TrekDesk Treadmill Desk Review
Overhyped by a manufacturer with very questionable marketing practices, the TrekDesk has the fundamental problem of violating many of the basic rules of how to build an ergonomically-proper, stable, attractive and productive treadmill desk. We would caution anyone thinking of buying a TrekDesk to research it carefully, and then search Craigslist for used units. For $70 more you could purchase an adjustable-height desk and be ten times happier.
34" x 72"
Powder coated steel frame and steel reinforced HDPE desktop
Large surface area.
Ergonomically atrocious. Structurally weak, if not unsound. Hard to assemble. Blocks the control console on most treadmill models. At best will force an incorrect height setting if controls are to be safely reachable. Many well-documented user complaints about the product, as well as the company's marketing and customer service practices.
[Editor’s Note January 31, 2019: After a very long and controversial run, the company behind the TrekDesk appears to have gone insolvent. Visitor traffic to TrekDesk.com is so minute that it no longer merits a measurement from Alexa or Comscore, and the home page sports a 2011 copyright statement. The LinkedIn profile for company founder Steven Bordley shows that TrekDesk was no more as of Dec, 2016. The last place that the product could still be purchased last time we checked in 2018 was on Amazon, but this listing now shows that the product is “currently unavailable.” So, for all intents and purposes it appears that TrekDesk has finally joined the dead pool, where in our expert review staff’s opinion it belonged a long time ago. Following is the last version of our review from 2015.]
Arguably, the noisiest company in the treadmill desk business is TrekDesk. They pump a huge amount of PR propaganda out on the internet and get a lot of people to write about their product. The good news is they are aggressively spreading the word about the health benefits of the treadmill desk. The bad news is their product has serious design flaws in its stability and ergonomics that prevent us from recommending it to anyone who is looking to build a safe and productive walking workstation.
The art of interpreting user reviews
Anyone who has ever purchased anything online has probably checked out a few user reviews from previous buyers before handing over their money. As professional reviewers who study user experiences for a living we can tell you that such reviews can be modestly helpful in many cases, but downright misleading in others. Many manufacturers selectively curate only the most positive reviews to reveal to site visitors, leaving negative reviews unpublished. We find that reviews on sites like Amazon are generally more reliable because they can only be posted by verified purchasers of the product. At the same time, we’re also aware that savvy sellers on Amazon can, and usually do go after customers who’ve posted negative reviews, to request that they remove them (perhaps by offering a refund or replacement product, e.g.). Failing that they will often contest negative reviews with the site’s arbiter (e.g. Amazon) in hopes of having the disparaging comments removed.
Unlike most products we have the pleasure of reviewing at WorkWhileWalking the TrekDesk has been in the market for several years, long enough to garner hundreds of online user reviews, so reading through every one of them has informed our review team a great deal. The case of TrekDesk’s user reviews exemplifies the challenge we often run into in separating users’ general enthusiasm over the concept of treadmill desking from their feelings about the particular product. We recognize that treadmill desking for the first time after decades of serving a desk sentence will yield shrieks of joy and proclamations of life-changing wonderfulness – we witness it every day from our readers and customers – but in objectively analyzing user reviews of a product we must separate that enthusiasm from specific remarks about the qualities of the product in question.
Surprisingly, TrekDesk gets an extraordinarily high rating on Amazon (4.5 stars) so you may be wondering why our expert review staff gave it only a 1-star rating. The company does a fantastic job of generating publicity for itself, and they get big wows from customers who more than anything have just fallen in love with treadmill desking, not necessarily with the TrekDesk product. Because of their widespread PR campaigns most of their customers have never even heard of a treadmill desk before encountering the TrekDesk. To read the company’s marketing materials you could easily imagine that they invented the treadmill desk and are the sole manufacturer of them. The typical TrekDesk buyer probably didn’t spend much time researching other, potentially better products, if any at all. At such a low price point it’s easy to see why many consumers would not bother with further research, especially given the high user rating. This becomes particularly apparent in separating out reviews written immediately upon receiving the product from reviews written after a few days or weeks of actually using it.
