Best Under Desk Treadmills – a PT’s View
It’s no big secret that sitting at a desk all day is bad for our health. Sitting for long periods of time is a potential health crisis in itself. Plenty of devices are now available to help alleviate the issue from adjustable height desks that allow you to stand up and work for all or part of your day, to under desk exercisers designed to work your legs and help you burn extra calories while you work.
But is it enough? We’re often told one of the best things that sedentary job workers can do is get away from their desk and go for a walk. That’s not feasible for many of us for a host of reasons.
Enter the treadmill desk (or under desk treadmill) – a gadget designed to let you walk while you work. Or run, in theory. But good luck running and typing at the same time.
The premise of the treadmill desk is simple. It’s a treadmill with a desk attachment so you can walk while you type or alternatively sometimes you just get the treadmill and it sits underneath your existing standing desk.
Just before you do start looking at some of the best options, a few things to note before you buy an under desk treadmill:
- They’re not designed for serious running training. The best under desk treadmills are designed for walking (because who can type and run?). We found one that goes up to 8km/hour. But if you’re doing any serious running training, this isn’t the machine for you
- You will need a standing height or adjustable height desk if you want to work and walk so make sure you have that too
Here are some of the best sellers on Amazon followed by the opinion of a personal trainer.
CitySports Under Desk Folding Treadmill
The CitySports Under Desk Treadmill has some appealing features:
- Under £400 at the time of writing
- Hundreds of reviews averaging close to the magic 5 stars
- Comes with a remote control
- There’s an LED screen highlighting speed, calories and distance for those who like to measure their progress (me)
- Total treadmill weight of a little over 34kg making it reasonably movable
- Easy store being flat bed
In all, the CitySports treadmill desk gets our top pick for user ratings, price point and ease of moving and storage. We think this is a winner.
DeskFit Under Desk Treadmill
The DeskFit is the most expensive in our list but its reviews are a respectable 4 out of 5 stars at the time of writing.
It has some key features to be aware of:
- A relatively high maximum speed compared to other products of 7.1km per hour making it feasible to enjoy a job on this one (depending on your jogging-while-working capabilities, of course)
- Super quiet
- Integration with a fitness app to help you monitor your activity levels
The DeskFit treadmill desk is a pretty popular brand in the space and as with many products in this category, has the option of adding on assembly too (for £67 at the time of writing)
Gears Folding Under Desk Treadmill
Some key features of the Gears Folding Under Desk Treadmill include:
- Mega lightweight! It weighs just 26kg, which is insanely light for a treadmill. This makes it easier to store away and get back out again in smaller office spaces
- Suitable for adults up to 100kg in weight
- Up to 6km/hour maximum speed
- Comes with a remote control
This is another product with some solid reviews in place already. And at under £400 is a good option for those who don’t want to break the bank to get their step count up.
BlueFin Fitness Task 2.0 Under Desk Treadmill
Some of the Bluefin Fitness Task 2.0’s features:
- The best under desk treadmill on our list for those looking to run too with its maximum 8km per hour speed
- Suitable for adults up to 120k in weight
- Does have a bar with tablet holder if you’d rather use it away from your desk
This is a treadmill that is actually more suited to operating as a hybrid – something you could use more like you might use a traditional treadmill (albeit with a restrictive max speed of 8km/hour compared with traditional ones). The bars with tablet holder are convenient and easily folded away when you want to use it under a desk. It reviews well too.
It also has built in speakers.
How difficult is assembling an under desk treadmill?
With most of these products, you can spend an extra £67 (at the time of writing) to have someone assemble it for you. I’ve been in the position before where I bought assembly for a product that literally needed removing from the box, a bar sticking in somewhere and plugging in. So it’s always worth heading over to Youtube to see if you can find an assembly video for the one you’re looking at first. If it looks complicated (and a pain in the backside) you might want to consider the assembly. But don’t waste your money it’s practically plug and play!
Do treadmill desks help to get you fit??
But how well do they work? We caught up with Qualified Personal Trainer, Melanie Gilder, to get her opinion.
“As far as exercise while you’re working at a computer goes, this is up there with the best you can do. Calories burned will vary depending on speed, incline and your personal weight and fitness. But as an example, someone who weighs ten stone walking at a fairly modest 2mph on a flat surface would expect to burn around 190 calories per hour. Depending on your ability to walk and type at the same time you might go faster or slower of course. But this is quite a significant calorie burn which would absolutely help to avoid a calorie surplus on days you’re working.”
Walking has benefits beyond the calorie burn too, as Melanie highlights:
“The benefits stretch far beyond the calorie burn as well with walking. Regular walking can improve your circulation, help strengthen bones and it works a number of muscle groups including the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings. So absolutely, walking while you work is a sure fire way to avoid some of the harmful effects we’d often associate with desk jobs.”
Melanie does warn though that this is no replacement for getting out for a walk:
“This is a great way to try and make your lifestyle less sedentary when your job is desk based and thus normally stationary by design. But wherever you can, do consider getting away from your desk and getting out for a walk. It’s great for both mental and physical health.”
Best Desk Treadmills
And here’s that summary table one more time.
Last update on 2021-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API