The Best Walking Pads of 2023

best walking pad

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Multiple deadlines looming, a calendar packed with meetings, and a standing appointment with your computer. If this sounds familiar—and you’ve read all the articles that declare sitting the new smoking icon-trusted-source CDC “Reducing Occupational Sitting Time and Improving Worker Health: The Take-a-Stand Project, 2011” View Source —there’s good news: a walking pad, also known as a treadmill desk or under-desk treadmill, might be exactly what you’re searching for. 

Walking pads offer a convenient way to walk (or even run) while working or studying without leaving your workspace. Featuring a compact design and adjustable speed settings, they’re great for home offices or small apartments. For those looking to prioritize their health and wellness without leaving their desk, a walking pad can be an excellent investment. 

After analyzing four of the most popular under-$500 options on the market, including more than eight hours of research and hands-on testing, our top pick is the Sunny Health and Fitness Slim for its all-around user-friendliness, compact size, and quiet operation.

Here’s how the best walking pads stack up:

  1. Sunny Health and Fitness Slim Walking Pad
  2. Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill
  3. Walkingpad C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill
  4. Urevo 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill

The Best Walking Pad

Sunny Health & Fitness Slim Walking Pad

  • Low profile deck
  • Sleek color scheme and design
  • Auto-pauses if no movement is detected for five seconds
  • .5-3.75 mph speed range
  • 220-pound weight limit
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product image, white background
  • Exceptionally quiet
  • User-friendly design
  • Only goes up to 3.75 mph
  • Low weight limit

The minute I stepped foot on the Sunny, I knew it was “the one.” (Although I did walk on every treadmill multiple times for the sake of fairness.) While the nearly silent operation sold me right away, I also loved that it was simple to operate with a remote and an easy-to-read display, including elapsed time, speed, steps, and calories, as well as a user-friendly safety mechanism. 

Like the other products I tested, the Sunny was a bit cumbersome to unbox. Still, that’s to be expected when you’re five feet tall and dealing with a package that’s nearly as tall as you are. (This product is 50 inches long.) Unlike the others, getting it set up was a one-person job that took me about 20 minutes total. 

Using the Sunny was super easy—and safe, as it won’t start unless the safety key is in use. The remote was easy to use and allowed me to adjust the speed in increments of .1 miles per hour. The display toggled through elapsed time, speed, steps, and calories on a loop. 

The Sunny was also very easy to move around and get out of the way when I wasn’t using it. Although it was too long to hide underneath my loveseat, it would have been easy to tuck it underneath a couch or a bed. I opted to lean it up against a wall when I didn’t have it at my desk. Its weight of 55.1 pounds and with wheels on the front made it easy to maneuver. 

The Sunny’s real selling point is its low volume. I took a call on speakerphone while using it and the person I was talking to said they couldn’t hear it in the background. 

The Sunny’s only notable drawbacks are its max speed and weight capacities. With a top speed of 3.75 miles per hour, it’s impossible to run on it. However,  this may not be a drawback for the typical user, who is probably looking for a way to work and walk rather than run. 

Another drawback is that the Sunny has a 220-lb weight limit, which makes it inaccessible for many users. 

It’s also notable that while the product has high ratings and positive reviews on Amazon, the buyers who gave it poor reviews largely said it was because over time, the belt tends to slip, making it impossible to use. Over a testing period of a few weeks, I wasn’t able to personally assess its long-term durability, but we’ll keep an eye on it.

Other Walking Pads To Consider

Goplus 2 in 1 Folding Treadmill

  • Comes in seven colors 
  • Includes “arms” for safety
  • .6 to 7.5 mph speed range
  • 265-pound weight limit
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product image, white background
  • High max speed accommodates walking and running
  • Arms add extra support
  • Hard to fold and unfold
  • Bulky to store
  • Relatively heavy

The Goplus features a higher max speed (7.5 mph) than most of the other products we tested and a higher weight capacity of 265 pounds. However, that versatility comes at a price, as it’s heavier than its competitors and much harder to maneuver and store. 

As the heaviest product I tested, the Goplus, which weighs 69.5 pounds, was the most cumbersome to unbox and time-consuming to assemble. It’s also the only treadmill I tested that didn’t come with a battery for the remote control. Unfortunately, it came with a piece broken off of the bottom of the deck. I never found the missing piece so I have no idea how or when it broke, but fortunately, it didn’t create any noticeable problems during use. 

The Goplus is the only walking pad I tested that has arms for safety. It just so happened that I had a random piece of shelf board in my garage, so I placed it on top of the arms and created a sturdy makeshift work surface on which to place my laptop, drink, notebook, and pens. The arms also made me feel comfortable cranking the walking pad up to its full speed of 7.5 miles per hour. 

