4 Different Types of Treadmills For Best Exercises

Find the type of treadmill as per your body weight or exercise requirement. There are four different types of treadmills we are illustrating here.

Before going for different types of treadmills let’s look at the history of treadmills. How the modern treadmill evolved from the very basic roman tread wheel.

In the very beginning, near about in the late 1st century, the Romans invented “tread mill” also called “tread wheel”. Its purpose was to lift heavier weights using a big diameter wheel. Human laborers were walking inside the wheel and as result the wheel was acting like crane lifting heavier weight.

Later on, the British engineer William Cubitt made a treadmill punishing prisoners. Prisoners were subjected to harsh labor on this treadmill. Eventually in 1869 that harsh labor law was removed. Source – lifefitness.com

Further, the first time a treadmill was used for medical purposes in 1952 by Dr. Robert Brush of the University of Washington. He was a cardiologist who founded the famous Bruce Protocol. Due to his intense contribution, he is popularly called “The Father of Exercise Cardiology”.a

In due course, two renowned engineers Bill Staub and Kenneth Cooper formed Arobics Inc. and brought the first home exercise treadmill to the market. Subsequently, the treadmill got popular during the 20th century. Source – lifefitness.com

Earlier, very basic types of treadmills were coming and they did not have many safety features. Nowadays with advancements in technology, modern treadmills are coming with many advanced features like smart consoles, cushioned running surfaces, ergonomic decks, and many more.

On the basis of available features we can categorize treadmills into following types.

Manual Treadmill

A manual treadmill doesn’t need electricity to run its belt. A user presses legs and then belt moves against rollers. The more frequently you move your steps faster the belt runs.

The best part of this treadmill is that it remains stationary till you start walking on it. As a result, this machine becomes safer for you, and the chances of falling from the treadmill are almost zero.

This type of treadmill has got lesser features and good for walking purposes. Their sizes are smaller and running belts are narrower.

You will not get a console here for monitoring your speed, calories, heart rate, and other parameters. There is a handlebar that is cushioned enough to give you a soft grip.


Performing a workout is safer as this treadmill can not run until you start moving.
Compact in size and occupies a small space in the room.
It has a low cost and Rs. 10-20 thousand is enough to buy a good manual treadmill.
No need for electricity and so it saves your electrical bills.
A manual treadmill is very maintenance friendly in nature.
Very portable due to wheels fitted in the base.
Easier to operate and you don’t need to learn much.
You have full control over speed. So, increasing or decreasing speed is not a headache.


You can’t measure your workout parameter like speed, distance, calories burnt, etc.
Due to the lack of an automatic inclination, you can’t incline or decline while running on this machine.
This type of treadmill is not good for pro runners.
Workout on such treadmills becomes boring due to the lack of multimedia features.
The impact is very high on a manual treadmill. So, it’s not good for people suffering from knee joint pain.

Automatic or Motorized Treadmill

As the name suggests an automatic treadmill is powered by and electrical motor. An electrical motor generates the required force and drives running belt.

The motorized treadmills have got more advanced features than manual treadmills. Many computing technologies like application support, large touch screen, internet connectivity and heart rate sensors are also there.

They are built very sturdily and robust in nature. Because of their heavy-duty, gyms and fitness club prefer this equipment.

Like manual treadmills these treadmills too have their own good and bad features.


It’s a good treadmill for high-intensity workouts due to automatic inclination.
They are robustly built and give a heavy-duty performance.
Smart features like monitoring real-time workout data help you get your fitness goal in time.
Running surfaces come with shock absorption technology.
Consoles have large touch screens with internet and fitness applications support.
Good for all walking, jogging, and running purposes.
Workout becomes enjoyable due to the availability of multimedia support.
They have water bottles and smart phone or gadget holder too.
There are various preset workout programs available.
Self-lubrication is available with noise reduction technology.


They are bulky and occupy more space in the room.
You need a high budget to get a good automatic treadmill.
If you are new it’s better to learn the standard operating procedure before using it.
For children and old age persons these treadmills may be dangerous if become uncontrolled.

Hybrid Treadmill

A hybrid treadmill is a combination of treadmill and exercise bike or in some cases combination of treadmill and elliptical cross trainer. Hybrid treadmills are latest fitness equipment.

The main motto behind development of these treadmills are giving you more than one exercise from a single machine. Usually, you need to take few actions to switch over the machine from one mode to another.

Doing just on kind of exercise on daily basis for prolong period make it boring. After a few days you stop doing it.

But, in a hybrid treadmill, you just switch over to another mode and change the exercise pattern. In this way, you are able to do exercises on regular basis.


Multiple exercises on one machine.
Longer warranty periods.
More than one exercise machine is fitted in a single place and on a single platform.
The elliptical feature is a low-impact workout and good for joint pain.
With the exercise bike feature, you can tone your hip muscles.


A hybrid treadmill is not as robust as an automatic treadmill.
You need to do some changes for switching from one mode of exercise to another.
Technical know is necessary for a smooth workout on such machines.
Hybrid exercise machines need a high degree of maintenance.

Medical Treadmills

The medical treadmills are designed to test the stress level of patients. These treadmills are made of very high quality as their reading is used fro treatment of patients.

Their running decks are of very large surface area. Also handlebars are made very gently to give patients an outstanding experiences.

Companies that design medical treadmills they keep in mind the need of patients and its gravity. Patients safety is paramount when choosing such kinds of treadmills.


Extremely high-quality built.
Very stable and reliable performance.
Used by doctors to measure stress levels on patients.
They give very accurate data like speed, heart bit, calories burnt, and distance.


The cost is very high.
Occupies much larger space than other treadmills.
Strict regular maintenance is needed to avoid any anomaly in reading.