InMovement UnSit Treadmill Desk Review
- First Look
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The designer of the UnSit-1 made a valiant attempt at differentiating the unit by solving a problem that didn’t actually exist (making the walking belt super wide), while at the same time creating a serious potential safety problem by making the walking belt a harrowing 40″ in length – way too short for all but the shortest users with the shortest strides. Another perceived problem was that users would be intimidated by the control display unit on their desk, so the UnSit has only a single push knob on it to turn the unit on and off and set the treadmill speed. For display readout of vital information like speed, time, distance, step count, etc., you need to dedicate a stand-mounted smartphone and run the UnSit app on it. Many treadmill engineering fundamentals were missed in this design, like the ability to level the unit on uneven floors, and giving users an easy way to lubricate the walking belt without having a service tech come out and take the entire unit apart. Imagine how well your car engine would run without the ability to ever change the oil. A treadmill that can’t be lubricated regularly will only build up friction over time, leading to high power consumption and noise at first, eventual belt and deck degradation, and catastrophic motor failure at the end of its short useful life.
For kids or short users who have a relatively short stride and would not be bothered by the absurdly short 40″-long walking belt.
|MSRP / List Price||
“Pre-order” price of $2,195 while the company has no inventory and is quoting 11-13 weeks for delivery.
Labor – 1 year; Parts – 3 years; Frame – Lifetime
Desktop controller has only a speed control knob and on/off switch. For a readout display, you must use a stand-mounted smartphone to run the UnSit app.
Speed range of 0.3 – 2.0 MPH
400 lbs claimed (see review)
|Walking Belt Size||
30”W x 40”L
Footprint: 39”W x 56”L x 5”H
While InMovement claims a 42.9 dB noise level at 2 MPH users complain about both squeaking noises and belt noises that make it anything but the claimed “library quiet” noise level. Lack of ability to lubricate and properly level the unit will lead to more noise and belt issues over time.
The UnSit app connects to FitBit and Apple’s Health App via Bluetooth (iOS and Android App)
1.5 Amps at 2.0 MPH for a 170 lb user
|Typical Assembly Time||
Office treadmills typically require only being rolled in under the desk, getting plugged in, and attaching the desktop controller. The UnSit also requires drilling holes under your desktop to mount the TUV-required emergency stop pull-cord. Moving the unit into the room where it will be used is also more challenging because it is wider than a standard doorway and weighs 162 lbs.
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||Its 30"-wide treadmill belt is nice if you want to be able to move laterally while walking with practically zero concern for ever hitting the side rails. This is a common problem with too-narrow treadmill belts that are only 14"-18" wide, although the leading models in the market have the optimal 20" width.|
|Negatives||While the wider walking belt is a differentiating feature (with frankly little real-world benefit) it makes the unit take up a lot more space than other more appropriately-sized treadmill bases. The 39"-wide UnSit treadmill makes it too wide to fit under a lot of standing desk models, and impossible to have a standard 29"-caster base chair to the left or right of the treadmill (i.e. a "sit-stand-walk workstation" configuration). It's even hard to get the 162 lb unit through doorways so you'll definitely need a special dolly and a helper to move it into the room where you'll be using it. The fatal flaw, however, is that the belt is way too short. 40" is about ten inches too short to be used safely, even at slow walking speeds. The slightest distraction could cause a user of average stature to have their rear foot fall off the deck, leading to potentially serious injury. Keeping a treadmill perfectly level to the ground is extremely important to prevent squeaking in the frame and keep the belt from shifting left or right, and treadmills generally have "leveler feet" on all four corners to accomplish this because perfectly flat floors are extraordinarily rare. The UnSit only has two leveler feet, both on the back end, while the front end rests on non-adjustable caster wheels. This may explain all the user complaints of squeaking noises and belt damage. To top it off, the belt cannot be easily lubricated without taking the treadmill apart, significantly increasing noise and power consumption while shortening its motor's life span. Many will also find its lack of any kind of readout (you have to use an app on your smartphone to see things like speed, time, distance, etc.) and its top-end speed of only 2.0 mph to be significant drawbacks for this kind of money.|
Will The Phoenix Rise From The Ashes?
