designed for running on anyway, but if you do have a long stride even walking may be a problem when you only have 43 inches to work with. Having said that, the handlebars are fairly long, which makes them easy to grip, and they do provide a decent amount of stability while you walk. They also have foam on them to make it hard to lose your grip.
As we’ve alluded to above, you definitely don’t want to run on this machine. To move a manual treadmill belt you need leverage, which means you have to hold onto the handle bars; when you do this it makes it very difficult to get into a good running stride – it may not be impossible but it’s highly impractical. I would stick to walking at a brisk pace, which can still give you a very good workout.
Progear’s treadmill really isn’t bad for a manual treadmill priced under $150. You won’t get a lot of the features you’ll find on more expensive models, but you will get a reliable workout. The machine’s construction is quite sturdy and it’s capable of handling individuals that are at least 230 pounds, if not more. It also has an adjustable incline, which is unusual for such an inexpensive unit. It’s not perfect, but it’s a surprisingly decent effort.