Is it a desk or a treadmill desk?
We’ll start off with this point as it is often the thing that TrekDesk buyers most vociferously complain about in their reviews. We found numerous complaints from buyers who had expected a complete treadmill desk system, only to find it’s just a standalone desk, and that they must provide their own treadmill. We’re used to seeing “treadmill desks” that are really just desks, sold independently of the treadmill, but can see why consumers would expect the TrekDesk to come with one. TrekDesk’s Amazon listing advertises the TrekDesk as an integrated treadmill desk – which usually means it’s attached to the treadmill. All of the photos in the listing indeed show the TrekDesk paired with a treadmill base. We note that showing a picture of anything that isn’t included with the purchase is in direct violation of Amazon’s merchant rules, yet somehow TrekDesk has managed to list their product this way for years without a demand for corrective action from Amazon.
Is that an earthquake or just my desk shaking?
Stability and density are major attributes to consider when buying a desk – especially if you plan on walking in front of it. The Trek Desk does not appear to consider these factors all that important, as its components are thin and much too light. The base’s legs are made of sheet metal and narrow tubes. The table top is a flimsy-looking plastic affair that is made of two connecting pieces, as opposed to a solid piece like most desks. While this keeps the shipping expense low it does so at the cost of assembly difficulty and structural integrity. With a 55 lb. weight rating it is the weakest of all the desks we’ve ever reviewed. Most users tend to lean on their work surface when typing, and doing so on a TrekDesk could pose a genuine safety hazard.
The TrekDesk adds a few peripherals for users to customize their workstation: cup holders, tablet stands, and document trays. Unfortunately, these peripherals are relegated to accessory slots along the edge of the table top, so users can’t position them exactly where they want them. These slots also act as grommet holes to manage your cables.
Height-adjustable, but really not
The TrekDesk’s height adjustability is also subpar compared to most other desks one would pair with a treadmill. While most adjustable-height desks have either a motorized-base or a crank adjustment mechanism to easily bring the desk up or down, the TrekDesk relies on adjustment knobs on each leg. This means that you won’t be able to adjust the height of the desk while you’re using it: instead, you’ll need to move to the side and adjust each leg individually – a slow and inconvenient procedure.
Of course, you won’t need to worry much about height adjustment, because the TrekDesk’s minimum height of 46.5″ is much too tall to use as a sitting desk. It’s design is more of a “set it and forget” style useful only in a single-user treadmill desk configuration. For a shared workstation setup you’d want a desk with on-the-fly height adjustability.
The TrekDesk’s going price of $650 is far too high for a desk with paltry performance specs. For $100 or $200 more you could buy a real sit-to-walk desk with a much nicer, single-piece laminated wood table top. There are numerous desks available of significantly better quality and featuring on-the-fly adjustability that are priced only slightly higher than the TrekDesk, such as the ThermoDesk Ellure, and the ModTable.
What you get with the TrekDesk is a plastic desktop that can’t be used sitting down, designed to be paired with a running treadmill. The TrekDesk itself will likely block out the control console that you’ll need to access in order to turn your treadmill on and off, adjust speeds, etc. This design flaw is not initially evident to unsuspecting consumers who buy the desk, assemble it, place it over their treadmills and only then discover they can’t reach the controls. The proper way to use an existing treadmill, as we discuss in depth in the Build Your Own section, is to remove the console and pedestals and use an adjustable-height desk to create your own personalized treadmill desk workstation.
Our biggest health concern with TrekDesk is that their design often forces people to set the height of the desk at an ergonomically problematic height in order to be able to reach the controls of their treadmill, which is a formula for long-term aches and pains (see our Ergonomics 101 tutorial on setting up your treadmill desk workstation).
