LifeSpan Integrated Treadmill Desk Review
- Lab tested
The LifeSpan DT5 and DT7 desks were designed to go with LifeSpan’s TR800, TR1200 and TR5000 treadmill bases, but just about any other adjustable-height desk on the market would be better to pair with. These desks were designed for the gym, not for long periods of active computing. They lack choice (one color, one size), any ergonomic accommodations whatsoever, and cannot be easily re-purposed or resold. If you buy one and hate it, and can’t resell it, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Choose any of dozens of other desks on the market that’ll give you better ergonomics, aesthetics and a wholly better user experience.
|MSRP / List Price||
TR-800 DT5: $1,249
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Embedded Digital Readout with 2 Programmable Heights
DT 5: 38″/48″ x 29″ (W x D)
Desktop Color: Cool Gray, Absolute Acajou (+$50), Jamison White (+$50), Wild Cherry (+$50)
HD Composite Board Laminate
|Monitor Arm Mounting Options||
Max desktop capacity of 220 lbs for both desks.
TR 800: 300 lbs.
|Walking Belt Size||
TR 800: 45″ x 18”
TR1200 running machine footprint: 68.5″ x 28.5″ (L x W)
|NEAT™ Certified by Mayo Clinic||
|Competition||Compare to All Top-Rated Office Treadmill Desks|
|Where to buy||
Buy on Amazon
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Suitability for Treadmill Desking|
|Positives||See independent reviews of LifeSpan's TR800, TR1200 and TR5000 standalone treadmill bases, which have some strong positives.|
|Negatives||The LifeSpan DT5 and DT7 that come bundled with their full treadmill desk workstations are nothing but glorified gym equipment, lacking the ergonomics, aesthetics and versatility you'd want in an office desk, and can find - for less money - from literally dozens of other manufacturers. They also can't be used without the treadmill, rendering their repurposing or resale value virtually nil.|
Editors’ Note: This review is of the “bundled” LifeSpan treadmill desks that include both a LifeSpan treadmill base and one of their two desk models, the DT5 and DT7. For reviews of the treadmill base models only please see our separate reviews of the LifeSpan TR800, TR1200 and TR5000, or save time and read our all-inclusive Comparison Review of Standalone Treadmill Desk Bases.
LifeSpan Fitness (Park City Entertainment Fitness, UT) has been a distributor of Strengthmaster equipment since 1994, exclusively selling the Taiwanese brand’s treadmills, exercise bikes and elliptical cross trainers. In 2011 they began to market “re-skinned” versions of Strengthmaster’s running treadmills as office walking desks, giving industry patriarch Steelcase and their antiquated, under-powered Walkstation a run for the money.
LifeSpan not only started to open up the at-home treadmill desk market with their more affordable units, their products instantly beat predecessor TreadDesk down to an insignificant fractional market share in short order, and kept competitors at bay for quite some time. (TreadDesk eventually capitulated and started reselling the $999 LifeSpan TR1200 treadmill base above their own, poorly rated $895 unit.) LifeSpan even stole some ground from Steelcase in the corporate market aided by heavy television advertising and very active PR campaigning.
Clearly, LifeSpan’s marketing has helped create widespread awareness of treadmill desks that helped to raise the tide for all players. And more players there are, now. As of this writing new office treadmill desk models have entered the field from iMovR, Rebel, ProForm, NordicTrak and InMovement, and more are likely to keep coming as their popularity increases. LifeSpan made hay while the sun was shining, and while Steelcase is in its rear view mirror now, the new competitors are gunning from all sides for its once indelible position of market superiority – Rebel in the low end home office market, iMovR in the enterprise, and the latter three in the cardio crossover market.
Mix-and-Match is the Better Way to Go
The LifeSpan treadmill base products have had a good reputation for quality construction and value, but their desks have always left a lot to be desired. More or less copycat designs of the Steelcase Walkstation’s severely non-ergonomic desk design, LifeSpan’s DT5 (one-time adjustable-height) and DT7 (electric adjustable-height) desks were clearly designed by gym equipment engineers, not furniture experts.
Because LifeSpan is not a world-class office furniture manufacturer we always recommend to anyone considering a TR800, TR1200 or TR5000 LifeSpan treadmill base that they seek an alternative desk to pair with it, and avoid the color/size limitations, computer hunch-exacerbating design, and diminished resale value that the DT5 and DT7 desks have become known for. Numerous other manufacturers offer adjustable-height standing desks that can work well in a treadmill desk configuration, and you’ll spend the same money – or less – for a far, far better user experience, not to mention a nicer decor.
Matching a LifeSpan treadmill base with a different manufacturer’s desk also means that your treadmill’s display console will sit somewhere on your desktop rather than be bolted under the front edge of the desktop. That’s a good thing – bolt-on consoles further extend the distance between you and your keyboard and thus increase the potential for “computer hunch.”
