Best Under Desk Treadmills Review for 2021

Work while walking

Having a treadmill base under your desk so you can walk while working on your computer is a nifty way to add some exercise to your day.

This review article compares the features of five of the best under desk treadmills on the market here in 2020.

 

 

Best Under Desk Treadmills

iMovR ThermoTread GT Office Treadmill

LifeSpan Fitness TR5000-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill 

Rebel Treadmill 1000

Titan Fitness Under Desk Walking Treadmill

 

Treadmill base price range

The price range of these under desk treadmills range from a little north of $1500 to a little under $500.

Two of these treadmills are pretty inexpensive models but are of above-average quality in their lower price range.

I thought I’d include them in case you’re on a budget & looking for an under desk treadmill that’s cheap.

 

Protect Your Investment

Do you need a treadmill mat to protect your floor from your home cardio machine?

A good mat also keeps floor dust or carpet fibers from getting into your treadmill’s moving parts and causing problems.

I wrote a buyer’s guide & article on the better treadmill mats available for both carpet and hardwood floors here.

 

 

 

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Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.

 

Under Desk Treadmill Sneak Peek

What does an owner have to say about the performance of their under desk treadmill?

To read more owner feedback & reviews on Amazon, you can click on their names if you want.

(My star rating is based on the average of all online owner reviews I could find at the time I wrote this article.)

 

Best Overall Under Desk Treadmill

iMovR ThermoTread GT Office Treadmill

4.7 ⭐ 

“I LOVE it. Quiet (can’t even hear it outside my office), great controls that are not annoying, easy setup, feels and acts super-solid. I’m walking on it now as I type this. The top speed concern was completely mistaken. Right now I am walking at 1.3 mph and that is perfect.” – SW

 

Runner ups

LifeSpan TR5000-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

4.6 ⭐ 

“I am very pleased. The treadmill works exactly as I’d hoped. It’s quiet enough I can walk while I am in meetings on the phone, but I can use it for interval training to get my heart rate up too.” – SH

 

LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

4.3 ⭐ 

“Great investment. I spent a fair amount of time researching under-desk treadmills, and I’m so glad I got this one. I use it nearly every day. It doesn’t take much getting used to before you can use a keyboard comfortably while walking 2mph.” – KB

 

UMAY Portable Treadmill

“Small enough to fit in the corner of my small bedroom. Light. Compact. Easy to move. Sleek. No set up or assembly. I jog and walk on it. Only goes up to 6.0 so if you run really really fast probably not the treadmill for you but Perfect treadmill for my needs at a great price.”

 

Best Cheap Under Desk Treadmills

#1 Rebel Treadmill 1000

4.5 ⭐ 

“Walking on my Rebel 1000 as I write this interview. A solid, reliable purchase that I use several times a week for thousands of steps. I wear my Fitbit to make sure I stay active when working from home.” – AS

 

#2 Titan Under Desk Treadmill

3.9 ⭐ 

“Such a great little treadmill. Installation was basically nothing – plug it in! It works great and I’m very happy with the quality. And the price compared to others, can’t be beat.” – LB

 

Under Desk Treadmill Reviews

man walking on a desk treadmill in his office while working on a laptop

Best Overall- iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill

4.6 ⭐ 

This sturdy & quiet desk treadmill base is my top pick for a few good reasons.

The iMovR GT shines in all of the important technical qualities and has a track record of proven performance.

A smart desktop console provides user stats for multiple profiles and provides maintenance alerts as well.

iMovR ThermoTread GT Desk Treadmill - heydayDo image

What I like

+ Designed specifically for the office

+ Smart engineering makes it very quiet

+ It’s built to handle the stress of continuous walking

+ Nice hi-res touchscreen desktop console

+ USB export & internet capability

+ It’s NEAT-certified by the Mayo Clinic

+ Very good warranty

+ Highest user weight limit: 400 lb.

 

Any issues?

At over 1500 bucks, it may be too expensive for some

 

 

Specs & other stuff

Motor: 3 CHP

Warranty: Motor 3 years, parts 2Y, free labor 1Y

Belt Size:  50”L x 20”W

Speed:  0.5 – 2.5 MPH

User weight limit:  400 lb.

Treadmill weight:  147 lb.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

 

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About Lifespan post-COVID

LifeSpan likely has these or other under desk treadmills for sale on their website, which you can check here if Amazon is out of stock.

They’re (Lifespan is) likely controlling their limited inventory by keeping their products at their home base in Salt Lake City, since the manufacturers are probably having a hard time keeping up with current demand.

I’ll provide that link to the LifeSpan Under Desk Treadmill page below next to the Amazon ones below too.

