Do you spend most of your day at a deck? Are you finding it difficult to find the time to exercise? Then a treadmill desk might just be the answer. Work off those calories, stay fit, and meet those deadlines at the same time!
Standing desks are great for improving and maintaining a good posture but they don’t burn as much energy as a treadmill desk, which is an adapted computer desk that allows the user to walk on a treadmill while working at the desk. Also known as a walking desk or treadmill workstation, treadmill desks are a super solution to helping you move throughout the day, reach that 10,000-step goal, or simply stay fit while working at the same time.
Treadmill desks are a great way of helping you move throughout the day. Morning Walk by Travis Wise, Mountain View, California / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Treadmill Desk
Treadmill desks are designed differently from fitness treadmills in that they are made to be used daily for multiple hours at slow speeds. Due to this, tasks like talking on the phone, participating in conference calls, responding to emails, and typing are surprisingly easy. However, it is important to know that a treadmill desk is more than just a desk attached to a common fitness treadmill.
There are several factors to consider when shopping for a desk treadmill.
- Floor Space
- Desk Type
- Warranty and Service
1. Floor Space – How Much Space Do I Need for My Treadmill?
A treadmill desk has two separate components: the treadmill and a desk. In terms of space, you will need approximately six feet of space to accommodate the length of the treadmill with three feet of clearance space behind the treadmill. The treadmill can be paired with a standing desk that is 38-inches wide to 72-inches wide.
2. Noise – Will the Noise from My Treadmill Disturb Others?
It is important to take into consideration the noise factor of a treadmill in an open area in the workplace or while you are on a conference or telephone call. Like fitness treadmills, treadmill desks will produce noise from both the motor and the impact from your feet when you are walking.
The movement of the treadmill while you are walking will also produce vibrations that will be felt on the desk. The best way to reduce the impact of noise and vibrations is to buy a treadmill desk of good quality with high-end components.
A high-quality treadmill desk should include a good suspension system with shocks to absorb the impact of walking and should be built with the desk and treadmill as separate components which eliminate the transfer of vibrations to the desktop surface.
A high-quality treadmill desk should include a good suspension system with shocks to absorb the impact of walking.
3. Safety – Is it Safe to Walk While Working?
A common question is whether it is safe to walk while working and this depends on several things such as design, speed, step-up height, and incline. When using a treadmill desk while working there is always a risk of misstepping, losing balance, or slipping so it’s important to consider these factors.
a) Maximum Speed: The higher the speed produced by the treadmill desk, the greater the potential risk. If you are planning on using your treadmill desk in the workplace, then go for one with a maximum speed setting of 2.0 mph. If you are planning on using the treadmill desk at home, you may want to go for a slightly higher speed, but then be sure the machine has side rails.
b) Side Rails: Side rails are an important safety component on treadmill desks as they can prevent users from falling onto the moving belt.
c) Incline: Most treadmill desks don’t come with incline capabilities as, according to ergonomists, walking at an incline takes your body out of a neutral position and places strain on your back and joints.
d) Auto Pause: Most treadmills have an auto-pause function that automatically turns the treadmill off once you step off it.
e) Walking Belt Markings: It’s good to get a desk treadmill
d) Step-Up Height: The closer the walking surface is to the ground the easier it is to get on and off your treadmill.
It is recommended that your desk treadmill be visually inspected and cleaned every three months. It is important to make sure the walking belt is correctly centered and machine parts well-lubricated. Basic maintenance will keep your treadmill in good condition and extend the lifetime of the machine.
Best Desk Treadmills
We hit the belt and tried and tested several models of desk treadmills and came up with this list of the best desk treadmills on the market.
Best Overall: RHYTHM FUN Treadmill 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill Under Desk Walking Treadmill
The RHYTHM FUN Treadmill 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill Under Desk Walking Treadmill is a dual-purpose treadmill that can be used as an under-desk treadmill or a standing desk treadmill with handrails. It has a maximum walking speed of 3.7 mph / 6 km/h and a running speed of 7.5 mph / 12 km/h and is very space-efficient, covering less than a square foot.
This seven-inch thick desk treadmill is foldable and compact and has wheels that make it easy to move around and store. A strong high peak 3.0HP electric motorized DC power motor powers the desk treadmill, and a silicon structure honeycomb running board and large running belt provide a soft surface for walking and running.
A durable steel frame makes this desk treadmill very stable and the treadmill’s AIR shock reduction and noise reduction system makes it very quiet. Capable of accommodating walkers and runners of up to 265 pounds, the RHYTHM FUN Treadmill can be connected to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth so you can play music or watch TV when you aren’t working. A SMART workout app allows you to set a variety of training programs and track your progress. The RHYTHM FUN Treadmill comes with a 12-month warranty.
- Can be used for walking and running
- Stable, durable steel frame
- Strong high peak 3.0HP electric motorized DC power motor
- AIR shock reduction and noise reduction system
- SMART workout app with Bluetooth connection
- 12-month warranty
Best Budget: Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill
This under-desk walking treadmill is a fantastic option if you are on a budget. The Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill has a maximum speed of 2.5 miles per hour when the handrail is lowered and up to eight miles per hour when it’s lifted.
This innovative, folding treadmill is easy to install and has a folding design with built-in wheels that makes it easy to move and store.
The desk treadmill has a durable steel frame and multi-layer, shock-absorbing, and noise-reducing design, making it quiet to use. It is powered by a powerful and ultra-quiet 2.25HP motor and has a built-in Bluetooth speaker, a place to hold your phone, and remote control for adjusting speed.
