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I bought a $400 treadmill desk: Here's how my life has changed

My personal experiences after spending nearly two months with a treadmill that doubles as a desk.
headshot
Written by Sherin Shibu, Contributor on
Reviewed by June Wan
Pros
  • Clear acrylic desk to work out while getting work done
  • Wider belt for safety
  • Wide range of speeds
  • High-quality design
  • Folds and stores neatly
Cons
  • Remote buttons are not the most responsive
  • Folding-down component can be wobbly at higher speeds
  • Bluetooth speakers sound staticky at higher volumes

If you work a desk job or you're worried about your lack of activity levels, you're not alone. Many people spend more than half of their day sitting; according to Healthline, the average US office worker sits for up to 15 hours per day

Enter a combination of work and exercise that fits easily into the day: The treadmill desk. A treadmill desk allows you to walk as slowly as 0.5 mph or run at higher speeds while working. 

I chose the Costway Goplus 3-in-1 treadmill desk, which has an expansive speed range from 0.5 mph to 7.5 mph, supports body weights of up to 220 pounds, and a $429 price tag on Amazon. (It's currently on sale for $399.) After two months of use, here's how my experience with the treadmill desk has been and why I think it is worth every penny. 

Specifications

Overall dimensions

50.5 x 26.5 x43 inches (LxWxH)

Speed

0.5 mph to 7.5 mph

Weight capacity

220 pounds

Package includes

Treadmill with clear acrylic panel desk, phone holder, remote control, safety key, built-in Bluetooth, power cord, and manual


Initial impressions

My dad assembled the Goplus treadmill desk for me and it took him about 30 minutes. It wasn't difficult to assemble, but the machine did refuse to work at first. We were both stumped: The display showed "---" even though the power was on. 

The fix turned out to be extremely simple: The magnetic safety clip -- which signals the treadmill to turn off when it gets tugged and detaches from your shirt -- needed to be connected to the treadmill for it to start. From the Amazon reviews I read, many customers were confused by this same feature.

The safety clip lying on the clear desk

That essential safety clip.

Sherin Shibu

But after that, it was off to the races!

To start the machine, I pressed the button at the center of the included remote, which has two other buttons to increase and decrease the speed. The buttons weren't always responsive, but when my presses were detected, the treadmill would beep loudly. 

The desk component of the treadmill is broad enough to hold my laptop and a bottle of water. There's also a slot for a phone or tablet which comes in handy when watching TV shows or streaming music during workouts.

The clear desk from a side angle

Spacious and multifunctional.

Sherin Shibu

Seeing the LED speedometer of the treadmill was made easy with the clear desk -- I just had to look down to get an idea of high slow or fast my pace was. From my months of usage, the see-through material hasn't shown much wear or the possibility of breaking, which is fantastic. 

What's not so fantastic is the slight warmth of the running deck when I use it at higher speeds or for a prolonged period of time. Also, if you want to grip the arms of the machine, for stability or support, I've found that the arms can move towards you. I avoid leaning on the arms or gripping them too tightly for that reason. 

A view down through the clear desk at the treadmill on the floor

Nothing to see here.

Sherin Shibu

The desk is substantial but not heavy. To detach it from the treadmill, you simply lift it up -- no screws, nuts, or bolts are needed. This ease of use has allowed me to walk as I work, and then remove the desk, change flats out for sneakers, and run up to 7.5 mph without worrying about knocking something over.

Measuring around 50 inches long, the Goplus fit surprisingly well in my cozy city apartment. When I didn't want to see it, I removed the desk, folded down the top, and moved the slim panel that remained, the treadmill, underneath some furniture. It's this folding aspect that gives the treadmill desk an appeal that's unlike its traditional, gym-certified counterparts. 

An angle of the treadmill without the desk

No desk, no problem.

Sherin Shibu

Daily experiences

If you've thought about using a treadmill you probably have a lot of questions. To answer a few of those, yes, I found that I can actually type and walk at the same time, especially at lower speeds. The machine is quiet -- you'll hear the sound of your steps more than the machine itself. It makes about as much noise as a standard gym treadmill, and I don't find the sound distracting, although an officemate might if you share a workspace. You can also turn off the treadmill feature and use this as a regular standing desk.   

I haven't used the treadmill while in a Zoom meeting, mainly because the movement of walking would be difficult to hide and I didn't want to field any questions. (However, if you work in person, it might be fun to have a meeting where everyone's walking on a treadmill.) The treadmill pad isn't cushioned and you have to wear shoes, just as you would with a regular treadmill, but I wear glove flats instead of sneakers most of the time. 

Closeup of LED screen

The speakers are built around the LED screen.

Sherin Shibu

The LED panel built into the pad tracks speed, distance, calories burned, and time. These are all motivators to walk longer distances and build up endurance -- a treadmill desk is more about encouraging regular activity than sprinting. The magnetic safety clip is the primary safety feature, but you can easily stop the machine by pressing the center button of the remote control. You clip the safety clip on when you're walking, jogging, or running, and if you somehow disengage the safety clip, by falling, for example, the treadmill will stop too.

The machine has built-in Bluetooth speakers but the sound quality was disappointing. At higher volumes, it was almost staticky; at lower volumes, the sound couldn't be heard over the treadmill. Since speakers weren't essential for me, or even something that I expected, I was forgiving. 

If you end up purchasing this treadmill desk directly from Amazon, the return policy covers 30 days. The policies are different for Amazon purchases fulfilled by third-party sellers, and other retailers have different policies, so make sure to check the fine print before buying.

What changed

My mindset toward fitness definitely changed because of this machine. For the past month, I've woken up and exercised on the treadmill, and then walked while I worked whenever I felt sluggish. It's a refreshing start to the day and a constant I look forward to. 

A treadmill desk is a great motivator and an excellent starting point for a life change. Going to the gym can be a hassle. By minimizing the obstacles to getting exercise, I ended up working out a lot more, while staying productive thanks to the "desk" part of the treadmill. 

Though it does support a high jogging speed, the Costway Goplus really shines when it comes to building a habit of regular, normal exercise. There are alternatives with different prices and features, but based on my experience with the Goplus, a treadmill desk is a stellar investment for your body and for your mind.

Alternatives to consider

Our roundup of the five best treadmill desks covers these in greater detail, but here are some options to consider with corresponding videos:

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