Living an active lifestyle while juggling a sedentary job that demands eight hours a day at a desk can seem like an insurmountable challenge. You might occasionally find the time to squeeze in a brisk walk or a quick workout, but for the most part, your daily routine revolves around sitting down, leaving your fitness aspirations by the wayside.
Well… fear not, fellow desk warriors! There is a game-changing solution that allows you to break free from the chains of inactivity and embrace a healthier, more dynamic work-life balance.
Say hello to the under-desk treadmill – an ergonomic piece of equipment designed to help you stay active, burn calories, and log some valuable extra miles… all while you tackle your daily tasks!
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best under-desk treadmills (also known as walking pads) that seamlessly integrate into your office setup, allowing you to walk or even lightly jog at a comfortable pace as you type, read, or attend virtual meetings. We’ll delve into the key features, benefits, and specifications of these innovative fitness devices, such as their whisper-quiet motors, compact design, and user-friendly controls.
We’ll see how you can incorporate basic cross-training into your daily grind.
Whether you’re a remote worker, an office-bound professional, or simply someone who’s determined to boost their cardiovascular health, an under-desk treadmill could be just the piece of kit you’re looking for.
- What Are The Best Under-Desk Treadmills & Walking Pads?
- What to Look For in an Under-Desk Treadmill
- The Benefits of Walking While You Work
- Other Ways to Stay Active During the Workday
- Getting Used to Moving Around the Office
What Are The Best Under-Desk Treadmills & Walking Pads?
We’ve drawn up a list of 7 excellent under-desk treadmills that you can use to combine work with fitness.
Let’s see the top contenders!
Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation
The Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation offers the perfect solution if you want an affordable walking pad that isn’t going to hog valuable home-office space. It comes in at half the price of many competitors while offering nearly all of the same features.
It boasts a shock-absorbing design that takes the pressure off your joints while walking. There’s a remote control that allows you to easily adjust the treadmill’s speed, giving you a quick way to increase or slow down your pace without breaking focus.
With a maximum speed of 3.75 mph, this is obviously not a suitable treadmill for running — unless your target pace is 16 minutes per mile! It’s designed for comfortably paced walking, perfect for burning extra calories whilst you whittle through your inbox.
The Walkstation shuts off after idling for more than 10 minutes – and if it doesn’t detect a user after five minutes, it will pause. This safety feature comes in handy when stepping off for an extended duration.
The simple, elegant design looks great no matter where you set it up and store it, and the built-in transportation wheels make the Walkstation incredibly easy to move around.
- Budget-friendly walking pad that requires minimal space
- Large LCD to display your performance metrics
- Easy to move around
- Shock absorption
- It may be too narrow for those who are taller than 6ft, or who have a wider stance
- 3.75 mph top speed means its only suitable for walking
- Some users have reported a buggy remote control that occasionally requires resetting
FLAT UNDERDESK DESIGN: The Walkstation Slim Treadmill allows you to work up a sweat just about anywhere. Slide it under a desk to stay fit and productive at the same time
It’s certainly not cheap, but you know exactly what you’re getting with a LifeSpan Treadmill. Superior build quality and efficient engineering.
The LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 can reach a decent maximum speed of four miles an hour. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, remember this treadmill’s top speed is a fast walk for most people. It can support up to 350 lbs – far more than many other treadmills.
With a lightweight, compact design, you’ll be able to move the TR1200 around your office space easily, whether it sits under your standing desk or against a wall. It operates with a quiet engine, so you won’t have to worry about distracting sounds.
The TR1200 is part of a series of models that also includes the TR800, TR1000 and TR5000.
By comparison, the TR800 is the cheapest model in the series, but it comes with a weaker motor (2 HP vs the TR1200’s 2.25 HP), only supports 200 lbs, and offers a narrower surface that some users may find a distraction.
Alternatively, you can splash out big bucks for the series-leading TR5000, considered to be the ‘big brother’ of the TR1200 model. The TR5000 supports up to 400 lbs, and has a super-durable motor that is suitable for use pretty much all through the day.
We’ve chosen the TR1200 as a healthy middle ground. It supports enough weight for the vast majority of users and has a motor that is recommended for 6 hours use per day, compared to the TR5000’s 10 hours per day.
On balance, we think that should be enough for most users.
The good news for those who hate DIY: The entire thing comes fully assembled. No need to bring out your toolbox or hammers – just unpack, plug in, and get walking.
