Hitting Your Daily Step Goal Is As Easy As Buying An Under-Desk Treadmill

under desk treadmill
7 Under-Desk Treadmills Every Multitasker NeedsChristine Giordano

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Under-desk treadmills first exploded during the Covid-19 lockdown as apartment-dwellers sought ways to stay active while working—and doing essentially everything else—within the confines of home. These low-profile fitness tools have maintained their virality today, and for good reason. Whether you're looking for ways to incorporate extra movement in your day to clear your mind or just to up your daily step count, there's no arguing that walking (from home, nonetheless!) is a great way to boost physical activity.

Best under-desk treadmills of 2024

Personal trainer Amy Potter, ACE, says she bought her walking pad about a year ago in a conscious effort to get more steps in. "I was noticing that colder and darker days meant that I wasn’t getting outside for as many walks as I normally do in the summer," she says. "I could feel how tight my hips and shoulders were getting from being more sedentary and I just knew my body was craving more movement."

Let's get one thing straight: Under-desk treadmills should not be used as a substitute for cardio workouts. Rather, think of them as a supplemental fitness tool you can use at home to break up a sedentary day. "When people talk about getting in their cardio, they’re referring to the recommendation to get a mix of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week," says Erica Coviello, a level two certified RRCA running coach. When utilized as intended, under-desk treadmills—often known as walking pads (Walking Pad also being a notable brand and the maker of one of our favorite options)—only help you make a drop in the bucket towards meeting those recommendations.

Used as intended, under-desk treadmills, commonly referred to as walking pads (WalkingPad is also a brand name of a company that makes one of our favorite foldable options), contribute only a drop in the bucket towards meeting those recommendations.

However, these compact treads are a great way to integrate movement into a block of time that you'd otherwise be stuck sitting still. Whether you've got a million meetings or just don't feel like getting dressed to go outside for a walk, the best walking pads allow you to limber up and move your body while multitasking. Some of the best under-desk treadmills feature incline settings (like these options from Egofit, Sunny Health & Fitness, and Soozier). Others, like this one from Goplus, even have a standing desk already built into them.

Our WH fitness editors spoke with personal trainers, running coaches, and reviewers to curate a list of the very best under-desk treadmills to shop now. See our top seven recommendations below.

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What to consider

Start by thinking about where and how you want to use your under-desk treadmill. Some questions Potter suggests are things like, 'Do I need something that is thin and can be rolled under a bed when not in use?', 'Does this fit in my space?', 'How quiet do I need it to be?', and 'Is this a realistic way for me to work?'

We recommend trying out any under-desk treadmills you're considering in person. If you're only looking to buy online and an in-person trial isn't an option, make sure that whichever retailer or brand you're buying from provides a generous return policy (ideally with free return shipping) in case your new model doesn't work out.

Here's the low-down on everything you might want to consider:

Size and Weight

Opt for an under-desk treadmill with the widest base you can reasonably afford and one that fits your space. Belt size is another thing to consider. Wider belts are more comfortable and stable but almost always make for a larger overall treadmill size. Shorter and/or narrower belts are more compact (ideal for apartment dwellers and small-space living) but usually aren't great for jogging or running. In general, most people are comfortable with a belt size of around 48 by 18 inches.

If you're going to be moving the tread frequently, be sure to consider how much it weighs. While there are plenty of sub-50 pound options on this list, others are considerably heavier.

Speed and Incline

Just like with traditional treadmills, maximum speed and incline are two things to consider when shopping for an under-desk treadmill. Most models have a speed range of between 0.5 and 4 miles per hour, which is plenty if you're just looking to add to your daily step count. Larger and more premium models might top out at more than 7 miles per hour, so you can even get in a decent jog. Maximum incline for most under-desk treadmills is around 5%, while the best under-desk models can push 10%.


The more powerful the motor, the smoother your treadmill will run and the more weight it can support. It's also important if you're a bit heavier or plan to use it for jogging or running. A treadmill motor of at least 1.5 CHP is a good starting point.

