Runner Up for Best Treadmill Desk
Last Updated January 28, 2018
The LifeSpan TR800-DT5 is our runner up choice for best treadmill desk of 2018. Cheaper than our #1 pick, the Jarvis treadmill desk, it saves money because it adjusts manually, meaning that if you want to raise or lower the height of the desk, you have to do it by hand.
It’s also the most compact of any treadmill desk on the market at 65″ long. If you have a small office, this model could be a great option.
When we first started reading about treadmill desks, we found that many companies compared their product to LifeSpan’s products. Even our choice for best overall value combines a LifeSpan treadmill under a Jarvis desk.
LifeSpan TR800-DT5 Treadmill Desk Review
We tested the LifeSpan TR800-DT5 vs. several competitors. Among them were the Nordictrack treadmill, the Exerpeutic 2000, and the ProForm Thinline.
LifeSpan’s Stellar Reputation
One of the main selling points of this treadmill desk is the company. LifeSpan was rated as best in class by Consumer Reports, Treadmill Doctor, Runners World, Health Magazine and others.
We’ve heard a lot of stories about people that bought treadmill desks from newer companies, and there are often a lot of issues. The treadmill often has mechanical and electronic issues, and customer service can be terrible. This is a big investment for most people, so going with a company that’s been in the business for many years can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. Companies that have been around have had time to evolve their product and work the kinks out (this is why when software companies put out new software they will label it “2.0” even though it’s their first version; buyers are guinea pigs!)
LifeSpan’s product are all sturdy, and their customer service is above average.
The warranty is solid: lifetime on the frame, 3 years on the motor, 1 year parts and labor. You have the the option of an extended 3 year warranty for $149, or 5 years for $299.
Shipping & Delivery
Standard shipping is free, which means they’ll bring it to your curb or driveway. If you want them to bring it inside to the ground floor, it’s $49, or if you want them to bring it up or down 2 flights of stairs, it’s $99. They also offer white glove service for $199, where they will bring to wherever you want, take it out of the package and install it for you.
The treadmill will arrive in 2 boxes, one is the desk, which is around 85 lbs, and the other is the treadmill, which is around 120 lbs. So if you’re strong, just take standard delivery. If you can’t do it, or can’t find anyone to help, you might want to opt for the inside delivery, or room of choice if you need to bring it up or down stairs (we’ve read a few reviews where people aggravated their backs taking it up stairs-an ergonomic failure!)
One of the treadmills that was on our candidate list for budget treadmills was the Nordictrack treadmill desk. The concept is cool, because you can tilt the treadmill up and slide it behind the desktop so you can sit, but you have to wait for up to 2 months for delivery!
Another feature that I like is the ability to walk a little faster-up to 4 mph on this treadmill. Some treadmill desks only go up to 2 mph.
Most treadmill users aren’t going to go much faster than 2 mph. If you go faster you may start to sweat and get tired. It can also be difficult to do many tasks going fast, such as typing, using your mouse, or anything that requires deep concentration. I do like the option of being able to go a little faster occasionally, especially if I’m watching a video.
This is a quiet treadmill where if you’re on the phone, whoever you’re talking to won’t be able to hear you, especially at the lower speeds.
If you read a lot of reviews, there are several users that mentioned that they wished they could silence the beeps when you change speed. LifeSpan has a video showing how to do that through the settings.
This treadmill desk works ergonomically. One treadmill I got really excited about was the Exerpeutic 2000. It has lot of cool features that LifeSpan products don’t have, such as the ability to walk or run on an incline, speeds up to 12 mph, and an outlet station. The drawback? It’s terrible ergonomically because you can’t raise or lower the desktop. Unless you’re the perfect height, you’ll have to reach up to type or write, or look down, so you may lose a bunch of weight using it, but you’re risking back and/or neck pain. The TR1200 DT5 has a 16 inch range of adjustment for the desktop so you can adapt it to your height.
I like the sleek design and how easy it is to use (pictured below).
When you need to adjust the height of the desktop, you have to do it manually. If you’re the only one using the treadmill, and you only use it for walking, this shouldn’t be an issue. But if you plan on using the treadmill for sitting or leaning as well, it’s a little annoying to adjust the height, and it’s easiest to have two people to do it. If not your stuff may fall off of the desktop.
On that note, if you plan on putting a chair or leaning stool on the treadmill, I’d recommend a chair or stool with a wide and flat base-a normal chair with legs or rollers may alter the treadmill belt over time (check out our top chairs and stools for standing desks). And you may want to look at an anti-fatigue mat, such as the Ergogo, or the Topo for standing on the treadmill.
The desktop is a laminate covered 1-inch composite board. Not the highest quality, but not bad, especially when you’re looking to save money. If you want to upgrade to a different color, you can choose absolute acajou (see below, the grey top with stands of light grey), hardrock maple (the second image below), wild cherry (third image), or jamison white (fourth image). These are only availble with the 48″ desktop width, which is a $50 upgrade.
Maintenance is easy, as the LifeSpan video shows below. If you don’t see yourself doing any maintenance, you might want to look at the Jarvis Treadmill Desk, which uses the LifeSpan TR5000 base (which is their top model and is available with the DT3, DT5, and DT7 model).
Is the TR800-DT5 right for you?
Besides the science-fictiony name, this is a solid investment. It doesn’t have some of the fancier features of other treadmill desks, such as the ability to run up to 12 MPH on the ProForm Thinline Treadmill Desk (check prices here). But the ProForm has a console (the display and controls for the treadmill) that flips over to form a desktop, so if you want to change speed, turn it on or off, you have to take everything off of your desk. In my opinion, this makes the ProForm a treadmill with a labtop or tablet holder.
Note that if any of the users of your treadmill desk are over 300 lbs, you can choose the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 which accomodates users up to 350 lbs. In addition, the track is also 2″ wider at 20″, and the motor is slightly bigger at 2.25 HP.
The LifeSpan does what you need it to do, and it does it really well.
If you’re looking for more features, you will have to spend more money, unless you can find a used model on Amazon.
Or you might get lucky looking at Craigs List and going to garage sales. The benefit of Craigs List or garage sales is that you can save a lot of money; the drawback is that it’s not easy to find treadmill desks. They’re a lot less common than regular treadmills.
Buying a regular fitness treadmill is risky because they’re not designed to be used for long periods of use at low speeds. Low speeds require a high torque motor, like the ones found in all LifeSpan treadmills. If you use a regular fitness treadmill at low speeds there’s a great chance that you’ll burn the motor out. Low speeds actually create a lot more work for the motor; at high speeds the user helps pull the treadmill belt along.
Click on the arrows in the box below to see the features, warranty, and size of the standing desk and treadmills.
- Manual adjustment
- Max user weight of up to 300 lbs.
- Speed is .4-4 MPH
- 2 HP high-torque motor that’s designed to be used for many hours on end
- Intelli-guard safety pause stops the treadmill when not in use.
- Intelli-step counts your steps and displays it on the console.
- Padded armrests
- Wireless sync your walking data to your iPhone or Android smartphone just by hovering your phone over the console.
- 2 front-mounted wheels to move the treadmill
- Free shipping
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