 

LifeSpan TR5000-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

4.5 ⭐ 

The TR5000-DT3 is Lifespan’s best-built under desk treadmill, and arguably one of the best desk treadmills available anywhere.LifeSpan TR5000-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill - heydayDo image

It offers a very quiet and smooth ride with a powerful 3 CHP motor and belt.

Its quality is on par with the iMovr in most of the important areas users would be interested in.

The main reason I picked the iMovr as “the best” under desk treadmill over the TR5000-DT3 here is because its electronics console is better, and its been tested & certified by Mayo Clinic.

The iMovr’s also a little quieter.

On the flip side of all that however, Lifespan offers a better warranty for this TR5000-DT3 than the iMovr has.

 

What I like

+ Quiet – ideal as an office treadmill

+ Excellent warranty – (see below)

+ Very good owner rating – 86%, 4.5 stars

+ Highest user weight limit: 400 lb.

+ Durably built for heavy walking use

 

Any issues?

None with the treadmill directly (just vs. the iMovR)

 

Specs & other stuff

Motor: 3 CHP

Warranty: Lifetime frame, 3Y motor, 2Y parts, 1Y labor

Belt Size: 50” L x 20” W

Speed:  0.5 – 4 MPH

User weight limit:  400 lb.

Treadmill weight:  119 lb.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

Check price on LifeSpan’s site

 

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LifeSpan TR1200-DT3

4.0 ⭐ 

This is Lifespan’s biggest selling desk treadmill, as it has been around for awhile.

Consider it a mid-priced under desk treadmill: it’s priced several hundred dollars less than the top notch models, and a few hundred more than the budget desk treadmills.

LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 - heydayDo image

This TR1200-DT3 is a definite step up from the budget treadmills for desks, as evidenced by its:

* wider belt (20”)

* more powerful motor (2.25 CHP)

* superior warranty (Lifetime frame, 3 years motor, 2 years parts, 1 year free labor)

 

What I like

+ Solid motor – 2.25 CHP

+Great warranty (see above)

+Quiet – enough for an office

+Durably built – should last years if maintained

 

Any issues?

Electronics might seem a little skimpy to some, considering the price

 

Specs & other stuff

Motor: 2.25 CHP

Warranty: Lifetime frame, 3Y motor, 2Y parts, 1Y labor

Belt Size: 50”L x 20”W

Speed: 0.5 – 4 MPH

User weight limit:  350 lb.

Treadmill weight:  114 lb.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

See reviews & price on Lifespan’s website

 

Another note regarding LifeSpan: They often run discounts & specials on their site that aren’t offered elsewhere.

Not only that, they also on occasion provide multi-year warranty extensions on top of their excellent warranties, when you purchase from them directly.

 

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Best Budget- Rebel Treadmill 1000

4.5 ⭐ 

One of the two cheap under desk treadmills featured in this article, the Rebel 1000 has received very good marks from its owners.

It comes with a good warranty package considering its one of the lowest-priced desk treadmills available that have any quality.

While its not as quiet as the premier iMovR model, most users say it’s working fine in their office situation.

Rebel Treadmill 1000 - heydayDo image

What I like

+ Very good owner rating of 90%, 4.4 stars

+ Nice warranty (see below in Specs)

+ No questions asked 30 day money back guarantee

+ Portable – at 88 lb. it’s easy to move

+ Pretty quiet – should work in most offices

 

Any issues?

1.5 CHP in its motor is a little weak for my taste

18” wide might be a bit narrow for a few people

be aware of its lower user weight limit

 

Specs & other stuff

Motor: 1.5 CHP

Warranty: 20 years frame, 2 years parts & labor

Belt Size:  50”L x 18”W

Speed:  0.5 – 2 MPH

User weight limit:  250 lb.

Treadmill weight:  88 lb.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

 

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Titan Under Desk Walking Treadmill

4.0 ⭐ 

On a tight budget but still want to work while walking?

This is the cheapest treadmill base in this review, and the only under desk treadmill under 500 bucks that I’ve found (so far) that’s worth writing about.

Rebel Treadmill 1000 - heydayDo image

Given its low low price, expect bare-bones features and a shorter warranty compared to higher-priced, higher-quality treadmills for desks.

 

What I like

+ Good owner rating of 80%, 4.1 stars

+ No noise – good quiet treadmill for the office

+ Really cheap for a walking-specific treadmill

 

Any issues?

No horsepower rating per company (go to “Ask Question” tab)

Console lacks basic functionality

note the lower user weight limit

18” belt may feel narrow to some people

 

Specs & other stuff

Motor: ?? (see my Any issues? section above)

Warranty: 1 year

Belt Size:  53”L x 18”W

Speed:  0.5 – 4 MPH

User weight limit:  250 lb.

