If you’re shopping for a treadmill, don’t overlook the best walking treadmills, which have been a major fitness trend in 2022.
We often forget that one of the simplest, easiest and and safest forms of exercise is one we do every day — walking. While walking isn’t the most exciting type of exercise, it’s excellent for our health, and one of the best ways to get it done is by using a walking treadmill, also called a walking pad treadmill. (Walking Pad also refers to a specific brand, which makes some of the most popular products in this category.)
The best walking treadmills are a great way to get gentle cardio in without putting too much strain on joints, and they also take up less space than larger treadmills built for faster speeds, which makes them great for storage.
They’ve also gone viral on TikTok recently amongst work from home creators who use them under standing desks and tout their increased productivity and energy during the workday. Note: some of the treadmills below are designed for fitness with a display console and arm rails and others are walking pads perfect for use with a desk. We’ve included a bunch of both options so you can find what works best for you.
Granted, stepping through your 30-minute meeting probably won’t burn fat quite like cycling, running, or strength training, but studies show that even 30 minutes of brisk walking can burn more than 100 calories. And if you do it all day while accomplishing other tasks? The health benefits are clear — including a healthier heart, decreased blood sugar and enhanced creativity.
If you’re looking to get your hands on the best walking pad treadmill, we’ve gathered a bunch of our favorites from Amazon and other favorite retailers. We also have a piece dedicated entirely to walking treadmill deals, some of which we’ve included below if you’re looking to save.
Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill
This walking treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness pretty much checks all the boxes. It’s portable, with wheels and a folding design that makes it easy to move and store. It has some of the key features of a regular treadmill, like an emergency stop clip, handrails, device holder and LCD.
The speed ranges from 0.5 to 9 MPH and Sunny Health & Fitness offers a three-year warranty on the structural frame and 180 days on the other components. This treadmill is more optimized for fitness rather than use under a desk, but it’s perfect if you prefer walking to running.
Rhythm Fun Walking Treadmill
This is more of a standard walking pad treadmill that exchanges bulky handrails and a display unit for a design that’s under-desk-friendly and sleeker. It still features an LED display and a remote control for speed adjustments. It’s super compact, portable, easy to store and has a contemporary look design-oriented folks will be happy with.
Walking Pad R2 Treadmill
This walking treadmill from Walking Pad is a 180-degree folding treadmill that comes with running and walking modes. It’s very easy to fold up, has built-in shock absorption for safety and can be controlled via a remote app. Yes, Walking Pad treadmills are more expensive, but the brand’s double-folding design and aluminum alloy frame are truly impressive and absolutely worth the investment.
Goplus Folding Walking Treadmill
This walking treadmill gives you the best of both worlds with a retractable riser you can use for extra support or minimize for compatibility with a standing desk. When the riser is down the treadmill won’t go past a set speed as a safety precaution, and it taps out at 4.5 miles per hour total. It has a Bluetooth speaker as well for added convenience. Note: the riser doesn’t collapse, to use it you have to reinstall it after you remove it each time.
KingSmith WalkingPad X21 Foldable Smart Treadmill
Looking for the best Walking Pad treadmill? Then you’ll want to spend more on the WalkingPad X21 Smart Treadmill. Capable of speeds ranging from 0.3-7.5 mph, it’s a great option for low-impact exercise at home. In addition to smart features and a sleek design, this walking treadmill also has a cool digital LED display panel, which can be folded down if you want to fit this under a standing desk.
LifeSpanFitness Treadmill Desk (Base Only)
LifeSpanFitness makes a great treadmill desk if you want an all-in-one standing desk and treadmill. You can buy the treadmill part separately or the whole system together for a reasonable price. They have a few different options for different body types and to accommodate different walking needs — including their GlowUp Under Desk Treadmill with a 350 pound weight limit and low-profile design. All of their treadmill desks are built for use in offices, so they’re super quiet.