- LifeSpan treadmills have a solid reputation for being safe and well-designed
- Supports higher weight capacity than other models, up to 350 lbs.
- Lightweight and easy to move around despite the solid build
- Runs smoothly for around 6 hours per day
- Comes pre-assembled
- Automatically shuts off after 20 seconds
- Not as powerful as the flagship TR5000, which can run for 10 hours per day
- Doesn’t offer self-lubrication like the TR5000, so be prepared to lube the main belt at least once per month.
- The machine LOVES to beep. You’ll probably want to disable sounds completely if you are using the machine while working, particularly if you are using it on calls!
WHISPER-QUIET MOTOR: Fully assembled out of the box; Burn calories while being respectful of your shared space with a whisper-quiet 2HP Continuous Duty DC motor
The WalkingPad P1 from KingSmith is a versatile under-desk treadmill that boasts a number of impressive features — the most famous being its space-saving design (see above!).
When office space is tight, but you still want to be able to move around, the WalkingPad P1 is your answer. It’s the perfect small-space option to help you get some steps in, even if you’re short on square footage.
How much space are we talking?
Folded up, the WalkingPad P1 takes up just 0.5 sqm.
This impressive feat of engineering makes the P1 one of the smallest, slimmest under-desk treadmills out there.
You’ll find a wireless remote control included with your treadmill, which makes it easy to turn the machine on and off, adjust the speed, and pause to take a break. At least that’s the theory. It turns out both the remote control and the app can be rather buggy to operate.
The WalkingPad cannot move as fast as some other models, as it can only achieve speeds of up to 3.7 miles an hour. For most people, that’s the same as a brisk walk and should be more than adequate for walking while you work.
This particular model is also limited to a maximum weight of 220 lbs, considerably less than some of its rivals.
Keep in mind that the P1 is effectively an entry-level model in the WalkingPad series. By comparison, the WalkingPad R1 Pro and WalkingPad A1 Pro offer additional features and improvements: higher weight capacities, faster maximum speeds, and more advanced control systems.
- Highly compact design — the treadmill (folded up) takes up just 0.5 sqm.
- Great for smaller office spaces
- Brushless motor ensures the machine is quiet enough to use while working in a shared space
- Not as fast as other models. A maximum speed of 3.7 mph means this treadmill is just for walking.
- Only supports up to 220 lbs
- The remote and KS Fit App are not particularly user-friendly
No more excuses for not having time or space to do sports. WalkingPad P1 standing desk treadmill provides you with a great way to increase activity and avoid pain from sitting while you work.
Looking for a treadmill that folds up nicely, but also has the flexibility to let you walk and run?
Look no further than the WalkingPad X21 from KingSmith.
With its impressive 7.5-mile-an-hour top speed, the WalkingPad X21 can support both walking and running speeds. Granted, if you are operating the machine under your desk, you’re probably going to find it uncomfortable to type and jog at 7.5 mph, but it’s nice to have the option if you have a few minutes spare. Dial up the pace and get your mileage in without leaving the office!
For storage, the X21’s foldable design makes packing this treadmill a piece of cake – never worry about having enough space again. This particular model is the first in the world to boast “double fold technology“, meaning it can be stacked upright and stored completely out of sight:
KingSmith also incorporates NFC technology into their WalkingPad X21, simplifying data transfer from the treadmill to your phone. This transfer allows you to keep track of your statistics and track your fitness progress.
While the KS Fit app is fine, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. If you already use something like Garmin Connect, or Strava, it’s unlikely you’d want to jump ship anytime soon.
- Award winning double-fold design saves you even more space than a traditional folding treadmill
- Higher maximum speed (7.5 mph) means you can walk and job on this machine
- You can control just about everything from the handrail
- The tracking and performance monitor is just OK. We’ll stick with our smartwatch…
- The motor is loud on the faster speed settings. Not great for shared working spaces.
INNOVATIVE FOLDING TECHNOLOGY: The double-folding feature reduces the amount of space required. The X21 folding treadmill can be stored in an upright position.
Rhythm Fun Desk Treadmill
This under-desk treadmill from Rhythm Fun is a good budget option if you’d prefer to control your treadmill using a wireless remote. There are no buttons on the machine whatsoever, meaning it’s controlled directly by the remote.