Additional Features

Beyond the basics, you'll want a model with a safety stop key and probably an automatic shut-off feature, too (though some people find this annoying—your call). You may decide other features are important to you too, such as transport wheels or a folding mechanism.


Under-desk treadmills might be small, but they're often just as technically complex as their bigger brothers. That's why it pays (literally) to make sure that whichever model you choose has a decent warranty. We recommend a minimum one-year warranty, although longer is, of course, better. Checking the verified Amazon reviews can also provide clues as to how well (or not) a particular company handles its customer service, including any warranty issues.


Like all home gym equipment, under-desk treadmills vary widely in price. You can score one of the most affordable models for under $200 delivered, while midrange options run in the $400-$500 range. For the very best models, expect to pay $700 or more.

Lastly, always, always check the reviews for any under-desk treadmill you're shopping. "Read reviews and ask for recommendations," Potter says. "I chose mine because a friend had purchased it during the pandemic and loved it." It's worth noting, however, that a walking pad may not do it for everyone. If you're looking to walk on an incline or hit a full run, a traditional treadmill might be a better option for you.

How we tested and selected under-desk treadmills

Over the past year, Women’s Health editors, including fitness editor Talene Appleton, NASM, associate commerce editor Lily Wohlner, and editorial assistant Sabrina Talbert have researched, tested, and assessed dozens of top-rated under-desk treadmills to narrow down the best options for a range of needs and preferences. We considered factors including speed, weight capacity, incline settings, and warranty. Our team also read thousands of customer reviews and consulted certified personal trainers Tiana Perez, Amy Potter, and Sydney Sherman to determine the very best under-desk treadmills worthy of spending money on in 2024.

Quiet LED Remote Treadmill

Available in 0.5 to five mph speed levels, this walking-only treadmill allows you to select different speeds based on your fitness goals. Our testers have walked nearly 1,800 miles on this treadmill, and have been impressed by how durable and easy to use it is. durability and ease of use. While this option doesn't feature incline or folding capabilities, we've found it to be the best option for how most people intend to use a walking treadmill.

This under-desk treadmill's belt is quiet while you walk on it, which is a major bonus if you plan on using it around working roommates, a sleeping baby, or during Zoom meetings. The belt should be oiled regularly, but other than that, maintenance on this machine is very minimal and straightforward.

Another thing we love about this model is that it comes with a remote control, so you can safely and easily adjust your speed with just the click of a button. One more major selling point here is the LED screen, which measures distance and the amount of calories burned from beginning to end. Plus, it features a large display, so you can easily read your stats.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NN62S38?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Quiet LED Remote Treadmill</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$159.00</p>

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Quiet LED Remote Treadmill



Walking Pad

Our testers appreciate how compact this under-desk treadmill without compromising durability or a wide, stable belt. We found the folding handlebar piece convenient for storage and the wheels ideal for easy mobility, allowing it to be positioned in various places such as in front of the TV or beneath a standing desk.

One major selling point of this option is not just the handlebar, but the iPad stand it features. We frequently utilized the attached stand, although it should be noted that it cannot hold a book or larger screen, such as a laptop.

Our only complaint with this machine is that it doesn’t have an incline capability. Also, while the speed goes up to 7 miles per hour, we never recommend running on a walking pad.

Editor Review: "I have used this under-desk treadmill consistently multiple times a week since I got it during winter 2023. It makes it so easy to get my steps in and take little mental breaks during the day, especially when the weather is bad. I've recommended this tread to a lot of friends." —Jacqueline Andriakos, WH executive health and fitness director

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRZFRSBC?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Walking Pad</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$299.99</p>

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Walking Pad



3-in-1 Treadmill

This treadmill is another one with a high maximum speed. It gets up to 7.5 miles per hour, so it allows you to get a casual jog in, if you're not working at your desk. When it’s time to get to work, just attach the arms and acrylic desk (yup, a desk comes with this one). The WH team loves that you don't need a separate desk in order to use it.

"Most of the under-desk treadmills we tested don't come with their own built-in desk, meaning you have to 'supply' your own," noted WH writer Mike Richard. "So this is a nice all-in-one option if you don't already have a treadmill or a desk."