This gets a little complicated with the relationship between two failed startups and a new startup that acquired pieces of the other two, so stay with us here…
The original UnSit Walk-1 treadmill desk was launched into the marketplace in 2017 by former fitness industry executives in Los Angeles. Despite the very quirky design of this Chinese-made under-desk treadmill, it did seem to have had some initial modest market viability “selling more than 300 units.” Rather predictably, though, UnSit went out of business within a couple of years of launching.
Formed in 2015, Unsit, LLC, appears to still be an active California corporation (meaning they paid their annual reporting fee to the state). However its website, unsit.com, now redirects to InMovement.com. This website is the only visible remnant of LifeFitness/Brunswick’s attempt to enter the treadmill desk industry with their original InMovement Integrated Treadmill Desk (no relation to the unit being reviewed here) and some other products we reviewed several years ago. Long story short, after a tremendous amount of fanfare and funding from its parent corporation, InMovement did an inelegant swan dive into the ‘office fitness dead pool‘. Also quite predictably.
The original InMovement company was dissolved in late 2018, and its brand was acquired by a small ergonomics reseller (Standing Desk Nation) virtually based in Ft. Collins, Colorado. The inventory is fulfilled out of a third-party warehouse in Indianapolis. The company is owned and remotely operated by entrepreneur Brian Angel and his wife, who now continuously roam the country in their family RV while waiting for the pandemic to settle down (we’re envious!).
The singular product that continues to be offered from the original InMovement product line is a revised rendition of the original InMovement DT2 Standing Desk Converter; everything else was discontinued after the company shuttered. To augment the reincarnated InMovement brand’s offerings, Angel next acquired the remnant inventory of UnSit Walk-1 treadmills when that business also failed, adding a second product to the website. According to Angel, the newly rebranded InMovement UnSit treadmill desk “continues to sell very well” and remains in production.
However, at this time the website is only taking “pre-orders” for delivery in 11-13 weeks, so it is unclear whether this office treadmill is really still in production or will only resume production if and when enough pre-orders accumulate to pay for the next production run. We witnessed the same sort of thing with TreadDesk in their final year of operation, and it didn’t end well for customers left on the hook without service for their dead treadmills. So a big caveat emptor is warranted for anyone considering pre-paying now. Even though all treadmill desks have been a hot commodity and extremely hard to get during the pandemic, none of the prominent manufacturers have ever been out of stock for more than a few weeks.
Across all industries, not just the office fitness sector, the pandemic has caused raw material costs and deep ocean shipping costs to spike severely. The retail price of this consumer-grade office treadmill has been upped from $1,695 to $2,395 (in line with other treadmill makers these days), making the Unsit treadmill base even more expensive than the top-rated, commercial-grade iMovR ThermoTread GT as well as the most popular consumer-grade Lifespan TR1200-DT3 under-desk treadmill. InMovement is incentivizing pre-orders with a $200 discount to reward customers’ patience.
The company has offered to provide us with an actual test unit once inventory is in stock again. So notwithstanding the question of whether the InMovement UnSit office treadmill will ever be restocked again, we’ve updated our original forensic review of the UnSit Walk-1 (now known as the InMovement UnSit Treadmill) based on updated information on the company’s website and conversations with CEO Brian Angel. The product’s Amazon listing also shows a status of “currently unavailable” but sports no verified-user reviews, or reviews of any kind for that matter other than for those on the company’s website.
While the previous owners of UnSit appeared to curate out negative reviews on their website, Angel is a highly ethical business operator we’ve known for years. You can see both good and bad recent reviews transparently. We read them all.
Proclaiming to be ‘The First Treadmill Specifically Designed For Your Standing Desk’
Nice marketing copy, but quite a stretch considering that UnSit was already ten years late to the party when it was introduced in 2017. Sorry, we have to chortle a little bit over this assertion. You can see more than a dozen products that beat them to market in our comprehensive roundup of Under Desk Treadmill Base Reviews.
