This is TechRadar’s Lifespan TR1200-DT3 review. We’ve taken a good look at the walking treadmill, spending time walking on the treadmill with and without a standing desk to see how it measures up to the rest of the best under-desk treadmills.
We’ll save you some time and tell you that yes, this is the best walking treadmill we’ve tested so far. However, it’s not for everyone: someone who just wants a low-cost, easy-store treadmill to help get their steps in while watching TV might be better off with a slimmer, less heavy-duty walking pad such as the Bluefin Fitness Task 2.0.
This treadmill is heavier duty: it’s got wheels for easier transportation, but then again, so has Christian Bale’s Batmobile. It’s a larger treadmill than most walking pads, and it’s well suited for those with medium or larger standing desks and most office spaces, whether at home or in your place of work. It’s somewhat too unwieldy for small spaces and convenient home storage in a cupboard or behind the sofa.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a great treadmill. It’s expensive, but not as pricey as its older cousin, the TR5000. It has a weight capacity of 350lbs. It’s quiet. It’s got smart-step technology. The Bluetooth console is extremely easy to use, especially from a standing desk. If you have a large standing desk available to you, this under-desk treadmill is the perfect accompaniment if you’re a power user or a heavier walker.
Lifespan TR1200-DT3 under-desk treadmill: Price and availability
The Lifespan TR1200-DT3 treadmill is priced at $1,199 in the US and £1,099 in the UK, with no Australian price currently available. Amazon is unfortunately out of stock right now, but there are some units available on the Lifespan website (opens in new tab) globally.
Lifespan TR1200-DT3 under-desk treadmill: Design
Design score: 5/5
The TR1200’s aesthetics are pretty non-descript. Measuring 160cm long, 72cm wide, and 18cm high, it’s a chunky midnight matte machine with two front-mounted wheels. It comes almost ready to go right out of the box, so you can simply wheel it to its designated station and there it lies. Beyond connecting the console to the treadmill, there is no assembly required.
However, the thickness and heft of the machine mean it's harder to stash in, say, a cupboard or behind a sofa. Unless you have a large storage space, it’s a very permanent addition to your office.
The belt is wide and long, at 127cm x 51cm, so it’s big enough to walk on very comfortably and marked so you can clearly tell when the treadmill is running, which is essential when you’ve got a particularly quiet treadmill like this one claims to be. There’s no hand or side rail to flip up and turn the treadmill into a “running mode”: this is specifically a walking machine.
The deck itself is made of phenolic thermoset plastic, while more plastic makes up the casing. Six independent compression shocks offer suspension on the belt, reducing any impact as you walk. The treadmill is built for heavy users, with a maximum weight of up to 350lbs, or 159kgs. In terms of design, the TR1200 has almost everything you’d ever want in a walking-specific treadmill.
Lifespan TR1200-DT3 under-desk treadmill: Features
Features score: 3/5
Like other under-desk treadmills, the TR1200 isn’t exactly overstuffed with content. It’s built to do one thing, and one thing well: allow you to walk while you work in comfort.
There’s no incline, because according to Lifespan, “walking at an incline while working is not recommended by ergonomists as it takes your body out of a neutral position and places strain on your back and joints.” Its top speed is up to four miles an hour, enough for a fast walk or jog, but no real running modes to speak of.
However, it does have several very cool features we wanted to highlight here, most of which are featured on the controls console. To start with, the console can be plugged into the treadmill, but it's primarily supposed to operate on Bluetooth, allowing you the freedom to place it wherever’s comfortable. However, it’s designed to be supported on a desk or other unit, which emphasizes how this machine is supposed to work. If you just want the treadmill as a free-standing unit to use in your front room, the console isn’t an ergonomic remote.
The console has an in-built step counter, allowing you to check how far you’ve walked and whether you’ve reached that magic 10,000 today. The usual metrics including time, calories and distance are all tracked, and you’re able to input your height and weight for more accurate calorie and step tracking.
The console is also where the safety key is contained: clip it to your clothes, and when you jump (or fall) off the treadmill, away from your desk, the key will be pulled and the console sends a Bluetooth signal to the treadmill to stop.
Lifespan TR1200-DT3 under-desk treadmill: Performance
Performance score: 5/5
The Lifespan is comfortable to walk on. The wide belt gives plenty of tread space and those six shock-absorbers do pull their weight, making every step remarkably comfortable whether you’re in dedicated exercise shoes or flat shoes.
We tested it with both traditional running shoes and relatively unsupportive Vans sneakers, and it was a pleasant experience in both. I felt as though I had no need to glance at where I was heading on the treadmill when I took my work meeting on it, and I could stare at my screen in comfort.
The unit does claim the treadmill is whisper-quiet, which is a bit of a misnomer: there’s a clear whirr from the 2.25 HP continuous duty motor, but it’s quiet enough to zone out and focus on your tasks, especially if you wear headphones in the office. However, the shock absorbers do a good job of masking your steps once you get into a rhythm.
The safety key was nice and responsive when we jumped off the treadmill to test it, stopping the treadmill inside of one second. You can key in a specific time or goal you’d like to walk for via the console, and the numerical readouts will count you down before it begins, giving you time to get ready. You can also pause for breaks without losing your progress.
Buy it if…
You’ve got space
It’s the best under-desk treadmill we’ve tried, but its built like a chunky Range Rover.
You’ve got a standing desk
It works extremely well when paired with the right equipment, such as a standing desk. Revolutionise the way you work.
You’re on the heavier side
Whether you’re a muscle-bound athlete or currently overweight, this treadmill has an impressive 350lbs weight limit.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re on a budget
At almost $1200/£1100, the TR1200 is not the cheapest treadmill around.
You want some real running done
At a top speed of 4mph, this is not the treadmill for you if you like to regularly go for runs indoors.