Treadmill weight:  114 lb.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

UMAY Portable Treadmill

UMAY brings us a portable, lightweight treadmill that packs a decent punch.

Measuring in at only 53.74” L x 23.6” W x 5.9” H, it’s easy to pack away and store, and bust out whenever you need it.

The running platform is soft and comfortable, with ample width and shock absorption design.

It features an impressive array of settings, with 6 different belt speed settings and 12 different workout programs to choose from (all tracked on the LED display).

You can choose each setting with the included remote control. There’s also the option to set the speed to 0, and use it as a “manual treadmill”.

Overall, it’s pretty quiet, but maybe not what you’d get in a super high-end model. It’s still suitable for most offices, as the 1.5HP motor hums along nicely.

 

What I Like

  • Good-sized running surface – 41” x 16”
  • Quiet and smooth 1.5HP motor.
  • 6 speed settings and 12 workout programs.
  • Lightweight (64 lbs.) and compact treadmill. Transportation wheels make it easy to store.
  • Silicone oil included for belt lubrication.
  • Multi-layered belt provides soft impact and non-slip surface.

 

Any Issues?

Max weight is only 200 lb. This is quite low for a treadmill (especially when losing weight is often one of the primary goals of getting one in the first place!).

 

Specs & Other Stuff

Motor: 1.5 HP

Dimensions: 53.74” L x 23.6” W x 5.9” H

Speed Range:  0 – 4 MPH

User weight capacity:  200 lb.

Treadmill weight:  64 lbs.

See reviews & current price on Amazon

 

Under desk treadmill buying guide

Magic book with sparkles & light coming up out of its pges

 

There are a few things to consider when shopping for a treadmill to put under your desk, and I go over these factors below.

In fact, the models that didn’t make my “best of” list here were excluded because they fell short in one or more of these areas, &/or they received too many owner complaints.

Here are important items worth keeping an eye on.

 

Treadmill type

The whole idea of putting a treadmill under your desk is so you’ll be able to work while walking, not work while running.

This sounds obvious I know.

Yet many people aren’t aware that just any old jogging treadmill with no arms won’t cut the mustard as a desk treadmill.

You can prematurely burn out the motor of a treadmill built for jogging/running if you walk on it daily. (1)

The other negative about a jogging treadmill is that it’s not built for use in an office environment, and many models are quite a bit louder than “real” under desk treadmills. (2)

Like Nancy Sinatra’s boots, you want a treadmill made for walking.

 

Got CHP?

Make sure the motor has sufficient CHP, which stands for continuous-duty horsepower.

The number you want to give weight to in the treadmill’s specs will be listed as continuous-duty or CHP.

Something written as treadmill horsepower or peak horsepower is not as indicative of the motor’s true strength.

For a decent walking treadmill motor, 2.0 CHP is a good minimum number.

The higher the better, but the price will rise as the motor power increases.

 

 

Treadmill Belt Size

Adequate length & width are important.

Too small an area to walk on can be unsafe if have to alter your stride to fit the belt size, or if you’re ever suddenly distracted.

Taller people or those with longer walking strides generally need 50” minimum of belt length.

A 20” belt width is preferred, but an 18”will be adequate for many people if need be, because walking while working at a desk is slower-paced than normal.

The narrower 18”belt width is what you’ll commonly see on some of the cheaper under desk treadmills out there.

 

Treadmill Speeds

While looking over different treadmill specs, you’ll see high top speeds touted by treadmill manufacturers.

Top speed is important for running treadmills, but for a walking treadmill?

Not at all.

Average ideal range for walking while working is only in the neighborhood of 1-2 mph.

 

Treadmill Weight

I hadn’t ever evaluated under desk treadmills before embarking on this project.

But I have evaluated a few dozen treadmills up close & in person for my article, Best Heavy Duty Treadmills.

 

I’ve found that in general, the heavier the treadmill the greater the likelihood it’ll outlast its lightweight competitors.

More steel and less plastic in the frame is often a good indicator of longevity, and stronger and more durable materials used in other areas too.

 

Of course, this durability quality may have to be balanced with our possible need to be able to move the treadmill somewhere.

By the way, the models in this review weigh between 88 & 147 lb., which may sound heavy to some of you.

Luckily – thanks to their wheels and their streamlined shape – all owner reports I came across said nothing about them being difficult to move.

 

User Weight Limit

The best bet here is to make sure the under desk treadmill’s capacity – its user weight limit – is as far above your current weight as possible.

At least 50 lb. of leeway is a decent guideline, and the more the merrier.

It’ll help to extend the life of your treadmill.