Our biggest concern from a marketing fraud standpoint is TrekDesk’s over-the-top marketing claims that we find counter-productive to treadmill desk adoption because they set expectations that are exceedingly unrealistic. For example, this claim on their website states that using a TrekDesk will lead to “weight loss of up to 50-70 lbs in a single year without restrictive dieting.” They offer no proof of any kind that a single TrekDesk owner has ever achieved such miraculous results. If a treadmill desk were considered a medical device, such unsubstantiated health claims would be in violation of federal law. They need to tone it down.
TrekDesk offers a two year limited warranty and a conditional 30-day guarantee. See website for details on how to measure your treadmill to see if the TrekDesk will fit well with it.
At the time of this writing the TrekDesk was out of stock and only pre-orders are being taken on their site. We’ve seen this before with TrekDesk, including, remarkably, last Christmas (high season for treadmill desk sales). The company appears to perhaps have supply problems or cash flow problems that prevent it from keeping the product continuously available.
User Review Excerpts from Amazon“This is my first time considering a treadmill. I guess it was my fault to order a desk with Treadmill for $500. I was wrong. But Honestly the seller presented all pictures that way. There is not 1 picture without desk. Sorry false advertising.” — “Our company was a very early adopter of the TrekDesk, thinking it might be a good alternative to the $4,000 Steelcase Walkstation. Unfortunately, the TrekDesk is ugly, rattles back and forth and does not adjust making it an ergonomic disaster. We ended up throwing it away.” — “This contraption is huge. It was overkill for what I was looking for/needed. Plus, my treadmill has sloped handle bars, which required that I jack the table up to its highest level. It ended up being swaying a lot at that height. I had to return it.” — “If your looking for a solidly built treadmill desk that’s easy to adjust in the $500-$700 price range, this is not the desk for you. The quality control on this desk is poor. Mine arrived missing one assembly screw, and the upper and lower leg assemblies didn’t fit together properly suggesting that the tolerances between design and production are poorly matched. The legs are held in place by a very thin (and flexible) piece of metal and a pipe which uses the same type of loose rubber cap to keep it from falling apart that the desk uses for feet (there should be screw caps here, these things fall off every 10 seconds and provide 0 stability). The instructions are vaguely worded and look like they used pictures taken with a phone, and include lines like, “The hole in the Strut Clip wells are not meant for installation, simply position the Strut Clips away from the existing well hole and secure with an Assembly Screw.” This is important because despite there being pictures of holes in which you shouldn’t use in the instruction booklet, there are no actual holes in the unit (which to be fare must be where you put the screws that they never bothered to send you). In fact none of the locations which require Assembly Screws have holes drilled at all, the expectation appears to be that you’ll make them yourself when you set it up. Again this means potentially even looser tolerances. For about $200 more you can get a much higher quality desk such as the WorkFit-D. The only advantage the TrekDesk has is that it doesn’t require disassembling the vertical portion of your treadmill if you have one not designed for a desk. The trade off is that you loose a considerable amount of walkable space with the TrekDesk. I only have around 2″ left. Bottom Line: If this desk was about $200 less I would recommend it as an entry level desk for people unsure if they will regularly use it. The Treadmill Market is full of low priced treadmill models for people who will end up using them infrequently and this isn’t a bad product for that niche. But for $500 I expected a lot more than I got.” — “I gave this two stars, instead of one, because I received a full refund(including shipping).