The original hyperbolic marketing claims on the website made it appear that the gym jocks who founded UnSit had just recently discovered the standing desk phenomenon themselves. They still had quite a few things to learn about the ergonomics involved in using a computer while standing or walking. They didn’t even seem to understand that the core target market (most of our readers, e.g.) tend to be a few years older than the millennials in the photographs that staring above their blank laptop and tablet screens.
The UnSit treadmill has a super-simple desktop controller with only a speed knob that doubles as the stop-start switch and a ring of LED lights that indicate how fast the treadmill is moving, albeit without an actual numerical speed reading.
Lacking any sort of digital readouts as you’d expect on any sort of treadmill, walking or running, the only way to get basic information out of the unit—such as time, speed, distance, calories or step count—is to download the UnSit app and set up a dedicated smartphone in a desktop mount and run the app. For a treadmill desk at this price point, it seems very odd that they’d leave basic readouts out of the product, especially considering how much desktop real estate the knobbed speed controller already takes.
Our treadmill desk expert review staff has seen a lot of office treadmills over the years—all of them, actually—and we have to say we’re more than a bit perplexed about the unexplained rationale for the dimensions of this unit. It is significantly wider than any other treadmill we’ve ever seen. Wider than a standard doorway and weighing 162 lbs. it makes it extraordinarily difficult just to move the UnSit unit into the room it will be used in. Users reported needing to get a special dolly and helpers to orient the unit in a way it could be moved to its final destination in their home office.
At 39″ wide the UnSit won’t even fit between the lifting columns of many popular standing desk models that people own. The company positions the UnSit’s odd aspect ratio as being “better than the competition” without really explaining the benefit of the treadmill’s odd width, odd length and odd aspect ratio. As a feature it appears to be more “sizzle” than “steak.” While InMovement claims this form factor makes more efficient use of floor space we can’t understand how this conclusion is drawn.
InMovement makes a dubious distinction in their error-riddled comparison table of how far their treadmill will “protrude behind your desk” compared to the competition. We cannot fathom how these figures were calculated, or why they matter even if they were true, which they are not. How much an under desk treadmill base protrudes behind the standing desk it is paired with depends on several factors such as the depth of the desktop, the stride length of the user, and the size and shape of the motor housing. All the models they compare to (which include the long-defunct Rebel Desk and Steelcase Walkstation… seriously?) have or had similar “protrusions.”
While we’ve reviewed numerous Chinese-made under-desk treadmills that are woefully narrow—anywhere from 14″ to 18″ wide—the laboratory-verified optimal width for the walking belt on an office treadmill has long been 20 inches. Not coincidentally this is the belt width on the two top-selling under-desk treadmill models. iMovR was the first to introduce the 20″-wide belt in 2016 and Lifespan recently upgraded the width on several of its models to 20″ as well.
UnSit’s designer decided to go for a whopping 30″ of belt width, with no real benefit other than the obvious visual distinctiveness from the incumbent competition. A treadmill engineer would argue that the unit’s 32″-long steel rollers at each end of the walking belt may flex more, and thus potentially fail their ball bearings much faster than the 22″ rollers in competitors’ units.
Like Peleton found out when the Consumer Safety Products Commission put out a recall on their (literal) death trap of a treadmill, cutting the high-flyer’s stock price in half in just four months, the UnSit treadmill base’s too-short deck is, in our expert treadmill review teams’ opinion, an accident waiting to happen. There is a reason, a VERY GOOD reason, why treadmill decks are built longer than they appear they need to be.
In our many years of testing treadmill bases, we have found 50″ to be the optimal length for walking at the prescribed speeds of 1 – 2.5 mph when working at a desk (albeit the UnSit only goes up to 2.0 mph, which more physically fit users will find to be too slow). Anything shorter freaks users out when they suddenly feel that back roller under their shoe sole at the end of their stride. The taller they are (i.e. the longer their stride), the faster they jump off the treadmill out of fear of injury and never want to go back on it.
Our lizard brain kicks in to protect us from falling; even at 1.0 mph, it would take only a fraction of a second’s distraction to reach the end of the deck and fall off the treadmill. At 2.0 mph the belt moves at a speed of 35 inches in just one second. That extra deck length is there to provide the user with both a physical and psychological safety margin.