This machine also comes with a handy phone holder, so you can simply prop your cell up to watch your fave show or FaceTime your bestie throughout your entire workout.

When your sweat sesh is all done, just fold this up and use its flexible wheels to store it somewhere discreet—Think: under your bed, behind your desk, or even beneath your couch. When you want to use it again, setting it up takes less than a minute. Could upping your daily steps get any easier? Didn't think so.

WH Review: "I like the design of this one," said one of our staff writers who tested this model. "It was really easy to set up, and it's not too loud. Plus, it works well under a desk, but it's also great as a standalone treadmill. It's stable enough that I feel like I can get in a good run with it with my workout ending in catastrophe!"

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KZNTB6Z?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>3-in-1 Treadmill</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$359.99</p>

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3-in-1 Treadmill



Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill

It's a mini miracle that Sunny Health was able to pack so many features into this ultra-compact treadmill: It's foldable, offers an incline up to 13 percent, tracks distance and calories, and—just when you thought it couldn't get any better—it does it all without a plug.

It slides discreetly under your standing desk, is foldable, and has detachable handlebars that provide additional support while you walk. You can attach the LCC monitor that comes with the tread, which allows you to track time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It also has an available 'scan' option, so you can easily flip through your previous performance data.

Despite its compact size and narrower-than-average deck, it's also equipped with heavy-duty floor stabilizers, so reviewers say they never feel wobbly or unbalanced, even on uneven floors. Even when walking at an incline, they don't get the speed wobbles.

Our review team was surprised at the features of this affordable treadmill. Our associate editor sums it up, "This isn't the best or most premium under-desk model. But, for the price (under $200), you won't find many other alternatives with this many features."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FSunny-Health-Fitness-Manual-Treadmill-Compact-Foldable-Exercise-Machine-for-Running-and-Cardio-Training-SF-T1407M%2F42083818%3Fathbdg%3DL1200&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg40157832%2Fbest-under-desk-treadmills%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill</p><p>walmart.com</p><p>$169.97</p>

Walker Pro Under-Desk Treadmill

If you live in a small apartment (hi, New Yorkers!), you need a treadmill that won't take up any of your *precious* space. This one from Egofit is perfect. Specially designed to sit pretty under a standing desk, you'll barely even notice it's there with its small yet mighty build. As an added bonus, it comes with wheels so you can move it around your space without scraping up the floors (or, more importantly, hurting your back).

Few under-desk treadmills—especially ones this small—offer an incline, but Egofit's does. "The slight five percent hill on this cardio machine adds a little extra burn to my walks without me really even noticing," said one of our editors. "Plus, I can get it going at more than 3 mph. While I can't quite run on this tread, the incline boost is more than enough to get me sweating anyway."

Reviewers also love that this walking treadmill is super sturdy—it's built with solid, durable materials to provide stability—and can hold up to 220 pounds. Despite its ability to hold weight, it doesn't feel too heavy (only 55 pounds!) when people move it around.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YYR4N9G?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Walker Pro Under-Desk Treadmill </p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$399.00</p>

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Walker Pro Under-Desk Treadmill



Walking Pad Under-Desk Treadmill

This walking pad has all the fancy features you want without the intimidating price tag. It's the most durable option on this list, thanks to a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds (nearly 100 pounds more than most competitors). You don't have to worry about sturdiness with this one—it's made with a heavy steel frame and high-quality ABS for stability. It also features a non-slip surface, so you feel like you're on one of those fancy treadmills at the gym.

Our team loved the easy-to-read monitor of this under-desk model. "The numbers are big, bright, and bold, so you don't have to squint to read the screen or look at your phone every time you want to check your workout stats," noted one of our reviewers.

While the speed of this tread only gets up to 4 mph, you can still get in a solid walk in. What's more, it operates super quietly, so you don't have to worry about a loud motor in the background of your meetings or when your roomie demands peace and quiet.

