The A-Z of 5 Different Types of Treadmills

Treadmills are one of the most popular pieces of cardio equipment in the world. They offer a great workout and come in a variety of different styles and types. If you’re in the market for a treadmill, it’s important to know the different types that are available.

Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to know which type is best for your needs.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between different types of treadmills. What are their uses? Which one is better for you?

You can decide on an ideal one for yourself after reading the whole thing.

At the end of the blog, I will tell you my own preference and why I chose that specific treadmill over the others.

Different Types of Treadmills

Basically, there are 5 different types of treadmills:

  1. Manual
  2. Commercial
  3. Motorized
  4. Hybrid
  5. Medical

But treadmills can also further be categorized:

Treadmill Categorization Based on Energy Supply:

  • Magnetic/Manual Treadmill
  • Electric/Motorized Treadmills
  • Hybrid Treadmills

Treadmill Categorization Based on Place of Use:

  • House Treadmills
  • Gym Treadmills
  • Anti-gravity or Medical Treadmill
  • Desk Treadmill

Treadmill Categorization Based on Treadmill Shape:

  • Folding Treadmill
  • Non-folding treadmill

Let’s first discuss the differences between 5 different types of treadmills from the surface and the pros and cons of each type:

1. Manual Treadmill

All the controls in this type of treadmill are manual. In comparison to the motorized treadmill, this manual one is safer because as soon as you stop running or walking, the machine stops right there. Meaning there is no need for a treadmill belt.

A manual treadmill is best for use at home.

Since it is safe to use and most manual treadmills are foldable, you can easily store them even under the bed, making them super portable to use and saving room space for other things after workouts.

You can also find them in many gyms for use, but they are ideal for home use.

Pros and Cons of Manual Treadmill:

Designed to provide a natural walking experienceyou can’t test your limits since the speed on this treadmill is dependent on your will
LCD screen that displays time, speed, distance, and calories burnedmost manual treadmills don’t come with an option of increasing/decreasing the inclination
Ideal for walking and jogging
Space saving because most of them are foldable for storage after use
No electricity required
inexpensive compared to other types of treadmills

2. Commercial Treadmill

A commercial treadmill is a more expensive option but totally worth it. It has all the features that sum up and make the best of a treadmill e.g. the display screen has a heart monitor and an interactive display screen that shows all sorts of relevant data like speed, distance covered, etc.

Furthermore, you can connect your phone through BlueTooth or hands-free in most commercial treadmills and enjoy the music of your choice while running, which is a great distraction feature to run more than usual distance while your brain is divided between focusing on your limits and music.

Since this sort of treadmill is more of an automatic machine, they all have built-in security features like the treadmill belt that stops the machine if you miss a step or somehow couldn’t keep up the pace.

Commercial treadmills are mostly used in gyms, but they are also good for a home gym, and if you really want to test yourself, this is the best type of treadmill to buy.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Treadmill:

most complete treadmill among all typesmost expensive among all types of treadmills
good for both gym and home usehuge in size usually
the LCD display has all the features that a treadmill can offer
music can be played both through BlueTooth and hands-free
available in a variety of price

3. Motorized Treadmill

This treadmill is the opposite of a manual treadmill in most of its features. You need a power supply, controls are mostly automatic and there is a range of speed and incline options.

The common thing between this treadmill and the manual one is the LCD screen that shows different sorts of data to track your progress.

They are much larger than manual treadmills and mostly need their own space, but there are many that you can fold and store somewhere after use.

The good thing about them is that you can easily test your limits on this treadmill and the number of good features depends on your budget.

Pros and Cons of Motorized Treadmill:

LCD screen that shows all the relevant datacan’t use without a power supply
will test your limits because of many automatic settingslarge in size
available in different budgets with fewer and more featuresmostly not portable but some of them are portable
durableexpensive than a manual treadmill
can be used for walking, jogging, and running

4. Hybrid Treadmill

As the word hybrid suggests, these machines are not only treadmill machine but also elliptical machine that gives you very limited space to perform your walk and jogging on a treadmill.

These machines are also known as tread climbers and are more suited for walking because of the amount of space available to move over it.

If you look at the shape of a hybrid treadmill, you will notice that it looks like someone has cut a treadmill in half.

