There are numerous treadmills on the market. While each type has a similar design (belt, deck, handrails, etc.) and purpose (running or walking), they boast unique properties. The right treadmill for you depends on a number of factors, such as your lifestyle, intended use case, budget, and so on. Below, find an overview of the most common types of treadmills.
Manual: Typically the best option for tighter spaces, manual treadmills rely on the user’s energy output to function. In turn, these machines boost your heart rate, challenge your muscular system, and omit the need for clunky wires. They tend to have narrower frames and shorter handrails. As a convenient bonus, many models fold up when not in use.
Because manual treadmills won’t move unless you do, they provide a tougher workout than standard treadmills (especially if you choose a new-to-the-scene curved model). It’s important to note that many models with a flat deck don’t support speeds beyond a brisk walk.
Motorized: Motorized treadmills are likely what comes to mind when you think about indoor running. They rely on an external electrical source to power the belt, incline, and intensity, along with additional features such as an LCD display. While motorized treadmills provide an excellent cardiorespiratory workout, the fixed speed and intensity settings allow the body to operate on autopilot, making for a more comfortable (likely easier!) workout than their manual alternative.
Commercial: Like a standard motorized treadmill, commercial treadmills connect to a power source to deliver additional beneficial features like heart rate tracking and ventilation. Due to their powerful motors, these machines are able to withstand frequent use in commercial settings. Commercial treadmills tend to have the most bells and whistles, such as Bluetooth connectivity, TV access, and top-of-the-line sound systems.
Hybrid: As a two-in-one fitness solution, hybrid treadmills fuse the functions of a treadmill with another piece of equipment, like an elliptical, stationary bike, stair stepper or stair climber. This makes for a space-saving and financially savvy option, while also preventing you from getting bored of the same workout.
Zero gravity: Often used in rehabilitation settings and hospitals, zero gravity, or medical treadmills, offer a lower-step height and provide extra cushioning, thereby reducing the impact on your joints. This allows for improved speed and endurance, without posing as a contraindication during treatment or rehab.