-no treadmill-very unstable desk
-some parts in the instruction manual don’t visually match the physical parts
-spacious work area
-assembly time of about 30 minutes You would expect, for this price, that this would be a phenomenal desk, with a superior design and strong materials but sadly it just isn’t. Realistically this is probably a 100$ desk(cheap materials, bad design, and you assemble it yourself).The desktop area of the table is plastic, and the legs are some type of metal. While you do have a generous work area, it becomes useless with the instability of the desk. With just standing and typing, I can make it sway back and forth.I question the authenticity of a majority of these 4 and 5 star reviews, they seem to be made up, or are describing a completely different product than the one I received. Some reviews suggest adding braces, etc, I can only think of one word for such suggestions, absurd. Why would I want to pay 500$ for a desk, that requires me to buy additional materials just to stabilize it? Tightening the bolts/knobs does not fix the swaying issue. Yes, I do have a level floor. Beware of fan boy and TrekDesk employee reviews.” — “Removed from box and found the Styrofoam in the box broken up, so we had pellets all over the place and as you know they stick like magnets – so we had extensive vacuuming to do. Took about 45 minutes to put together, directions aren’t too bad but the pictures are too dark in the book. The desk top arrived scratched along with the filing trays. Putting the legs in the hinged support brackets are flimsy. When we stood the desk up after assembly the legs came out of the brackets on the one side, there is no way to secure them adequately. The desk as a whole is wobbly and moving it on carpet is difficult. Wheels should be included or offered. Would we buy it again? NO.” — “I just watched a co-worker use this and wipe out. Other than the individual’s pride, there weren’t any severe injuries. Seeing it happen was a good laugh, but company equipment was broken and information was lost in the process. If you have individuals in your work environment that can’t walk and chew gun at the same time, I’d be careful about purchasing this item. The product is a good idea, and would be excellent for home offices. As for having one in a public work environment, I’d be weary because people’s clumsiness can lead to lawsuits. First of all let me just start off this review by saying it DOES NOT INCLUDE A TREADMILL yes the price suggests that a treadmill is included along with all of those false advertisement pictures but in reality NO TREADMILL!! Second of all this is worth maybe $100 and thats a maybe it took me about an hour to put it together which by the way the instructions aren’t ish** they need to be more specific, and this is all made of hollow weak tubbing that I am 100% sure will not last me that long… Third Ive been having problems with my wife all week because of the outrageous price of this desk that does not come with a tread mill it is utterly ridiculous!!!” — “love the concept of this desk. I bought a True Fitness PS300 treadmill and setup my TrekDesk. After a careful assembly process that took about 20 minutes (plus 20 minutes cleaning up the styrofoam bits that fly everywhere), I put the desk in place over my treadmill. I immediately noticed the side-to-side wobble that the previous video review revealed. It is really quite bad. Even moving your mouse left to right will cause the unit to wobble slightly. The other design flaw is that the desk surface is split in two pieces which you permanantly bind together using steel brackets. Why? The ugly 1/8 inch seam down the middle of your desk is unecessary. I guess they were trying to reduce the packaging size… it is just a 2shame that the designers did not address such a basic issue as stablility.” — “1. While the title says Treadmill Desk it would be less deceiving to have the depiction of the treadmill fainted in the photo. Some might misunderstand that the treadmill is included. I was one. 2. Lack of a proper mechanism to lock the supporting bars at the back of the desk (below the paper bin as shown in the photo). It makes the bars pop out easily. Not as dangerous if you can prop the desk against a front wall (probably not with a regular treadmill). Even better if you can prop it against a side
wall and front wall to create a supporting corner.
3. Poor design of the walking “scoop” as shown in the picture. It does not give enough eye distance from the monitor placed at the end of the desk to the keyboard placed at the scoop side.
4. Lots of screws to assemble. You need a power drill. Assembly with a screwdriver is still doable if you are strong but your palm and hand will take a beating. Also the manufacturer provided exact number of screws with no spares. One of mine broke.
5. Plastic material of the counter top. Not cheap but not to stylish either.” — “Other problems I found were the trekdesk wobbles a bit from side to side, I find myself leaning on it quite a bit. Also I have a 24″ monitor and it’s hard to reach around it to start/stop since I am using a regular reebok treadmill.” — “I’ve never written a review for anything, but I just finished assembling this monstrosity and the spirit moved me: Curse this thing. Yes, it’s sturdy, but it’s a pain in the neck to assemble and god forbid you want to move it. It’s also HUGE. The only reason I doubt I will return it is that I don’t want to disassemble it. If you have a large room (like a stadium) and the patience to assemble the desk, then this is for you.”
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.