Many owners reason that since a manual treadmill is small and light, with no motor and fewer moving parts, less can go wrong than with a conventional treadmill. This usually isn't true; the typical manual treadmill's price point ($200 or less) virtually guarantees poorly machined parts or misplaced holes that make assembly a challenge. We also found many complaints across the board of belt slippage and troublesome, rudimentary consoles.
Even our best-reviewed model, the 66-pound Weslo Cardio Stride 3.0 (Est. $150) , has a few of its own durability concerns. However, it edges out the 56-pound Stamina InMotion II (Est. $160) , thanks to its quieter operation, easier setup and a belt that's more likely to stay in place.
Despite complaints about noisy operation and low handlebars that force taller users to bend over, the InMotion II is a worthy second choice; Stamina's excellent customer service draws many owner compliments. The 45-pound Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up (Est. $150) also earns praise for good customer service, but tall users may struggle with its size; one describes it as "built for a toddler." The Phoenix 98510's 13-by-41-inch belt is narrower than both the Cardio Stride 3.0's 17-by-41-inch belt and the InMotion II's 17-by-42-inch belt.
The Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up treadmill also receives the most complaints about durability, with numerous owners voicing concerns about wires that broke or fell out of place, and a belt that often won't stay put. It's the only manual treadmill in our report that requires you to remove two screws every time you fold it up, and replace them when you lay it flat again.
Although it isn't perfect, the Weslo Cardio Stride 3.0's easy folding (just remove a spring pin), relatively spacious belt and decent durability record place it at the top of the manual treadmill pack. However, it only just edges out the Phoenix 98510 Easy-Up in our ratings. Both would be a good choice, and if you're concerned about getting coverage for the short, 90-day warranty manual models usually come with, both the Phoenix and Stamina's customer service is a good bet.