Overall, it’s easy to use; the remote control functioned as expected, I was able to adjust the speed in increments of .1 miles per hour, there’s a handy spot to place a phone on the console, and it has a Bluetooth speaker paired easily with my phone. The LED display on the treadmill deck clearly toggled through elapsed time, speed, distance, and calories. 

The noise level was very similar to almost all the other products I tested (not too loud but definitely audible), other than the Sunny, which was exceptionally quiet.

The product calls itself a “two in one” machine that’s designed for both walking and running. However, it’s not simple to convert it from running mode to walking mode. While you certainly could walk with the console extended up in front of you and the arms by your sides, this setup won’t necessarily be compatible with your desk—which is why you might need to convert it to a simple under-desk walking pad. 

I ran into a couple of issues in my attempts to convert it. One, it wasn’t clear to me exactly how to do this. I fiddled with it for a long time before realizing the only option is to fold the console down so that it’s aligned with the treadmill deck—and that the only way to do this is to use an Allen wrench (included) to unscrew the four screws holding the armrests to the console, a time-consuming process. 

Even if you never want to convert it into walking mode, the arms make it impossible to fold the console down, which make it hard to store. (Again, you can remove them using an Allen wrench, but you’d probably end up storing them out of the way and never putting them back on.)

Walkingpad C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill

  • Folds in half for easy storage
  • Comes in six colors 
  • Designed for walking only 
  • .5 – 4 mph speed range
  • 220-pound weight limit
Check Price on Amazon $550 on Walkingpad
product image, white background
  • Folds in half for storage
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Adjustable in increments of .5 miles per hour
  • Companion app impossible to utilize

The WalkingPad C2 won extra points for easy storage. Even without folding it, it was slim and light enough to easily slide under a couch or a bed. But unlike the other products we tested, it easily and quickly folds in half for alternative storage options. The WalkingPad scored low on user-friendliness, however. The speed was hard to control, I couldn’t pair it with its companion app, and neither the product nor its instruction manual listed the brand name or style, which made it difficult to look up for troubleshooting purposes. 

While the unboxing and setup felt relatively quick and painless, The WalkingPad wasn’t super easy to use once I turned it on. The instruction manual asks you to download a companion app that’s supposed to connect to the product via Bluetooth, but my phone never recognized it. I was happy to use the remote control it came with in lieu of the app, but it only allowed me to adjust the speed in increments of .5 miles per hour (or possibly kilometers —it wasn’t totally clear). For me, the lack of precision was a major turn-off. 

According to the instructions, there’s also the option to use the product in “automatic” mode (as opposed to “manual”), which allows it to auto-detect the appropriate belt speed. But when I tried automatic mode, the belt simply stopped moving. 

In addition to the user-friendliness issues noted above, the Walkingpad’s downsides include the lack of a safety key, a weight capacity that goes up to only 220 pounds, and a max speed of 3.7 (i.e. a brisk walking pace). 

What is a Walking Pad?

best walking pad

A walking pad is essentially a miniature treadmill that allows you walk while you work, watch TV, or make calls. When you’re not using it, it easily slides out of the way, against a walk or underneath a couch or bed. The products I tested all had wheels on the front end for easy maneuvering and a handy remote control to power it on and off and to control the speed. While some walking pads can handle higher speeds for running, none that we tested offer incline adjustments. 

Can Walking Pads Increase Your Productivity?

Anecdotally, I noticed a few benefits of using a walking pad. For one thing, it was energizing. I was also happy to find that didn’t experience the typical back stiffness that I normally deal with after sitting for 45 minutes or longer. Finally, I was less likely to check Twitter or succumb to other distractions when I coupled walking with working. 

However, I found it hard to type as quickly as usual while I was walking, so that slowed me down a bit. I initially chalked that up to the fact that my workstation wasn’t fully compatible with my new setup. Although I had a desk riser for my laptop, it wasn’t super sturdy and it lacked a keyboard tray, which meant my posture was far from ideal. Plus, I struggled to type because my laptop kept sliding around under my fingers. 

Once I dug into the research on walking pads and productivity, however, I wondered if my slow typing wasn’t only a byproduct of sub-optimal ergonomics. A 2015 meta-analysis icon-trusted-source Preventive Medicine “A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace” View Source looking at the benefits of standing and treadmill desks found that the latter had no clear benefit to workers’ effectiveness, while a 2018 meta-analysis icon-trusted-source International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health “The Impact of Active Workstations on Workplace Productivity and Performance: A Systematic ReviewI” View Source that looked at both walking and cycling workstations found that active workstations were actually associated with performance decreases. One small study icon-trusted-source Work “Productivity of transcriptionists using a treadmill desk” View Source actually found that transcriptionists typed 16 percent slower while walking versus sitting. Not surprisingly, a 2019 metastudy icon-trusted-source Occupational & Environmental Medicine “Health and productivity at work: which active workstation for which benefits: a systematic review” View Source found that treadmill workstations interfere with fine motor coordination (i.e. the same skills you need to type effectively), as compared with cycling and standing workstations. 