This is done deliberately to make the whole experience more challenging so that you can focus more on your walk or jog more seriously and burn more calories in a shorter time.

These hybrid treadmills are durable but more costly compared to most other forms of treadmills.

A hybrid treadmill also comes with the option of changing the dynamics of your running track. You can incline it up or down a few degrees to make the whole experience more or less challenging.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Treadmill:

multipurpose treadmill machinesexpensive
durablenot portable
burns more calories than usual treadmillnot suited for running
takes less spacerequires extra focus in use
safe because of double safety belt

5. Medical Treadmill

These treadmills are used as preventative rehabilitation machines. Also known as zero gravity and anti-gravity treadmills.

A medical treadmill allows users to walk and run at a lower percentage of body weight.

These machines continuously calculate the electrocardiogram recordings of a patient’s heart so that doctors can suggest exercises accordingly.

These treadmills are usually not available for sale to the general public that’s why we won’t suggest buying any of the products.

Pros and Cons of Medical Treadmill:

zero gravity allows walking on a lower percentage of body weightnot available for sale in most places publicly
can track the electrocardiogram of heart patients

Things you should know before Buying a Treadmill

A treadmill is an expensive running machine, before going shopping for a treadmill, if possible do make sure that the following conditions are checked:

  • Your spot: put it preferably near a window you can look outside from while running on a treadmill.
  • Check the space: see if the space is spacious enough to accommodate a treadmill and not disturb the ins and outs of the room.
  • Check the brand report and recommendations: you can do it on websites like betterbusinessbureaus and consumersreport and if it’s a third party like Amazon, you can check the buyer reviews.
  • Check the time limits: some treadmills go into cooling mode after a certain amount of time, if you are a hardcore runner planning to spend more than an hour on the treadmill make sure the machine you are choosing is able to work for more than an hour continuously.
  • What is covered in the warranty?: do check the features that are covered in the warranty. Usually, the fancy features that catch your eyes on the console are the 1st to malfunction and they are not covered in the warranty.
  • Motor capacity: they are the best indicator of reliability. 3 horse-powers continuous is the minimum for genuine runners.
  • The Incline is important: it requires a different drive to operate and is important to have in a treadmill.
  • Roller size: longevity of a treadmill greatly depends on the roller size, 3 inch roller is the bare minimum to look for.

Things you should do after Buying a Treadmill

  • Check if all the features are working properly.
  • Use the heck out of it while the machine is still under warranty.
  • Share your experience in buyer reports if you are shopping on the third party like Amazon, it will be really helpful for buyers buying the treadmill after you.

Why are Treadmills so Expensive?

There are basically 5 reasons why treadmills are expensive.

But most importantly, treadmills are expensive because they are complex cardio machines. They can also be expensive because of the extensive warranties which are more like insurances than warranties.

The problem with electronic machines and appliances is that they can stop working at any time and mostly they stop working after 1 year period (when the warranty is over).

Treadmills are no different, the most expensive thing in them is the motor, and more than anything else, it’s the motor that most of the time stops working.

Let’s say you have paid $5000 for the best treadmill there is. If the motor stops working after the warranty period, it can cost you over $1000 to get a new one.

A bigger trick that sellers play with buyers is the encompassing guarantee, they charge extra cash for a longer guarantee than one year.

Just make sure that you don’t accept any such offer, buy the treadmill with a regular warranty, and use the heck out of it while the machine is still in warranty.

If it survives 1 whole year, greater chances are that it will work for a longer period and won’t cost you any extra money.

My Choice of Treadmill

For me, a commercial treadmill is the best one. It has an LCD display that gives me all the numbers that matter e.g. calories burned, distance traveled, my speed of running, heart rate, and the option to increase and decrease the volume of the music.

You can both type the speed of running or use a gauge to manually increase or decrease your speed of running.

For me, that’s what an ideal treadmill is and I’m sure most people look for these features when they are looking to get a treadmill.

So yeah, Commercial Treadmill for the win over any other treadmill. 🙂

Also Read:

Why you can Run on a Treadmill but not Outside?

Can a Treadmill be kept Outside? | Outdoor Treadmill Guide

A-Z Guide on Folding and Non-Folding Treadmill Covers