A five-layer non-slip texture running belt offers a spacious area for walking and running and provides soft cushioning for your knees and a bright LED display clearly shows time, speed, distance, and calories spent.
- Durable steel frame
- Shock-absorbing and the noise-reducing design
- Remote control for adjusting speed
- Five-layer non-slip texture running belt
Best for Upright Storage: UMAY Portable Treadmill
The UMAY Portable Treadmill is a lightweight, under-the-desk treadmill that is just six inches thick with wheels, which makes it one of the easiest desk treadmills to store upright. It has a multi-layered shock-absorbing running belt and a quiet motor that produces a maximum speed of four miles per hour.
The SMART treadmill has six-speed options that allow you to take a slow walk or easy jog and a LED display with programs that make the workout extremely effective. A 1.5HP Pulse Maximum Motor is very quiet and the treadmill has a weight capacity of up to 198 pounds. A walking area of 41″×16″ offers plenty of space to exercise and the shock absorption design is soft on the knees.
A remote control controls the treadmill and can be connected to the SPAX App, which offers professional coaches, class videos, and free courses.
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Shock-absorbing and the noise-reducing design
- Remote control for adjusting speed
- Spacious running belt with cushioning
WALKINGPAD P1 Smart Desk Treadmill
The WALKINGPAD P1 Smart Desk Treadmill is a super-sleek treadmill that is very compact and easy to slide beneath a couch or a desk. The desk treadmill has a height of just five inches and its award-winning design features a sturdy stainless-steel frame and an ultra-quiet motor that is perfect for an office setting.
This WALKINGPAD P1 Smart Desk Treadmill has a patented hinged folding running board and a 2.25-inch running pad that can accommodate up to 66 pounds. The machine has Smart Gravity Foot Sensing Speed Control, which features highly sensitive gravity sensors to support the speed control. This allows the user to feel the front accelerate area, middle uniform speed area, and back decelerate area, all of which can be automatically controlled by your foot position.
This WalkingPad treadmill P1 uses wireless remote control with a high-definition screen and a finger-feel key that can control acceleration and deceleration, starting and pausing, and show calorie expenditure, speed, time, and mileage.
The desk treadmill features a high-strength die-casting aluminum frame, a high-density wooden running board, a high-friction PVC running belt, a durable ABS protective sidebar, and an EVA patent wear-resisting buffer layer.
- Award-winning design
- Smart Gravity Foot Sensing Speed Control
- Wireless remote control with HD screen
- Durable ABS protective sidebar
- Low weight capacity
Best Integrated Desktop: FUNMILY Treadmill Desk
The FUNMILY Treadmill Desk is one of the few desk treadmills that has an integrated desk. The desk has an integrated tablet holder, plenty of space for a laptop, and two cup holders. A 2.25 HP motor runs 12 preset programs and three count-down modes and 60 minutes of walking or running between speeds from 0.5 to 7.5 mph.
This compact, folding treadmill features a 40″ x 16.5″ spacious running area and a non-slip textured running belt that absorbs impacts and protects your knees. A large high-definition screen that shows total distance, time, speed, calories burned, and heart rate, as well as Bluetooth speakers that can be paired with SMART devices.
The treadmill has a convenient folding design and wheels that allow it to be transported and stored easily. It is easy to set up and assemble and is available in gold, silver, and gray.
- Convenient, folding design
- Integrated desk
- Spacious running area and cushioned running belt
- Large high-definition screen
Best Safety Features: Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation
The Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation is an affordable, reliable, and safe desk treadmill with an array of safety features. The best safety feature is that the treadmill automatically pauses if no user is detected after five seconds. It also has a power-saving mode that turns on when the machine has been idle for more than 10 seconds to save energy.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation includes a wireless remote control to conveniently adjust the intensity of your workout and a large 14 x 5 in digital monitor shows calories burned, speed, distance, and time. Built-in shock absorbers make walking or running easy on the knees and joints, and wheels make this slimline model easy to move, transport, and store.
- Great safety features
- Automatic pause feature
- Wireless remote control
- Built-in shock absorbers
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you buy the treadmill and desk separately, or purchase the all-in-one package?
This depends on whether you already own a treadmill. If you already own a treadmill, it might make sense to purchase a desk and fit it to the treadmill, however, it can be difficult to find the right fit. If you want a good model that works efficiently, it may be a good idea to sell you a standard treadmill and purchase a desk treadmill. This way you will have a warranty on both the desk and treadmill.
How many hours does a treadmill last?
A new desk treadmill can be operated for four to six hours each day and if correctly maintained, can last up to 10 years with only minor replacements such as belt and bearing replacement.
Can you place an ergonomic mat on the treadmill for just standing?
Yes, you can. Desk treadmills do not only have to be used for walking or jogging. Ergonomic mats can help relieve some of the strain on the ankles, knees and lower back and standing is healthier than sitting.
Jacky has a degree in Sports Science and is a Certified Sports and Conditioning Coach. He has also worked with clients around the world as a personal trainer.
He has been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of people from very different ends of the fitness spectrum. Through promoting positive health changes with diet and exercise, he has helped patients recover from aging-related and other otherwise debilitating diseases.
He spends most of his time these days writing fitness-related content of some form or another. He still likes to work with people on a one-to-one basis – he just doesn’t get up at 5am to see clients anymore.