The 3 Best Under-Desk Ellipticals
If you're looking to get a little bit more movement into your workday, consider investing in one of the best under-desk ellipticals. These portable compact exercise machines help counteract extended periods of sitting.
These machines provide a steady cardio workout to improve stamina and blood flow that's also a low-impact workout so it's gentle on your joints. As an added bonus, these compact versions are a lot less expensive and more compact than purchasing a standard elliptical machine.
When you’re shopping for an option to use at work or your home, there are a few factors to consider. The first is desk height. To comfortably be able to pedal under your desk, you’ll need adequate space between your knees and the tabletop so it’s a good idea to measure your desk’s height and check the elliptical’s lowest desk height requirement for a good fit.
You'll also want to decide which reporting features you want. All of these will show you basic stats like time and strides taken. However, some ellipticals come with Bluetooth so that you can sync it with your smartphone or Fitbit for tracking, or you can link it to an app. These smart features usually cost more, so decide if they’re something that’d be useful for you.
To get you started, I've rounded up the best under-desk ellipticals on Amazon. All of these top picks can help you stay more active throughout the day while you’re sitting, and if you decide that cycling is more your speed, I've included a best-selling under-desk cycle as well.
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1. The Best Overall Under-Desk Elliptical
The Stamina InMotion Elliptical is a great all-around option at an affordable price. It can be used both under the desk or while standing for a more intense full-body workout. With compact 24.5-by-17-inches size, you can easily take it to work with you or use it at home. It's a little more than 11 inches tall so it'll fit under most desks.
There’s an adjustable tension dial to help you get that perfect stride going, and stats for things like minutes and total strides are automatically visible on the display monitor located above the dial. This mini elliptical also features both forward and reverse peddling motions to allow you to target different leg muscles.
What fans say: “It makes a very quiet, slight wrrrrr noise as it runs if you go very fast, but it's absolutely fine for my quiet (shared) office. I noticed a slight noise coming from one of the wheels, so I picked it up and dusted off the wheel, and it stopped. [...] I'm using it sitting down under my desk, and it's working very well. I need to adjust my chair higher, but it's comfortable and I'm getting a mild burn in my legs."
2. The Runner-Up: A Shorter Desk Elliptical For A Little Bit More
For small desks and tables, the FitDesk under-desk elliptical is a great option. This mini elliptical is only 8 inches tall so your legs and knees will have a lot more room. It features a digital meter with a six function display, and a digital meter you can put on your desk to see your stats. There are multiple resistance levels, just like first pick, too. However, the manufacturer does not recommend using it standing up.
What fans say: “I used a standing desk for years and recently changed jobs. They don’t offer standing desks and I was open to trying something else so I ordered the FitDesk after reading some reviews. Well I can tell you I log at least 5 hours on this thing throughout the day and it’s way more excercise than a standing desk."
3. The Best Smart Under-Desk Elliptical
For those who want a smart option that syncs with your phone, the Cubii Pro is it. This mini elliptical is Bluetooth enabled to connect to your iOS or Android smartphone via the Cubii app so you can track your stats, personalize your fitness goals, and even compete with others. It also has the ability to sync to your Fitbit or Apple HealthKit. This under-desk elliptical has a low profile and 9 inches tall so it'll fit neatly under most desks or tables. There are eight resistance level settings.
What fans say: “I put it together in minutes and it is so discreet, most people don't even know I'm using it. I can get 3 miles in a day while still working at my desk. My job restricts me to a desk for up to 8 hours a day, Cubii allows me to keep my legs moving and burn calories without sacrificing work time.”
Also Great: An Under-Desk Bike With 1,500+ Five-Star Reviews
If cycling is more your thing, the DeskCycle exercise bike is a cult-favorite on Amazon. This under-desk bike is adjustable to 9- or 10-inches tall and can fit under desks as low as 27 inches, according to the manufacturer. It features resistance with eight different tension settings and displays speed, time, distance, and more stats. The display is also removable and can be placed on your desk. There’s also a free online web app that you can use to log your daily activity; however, that's manual and not automatic. But with a 4.6-star rating after more than 2,000 reviews, customers still seem to love it.
What fans say: “I loved this so much at my desk at work that I bought a second one for my home office. It is silent and so smooth to pedal. Quick and easy assembly.”