Funnily enough, I put together my DIY treadmill desk before I realized that you could actually buy a treadmill desk.
So whereas you might be coming to this blog post wondering how to create a cheap treadmill desk by going down the DIY treadmill desk route, for me this was the only solution I thought was available at the time.
But that doesn’t mean when I discovered treadmill desks that I wished I’d researched this more thoroughly first, instead it made me realize how RIGHT a DIY treadmill desk is for me and my home office.
The Pros Of A DIY Treadmill Desk
As soon as I saw “real” treadmill desks online, I knew they wouldn’t be suitable for my needs.
Allows for a bigger workspace
I have three monitors, a Mac Studio, a keyboard, a mouse, and a microphone on my desk and that doesn’t include all the extras I like to have around me like a water bottle, notebooks, pens, my phone, lip balm, a coffee… you get the idea.
My home office desk is actually an old dining table and I have quickly spread out my workspace all over it. In order to achieve a similar setup with all of the treadmill desks I have seen, I’d need to invest in a lot of extra “kit” for my treadmill desk to make it work.
This leads me nicely on to…
It’s the cheaper option
Treadmill desks are NOT cheap. We’re talking $3,000+ for what is, essentially, a treadmill with a stand for your laptop and not much else.
As you move up in price range, you can find treadmill desks for $8,000 or more which actually work in a similar way to the DIY treadmill desk setup I have in my office but they still don’t offer the desk space I’d need.
Alternatively, my DIY treadmill desk cost me $520. This is a total no-brainer decision, even if I didn’t have to make it because I’d already bought the setup!
The Cons Of A DIY Treadmill Desk
Transitioning isn’t smooth
The main con I have experienced so far is that the transition from sitting to standing isn’t as smooth as a traditional treadmill desk appears to be.
The few treadmill desks I’ve seen online either come with a handy button you can press on the desk which will raise it for you, or they’re a standing desk all the time meaning you don’t have to do anything to your desk to set it up.
With my DIY treadmill desk, I have to move my under desk treadmill away from my desk when I’m not using it and manually lower my standing desk converter before my desk is ready for me to sit down. This doesn’t really bother me but I can see the appeal of having something a little slicker later down the road, or if you don’t need as big a workspace.
Less money, more problems…?
The other con I have experienced is that because I am buying cheaper treadmills for my under desk treadmill solution, I’ve already had to send back one and buy a second one in the hopes I have a better experience. This is a very unique issue that I’m not even sure you could classify as a con for every user, but from what I’ve read on various forums I think the cheaper you go for your under desk treadmill, the shorter a life it will have.
Because I haven’t tried out a traditional treadmill desk to compare, I can’t be sure that this issue is unique to DIY treadmill desks but I suspect it’s a case of buying something cheap and it crapped out. We’ll have to see about that one!
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons, hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give a DIY treadmill desk a try. It’s honestly one of the best things I’ve invested in for my health, fitness, and work productivity in, well, FOREVER and I love that you are considering setting one up for yourself.
Let’s dive in!
How to Make a DIY Treadmill Desk
Before I give you all the details on how to make a DIY treadmill desk (including what products you’ll need), I want to share a picture of my DIY treadmill desk so you get the idea of how exactly this setup will work in your own office.
As you can see, it’s a very basic setup but it works incredibly well. And no, I wasn’t lying about the old dining table desk!
Your DIY Treadmill Desk Shopping List
If you have a traditional desk like mine then you’re going to need a few things to transform your desk into a DIY treadmill desk.
- A standing desk converter OR A standing desk
- An under desk treadmill
- Optional: A desk chair with wheels
I’ll give you a little more detail on each so you can see what’s the best fit for your needs.
Standing Desk Converter
I LOVE the standing desk converter I purchased from Amazon. So much so, I use it all the time to keep my main desktop monitor slightly elevated above my desk even when I’m sitting.
Transitioning from a sitting to a standing desk with this converter is super easy. There’s a little lever to the right-hand side that pumps up the desk as high as you need and all you do to drop it down is lift the lever and apply light pressure to the standing desk converter itself.
I also like how my keyboard has a separate, lower level on this standing desk converter as it allows me to keep everything at the right height. I’ve written a blog post about how high a standing desk should be which is well worth checking out for more information on this!
I haven’t gone down this route but if I wanted to stand all day I probably would. Again, I recommend using the blog post linked above to make sure you get the right height for your standing desk, and make sure you consider that your under desk treadmill will raise your height that little bit more.
Under Desk Treadmill
If you’ve followed my journey on this blog, you’ll know I had a bad experience with my first under desk treadmill and I’m on my second right now. At this time, I’m really happy with the second treadmill I’ve purchased and I feel confident in recommending it. However, to give you some options, I’d rather you take a look at my best under desk treadmills post so you have a few to choose from.
If you do like the look of my under desk treadmill (it’s pretty compact which works great for smaller office spaces), then here’s the exact under desk treadmill I’m using in this picture.
One little tip before you run off to check out Amazon is to make sure you get an under desk treadmill with wheels on one end. This will make it easier for you to roll the treadmill out of the way when not in use.
Optional: A Desk Chair With Wheels
You 100% do not NEED a desk chair with wheels for a DIY treadmill desk but it does make transitioning from sitting to standing a little bit easier. I usually roll my desk chair back to the corner of the room and replace it with my under desk treadmill when I’m ready to use it. Then when I’m done I’ll roll away the treadmill and roll back my desk chair.
It just helps make the transition a little smoother!
Your DIY Treadmill Desk Setup
Most of your DIY treadmill desk setup will depend on your office space but here are a few tips from me on how you can get the best use out of your space.
Clear out under your desk
You’re going to need your under desk treadmill to easily slot below and under your desk to get the position right for walking while working so make sure you’ve got minimal crap under your desk. You know what I’m talking about here!
As you can see from my picture, I’m not obsessed with tucking all wires away or anything crazy like that, but I do leave most of the space clear so I can easily roll my under desk treadmill in and out as needed.
Make space to store your chair
You don’t want to remove your chair from the room unless you’re planning to not sit down for your entire working day, which I don’t really recommend. So you need to make sure you’ve got a corner of the room where your desk chair can live while you’re using your DIY treadmill desk.
Find a space to store your under desk treadmill
Pretty similar to the tip above to be honest but ideally you don’t want to leave your under desk treadmill under your desk the whole time. That means you need a bed to slide it under or a corner of the room to place it.
One nice touch about under desk treadmills is some of them will stand up when being stored meaning you don’t need all that floor space for them when not in use.
And there you have it! The ultimate guide on how to make a DIY treadmill desk!
I’ll keep adding to this post as I think of more little tips and tricks to help you with your setup. If you have any for me please leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!