How To Install A Keyboard Tray On A Treadmill Desk

March 1, 2023

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treadmill desk

Why an Ergonomic Keyboard Tray is Crucial For Treadmill Desk Users

This is a companion piece to our primer on How To Install A Keyboard Tray On A Standing Desk. While many more keyboard tray options exist for standing desk users, most of them will not have the tilt adjustment range for a healthy ergonomic posture nor be able to withstand the physical rigors of typing while walking.

Whereas most conventional adjustable keyboard trays (AKTs) have quite a bit of floppiness to them, for treadmill desking you really want to select a super-stable tray that isn’t going to bounce around a whole bunch and riddle your content with typos. Or worse, result in ergonomic injury from pressing down hard on your palms to keep your fingers from moving around as your body sways with your walking motion.

This is precisely what “SteadyType” was invented for. While also popular and highly beneficial for standing desk users, it was originally invented by iMovR for treadmill desk users, and the benefits for people who type while they walk are even more profound. Achieving an even steeper negative tilt angle than when typing while standing is essential to the proper ergonomic setup for treadmill desk users, and avoiding potentially harmful repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).

keyboard tray for treadmill desks

So while the other primer deals with ways to work around the obstacle to installing an AKT on a standing desk that has a stability crossbar blocking the path of the glide track, in this primer we focus only on the SteadyType options. Of which there are basically two: add-on and built-in.

Option 1: Select an Adjustable Keyboard Tray Designed Specifically for Treadmill Desks

There are barely any keyboard trays on the market that were actually designed specifically for use with a standing desk, and we’ve reviewed all of them. This includes the SteadyType Exo and the SteadyType Slide, as well as the iMovR Trackless Keyboard Tray, iMovR Stowaway Keyboard Tray and the Humanscale Float Keyboard Tray. Be sure to check our round-up of adjustable keyboard trays for standing desks reviews from time to time for any new additions to this short list of AKTs designed specifically for use with standing desks.

However, only two of these are “SteadyType” keyboard trays that you can attach to any existing sit-stand desk. The others are simply too floppy to be seriously considered for use while walking. Click through to the reviews of the Exo and Slide to learn more about what each model brings to the table. They are both based on the same iMovR patent, the same one that has allowed them to be the exclusive manufacturer of SteadyType keyboard trays that are built right into the desktop (see Option 2, below).

What to do when you want to take a conventional keyboard tray off your old fixed-height desk and transfer it to your new standing desk instead? A common issue that people have when installing keyboard trays on standing desks is being incompatible with the crossbar under adjustable-height desks. iMovR’s Keyboard Tray Standing Desk Adapter Kit offers an easy workaround to this problem without sacrificing any adjustability or stability

1. iMovR SteadyType Exo Ergodynamic Keyboard Tray

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

The SteadyType Exo is an overachiever. Its raft of awarded patent claims is just the start. Among ergonomic keyboard trays, it is not only the most stable and durable design we’ve ever tested, the easiest to install, and the best at achieving steep “negative” ergonomic tilt angles; it is all of those things by a large margin. While the SteadyType Exo does not offer the ability to retract your keyboard underneath the desktop, its ability to install in just 30 seconds to literally any standing desk with a straight front edge, and to accommodate virtually any combination of keyboard and pointing device imaginable, forges a new and exciting category of adjustable keyboard trays. We can state categorically that it is the most ergonomically versatile add-on keyboard tray for standing desk and treadmill desk users on the market today.

Price: $360

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

2. iMovR SteadyType Slide Ergodynamic Keyboard Tray

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

The latest in a series of “ergodynamic” keyboard tray products that iMovR has released since receiving its patents in 2014, the SteadyType Slide takes the very best of all of them and combines them into a single product. It advances their previous top-seller, the SteadyType Exo–a portable unit that can attach to any standing desk in 30 seconds–by enabling it to now retract beneath the desktop on permanently-mounted, high-quality slide rails. Ergonomic keyboard trays, which haven’t changed much from their original designs of the 1980’s, haven’t adapted in any meaningful way to the new ergonomic requirements of the standing desk or treadmill desk user (so-called “ergodynamics,” which are quite a bit more involved). Besides the ergonomic differences, there’s a crossbar running under the desktop of most standing desks that can interfere with the installation of a conventional keyboard tray’s slide rail. For those reasons the vast majority of active workstations currently lack a keyboard tray altogether. Where the SteadyType Exo can attach to any standing desk with 8″ of free depth (measured from the user edge), the new SteadyType Slide requires only 15″ of free depth to install. And the installation of the factory pre-assembled Slide is dramatically easier than any conventional retractable tray (minutes versus an hour). Thanks to its clever rail system it can be added to a lot more standing desks than old-school sliding keyboard trays can (most trays require a 17″-25″ long slide rail). SteadyType’s primary ergonomic benefit of being able to achieve much steeper (i.e. more “neutral”) tilt angles than the conventionally-limited -15° is one of several patented features that no other tray offers. In the otherwise glacially slow-changing field of ergonomic keyboard trays, the SteadyType Slide is the new “killer app.”