That same 2019 metastudy concluded that treadmill workstations are associated with increased arousal and decreased boredom. This suggests my ability to stop checking Twitter while using a walking pad wasn’t just the result of a placebo or a fluke. A 25-person 2021 study icon-trusted-source Occupational Health Science “Walk your Way to Well-Being at Work: Impact of a Treadmill Workstation on Employee Occupational Health Outcomes” View Source found that walking pad use at work was associated with significant improvements in physical, cognitive, and emotional vigor and positive affect, as well as decreased negative affect and inattention. 

However, another study icon-trusted-source Preventive Medicine “A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace” View Source found no clear impact on psychological well-being and little impact on work performance. And another icon-trusted-source PloS one “Cognitive and typing outcomes measured simultaneously with slow treadmill walking or sitting: implications for treadmill desks” View Source found that treadmill desk users actually performed worse on cognitive tests than their peers who remained seated. 

Are Walking Pads Healthy?

While the productivity benefits of walking pads are questionable, the physical health benefits are pretty clear. Studies have linked them to decreased ambulatory blood pressure icon-trusted-source Occupational Health Science “Walk your Way to Well-Being at Work: Impact of a Treadmill Workstation on Employee Occupational Health Outcomes” View Source , and increased energy expenditure icon-trusted-source Occupational & Environmental Medicine “Health and productivity at work: which active workstation for which benefits: a systematic review” View Source , as well as improvements in markers for cardiometabolic risk icon-trusted-source Journal of Sports Sciences “Reducing prolonged sedentary time using a treadmill desk acutely improves cardiometabolic risk markers in male and female adults” View Source , and reductions in joint pain icon-trusted-source Occupational Health Science ““It’s Been a Game Changer”: Examining Treadmill Desk Use When Working from Home” View Source

If you’re ready to invest in a walking pad for work, don’t skimp on the rest of your workstation. Without the right ergonomic setup, you risk the neck, back, and eye strain you’d experience if you were hunched over your laptop on the couch or at a coffee shop. 

In my own experience, I found that I couldn’t type while walking much faster than 1.1 miles per hour. But even walking at that relatively slow pace elevated my heart rate by roughly ten beats per minute compared to sitting. Meanwhile, my heart rate while walking at my typical outdoor walking pace of 3 miles per hour was roughly the same whether I was walking outside or on a walking pad at that pace. That said, I couldn’t walk that fast while typing or doing any type of deep work. I only sustained 3 miles per hour on the walking pad while on a Zoom call or typing out simple emails on my phone.

That said: Don’t overdo it. Nothing is healthy when done in excess, including walking. It’s easy to get carried away, but it’s not recommended to spend the day toiling on the treadmill. This could lead to injury, especially if you’re typically pretty sedentary. Instead, try to gradually add the walking pad to different parts of your day—maybe when you’re answering emails in the morning and when you start to feel an afternoon slump—instead of using it for an 8-hour shift.

How We Got Here

Meet Your Guinea Pig

I’m Pam Moore, a health fitness journalist with bylines in outlets including The Washington Post, Runner’s World, Outside, WebMD, AARP, Forbes, and SELF. Prior to becoming a writer,  I earned my Masters’s degree in occupational therapy, a field that I worked in for more than a decade, in a variety of healthcare settings, helping people with chronic and acute medical conditions function as fully as possible. I also obtained advanced certification as a Functional Capacity Evaluator, which better equipped me to evaluate and treat injured workers—a niche that required knowledge of the dynamic relationship between the human body and the work environment, including office spaces. 

In addition to my healthcare and writing experience, I’m also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified intuitive eating counselor, and fitness geek.

Our Testing Process

I started by researching the product category for over two hours to find out which walking pads are most popular, what consumers say about them, how much they cost, and what features they typically include. I also read several peer-reviewed journal articles to explore walking pads’ potential benefits. 

Then, I submitted a list of seven potential products to the team at Ness, which we ultimately narrowed down to four. Once the four selections arrived at my home, I spent at least an hour using each one at various speeds, including running at least a mile on the two that had the capacity for it. I spent a total of six hours walking and running (but mostly walking) on the products we tested. 

To establish whether the walking pads would have a similar effect to walking outside, I collected heart rate data while walking 3 miles per hour outside for 30 minutes. I compared my average heart rate during an outside walk at this pace to my heart rate while walking on each walking pad at the same pace. While I generally walked much slower on the walking pad in order to simultaneously use my laptop, my heart rate when walking at 3 miles per hour was only a few beats per minute slower than it was when walking outside.

The Walking Pad Buying Guide

A walking pad is for anyone who wants to get some steps in at home, even if they don’t have a ton of space. They can also be helpful for those who find that gentle, repetitive movement improves their focus. 

