Walking pads are all the rage thanks to a surge in social media popularity, including the cozy cardio trend, which encourages a gentler approach to movement. Walking pads–also known as walking treadmills–are smaller, stripped-down versions of a traditional treadmill.
These machines are often much lighter and more affordable than a traditional treadmill and are fantastic for walking at your desk or just getting your steps in. They're also appropriate for small spaces thanks to their minimalist design.
In this review, we'll introduce you to the key features of walking pads, share their average price point, and what you can expect with set-up and use. We'll also share our favorite walking pad from a company called WalkingPad.
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Walking Pads: A Space-Saving Home Workout Solution
Of all my home workout equipment, the walking pad is my favorite because I've realized the importance of regular movement breaks throughout my day as I've gotten older, in addition to my workouts.
If I don't get up and stretch or walk once every hour or so, my body feels sore and tight by the end of the day, and the evidence supports my experience.
Sitting for many hours each day has been shown to increase our risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early death. The human body is designed to move, and squeezing in at least five minutes of activity every hour is essential for warding off common ailments like back pain, postural deviations, and health problems.
But most of us don't have the luxury to walk outdoors all day, and that's where the walking pad comes in.
Walking pads are a fantastic way to sneak in regular physical activity throughout your day without wasting time on a commute or paying for a gym membership.
Some walking pads fold in half, while others are a single piece, but they all have wheels for easy movement.
They are generally small enough to fit into nearly any space and light enough to be moved around easily and quickly stored away.
>>> See our favorite small in-home treadmills
Quiet Operation: Are Walking Pads Apartment-Friendly?
One of the main obstacles at-home exercise enthusiasts face is noise control. If you live in an apartment or have a sleeping baby in the next room, you cannot slam weights and use noisy machines.
Walking pads are an excellent option for a quiet workout because they are meant for walking only. Their motor is smaller and quieter than other cardio machines, so they're better for apartment living and shared spaces.
Walking Pad vs. Gym Cost Comparison
Most walking pads are priced between $275 and $700, while the average yearly price of a gym membership in the US is between $480 and $840 per year. Obviously, a gym gives you access to dozens of cardio and strength machines and equipment options, but it's worth noting.
A typical walking pad will come with the machine and a remote control to change the speed of the belt. It should also come with a one-year warranty.
The cost comparison all comes down to your preferences and habits. A commercial gym membership will undoubtedly give you the most exercise versatility. Still, if you hate the gym, it's not worth it. It is totally possible to meet all your exercise needs at home, so if you're more comfortable in your living room–that's ok!
WalkingPad C2 Mini
Best for small spaces
- Foldable design
- Available in multiple colors
- Fits under desks
Our top choice for walking pads is the C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill from the company WalkingPad.
This sleek option features a folding design that comes in five colors and has a user capacity of 220 pounds. It tops out at 3.7 miles per hour and measures 4.75 ft L x 1.67 ft W, so it can fit almost anywhere and has a remote control that allows you to adjust the speed without reaching down.
Like most walking pads, there is no handle or stand to set your things on, so that can take some getting used to, but it's great to use with a walking desk or to hop on and watch TV. The C2 Mini pad features a brushless motor for maximum noise reduction and only reaches 65 decibels of sound, which is quite low.
C2 Mini Walking Treadmill Features and Pricing
The C2 Mini pad is $600 (on sale now for $450), and we believe it's worth the investment.
Its compact design makes it a perfect option for under-the-desk use or as a free-standing feature in most rooms. The four-layer walking deck is designed to maximize comfort and minimize static. It also has a special EVA-shock cushioning layer to reduce the impact on your joints.
Plus, it comes in five fun colors to match many different decors.
The C2 Mini has a digital display and an auto and manual walking mode. Manual allows you to determine your speed using the remote. In contrast, auto mode will enable you to control speed depending on your foot placement. If you stand toward the front of the deck, it will go faster. If you stand toward the back, the speed will reduce.
At the top of the deck is a digital display showing your step count, and you can also sync your machine with the KS Fit app for even more data tracking.
Full disclosure: I was not impressed by this app. It's the simplest fitness app I've ever seen, and it's clearly not optimized for US users as it uses the metric system for your height and weight. It has a poor rating in both the Apple Store and Google Play store, with many users complaining about poor connectivity and a lackluster user experience/
Aside from the app (which is unnecessary, to be clear), this is a fantastic walking pad and a great way to increase your overall activity at home or at the office. Shipping is free, and every WalkingPad model comes with a one-year warranty.