Price: $460

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

Option 2: Purchase a SteadyType-equipped Standing Desk

Like the iMovR SteadyType Exo and SteadyType Slide ergonomic keyboard trays mentioned above, you can also get the SteadyType tray built right into the desktop, which for most people will be a better way to go if they haven’t already purchased the standing desk they’ll be using in their walking workstation. This is currently only being offered on the Lander Desk, Lander L-Desk and Cascade Desk.

Lander L-Desk with SteadyType ⁣Nowadays you can get a built-in SteadyType keyboard tray on almost any kind of standing desk, even an L-shaped one.

SteadyType offers a few unique advantages over conventional keyboard tray designs. Where conventional trays usually top out at only -15° to -20° of tilt, which was fine for sitting but really insufficient for standing desks and walking desks, the SteadyType tray can technically tilt down to 85° without losing your keyboard and pointing device. In all practicality, of course, most people will use it at a 30° to 45° angle to achieve maximum ergonomic neutrality, comfort and typing proficiency.

The “bumpers and pins” design of the SteadyType tray also means that is can accommodate literally every popular keyboard and pointing device on the market (even vertical mice, trackballs, trackpads and joysticks), always keeping them secure from sliding off the tray, and pushed closer to the user to help them keep their shoulders back and avoid developing a “computer hunch.”

Lastly, unlike all the other keyboard trays on the market, which tend to have a degree of typo-aggravating floppiness to them, the SteadyType units are stable as a rock.

If you already own a standing desk and aren’t in the market to replace it just to get the SteadyType, you can alternatively purchase just the desktop from iMovR and retrofit it to your existing base.

1. iMovR Lander Desk with Built-in SteadyType

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

The Lander is clearly more future-proof than any other standing desk we’ve had the pleasure of testing. There have been some gimmicky predecessors that had an iPod built into the desktop (e.g. the Stir Desk) or a smartphone app (e.g. the Autonomous SmartDesk 3, from a bottom-bracket Chinese manufacturer with extraordinarily bad reliability and customer service record). And there have been multiple attempts at building in standing reminder notifications, but the results have been clunky, at best. The Lander is the first desk we’ve seen to put it all together in a clean way, with true ease-of-use, and on a top-tier mechanical platform.

All this comes at somewhat of a premium price, naturally. While the Lander isn’t the cheapest desk on the market, given its premium components, the value is clearly there. Desks built this well tend to last longer and easily justify their higher price by promising lower cost of ownership (purchase price divided by years of use) than cheaper models from China.

Price: $1,330

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

2. iMovR Lander L-Desk with Built-in SteadyType

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

Literally the most advanced standing desk on the market. Comes 98-percent factory pre-assembled and tested, the impressively-engineered Lander L-desk can be installed by one person in just eight minutes, instead of the usual two-man, 90-minute affair required to assemble all other sit-stand L-desks. All the high-tech features you can expect to find in a premium standing desk, including Bluetooth sync to smartphone app. Literally thousands of customization options in 3D-laminate and solid-wood desktop colors and sizes. Outstanding quality and industry-leading warranty.

Price: $2,148

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

3. iMovR Cascade Standing Desk with Built-in SteadyType

Experts’ Rating: 4.5-Stars

iMovR’s Freedom desks, an American-made standing desk line to compete with the barrage of cheaply-made imports on the market. The Cascade model features iMovR’s innovative SteadyType™ technology – a built-in tilting keyboard tray for unparalleled typing ergonomics.

Price: $1,093

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

4. iMovR Cascade Corner Standing Desk

Experts’ Rating: 5-Stars

As stand up corner standing desks go (and L-shaped standing desks, for that matter), iMovR now offers more size and shape options than any other desk manufacturer. Featuring the same seamless, ergo-contoured 3D lamination as all their other desks, these new sizes are sure to add elegance and productivity to any corner space. Less costly and easier to install than a 3-legged L desk, these 2-legged beasts can also be arranged in an array of different configurations to bring vitality and collaborative energy into any open workspace plan or call center.

Price: $1,017

Read our full review Buy on iMovR

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