Best Treadmill for a Treadmill Desk


Going into our sixth year selling the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk we have learned a few simple truths about treadmills and are asked often what is the best treadmill for the money to use with a TrekDesk?


The answers are simple but not as straight forward as one might imagine. First, everyone has unique requirements specific to their size, planned use, budget and space limitations.


Let’s start with the most important universal truth that many treadmill manufacturers do not want you to know.


The first thing you want is a treadmill with an incline function. Flat treadmills (over time) lead to a greater likelihood of joint and back injuries. Why don’t any of the combined unit treadmill desk suppliers offer the incline feature? In a word, cost. It is an additional item that increases the weight of the treadmill and increases the cost significantly. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a flat surfaced tread.


Incline treadmills offer distinct advantages over flat surfaced only treadmills. Calorie burn may be increased as much as 2x simply by raising the incline function on your treadmill to level 5-6 without the need to increase speed. Increased caloric expenditure naturally leads to more rapid weight loss as a result but we like them for other reasons as well.


An incline treadmill will stretch your calf, glutes and back muscles keeping you more limber throughout the day and less apt to acquire stress related injuries. You will have to strike a balance between speed and incline though. Remember, in order to burn more calories your body generates more heat. A desk mounted fan (TrekDesk offers ample room for those), lighter clothing or increasing room cooling/ventilation may be necessary as you progress. The good news is that you can back down on the speed a little and we find using the incline makes it easier to stay in closer contact with the desk thereby increasing typing speeds.


Incline treadmills typically place less stress on the treadmill motors since there is less work required of the motor to keep the tread going. In effect it is running downhill, lowering the energy required of the motor to keep you in motion. This translates to longer lasting motors, less cost and often less noise on some of the older models.


Universal truth #2: Most treadmill manufacturers (even the good ones) lack in the area of customer service. If your treadmill becomes inoperative the last thing you need is to wait weeks (or months) to have it serviced properly. So how can you be sure to get good service after the sale? Stay tuned for our recommendations.


Universal truth #3: Those 50% off sales seen on treadmill manufacturer’s websites and retailers are equivalent to the furniture stores “going out of business sale” signs you have seen from the same store year in and ¬†year out. They are designed to convince you that you are getting a tremendous deal, when in fact you are paying a normal retail price. So, how do you get a great price on your treadmill?


The answer is the same for both price and service we have found throughout the years: Costco. These guys just get it right in the treadmill department. As near as we can tell you are buying a treadmill from Costco at a wholesale price with a single digit retail markup. Service wise they can’t be beat. Costco sells so many treadmills no manufacturer wants to lose the account AND they know you could just take it back to Costco. So, guess what? Your service call gets answered almost immediately.


Which Costco treadmill should you buy to use with TrekDesk? Any. Really. Just get the least expensive treadmill that meets your exact needs. TrekDesk works with all of them. Research the warranty first to make sure there is no daily hour limit.


Costco only carries “tested quality” treadmills so you don’t have to buy the top of the line model. In fact we have been using the same Costco purchased treadmills since 2008 without a single problem. We should mention that we purposely have not done any of the suggested maintenance just to get a feel for longevity under long term “neglected” use. After tens of thousands of miles we have not run into any problems whatsoever. Remember though we keep our incline at level 6 most of the day but it is still relatively quiet and runs great.


Now that covers it (simplistically) for new treadmills however there are strong reasons to consider used treadmills as well since many are for sale on Craigslist or Play It Again Sports for huge discounts. There are literally millions of unused treadmills in perfect condition that people are looking to get out of their house once they realize they hate to use them. TrekDesk is perfect for turning that product hatred into a useful product once again.


When purchasing through classifieds always remember to do some due diligence first to get an idea as to how the treadmill has been treated. If it was garage kept and/or used it is more likely to have motor problems due to dirt buildup in the motor. Look for indoor used models and get a sense for how often it was used. There are some great posts on “how to buy a used treadmill” that you might want to read first as well. Remember to take necessary precautions as well when buying from private party sellers.


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