Which features matter most when buying walking pads?

  • User-friendliness: How easy is it to power on and off and adjust the speed? Does the console include all the relevant data? Is the font big enough to read easily? Is the setup process intuitive and simple? Is it comfortable to use? What is the weight limit? Can it accommodate bigger users safely? 
  • Ease of storage: If it folds, does it fold easily? If not, is it slim enough to easily store under a couch or bed? If it can’t go under a couch or a bed, is it easy and safe to lean it against a wall when not in use? How heavy is it? Is it difficult to move it around the room? 
  • Noise level: How loud is it? Is it distracting on a Zoom call or when consuming video or audio content? 
  • Appropriateness for running: What’s the maximum speed? Does it feel stable and sturdy at that speed?

Walking Pads You Can Skip

Urevo 2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill

  • Comes in four colors 
  • .5-7.6 mph speed range
  • 265-pound weight limit
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product image, white background
  • Can accommodate running
  • Highest weight capacity
  • Stopped working during testing process
  • Narrower than other products we tested

The Urevo was fairly quick and easy to unbox. But that’s where the user-friendliness ended. Like the Goplus, the Urevo has a console with control buttons and a spot for the remote. I wanted to recommend this product, given its ability to handle running, its acceptable noise level, and the easy-to-read display, which displays speed, distance, elapsed time, and calories at all times (rather than requiring the user to toggle through one metric at a time). But unfortunately, this product didn’t operate reliably. 

When the Urevo worked, it worked well. I liked that it shows all the metrics at once, and the fact that the console features “quick start” buttons labeled 3 and 6 to let you get right to three or six miles per hour (at which point you could adjust up or down in .1 mile per hour increments using the remote).  

The noise level was very similar to all the others with the exception of the Sunny (which was nearly silent). Folding the console down and storing the Urevo was super simple. 

With a max weight capacity of 265 pounds, it’s accessible to more users than most of the competitors we tested. 

Despite its higher weight capacity, however, I didn’t love running on it. While I never felt unsafe, the sensation reminded me of running across a rickety wooden bridge. I think it’s completely adequate for anyone who wants to elevate their heart rate intermittently, but it’s no substitute for a run outside or on a traditional treadmill. Additionally, the Urevo didn’t come with a safety key, which poses a safety risk, especially if you’re using it as a runner. 

But I can’t recommend the Urevo because I wasn’t able to use it reliably. There were multiple times during the testing process where I’d hit stop, and instead of starting again when I pressed the appropriate buttons, the console “Stop” button flashed at me continuously while it remained unresponsive, starting again only once I unplugged it, waited a few minutes, and tried again.


  1. Walking pads do not have a clear mental benefit: “A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace – ScienceDirect,” Preventive Medicine (January 2015).
  2. Active workstations are associated with performance decreases: “The Impact of Active Workstations on Workplace Productivity and Performance: A Systematic Review,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (February 2018).
  3. Transcriptionists typed 16 percent slower when walking versus sitting: “Productivity of transcriptionists using a treadmill desk,” IOS Press (2011).
  4. Treadmill workstations interfere with fine motor skills but may increase arousal and decrease boredom; Walking pad use was associated with elevated heart rate, decreased ambulatory blood pressure and increased energy expenditure: “Health and productivity at work: which active workstation for which benefits: a systematic review,” Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2019).
  5. Walking pad use was associated with improvements in physical, cognitive, and emotional vigor as well as decreased negative affect and inattention: “Walk your Way to Well-Being at Work: Impact of a Treadmill Workstation on Employee Occupational Health Outcomes,” Occupational Health Science (June 2021).
  6. Treadmill desk users performed worse on cognitive tests than their peers who remained seated: “Cognitive and typing outcomes measured simultaneously with slow treadmill walking or sitting: implications for treadmill desks,” PLoS One (April 2015).
  7. Walking pad use was associated with improvements in cardiometabolic risk levels: “Reducing prolonged sedentary time using a treadmill desk acutely improves cardiometabolic risk markers in male and female adults,” Journal of Sports Sciences (April 2018).
  8. Walking pad use was associated with decreased joint pain: “It’s Been a Game Changer”: Examining Treadmill Desk Use When Working from Home,” Occupational Health Science (January 2023).
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This article was rigorously researched and fact checked. We use peer-reviewed journals and reputable medical sources (think: CDC, WHO, NIH, and the like) to back up every claim we make, and also reach out to experts in the field to ensure we’re covering things the right way. We apply these principles to everything we cover—including brands we partner with—and we’ll always disclose sponsorships, ads, and any kind of financial relationship with anything featured on The Nessie. You deserve the best, most straightforward information on health and wellness, and we think this is the right way to do it. You can read more about our testing and review process here.

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