I wanted to try out a treadmill desk, but with the most popular treadmill desks (AL) on Amazon going for over $500 I needed to find a different way to do it. I figured out a way to do it for free with stuff laying around my house and it was so easy to do that absolutely anybody can do it. Here is everything you need to know to make your own treadmill desk.
What you will need to make the treadmill desk
I was lucky enough to already have everything I needed already, but even if you don’t have everything on this list most of these items can be purchased fairly cheaply.
- A treadmill- Never buy a new treadmill. You can find my guide to buying used treadmills here. If you are looking for a treadmill specifically that will make a good treadmill desk there are a couple features you want to look out for. Look for one that has nice wide flat handles. We are going to mount a board on this flat part, so it will have to be wide enough to give you a little bit of work space.
Secondly, you will want to look for one that has an incline feature that allows you to walk uphill for a greater challenge. Why? So you can raise and lower the treadmill to get it to a comfortable height for you to work on. More on that later.
- A board- Wide enough to sit across the handles and about as deep as the handles they will be laying across. An old board that used to be a shelf worked perfectly on my treadmill and I am guessing shelf wood is going to work well for many other treadmills. If you can’t find anything absolutely perfect you might have to saw down an old piece of plywood.
- Spring clamps- These are the easiest way hold the board down on the treadmill. If you don’t have spring clamps around your home other clamps will work almost as well, or you can buy a set on Amazon for about $10. (AL- see disclosure below)
Now we put the board over the handles and use the spring clamps to keep the board in place, creating a mini desk like so:
So there you have it, a treadmill desk. Now we just put a laptop on there and get to work, right? Well… no. You see that just wouldn’t work very well, that wouldn’t be ergonomically correct. Imagine standing up and typing while looking at the laptop screen. If the keyboard was at a comfortable level for your hands then you would have to look down at your screen, which wouldn’t be comfortable for your neck. If the screen was at a comfortable level for your eyes and neck then you would have to hold your hands at a level that would quickly become uncomfortable after a very short period of time. So, we need just a little more equipment.
Office equipment needed
- A desktop or laptop computer- We aren’t going to be keeping the computer on our little treadmill desk, so a desktop computer will work if that is what you have. I myself use this ASUS laptop (AL) which is a great deal on a budget laptop except for the fact that the keyboard and trackpad are awful. So awful that I can only assume the person who designed them had a background in psychological torture rather than anything even vaguely related to consumer electronics. The keyboard and trackpad are so awful that after trying the computer I immediately drove to Staples and purchased a wireless keyboard and mouse which actually worked out OK because the next items we will need for our treadmill desk are…
- A wireless keyboard and mouse- Since our computer isn’t going to be on our desk, we need a way to control it, so a wireless keyboard and mouse will do the trick. Don’t cheap out and try using wired versions here. Having cords hanging off your treadmill desk is nothing but asking for trouble. A highly rated keyboard and mouse set can be found for as low as $17 (AL) on Amazon.
- A big screen TV- I am guessing you already have one of these around your home. If not, congratulations, you are a very cheap person indeed and I salute you. Plug your computer into your TV and use your TV as an external computer monitor.
So, we put the keyboard and mouse on our desk and we plug our computer into a nice big TV which is big enough for us to see and high enough for us to comfortably see while on our treadmill desk. This is how my setup looks:
Before you get to work, there are just a couple more things to adjust. Do the words on the screen look big enough for you? If not, go into the setting on your computer and you can adjust the resolution to make everything on your screen look bigger or smaller.
Does the keyboard feel like it is at the right height? You can make the treadmill go up or down by playing with the incline settings.
I wrote this article on my treadmill desk and thought it worked great. I went nice and slow at 1 mph, but even that might have been pushing it. Next time I will probably try about .7 mph or so. So unless you are going to be spending a long, long time at your desk this isn’t enough excersize to meet your daily goals, but it has to be a lot better than sitting down all afternoon, right? The good thing is that you can remove your desktop and get your treadmill ready for some real excersize in just a few seconds.
Links with (AL) behind them are affiliate links and 10% of the revenue they generate will be donated to the charity noted on the upper right hand side of this page. I did not receive compensation of any kind or discounts for any of the products listed in this article.
Don’t ever take excersize or health advice from a frugality blogger, you should really consult a doctor for that. Using a treadmill can be dangerous so you are advised that doing anything described in this article is done at your own risk.