Sit, Stand, and Walk. Pros and Cons of Under-Desk Treadmills for Sit-Stand Workstations

If you are like me and considering taking the plunge and investing in a treadmill desk, but do not want to go all-in on workstation conversion, then a portable treadmill may be the way to go. These treadmills can fit under an existing sit-stand workstation, or standing workstation, and are portable enough to move so that you can relatively quickly transition to sitting or standing at your workstation.

There are numerous options available for purchase, although unlike ergonomic chairs, finding locations to test out and compare numerous types in person is not an option easily found. I was also not able to locate a source that compiled information for the full price range of available options to quickly and easily compare, so I have begun to create one here. Some manufacturers offer several different models with various features and price points so I selected a mid-range model to focus on and tried to mention other options and the differences between them as well. I am using this information to make my own purchase decision and am thus not making any personal recommendations nor do I have any financial interest in any manufacturer over another. Current prices are listed with the links to purchase online where I had the information.

Conquer Under Desk Portable Electric Treadmill

$299.00 at Roadbikeoutlet.com or Amazon.com MSRP$699.95 

PROS:

  • Lowest cost model I found that is described for use under a desk
  • Remote Control
  • Stores upright
  • Compact (footprint measures 54″ long, 23″ wide and 5.5″ high)
  • Speed range is 0.6-3.7 MPH (1.0-6.0 KM/H)
  • Lightweight (64 lbs)

CONS:

  • Run time is only 90-120 mins with no warning of automatic shut-off
  • Display is under desk so not easily visible
  • Small walking surface (16” wide by 41.5” long)
  • Low powered motor (110 V, 1.5 CHP)
  • Max user weight 198 lbs
  • May be one of the noisier under-desk models (loud beeps when machine is turned on and treadmill noise may be audible through the phone)

4.3 out of 5 stars with 28 reviews on Amazon.com with some complaints of noise, automatic shut-off after 90-120 mins, and many users purchased as exercise treadmill rather than work treadmill.

10 reviews at RoadBikeOutlet.com. General feedback positive, runs well, runs quietly, easy to control speed through remote, easy to lift, store, and lock in place in vertical position.

VersaDesk ULTRA-THIN OFFICE TREADMILL

Listed at $479.00 MSRP$699.00

PROS:

  • One of the lowest cost models available
  • Remote Control
  • Stores upright
  • Compact

CONS:

  • Display is not visible under desk
  • Very small walking surface (14.4” wide by 40” long)
  • Auto-Accelerate and Decelerate Feature changes speed based on where you walk – difficult to manage while focusing on work and wanting to maintain a specific distance from the computer monitor and keyboard
  • Low powered motor (0.74 HP brush motor)
  • Max load 200 lbs

There are no reviews at VersaDesk website, and very limited information about the product itself so I ventured further to see what others have reported.

Workwhilewalking.com provides a scathing though hilarious review that makes us pause and consider if this lower priced option is worth the risk. The one and only pro listed was “Cheap. At least cheap to buy. Very expensive to return.” The laundry list of cons included numerous safety issues involving the treadmill being underpowered, tiny walking belt, user weight rating of 200 lbs, display readout located under the desk, and “intelligent speed control” determined by your location on the belt which prevents keeping a consistent distance from your desk making computer work nearly impossible.

The Gadgeteer provided a more moderate review and liked the compactness, relative portability, and vertical storage if attached to a wall. Suggested improvements included safety concerns which align with issues pointed out by the workwhilewalking review.

Excellent information on the three available models of LifeSpan under desk treadmills, the iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill, and RebelDesk Rebel 1000 Under Desk Treadmill are provided in the Best Under Desk Treadmills Review 2019 by Review Guru.  I will not repeat this information here, and will simply share comparative information on the three LifeSpan Models to help clarify differences.

LifeSpan TR800-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill $749.99 MSRP $799.99

LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill MSRP $999.00

LifeSpan TR5000-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill MSRP $1499.00

See Treadmill Desk Comparison Chart below for Key Differences Between Models. Key differences are the motor horsepower, user weight limit, dimensions, and recommended daily use limits.

Images are for the LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

General trade-offs between lower cost and top of the line under-desk treadmills appear to be motor power, shock absorption, activity tracking features, portability, and noise levels. Depending on individual needs, preferences, and work environment, different models may be more or less ideal for different individuals. On the lower cost end, treadmills seem to be generally more noisy, lighter weight machines and user weight limits, more compact, potentially less durable or able to be damaged in shipment, reduced tracking and use features, reduced continuous use timeframes, absence of shock absorption, and remote control with vertical storage options. At the higher end, increased power, durability, and shock absorption also seem to translate to far quieter operation, higher user weight limits, improved activity tracking features, user control consoles, and longer or continuous run time options.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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