While this seems like a minor inconvenience at first, having to reach farther forward to type for long periods of time can be a real pain, and proved quite painful for our stiffening shoulders. It doesn’t help that the desk’s design makes it nigh impossible to install a keyboard tray underneath, and quite difficult to install the most popular monitor arms, too. (Ironically, all the gym equipment manufacturers chasing the treadmill desk market now – LifeSpan, ProForm, NordicTrak and InMovement (Life Fitness) have mimicked Steelcase’s erognomically-ignorant design approach by creating a wide barrier of cushion strips and treadmill controls between the user and their keyboard.)
The LifeSpan Desk Options
LifeSpan claims their desks comfortably fit users from 4’10” to 6’8″ tall. The desktop dimensions are 46.75″ wide by 36.5″ deep. Both desks can be adjusted from 36” to 52” in height. The good news is that even a taller individual will be very comfortable with one of these desks (although other desks like iMovR’s ThermoDesk Elite and Omega Everest desks can reach even higher, with great stability). The bad news is that because the lowest setting is only 36″, unlike every other adjustable-height desk a LifeSpan desk is only for use with a treadmill. It could never be used in the future as a “sit-to-stand” desk like other adjustable-height desks can. Which contributes to making their resale marketability virtually nil, as well.
The choice from LifeSpan is basically between the DT5 at $500 and the DT7 at $1000. Both come in one size, and a drab grey putty color to match LifeSpan’s other gym equipment.
DT5: With a truly adjustable standup desk you can vary the height in a matter of seconds. Not so with the DT5. Changing desktop height on the DT5 requires at least two people (realistically three people if you have a lot of stuff resting on the desktop that you don’t want to move). While LifeSpan represents it as an adjustable-height desk, in point of fact it is a set-once-and-leave-it-at-a-fixed-height desk for all practical purposes.
DT7: This electric height-adjustable desk adjusts at a lethargic speed of 25 mm per second and has two memory pre-sets. Memory presets are a terrific feature. LifeSpan choosing to have only two presets is a head scratcher. Almost every desk in the $1000 price bracket offers a more practical four presets.
The Bottom Line
We’d like to come up with a single good reason why someone should consider a DT5 or DT7 desk to pair with a LifeSpan treadmill base, but we can’t. The company’s DNA is clearly from the cardio equipment world, and despite being a forerunner in the burgeoning treadmill desk industry, a furniture maker they are not.
Far superior adjustable-height desks are available from many of the vendors we review on this site. Of all those, our favorites by far are the iMovR Omega desks (the manually-adjusted Denali, top-value Olympus, and top-of-the-line Everest), the only ones with built-in SteadyType keyboard trays that create a rock solid desk you can walk at without losing any typing speed or accuracy. All the desk reviews on this site cover the basics a treadmill desk user will want to focus on, such as:
- Whether the maximum height is sufficient to overcome the 5″-6″ treadmill boost under your feet
- Lateral and longitudinal stability
- Clearance for treadmill base, and suitability for multi-user and sit-stand-walk configurations
- Connectivity between the desk height controls and the treadmill’s display console
- Future connectivity to the Internet of Things and cloud-based tracking apps
Browse through our reviews of several dozen adjustable-height sit-to-stand desks, or save time by reading our comprehensive Comparison Review of Manual Adjustable-Height Desks and Comparison Review of Electric Adjustable-Height Desks.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a used treadmill desk, be sure to check out our primer on used treadmill desks, and especially the conquest bonuses offered by some manufacturers to switch to their brand.
|LifeSpan Fitness – Standalone Treadmill Bases||Price|
|TR800-DT3 Treadmill Base||$699|
|TR1200-DT3 Treadmill Base||$999|
|TR5000-DT3 Treadmill Base||$1,499|
Free shipping to a loading dock is included. Delivery “to the threshold” is an additional $49. Room of Choice delivery is an additional $99, and White Glove Service (including setup) is $199.
It’s worth mentioning iMovR’s EcoLast TreadTop Standing Mat as a great add-on for any of LifeSpan’s integrated treadmill desks, or any office treadmill, for that matter. When you want to take a pause from walking the last thing you want to do is stand on the cushion-less hard deck of a treadmill for very long, lest your feet start to suffer. These TreadTop mats are premium-quality, 100% polyurethane standing mats that are cut to size to specifically fit popular office treadmill models. They can be used atop the desk or astride the treadmill if you have a sit-stand-walk workstation, or both. Be sure to check out our 5-star review of the TreadTop Anti-Fatigue Mat. For LifeSpan units you’ll want the 18″ x 30″ version that’ll fit comfortably between the side rails.
LifeSpan offers their own lubricant, and recommends applying it to the deck after every 40 hours of use. However, we recommend the iMovR Treadmill Lubricant (100% Silicone) for its superior formulation and ease of application.