The aesthetic is great too, with a bright white base blends in perfectly with modern-style homes or apartments, and the LCD monitor is not an eye sore, either—it tracks time, mileage, and calories burned all on one sleek display.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MFSB2TK?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>Walking Pad Under-Desk Treadmill</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$217.99</p>

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Walking Pad Under-Desk Treadmill



2-in-1 Under-Desk Electric Treadmill

You can get a solid walk in with many of the treadmills on this list, but GoYouth's features a non-slip belt and built-in shock absorption system, so it's great for speed walking while you're taking a break from working. It has a minimum speed of.5 miles per hour (perfect for a post-run cool down) and a maximum speed of six miles per hour.

This machine also comes equipped with wheels that make it easy to slide under your furniture when you're not using it or to roll it out to your living room if you want a bit more space to breathe (IYKYK: sometimes walking in your room can get a bit claustrophobic).

It's also equipped with an LED display, which shows all the stats you need in real-time: Calories, time elapsed, steps, speed, and distance. Don't feel like popping in headphones? Connect the treadmill to your phone via Bluetooth, so you can play music straight from the machine while you get your steps in (if you don't have a speaker in your house, this machine doubles as one!).

Editor Review: "I have the GoYouth treadmill at home! My husband was horrified and confused at what was happening when he walked in on me walking while working late one night...with noise cancelling headphones on, too. Was a serious lewk. But I like it! It's sturdy and I love that it stands up on its own when I'm not using so I can easily stash. (I admittedly used it more in the winter and cold weather.) " —Abigail Cuffey, executive editor

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0895DRWVY?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.40157832%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Shop Now</a></p><p>2-in-1 Under-Desk Electric Treadmill </p><p>amazon.com</p>

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2-in-1 Under-Desk Electric Treadmill


Is an under-desk treadmill worth it?

Potter says that walking at your desk is great for getting in your general daily movement and for your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). This is the energy you use up while you're not eating, sleeping, or actively exercising or playing sports.

Teachers, nurses, and other jobs where you're on your feet all day likely have sufficient levels of NEAT. But, if you're spending most of your day at a desk, an under-desk treadmill is a great tool for helping to make up for the lack of NEAT in your life.

"I wholeheartedly believe in them if you have a typical 9-to-5 desk job," says Perez. "I always tell my clients when you're sitting down all day, you're dead from the waist down."

So how often should you use it? "If you have a way to track your steps, 7,500 steps is a great goal to aim for each day," Potter says. "If you are mostly sedentary and you’re looking for a good place to start, I would start with 30 minutes per day on your walking pad and build up from there," she adds.

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Which under-desk treadmill is best?

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What’s the difference between a stationary treadmill and a folding treadmill?

While these machines are similar in purpose, the main difference is that a folding treadmill...well, folds, and a stationary one does not. Foldable treadmills are also great for folks who don't want to worry about storage. They're easier to hide away, which prevents small spaces from getting cluttered. In an interview about foldable treadmills, personal trainer Sydney Sherman, NASM, told WH that these treadmills are a compact option to help increase activity throughout the day. This is especially the case if you work from home and want to get steps in without leaving the house or if you prefer to stay out of harsh weather conditions.

Meanwhile, stationary treadmills tend to be bulkier and similar to what you'd see at your local gym. If you have a home gym, this kind of machine can be a great addition to your space.

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What's the difference between an under-desk and a traditional treadmill?

Though they are structurally the same machine—i.e., a moving conveyor belt to walk on—the similarities between an under-desk treadmill and one you might come across in a gym end there. Under-desk treadmills are, first and foremost, a lot smaller. They typically don't have steep inclines (if any at all) or go as fast as regular treadmills, as they're designed for walking, not jogging or running.

Personal trainer Tiana Perez, NCSF, says that size is important to consider when purchasing an under-desk treadmill. "You don't want an under-desk treadmill to be a piece of equipment that's going to take up a lot of space in your house," she says. "And you especially don't want to be turned off from it and think, 'Oh god, I have to take the treadmill out and then I have to put it away.'"

The good news is that, from more mobility to better heart health, and even helping you tune into your creativity, the benefits of walking are endless, and you can def do that on either machine.

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