It features a sturdy, durable steel frame that will last for years, even after consistent daily use. While its low maximum speed of 3.7 mph only allows you to walk at a brisk pace, that’s still more than enough to help you get your steps in and stay active while you’re working.
The machine operates fairly quietly, but of all the treadmills on our list, the Rhythm Fun is the fussiest for belt movement. You have to keep it lubricated regularly, and be sure to use the Allen key (included) to tighten the belt if you notice any slack. Doing this will help to avoid a premature demise for the motor.
The large LCD at the front of the treadmill shows you the time and distance of your walks (either metric done or metric remaining). If you’d rather view those stats on your phone, the Rhythm Fun mobile app gives you some more detailed insights.
- The machine is fairly quiet to operate
- Larger walking belt than most models (suitable for taller users)
- Wheels on the bottom make moving the treadmill easy
- Large LCD screen for prominent display of your stats
- The belt has occasional centering problems and may need resetting and lubricating often
- The machine stops fairly abruptly when you turn it off, so be sure to lower the speed before ending your workout
Compact, foldable, and wheels under the treadmill make it easier to put away after use. Lightweight, portable, and very low & slim profile, make it easy to store in a closet, under a bed, sofa, or standing desk which you can work and walk at the same time.
GoPlus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill
One of the bestselling folding treadmills in the world, and it comes at an excellent price.
If space-saving is high on your list of priorities, then you’ll appreciate the GoPlus’ 2-in-1 folding treadmill. Here’s another under-desk treadmill that prioritises ergonomics in design.
Unlike some of the other options in our list, the GoPlus comes with an innovative rising handrail that transforms the machine from walking-only to suitable for jogging.
With a weight capacity of 265 lbs and a top speed of 7.5 miles an hour, you’ll be able to get plenty of steps in while you’re working.
One of the neat features of this treadmill is its built-in Bluetooth speaker, allowing you to play music out loud while walking or running. It might not be the best when you’re in a meeting, but it’s a good addition for solo WFH’ing. That’s assuming you are part of the exceedingly small target market that doesn’t have any other speakers, or headphones, in your home office.
The treadmill has a wireless remote that makes speed adjustment nice and simple. You’ll also find a phone holder at the front of the machine that lets you focus on meetings or shows while walking (if you opt against using it under a standing desk).
One of the only drawbacks to the GoPlus 2-in-1 is that it’s heavy. Considerably heavy. Weighing in at 88 pounds and containing alloy steel, moving this treadmill around your office is somewhat of a pain. But it does fold up nicely.
- Foldable handrail provides convenience and safety for jogging, as well as walking
- Comes with a Bluetooth speaker
- Integrated phone mount if you want to use it away from your desk
- The treadmill is quite heavy, making it difficult to move around the office
- To use the maximum speed, you need the handrails, which will get in the way of a standing desk
Compared to ordinary treadmills, our 2-in-1 Superfit treadmill has 2 modes to meet your different sports needs. When the riser is folded, it can be used as a jogging machine at a speed of 0.6MPH-2.5MPH, when the handrail is raised, the running speed is 0.6MPH-7.5MPH
GOYOUTH 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill
Not looking to do any heavy lifting? Neither are we. That’s why we recommend the GOYOUTH treadmill. It’s the perfect option for those wanting a more lightweight design. This 2-in-1 under-desk treadmill is significantly lighter than similar models at just 50.7 lbs, making it easy to move around your office.
The machine is suitable for both running or very light jogging, at a maximum speed of 6 mph.
The compromise for such a light machine is that it can only handle a maximum weight of 220 lbs. This will be more than enough for most users, but it’s still significantly less than the offerings from LifeSpan or WalkingPad.
- Lightweight and easy to move with bottom-mounted wheels for extra convenience
- Reaches higher top speeds than most other models, suitable for light jogging
- If you can get past the loud initial beeping, the machine is quiet to operate
- The distance tracking doesn’t seem to align properly with the step count tracking
- Must be oiled and lubricated after every 30 hours of use
- The belt also requires adjustment, especially if you have a running gait that favors one particular side
With a 2.25 HP powerful quiet motor, this electric treadmill is perfect for running, jogging, and walking in the comfort of your home.
What to Look For in an Under-Desk Treadmill
While every treadmill practically does the same thing, each is slightly different in how they function, which, in turn, can make a major difference to your experience. We each have our own needs, and what works for someone else may not work for you.
Regardless, here are some things you should look for in your under-desk treadmill.
