Standing Desk With Treadmill vs. Without: Which One is Better?
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Standing Desk With Treadmill vs. Without: Which One is Better?

|May 6, 2020

Whether you’re working in an office or from home, it’s no secret that long periods of motionless, sedentary work can have detrimental physical impacts. You might experience boredom or fatigue, eyestrain, muscle cramps, and low energy levels. The occasional in-seat stretch offers some relief, but how can you take your wellness at work to the next level?

These days, more and more people are taking their productivity to the next level with smart desks that give you the opportunity to stand, or even walk in place. The two most popular options by far are adjustable-height desks, and standing desks with treadmill.

But which one is optimal for your health and productivity?

To help you decide, we’ve compiled some of the pros and cons of owning a standing desk and a treadmill desk.

Photo of standing desk with treadmill

Standing desk with treadmill - Pros

1. Best for burning calories

This should be much of a surprise—walking burns more calories than standing! Yet the difference between walking in place and standing in place is actually pretty significant, and adds up overtime. According to the latest data, someone weighing 170 lbs standing for one hour burns 186 calories compared to 139 calories sitting. Not a huge difference.

However, walking in place at a moderate pace burns around 324 calories/hour. This is a much bigger jump, and the difference really adds up overtime.

The bottom line: if you’re looking for the best way to stay fit and maximize calories burned, a treadmill desk is the best choice for you.

2. Save time exercising by multi-tasking

For people with busy schedules, being able to work and get your daily exercise at the same time can be a huge benefit! Get all your steps in while staying focused on the task at hand get twice as much done in the same amount of time.

You could even take a break from work and use your treadmill to get a brisk jog in midway through the day for an extra energy boost and even more calorie burning!

Standing desk for treadmill - Cons

1. Fatiguing over time

Of course, while walking is a great way to boost your energy and burn calories, you may experience fatigue and added stress on your knees if you walk for prolonged periods of time. For people with knee issues, this may be a dealbreaker.

2. Lack of flexibility

Feel like you’ve had enough standing and walking? Ready to settle down into your cozy office chair? You’ll need to create a separate office space just for that! A treadmill desk can’t be easily stowed away, and actually takes up quite a bit of room on its own.

Essentially, you need a significant amount of free space for the standing desk with treadmill alone, plus an extra space for a secondary desk with a chair. If your space doesn’t accommodate both, you may need to choose between working on the treadmill desk, or working more casually on a free chair or sofa. 

Photo of standalone height-adjustable desk

Standalone height-adjustable desk - Pros

1. Flexible and functional

Standing desks are a great way to combine the best of both worlds: seated work and standing work. Depending on your mood or personal goals, you can stand or sit throughout the day as much as you like, with the ease of pressing a button.

Standing desks like the SmartDesk from Autonomous feature a minimalist design in many customizable finishes and colors, suitable for nearly any environment. They’ll give you a great bit of added functionality, without sticking out like a sore thumb in your home office.

2. More affordable

Standing desks are much more affordable without treadmills! This is a simple fact as treadmills require many moving parts and may require maintenance overtime. Standing desks on their own tend to last longer and can be more easily sought after in a range of prices suitable for any budget.

Standalone height-adjustable desk - Cons

1. Not as effective for burning calories

Standing simply doesn’t burn as many calories as walking. Though still an improvement over sitting, it won’t be nearly as effective as going for a brisk walk even just for a few minutes per day.

Standing desks are intended to help you stay energized and focused during the day and combat the ill effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time, however they won’t necessarily help you with your fitness goals.

2. Cheaper models more difficult to adjust

If you get a manual standing desk, or even just a stand for your desktop, you’ll have to manually readjust the height every time you want to sit down or stand up. This can be cumbersome and difficult, which may demotivate you to alternate between sitting and standing. In worst-case scenarios, you may actually lose control of your desk setup and damage expensive equipment. Consider carefully whether the cost savings will be worth this potential risk!


Choosing the right desk is no easy task! Though most people opt for a standalone height-adjustable desk, many more adventurous workers might take the plunge and invest in a standing desk with treadmill. What’s your desk of choice, and why? Let us know in the comments!


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