The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5's 4-mph maximum speed means it'll never cut it as a regular treadmill -- but it's perfect for a treadmill desk. Owners compliment its stable, quiet operation, saying the person on the other end of a phone won't hear you walking. Its web portal and desktop app are problematic -- but if you just want to walk, this is the best deal going.
Workers on a happy roll. The editors of TreadmillDoctor.com name the TR1200-DT5 a runner up in the "Best Buy" category for treadmill desks: "LifeSpan took a winner of a treadmill and paired it with the new interest in having a working desk attached to the machine and came up with an entirely new winner!" Most users seem to agree; noting the 2.25-continuous-horsepower, high-torque motor changes speed slowly, but is smooth and quiet. You can make phone calls without stepping off the machine -- the person on the other end won't even hear the treadmill running. A maximum speed of 4 miles per hour restricts you to a walk, but the 20-by-56-inch belt provides plenty of room. The desk is sturdy and stable, even for tall users over 250 pounds.
Just one sore spot. Users at Amazon.com say assembling the TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk is easy: "Just 10 bolts, and the tools you need are included." The desk adjusts from 36 to 52 inches, but don't plan on making frequent adjustments -- they're done manually, and usually require the help of a friend. You can also purchase the treadmill base alone (Est. $1,000) and substitute your own adjustable desk.
The web portal designed to log your stats is problematic at best, and few users are fans of the desktop app. Also, they say when you pause the treadmill, it "forgets" your previous settings.
Stands a fighting chance. A treadmill desk functions at constant, slow speeds that will burn most motors out relatively quickly -- but with high torque and a top speed of 4 mph, the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5's may be able to stick it out. Unfortunately, the motor is only guaranteed for three years. You also get a two-year warranty for parts, one for labor and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
It's also worth noting the manufacturer recommends using this treadmill for a maximum of six hours daily, although that seems to mesh nicely with most users' schedules. The desktop is made of inch-think composite board and laminate.
Make sure you register it. The LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, three years of coverage on the motor, two years of parts coverage and a one year labor warranty. But all that coverage only activates if you register the treadmill within 30 days of purchase (not delivery), a fact that has some users understandably upset -- they say it should be advertised more prominently.
Once past their initial upset, owners comment positively on LifeSpan's customer service; they say the company representatives are prompt, responsive and helpful.
The editors of TreadmillDoctor.com -- one of the most prolific and knowledgeable reviews of treadmills -- name the TR1200-DT5 a runner up in the "Best Buy" category for treadmill desks.
Review: LifeSpan TR1200 DT5 Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, As of November 2013
About 100 users review the TR1200-DT5 at Amazon.com, giving it an overall score of 4.6 stars. Most rave about how the desk has changed their lifestyle. Others offer considered criticism of the web portal and Bluetooth syncing.
Review: LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Desktop Treadmill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013
The author doesn't seem to be entirely sold on the concept of treadmill desks, declaring that she imagines using this desk for up to an hour at a time. She does, however, praise it for being stable and quiet -- and likes that the desk isn't attached directly to the treadmill.
Review: LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk Combination, Jill Duffy, Jan. 31, 2013
The editors of WorkWhileWalking.com specialize in reviewing walking workstations. They like the LifeSpan TR1200's treadmill base, but recommend swapping the desk attachment for an adjustable standing desk from an office furniture retailer.
Review: LifeSpan Integrated Treadmill Desk Review, Editors of WorkWhileWalking.com, As of November 2013
Wendy Bumgardner, About.com's expert on walking, curates the Readers' Choice Awards in her category for 2013. Her readers selected the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk as the best budget treadmill overall. (There was no separate category for treadmill desks.) It also won the 2012 Readers' Choice Award.
Review: Best Budget Treadmills -- Readers' Choice Awards 2013, Wendy Bumgardner, Oct. 2, 2013