VR headsets were a revolutionary tech when they came out, and since then, small but significant improvements have been made to the technology. The VR headsets allow users to feel an enhanced form of immersion, which they wouldn’t feel while accessing the same format of content on a display. Also, VR in gaming and entertainment offers limited mobility because a player has to use controllers, to move in the simulated environment. Read the article to find out the best VR treadmills.
VR treadmills take the immersion levels up a notch, as they allow users to freely move in a confined area, which heightens the feeling of immersion and interactivity within the VR simulation. If you are currently looking for the Best VR Treadmills that can help make walking an exciting venture, we have rounded up the best of the best options available currently.
What are the Best VR Treadmills?
VR treadmills are omnidirectional treadmills that allow you to move in up to six directions depending upon the construction area. Being a confined area, the safety of users is a primary corner with these Best VR Treadmills. To combat this problem of accidental stepping out of bounds and consequently tipping or falling, a safety harness or fencing is integrated into the treadmill. Not all VR treadmills can provide a full range of motion experience due to safety and design constraints.
As the user moves on the Best VR Treadmills, the inertial sensors capture the movement data and send it to the computer which projects the same movement in the VR simulation. Over the years, the latency has dropped quite a bit which ensures negligible delay in the whole experience. VR treadmills are very costly and their application area is still confined to gaming, recreational VR competitions, and esports. Beware that the pricing starts at a few thousand dollars, and is meant only for serious VR enthusiasts, or companies.
Top 6 Best VR Treadmills of 2022
1. KAT Walk mini-S
KAT Walk mini–S is among the compact VR treadmills that you can buy today. It is a significant improvement in performance along with a more accommodating size. The biggest pain point of purchasing the best VR treadmill is that they take up a lot of room but that isn’t the case with KAT Walk mini-S. It weighs around 106 kgs and can sustain a human frame of 1.4-1.95 meters with a maximum weight of 130 kgs. The treadmill has the most minimalistic safety harness which allows a greater range of motion as opposed to simple fencings.
KAT Walk mini-S facilitates running, crouching, and a few other body movements due to its adaptable safety harness. Its design allows the player more vertical and horizontal upper-body freedom, unlike many VR treadmills which cannot provide crouching capabilities. KAT Walk mini–S has a retractable seat in the works which can provide seating assistance while doing driving simulations, and let the user sit and rest without taking off the safety harness. This best VR treadmill is an independent universal controller meaning that it is compatible with different VR devices such as HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
2. Virtuix Omni
Virtuix Omni appears bulky but incorporates a lot of plastic to exhibit the heft. It is slightly wider than the Kat VR treadmill and requires special shoes which use sensors strapped to the top part of your feet. It certainly binds you to purchase the shoes otherwise the whole rig is inoperable. Moreover, the belt removal and adjustment take some time before you can hop into the simulation and begin playing. Virtuix Omni has a larger walking platform than the Kat Mini S but the walking motion still feels exhausting and unnatural, making it difficult to endure for long hours.
Virtuix Omni implements the fence-style safety harness which confines the movement of the user. You cannot bend or crouch like it is possible in the KAT Walk mini-S, which is a huge letdown considering the much better walking slope that this treadmill provides to the user. Virtuix Omni doesn’t put restraints on the speed limit which makes it possible for users to put maximum physical effort into the VR simulations. HTC Vive HMD and a few other head-mounted displays are supported with the Virtuix Omni but for the Omniverse games, only the HTC Vive HMD is supported.
3. Cyberith Virtualizer
Cyberith Virtualizer perfects the existing flaws of the two best VR treadmills mentioned above. It does so by providing a height-adjustable safety harness that locks in position to prevent you from venturing outside the walking area. The treadmill provides haptic feedback to make the impact feel more natural as it would on firm ground. Moreover, the treadmill can tilt to offer the least possible amount of resistance while walking on it. Unlike the Virtuix Omni, users do need special shoes and sensors to walk on the treadmill. Proprietary shoe covers are easy to wear and do not slip and induce just the right amount of friction for walking.