Regular treadmills are generally able to reach top speeds that allow for sprints. Under-desk treadmills are designed for walking, which is why all of the above models can only reach between three to seven miles an hour.
There are, of course, some models that offer higher top speeds, though the recommended use for all under-desk treadmills is for more comfortable, reduced speeds. If you’d prefer to jog now and then while working, be sure to look for treadmills that accommodate that.
Size is important when it comes to under-desk treadmills. If you’re looking for something you can place beneath your desk, look for sleeker, smaller, and more lightweight options than regular treadmills.
Some under-desk treadmills are narrower and shorter than others, which work well if you’re short on space. On the other hand, if you have a longer stride, wider stance, or are taller, consider purchasing a larger treadmill that allows you to walk comfortably.
All under-desk treadmills have different features – some can accommodate more or less weight than others. The average model can support up to 220 pounds. If you’re heavier, consider purchasing a treadmill to support extra weight without compromising the motor lifespan. The industry-leading LifeSpan treadmills can support up to 400 lbs.
The Benefits of Walking While You Work
Walking on an under-desk treadmill offers a range of unexpected health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones:
Acts as a Creative Boost
Several studies have shown that exercising has a direct link to creativity. Stanford University has conducted extensive research involving a group of volunteers who completed a test. This test included quickly coming up with alternative uses for commonplace objects like buttons.
These volunteers were then asked to complete a similar test while simultaneously walking on a treadmill at a comfortable tempo.
The results? Almost every participant performed significantly better while walking on a treadmill than while not. On average, they could determine 60% more uses for the objects presented to them while walking instead of sitting down.
Reduces Stress and Improves Mood
It’s no secret that regular exercise offers incredible mood-boosting benefits while decreasing anxiety by encouraging the brain to release more endorphins. These hormones trigger a positive feeling in your body while reducing your perception of pain.
Psychologically, exercise can boost your confidence, help you achieve health and fitness goals, and distract you from stressors in your life.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Like many other kinds of exercise, walking helps to increase your blood flow, resulting in a decrease in blood pressure. The American College of Sports Medicine states that people with hypertension – another name for high blood pressure – experience lower blood pressure levels for up to 22 hours after just one walking session.
If you incorporate walking into your daily schedule, you can see a 5 to 10 mmHg decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels. In other words, you can improve the health of your blood pressure just by walking every day!
Aids With Productivity
The University of Minnesota studied the effects of walking on a treadmill throughout the workday. Their studies found that the work performance of people who used under-desk treadmills for a year did not decline after the initial adjustment to walking while working.
They found that both the overall health and productivity of employees improved greatly. On days employees exercised, they noticed an improvement in time management, mental performance, and work quality.
Promotes Strong Bones
One of the best ways to build and maintain your bone density is to perform weight-bearing exercises – workouts in which you work against gravity while keeping your body upright. These can either be low- or high-impact exercises.
Some low-impact exercises include running, jogging, dancing, jumping rope, and more. Some high-impact exercises are hiking, walking, using a stair stepper, or using an elliptical machine.
Other Ways to Stay Active During the Workday
If you’ve determined that walking while working is not the right activity for you, but you still want to exercise and get your body moving throughout the workday, worry not. Here are some other activities you can do to keep active at work:
- If you sit at a desk to work, get up now and then. It helps to get into the habit of standing up or moving every time you answer the phone.
- When you take a break, move away from your desk and do some stretches rather than simply sitting idly.
- Try moving or walking during informal meetings and discussions. If you have to take notes, consider recording the meeting on your phone – you might find that you’re more creative when you’re on your feet.
- If you need an energizing break but can’t get out of a long phone call, stand up and do some basic balance and strength exercises while you talk. Do things like desk push-ups, squats, calf raises, wall sits, and some simple yoga poses.
Getting Used to Moving Around the Office
You might think that you’d never be able to do these activities at your office, but you’d be surprised. Here are some useful tips to make the transition from sitting to standing and moving a little easier:
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you can move freely in. Or, keep a pair of sneakers under your desk.
- Schedule physical activities on your work calendar, and treat them just as you would other important appointments – with priority!
- Use a cushioned floor mat to support your body and prevent fatigue in the legs and feet while you’re standing and moving around.
Doing these simple activities throughout the day can make a huge positive difference in your overall mood and productivity while also giving you a chance to break your routine and give your brain a rest during the workday.