Sunny Health & Fitness Manual Walking Treadmill
If you’re looking for a super budget-friendly option this manual treadmill from Sunny Health & Fitness is a great option. Instead of using a motor, this one moves as you walk for an added physical benefit and less bulk to the overall design. The LED monitor displays time, speed, distance and calories and it folds up for easy storage afterwards.
Urevo 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill
This walking treadmill from Urevo is steeply discounted ahead of the holidays and made with a 17-inch wide running belt with five layers of silica gel for non-slip support. It’s got walking and running modes that tap out at 3.8 miles per hour and 7.5 miles per hour respectively, and it arrives fully assembled and ready to use right away.
NordicTrack C700 Treadmill
If you’re interesting in investing a bit more in your treadmill and you’re going to use it primarily for fitness, NordicTrack is a great option. This one can’t be slid under a desk but is great for gentle exercise and has a slimmer build than other options from NordicTrack. It’s got a 7″ full color display for metrics and a tablet holder for convenient streaming.
UMAY Portable Treadmill
If you’re worried about being able to move a “portable” treadmill on your own, then this option from UMAY is a great pick. It weighs just 64 pounds and is only 54 inches in length which makes it easy for storing under a couch or bed. It has built-in wheels, and LED display for time and mode and the speed maxes out at 4 miles per hour, making it a great pick for under your desk. You can view a whole tour of this specific model from a popular Tik Tok creator here.
GoYouth Under Desk Electric Treadmill
This treadmill from GoYouth is another great under-desk option with a multi-functional display and a bluetooth speaker for playing music or streaming workout classes. It has a remote control for speed levels and the non-slip running belt has a speed range of 0.5 to 6 miles per hour.
Understanding the Health Benefits of Walking
Aside from being a form of exercise, walking is kind of just part of being a healthy, active adult. Older studies told us that 10,000 steps was the magic number to hit every day, though more recent research reveals that might be more marketing gimmick than actual science. Either way, walking every day is key.
And while those aforementioned forms of exercise might be effective at burning calories, high-impact running and heavy weightlifting also come with injury risks.
So if you’re a casual athlete or someone with mobility or joint issues, walking provides exercise in a safe, low-intensity environment. Sometimes, though, taking a walk outside isn’t ideal. If you live in an area with cold winters or humid, sweltering summers, your seasonal window for comfortable walking might be small. That’s where walking treadmills come in.
What The Difference Between Walking and Running Treadmills?
Though you can definitely hop on a regular running treadmill to get a good walking workout in, the best walking treadmills don’t require the size or intense motors of a standard treadmill, and for that reason are generally smaller, more portable, slower and cheaper.
These aren’t bad things — they just represent the different features needed for walking vs. running. Most running treadmills, for example, max out around 12 MPH, while it’s common for a walking treadmill to stop between 4-7 MPH.
If you’re looking for a more all-purpose treadmill, we’ve done a lot of research on the best treadmills of 2022. And if you want a treadmill that’s specifically designed for the workplace (as so many folks do) we’ve also covered the best treadmill desks as well. Many of the best walking treadmills listed below will work great under your desk, for what it’s worth.
What To Consider Before Buying a Walking Treadmill
When shopping for walking treadmills, you’ll primarily want to consider price and features. Are you looking to make a serious investment here or just try your hand (or feet, technically) at walking on a treadmill?
Do you want something incredibly simple, or do you like fitness products with all kinds of gadgets and tech integration?
It’s also important to consider the warranty on each product, as some are kinder than others. Lastly, make sure you’re taking good care of your walking treadmill. All treadmills should be lubricated every few months to ensure they’re (literally and figuratively) running smoothly.
Can You Lose Weight Walking on a Treadmill?
Based on a 2013 study of frequent walkers and runners, running is more effective for weight loss but walking achieved about half the weight loss of running for folks in the largest weight category. It’s a lower-impact, lower-intensity option that can be very effective if you’re just starting to workout again, recovering from an injury or shifting lifestyles.
The more you walk, and the quicker your pace, the more calories you’ll burn. Walking can also be a great starter workout that leads to healthier habits, lifestyle changes and more intense workouts down the line.