What are Treadmill Desks?
Treadmill desks are typically desks that have a working area at stomach height when standing on a treadmill surface. This allows someone to stand in place or walk while they are working. were developed for people that don't want to sit in a chair for 8 hours per day and want to add even more movement to their day than they get by standing at their desk. Treadmill desks aren't designed to run at high speeds; they are built for people to walk at slow speeds for long periods of time.
Treadmill desks are an excellent way to get in shape while you work. I believe it's actually one of the easiest habits you can develop to lose weight as you're reducing your sitting time (which is a cause of weight gain for many people), and you're burning more calories than standing.
Many standing desk users have added walking as an addition to standing and sitting (or using a leaning chair). Usually, you won't be walking more than 2 mph, so you won't be sweating, and you avoid all of the dangers of extended periods of sitting (we've written a lot about the increased risk of certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, increased mortality).
If you're wondering if a treadmill desk is a good investment for you, read some of the reviews from verified purchase users on Amazon. It's extremely common to read about users reporting weight loss, more energy, higher productivity, and better mood.
Selecting the treadmill desk that's right for you can be intimidating if you've never used one. There are a lot of factors to consider, and if you don't know a lot about standing desks and treadmills, getting unbiased information is difficult. It's not uncommon that companies will pay for positive reviews of their products and negative reviews of competitors. Over the last few years we've developed the following criteria to help you make a decision as to which treadmill desk is best for you:
- Stability - This is especially important with all of the movement that's happening. Trying to write, type, and use the mouse can reduce your productivity when using an unstable treadmill desk.
- Shipping and delivery - Some units can take up to 8 weeks to be delivered.
- Warranty - Quality products will usually have stronger warranties.
- Noise - Loud treadmill desks can be annoying to others nearby and make it harder to hear when listening to audio.
- Customer service - Hopefully you won't need to deal with customer service, but if you do, it makes for a wonderful or agonizing purchase.
- Customization and upgrades - If you use your treadmill desks, there may be features that you'll use often.
- Max user weight - If you're a bigger person, pay attention to the max user weight. If the motor isn't able to handle larger users, it can stress out the motor and lead to motor failure.
- Lift capacity of the desk - If you have a lot of items on your desk, such as monitors, books, drinks, or a bag you should find out how much they all weigh before you make a buying decision.
- Top speed - Most don't use their treadmill desk at the speeds you would use at the gym, but if you think you'll want to occasionally challenge yourself, look for a higher maximum speed.
- Console/controller size - The console should be easy to read and adjust.
- Max height - Tall users can have issues with desks that are too low when they have to lean forward to type and read, which can lead to back and neck pain.
- Ergonomics - Poor ergonomics can cause pain in your back, neck, shoulders, and wrists.
- Quality - There are several moving parts in the desk and the treadmill, and low-quality units don't last as long as higher quality ones, which can end up costing you more in the end when you have to buy a new unit because a cheaper one failed.
- Maintenance - Some treadmills require occasional maintenance.
- Unique features - Sometimes these features can add to the overall cost of a treadmill desk.
- Overall value for the cost - Balancing your budget with your needs can be difficult for some people.
We've spent thousands of hours personally testing treadmill and standing desks, speaking with manufacturers, as well as directly with users, and we've read thousands of reviews.
Best Treadmill Desks
- A beautiful bamboo desktop that’s eco-friendly and has rounded edges
- Electric height adjustment at 1.5″/second-one of the fastest on the market
- 4 programmable memory presets for height
- The desk is less than 50 dB when adjusting (the equivalent of light traffic noise)
- Has a 350 lb lift capacity-one of the highest available
- Console tracks distance traveled, calories burned, steps taken
- USB charging port on the console
- Rated for 6 hours of average daily use
The Jarvis treadmill desk has 2 parts, the desk, and the treadmill. The standing desk is made by Fully, who is one of the top standing desk companies. The treadmill is made by LifeSpan, who is one of the top treadmill producers (and is our runner-up).