The bottom line is that a 40″-long walking belt is more appropriate for a doggie treadmill, not one designed for average American office workers, especially average males. We have seen this before from Chinese engineers, such as in the case of the Xiaomi Walking Pad, where their operating assumption is that women are going to be the most likely buyers, with an average height of only 5’3″ and a stance that is narrower than the much taller average male. The only American-made treadmill factory, Woodway, made the same fatal mistake with their now-defunct office treadmill (incredibly surprising given that the typical customer profile for their $25,000 running treadmills includes the likes of NBA and NFL athletes).
Premature Component Failure Almost A Certainty
Is It Safety Certified?
While InMovement claims that the product has TUV Rheinland certification, the link that they provide for it goes to a database search screen in which the product cannot be found. We have reached out to the company requesting a copy of this all-important safety certification but as of yet have not received it.
The first time we reviewed the UnSit Walk-1 treadmill it did not even have the required safety clip lanyard with the telltale red snap-in clip and yellow border that is an absolute requirement for TUV or UL 1647 safety certification for treadmills. Without a TUV, ETL or UL certification for the US market, corporate, government, and education customers would prohibit its use on their campuses. Most of the photos on the site still don’t show the safety clip but there is a video explaining how to install it under the desktop, so it’s likely that this modification was made in order to appease TUV, though we do not know whether the product ever passed all of the requirements. The UnSit treadmill also lacks a click-wrap liability waiver that most employers want to see in any treadmill desk product (whether used on campus or as is so common now, in an employee’s home office), such as is found on the commercial-grade ThermoTread GT.
Even if the TUV certification is ever produced, this does not speak to the durability of the product. There isn’t actually a durability test for treadmills as there is for standing desks (ANSI/BIMA X5.5-2013). It’s entirely up to the manufacturer to test their product and make its own marketing claims about durability for the consumer to put their blind faith in. And that’s why we lab test as many products as we can, to give our readers an objective third-party engineering assessment. Lacking the actual unit we can however deduce quite a few things from the specs provided by the manufacturer.
Can It Even Be Lubricated?
The most glaring shortcoming of this UnSit unit is that it appears to provide no way to lubricate the walking belt. This is the first office treadmill we’ve seen that doesn’t have an obvious way to lubricate, the manufacturer doesn’t sell lubricant, and there are no videos or downloadable instructions on how to lubricate the unit. There isn’t even mention of the word “lubrication” anywhere on its website. To be blunt, that’s like selling a car with no ability to ever change the oil or transmission fluid.
It is only a matter of time before dust and dirt get in between the deck and the belt and create an immense amount of friction. The result is incipient failure, first evidenced by higher power consumption (you may notice incandescent lights in the same room dimming with each footstep), hesitation in the belt with each heel strike, and increasing noise. Users already complain that the “library quiet” UnSit treadmill is anything but—that the belt is too loud to be able to hold a phone conversation while walking and disturbing to anyone else trying to work nearby.
Treadmills that are run for too long without lubrication typically fail in one of two ways: a) the motor windings get so hot that they burn the insulation off their copper wires and short out the motor, or b) capacitors on the motor controller board explode from the excessive power draw. Both outcomes are fatal to the treadmill as the cost for a service tech to diagnose the problem, then order the extraordinarily expensive replacement parts (if they’re even available) and then come back out to take the entire treadmill apart and replace them typically exceeds the cost of just buying a new treadmill and paying to have the old one hauled away to the dump.
The design of the side rails is such that they cover both edges of the walking belt, potentially making it impossible to lubricate under the belt with a lubricant spray. We asked the company about this and have yet to receive a response. They do, however, upsell an extended warranty on the unit at checkout, although absolutely no details on what this coverage includes are provided. If you decide to buy this treadmill despite our raised concerns we highly recommend buying the extended warranty. These are usually not a good deal for the consumer but in this case, it’s practically a must. The nominal warranty provided with the unit only covers one year for parts.
What Is Its Real User Weight Rating?