- Easy folding design
- Quiet motor
- Small & portable
- 220 lb user capacity
- 1 year warranty
- Walking enabled only
- App needs an upgrade
- Not suitable for larger folks
Fitness Potential: The Many Benefits of Walking
If you structure your walk to meet a specific time, distance, or incline that raises your heart rate and sustains it–then it is a workout–especially if you're new to exercise.
Walking has so many health benefits, and those benefits increase the less fit someone is, so it truly is a wonderful option for everyone.
Studies show that brisk walking for even just 11 minutes a day can lower your risk of stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. It can even lengthen your life expectancy!
If you walk at least 9,800 steps a day, studies show that you cut your risk of dementia by over 50%.
Walking can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.
The Benefits of Walking Include
- Decreased all-cause mortality
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased VO2 max
- Improved mental health
- Decreased risk of chronic conditions
- Better sleep quality
- Boosted immune system
- Can help with weight loss/fat loss
Walking Workouts: Your Walking Pad Fitness Options
While your cardio options on a walking pad are limited as most do not exceed four miles per hour or offer incline, they are great for casually strolling along while listening to your favorite music or show, brisk walking, and power walking. You can burn calories without even thinking about it.
Here’s a walking workout you might try:
- Walking backwards
- Farmers’ carry
- High knees
For a list of all our favorite indoor and outdoor walking workouts, check out 10+ Walking Workouts for More Vitality and Wellness.
Setting Up for Success: Easy Setup, Storage & Maintenance
Setting up your walking pad is super easy as they typically come 100% assembled. Some–like the WalkingPad C2 Mini–arrive folded in half.
One crucial thing to note about treadmills from the WalkingPad company, in particular, is that they cannot be used on carpets. According to WalkingPad, that's because carpet creates an uneven surface, and it can lead to the motor overheating. So, buy a mat if you'd like to use your mini treadmill on a carpeted area.
Best Practices I Learned From Incorporating a Walking Pad into My Daily Routine
One of the biggest health myths I always hear as a personal trainer is that your metabolism tanks as you age. Many people believe that their health and waistlines are doomed once they hit 30 or 40.
In reality, your total energy expenditure (aka your metabolism) remains relatively stable up until age 60 if you maintain muscle mass. What does change is how much exercise and overall activity most of us get.
So, while many aging adults assume something is wrong with their bodies, we're just significantly less active than we used to be, which contributes to weight gain and body fat accumulation.
I saw this in my own life when, in my late twenties, I realized I had become virtually sedentary, clocking less than 2k some days. I knew I needed to make a change, but I had just changed careers and started a writing business, so I was extremely crunched for time.
I even have three active dogs who need daily walks, and I still wasn't getting enough total activity throughout the day. Cue the walking pad.
I had originally written walking pads off because I don't have a standing desk and wasn't particularly interested in buying one. But eventually, I knew I needed to make a serious change for my health, so I splurged.
It's been 2 months, and it is one of the best purchases I've ever made. Living in a cold climate in the winter, it can be difficult to drag myself to the gym after work, but knowing I can always walk gives me a layer of accountability I truly need.
I love how easy it is to move and set up and how I can zone out to whatever I'm listening to. I track my steps using my Fitbit Inspire2, making it a fun game to hit my step goal each day.
Walking pads are a fabulous way to increase physical activity throughout the day and help fight the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Our favorite walking pad is the C2 Mini Foldable Walking Treadmill. Its stylish and sleek folding design makes it a breeze to use and store, and you get great value with its one-year warranty and free shipping.
Walking Pad FAQS
Can the C2 WalkingPad integrate with other smart home devices or fitness apps for a more connected experience?
All WalkingPad treadmills are compatible with KS Fit, a basic app that stores your walking stats and also doubles as a controller for the treadmill. The app is very basic and is optimized for non-US users.
Are there any user weight/height restrictions or limitations for safely using the WalkingPad?
The C2 Mini Walking Treadmill from WalkingPad has a maximum user capacity of 220 pounds, and its deck length is 47 x 16 inches, so taller users may have to shorten their stride, especially when walking quickly.
How does the C2 WalkingPad handle joint impact compared to outdoor walking or traditional treadmills?
Generally, running or walking on a treadmill is more gentle on your joints than outdoor surfaces such as asphalt and cement.
What is the expected lifespan of a Walking Pad, and how does it compare to the industry standard for similar products?
The C2 Mini Walking Treadmill from WalkingPad comes with a one-year warranty, but most users get many years of enjoyment. As with any machine purchase, read the user manual thoroughly and follow any cleaning or maintenance recommendations to prolong the life of your walking pad.
More Walking Advice from GymBird Experts
- 10+ Walking Workouts for More Vitality and Wellness
- Cardio vs Walking
- I Walked Every Day for 30 Days - These Are the Results
- Walking Guide: Elevate Your Vitality and Wellness