A friend has a Steelcase Walkstation that was delivered in September 2013. This is the narrow version that is just barely wider than the treadmill underneath. I tried it out for 30 minutes.
The integration of the controls is nice, especially how they can slide out from underneath the desk surface. However, the controls always protrude to at least some extent.
The treadmill is manufactured by True, a leading brand, and it seems to work reasonably well. The belt was slipping a bit, which my friend attributed to his have over-lubricated the belt recently. The 2 mph maximum speed is a serious limitation for the home user who wants the option to go faster while watching a movie, for example. (The competitive LifeSpan under-desk treadmill goes up to 4 mph; I haven’t found one that goes up to 11.) The treadmill is quiet but not any quieter than any other treadmill that I have used at a low speed. The treadmill is 18″ wide, which turns out to be slightly too narrow for my size-13 feet. A standard treadmill belt width seems to be 20″ and that is what the LifeSpan (above) and NordicTrack (below) products have.
If you’ve been spoiled by the bomb-proof Steelcase desks of the 1960s and 70s, the Walkstation will seem rickety despite the cross-member. There is a long lever arm between the floor and the surface. The work surface is supported with only two legs rather than the conventional four. Those two factors combined make it easy to set the work surface in motion. A $ 200 table from IKEA is more stable. As this is not the “Sit-to-Walkstation” and there is just one user, my friend basically never adjusts the height. When we tried to adjust it, one of the lifting columns was jammed and thus we succeeded only in tilting the work surface. (i.e., it may not be any more durable than lower-priced competition)
Conclusion: If you want something like this and you’re 5’9″ tall or shorter (see the reviews), the NordicTrack Desk Treadmill is probably a better device. It costs one third as much. The treadmill can be cranked up to 10 mph. Unlike the under-desk treadmills, the treadmill can be inclined as well. Too bad the NordicTrack folks did not include sufficient height for taller consumers.
My research into home office ergonomics continues in the following areas:
- Swopper chair (recommended by a physician)
- height-adjustable desk that is wide enough to be used either sitting or standing (Uplift perhaps? Or Evodesk? Or NextDesk Terra Pro which can also hold an aquarium!) so as to create the equivalent of the Steelcase Sit-to-Walkstation but with (a) faster treadmill option, (b) natural wood finish, (c) sturdier.
If readers have experience with any of the above I would be grateful to hear about it.
- Tom O’Donnell in New Yorker on his standing desk: “sitting has been called the new smoking. The only difference is that smoking looks cool and is a great way to meet people and isn’t actually that bad for you. (I smoke.) Sitting, on the other hand, looks ridiculous and shameful—like you’re afraid to admit exactly how tall you are—and is terrible for you. … Won’t I look strange if I’m the only one in my office standing up to work? Not as strange as you’ll look when you keel over dead at your computer from a lethal combination of sciatica and weak calves. “