The Jarvis treadmill desk stood out when we compared it to many other treadmill desks that we compared it to and took into consideration the price. There are many treadmill desks that are of higher quality but are way more expensive. For more information, check out our full Jarvis treadmill desk review.
Best Space-Saving (treadmill only, no desk included)
- LifeSpan was rated as best-in-class by Consumer Reports, Treadmill Doctor, Runners World, Health Magazine, and others
- 2HP motor is very quiet
- At 60.5″ it’s the shortest treadmill desk on the market, so it will fit in smaller spaces
- It's 26" wide, which is 2.5" smaller than LifeSpan's other products, giving you more room if you plan on keeping your chair under your desk at the same time
- The belt is 45" x 18". Not recommended for taller users or people with longer strides
- Maximum user weight is 200 lbs. If you want to upgrade to a stronger motor, the TR1200-DT3 accommodates users up to 350 lbs, and the TR5000-DT3 up to 400 lbs
- Speeds from .4-4 MPH
- Step-up height of 3.75"
- 96 lbs with 2 front-mounted wheels for easy moving
- Arrives fully assembled
- Console is small and portable and counts steps, distance, speed, calories, and time
- Competitively priced
Best Treadmill with Attached Workstation
- Desktop is 24" x 9", large enough for a laptop or tablet
- Speed range from .5 to 7.5 MPH with a 2.25 HP motor
- Maximum user weight of 265 lbs
- Has 12 preset programs and 3 countdown modes
- Belt is 40" x 16.5"
- Premium shock absorption to prevent joint pain
- Can be folded up and moved easily
- Less than 60DB noise on high speed
- Includes bluetooth speaker, cupholder, and tablet bracket to hold tablet upright
- Console displays the standard treadmill features: time, steps, speed, heart rate, distance, and calories burned
Do-it-Yourself Treadmill Desks
If you're thinking about going the DIY route, understand that if you use a standard fitness treadmill, you may burn out the motor. Walking treadmills are used at low speeds for many hours and require a high torque motor. Fitness treadmills have low torque motors as when people run on them the momentum of them running fast pushes the belt along. Walkers don't push the belt forward much so the motor has to do it.
Advice for New Treadmill Desk Users
- Walk between 1-2 mph: You want to move just enough to increase your body's circulation and prevent the problems that come with long periods of being sedentary. You shouldn't feel the need to go so fast that you're sweating while you work.
- Take breaks: Ideally, you'll be switching modes every 20 or so minutes, so alternate walking with standing, sitting, and leaning if you like. Many treadmill desk users find that certain activities can be done walking, such as phone conversations, while activities that require deep concentration are better when done sitting.
- Wear the right shoes: Don't wear heels or any shoes that are going to damage the treadmill belt. And pay attention to your shoes to ensure they support proper posture while standing or walking. Some users will wear their nice looking shoes to work and to meetings, and another more comfortable pair for walking and standing.
- Practice proper ergonomics: Make sure that your monitor is eye level and that your keyboard is near your hips when you're standing, walking, and leaning. If you're reaching, leaning or slouching, you can create problems for your neck, lower back and upper back. Check out our best monitor arms list.
Treadmill Desk Frequently Asked Questions
Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about treadmill desks.
Do treadmill desks really work?
They allow people to get a light workout while they're working, preventing the problems that can come with extended periods of inactivity. They're not designed for normal gym workouts.
Can you lose weight with a treadmill desk?
Yes, using a treadmill desk can help you lose weight. You won't burn as many calories as you would doing a regular treadmill workout at higher speeds unless you're walking for longer periods.
Are under desk treadmills worth it?
For people who are trying to reduce their risks from extended periods of inactivity and who want to get a light workout while they work, treadmill desks are a great investment.
How much does a treadmill desk cost?
There's a range of price options for a treadmill desk. Cheaper treadmill desks are as low as $300 and higher-quality home desks generally start around $700. Commercial treadmill desks start at $2,000.