The original UnSit claimed a 350 lb user weight, which has been updated on the website to 400 lbs, well, because that would put it in the same class as the iMovR ThermoTread GT and the LifeSpan TR5000-DT3. As we describe in our primer on Why Treadmill User Weight Ratings Really Matter, most manufacturers make up these figures out of whole cloth, and we strongly suspect that’s the case here. The ThermoTread GT, in contrast, was tested for months on special stress-testing fixtures to validate its 24×7 duty cycle and 400 lb rating. The TR5000, in contrast, uses a bullet-proof AC motor (albeit really noisy). For InMovement to pretend in any way that the UnSit is a commercial grade treadmill with a 400 lb user rating is just a bit hard to swallow.
This was the case with the now-defunct Rebel Desk, which originally had a 300 lb user weight rating. We tested it with a 300 lb user for 20 minutes before the motor catastrophically died. After publishing our review Rebel lowered their weight rating, but likely never tested that, either. Neither of these two husband-and-wife companies, InMovement or Rebel Desk, actually have an engineer on staff.
We have a hard time even imagining a 400 lb user walking on a 40″-long belt. As always, we stand ready to update this review if the company provides us with actual test results that established such an impressively high rating.
Inability To Be Leveled To The Floor Is A Formula For Component Failure
Almost every treadmill we have ever seen has screw-in “leveling pads” on all four corners of the base, to allow for the fact that most floors are actually quite uneven. Properly leveling a treadmill when it is first planted on the floor is a hypercritical step. The consequences of not properly leveling a treadmill are that it gets “high sided” on two corners, torquing the frame. This leads to all sorts of damage, the first telltale sign being that users notice a lot of squeaking when they walk and the walking belt tends to migrate too easily to the left or right edge.
After reading this complaint over and over in UnSit’s user reviews we eventually discovered (by watching their installation video) the probable cause. The UnSit unit only has levelers on the two rear corners. The head of the treadmill rests on its caster wheels only. This is yet another setup for early component failure, especially the belt. And especially since the side rails cover the edges of the belt, so a user can’t even see what’s creating all the noise and debris from the belt scraping against the edge of the rail.
The Desk Combo
With the UnSit under desk treadmill itself getting the 1-star review here, it makes little sense to even discuss their “treadmill desk” (i.e. combo of walking base and standing desk) offering. The desks they offer are too unstable for serious use as a walking desk, particularly if using a monitor arm that’ll only amplify the vertigo-inducing shake in your monitors, particularly for taller individuals. They don’t go high enough to compensate for the step-up height of the treadmill itself, for any but the most diminutive users. There are way better desks to be had for the money, with higher-reaching top ends and more built-in stability features, which you can learn about in our comprehensive round-up of the Best Adjustable Height Standing Desks.
Bottom Line: For This Kind of Price Tag, You Should Get More. Much More.
To see how the other walking treadmill bases on the market compare, check out our comprehensive Standalone Treadmill Base Reviews. To see how the UnSit compares to other complete walking workstations, check out our comprehensive Integrated Treadmill Desk Reviews. Note that WorkWhileWalking has reviewed every treadmill desk workstation that has ever been introduced since the inception of the industry, starting with the Steelcase Walkstation back in 2007, and including the top-rated ThermoTread GT, and of course the Lifespan TR800, TR1200 and TR5000 treadmill desks, as well as the now-defunct TreadDesk, NordicTrack, ProForm, original InMovement, RebelDesk, and Woodway, among others.
The treadmill desk field has attracted a lot of inexperienced manufacturers chasing after some perceived golden opportunity. A decade and a half into it most of the models introduced, like the UnSit Walk-1 treadmill, failed to thrive. The market has only two dominant leaders, iMovR and Lifespan, that have demonstrated the staying power and commercial success to give a consumer or enterprise customer reasonable confidence in the product.
We wish there were more competent competitors entering the field and creating more consumer choice, but with some 15 years of history, we have only seen the same pattern repeat itself. Poorly designed treadmill bases just don’t last that long and eventually become a very inconvenient and expensive problem for unwitting customers who bought the hype.
Stay tuned for a complete lab test review of the UnSit by our expert treadmill desk review team, if we ever received the promised test unit from the company. Subscribe to our free newsletter to stay on top of the latest developments in the office fitness industry.