Standing Desk vs. Treadmill Desk (Which is Better?)

Standing desks have been incredibly popular for a few years now, but treadmill desks are also gaining traction as an alternative. But how do you know which one is better for you? This article aims to help you decide by providing you with the pros and cons of each option. But first, what are they?

standing desk vs. treadmill desk

What are Standing Desks and Treadmill Desks?

A standing desk allows you to stand while you work. This can be highly beneficial because it reduces the extreme risks associated with sitting for prolonged periods of time. Most options are height adjustable which means that you can sit or stand using the desk. This is the best way to get the health benefits from using a standing desk as well. 

A treadmill desk offers the ability to use a treadmill while you work. It is a standing desk, but with a treadmill properly located so that you can walk on the treadmill while you use the desk. This allows you to move more which can be very healthy. Exercise is great for both mental and physical health. A treadmill desk may be made with the desk being connected to the treadmill. However, it can also be a separate piece that fits over an existing treadmill machine. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each type before coming to a conclusion.

What are the Pros of Standing Desks?

There are several pros to a standing desk. They are good for you and can help you leave your sedentary lifestyle behind. Let’s look at the awesome reasons to choose a standing desk! 

Flexible Options

A standing desk offers flexibility in a couple different ways. First, there are significantly more options for this type of desk than there are for treadmill desks. This means that you have more style options, budget options, size options, and more. Second, most options are adjustable so that you can alternate between sitting and standing. Some treadmill desk options do not have an easily adjusting feature (although some do). 


A treadmill desk can be expensive and standing desks are much more affordable. Standing desks come in every price range. You can spend less money on a standing desk and get a high quality, long lasting desk compared to the cost of a treadmill desk. If you want to spend more, then you can buy a high end standing desk for less than you would spend on a high end treadmill desk. If your budget is an issue for you, then you may want to start with a standing desk.

Less Maintenance

A standing desk requires very little maintenance and it will last a long time because of this. A treadmill desk, on the other hand, has more moving parts and therefore more that could go wrong or break down. A treadmill desk may also require oiling or minor repairs on occasion. 

Focus and Productivity

A standing desk can help you stay active which can increase your energy levels. While a treadmill desk can do the same, the lack of movement with a standing desk could be more beneficial when it comes to focusing on the task at hand. This may improve your productivity levels. In fact, it is common to find workers complete a task before sitting down which may speed them up even more!

standing desk vs. treadmill desk

What are the Cons of Standing Desks?

There are also some negative aspects of a standing desk that you should be aware of in order to make the best decision on which one is right for you.

Risks of Prolonged Standing

Standing still for a long period of time can be uncomfortable, but that is not the issue since you can switch to sitting. However, long term standing can cause some health risks. It can hurt your feet, cause you to have bad posture once you are too tired to stand up straight, and it can even lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease. 

Minimal Calorie Burn

While standing does burn more calories than sitting, the difference is not substantial. While the minimal difference could help you lose a little weight or help you maintain a healthy body weight, it will not impact your body significantly. Treadmill desks are better for this. However, if you do decide that a standing desk is the best choice for you, it can be beneficial to take walking breaks periodically throughout the day.  

Foot Pain

Standing for a long time, especially if you are not used to doing so, can lead to foot pain. There are some options that can help with this. You can try to wear more comfortable shoes, alternate to the chair more often, or purchase a standing desk mat. However, foot pain can make it difficult to keep standing and lead you back to your sedentary sitting position. 

Read More >> Is a Standing Desk Good for Back Pain?

What are Pros of Treadmill Desks?

Treadmill desks offer a ton of great benefits. Let’s check out the best ones! 

Exercise and Movement

We already mentioned it, but it is good to mention it again. Exercise and movement are beneficial for overall health and well-being. Exercise gets the blood flowing and reduces the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. A treadmill desk, or any other active workstation, can improve your mental health by unleashing the potential that dopamine and serotonin have to offer. 