Cyberith Virtualizer allows you to jump, crouch, walk, and pace in games without any restrictions because it mimics the Kat Walk Mini-S in design. This best VR treadmill is an active machine which means that the treadmill adjusts to the movement of the players like changing incline levels and haptic feedback. Cyberith Virtualizer is compatible with multiple HMD variants and is a stellar choice if you seek maximum movement coupled with safety in a VR treadmill.
Infinadeck is among the gigantic VR treadmills available for the consumer market. It is by no means intended as a compact device like the Virtuix Omni and is suitable for arcades or larger organizations with ample space. The treadmill provides the biggest area for movement of users and the safety ring prevents it from tipping off the platform. Movement on this best VR treadmill may feel a little unnatural at the start but the gradual progression makes you accustomed to its movement constraints.
Walking on Infinadeck is a completely wireless affair if you use an HMD with a battery. The problem with the Infinadeck is that if you crouch near the safety rails there is a possibility that you could bump into them. This safety is, therefore, a concern and thus the usage of Infinadeck is best kept to games and simulations that do not require too much body movement. Its maximum speed is just 8 mph which makes it redundant for running simulations because the pace is too low. This best VR treadmill offers its SDK which can be used by software and game companies to tailor their products to the movement. Infinadeck is best suited for commercial usage and is not a product that a homeowner may buy because of space constraints.
SpaceWalkerVR is expensive. We have to put this out because it costs around 10K USD for getting hold of the most compact VR treadmill available to you. SpaceWalkerVR allows the user to turn in any direction clockwise or anticlockwise without any difficulty. It has four motors that manage the whole rotating and treadmill aspect. Users can change the speed of the treadmill and run as fast as possible. The safety harness is attached to the waist to keep the user in the center, while a dashboard is available for adjusting the controls.
It is impossible to crouch in the SpaceWalkerVR and that is limiting for mimicking the whole-body movement in games. The dimensions resemble the KAT Walk Mini-S and the weight profile in that ballpark. Turning in every direction is possible but the running space is very tiny. For large individuals, the SpaceWalkerVR is not possible as they have to take shorter strides to use the treadmill. Major HMD devices like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard are supported with the SpaceWalkerVR treadmill. Its price surely doesn’t justify its feature set and the limited area of motion due to the small base plate.
6. Aperium K-01 pod
Aperium K-01 pod is a mammoth in the VR treadmill realm that provides the maximum legroom for users to wander comfortably in the VR space. There is no safety harness to bind the movement and instead, there are two padded blocks at extreme ends raised to three feet in height. Aperium K-01 pod is a complete rig that contains a full-fledged computer with an operator station that will manage the simulation. The computer wirelessly connects to the head-mounted display and runs the game.
Aperium K-01 pod is very wide but only allows unilateral movement to the user. It uses proprietary technology to project the sideways and backward movements. The unit is compatible with popular head-mounted displays from Valve, HTC, Sony and provides SDK to the developers as well. This best VR treadmill is not suitable for home installation and is best suited for development studios and simulation centers.
These were our picks for the best VR treadmills that are available and pack the necessary hardware to provide the optimum VR experience. Virtuix Omni is among the few options that provide decent mobility to the user in a compact frame. Other solutions such as Kat Walk mini and SpaceWalkVR are compact but have some limitations. Aperium K-01 pod isn’t suitable for home use unless you’ve got the necessary moolah and a gigantic empty room to install the setup.
1. What is the best VR treadmill?
Cyberith Virtualizer is the best VR treadmill right now because of its smooth walking area and the adjustable height frame suitable for crouching movements.
2. How much does a VR Treadmill cost?
VR treadmills cost upwards of thousands of dollars and begin at 1500-2000 USD depending upon the design and usability.
3. Do VR treadmills exist?
Yes, they do exist and are available for purchase from the brands mentioned above. They are not just a concept anymore and multiple iterations of VR treadmills have been released in the past few years.