Manual Treadmill Desk: Good or Bad?

There is lots of talk about treadmill desks, but they all have electric treadmills. What about manual treadmill desks? Is it worth building your own?

Best Manual Treadmills for a Treadmill Desk

We’ve included reasons below as to why you would want to have a manual treadmill desk – and why you might not. (Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for 3 top recommendations.)

Pros of a Manual Treadmill for Desk:

1. Cheaper Machine

Manual treadmills typically cost less than electric machines because they don’t require advanced technology and are simpler devices. Where many electric versions can cost close to $1000, you can get a decent manual treadmill for under $200.

2. No Electricity Required for a Manual Treadmill

Obviously, you don’t need an electrical outlet to use a manual treadmill. It runs on the power generated by your own walking. Now you are not limited to where you can put your machine. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay for electricity to operate your treadmill.

3. Quieter Walking Platform

Noise level will depend on the model you choose, however, many people report that manual treadmills generate less noise due to the fact that they don’t have a motor. Even though electric versions can be quite quiet (especially at slower speeds), less noise is always a bonus.

4. Manual Fitness Equipment Requires Less Maintenance

When buying a new machine, maintenance costs are rarely at the front of our minds. However, with regular daily use, treadmill motors will at some point require maintenance or replacement. Even though this may be years after purchase, it’s still a cost factor to consider. Since manual machines don’t have a motor, this cost is null.

The Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill costs right around $200 $120 and is your basic no-frills machine. If you already have a standing desk or want to build your own, the T900 offers a cheap way to have your own treadmill desk without spending a lot of money.

One feature I like about the T900 is that the arms are shorter and less prominent than its competitors. This makes it easier to fit underneath a treadmill desk without removing the arms. Check it out here:


Stamina InMotion Manual Treadmill

Cons of a Manual Treadmill Under Desk:

1. Incline Required
In order to start and maintain movement on a manual machine, it needs to be positioned at an incline. For some users this may not matter, but keep in mind that incline walking does require more effort than walking on a flat surface. Do you want to expend this extra effort while working? It may be worth testing out first.

2. Building Skills Needed
As far as I know, there are no manual treadmill desks for sale. If you want one, you will need to build your own desk to fit around the arms of the machine or somehow remove the arms of the treadmill so that a desk can be positioned more easily around it.

3. No Pace-Setter
Something I do like about electric treadmills is that you can set the speed on the console to keep myself walking at a certain pace. This is something you can’t do on a manual model automatically. That said, most machines do come with an electronic monitor that lets you track time, speed, distance and calories burned.

Top Picks:


Stamina Manual Treadmill
Stamina InMotion T900


Exerpeutic Manual Treadmill
Exerpeutic 250


Confidence Manual Treadmill
Confidence Magnetic