Burns More Calories

A treadmill allows you to exercise while you work. This burns a significant amount of calories when compared to sitting or merely standing. The research has found that a 170 pound person sitting for an hour burns 139 calories and standing burns 186. Walking burns a lot more at 323 calories! This can add up a ton if you are using the treadmill desk throughout the day or week. 

Save Time

We all know we should exercise, but sometimes it is difficult to find the time out of our busy weeks to go to the gym. A treadmill desk allows us to save time by working while we are walking. This can be a huge benefit for some people. You can get off of work and not have to worry about working out which is great for those nights where you just want to sit around!

Better Posture

When we sit or stand for a long time, we get tired and tend to begin to slouch or lower our shoulders. This can even lead to pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. A treadmill desk allows us to walk which can also make us tired of course. However, it is more difficult to slouch while you are walking. This can improve posture and may help you prevent back pain. Walking can also strengthen muscles in the legs and core which can help you prevent other aches and pains. 

Read More >> Top Best Standing Desk Exercises

What are the Cons of Treadmill Desks?

While there are tons of benefits, there are certainly some downsides as there are with just about anything that you can buy. 


A lot of people like to workout and exercise to relieve high levels of stress. Combining your exercise routine with your working hours can be stressful for some.It may also be a distraction from your work which may harm your productivity. Some people find that they work well while using one, but it isn’t the best for everybody. Tasks that require deep concentration may be better suited for use without the treadmill. 


Walking a treadmill can be tiring and it is important to be energetic to some extent while you are working. You may find that you experience more fatigue and stress on your legs when you are walking for a long time. The work could even distract from how tired your legs are until it is too late. 

Lack of Options

You will not have the option of sitting with many treadmill desk options and many people find that they do not look very good in their office space. A treadmill desk also takes up a lot of space. In fact, some people have found that they do not even have the room available to put the treadmill desk even if they wanted one. 

Final Thoughts on Standing Desks vs. Treadmill Desks

One option is not the best option for everybody. The choice depends on a number of factors. So what should you take into account in order to make the decision? Well, size is the first consideration. A lot of treadmill desks are quite large so you need to make sure that you have the ability to fit it in. If you do not have the space available, then you should go for a standing desk. 

The next thing to think about is the functionality. If you are wanting to lose a significant amount of weight or if you know that you will not be distracted by the walking motion, then a treadmill desk may be the best option for you. However, the issue arises when you do not want to use the treadmill because sometimes that requires a completely separate workstation. 

One final consideration is whether you have used a standing desk yet. If you have never used one, then you may want to see how it works for you before jumping straight to a treadmill desk. This is because it can take some getting used to if you have been sitting all day for your entire adult life. Hopefully you have a better idea of the decision and which one works for you! Happy shopping!

Recent Guides

Looking to learn more about standing desks? Check out some of our other informative and in-depth reviews and guides!

Why do you need an ergonomic chair

Traditional office chairs can be uncomfortable and sitting is already bad for your health. The greatest

Read More »
Are ergonomic chairs better than gaming

To use a desk most healthily and comfortably, you will need a chair that offers

Read More »
Introduction to Ergonomics and the Importance of the Right Office Chair

What is an ergonomic office chair? Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their

Read More »
Do standing desks cause varicose veins

Are you interested in a standing desk? Maybe your workplace is offering standing desks for

Read More »
Best balance boards for standing desks

Interested in learning about the best balance boards for standing desks? In this product review

Read More »
Top five best standing desk with cupholder

Interested in learning about the best Standing Desk with Cupholder? In this product review guide,

Read More »
Picture of Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!
Picture of Darryl Higgins

Darryl Higgins

Hi, I'm Darryl. I made this site to help share information & reviews about ergonomic desks, chairs & accessories to help others who want to work more comfortably. Learn more about my journey by reading my bio here. Enjoy!

About Athlete Desk

Learn about standing desks, bicycle desks, treadmill desks, ergonomic chairs & accessories.

Recently Published Guides

Recommended Guides