Understand that very few manufacturers of fitness equipment put their products through rigorous Underwriters Laboratory-level testing.

They basically guess, and almost always err on the side of great optimism.

Or marketing ploys 😄.

 

Warranty & Customer Service

As I say often here on heydayDo, the manufacturer’s warranty says a lot about how long they expect their treadmill to last without problems.

If it’s a tossup deciding between two similar products, I tend to favor the one where the company is willing to stand behind their product longer.

So, I think it’s worth the time to get to know the warranties of the desk treadmills you’re eyeballing.

And in a similar vein, the reputation of a company’s customer support when something does go wrong is another bit of insight worth having.

 

Under-Desk Treadmill User Guide

Here are answers to a few of the more common questions people ask regarding under desk treadmills.

 

How do I use an under desk treadmill?

Ease into the habit of walking while you work.

That’s the suggestion from wellness experts at Mayo’s Healthy Living Program in Rochester, MN.

Start slow and gradually increase your standing & walking time, and use it off & on during your work day.

But don’t aim to be walking all day on your under desk treadmill, they caution.

“Just as we weren’t meant to sit all day, we certainly can’t walk all day long.”

 

Here’s a brief video showing how to get started on your desk treadmill:

 

 

Expert tips when switching to standing & walking

Those Wellness experts at Mayo Clinic also suggest following these tips as you transition to an under desk treadmill from a lifetime of sitting at your desk:

* Take a break from standing, and sit

* Focus on your feet – “choose shoes wisely” they say, and consider a small foam or gel mat to add extra cushion when not walking

* Pay attention to your posture

  • align the top of your monitor just below eye level
  • align your hands at or below elbow level

 

This posture awareness is critical to avoid developing pain in the neck & shoulder areas.

If your desktop is too low, here’s a very easy (as well as safe & secure) solution.

Get yourself an adjustable height work table or standing desk converter like this one.

 

 

Does a desk treadmill burn calories?

Maybe a better way to put it is: does it burn a lot more calories than just sitting at my desk as usual?

Yes it does, says a “walk while working at a desk” research study conducted by the esteemed Mayo Clinic.

They found that the participants burned on average 100 calories more per hour than they did while sitting at their desks.

 

And they were walking at only 1 mph, which is around 33% slower than the average “walk while working at your desk” rate of 1.5 mph or so.

 

So if you get to a point where you walk while working 4 hours every work day, that comes out to at least an additional 2,000 calories per week you’re burning.

(Note: Calories burned per hour varies from person to person due to differences in their weight.)

 

 

Is it easy to work while walking?

All of the anecdotal reports from under desk treadmill owners that I read – and I read a bunch – reported that:

* there is an adjustment period while you get used to working at a desk while you walk, but that

* the adjustment period was shorter than many people thought it would be.

 

Research on work productivity confirms those points

This study focused on the productivity of transcriptionists while using a desk treadmill.

In case you don’t know, a transcriptionist is someone who types out documents from a recorded dictation, like a letter, medical notes spoken by a physician, etc.

 

The participants were given 4 hours of training before the study started.

At the beginning the researchers found that productivity did drop, but that typing errors did not increase.

Their suggestion was transition time back to normal productivity would take longer than the 4 hours they used.

Here’s another fun read that focuses more on anecdotal evidence, in which the author attests to boosted productivity!

 

desk treadmill purple icon - heydayDo

 

Wrapping Up

I hope my product recon & evaluation of these under desk treadmills is useful to you, and that the buyer’s guide and medical research sections are helpful too.

Or, if you’re looking for a more traditional cardio workout, check out my guide to the best magnetic resistance bikes.

I wish you well on your fitness journey; let’s go.

FAQs

Are Under Desk Treadmills Noisy?

Sorry for the obvious answer, but it really depends on the quality of the treadmill you buy!

Additionally, most potential customers only consider the noise of the motor – with many treadmills advertising a “quiet motor”.

While this is certainly a relevant consideration, you also need to consider the noise made by the walker.

Treadmills with a multi-layered belt are better at absorbing impact, and you’ll make less noise with each step. Often, most of the noise from a walking treadmill is made by you.

Therefore, to get the quietest under desk treadmill, aim for something with a quiet motor and a soft walking surface.

 

Are treadmills bad for your knees?

A normal treadmill can be quite hard on your knees. This is especially true when compared against a lower impact workout machine, such as an elliptical.

Luckily, the problem is mostly minimized with an under desk treadmill, which is designed more for walking rather than running.

Because walking is such a low impact exercise, it’s very easy on your knees, and is suitable for those with knee problems, for seniors, etc.

– greg

January 2021

 

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About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
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