In this article, learn about the key differences between a desk treadmill v desk bike and which of these 2 popular pieces of active office furniture would be the best option for you This includes a comparison table of desk treadmills and desk bikes along with tips and tricks that you won’t find anywhere else on the web.
Physical inactivity contributes to over 3 million deaths worldwide every year. That’s 6% of all deaths which could have been prevented. Source
Desk Treadmill V Desk Bike
|Desk Treadmill||Desk Bike|
|Cost||$217.99 – $1999||$29.99 – $499.99|
|Size||177 – 980.20 in2||73.78 – 2853.90 in2|
|Heights suitable for||Based on standing desk height range||4’0” – 6’9”|
|Average calories burned||100 – 150 per hour||100 – 500 per hour|
|Noise levels||Low – moderate (6 – 70 dB)||Low|
|Weight||40 – 162 pounds||3.97 – 28.66 + pounds|
|Weight capacity||200 – 400 pounds||150 – 500 pounds|
|Workout intensity||Low – high||Low – high|
|Can be used without a desk||Yes, if not a treadmill workstation||Yes|
|Can be stood on||Yes||No|
|Warranty||Minimum 1-year||Minimum 1-year|
Here’s just a glimpse of how desk treadmills and desk cycles compare. Let’s dive deeper in to each factor to see which one makes most sense for you to get! Read on to uncover if desk bikes or under desk treadmills are really worth it.
Under desk treadmills vs desk bikes similarities?
There are 4 primary similarities between desk treadmills and under desk bikes:
Both enable body movement while indoors which helps to burn calories and increase activity and circulation of blood around your body. While both treadmill desks and under desk bikes are targeted at office and desk users, they can be used without a desk at home or at work.
Both allow adjustment of intensity levels. For treadmill bases, this is by means of speed adjustment as few under desk treadmills feature an incline function. The resistance levels of under desk bikes can be adjusted to raise the difficulty of the pedalling movement.
Both units include a display for tracking activity, such as exercise time, calories burned, speed and strides per minute.
On average, people including beginner treadmillers will walk at a speed of under 2 mph on a treadmill workstation.
Both should last for years with good care, and most have a minimum 1-year warranty.
If you need some inspiration or advice on the best tasks to complete while walking v sitting, I would recommend reading activities that you can perform while walking on an office treadmill.
The speed that you are using a treadmill desk at will also influence what tasks you can perform best while walking.
What are the differences between under desk treadmills vs desk bikes?
Size of equipment:
Treadmills bases are far bigger and consume more space than a desk bike. Treadmill desks consume an average footprint of 177 – 980.205in2 whereas a treadmill base takes up on average 73.78 – 2853.90 in2 of space.
Weight of equipment:
It may come as a surprise to you when you learn just how heavy desk bikes are. Under treadmill desks weigh on average 40 – 162 pounds which is significantly less than a desk bike which weighs an average of 3.97 – 28.66 + pounds.
Since the size and weight of the under desk treadmill is larger, it means that they are less portable. They are usually fitted with caster wheels to allow them to be wheeled around. However, if they need to be moved between floors are up and down steps or stairs, you’re more than likely going to need help.
One of the most portable under desk treadmills is the compact and lightweight Sunny Portable Stand Up Treadmill. With this luxury unit, you can effortlessly move the treadmill by wheeling it out of the way and moving your chair into position.
Under desk bikes are smaller in footprint and weight, therefore they are generally easier to move from one area to another compared to treadmill desks.
Standing vs sitting posture:
A standing posture must be used while using a treadmill desk. Typically, you will be using desk bikes in a seated position.
If you’re not used to standing, this could mean that you will get tired faster from walking and standing compared to sitting and pedaling.
Plus, if you want to sit at your standing desk, you’ll either need to move the treadmill out of the way and slide in your chair, have a separate area of the desk for sitting or have a separate desk altogether for sitting.
Tip: If there are any items touching off the treadmill desk, it can cause noise and vibrations. If you think noise will be a concern for you, check out this treadmill desk noise comparison list.
An under desk bike primarily targets hamstrings, quadriceps and calve muscles in the legs. You could also target core muscles in your stomach if you avoid using a backrest or armrests on your chair.
The primary muscle engaged while walking on a treadmill desk is the quad muscles. The hamstrings, glutes, calves and ankles are also activated to a lesser degree.
You may also be working the upper body, since your torso and core are supporting your body in an upright position. This is particularly evident if your arms are moving.
If you are in the process of purchasing standing desk, knowing the best type of height adjustable desk for you along with the key criteria to look for when choosing the perfect desk will prevent issues arising and promote a better workflow that suits your needs and desires.
Tip: To prevent knees hitting off the desk while peddling, users should leave a minimum of 2 – 3 inches of clearance between their desk and knees.
Should I choose an under desk treadmill or a desk bike?
When considering factors such as budget, space requirements, weight and portability, the desk bike outperforms the desk treadmill. However, if you have plenty of space, budget isn’t a concern and you would prefer to stand and walk instead of sitting and pedaling, then a treadmill base will generally be a better choice.
Treadmill desks are a level up from standing desks; they allow you to not only stand up from your chair, but they also introduce movement to a static position.
They do cost more though and may not suit all budgets. Be prepared to have a budget of at least $217.99, that is, if you already own a standing desk and only need to purchase the treadmill base.
With a lower minimum starting price of $97.99, desk bikes are more cost efficient than an under desk treadmill. Plus, they’re more compact and portable too.
The below table gives an insight into whether the desk bike or under desk treadmill would be the better choice based on certain criteria.
|Best for||Product choice|
|Lower budgets||Desk bike|
|Lighter in weight||Desk bike|
|Lower in noise||Similar|
|Small areas||Desk bike|
|Versatility between postures||Desk bike|
|Leg muscle targeting||Desk bike|
|Greater calorie burning||Desk bike|
|Movement while sitting||Desk bike|
|Movement while standing||Under desk treadmill|
|Minimizing time spent sitting||Under desk treadmill|
If you’re keen to get out of your death chair and introduce movement into your workday, study, gaming or whatever static activity you complete, then treadmill workstations are only one of the most effective units to get you moving.
Desk bikes also offer the ability to move while you sit and stand, while also being more compact and lower in price.
Before ever buying an under desk treadmill or bike for your desk, you should know what to look for when choosing a treadmill desk as well as the pros and cons of walking workstations.
Whichever option you go for, you’re bound to increase energy expenditure and movement which will go a long way to reducing the risks of sitting disease while also improving your overall health, energy and well-being.
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The below items are what I’ve looked into so far in order of preference:
- Treadmill desks
- Standing desk converters
- Ergonomic chairs
- Standing desks
- Desk bike
- Desk elliptical
- Kneeling chairs
- Standing desk chairs
- Anti-fatigue mats
- Balance boards
My personal favorite products so far are the: